How do you Make the Perfect Souffle

The soufflé is probably one of the most feared dishes that challenge cooks everywhere. The main problem with this totally unpredictable recipe – one that basically consists of only a thick, creamy white sauce (sweet or savoury) and whisked egg whites – is that when the delicious soufflé is cooked, puffed up majestically with a crispy outside and a gooey scrumptious centre, it is only a matter of seconds, before this culinary masterpiece deflates. It is an unavoidable fact that the diner must wait their soufflé rather than the soufflé wait for them!

Despite this problem it is really quite simple to make a perfect soufflé, even if its beauty does only last for a very short time, by following a few basic instructions.

The first thing that is important is the dish used to bake your soufflé in; so that the soufflé rises evenly  the dish should be a round straight sided ovenproof  one –  they can be large dishes or individual ramekins. Preparing this dish is the next important step; the dish needs to be well greased inside with soft butter or margarine and then dust it with flour, breadcrumbs or parmesan cheese if making a savoury soufflé or caster or icing sugar or cocoa for a sweet soufflé. Next place the dish in a refrigerator and chill until the butter is set; by doing this the soufflé will rise better.

The base of the soufflé is the next element of the dish that needs a little attention; if making a savoury soufflé the base will be a thick roux based sauce with added egg yolks and seasonings, if the soufflé is sweet it will be a custard or fruit compote. Whichever base is used it is important to ensure that  this base is well seasoned to give a good flavour, as when the whisked egg whites are added the flavour will be watered down. This base (which can be prepared in advance before making the final soufflé) also needs to be a thick and smooth consistency to help the soufflé to rise well.

To get a really light soufflé much care needs to be taken with the egg whites. It is important to make sure that a large, clean dry bowl is used for preparing the egg whites; the whites should then be whisked until stiff. Use eggs that have been kept at room temperature, and eggs that are around one week old will give better results. When the egg whites are ready beat around a third of the mixture into the base, then with a metal spoon fold the remaining egg whites gently until the mixture is smooth and well combined. 

The next tip regards how the mixture is placed in the prepared dish; only fill the dish ¾ way up the dish, running a thumb around the edge of the mixture and the dish will make a channel that will encourage the soufflé to rise up.
It is then important that the oven is preheated to 220C/425F/gas 7 and place the soufflé in it as soon as the mixture is in the dish; then immediately lower the temperature to 190C/375F/gas 5. The oven needs to be hot to enable the air in the whisked egg whites to expand. Try not to open the oven during cooking, but more importantly never slam the oven door.

The finished soufflé should be golden brown and risen well over the top of the dish; it should be crispy on the outside but gooey and fluffy in the middle. One large soufflé should take around 30 minutes to cook and individual ones around 12 minutes.

Finally, the soufflé should be served VERY quickly so that the guests can appreciate its beauty before its inevitable downfall; however the guests really should be a little patient before attempting to eat it as the centre will be extremely hot!

The Properties of Nutmeg and when to use it in your Cooking

Nutmeg and mace

When I was little my grandmother used to make home made rice pudding and when it came out of the oven piping hot, there was always a lovely smell of a rich nutty scent coming from the steaming pot she would pull out of the oven, I used to love the skin off the top of the pudding as to me this tasted the best and as I got older I found out that the skin of the rice pudding contained grated nutmeg, which my grandmother used to flavour the pudding and now I use it myself on my own rice puddings.

Nutmeg is a kernel from an evergreen tree which grows in the regions of Indonesia, these are then exported to Europe and other parts of the world. Mace is the thin leathery tissue between the stone and the pulp. The trees can grow up to 65 feet in height and at the age of eight years they start to produce the fruit.
The nutmeg is a bright red colour when it is picked and when it is dried the colour changes to a lovely amber colour.

Nutmeg contains essential oils and can be pressed to extract oil of mace which can then be used as scent for soaps and other beauty products.
However there is another side to the nutmeg, as it contains Myristicin which if eaten in large quantities can cause convulsions and hallucinations, it can also cause vomiting and flushing, but this is only if eaten in huge doses. Nutmeg is usually used for the flavouring of puddings, eggnog, sausages and other foods.
It is also used as a herbal remedy and can be bought in capsule form at the health shops, a bottle of 30 capsules will cost you around 4 and these can be taken one or two times a day with food to help stop symptoms of flatulence, diarrhea and as a digestive aid.
Do NOT take these if you are pregnant or breast feeding and these are NOT suitable for anyone who suffers from depression or anxiety attacks.

I personally have not tried the capsules but have seen them on sale in the heath shops, I only use nutmeg and mace in cooking, grating a little nutmeg into rice pudding can enhance the flavour.
Nutmeg can also be bought in little containers at the supermarket, it comes in powdered dried form for around 2 on the spice rack shelf of the supermarket, the shops own brand will be cheaper and just as good as a well known brand.
The nutmeg will store for months dried as long as you keep it away from heat or moisture.
It can be used in dishes with cheese, broccoli, rice pudding, sausages and lots of other foods.
Here is a quick and easy recipe to try and taste the full flavour of this spice.

Peach Cobbler

6 cups peeled sliced peaches
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup of all purpose flour
2 cups plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup unsalted butter or marg, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350F.
Filling: Mix peaches, sugar and cups of flour together and pour into a 15-inch baking dish.

Batter: Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor. Mix to combine. Add the milk and melted butter. Mix until smooth.

Spoon batter over the peaches, making sure you spread to edge of dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon over the top.
Bake in centre of oven about one hour. Crust should be brown and crisp on the outside.
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

How to Make a Basic Souffle

Souffles are not easy to make, so it is suggested that you make a practice one before serving to guests (important ones, that is) to avoid serving a dish that looks like a golden brown cake falling sideways.  A souffle can be hard to make, but then end result will taste good enough to make the hard work worth every effort.

As you will see, you can be very creative by experimenting with different ingredients.  To get the most out of your souffle with respect to flavor, chop or grate your fish/meat or cheese, and make into that ¾ cup.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk or broth-  can use chicken, beef or vegetable
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 egg yolks
6 egg whites
¾ cup (packed) chopped smoked salmon  (do you have fish allergies? Use grated cheese, or another cooked meat or vegetable in lieu of the salmon)
¼ teaspoon salt

Whisk flour and cold milk together until smooth.  Then, make a sauce by melting butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and milk, stirring until boiling. Remove saucepan from heat and let stand 1 minute. Blend in egg yolks 1 at a time, and then add your salmon or cheese, etc.

Mix well and set aside, letting it rest to room temperature.

Butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart souffle dish, and set aside.

In a bowl, beat all egg whites with salt and cream of tartar, using an electric mixer.  Beat until stiff, and stir 1 cup of egg whites into your sauce and then pour all of it into your souffle pan.  Put remaining egg white mixture on top of the souffle, but do not mix.

Put the souffle’ on middle oven rack and bake for about 25 minutes, until souffle’ is puffed on top.  Do not open the oven door during the first twenty minutes, and when you do open the oven door, open gently and when souffle is done, use care when removing from oven.

Serve immediately on tiptoes and in whispers, you don’t want that souffle’ to fall!

However, should that souffle fall, all is not lost.  Mash it down evenly, and sprinkle the top with your favorite grated cheese and put under the broiler for a few seconds, until the cheese melts.

Voila!  You now have a frittata to serve.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. Although native to Europe, it grows around the world. At maturity, the plant reaches around two feet in height and sometimes grows higher if left unattended. Clusters of light yellow flowers grow at the junction of the leaf and stem. The deeply wrinkled leaves, similar in shape to mint leaves, vary in color from yellow to dark green according to soil and climate. If you rub the leaves between your fingers, you will be left with a lemon scent on your hand.

Humans have recognized the benefits of lemon balm for centuries. Prior to the Middle Ages, it was seeped in wine to treat insect bites, heal wounds and help lift a person’s spirits. Over time the herb was used to help with indigestion, sleeplessness, pain, stress, anxiety and lack of appetite. 

Lemon balm is often planted in herb gardens and is used to attract bees. There hasn’t been a great deal of study on the herb uncombined with other ingredients, except for topical use. Most often it is combined with other herbs for a natural approach to several ailments. Modern studies indicate that earlier physicians may have been correct in their praises of the herb.

Lemon balm is usually applied or ingested as an oil. The oil is made from the plant’s leaves. The leaves contain the substance eugenol, which helps calm muscles spasms, numbs tissue and kills bacteria. They also have tannins, which are probably responsible for the oil’s antiviral properties. Terpenes is also found in lemon oil and has antiviral properties as well as some relaxing qualities.

Several studies have shown that when lemon balm is combined with other relaxing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile and hops, it helps to induce sleep. In one study, 81% of the subjects of a double blind study reported sleeping better when given a combination of lemon balm and valerian than those receiving a placebo. Similar results were obtained in a study regarding anxiety.

However, it’s uncertain if the positive results are due to the combination of the herbs or one herb by itself. When lemon balm was studied by itself it did improve sleep in a separate double blind study.

Ointments containing lemon balm have proven effective against cold sores. There is also some evidence that it helps with indigestion. It may improve cognitive functions and have a calming effect on Alzheimer’s patients when used in aromatheraphy.

 Lemon balm essential oil is also frequently used in furniture wax, perfume, massage oils and skin creams.

If you have the herb in your garden, you can harvest the leaves yourself. The fresh leaves can be used to enhances salads, sauces, vegetable dishes or used as a garnish.

They can also be dried for a variety of uses. The ideal temperature for the process is 85 to 90 degrees. Place them in one layer on a flat surface or hang them upside down by their stems. Make sure the drying area is out of direct sunlight and airy. Once dried you can put the leaves in tea, use them to make potpourris or add to a hot bath for a relaxing aroma.

Lemon balm also has its side effects. The essential oil has been linked to high eye pressure and people with glaucoma should avoid the herb.

There are no studies on the herb’s effects on small children or the unborn. Pregnant or nursing women are advised to avoid the herb and it isn’t recommended for small children.

Some people are allergic to lemon balm and may experience trouble breathing and a tightness in the chest along with a rash, itching and uncontrolled swelling. Such reactions require immediate medical attention as they could prove to be life threatening. 

Too much of the herb may have an overly relaxing effect. The person may experience some mental impairment until the effects wear off.

For the most part, lemon balm is a beneficial herb with many uses. It can be purchased over the internet in various forms. Be aware of the above cautions and consult your health professional before self treating an ailment, but otherwise enjoy.

Lemon Balm Herb and its many uses

What is lemon balm herb?

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb in the mint family. It gets its name from the distinct lemon scent of its leaves. It has an amazing array of medicinal uses and is often seen in conjunction with other herbs. Both lemon balm extract and oil are used as flavoring, especially in herbal teas, and it is the main ingredient in some varieties of pesto. The leaves of this herb contain a number of chemicals that seem to have sedative and calming qualities as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it a staple in herbal medicine.

Lemon balm for digestion

One of the most common uses of lemon balm herb is to treat digestive issues. Combined with a mixture of peppermint leaf, chamomile, caraway, licorice, clown’s mustard plant, celandine, milk thistle, and angelica it can treat dyspepsia. It can also help with bloating, gas, vomiting, and even colic if taken orally. For colic it is combined with fennel and chamomile. It also helps with pain from menstrual cramps to headaches and toothaches. Graves’ Disease and other autoimmune diseases that affect the thyroid are thought by many to be helped by taking lemon balm, but others believe it might interfere with prescription thyroid medication.

Lemon balm herb topically

Lemon balm can also be applied to the skin to treat cold sores, insect bites, small tumors and abrasions. As little as 1% lemon balm extract in a lip balm speeds the healing time and lessens the chance of reoccurring cold sores. In addition to helping with the itching of insect bites, the scent also repels mosquitoes, preventing subsequent bites.

Lemon balm herb for relaxation

Because of the apparently calming effects of the herb, lemon balm is also taken for various forms of anxiety. It can slow a rapid heart rate and help remedy swollen air passages caused by nervousness and stress, as well as high blood pressure. It can be used to help sleep problems, especially when combined with Valerian root. It has been shown to lessen restlessness and hysteria. It is also used to aid in the treatment of melancholia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Lemon balm is commonly used in aromatherapy, particularly to alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. It can also be taken orally in small doses to help with Alzheimer’s. Taking a standardized amount of lemon balm extract everyday for four months has seemed to reduce agitation and other symptoms in mild and moderate sufferers.

Do you have a Recipe for Baked Souffle Potatoes

At first glance you may think that this is simply a baked, or jacket, potato with cheese; but this tasty lunch dish is far more than that, it is soft and light and the goat’s cheese gives it a delicious flavour. This makes a fantastic lunch dish served with a nice crispy salad.

If you love soufflés but are scared of making them, try this recipe as it is far easier to make successfully and is really, really delicious, plus you have the added bonus of the delicious golden, crispy potato skin.

Choose your potatoes carefully for this dish; you want to pick potatoes that are uniform in both shape and size to ensure even baking. I always find russet potatoes to be the best potato for a really good baked potato.

This recipe serves four people for a main course or eight people as an appetizer.

BAKED SOUFFLE POTATO

INGREDIENTS

4 good sized baking potatoes (russet is the best for this dish)

125g goat’s cheese (the soft variety)

125g butter or margarine

Freshly grated nutmeg

4 tablespoons double cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 eggs

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. 
2. Wash and dry the potatoes and prick all over with a fork, place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 1 hour until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 
3. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out the centre of the potato into a mixing bowl.

4. Mash the potatoes, add the goat’s cheese and butter and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 
5. Separate the eggs beat the cream and egg yolks into the potato and beat well.
6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and lightly fold them into the potato mixture with a metal spoon. 
7. Place the potato shells on a baking tray and spoon the potato and cheese mixture into them.

8.  Return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

9. Serve immediately. 

Effective Ways to Reduce ones Salt Consumption

It may seem like you cannot get away from salt; it is in almost everything people eat from pizza to salad dressing. The human body needs a certain amount of salt, but not as much as you might think. People overall are becoming more conscientious about how much salt is in their daily foods. Some people are even trying to figure ways to cut back on salt in their meals as well as snacks. Read on for some valuable suggestions and information.

Nothing Beats Homemade.

Try eating out less and fixing more homemade meals. When you prepare foods at home, you are in complete control of what goes into them. For example you can cut back on how much salt you add to a recipe, or even omit it altogether and add something different like fresh herbs or salt free seasonings. Part of the fun of cooking foods from scratch is creating new and interesting taste combinations.

Check it Before You Buy it.

When you go grocery shopping, read the labels on things before tossing them into the cart. Some packaging proudly boast their low sodium content, while others hide it in the ingredient list. You may feel like a food detective, searching for that sneaky sodium content, but your body will thank you for the extra effort. Fair warning: foods that are lower in sodium or sodium free, might be a little more expensive, and well worth the extra money.

Eat More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.

Canned vegetables are often packed in salted water, as per the ingredients listing. Read the labels and choose sodium free versions or opt for buying and eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce contains virtually no salt and besides, it just tastes better! Fresh produce is easier to prepare since it is “raw” and has nothing in it, therefore you can dress it up without salt.

Take Salt off the Dinner Table.

It does not do much good to buy salt free foods or cook without adding salt, if you sit down at the dinner table and then shake it onto your meal! Remove the salt from the shaker and replace it with a favorite salt free seasoning. If you live with people who are not as salt conscious as you are, then get yourself your own personal shakers and fill them with salt free and taste full seasonings! You cannot control other people’s decisions, but you can control yourself.

Cooking Tips.

When you prepare meals at home using canned vegetables, rinse them with tap water before cooking them. Rinsing will help remove some of the salt the vegetables were packed in and improve the flavor. Avoid instant foods like pasta and rice because they generally contain salt. 

As a society, people consume more sodium than they may even be aware of, at restaurants and at home. There are so many simple ways to reduce the amount of salt, that the transition is fairly painless. The fact is, you can have fun experimenting with flavor substitutes!

When you should use White Pepper

When most people think of the cracked peppercorns that, with salt, are in shakers on top of the dining table, they think of black peppercorns. However, white peppercorns are also the fruit of the pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and are just as interesting as their black, green, and red siblings.

Because black and white peppercorns are so similar, when should you use white pepper? Essentially, that is up to the chef. You will decide, in general, when you should use white pepper. Some recipes will specifically call for white pepper, and while you may be able to find white pepper readily in your local supermarket, you can substitute black pepper for it. Black pepper has a fruity undertone that is quite spicy to the nose. White pepper, on the other hand, is generally a bit mellower on the spiciness but has a stronger aroma.

Besides the difference in smell and the even more subtle difference in flavor, you might choose to use white pepper in a recipe because it is nearly colorless. If you do not mind seeing black flecks of cracked black pepper on your food, then you might want to use white pepper instead. Light colored dishes or ingredients may benefit from white pepper’s invisibility. It will add both flavor and a hint of spice without adding even a touch of color. On the other hand, sometimes cracked black pepper will enhance the overall look of a dish or ingredient (such as black pepper coating a slab of bacon), but that is completely up to you.

You might also want to use white pepper when you want a delicate flavor that is not very spicy. Pepper can have be overpowering and spicy to people who are not accustomed to eating spicy food. White pepper is usually not as complex-tasting as black pepper. The fruitiness that stems from black pepper is hardly found in its white counterpart, so white pepper is considered a good spice for dishes that are complex even without the addition of white pepper. For example, adding freshly cracked black pepper to macaroni and cheese gives extra flavor and complexity to the dish. Adding white pepper to a dish like lo mein would be a good idea because the lo mein already includes many flavoring ingredients.

The use of white pepper your choice entirely. If you can find this interesting spice at your grocery store, try it and compare it to using black pepper. You will find that you will want to use one or the other for certain dishes.

Which is better for Cooking Fresh Herbs or Dried Herbs – Dried

   I used to be afraid of herbs. Dried, fresh, it didn’t matter. I think it was a leftover fear of vegetables from my childhood. Stepping timidly into the world of herbs, I started first with fresh. They are a great way to sneak flavor into a salad. They make an average baked potato look gourmet.

 I started to realize that herbs are the essence of delicious food. Too bad I do not have a green thumb. I have killed more Herbs then I have served. Why? I don’t know. Sure they look, taste, and smell delicious. Lets not forget how “cool” a person looks with fresh Herbs growing in a pot on their kitchen counter. Unless they are about to die of thirst or drown from over watering.

 After yet another spoiled pot of beautiful green Basil, I had to admit defeat. For a short time I tried buying fresh Herbs from the market, But I do not shop everyday. More like once every two weeks. I caved. Walking to the seasoning section of the market I grabbed a bottle of dried Basil. So far this is my favorite. I was too afraid to cook with it for awhile though.

  So there it stood. Between the sea salt and the handy pepper grinder. Ignored because of fear.  All I could think of  was this freeze dried  bottle of fake Basil will ruin my food!  The smell  was not inviting. It was different. Causing me to wrinkle my nose and quickly shut the cupboard door.

 Two weeks ago a friend gave me some homemade Pesto to try. As I was boiling my whole wheat pasta, I decided to bake some chicken breasts to toss in. For some strange reason I added Basil, Salt, and Pepper to my chicken. Yes the dried Basil. Twenty minutes later I was in love. One of the chicken breasts mysteriously disappeared in my mouth before I could stop myself.

 Mixing the pasta, Basil, and Pesto together, I realized I was wrong.

  My final vote would have to be on the dried Herb side. I have a kitchen full of different Herbs and Spices. All at my fingertips ready to surprise me yet again. Dried Herbs are  convenient, packed with flavor, and always available in my kitchen.  Consider the amount of money it would take to stock your kitchen with fresh Herbs on a daily basis? I cant. So give them a try and you too may end up surprised!

Exercise for abdominal pain

Exercise is probably the how to assist eliminate and forestall pain. It may seem in which exercise could potentially cause additional abdominal pain, also it certainly can in the event you select the drastically wrong sort or perhaps volume of exercise. Nevertheless, exercise is wonderful for anyone, along with as well should remainder can injured your current rear all the more.

Ensure that you never forget in order to expand prior to test any kind of exercise or perhaps exercising. Stretching will allow the returning to obtain ready for the action in the future. Forgetting this kind of critical action can result in severe discomfort at a later date that is certainly what we should like to prevent.

As soon as your preliminary left abdominal pain goes away, test taking a go walking. Really don’t bring nearly anything and make your face upwards. This type of delicate exercise helps to reduce back again fits and also transform your feelings in the event the go walking isn’t going to reduce and sometimes take away the ache, it’s going to at the least get your brain off from the idea.

Stay while energetic as you can throughout a round connected with back pain, the way it has been confirmed in which pastime is a bit more beneficial to recuperation when compared with resting while having love. Seek to execute standard routines, in purpose, since research has shown that results in a faster retrieval compared to cargo area relaxation or maybe back-specific exercise.

Be sure you might be finding plenty of exercise. Exercise is critical to help trying to keep the actual muscular tissues with yours again and also your abdominal muscles powerful as well as nutritious. In case your muscle tissues are way too poor, you can be investing a many more force on ones your bones. Tougher muscular tissues assist require some of these strain for their own reasons in addition to preserve the actual your bones.

Enjoy cardio things to do generally. Cardiovascular system things to do make the perfect guide toward any better system, and provide good health on the muscles and joints, assisting in prevention of back pain. Though accountant Los Angeles wonderful routines available, cardiovascular system exercises fit significantly less force on ones rear muscle tissues, for that reason presenting a great optimum exercise promptly knowledge back pain.

To stop receiving back pain, you must just be sure you exercise frequently. This will assist improve along with bolster your muscle tissues with your returning. You simply need to be cautious that you aren’t weight lifting which is fat so you will not be undertaking everything else that can truly result in an accident. Exercise frequently for enhance the core’s energy. Always concentrate on your own washboard abs along with rear muscle groups. Combine a good amount of energy and suppleness routines in your exercise routine to assist you to maintain central powerful and versatile, which usually decreases the possibility with regard to back pain to cultivate sometime soon.