Thursday, May 31, 2007


While Cream cheese is used to make a cheesecake and mascarpone a Tiramisu, cheeses are widely used today to cook up exotic dishes. Read on to know more...

This is your typical Swiss cheese with large holes that was made famous by Jerry of Tom & Jerry fame! Emmental tastes great when used in sandwiches. Since the cheese cooks well you can use it while gratinating a baked dish or to produce a lovely golden crust on top of some delicious oven roasted potatoes! Emmental is mainly used, together with some Gruyere cheese and white wine, to make authentic Swiss Fondue.
An original blue cheese, Gorgonzola is best eaten raw to enjoy all the nuances of flavour that a blue veined cheese provides. It is usually kept wrapped in foil to keep it moist. You can enjoy Gorgonzola plain with some crackers or tossed into a salad or dip. However, first timers beware-this cheese has a distinct sharp aroma that may shock you senseless!
This sweet and fruity flavoured cheese is produced in the Dutch town of Gouda, just outside Rotterdam. Mature Gouda (18 months plus) is coated in black wax, which provides a stark contrast to the deep yellow interior. You can use the world renowned Gouda as a table cheese to be served along with crackers or in a salad. You can also serve Gouda as a dessert cheese along with some fresh fruits and dessert wine.
Ricotta is a very useful Italian cheese made from the whey left over while making cheeses such as mozzarella or provolone. Not unlike mascarpone in northern-Italian cuisine, ricotta is a favorite component of many Italian desserts, such as cheesecakes and cannolis. It is often beaten smooth and mixed with condiments, such as sugar, cinnamon and occasionally chocolate shavings, and served as a dessert in Italian households and dining establishments. You can use ricotta in dishes other than desserts, such as the very popular lasagna.
This famous English cheese is produced in two varieties: the well-known blue and the lesser-known white. Blue Stilton is often eaten with celery. It is also commonly added as flavouring in vegetable soup, most notably cream of celery or broccoli. Alternatively it is eaten with various crackers, biscuits and bread. Traditionally, port wine is drunk with Blue Stilton. White Stilton has not had mould introduced into it which would otherwise lead to the blue veining normally associated with Stilton. It is often blended with other materials, such as chocolate or dried fruit, or served with fruit cake.
Mascarpone is the original “Tiramisu” cheese. It is combined with espresso coffee, eggs, sugar, cocoa, and rum to form this wonderful dessert. When fresh, it smells like milk and cream, and is often used instead of butter to thicken and enrich risotto, a delicious and creamy Italian preparation made with short grain rice. Mascarpone is also used to make lasagna. It is readily available at most large provision stores.
Parmesan is a very hard cheese that is widely used in Italian cooking. It is beset when grated and can be sprinkled over anything from pizzas to pastas. You can also stir Parmesan into your soup or risotto or eat it in chunks with balsamic vinegar. Various versions of Parmesan are available in the market. It is produced in large circular slabs and sold in slices. Some international brands sell grated Parmesan in bottles.
Cheddar is one of the most delicious and widely available cheeses in the world. It can be used for everything from cooking and gratinating to being served as a table cheese with some crackers and wine. Cheddar is a good choice for beginners who want to experiment with cheese as an after dinner course.
Feta cheese looks similar to cottage cheese when it is fresh and steeped in brine solution. Once removed it starts to dry rapidly. It is used as a table cheese with wine and crackers, in salads and while baking. The popular Greek dishes Spinach Pie and Cheese pie are made with feta cheese. It also forms an important ingredient of the popular Greek salad. At home you can also use it for grilled sandwiches or as a substitute to other salty cheeses in various dishes.

Sourced from Cooking & more magazine - May-June Issue

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Monday, May 28, 2007


A Smoothie is a blend of fruit, fruit juice and ice. But you can also add sorbet, ice cream, yogurt, soy milk, protein powder and even ground Flaxseed for flaour and extra nutrition. If you are in charge of what goes into the lender, you can make your smoothie into a meal that’s packed with proteins, fiber, energizing carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help stave off age related diseases.Here’s a guide to smoothie- making basics: Start with a lender with a tight fitting lid. Cut all ingredients small so that they blend completely. Put ½ cup crushed or cubed ice in the blender, then add the following:FRUIT (select two or three) : ½ cup berries (strawberries, blueberries or black berries- fresh or frozen); medium orange; 1 medium kiwi; ½ banana; ½ cup pineapple; ½ cup cubed papaya or mango.JUICE (select one or more; use half cup total): carrot, cranberry, grape, grape fruit, guava, kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, prune or tomato; 3/4th cup plain yogurt( non fat or low fat); 3/4th cup milk or soy milk; 1 scoop isolated soy protein or whey protein powder.FROZEN TREATS (optional for taste) : Fruit sorbet; frozen yogurt; ice cream ( low fat or regular)EXTRAS (To add nutritional boost and/or flavour; select one or two):2 tbsps ground nuts (good source of vita E); 2 Tbsps Flaxseed meal ( good source of omega-3 fats); 1 Tbsp cocoa powder; 1 Tbsp honey; 1/4th tsp vanilla extract; 2 Tbsp wheat germ or oat Bran( this thickens your smoothie, so you may need to add more lquid). Put all moist ingredients (fruit, yogurt etc) in the blender and spin on high for about 30 seconds.Kick the speed to low and blend for a few seconds longer. If you are including dry ingredients like protein powder or cocoa, add them now on low, to help keep them from sticking to the sides.Stop the blender ad jiggle it to get an idea of the consistency, if you need more liquid, add it and blend for another 15 seconds.

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