March 2014

The Dynamic and Differences of Cabernet

A Cabernet wine is a great choice for a hearty winter meal or an outdoor barbecue event, and there are The Dynamics and Differences of Cabernet Wine that will be the deciding factor when ordering multiple bottles of this wine. This wine typically has a deeper red hue, and it is refreshing to have when consuming a steak or a meal with beef. This wine is produced in Europe, the United States and different areas of the world. This is a great drink to introduce to a husband who enjoys lounging on the patio during summer months consuming BBQ ribs. The characteristics of this wine are complex and full bodied. It is a renowned red wine that tastes delicious when served chilled. There is also a slightly sweet taste to this drink when it is consumed. The buyer will need to decide on the amount of wine that will be needed when planning a large gathering. The flavor will also vary depending on the region where the grapes where grown and harvested. The winery can give the finished product a fruity taste, or it can be infused with peppery accents. The top note is usually the fruity flavor, and the bottom note may include vanilla, peppers or other flavors.

The blending of these different aromas makes the Cabernet wine the best choice when serving chilli, beef and other meat favorites. The dark flavoring of this wine makes it a favorite for both men and women. Many foods that are high in fat, such as burgers, should be consumed with this type of wine. Bottle of red wine can be ordered well in advance of an event, and they are best stored in a cool slightly dark area. During the day of the event, they can be pulled out and chilled to get the right taste prior to being served to guest. Some people love the flavor of these wines, because they may also have a tobacco taste under the fruit flavor. The winery decides what flavor notes to add to each batch of wine during production. A customer should order several cases of a wine that they like when it is released to store for further consumption. This is a great wine to drink on a cool summer evening as the grill produces mouth-watering burgers and steaks. The flavors in this wine are diverse enough that it will also taste great when served with traditional chicken dinners.

A new buyer can expect to find different flavors in each bottle, which can range from black cherry to licorice. This wine is a great choice, because there are also many affordable options for all budgets. This will make it easy for the party host to order large quantities at a reasonable cost. This is also a great wine to finish an evening of wine tasting, because it can be served with a rich dessert, such as a chocolate mousse. A great bottle can also be used to create the finishing desert recipe. There are many dishes that call for the addition of wine. It can boost the flavor of the meal by being added into the food during the cooking process. Grapes that are used to create a Cabernet wine can grow in dry climates. The finished product may also be created with a blend of different grapes depending on the final results that is being sought after by the winery. The many different flavors that are added ensure that drinkers will always have a wide selection to pick from when ordering this quality wine. The final test is the experience of enjoying this great wine with a tasty meal.

Some blended cabernet wines, such as Call Me a Cab from Miles Wine Cellars, has a unique taste on its own. It’s body has a tasty balance that can be paired well with a wide array of foods. It’s only limited to your imagination.

by Don Stevens

Get Clear Information About Kid’s Favorite Snack

Muffins – A Snack

One such snack is the muffins which is a quick bread product. It can be sweet or savory. It is similar to the American cupcakes both in size and method of cooking.

Muffins are taken for breakfast while other baked products like cake are eaten as dessert. Muffins are now made with different flavors such as apple muffins, chocolate muffins etc.

There are American muffins and English muffins. American muffins are leavened with baking powder of baking soda and are small in size. The English muffins require yeast but the texture is very soft.

What are muffin pans?

To make a muffin one would first require a muffin pan which has specially designed cups to hold the muffin batter. Mostly the muffin pan contains 6- 12 cups and are 2 ½ inches in diameter. Giant muffin pans and miniature muffin pans are also available in the market. The muffin pans are mostly made of aluminum.

How to make and bake muffins?

The main ingredients to make muffins are oil, egg, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. The dry ingredients are mixed together and egg is beaten uniformly with oil and milk and is added to the dry ingredient. Then the batter is added to the greased muffin cups and baked.

Paper liners are used for easy clean up of muffin cups.

There are tips to bake muffins in which is very helpful for a beginner. One could also understand the difference between cupcakes and muffins and the various types of muffins from this website.

One could do many variations with the recipe according to their taste. The flavors could be changed and you can add toppings to get a colorful and crunchy bite.

Chocolate muffins are a favorite among kids. A writer on her explains how her chocolate muffins got sold even before the kids knew what it was. Chocolate in any form plays wonders with kids. It could solve their fight; keep them high on their spirits.

Ingredients for making chocolate muffins

11/2 cup all purpose flour

½ cup sweetened cocoa powder

½ cup granulated white sugar

11/2 cup baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 large egg beaten (can be made with egg too)


Preheat the oven to 400 deg F

Grease 12 regular cups of muffin pan

In a bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt

In another bowl beat the egg, milk, oil and then add the dry ingredients and stir till it mixes properly (don’t over stir)

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full

Bake to 20 mins or until a tooth pick inserted into comes out clean

Muffins are becoming popular because it is very easy to bake a muffin and it could be had with breakfast, lunch or dinner. Kids will enjoy it as a tea time snack too.

The best part is kids will finish it if given in their Tiffin box and it is easy for the mummy to pack it for school.

Featured images:

Chocolate muffins are made in different style and can be made eggless too for non egg eaters. Author V K Rajagopalan gives a simple idea on making and baking a chocolate muffin.

Getting Foods to Stick!

I don’t know about you, but my house has some picky eaters. A lot of the time dinner turns into meatloaf, chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, or any other type of food you can douse in ketchup. Plus I’m always stretched for time, and there are a lot of nights when the kids have to eat food on the go because they have after school activities.

One night I was driving my kids to one of their various activities and I hate to admit it but they were eating frozen corn dogs I pulled out of the freezer.  I thought to myself, there has to be a way to get them to eat better but still eat food they would like. After all, I had given them corn dogs that night because they like them and I don’t have to worry about the kids making a mess in the back seat. I mean, it’s on a stick! So that’s when I decided that I could give the kids full meals – and on a stick!

Vegetable/Side Ideas

Luckily I have my kids convinced that peppers and onions are delicious, so on a stick they shall be! We just need to work on some other vegetables too. I dress these sticks up with different sauces as well, like Dijon. I’ve also been tricking them into eating celery and carrots but skewering them and then sprinkling small amounts of buffalo sauce and blue cheese. I think these caprese skewers sound absolutely delightful! I have my kids convinced on the tomatoes and the basil, I’m just a bit worried about it being a little bit outside their picky zones. We might try it this week!

Main Meal

I thought this would also be a good way to open up their horizons and try something new, but at the same time, I didn’t want to shock their taste buds all at once. Most of my main course ideas still involve chicken, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a little healthier. If I’m skewering chicken for the family, I’ll try to add some different sauces. So far Greek dressing, honey mustard, and pesto seem to be going well. I’ve also tried making beef teriyaki and roasted pork, which have all seemed to go over well. I also really want to try these spicy Moroccan chicken skewers, but I feel like that’s for when my kids reach the expert level, and right now we’re still beginners.


And of course I have to do some dessert for my kids. They both have quite the sweet tooth! For a healthy recipe, I have been layering strawberries, oranges, bananas, melon, and blueberries on sticks. They love the fruits and it’s very colorful!

But sometimes you want something chocolate-y for dessert, and I’ve found that cake pops are a HUGE crowd pleaser.  My cousin Shannon used to send us cake pops from Shari’s Berries.  The kids would tear open the box and devour them.  So I will have to practice making these when they are asleep and hide them so I can enjoy them myself.

Remember! Have some fun with it! March 28th is “Something on a Stick” Day so what better time to play around with food on a stick than in the month of March?!


Secrets of Cooking Shrimp For the Best Results

Shrimps are quick and easy to prepare and an affordable choice of seafood compared to other gourmet items like crab or lobster but can taste just as amazing when cooked perfectly. The quickest and simplest way how to cook shrimp is to fill a large saucepan with lightly salted water and bring it to a boil. Add the shrimps to the boiling water and cook for one to three minutes depending on the size, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque. Drain the cooked shrimp immediately and rinse in a colander under cold running water to stop cooking. You can now peel the shrimps and enjoy as easy appetizers or cocktail. You can also add the cooked and peeled shrimps to salads, soups, pasta, noodles, pizza, rice toppings, toast, wraps, or sandwiches.


Fresh shrimps are deliciously sweet even with little or no seasoning but you can also prepare them in various ways. Some of the most common ways of how to cook shrimp include grilling, sautéing, frying, broiling, steaming, and poaching. Butter and garlic are a classic combination for sautéing shrimps. Serve shrimps sautéed in butter or garlic on top of toast for quick and easy appetizers or toss with pasta and you have a light and unforgettable meal. You can also season the shrimps with lemon juice, white wine, and fresh herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, or coriander.

South American-style

Different cultures have their own ways of preparing and serving shrimps. Shrimps tacos are very quick to make and can also be healthy. Instead of using ground meat, use shrimps along with shredded lettuce, tomato salsa, onions, cilantro, avocado or mango and shredded cheese as filling for tortillas. A popular South American dish, ceviche, can be made with fresh shrimps seasoned with lemon juice, salt, dried or fresh chili peppers and garnished with onions, bell peppers, cilantro, parsley, and cherry tomatoes.


Grilled shrimp is a popular backyard party food and takes only a few minutes to cook. You can thread the deveined shrimps onto skewers to make shrimp kabobs and grill over medium coals until pink and opaque. Grilled shrimps are perfect served with pilaf or couscous. You can also serve them with grilled pita bread together with mango salsa.


Stir-fry shrimps with vegetables like bok choy, asparagus, or snap peas and season with orange or lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, and chili-garlic to make a quick and delicious Chinese meal. Serve on top of noodles or rice.


Classic Southern fried shrimps are made with a batter mixture of flour, egg, cream, and cornmeal. Cover the peeled and deveined shrimps in the batter and deep-fry. For a Cajun flavor, cook the shrimps in stewed tomatoes, peppers, garlic, wine, Tabasco sauce, and other spices. Make shrimp jambalaya with rice, tomatoes, garlic, ham, chopper vegetables, shrimps, and southern seasonings. Shrimp Creole is made with celery, onions and tomatoes and served with hot cooked rice. The popular southern staple shrimps and grits is made with stone ground grits and fresh shrimps. It can be topped with bits of bacon and cheese or other flavorful garnish like parsley and green onions.

How a cooking vacation in Tuscany re-kindled a passion for cheese

How often do you hear a writer bemoaning our processed, plastic diets? How far have we strayed from simple ingredients which now appear distant, rare and expensive like jewels. We once cast them aside in search of convenience. Now we are beginning to value nature’s true worth.

Why am I waxing lyrical in this way? I have just returned from a cooking holiday in Tuscany that began as one thing but has actually had a profound transformative effect on me. I booked it for a laugh. I fancied learning a little more about Italian food with a couple of girlfriends and Tuscany seemed a great choice of destination.

I didn’t bargain for having a road to Damascus moment in southern Italy, that’s for sure. We were sitting around in the cooking holiday villa during an al fresco lunch, eating our homemade ravioli we had just produced. The conversation, perhaps unsurprisingly turned to the Italian passion for cheese. One of the chefs suggested we visited one of his family members who makes organic Pecorino cheese. To be honest I was interested but not gripped but went along with the idea.

Watching the flock of sheep wandering in from the Spring countryside across the Tuscan terrain was one thing. Being seduced by the rhythmic milking of contented ewes was quite another. This is not a tale of romance and the impracticalities of cheese making in Surbiton. May I hasten to add, his is not a cri de Coeur. I am not bemoaning the fact we have largely forgotten the simplicity of using fresh produce to make unadulterated and extremely fine cheese on a day-to-day basis. It’s just a polemic for how we must appreciate the simple ingredients in life.

The farm we visited actually uses large cavernous vats and enormous whisks which rush through the milky white curds. They direct whey into another vat where ricotta is made. This is semi-industrialised production. Yet it is evident cheese making is a labour of love and part of an historic tradition that has never been lost; although it did come close in the 1960s.

Natural cheese making is really a miracle. The moisture is expelled by the cheese itself and forms a mould on the top that is scraped away. It’s not something you can hurry or transform; it is what it is and there’s an end to it.

Gone are the days where mani calde or warm hands, were necessary. Still, cheese making requires experience, knowledge and understanding. Things I began to acknowledge would make a difference to my own relationship with food. Certainly I never expected a simple cooking holiday to have such a philosophical impact on me.

I realised many Italians in the country still keep sheep and goats and make their own soft, ricotta style cheese every day which they serve in the afternoon with quince preserve, walnuts or just with fresh rustic bread. Too often we are looking for the latest trends, something different, something exotic. I believe quite strongly that sometimes we should just seek out the best, freshest and simplest ingredients.

Pecorino is aged in cellars and the cool, slightly sweet musty air signals all is ripening well. Balze Volterrane cheese has its rind rubbed with oak ash and olive oil. It has a reminder of the artichoke seeds that are used in the wild artichoke rennet which is used traditionally all over the Mediterranean.

The cheese I ate in Spring in southern Tuscany was something more than product. It spoke of the people, of the terrain of the knowledge and passion of this region. If you import and pasteurize milk you make a bland cheese if you allow the cheese to live and breath you have something very different.

I guess it’s not just the cheese that needs to feel like this. It’s strange what a cooking holiday in Tuscany can unleash. Don’t be shy why not book one and see just what you might discover about yourself and things you may well have taken for granted.


Flavours Holidays is a passionate, specialist tour operator offering quality cooking holidays in handpicked Italian locations.

Time To Pull Out That Grill: 6 Tip To Get All Your Neighbors Knocking Down Your Door

Are you planning ahead for summer grilling season? Do you want to ensure that all your neighbors feel free to drop in without an invitation? Try these six tips to bring all your neighbors to your next barbecue.

Meet and Greet

Making a connection with a neighbor can be as simple as a short conversation while you’re out with the stroller or walking the dog, or taking a meal to a new neighbor. Ideal summer covered dish meals included grilled vegetable kebabs, burgers and hot dogs. Don’t forget tasty homemade vegetable dips or salsa.

Keep Your Yard Attractive

Mow your yard regularly, sweep your sidewalk and keep outside decorations seasonal but subdued. Make it a daily chore for the kids to pick up their outdoor toys. Grill out regularly with your family. This gives you practice in trying different dishes and tells your neighbors that you enjoy entertaining and eating outside.

Get the Bugs Out of Your Yard

Bug zappers aren’t attractive when you’re trying to eat. But there are a lot of different, subtle ways to discourage mosquitoes in your yard or around your patio. Flies and mosquitoes can easily be deterred by the scent of rosemary, peppermint, basil and thyme. Simple solution, plant a herb garden around your eating area outside. And think of all the benefits, no pesky bugs, a natural solution, looks beautiful, and you will have fresh herbs to incorporate in your cooking adventures. Just be sure to leave some on the plants for the bugs.

Light Up the Night

Outside lighting doesn’t have to be expensive or even professionally installed. You can buy solar lights from your local farm supply or lawn and garden store. Use solar lights to light your walkways and mark the perimeter of your patio or the stairs up to your deck.

Anticipate Different Dietary Needs

When you’re throwing an open outdoor barbecue, it’s entirely possible that potential guests may be diabetic, vegetarian, on a gluten-free diet or on the wagon. Provide at least one dish to meet every need and be sure to have non-alcoholic beer and sparkling grape juice on hand. Don’t be afraid to grill traditional meat entrees and provide beer and wine as well. There are so many different options and different recipes you can test out. You can even save money by buying meat online in bulk and in different cuts. Then you will have it on hand for an impromptu get together. You can easily satisfy all your guests with just a few dishes.

Dropping in and Saying Goodbye

Your guests shouldn’t feel any pressure about dealing with their dirty dishes before they leave. Put out two or three garbage cans with bags so that guests can easily clean up after themselves. That way your guests don’t feel obliged to load your dishwasher and you have less to do after the party.

When your neighbors know that your summer barbecues are casual and easy-going, you won’t have to invite them. They’ll show up as soon as you put the meat and veggies on your grill.