What are the must-have kitchen items to prepare great food? You might be surprised at the answer because one of the most important things that you can have is a microwave. Many people have a tendency to scoff at the idea that a microwave is a kitchen necessity. The truth is, it can make all the difference in the world between preparing a delicious meal on time or being an hour or more late with dinner. It also works exceptionally well for helping you create delicious meals and heating things up when you have prepared meals ahead of time without taking all night long to do it.
The Versatility of a Microwave
Typically, most people use a microwave to defrost food so that it can be cooked in less time, even when they plan on cooking it in a more traditional manner, such as in the oven. Furthermore, they also might use it as a main way of cooking certain items. Imagine that you are cooking a large meal and you have something on every burner of the stove and the oven is full. If you need to heat up a can of vegetables, such as corn or green beans, the microwave is the perfect avenue to achieve that without adversely impacting the taste of the vegetables themselves. This helps you get your meals prepared more quickly while still ensuring that everything tastes great.
In addition, you can use the microwave to heat things up that have been prepared ahead of time. A lot of people prepare things in advance so that they can simply take food out of the freezer and heat it up during the week. For a busy family, this is a real lifesaver. Heating things up in the microwave speeds up the process even more and allows everyone to spend more time enjoying being together instead of preparing a meal.
As you can see, the microwave is indeed an essential kitchen item. Without it, you are putting yourself at a serious disadvantage. Even if you are a purist in the kitchen and you prefer to cook everything in a more traditional manner, a microwave is still an essential. If you don’t already own one, it’s about time that you research on the top ten microwaves in the market today and pick the best one for your needs!
Also read: Essential Tools For Baking
Baking is more a science than an art. Unlike regular cooking, the ingredients in baking need to be at the right proportions to yield the best results. Home baking has grown widely in recent years and more and more home bakers are setting up their own successful baking establishments. If you are just starting out then you have to follow the instructions in this post to turn out gorgeous cakes and other goodies that are not only appealing but also taste sinfully delightful.
Baking is a process that requires plenty of patience. You can’t hurry through the process if you want to get great results. Most recipes call for ingredients to be at room temperature before you use them. Very often we are guilty of using a slab of butter right from the fridge or adding eggs that have been sitting on the fridge for a week. You can get away with using these ingredients in other forms of cooking but baking is an exact process and an ingredient that is not at the right temperature can lead to disastrous results.
Some recipes mention that ingredients like cream, cheese, eggs, buttermilk should be at room temperature before including them in the cooking. For these recipes you should be careful to set out the ingredients outside for some time and bring them to room temperature before including them. This step has not been designed to merely prolong the baking process and there is a whole lot of food science in play behind this step. Ingredients when at the room temperature react differently than when cold. So the next time, you bake a cookie or a cake, read the recipe carefully and use the ingredients at the right temperature.
Read Also: Basic Tips In Baking To Get The Perfectly Baked Goodies
We often pride ourselves in cooking the most difficult recipes easily. But often fail when it comes to baking. Baking is a process that involves following the recipes to a tee. So if you are cook who is used to just randomly popping in ingredients without measuring then baking might prove disastrous for you. However worry not. Here I list some of the basic tips that can guide you in creating yummy lip smacking goodies. These are some very basic tips that any baker knows. However we often tend to forget them. So it is imperative that you remember these tips before you begin baking.
1. Use the Right Butter:
Do not skimp on butter. Butter lends the wonderful aroma to a baked dish. So throw away your diet and add good quality fatty butter to your recipes. Also make sure that butter is at the right temperature. Do not just add butter right from the fridge. Read the recipe carefully and check out the consistency of butter mentioned and add accordingly. Most bakers when they are running short of time try to soften the butter by heating in a microwave for a few minutes. While this doesn’t spoil the end result, micro-waved butter gives a greasy quality to your baked goodies. So plan ahead if you are baking and let butter sit undisturbed on your kitchen counter for one hour before you begin baking.
2. Always read the recipe:
Read through the recipe and don’t just skim through it. I make it a practice to read any recipe at least twice before baking. This way you can be sure of the consistencies of various ingredients and it helps you to mentally prepare yourself for the process. It takes only two minutes to read it the extra time but it saves you from disastrous results.
3. Get the ingredients measured:
Once you read the recipe the next step is to measure the ingredients and get them prepped before you begin baking. This way you can avoid running around frantically for an ingredient that you have missed halfway through baking.
4. Measure exactly:
Different ingredients need to be measured in different ways. The ways of measuring liquid ingredients is totally different from that of dry ingredients. Also sugar has to be packed whereas flour should not be packed in a cup. So check out various tutorials online and learn the right way to measure your ingredients.
5. Know your Oven:
Most recipes specify the time required to bake the product. But however remember that your oven is totally different from that of others. So know the time required to heat up the element in your oven and use it accordingly.
Read Also: Essential Tools For Baking
Are you a home maker who is planning to venture into baking? Do you often stand at the endless aisles in the grocery store wondering which ones you require for successful baking? Fret not here I list the required equipments for great baking.
1. Measuring Cups and Spoons:
This is a vital requirement for baking. You just can’t use regular teaspoons, table spoons and measuring cups in your pantry. There are several cups available in the market that has measurements either in the metric system or the US system. Choose a cup that has measurements in both the systems as different recipes specify the ingredients in different systems.
2. A wide mixing bowl:
A mixing bowl is essential for mixing up ingredients together. Choose a bowl that is wide enough and has a supportive base so that it doesn’t slip easily.
3. Whisks and Spatulas:
Invest in a pair of good quality whisks and spatulas as they are sure to be used often. You can even get the silicon whisks and spatulas available. They are easily to clean and easier to handle than regular wooden spatulas.
4. Electric Beater:
This is an important equipment, so pick one that can suit you in the long run. Instead of going in for the cheapest product, look for a brand that offers you warranty and replacement in case the electric beater fails. Also an electric beater with different speed options is better as different recipes call for mixing at different speed levels. If you bake on a daily basis you can invest in a Kitchen Aid that allows for hands free mixing.
5. Cake pans:
Select just the basic cake pans and as you become an expert you can go in for different types of pans.
Cotton candy is a favourite treat among people of all ages right from toddlers to people in their sixties everyone loves this popoular candy. Cotton candy was invented by a dentist. Yes this candy that has caused tooth decay among several people was invented by a dentist named William Morrison in the year 1897 at Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. The candy was introduced in the state fair at St.Louis and was an instant hit. The candy was initially called as fairy floss as the appearance resembled the wings of a dainty fairy.
Though cotton candy as we know it was introduced in the year 1897, it was based on a goody created by several chefs in Italy centuries ago. In the year, 1400 a group of chefs in Italy created a new process that created strands of candy when sugar was spun at high speeds inside a drum. It was a time consuming process and the entire process was done by hand. Cooks twisted the spun sugar using forks and spread it over various objects to give the candy a definite shape. As it required a lot of physical labour it was not afforded by everyone and only the wealthy aristocrats could indulge in this treat.
The cotton candy machine in use today was introduced in the year 1972 and it reduced the labour involved in the process of making the candy. Cotton candy is commonly available in the colours pink and blue but can be found in other colours too. It has become a staple food in fairs and circuses all over the wovrld and still occupies the favourite position for many kids around the world. So the next time, you eat cotton candy remember the humble beginning of this candy centuries ago.
You just can’t watch a movie without munching on some popcorn. Popcorn is a staple snack found in cinema theatres all over the world. This humble snack traces its roots back to thousands of years ago. Historians have found traces of popcorn kernels in tombs of ancient kings from thousands of years ago. So popcorn is not a new invention and we are not the first generation to be addicted to this highly addictive crunchy snack.
The popping sound of popcorn is made when the kernel of a particular type of maize is heated. These kernels have a hard outer shell that cannot be eaten without cooking. So when you heat the kernel the water inside the kernel turns into steam and blows up the size of the kernel resulting in a fluffy particle. Corn has been cultivated by the human race as early as 5000 B.C. However the popcorn as we know of today doesn’t appear until the 1800s. It was first introduced in the United States during 1820s and was sold in the name of pearl.
The name of popcorn was introduced in 1840s. And the earliest method of cooking popcorn was on a grill. The invention of microwave popcorn was in the year 1920s. It was during the depression of 1930s that Glen.W.Dickson a theatre owner introduced a popcorn stand in his theatre. The cheap price of this popular popcorn made it the preferred choice of snack of movie goers during the period of depression.
This humble snack has come a long way and the flavours available today are endless. Caramel, butter, honey, pepper, strawberry and curry are some of my favourite flavours.
Make sure to mention the exotic flavours you have tried in the comments below.
If there is one dish in the UK that is available everywhere it is nothing but the humble fish and chips. No longer the meal of the working class the fish and chips have become classless and occupy the proud position as the national dish of Britain. Nothing can beat the taste of well battered fish served with yummy house made chips on an old newspaper on a cold winter day in the UK. This dish has a great cult following not only among the locals of the UK but several millions of tourists who visit the UK flock to fish and chip stands all over the country.
The potato was found in New England in the United States and was brought to the UK during the 17th century by Sir Walter Raleigh. However it is the chefs of France who claim to have invented the ever popular potato chips. The first fish and chip stand is believed to have been opened in Lancashire in the year 1863 from a simple hut. Later as his dish gained popularity he moved his shop to a commercial area and was known as the first fish and chip shop in the world.
Fish and chips have come a long way and the ride all along has been a bumpy one. While several health enthusiasts stay away from fish and chips others argue that fish and chips provide the essential nutrients that are required for a daily diet. It is a great source of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins and fibres. And now studies reveal that fish and chips are not bad for the heart as it was believed to a few years back.
So whatever be your take on this national food, fish and chips are here to stay with an ever growing fanfare among the lovers of this simple yet wholesome dish.