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Category Archives: Food and Drinks

Dry Fruits

The name that comes first to our mind when it comes to popular dry fruits used for making sweets is that of dates. Dates are perfect fruits for the real sweet-tooths. Candies made using condensed milk, dates, clarified butter, and sugar, are extremely popular in South Asian countries. The past few decades have seen sweets of these types becoming popular even in western countries. This has happened as Asian population in western countries has kept on increasing during these years.

Another popular item of this kind used for making sweet dishes is plum. Dried plums are not very sweets, but have great flavor. They combine well with items like molasses and condensed milk. Combining these ingredients of course results in creation of some amazingly tasty desserts. Other common ingredients used for making desserts with plums include sugar, dried mango, resins etc.

The next kind we will be discussing about is nuts. A wide range of nuts and nutty flavors are used for preparing deserts. They are used both for preparing western deserts and eastern desserts. The most common varieties of nuts used for this purpose include cashews, walnuts, pistachios and peanuts.

In South Asian nations, a common dessert type made using nuts is called barfis. Other than using basic ingredients like clarified butter, milk, condensed milk and sugar, confectioners also often use flavoring agents of different types for making barfis. The most common flavoring agents they use for this purpose are rose-water, and saffron. Some confectioners also keep on experimenting with western flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, etc.

Info of Basic Wine Types

White wines are generally made from white grapes and they contain no red pigmentation. Most popular white wines are Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Obviously red wines are made from red grapes and typically have more tannin and a higher content of alcohol. The primary difference between wine colours comes from tannins, which are more concentrated in the red grapes and transferred into the juice. Popular red wines include Beaujolais, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.

Rose wines are mid-point between black and white even they are made from red grapes. Rose wines don’t fully turn into red colour because the grape skin has been removed so the red pigments are no more present to give a wine red pigmentation; instead they have enough of a reddish tinge to make them differentiate from the white wines. The best rose and most traditional Rose wine is Zinfandel.

Sparkling wines can be made from any variety of grapes. Their basic characteristic is the intense effervescences that come from the carbon dioxide bubble during the fermentation. Champagne is a type of sparkling wine named by a region in northeast France. By law, wines may only be called Champagne when they are made exclusively from grapes grown in the Champagne region and produced according to strict guidelines. Popular sparkling wines include Cava, Champagne, Crémant d’Alsace, Moscato d’Asti and Prosecco.

Sweet or Desert Wines are prepared with high sugar content, because the grapes are harvested very late when sugar levels are high or grapes are “drying” on straw so the concentration of sugar is very high. These are considered to be the sweetest.

Fortified wines are those who are produced with small concentration of wine juice. Instead they have Brandy or other spirits added during fermentation. The Brandy prematurely stops the fermentation process, leaving a high amount of sugar in the wine. Fortified wines are generally sweet such as dry late harvest Rieslings, Madeira, Port, Sherry and Sauternes. Those were originally designed to ensure the wine survived long voyages on 17th century ships.

Some Barbecue Desserts Recipes

Grilled Choco Pineapple Rings

What you need:

  • 6 fresh pineapple rings
  • 1/2 cup Nutella spread (or any chocolate-hazelnut spread)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

In a small saucepan, heat chocolate-hazelnut spread and milk over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the spread has melted and ingredients are well-combined. Remove from heat and set aside. Grill pineapple rings over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly brown and grill marks appear. When ready, place pineapples in a serving dish, drizzle with Nutella mixture then top with walnuts.

Peanut Butter S’mores Twist

What you need:

  • 2 large marshmallows
  • 1 peanut butter cup (such as Reese’s)
  • 2 squares graham crackers

Using a skewer, grill the marshmallows for 2-4 minutes until slightly browned. When ready, place the marshmallows on top of one of the graham squares, followed by the peanut butter cup then the other graham square. Serve immediately.

Fruity Barbecue Treat

What you need:

  • 1 cup sliced apple
  • 1 cup sliced pineapple
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Place fruit slices on skewers then grill over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until heated through or tender. When ready, remove the fruit slices from the skewers then transfer into a medium bowl. Mix in chocolate chips then serve immediately.

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Grilled Fruit and Herb Chicken

What you need:

  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
  • 4 slices fresh lemon
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt with parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 sheets 12×18 heavy duty aluminum foil

Mix apricot jam, olive oil, rosemary, garlic salt, kosher salt and black pepper in a small bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. Place 2 chicken halves on each sheet of aluminum foil. Pour half of the mixture on top of chicken in one foil and the other half on the other foil. Top each chicken breast with a lemon slice. Fold over the sides of the foil to create a packet. Cook the packets on a pre-heated covered grill over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Carefully open the packets to allow steam to escape before serving.

Rich and Creamy Grilled Chicken

What you need:

  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 cup creamy salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup Italian-style salad dressing
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, mix together creamy salad dressing, Italian-style dressing and cayenne pepper. Mix well to combine ingredients well. Add chicken to the bowl and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. When ready, discard excess marinade and cook chicken in a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through. Allow to cool before serving.

Grilled Fish Recipes

Mediterranean-Style Grilled Fish Cakes

What you need:

  • 1 cup tuna flakes
  • 3/4 cup shrimp
  • 3/4 cup bay scallops
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 1 egg
  • 2 fresh hot chile peppers, seeded
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil then cook bay scallops. Stir occasionally until white on all sides. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. Mix together tomatoes, garlic, onion, egg and 1 tablespoon olive oil on a blender or food processor. Add parsley, basil, chile peppers and Italian seasoning. Pulse on medium until ingredients are finely chopped. Add tuna flakes, shrimp and scallops then pulse on low, gradually adding bread crumbs. Continue blending on low until mixture is firm and sticky (not pureed to a paste). Form mixture into 1-inch thick patties and place on a plate. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Dredge patties lightly on flour then cook on a pre-heated grill over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side of until golden brown on both sides.

Tropical Soy-Garlic Grilled Salmon

What you need:

  • 4 1-inch thick salmon steaks
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

In a large bowl, mix together garlic, soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, vegetable and olive oil, tomato sauce, onion, lemon juice, mustard and ginger root. Mix to combine ingredients well. Place salmon steaks in marinade and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. When ready, remove salmon from marinade. Bring the excess marinade to a boil in a small pan. Cook salmon on a pre-heated grill, basting with cooked marinade, for 8 to 10 minutes or when fish is flaky.

Traditional Sweets Made Exotic

You will have to start the process by greasing the baking pans. The number of baking pans you will grease will depend on the number of layers you want your cake to possess. Usually these cakes have four layers. To make a four layer cake, you will have to use either two pans or four pans. If you take two pans, you will need to cut each layer you get into two halves to make the four-layer cake.

Beat sugar, water and egg yolks briskly until the entire sugar gets dissolved and you get a light, fluffy mix. Sift all the dry ingredients into the wet mixture you just prepared; don’t forget to stir the mixture lightly while sifting to ensure no lumps are formed.

Now, you will need to beat the egg whites until stiff. Add it into the mixture of dry and wet ingredients and stir well. Bake the mixture at 180 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. After 15 minutes you can check whether the cake is ready be means of a knife test. If it’s not done, bake it for five more minutes. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you divide the layers into two.

Now, we will teach you how to prepare the filling. In a bowl, take the sugar and butter and beat them well until you get a creamy, fluffy mixture. Now, make thick custard using the custard powder and milk. Allow the custard to cool down. Once the custard reaches room temperature, add the sugar and butter mixture to it and whisk well. Place the resulting creamy mix into the freezer so that it cools down completely. You can now arrange the four-layered cake and serve.

About Calories in Wine

On average, whether you have a standard red or white glass of wine, there are 25 calories per one ounce of wine. When you think about an average glass of wine containing five ounces, this means you will consume 125 calories within any glass. Although this is not a nominal amount, it is not an exorbitant amount of calories either.

Another thing to consider is that these calories are not sugar based. For those who do not know much about the wine making process, when a wine is cultivated, sugar is involved in the process. Sugar is used to help regulate the amount of alcohol within any bottle of wine; the higher the amount of alcohol, the more sugar which was used to make the wine. However, during the fermentation process, all of the sugar is burned off. Therefore, there is no sugar within your bottle of wine, so you do not have to worry about added sugar within your wine. The only time this is not the case is when you are drinking some dessert wines, as they do add a minimal amount of sugar in after the fermentation process to add to the sweetness.

Overall, no matter what kind of wine you are drinking, the amount of calories is fairly consistent throughout all of them. Whether it is a white or a red wine, or if it is a dry or sweet wine, they will all average 25 calories per ounce. Now that you know how many calories in wine there actually are, you can moderately pour yourself the right amount of wine with any meal. You can use this knowledge to assure yourself you will not upset the diet you are on by enjoying a glass of wine.

Drinking Non Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol-free sparkling red wines are the healthiest and vitamin enriched alternatives to alcoholic sparkling red wine. These drinks impart no adverse effects on the health of wine drinkers. If you are one of the individuals who take pleasure from the grand and electrifying taste of wine, then you must make sure that you have tasted the alcohol-free wine. The similarity in the flavor of these drinks can make you fall in love with this variety of drink which can serve your taste.

The health benefits of this drink include, it helps in lowering blood pressure in men who are at a risk for heart attack.

Hence, we see that the best way to enjoy a party is by savoring non-alcoholic drinks. This is because you can remain tension-free when you are consuming them. These drinks serve as a great alternative to alcoholic drinks to celebrate any event. The biggest plus about these drinks is that they keep away the body and nervous system of the person safe from the negative effects of alcohol.

Next time you need a drink to have a good time, make it great by opting for a variety of drinks without alcohol. Make every occasion memorable with non-alcoholic drinks.

Unique Barbecue Recipes

Barbecued Turkey on Scallion Toast

What you need:

  • 4 English muffins, split in half
  • 3 cups cooked, chopped turkey meat
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions, divided
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together hoisin sauce, barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and ginger root in a large saucepan. Stir in turkey, half of green onions, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Combine remaining onion and remaining olive oil in a small bowl. Brush cut sides of each muffin with the mixture and place on a baking sheet. Cook on a pre-heated broiler until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Top with turkey mixture and serve immediately.

Blue Cheese Grilled Pears

What you need:

  • 4 pears, sliced in half lengthwise and cored
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

In a small bowl, combine cheese and butter and scoop mixture into the cavity of each half of pear. In a separate bowl, mix together hot pepper sauce and olive oil and brush each pear half with the mixture. Cook pears on a pre-heated grill over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender.

Wine Pairings for Lamb

White Wines:

Pinot Gris – Pairs well with Lamb Goat Cheese Salad

Pinot Gris is a light-bodied wine celebrated for its citrusy flavors and crisp, clean finish. These light attributes makes it perfect for lighter lamb dishes.

Sauvignon Blanc – Pairs well with Lamb Roast and Root Vegetables

Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh-tasting, light to medium-bodied wine with a sharp, bold finish. These qualities allows it to pair well with both hearty and light lamb dishes.

Chardonnay – Pairs well with Lamb and Vegetable Stew

Chardonnay is a medium to full-bodied white wine that delivers rich oak and vanilla flavors. This makes it a good match for heartier lamb courses.

Red Wines:

Bordeaux – Pairs well with Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic

Bordeaux is a combination of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, making it a very easy-to-drink red wine. It pairs well with almost any simple lamb dish.

Pinot Noir – Pairs well with Roasted Rack of Lamb

Pinot Noir offers earthy, subtle flavors ranging from dried cherries, raspberries, and hints of vanilla. This makes it perfect for the most elegant of meals.

Syrah – Pairs well with Grilled Loin Chops

Syrah red wine offers deep, dark flavors. This intensity makes it perfect for a variety of lamb meals, including leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic.