Food and Drink

Grilled Pizza - A Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Choice

Grilled Pizza - A Perfect Outdoor Entertaining Choice  by Mary Mechler

Warmer weather reminds me of having pool parties and cooking outside. One meal that guests really appreciate is grilled pizzas. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, they taste really good! Second, your guests can personalize them to their own taste. For the host, this is a great make ahead idea.

Here's what I like to do. I make the dough ahead of time - usually the day before. If you put the dough in a large zipper bag in the refrigerator, it will rise overnight just fine. Then, you can just punch it down and roll out individual pizza rounds. I'll include a recipe at the end for pizza dough. I will typically roll out the dough into about eight-inch rounds and grill them lightly- at a medium temperature - on one side. Then, I stack them between paper towels after they're cool. The grilled side is where toppings go. Put the assembled pizzas on cookie sheets dusted with cornmeal for easy transport to the grill. 5 minutes on the grill should cook the raw side of the dough as well as the toppings. A good tip is also to crumple up two or three paper towels and pour a bit of vegetable oil on them. Use a tongs to rub this over the grate on your grill to help prevent sticking.

Some ideas for toppings include bowls of cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken breast pieces, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, basil leaves, sage leaves, Italian parsley, thinly sliced tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, pizza sauce and whatever ingredients you may prefer. These are some that I use.

Keep in mind these are thin pizza crusts, so the more advanced prep you do for the toppings, the better result. For example, you would not want to put raw sausage on them because there isn't enough time to cook it through before the crust would burn. Likewise for the onions and mushrooms. It would be difficult to fully cook them on the grill, so sauteing in advance is a good idea.

If you set up an assembly line of sorts for the ingredients, it is easy for guests to put together their own pizzas.

Kids especially like making their own pizzas, so this is a fun party idea.

If you prefer not to make your own pizza dough, you can purchase it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store - or, you could use flour tortillas. But, I think the dough gives a more authentic flavor to the pizzas.

Pizza Dough

2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 2/3 - 3 c. all-purpose white flour
1 tsp. salt

Sprinkle yeast over the water in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. In the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 2/3 cups of the flour and salt. Pour in the wet yeast mixture. Gradually mix it into the flour, adding a little more warm water, up to 1/3 cup. Allow the mixer to knead until very smooth, soft, and no longer sticky, about 2 minutes. You may need to add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. It should still be fairly wet.

Oil the dough and put it back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you prepare the dough the day before, lightly oil it and put it in a large zipper bag. It will rise in the refrigerator overnight. Punch dough down and turn it onto a floured surface. Use a pastry cutter or a thin sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Divide each half again, and each piece one more time, so that you have 8 portions. Roll each piece out into 8 inch rounds.

You may keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or you may freeze it up to 2 months. If frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before preparing.

Mary Mechler has been cooking and baking since she was 5 years old. Mary is excited to share her love of cooking and great cooking tools with others who are cooking enthusiasts, through the website, which offers kitchen cookware, chefs knives and kitchen cutlery. If you find something you like, and place an order, we'll include a free copy of Amy Coleman's cookbook while supplies last!

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Italian Cooking: The Particulars

Italian Cooking: The Particulars  by Wayne V. Sanches

Italian cooking is truly among the world's richest and most varied, and there are so many different delicious meals that are not only great to taste and look at, but actually easy to make. This is why so many people sign up for Italian cooking school, because they want to learn the ways of the Italian and learn how to cook their infamous dishes.

From pastas and breads to the most gourmet desserts, you will learn everything about Italian cooking when you sign up for an Italian class or course, and you just want to make sure that you keep your ears open and really soak everything in so that you can use these skills in the future.

Of all the different Italian cooking recipes that you will be taught, the recipes will vary from one school to another but there is one signature Italian dish that you will almost indefinitely be taught, and that is for bruschetta.

Italian Bruschetta

This recipe is very simple to make and is taught in pretty much every Italian cooking school around the globe because it is considered as being a staple in Italian food. For it you need 6 or 7 ripe plum tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, 6-8 fresh basil leaves chopped, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

You will also need 1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread and about cup olive oil. This recipe is very easy to prepare, and you start by preparing the tomatoes, parboiling them for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the water. The key here is too not leave the tomatoes in for too long, and then drain and remove the skins. Cut into quarters, preheat the oven, and start to add in other ingredients.

You need to put in the garlic, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, and vinegar into a bowl with the tomatoes. Now use this mixture to coat one side of each slice of baguette and place on a cooking sheet with the olive oil side down.

You want to toast this Italian cooking recipe just for a couple of minutes until the bread turns golden brown, then score the bread and rub some garlic in the slices. Drizzle some olive oil on both sides, place the tomato topping on and cook again until browned. This recipe is delicious and you will impress all your friends with it.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on italian gift baskets and kids gift baskets.

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Cooking Brisket in the Oven - A Beginners Guide

Cooking Brisket in the Oven - A Beginners GuideCooking Brisket in the Oven - A Beginners Guide by Ralph Serpe

Cooking brisket in the oven is a time consuming process, but also a very rewarding one. When your family and friends take their first bite of your delicious brisket, they will most definitely be asking you for the recipe. This article will make you a brisket cooking pro!

Did you know that at one time, brisket was considered a very poor quality meat? History has it, that two brothers from Germany, back in the 1950's decided to smoke up some leftover brisket they had. They left the brisket inside their smokehouse for an entire weekend. When they returned to work they sliced up the meat and served it to their customers. The meat was so flavorful and tender that it quickly became a hit.

I remember the first time I had the pleasure of eating beef brisket. It was at this fabulous little Barbecue Restaurant in Croton-On-Hudson, NY called Memphis Maes.

New York isn't known for its BBQ, so my wife and I were a bit skeptical. But after we took our first bite of the "Texas BBQ Beef Brisket", we became believers! My wife then looked at me and said , "You have to make this!" Not wanting to let the lovely wife down, I took it upon myself to try and recreate the BBQ brisket at home. I don't own a smoker, so I needed to improvise and cook the brisket in the oven.

Believe it or not, the oven makes a pretty darn good BBQ brisket. Many BBQ enthusiasts will tell you that a smoker is the only way to cook brisket, but I can tell you from experience this is simply not the case.

The secret to a good beef brisket is to cook it nice and slow at around 225 degrees for several hours. So if you are looking for a quick and easy meal tonight, cooking brisket in the oven is not the way to go.

You will have to prepare this particular recipe one day in advance and you will need to plan some extra time to cook the brisket as it takes several hours to finish cooking.

Lets Talk About Dry Rubs

There are a variety of different dry rub recipes you can use for your beef brisket. One such recipe is listed below. Don't be shy with your dry rub. You want to really coat the brisket well. Its not called a rub for nothing, so really rub those spices into the meat with your hands. After the rub has been applied put the brisket in the fridge and let it marinade over night.


- 1/4 Cup Paprika
- 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbs Chili Powder
- 2 Tbs Kosher Salt
- 2 Tbs Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 1/3 Tbs Granulated Garlic
- 1 1/3 Tbs Granulated Onion
- 2 Tsp Ground Cumin


We need some type of liquid to slowly braise the brisket in the oven. Braising is an excellent way to cook brisket in the oven because it keeps the brisket moist and very tender.

What I do is mix some good quality store bought barbecue sauce with a little beef broth to thin it a bit. I like to use a smoke flavored barbecue sauce. To give it a little more smoky flavor, I also add a few drops of liquid smoke. This makes a very tasty braising liquid.


Before we start cooking, lets do a little preparation.

Remove the brisket from the fridge and leave it on the counter for 30 minutes or so to allow it to come to room temperature.

Get yourself a baking dish with a tight fitting lid big enough to hold your brisket.

Mix equal parts of barbecue sauce and beef broth. I like to make enough so that the brisket is at least half submerged. Pour this mixture into your baking dish.

Pre-heat your oven to 225 Degrees.

Heat up a large pan over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the pan. Add the brisket to the pan and brown on all sides until it forms a nice crust.

Place the browned brisket into the baking dish with the braising liquid. Put the lid on and place it in the pre-heated oven.

About half way through the cooking process, flip the brisket over so that the other side has time to cook in the braising liquid.

The brisket is done when it is fork tender and has an internal temperature of around 185-200 degrees F. The amount of time it takes to cook a brisket in the oven really depends on the weight of the brisket. Figure 1 1/2 to 2 hours per pound of meat.

There you have it. My recipe for cooking brisket in the oven.

Ralph Serpe is a passionate home cook and is webmaster and founder of Visit us today for more free home cooking recipes and tips.

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Recipes For Deviled Eggs

Recipes For Deviled EggsRecipes For Deviled Eggs by by David Onyancha

Boiled eggs with a dressed-up yolk have been around since ancient Romans poured sauces of wine, honey, pine nuts and herbs on them. By the Renaissance time, eggs stuffed with savory spices were common.
Like other dishes that have gathered attention recently, such as designer macaroni and cheese and riffs on meatloaf, this latest interest in deviled eggs rode in on many streams.

With the economy going to hell, the war dragging on and gas prices so high, you're talking about a lot of depressing things going on.
During my childhood the deviled eggs were a family picnic staple. They're simple and rustic, made with the most basic ingredients, but we never could get enough of them.

I have been known to devour a dozen of these in one sitting. These were quick and easy. If you want them to be a little prettier, put the egg filling into a freezer bag, make a cut off of one corner of the bag, and pipe them into the egg white halves.

Here are some great tips on cooking and peeling eggs that I found in Southern Living: Place eggs in a single layer in saucepan; add water to depth of 3 inches. Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Pour off water. Add about 1 inch cold water and several ice cubes to the still warm eggs in the saucepan. Cover pot and shake vigorously so the eggs will crack all over. Peel under cold running water, starting at the large end, the air pocket there will give you something to grip.

All over town, and across the country, restaurants are serving deviled eggs, each with their own spin, their own what-is-that? element.
What follows is a basic recipe, though there are so many wonderful variations you can make. Do you have a favorite deviled egg recipe? If so, please add yours in the comments.


12 large hard-boiled eggs, cooled
� cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons sweet pickle juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Paprika for garnish

1. Peel eggs and slice each in half lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks to a small bowl and place whites on a serving dish.
2. With a fork, mash yolks, mayonnaise, mustard and sweet pickle juice together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Using a teaspoon, carefully fill the cavity of each egg white half with yolk mixture, mounding the filling slightly above the white. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

Per half: 50 calories, 3 g protein, 0 carbohydrates, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 105 mg cholesterol, 55 mg sodium, 0 fiber. Calories from fat: 80 percent.

D Onyancha always entertained when he was growing up. You can find more great recipes at

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Recipes In Making Different Types Of Buns

Recipes In Making Different Types Of BunsRecipes In Making Different Types Of Buns by by Jasmine Stone

Take plain bun dough (or if for common buns, bread dough), roll it out in a sheet, break some firm butter in small pieces and place over it, roll it out as you would paste; after you have given it two or three turns, moisten the surface of the dough, and strew over it some moist sugar; roll up the sheet into a roll, and cut it in slices; or cut the dough in strips of the required size and turn them round; place on buttered tins having edges, half-an-inch from each. Prove them well, and bake in a moderate oven. They may be dusted with loaf sugar either before or after they are baked. The quantity of ingredients used must be regulated by the required richness of the buns. 1/2 lb. of butter, 1/2 lb. of sugar, with 4 lb. of dough, will make a good bun. When bun dough is used, half the quantity of sugar will be sufficient; some omit it altogether.

Balmoral Cakes

3 1/2 lbs. of flour, 1 lb. of butter, 1 lb. of sugar, 5 eggs, nearly 1 quart of milk, a few caraway seeds, with 1 1/2 oz. of carbonate of soda and tartaric acid, mixed in proportion of 1 oz. of soda to 3/4 oz. of acid. Mix the soda and acid well with the flour, then rub in the butter and sugar; make a bay with the flour, add the seeds, beat up the eggs with the milk, and make all into a dough. Put into buttered pans according to the size; dust with castor sugar, and bake in a moderate oven.

Balloon or Prussian Cakes

Take currant bun dough and make it into a round flat cake of any required size, and place it on a buttered tin. When it is about half proved, divide it with a long, flat piece of wood having a thin graduated edge, into eight equal parts, and place it again to prove. When it is proved enough, brush over the top lightly with the white of an egg well whisked, dust it with fine powdered sugar and sprinkle it with water, just sufficient to moisten the sugar. Bake it in a rather cool oven to prevent the icing getting too much colored.

Saffron Buns

Take the same mixture as for teacakes, add 1 oz. of caraway seeds, and color it with saffron. Mould them round, and put them on the tins so as not to touch. When they are near proof, wash the tops with egg and milk, and dust them with castor sugar. Put them in the oven to finish proving, and bake them in a moderately hot oven.

Cinnamon Buns

Made same way as saffron buns, but leaving out the caraway seeds and saffron, and using instead sufficient ground cinnamon to flavor them.

Jubilee Buns

2 lbs. of flour, 3/4 lb. of butter, 3/4 lb. of sugar, 4 eggs, 1/2 oz. of voil. Rub the butter in with the flour, make a bay and add the sugar, pound the salt in a little milk and pour it in, break the eggs, and mix all together into a dough. Make six buns out of 1 lb. of dough, mould them round, wash the top with eggs, put some currants on the top, and dust with sugar.

German Buns

4 lbs. of flour, 2 ozs. of tartar, 1 oz. of carbonate of soda, 12 ozs. of butter, 1 1/2 lbs. of sugar, 4 eggs, 10 drops of essence of lemon, with milk.

Mix tartar and carbonate of soda with the flour, make a sprint or bay, put butter and sugar in bay, cream; add eggs, then milk, make all into a dough, and size them off on buttered tins one inch apart. Wash over with egg, and put a little sugar on top, and bake in a moderate oven.

Common German Buns (for wholesale purposes)

4 lbs. of flour, 2 ozs. of tartar, 1 oz. of carbonate of soda, lb. of lard, 1 1/2 lb. of moist sugar, a little turmeric and churned milk; then proceed as for best German buns. Bake in a sharp oven.

London Buns

Take 1 pint of milk warmed in a basin, add 2 ozs. of yeast, 8 ozs. of moist sugar, and make a dough with sufficient flour.

When the sponge is ready add 12 ozs. of butter, a pinch of salt, and have ready 4 ozs. of chopped peel. Mix all in the dough with 2 eggs and lemon, and prove. When about half proved wash over with yolk of egg. Put sugar on top when full proved.

Visit the Baking Ideas website to learn about baking problems and baking chicken.

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Some Recipes For Salt And Smoked Fish

Some Recipes For Salt And Smoked FishSome Recipes For Salt And Smoked Fish by by Jenny Styles

PLACE OF SALT AND SMOKED FISH IN THE DIET.--In regions where fresh fish cannot be obtained or in seasons when they are scarce everywhere, the housewife will do well to use salt and smoked fish. These varieties of fish not only will give her a chance to vary the diet, but will enable her to provide at a more economical price, food that, pound for pound, contains more nutriment than the same fish when fresh. While some of the varieties of smoked and salt fish may not be obtainable in all communities, the housewife will do much toward bringing the supply to her community by requesting them from the dealer. When a dealer knows that there is a demand for certain kinds, he will make an effort to secure the varieties wanted.

FRESHENING SALT AND SMOKED FISH.--The cooking of salt and smoked fish is not a difficult matter, but it always involves the freshening of the fish before any cooking method can be applied. This consists in placing the fish in a large quantity of water and allowing it to stand until enough of the salt has been extracted to suit the taste. Some kinds of fish are so salty that they require considerable soaking, whereas others require only a little freshening. However, it is usually advisable to change the water several times. If it is desired to hasten the extraction of the salt, the fish should be raised above the bottom of the vessel by means of a wire rack or several clean sticks. In the case of very thick fish, several gashes may be cut into the flesh to permit the salt to pass out more readily.

CREAMED CODFISH.--Since codfish is a rather dry fish, containing little fat, it is usually combined with some other food to make it more appetizing. In the case of creamed codfish, the cream sauce supplies the food substances in which the fish is lacking and at the same time provides a very palatable dish. When codfish is prepared in this way, boiled potatoes are usually served with it.

To make creamed codfish, freshen the required amount of codfish by pouring lukewarm water over it. Shred the fish by breaking it into small pieces with the fingers. Pour off the water, add fresh warm water, and allow the fish to stand until it is not too salty. When it is sufficiently freshened, drain off all the water. Melt a little butter in a frying pan, add the fish, and saute until slightly browned. Make a medium white sauce and pour it over the codfish. Serve hot with boiled potatoes.

CODFISH BALLS.--Another excellent way in which to serve codfish is to combine it with mashed potatoes, make these into balls, and fry them in deep fat. These give variety to meals and also afford an opportunity to serve a nutritious food.

Freshen the codfish as explained in Art. 61, and then mince it very fine. Add an equal amount of freshly cooked hot potato that has been put through a potato ricer or mashed fine. Mix thoroughly and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper. Shape into balls and fry in deep fat. Drain well and serve hot.

SAUTED SALT MACKEREL.--When an extremely tasty dish that will afford a change from the usual daily routine of meals is desired, sauted salt mackerel will be found very satisfactory.

Freshen salt mackerel that is to be sauted by putting it into a saucepan and covering it with cold water. Place this over the fire, and allow the water to heat to almost the boiling point. Pour off the water, and saute the fish in butter or other fat until nicely browned. If desired, pour a small amount of thin cream over the mackerel just before removing it from the pan, allow this to heat, and serve it as a sauce with the mackerel.

BAKED FINNAN HADDIE.--When haddock is cured by smoking, it is known as finnan haddie. As fish of this kind has considerable thick flesh, it is very good for baking. Other methods of cookery may, of course, be applied to it, but none is more satisfactory than baking.

To bake a finnan haddie, wash it in warm water and put it to soak in fresh warm water. After it has soaked for 1/2 hour, allow it to come gradually to nearly the boiling point and then pour off the water. Place the fish in a baking pan, add a piece of butter, sprinkle with pepper, and pour a little water over it. Bake in a hot oven until it is nicely browned. Serve hot.

CREAMED FINNAN HADDIE.--The flavor of finnan haddie is such that this fish becomes very appetizing when prepared with a cream sauce. If, after combining the sauce with the fish, the fish is baked in the oven, an especially palatable dish is the result.

To prepare creamed finnan haddie, freshen the fish and shred it into small pieces. Then measure the fish, put it into a baking dish, and pour an equal amount of white sauce over it. Sprinkle generously with crumbs and bake in a hot oven until the crumbs are browned. Serve hot.

BOILED SALMON.--When smoked salmon can be secured, it makes a splendid fish for boiling. If it is cooked until tender and then served with a well-seasoned sauce, it will find favor with most persons.

Freshen smoked salmon in warm water as much as seems necessary, remembering that the cooking to which it will be subjected will remove a large amount of the superfluous salt. Cover the salmon with hot water, and simmer slowly until it becomes tender. Remove from the water, pour a little melted butter over it, and serve with any desired sauce.

Visit the Daily Sodium Intake website to learn about making sodium and sodium uses.

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Live Healthier and Longer

Live Healthier and LongerLive Healthier and Longer by by Sandra Prior

Old habits die hard. If you�re accustomed to heaping a spoon of sugar into your coffee six times a day, and can�t wait to leave the office at lunch time for a toasted sarmie, then you�re not going to like this home grown advice that you probably heard from your mom a million times over; eating more fruit and vegetables is good for you.

There are very Tangible Benefits for Swapping Fast Foods for Fresh

Everybody is so different that you can�t make blanket claims that eating more fruit and vegetables will definitely result in better skin, glossier hair or fewer infections. But we are confident that a healthy diet will affect how bloated you are, and if you�re eating foods with a low GI index, you will have more energy. Cutting out caffeine and alcohol, especially if you are caffeine sensitive, is also bound to result in better sleep.

But if that�s not enough for you to give up your daily diet of comfort food, the following information might be more convincing.

Fruit and vegetables are the only foods which collectively have been consistently associated with risk reduction in several diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and age related macular degeneration. In addition, some new data is emerging to support a protective role for fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cataract formation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The reason why fruit and vegetables pack such a powerful healing punch has to do with the phytochemicals they contain. Phytochemicals are active compounds in food that prevent disease. Indoles, found in cabbage and Brussels sprouts, have anti cancer properties. Chlorophyll, in green plants, helps to oxygenate the blood and improve energy. Allicin, in garlic and spring onions, boosts the immune system. These are just three of hundreds of the commonly occurring phytochemicals in nature�s pharmacy.

Although many of these are not classified as essential nutrients, they do impact on the chemistry of the body and on our health as significantly as vitamins and minerals. The superheroes in the fight against disease include; aloe vera, berries, blue-green algae (spirulin), carrots, sweet potatoes, watercress, peas, cruciferous vegetables, essential oils such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fish, garlic, shiitake and reishi mushrooms, quinoa, seeds and nuts, soya products, watermelon, wheat and barley grass.

The exact mechanism that explains the protective role of fruit and vegetables in cancer is yet to be determined, but is likely to be multi factorial. The results of many studies continue to suggest a more complex role for specific micronutrients and non nutritive substances, an area which is being actively and intensely investigated. It�s important to remember that fruit and vegetable consumption may also be an index that reflects differences between individuals who do or do not eat healthily, rather than having an exclusively protective role against cancer.

Not sure what that means? Well, chances are if you�re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, you�re also probably the kind of person who doesn�t smoke, drink in excess and exercises regularly. So it could mean that your whole lifestyle offers protection against disease, rather than the fruit and vegetables being solely responsible for your good health.

But until we have evidence to the contrary, it seems we should stick to mom�s advice and eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at

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A Few Ideas For Preparing Delicious Soups

A Few Ideas For Preparing Delicious SoupsA Few Ideas For Preparing Delicious Soups by by James Lanka

Soup is a food that is made by combining ingredients such as meat and vegetables in stock or hot/boiling water, until the flavor is extracted, forming a broth.

Traditionally, soups are classified into two broad groups: clear soups and thick soups. The established French classifications of clear soups are bouillon and consomm�. Thick soups are classified depending upon the type of thickening agent used: pur�es are vegetable soups thickened with starch; bisques are made from pur�ed shellfish or vegetables thickened with cream; cream soups are thickened with b�chamel sauce; and velout�s are thickened with eggs, butter and cream. Other ingredients commonly used to thicken soups and broths include rice, flour, and grain.

Here are a few soup recipes for you to try -

Bacon And Parsnip Soup

25g butter, (1oz)
1Tbs oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
250g parsnips, chopped (8oz)
250g cooked gammon or shoulder joint, cubed (8oz)
2quarts vegetable stock
freshly ground black pepper
1Tbs freshly chopped parsley
croutons to serve

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large pan. Add the onion, carrot and parsnip and cook gently for 5-6 minutes.

2. Add the gammon and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for -30 minutes.

3. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth and return to the pan.

4. Add pepper to taste and serve hot with croutons and sprinkled with chopped parsley.

Author Note: A delicious soup using left over gammon and traditional winter vegetables.

Carrot And Orange Soup

2Tbs oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
500g frozen sliced carrots, (16oz)
1 1/4 liters vegetable stock, (2 pints)
juice and zest of 1 orange
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, over a moderate heat fry the onion and carrots until softened, this will take approximately 10-15 minutes.

2. Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour the soup into a blender along with the juice and zest of the orange. Blend until smooth.

3. Return to the heat, season with salt and pepper and heat through, adding a little water if the consistency looks too thick. Serve with chunks of crusty bread.

Author Note: A lovely combination of flavours, with a zesty backnote of orange.

Curried Parsnip Soup

2 Tbs butter
2 large onions, finely sliced
1Tbs curry paste, (medium madras style)
5 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 liter chicken stock
one lemon, juice of
4tsp plain yoghurt
1tsp mint sauce
4 poppadums

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion and cook until soft. Add the curry paste and cook for five minutes. Then add the parsnips, chicken stock and a seasoning of salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Liquidise and pass through a sieve, return to the pan, add the lemon juice, check seasoning and keep warm.

3. Combine the yoghurt and mint sauce, season and set aside. To servedivide into four four bowls, garnish with the yoghurt and a poppadum.

James Lanka is the owner of The UK Recipe Archive, where you can download his large collection of UK television recipes.

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Using A Grill To Cook Chicken

Using A Grill To Cook ChickenUsing A Grill To Cook Chicken by by Jasmine Stone

Wow I have a hankering for some really good grill roasted chicken, the melt in your mouth variety with some fresh homemade salsa slathered right on top. Just seems that we never have time during the lazy days of summer to get everything done. You know, you have to mow the grass, weed the garden and if you're lucky harvest a bounty of fresh produce from your own little truck farm.

Now you expect me to cook supper too? It's time to tell you my secret and go hunting for my favorite "yard bird", Capt'n Salsa's Grill Roasted Yard Bird, to be exact.


Delicious golden brown moist and tender some of the best melt in your mouth grill roasted chicken you will ever eat. Now, don't let the hunting phrase concern you. The extent of hunting chicken for me is looking for a big plump 31/2 to 4 pounder at the local grocery or meat market. I always bag my limit of two because it is just as easy to cook two at the same time to guarantee some leftovers...

"Come on, Capt'n Salsa, quit beating around the bushes and just give us the recipe!"

Oh, Okay.

Capt'n Salsa's Grill Roasted Yard bird is so easy you will probably laugh. Of course it goes with out saying you need to rinse the chicken in cold water before you cook it. All you are going to need is a generous amount of Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Mix up a solution of 1 part vegetable oil with 4 parts of Apple Cider Vinegar, remember that's the brown vinegar, together in a squirt bottle, an empty syrup bottle will do just fine.

Now we are going to cook our grilled chicken whole on your favorite charcoal or 2 burner gas grill using the "indirect heat" method. Your grill needs a lid that will close, too. Most of the time now I just use the gas grill, heating the grill with both burners, then turn one of them totally off, yes, off and the other burner turn it all the way down to low.

I'm getting a little ahead of myself. Preheat your choice of grills. Then rinse and clean the birds. Now hose down the chicken with the mixture of oil and vinegar using the squirt bottle and sprinkle a generous portion of Lemon Pepper Seasoning all over the chicken. Don't forget the body cavity.

Place the chicken breast side up on the grill away from the heat source, above the burner that is turned off, indirect heat method remember. Squirt a little more oil and vinegar into the cavity of the chicken until it "overflows. " Now close the lid. You want a low to medium low heat level. The objective is to take at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook the chicken, nice and slow. Don't worry after a couple of times you will have it "down to a science" and know what works best for you.

Once you have your chicken on the grill go mow the grass or work in your garden for the next 2 to 2 1/2 hours without even looking at the birds...well, if you insist on looking after about an hour, you can raise the lid and give the birds a good squirt of the oil and vinegar solution...Now, close that lid and get back to work...ggg.

You will know the chicken is done by grabbing the tip of one of the legs with a paper towel, careful it will be hot, and gently twist the leg bone in a circle. If the leg bone easily breaks free at the joint, the chicken is done - a beautiful golden brown, moist and tender every time.

Easy huh?

Place the chicken on the grill, mow the grass and when you are finished with your yard you have Capt'n Salsa's Grill Roasted Chicken make that Yard Bird! Serve it up with one of your favorite homemade salsa recipes.

Roasted Corn Salsa or tasty Salsa de Tomatillos Delicious! Wrap it all up in a warm tortilla, complete with your favorite thirst quenching beverage and you will marvel about how great your yard looks.

Imagine. Mowing the grass and cooking supper all at the same time...Enjoy!

To learn about avocado pear and asian pear tree, visit the Types Of Pears website.

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Making Your Own Rye Bread

Making Your Own Rye BreadMaking Your Own Rye Bread by by James Smi

The more I make bread, the more I am convinced of the importance of the kitchen being in the best position in the house. When we designed and built our house, I was determined that the kitchen should have a view and be on the front of the house. Now that it's six-fifteen of a summer morning and I'm up early, kneading bread, because we've run out again, I'm especially happy to be looking out over a sun-soaked landscape to the distant mountains. Every time you make bread you're guaranteed a good ten minutes of contemplation as you knead it, the mechanical rhythmic activity frees the mind to wander or switch off...very therapeutic. Having a view thrown in as well is just an added bonus.

I haven't always made bread. It is a comparatively recent development. Making jam was the first breakthrough into self-sufficiency, then came the day when our local supplier of rye bread, who made a loaf that (miracle of miracles), all the children would eat, decided to switch recipes and use caraway in it...instant rejection by the whole family.

We'd stopped the wheat bread to try and help my son's allergies and found it helped most of us, so apart from the occasional indulgence of fluffy white bread, I wanted to stay off it. There was no alternative; I would have to take the leap into bread making. The main reason that I'd resisted was that it seemed to take so long. First the mixing and kneading, then the rising, then knocking down and forming loaves, a second rising and finally the baking. Who could keep track of all that in the chaotic life of a three-child family?

So eventually I take the plunge, turn to my friend Nigel (Slater, not namedropping but he and Nigella (Lawson) are ever-present in my kitchen, in book format of course) and find a foolproof recipe for a white loaf, simpler to start off with white I think. Well the first try produced a reasonable, if huge, loaf, though my son still remembers that it was a bit doughy in the middle. Second try, I got two pretty perfect loaves and I was on a roll.

Now to find a recipe for rye bread. It seems that 100% rye is usually made by the sour dough method and I couldn't see my family going for that, so settle for a half and half rye/whole-wheat recipe... triumph. Ok, my son the food connoisseur complained it was a bit too sweet, so next time round I reduced the amount of honey, but this recipe has been our staple diet ever since, and I am now truly ensconced in my kitchen, looking at the view, every other day, while I endeavour to keep the supply level with the ever increasing demand.

Any way, finally to the recipe:

500g rye flour
450g whole-wheat flour plus more for kneading
50g plain flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 10g sachet of instant yeast
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons oil
670 ml milk
125 ml water

Warm the milk to lukewarm. Mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and put in the yeast, then honey, then oil, pour on the warmed milk and water and mix. When it gets doughy turn out on to a well floured surface (it will be extremely sticky) and knead for 10 minutes. You will need to keep adding flour as you knead. It is better for it to be too sticky than too dry - you can always add more flour, but too dry will make a dry, hard loaf. After 10 minutes, put it back into the bowl with a plastic bag over it and leave in a warmish place for two hours or so. Then knock down, firmly pressing out the air, but not over kneading, then form into two or three loaves on a baking sheet, cover again and leave to rise for another hour. Then bake for 30 minutes at 190C until they sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of the loaf. Cool on a wire rack

So how do I keep track of the bread making, in between school runs, mealtimes and the rest? Well I don't always. There are times when I optimistically start the bread off, leave it to rise and four hours later remember about it, knock it down, forget to switch on the oven so it has had an extra day or so in rising time by the time it gets cooked. It does seem to be very forgiving though - whatever you do to it, you do generally get bread out at the end, it may not always be the perfect loaf, but then variety is the spice of life after all. There was one time it hadn't quite finished cooking by the time I had to do the school run, so I asked my husband to take it out in ten minutes..... By the time I got back we had a very useful weapon against intruders. We didn't eat that one...I think it was ryvita for lunch...!

To read about baking problems and baking chicken, visit the Baking Ideas site.

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