Category: Cooking Tips
When the warmer days hit us, all we want is a chilled drink to cool us down. Plus, the heat is no friend to food when it comes to food preparation. Food items such as vegetables and pastries need to remain cool so that its freshness can be retained. Commercial refrigeration is very important during the warmer months, so I hope that you took advantage of the catering equipment sales in winter.
Commercial refrigeration comes in many different forms.
Underbar fridges, stainless steel or glass doors, are the most popular because they are used in every restaurant to store food items from vegetables to meat. This catering equipment is essential for the smooth running of any restaurant.
Blast Chillers are great for hot days, especially when you know that drinks will take a long time to cool in a standard refrigerator. Place your cans or bottles into the Blast Chiller and allow it to chill the drinks in half the time. Bars benefit greatly from this catering equipment because of its chilling speed.
Beverage Coolers come in various sizes from single door to double door units, as well as upright to under bar units. This catering equipment allows you to display a wide variety of drinks through a clear glass door while keeping the contents chilled. Customers will be enticed by the visual variety on display which will encourage them to buy a refreshing cool drink.
Display Fridges are probably the most fun commercial refrigeration because it keeps the wonderfully delicious food in a well-lit display. You can view colourful cakes and golden pastries through the clear glass display.
Wall Chillers are large commercial refrigeration units that are usually placed against a wall and are open for easy access. This allows you to display fruit and vegetables in a chilled and illuminated environment. Customers enjoy being able to pick and choose from a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables on display.
Upright Freezers keep foods frozen yet make them easily accessible and visible by means of a clear glass door. This catering equipment is convenient for restaurants that need to know exactly where all their food stock is.
Often adults enthusiastically introduce a new food, just to have a child turn up their nose at it. Perhaps the adult will offer it a second time. But if a child refuses to eat an unfamiliar food the third time, most adults will quit and assume they just don’t like it and won’t eat it. The truth is, that after three tries, the process of building a preference or like for a new food is just beginning! Many children (from infants to teenagers) are reluctant to try new foods. It’s a phenomenon called neophobia and literally means a fear of new foods. I know firsthand about this as I struggled miserably with it as a child and some of it has carried over to my adult life. New foods, even as an adult, bring on a feeling of anxiety as well as embarrassment if I am in a public place or at someone’s home. Studies tell us that food preferences can be developed and the earlier children experience this the better. Under the right circumstances, negative initial responses to new foods can be shifted to positive ones. The key is to give children repeated opportunities to touch, smell and sample the new food. Food preferences develop slowly with repeated exposures, like wading slowly into the water until you feel comfortable with it.
When you first expose a child to a new food, it must be without any pressure or expectations. Being forced to taste and eat the new food is a recipe for failure. First exposures can be called “no thank you” servings with no expectation to eat, but to touch, taste, smell and talk about it. Using the fingers as well as the tongue to touch and feel is important. Other levels of exposure to a new food will also lead to success. Shopping for the new food with your child can create a feeling of participation in it. Preparation of the new food is another level of exposure that can lead to acceptance. Washing, prepping, serving all contribute to acceptance as well. Vegetables and meats are the most likely foods that require many exposures to accept. They also are two food groups that have very high nutritional value.
Getting children involved in gardening and growing some of the vegetables is one of the best ways to build acceptance. Very small gardens, decks with pots or small planters can be used to grow peas, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, carrots and broccoli. Planting the seeds, watering the plants and watching the development and growth is fascinating for children. When they can finally harvest the vegetable, the excitement will be a strong motivator to taste and eat it! Helping to prepare meat recipes, using sauces for dipping, cutting or making small bite-sized servings will help children to accept some of the proteins in their diet. Using chicken wing drumettes instead of a big piece of chicken is fun for children. Making little meatballs instead of meatloaf is also more appealing! You can sing the “On Top of Spaghetti” song as you make them! It always important that along with the new food, familiar foods are served so that sufficient nutrition is consumed.
The best way to introduce children to a variety of nutritious foods is at the grocery store. I often see parents struggling with children at the store as they shop but if you get them involved in the process, you can work together as a team. Finding items on your list and selecting them is your opportunity to show and tell them about different kinds of food. Shop the food groups and give them choices within limits of what to select in each area. An example of this is to start in the produce section. Explain that we need to choose two kinds of fruit today and one kind needs to go in your lunch box and one to eat at home.
Now we need to choose vegetables to make a salad. What kind of lettuce would you like to choose from all of these? Help them to select good quality of fruits and vegetables by telling them what to look for: shape, color, size, texture, etc. This will help your child to learn a lot of new words as well. You can further model good nutrition for your child by reading labels to them. This is especially important in that dreaded cereal aisle! When you explain to them what their body needs to grow healthy and strong, they can help you choose nutritious cereal that they will eat. The three basic criteria is low sugar, low sodium and low fat. You can help them compare the cereals they choose, apply the criteria and make a healthy choice.
Parents often stress about cooking for their children and have even more stress about getting them to eat what has been prepared. Studies show that the more children are involved in the selection and cooking process, the more likely they are to eat it. They are also going to develop habits and knowledge about foods and nutrition that will last a lifetime.
Children usually like to eat the same things but if you have a rule of choosing one new thing from each food group, you can expand their palate in no time. One of the staple foods for young children is macaroni and cheese. Instead of buying a box mix, try showing your child all the different kinds of pasta and encourage them to choose a new one: bow tie, spirals, wheels, etc are fun shapes that will appeal to children. Instead of using processed cheese mix, try a new kind of cheese. The dairy section is filled with all kinds of nutritious cheeses from cheddar to monterey jack! Give them a choice between two that you know they are likely to enjoy. When you get home from shopping, talk to your child about the choices they made as they help you put groceries away. Make a simple chart for a menu plan of the week that shows their name and their choice of food that will be served that day. When they are involved in the selection, they see their name on the menu plan, they have ownership in the food that is being prepared and served and will be more likely to enjoy them at meal time.
As someone who grows their own fruit and vegetables my cooking methods are rather particular. The quality of food is essential for good health so preparation must be done to protect the enzymes and flavonoids within it. To begin with the way vegetables are gathered is important to ensure the goodness is preserved. How quickly they are eaten after picking is also important.
When gathered in the garden most vegetables can be eaten and enjoyed raw. There is nothing more beautiful than a freshly harvested corn cob. The sweet tender taste is enhanced by the juice it holds in abundance. So why should this be taken away and cooked? The same can be said of the home-grown tomato, peas, beans, or even broccoli.
In the case of the latter instead of picking the whole head take only a few florets when required. They can be cut or broken from the main stalk as needed. Don’t wash but lightly cook in a microwave if necessary. No longer than a minute on its own or with other varieties but always without water.
Silver beet can be gathered by the leaves as required. One leaf is usually ample for me plus a leaf of kale. Along with a few rounds of carrot or pumpkin my evening meal consists mainly of these beautiful products.
Anyone can grow vegetables as they are the least fussy of any crops. As long as they have sunshine, an occasional feed of seaweed fertiliser and plenty of water there is not much that can go wrong? Even in an apartment one can grow something, including essential herbs.
The best advice is not to over cook and it’s best done dry in a micro-wave. When they are boiled in water the goodness goes down the drain when the liquid is strained off. Don’t make that mistake but think of the wonderful healthy gut you can have by adding that extra fibre along with the other goodies in the food.
Fruit and vegetables that are uncooked or only partially so retain the enzymes and they will work the gut as they pass through it. This is like a huge cleansing bush that not only massages the colon but gets into the crevices and frees it of anything that might otherwise hang there and cause a polyp or worse, cancer.
Healthy food should be treated with care and a healthy body will be the reward. Try it and see how quickly you see results.
Make an innocent error and your dish will turn into a huge disappointment. And you don’t want this to happen, especially if you are going to serve your friends or relatives. What you need are a few tips to prevent recipe missteps and overcrowded pans. Below are 6 common cooking mistakes that you must avoid.
Not Reading the Recipe
Going through a recipe is as important as reading a map prior to leaving for a trip. The majority of cooking mistakes happen when people overlook an important detail. Actually, they don’t read the recipe properly. For instance, adding cold butter into the batter may leave you with a lumpy and dry cake. In the same way, if you don’t wait for the onions to be fully cooked and add tomatoes into the sauce, you will a spaghetti topper that won’t be smooth or crunchy.
Overcrowding the Pan
If you cover the pan fully, it will trap the heat. As a result, there will be a lot of steam inside the pan. To prevent overcrowding, what you need to do is use a pair of pans instead of just one. Alternatively, you can cook in batches.
Not Preheating the Pan
The surface of the pan must be hot enough to brown the food and seal in the juices. Food will stick to the pan if it’s not hot enough. Therefore, it’s important that you preheat the pan for a few minutes prior to pouring the oil. To check if the pan is hot enough, you can throw a couple of drops of water on the pan. If the water evaporates quickly, you are good to go.
Using too little water
Food, when put in a boiling pot, lowers the water temperatures right away. If you put too much food, the water won’t boil. As a result, the spaghetti will taste starchy. So, what you need to do is use a good deal of water. In other words, the food should swim in the pan. As a general rule, you may want to use a minimum of 5-quart pot for just a pound of paste. Make sure that the water is boiling.
Using Dried Herbs in Place of Fresh Ones
It may be tempting to add some dried oregano instead of some fresh seems. However, the problem is that herbs, such as parsley and basil don’t taste the same once dried. On the other hand, tarragon and oregano become more powerful when dried. so, you should use them sparingly. As a matter of fact, the best way of judging the strength of a herb is by taste. If you have dried oregano and it tastes nothing, you may want to use a heavy hand.
Using oil that is not hot enough
Whether you are deep-frying or pan-frying, make sure that the temperature of the oil is 350 F or more. But if the temperature is lower than that, your food will become greasy and heavy.
So, what you need to do is go for oil that has a high smoking point. Make sure it is hot enough before you put food in it. Some good names are peanut, safflower and canola, just to name a few.
Copper may be the most used metal in the home area. Cookware used to be made out of copper because it was such a good conductor of heat. In recent years, it seems to be making a comeback. Here are its advantages and disadvantages.
- Copper conducts heat at an incredible rate. Professional chefs use copper cookware such as pans to reach the exact temperature stated on the recipe. It also has the ability to change heat as the stove top changes.
- Copper is a lightweight material that won’t apply too much pressure on the stove. It is also heavy enough to remain in place if someone accidentally taps it.
- It also has a beautiful appearance. The rusty colour has a rich look that adds to the quality of the cookware.
- Corrosion resistance is the best part about this cookware. You will have these beautiful economic pots and pans for many years before you have to replace them.
- Unfortunately, although copper has corrosion resistance, it still dulls over time. This element is similar to silver where it loses its shine over time when exposed to air. A bit of polishing will make your cookware look as good as new, though.
- The quality shows in the price. Because it can be used for so long and can retain as well as conduct heat so well, it will be one of the most expensive kitchenware you will own. It also has to be treated so that it won’t get easily dented.
- If you don’t dry this cookware properly you could end up with tasteless spots on the surface. You also can’t put these pots and pans in the dishwasher.
- Keep the copper away from acids. A horrible, dangerous acid could be produced if the cookware is not maintained correctly. This corrosive chemical is known as patina which is often used in pewter and metal impressions to make the metal look old. With time, patina gets more potent so make sure you avoid this damage.
- Lastly, a copper pan will not be compatible with an induction cooktop stove. If you have an electrical stove that uses molecular friction then these pots won’t be a benefit to you.
When it comes to cooking with advanced cookware and pans you need to learn exactly how to use it as well as how to control and handle the speedy cooking process. You need to learn how much cooking oil to use and how often to stir the mixture so that it doesn’t affect the metal. Keep in mind that a copper pan is quite different to stainless steel and non-stick pans.
Steaming is for tender foods. Steaming is using boiling water to steam your foods by slow cooking them. Basically boil water in any pot or pan with a tightly fitting cover. The food is put in bowl or steaming tray above the water and it is cooked by the steam. Steaming is usually done using a steaming pot but can be put in a saucepan with a lid using a steaming tray or a skillet using a bowl. Foods that may be steamed include fish or vegetables. Steaming allows the food to maintain its flavor.
Stewing is a method of cooking using little water and slow cooking. It is a great way to cook cheaper tougher meats for a longer period of time rendering them easier to eat and more flavorful. Stewing can be done in a stew pot or skillet with a lid so that the heat and steam are maintained inside making the meat more tender. It has the advantage of being cooked slowly and without constant care.
Boiling foods like steamed foods are for foods that are tender. Vegetables need to be cooked by putting them into boiling water to cook them fast so they maintain their flavor and minerals. Meats should be put into cold water and brought to a boil. Once the water boils the temperature needs to be lowered until the water is simmering which is when the water is barely bubbling with a little steam. A saucepan is great for boiling foods.
Roasting is for cooking in the oven on a lower heat and adding a little fat to prevent burning and add flavor. Roasting is usually done with meats in the oven with a Dutch oven. Roasting is a great way to cook your meats and vegetables together and keep the flavor.
Grilling is a method of cooking over an open flame using charcoal or gas. It is great for meats and vegetables as it sears in the flavor and actually cooks the fats out of the meats. A grill pan is best for this method of cooking.
Baking is best for cakes, breads, pastries and casseroles. Baking is done in the oven in baking dishes, casserole dishes, pie pans, and on cookie pans. Make sure to cook the food all the way through without burning the outside. It helps to have an oven that is capable of a constant heat at all times.
Frying is on of the most popular methods of cooking. It is done on top of the stove in a skillet, sauté pan or a wok. using varying amounts of oil, fats or grease. The different types of frying include dry frying where no fats, grease or oils are heat used and the foods are cooked over a low heat until browned. Shallow fat frying is done with just enough fat, grease or oil to cover the pan tp prevent the food from sticking, It is usually used for eggs, pancakes and vegetables. Deep frying is the other method of frying. This method requires the food to be cooked in at least 2 inches of heated grease, oils or fats. It is used to fry chicken, potatoes and many other foods.
Cooking is fun when you use the proper method and the correct pot and/or pan. Enjoy creating tasty, healthy, properly prepared meals.
George Bloom learned his love of cooking from his mother and grandmother. Growing up watching them in the kitchen he learned that cooking is the joy of preparing food for those you love. This led to his involvement with pots and pans.
The vacations have set in and it’s time to treat the taste buds of your little ones with lip smacking cakes. So, let’s give you some handy tips and tools to make your cake making process smoother and easier.
1. Measuring Tools:
Taking the ingredients in the exact quantity is the first key to make a perfect cake. So, make sure you buy your Measuring cups and spoons from a reputed baking equipment manufacturer.
2. Silicone Spatula:
One of the most versatile cake making tools is silicone spatula. You will need it for folding the cake batter, for scrapping away the batter into the cake mould as well as for stirring. So, make sure you have quite a few of them in all sizes.
3. Bench Scrapper:
This versatile tool comes in handy for chopping dry fruits, cutting through the dough and scrapping away the dough remains neatly.
4. Cake moulds:
From cup cake moulds to heart shaped cake moulds to teddy bear shaped mould and the regular ones in square and rectangle types, you can win the heart of your loved ones and guests by baking cakes in different shapes. Keep a set of each to suit different occasions. You can even order chocolate moulds online!
5. Icing Spatulas:
Give icing on the cake a professional finish with icing spatulas. You can even use it to loosen up the cake after baking.
Whisking tools are essential for icing and whipping the cream. You can also use it for folding. Depending on the size of the pots, you may need a variety of whisks.
7. Mixing Bowls:
You will need few mixing bowls to for preparing the batter. Most recipes need to mix wet and dry ingredients separately before finally preparing the cake dough. So, mixing bowls are a must.
8. Parchment paper:
This is needed to line the pan and also from prevent the cake from sticking to the sides of the pan. Also, parchment paper makes the pan less messy and easier to clean.
9. Pastry Blender:
This tool is used to prepare the dough, distribute the butter evenly and even for slicing butter.
10. Pastry Brushes:
Give your baked food a smooth, glazed finish with pastry brushes. For best results, choose brushes with soft bristles. The silicone brushes offer the advantage of not holding on to the flavor or color like other brushes do.
11. Cookie cutters:
You may want to surprise your kids with cookies in different shapes. For that, you need to get cookie cutters. These come in variety of sizes and shapes.
12. Silicone Vacuum Lid:
Instead of wrapping the food, cakes etc with plastic, switch to silicone vacuum lids. Preserves food for longer and is safe too!
Baking is fun, especially when you have fantastic and ‘easy to manage’ bakeware in your kitchen. Yes! Most bakers will agree on this. If you are into baking, you know how a inapt bakeware molds can ruin your show at baking. However, bakers have better options in bakeware now. With Silicone molds and baking trays available online in wide range, baking has become more easy. Yes! Baking equipment manufacturers have identified the need for better baking tools and have rolled out high quality and absolute safe silicone baking accessories in the market. If you are still contemplating whether to opt for silicone baking tools online or not, we give you top 5 reasons in its favour which will help you make your decision.
Silicone baking accessories available online are non-stick. Which means no hassles of greasing your trays or molds before you put your cupcakes for baking. However, if you are using them for the first time and want to be at the safe harbor, you may use the lubricating spray on the tray. Buy these baking tools online from a reliable manufacturer and you will never have to worry about the quality issues.
2. No Burning or Dark Edges
Silicone bakeware distribute heat evenly across the tray or molds. So, chances of you getting burnt are close to minimal. Besides, the baking is even and you will find no burnt or dark edges on the bottom of the molds or tray. Most of baking accessories you can buy online as well.
3. Offers Flexibility
Silicone bakeware molds are pretty flexible which helps in removing your pancakes are cupcakes easily from them. All you need to do is twist them a bit or pull gently and your baked cakes sides will easily roll out. No worries about broken cakes anymore.
4. Absolutely safe
The best reason to buy silicone baking accessories is that they are absolutely safe. Whether you put them in the freezer or microwave, refrigerator or oven, or even the dishwasher, they can sustain diverse temperature and handling. Do you need more reasons to invest in them?
5. Low Maintenance
Silicone bakeware is easy to wash and store. And unlike your metal baking tools, these do not stain or rust and thus, last long. At the end of it, certainly a good investment in your baking accessories.
So, go on. Making baking as admirable as your cupcakes. Buy silicone baking equipment online and have a great time with them. Happy Baking!
Whether you are hosting a dinner party or a braai it’s customary to offer your guests a few snacks to enjoy before the main meal is ready. People love to eat, drink and be merry while they are enjoying the company of friends or family. Preparing a few bite sized snacks will make you the star of the party. Here are a few great bite size snack ideas.
• Crackers with Toppings
This is a very common type of bite size snack. You can prepare a platter with crackers and add a variety of toppings. This is where you can get creative. Besides the usual grated cheese choice, you could add cucumber and cheese or tuna mayo. Take a peak at what you have in the fridge or your pantry and get creative. Your guests will enjoy the variety of options.
• Mini Pastries
You can make miniature versions of your favourite pastries. Prepare pies in bite sized options. Use a muffin pan in which to make the pies. Line the muffin tray with the pastry and fill it with chicken, beef, or whichever ingredients you prefer. Then cover each pie with another layer of pastry. Once you’ve baked it, you’ll have wonderful muffin sized pastries. You can do the same with quiche.
• Mini Burgers
Whereas you would usually prepare regular sized burger buns, you can prepare golf ball sized burger buns instead. These will bake into lovely small burger buns. You can then fill the burger buns with minced meat to create cute mini burgers. This will certainly make your guests smile at the idea.
• Cheese Platter
A cheese platter is always enjoyed by guests. Prepare a platter with a variety of cheeses which include blue cheese, brie and camembert. Ensure that you place a cheese slicer alongside so that guests can easily slice a piece of cheese for themselves.
• Biltong Platter
This snack is a big favourite at braais. There are many varieties of flavours of biltong that you can choose from to create a delicious biltong platter. It would be a good idea to get a biltong slicer that suits your requirements. These are very handy pieces of catering equipment that could make your hosting task much easier. You can either choose a biltong slicer that cuts biltong into slices or chunks. Prepare a platter and place the different flavours of biltong on it. For a bit of a flavour twist you could add a dip as well.
CaterWeb stocks a full range of commercial kitchen products and we even offer free demonstrations as well as hands on training if necessary. Visit our website to access our online store or alternatively we welcome you to visit our new showroom.