Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Natural blue dye.

Do you know that blue colored kuih – Pulut tekan and also know as Pulut tai tai. My children love to eat this blueish coloured kuih.  Bunga telang are used as natural food dye and the blue color looks really lovely in this kuih. It also a common natural dye for making nonya chan, pulut inti and nasi kerabu.
Pulut tekan is just a plain glutinous rice cake. It is served with kaya. The glutinous rice cakes are coloured with bunga telang. Half-cooked glutinous rice is divided into two portions. Both are them added with coconut milk but one of them is added with the bunga telang juice. This gives the rice cake a very bright blueish-indigo colour which is appealing to children. The half-cooked glutinous rice is then scooped in alternating fashion into the original tray to give it a marble effect of blue and white. The rice is then cooked some more and when it is cooked and cooled, it is cut into tall rectangles.

Types of Pasta Sauces

I always enjoy prepare pasta for my family. Pasta can serve with a variety of different sauces. The taste of pasta often determine by quality or types of sauces you served. When selecting a sauce, consider the shape and size of the pasta noodle, since some sauces are best suited for specific types of pasta. Pasta is the generic Italian name for many noodle-like pastes or dough’s that are made in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. There are far too many different kinds than can be counted.  The two main types are fresh pasta, or pasta fresca, and dried pasta, or pasta secca. The main secret ingredients for sauces are fresh culinary herbs. Never substitute with dried herbs unless you couldn’t find it. Fresh ingredients make lots of different in your preparations. Basically there are four types flavored and textured based sauces – Cream-based, Tomato-based, Wine-bases and a traditional No-cook pasta sauce pesto.

Cream-based sauces are the richest types of pasta sauces because they usually contain heavy cream, along with butter, cheese or both. One basic cream-based pasta sauce is Alfredo, a mixture of heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and butter. Alfredo pasta dishes may be topped with vegetables, chicken or shrimp. Thicker noodles like penne or fettuccine can hold onto Alfredo sauces most successfully.
Carbonara, another cream-based sauce is similar to Alfredo sauce, but it also incorporates beaten eggs. This sauce is typically paired with spaghetti and topped with bacon or pancetta.

Tomatoes are the key ingredient in many pasta sauces and are a staple ingredient in Italian cuisine because they can be paired with most types of pasta. A traditional tomato-based pasta sauce is known as marinara sauce. Crushed or diced tomatoes are combined with chopped garlic, onions, peppers or other ingredients and simmered until they reach a saucy consistency. Add crushed red pepper flakes or chopped chili peppers to make Arrabbiata, a spicy version of the sauce. Mix in chunks of cooked meat for a Bolognese sauce. A splash of heavy cream and vodka turns a marinara sauce into vodka sauce. 

Wine as the base for a pasta sauce can add a sweet yet light undertone to the dish. The wine in pasta sauces is typically combined with another liquid ingredient to balance out the flavor and texture of the dish. A common wine-based pasta sauce uses Marsala, a fortified sweet Spanish wine, combined with richer ingredients like heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Another common wine-based pasta sauce uses Madeira, a South American dessert wine, along with broth to mellow out the flavor and add a savory taste. Thinner pastas complement wine-based pasta sauces, which have a lighter texture than other sauce types. 

Some pasta sauces don't require cooking because the heat from the freshly boiled pasta is enough to soften the ingredients and enhance their flavors. One traditional pasta sauce that does not need to be cooked is pesto, a blended mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic Parmesan cheese and olive oil. You can vary pestos by substituting almonds or other nuts for the pine nuts or adding other ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes.

Add a mixture of chopped fresh tomatoes, black olives and capers to the pasta and its heat will help the ingredients release their natural juices and form a light sauce.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Love cheesecakes?

I'm just someone who loves cheesecake. Cheesecakes can be categorized into two types - baked and unbaked. Most of the people prefer to eat only baked cheesecake; however, chilled cheesecake is delicious as the baked types. Just thinking about cheesecake sets my mouth to watering for a big piece of chilled Lemony Cheesecake. The Lemony Cheesecake is a melt-in-your mouth with a touch of lemon and crunchy crust base. You should try this delicious unbaked cheesecake for your next family gathering, birthday party or afternoon tea. It is definitely satisfying for all cheesecake lovers.
 - Cakes Lover

Sweet Basil - Growing Culinary Herbs in Pots

Here is a picture of one of my basil plants. I grew this from the stems. Sweet Basil is one of my favorite culinary herbs which I love to use for bolognaise sauce. This picture was taken from my backyard herbs garden. When you use up the leaves for cooking don’t throw the trimmed stems. Save it and grow the herbs, you are most likely to use in your cooking. It does grow fairly easily in pots.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is an attractive evergreen shrub with pine needle-like leaves. It's trusses of blue flowers last through the year in a warm, humid environment. It will grow to a height of between 3 and 5 feet.

The fundamentals for successfully growing rosemary are well-drained soil, and allow the plant lots of sun. You can grow rosemary in the ground year round. Provide a sandy, well draining soil and 6-8 hours of full sunlight. It's easier to grow your rosemary in a pot all year. Since rosemary likes it on the dry side, terracotta pots are an especially good choice. You can grow Rosemary from cuttings of the twisted wood of non-flowering branches, or layer established branches. Rosemary can also be grown from seed. In a warm climate it can remain in the same location for up to 30 years.
Culinary Uses
Rosemary has one of those distinctive, strong flavours that convince the palate that herbs aren't just delicate things reserved for dainty soups and sprinkling on baby vegetables. It takes hold of the taste buds with a woodsy flavour, somewhat piny, mint like yet sweeter, with a slight ginger finish. It can also be used as a subtle accent, using just a hint of the flavour lightening the mood of an otherwise mundane sauce or pastry. Its flavour harmonizes with those of poultry, fish, lamb, beef, and pork particularly in their roasted forms. Rosemary enhances tomatoes spinach, peas, mushrooms, squash, cheese, eggs, lentils, and complements the herbs chives, thyme, chervil, parsley, and bay in recipes. Soups like potato and eggplant benefit from rosemary's robust character, as do marinades, salad dressings, bouquet garnish, and cream —sauces. You can use both the flowers and leaves for garnishing and cooking. Crush or mince the spiky leaves before sprinkling over or rubbing into foods.

Rosemary for Remembrance 
Scientists say that the scent of rosemary is an effective memory stimulant. This might make a nice potted plant for your desk at work, or where the kids do their homework!