How to Cut an Avocado

For a country bumpkin from the Midwest, the avocado seemed like an alien species. I found myself considering mankind’s first encounter with this bumpy green fruit and wondering whatever possessed them to think of it as food.

My first culinary encounter with the avocado came while standing in line at a “health food” deli and sandwich bar watching lunch being prepared. With flourish and flair, the cafe owner sliced an avocado, removed it from its rind and splayed it across my liverwurst and bean sprout sandwich. What finesse! Such embellishment of skill and beauty. It was a shame to close the sandwich!

After many years of intent observation and practice in my own kitchen, I feel prepared to share the secrets of avocado preparation.

CHOOSE AN AVOCADO that is not mushy or easy to dent under the press of your finger. It should be soft, yes, but close to firm.

GRIP THE AVOCADO gently on one side with one hand.

CUT THE AVOCADO lengthwise, using a sharp knife (larger than a paring knife but no bigger than a steak knife). The knife should make contact with the pit or seed but not pierce it.

TWIST THE AVOCADO SLIGHTLY to separate the halves and expose the pit.

REMOVE THE PIT. This can be done in a variety of ways but I prefer using a teaspoon to scoop out the pit. Other popular ways include piercing the pit with the blade of a sharp knife and “rocking” it out. Inevitably, I slice my hand.

SLICE THE AVOCADO “MEAT” without removing the skin. For the sandwich with an avocado “fan”, run the knifepoint vertically through the meat, creating thin slices of equal thickness. Use a rather large spoon to scoop out the slices. Place on the open face of a sandwich and splay into a fan shape.

CHOPPED AVOCADO is a delectable addition to any green salad. Simply follow the same instructions as above, making thicker slices vertically. Then repeat horizontally and remove the chunks with a large spoon.

Avocados are higher in potassium than a medium banana. Avocados are a good source of vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate and copper. Avocados have a high fat content of up to 88% of their total calories. One cup of avocado slices contain about 235 calories.

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Homemade Cookies that Make Great Christmas Gifts

Bake up some fun with one of these three delectable homemade cookies that make great Christmas gifts: Magical stained glass cookies, yummy White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut cookies or sassy Gingerbread Men. All three have a good shelf life and hold up well when packaged and shipped.


Stained glass cookies are easy to make but look like works of art. As the Life Savers melt and then harden again, they truly do look like stained glass.

Sugar cookie dough

Life Savers

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

*Place each color Life Saver in a Ziploc bag and crush. Set aside.

*Roll cookie dough to 1/4-inch thickness on lightly floured surface.

*Cut with cookie cutters. Cut inside this with a smaller cookie cutter, leaving an outline.

*Gently place this outline on the foil lined cookie sheet.

*Spoon the crushed Life Savers into the center of the cookie.

*Bake for about six minutes. Cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.


Who can resist the decadent taste of white chocolate melting in your mouth and the exotic crunch of macadamia nuts grown only in Hawaii? A crowd pleaser for sure!

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup butter (room temperature)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 egg (beaten)

2 1/4 cup flour (all-purpose)

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 bars white baking chocolate (chopped)

1 cup macadamia nuts (chopped)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Cream sugar, butter, vanilla and egg in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

*Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix well.

*Fold in white chocolate and nuts.

*Drop rounded tablespoonfuls, two inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

*Bake for ten to twelve minutes

*Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing from cookie sheet.


Decorate these gingerbread men cookies with royal icing and wrap in saran wrap before placing in a gift bag or box. These can also be hung on a tree (make a hole for hanger before baking), placed in a stocking or added as a gift’s decoration.

3 cups flour

2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 sticks butter-room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar-packed

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

*Sift first six ingredients several times into a large mixing bowl.

*Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

*Add the molasses and egg to sugar mixture and beat well.

*Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

*Cover dough and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface.

*Cut cookies with a cookie cutter and place one-inch apart on ungreased sheet.

*Bake for about 8 minutes until edges begin to brown.

*Cool several minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

*Decorate with icing of your choice.

Children of all ages will love these delightful homemade cookies that are easy to make. Bake up some love in your kitchen this Christmas with homemade cookies that make great Christmas gifts.

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Fruit Yogurt Yogurt with Fruit Prune Layer Yogurt Plum Danone Danon Yogurt

I really love Danone products and one of my favourite yogurts is the Fruit Layer Prune. It comes in a pack of four. The pots contain 125 g yogurt and fruit. They are available for 1.65 pounds in Sainsbury’s. At the moment they are on offer so you can buy two packs for 3 pounds. You can find it in most of the supermarkets for about this price.

The Activia yogurt contains the Bifidus Actiregularis yogurt culture which helps to reduce the digestive discomfort. The prune layer is on the bottom of the pot and there is a non flavoured yogurt layer on the top of it. I tried the yogurt before I mixed them and I found it sour so I mixed it quickly. It became sweet and fruity. The prune layer contains fruit pieces in it and its texture is similar to jams. After mixing the two layers the yogurt became pale purple coloured. It has nice fruity scent and flavour.

For me Danone yogurts are treats. I really love their creamy texture and the sweetness of fruits. They contain added sugar as well but the energy content of them is lower than the energy content of chocolates and cakes. I think they are even healthier.

The ingredients of the yogurt are as follows: Yogurt with Bifidus ActiRegularis® (Whole Milk, Skimmed Milk Concentrate / Powder, Cream, Yogurt Cultures), Prune (9.4%), Sugar (5%), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Stabilisers (Modified Maize Starch, Pectin), Flavouring, Acidity Regulators (Citric Acid, Calcium Phosphate).

The nutritional values per pot are as follows:

Energy: 113 kcal

Protein: 4.1 g

Carbohydrate: 16.3 g

of which sugars: 16.1 g

Fat: 3.5 g

of which saturates: 2.3 g

Fibre: 0.3 g

Sodium: 0.06 g

To sum up Danone Activia Fruit Layer Prune is a layered yogurt which contains a thin layer of prune jam on the bottom of the pot and a thick layer of unflavoured yogurt on the top. After you mix them you will get a yogurt with fruit pieces in it. The colour of the mix becomes pale purple. It has lovely prune scent and taste. Its sweetness is about right. As the Danone Activia yogurts usually contain the special Bifidus Acturegularis bacteria this yogurt contains it too. This helps your digestion. I think this yogurt is even more effective because prune strengthens the yogurt’s effect on our digestion. Prune contains loads of fibre which makes the yogurt even healthier. The creamy texture makes it moreish…

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Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Whether they love gourmet brews or a double-double from the local coffee shop, there are a number of gift ideas available for the coffee lover on your gift list.

A Keurig Personal Brewer is an ideal gift for the solo coffee aficionado. Available on a number of websites, including QVC, Kohl’s, and Green Mountain Coffee, these smaller models of the original single-cup coffee brewers retail for around $100. If your gift recipient already has a Keurig, check out Green Mountain Coffee for a huge variety of coffees, teas, and cocoas in the $15 range for 24 “k-cups.” QVC also has a variety of “k-cup” collections available; their packages are larger (96 to 108 pieces), but at $60 to $65 per box, the value is worth it.

If there’s a man in your life who loves coffee, check out the Coffee Beanery website ( Their Ultimate Coffee Basket for Him ($45.99) includes two 16 ounce packages of Breakfast Blend and French Roast Coffees, sampler packages of six flavors of brew, a 16 ounce travel mug, three golf balls, and two golf tees. On the other end of the spectrum, the Just for Girls Coffee Basket ($32.99) features a Sweetheart travel mug and one pound of French Vanilla coffee, plus a sample of Chocolate Raspberry coffee and a package of Vanilla Coffee Sprinkles.

For a gift that keeps giving all year, check out the selection of “coffee clubs” at Coffee Tea & Spice ( The 12 Month Sampler ($54.75) features a different four ounce coffee sample each month, in whole bean or ground choices. The first shipment includes a grinder brush (whole bean) or a measure scoop (ground), as well as a coffee grinder cleaner packet. The selection is also available in a one pound per month package at $163.50.

For fans of coffee shop coffee, the Starbucks Store website ( features two pound packages of some of their top brews, including Caffe Verona, French Roast, and Pike Place Roast, for $24.95. For super-fans, Starbucks also sells their “gear,” with a variety of t-shirt styles ($16.95) and a golf ball and visor set ($26.95).

For the coffee lover who enjoys the kitchen, look for a coffee cookbook. “The Best of Coffee: A Cookbook” by Sandra Gluck features more than 40 recipes using coffee as a flavor-enhancing ingredient, including cookies, pies, scones, and candies. The 96-page book is also loaded with beautiful food photos.

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Easy Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls are fun side dish to add to a traditional Asian homemade meal. The problem that many people have is that they require too many steps and too much time. With a few time saving tchniques, making egg rolls will become less of a chore and more enjoyable.

There are three areas that make egg rolls difficult:

1)The filling 2)The rolling 3)The frying

The key to easy egg rolls is to reduce the difficulty on each of these three levels.


It is important to take advantage of pre-cut and pre-cooked items to make the filling a little easier

Vegetables: 1 bag of coleslaw mix and 1/2 cup of chopped onion.

Meat: Use 1 cup of pre-cooked shrimp, deli ham or chicken, or a can of chicken.

Sauce: 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Put all ingredients in a fry pan together with a little oil. Stirfry until the cabbage begins to reduce and the filling comes together.


The next problem with making easy eggrolls is in the rolling process. One of the key mistakes is to put too much filling in the egg roll. This leads to problems with rolling as well as frying. Keep it to a couple tablespoons.

Place the filling across the middle of the egg roll wrapper at a diagonal with at least one half inch from the edges. Then roll once to cover filling, then tuck the two side edges in and continue to roll. Have small dish of water available with a pastry brush. Give the last corner a quick brush with the water and seal.

Place on a pan lined with parchment and chill before frying. Do not stack them on top of each other.


The last part of making egg rolls that keeps people from making them is the mess of frying the egg rolls.

It is best to purchase a deep fryer with a basket. This will keep most of the frying mess inside the fryer and off of the stove or counter. They will then fry evenly and not have to be turned. Do not put too many in the fryer at the same time.

Following these few tips makes egg rolls an easy and tasty proposition for any Asian oriented meal.

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Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is one of the most succulent dishes you can make. If you can produce this dish, with a crispy English muffin, tasty Canadian bacon, a perfectly poached egg and delectable Hollandaise; you can sit back, watch your family and guests luxuriate in this luscious meal while enjoying compliments on your culinary expertise.

This dish has several component parts, two of which are somewhat tricky, the poached egg and the Hollandaise. It is also necessary to time the cooking so the various parts come together properly for serving.

To this end, instructions will be given for poaching eggs and making Hollandaise, as well as a time-line so the dish can be presented with all of its component parts done properly.

Poached Eggs

Poached eggs should be cooked in a pan with higher sides or a pot filled with at least four inches of simmering, not boiling water. Watch the heat carefully. The eggs must be covered but not stick to the bottom. Add a teaspoon or two of white vinegar to the water. The vinegar helps draw the protein in the egg white together quickly, faster than the heat of the water, so the egg can cook in a more compact unit. The vinegar does not give the eggs a vinegary taste and helps prevent the stringy mess that can result if not used.

Break each egg into a small dish and slip into the water. A poached egg should have a fully cooked white and a runny yolk. This takes about three minutes. If unsure of doneness, lift the egg from the water with a slotted spoon and gently pierce the thick part of the white near the yolk without breaking the yolk. Return to the water if necessary. When done, drain well before placing on prepared muffin.

I usually poach one egg at a time for the family but for a crowd it is possible to poach several at once, slipping them into the water well separated or using egg rings to keep them separated. It is also possible to cook poached eggs ahead of time and reheat.

I have been making Hollandaise sauce for over 20 years with this method, using a wand mixer, and have only had a problem with a slightly thinner sauce once or twice. I have never had this sauce, prepared in this way, break, that is, not emulsify. Although I use my wand mixer for other things, I would keep it if only for making sauces that require emulsifying, such as Hollandaise, mayonnaise, etc.

Hollandaise Sauce

Serves 4

1 stick, 1/4 lb. butter
3 egg yolks
1 scant teaspoon of lemon juice
dash or two of cayenne (I often leave this out of the sauce to sprinkle directly over the finished dish)

Cut butter into small pieces and heat, melting the butter and heating until very hot. DO NOT BROWN. Meanwhile, place rest of ingredients into receptacle of a wand mixer. Beat briefly. When butter is hot, with wand mixer on, start adding hot butter a few drops at a time to the yolk mixture. Keep mixer running and butter addition slow and steady. By the time all the butter has been added, the sauce should be thick with no separation of ingredients. Keep warm by covering and setting receptacle into bowl of warm water.

To Make Eggs Benedict

Serves 4

4 split English muffins
butter, optional
8 pieces Canadian bacon
8 poached eggs
1 recipe of Hollandaise
cayenne, if not added to Hollandaise

Pre-heat oven to warm setting; turn off oven when heated. Start water heating for poached eggs. Cut butter into small saucepan. Separate eggs, putting yolks in receptacle of wand mixer with other Hollandaise ingredients, except for butter. Toast and butter English muffins. Butter may be omitted without significant loss of taste. Place buttered muffins on serving plates in warmed oven. While toasting muffins, gently heat Canadian bacon in saute pan. Do not overheat to dryness. Set aside covered, off the heat.

Begin poaching eggs. Remove one warmed plate with muffins from the oven and place one piece of Canadian bacon on each muffin half. As eggs are done, drain well, (blot with paper towels if necessary), and place on each muffin half on top of bacon. Return plate to oven to keep warm. Prepare rest of plates. Begin melting butter as third plate completed so butter is hot when fourth plate is done. Keeping plates warm, make Hollandaise sauce. Remove plates from oven, spoon sauce over each poached egg to drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle each egg with cayenne pepper. Serve immediately.

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Definitions Aphrodisiacs

An aphrodisiac is an agent which causes the arousal of sexual desire. The name comes from the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. Desire can be stimulated by a variety of events or situations. This article focuses on foods to which an aphrodisiac effect has been attributed.

Some aphrodisiacs appear to gain their reputation from the principles of association, e.g. oysters, due to their shape; as well as the phallic-looking rhinoceros horn. Other animal-based aphrodisiacs gain their reputation from the apparent virility or aggressiveness of the animal source, such as tiger penis. The use of rhino horn and tiger penis to enhance male sexuality is popular among the Chinese, although no scientific basis has been established. Turtle eggs eaten raw with salt and lime juice are also said to be an aphrodisiac.

Although no one has ever proven that feeding our appetites will provoke our carnal urge, the belief in aphrodisiacs persists. For centuries men and women have swallowed the most delightful and alarming substances in order to fan their lover’s flames. Are aphrodisiac foods myth of fact? Have we eaten these foods and wondered why a certain sexual euphoria has suddenly taken control?

With its many culinary uses, Aniseed is a very popular aphrodisiac. It has been used as an aphrodisiac since the Greeks and the Romans who believed aniseed had special powers. Sucking on the seeds is said to increase your sexual desire.

Asparagus given its phallic shape, is frequently enjoyed as an aphrodisiac food. Feed your lover boiled or steamed spears for a sensuous experience. The Vegetarian Society suggests, “Eating asparagus for three days will undoubtedly produce the most powerful affect.”

Throughout the ages, Almond has been a symbol of fertility. The aroma is thought to induce passion in a female. Try serving Marzipan (almond paste) in the shapes of fruits for a special after-dinner treat!

Arugula or “rocket” seed has been documented as an aphrodisiac since the first century A.D. This ingredient was added to grated orchid bulbs and parsnips and also combined with pine nuts and pistachios. Arugula greens are frequently used in salads and with pasta.

The Aztecs called the Avocado tree “Ahuacuatl,” which translated means “testicle tree.” The Aztecs thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled the male’s testicles. This is a delicious fruit with a sensuous texture. Serve in slices with a small amount of Balsamic vinegar and freshly ground pepper!

The Banana has a marvelous phallic shape and is partially responsible for its popularity as an aphrodisiac food. From a more practical standpoint, bananas are rich in potassium and B vitamins which are necessities for sex hormone production.

Basil is said to stimulate the sex drive and boost fertility. It is also said to produce a general sense of well being for body and mind.

The ground seeds of various plants in the brassica family were believed to increase virility. In the case of Broccoli Rabe, it’s more likely a myth created to get people to eat this bitter vegetable.

The Aztecs referred to Chocolate as a “nourishment of the Gods.” Chocolate contains chemicals thought to effect neurotransmitters in the brain and a related substance to caffeine called theobromine. Chocolate contains more antioxidant (cancer preventing enzymes) than does red wine. The secret for passion is to combine the two. Try a glass of Cabernet with a bit of dark chocolate for a sensuous treat!

The phallic shaped Carrot has been associated with stimulation since ancient times and was used by early Middle Eastern royalty to aid seduction. Carrots are believed to be a stimulant to the male. Perhaps, a justification for a piece of carrot cake?

Caffeine is a well-know stimulant, but remember too much and it becomes a depressant. Serve small amounts of rich, dark coffee in special little demitasse cups. Coffee stimulates both the body and the mind, so partake a little in preparation for an “all-nighter.”

The book of, ” The Arabian Nights” tells a tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years, but was cured by a concoction that included Coriander (cilantro seed). That book is over 1,000 years old, so the history of coriander as an aphrodisiac dates far back into history. Cilantro was also known to be used as an “appetite” stimulant.

An open Fig is thought to emulate the female sex organs and traditionally thought of as a sexual stimulant. A man breaking open a fig and eating it in front of his lover is a powerful erotic act. Serve fresh Black Mission figs in a bowl of cool water as it is done in Italy and eat with your fingers!

The “heat” in Garlic is said to stir sexual desires. Make sure you and your partner share it together. Garlic has been used for centuries to cure everything from the common cold to heart ailments. Enjoy a pasta with a light garlic sauce and it may lead up to something spicy in the bedroom later!

Widely practiced in the Victorian Age, peeled Ginger root is used to sensitize the female genitalia and areola to touch and stimulate libido. Perhaps a stir-fry with freshly grated ginger can invigorate the senses for a lovely encounter!

Many medicines in Egyptian times were based on Honey including cures for sterility and impotence. Seducing their partners with “Mead,” a fermented drink made from honey, on their honeymoon was thought to “sweeten” the marriage.

The Chinese have used Liquorice for medicinal purposes since ancient times. The essence of the Glycyrrhiza glabra-Licorice plant is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Chewing on bits of licorice root is said to enhance love and lust. It is particularly stimulating to woman.

Mustard is believed to stimulate the sexual glands and increase desire. Prepare a tenderloin roast (filet mignon) for two with a mustard and peppercorn sauce!

Chinese women highly prized Nutmeg as an aphrodisiac. In quantity, nutmeg can produce a hallucinogenic effect. A light sprinkling of the spice in a warm pumpkin soup can help spice up your evening!

Oysters were documented as an aphrodisiac food by the Romans in the second century A.D. They described the wanton ways of women after ingesting wine and eating “giant oysters.” An additional hypothesis is that the oyster resembles the “female” genitals. In reality, oysters are very nutritious and high in protein.

Zinc is a key mineral necessary to maintain male potency and Pine Nuts are rich in zinc. Pine nuts have been used to stimulate the libido as far back as medieval times. Serve pine nut cookies with a dark espresso for a stimulating dessert!

Pineapple is rich in vitamin C and is used in the homeopathic treatment for impotence. Add a spear to a sweet rum drink for a tasty prelude to an evening of passion!

Raspberries and Strawberries are perfect foods for hand feeding your lover. Both fruits invite love and are described in erotic literature as fruit nipples. They are high in vitamin C and make a sweet light dessert.

The Greeks and the Romans considered the rare Truffle to be an aphrodisiac. The musky scent is said to stimulate and sensitize the skin to touch.

The scent and flavor of Vanilla is believed to increase lust. Fill tall champagne glasses to the rim and add a vanilla bean for a heady, bubbly treat!

A glass or two of Wine can greatly enhance a romantic interlude. Wine relaxes and helps to stimulate our senses. Drinking wine can be an erotic experience. Let your eyes feast on the color of the liquid. Caress the glass and savor the taste on your lips. Do remember that excessive alcohol will make you too drowsy for the after-dinner romance. A moderate amount of wine has been said to “arouse” the senses.

Foods having that appealing shape or that enticing aroma can play havoc with one’s senses. Coupled with verbal deliverance, the sexual stimulus is put into motion and the “aphrodisiac” is conquered for your partner or lover.

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Difference between Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream

The difference between heavy cream and whipping cream is butterfat.

First, to simplify matters, cream is the lighter substance, or fat, that rises to the top of a container of non-homogenized milk.

Heavy cream that is labeled “whipping cream” contains at least 38% butterfat and will fill or frost a cake without additional stabilizers. A look at this whipping cream link will give you some good, detailed information on how to whip cream, plus tips and suggestions for interesting applications and flavorings for this delicious indulgence.

Cream that is simply labeled, “whipping cream”, usually contains about 30 to 36% butterfat. It produces a lovely, soft topping for many foods, both sweet and savory, especially when added just before service. Unwhipped, this is the cream most often used to make ice cream, creamed soups and sauces.

Potato latkes or a perfectly cooked prime roast of beef benefit from a dollop of horseradish cream to complete the dish.

Also, try adding whipped cream, and a few drops of truffle oil if you have it, to mashed potatoes just before serving.

Butter made at home in your food processor, and flavored to your taste, brings an added dimension to the idea of butter as a condiment. Also, homemade butter might be less expensive than the supermarket product.

This traditional Boston cream pie seems complicated and fancy, and belies its simplicity when you understand how to make a simple pastry cream.

For 8 to 10 cake servings, make it this way:

– Use one, 9-inch white cake layer, split horizontally into two layers, made from your favorite recipe.

For the pastry cream
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 2 Tbsp cornstarch
– Pinch of salt
– ¾ cup milk
– ½ cup heavy cream
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 2 large egg yolks

* In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
* Gradually whisk in milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean.
* Bring to a high simmer and whisk until thickened. Remove from heat.
* In small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; then gradually whisk in ½ cup hot filling.
* Return filling to saucepan and cook one minute longer.
* Strain filling into bowl, cover, and chill
* Whisk filling slightly to soften before filling cake.

Bittersweet Mocha Glaze

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp instant coffee powder


* Place chocolate in a medium bowl
* In small bowl, combine cream, corn syrup, and coffee.
* Microwave on high 1 to 1-½ minutes until very hot.
* Add coffee, stir to dissolve and immediately pour over chocolate and stir until glaze is dissolved.

Read the links, make and enjoy the Boston cream pie and you will have a significant understanding of how to use cream and heavy cream in the kitchen.

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Citrus Beets

Citrus Beets

This is beet salad at its simplest: just beets with a dressing of orange and lemon juices, seasoned with nutmeg and a dash of ground cloves. It makes a good addition to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and to other festive occasions.The sweetness of the beets combines with the sweet and sour citrus juices to make a salad that is also a treat, surprisingly palatable even to many who dislike beets.

This recipe calls for freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice. You want to end up with about twice as much orange juice as lemon. If you do not have fresh oranges or lemons, ready made juice may be used, but it must be 100% juice, no added sugar, no juices besides orange and lemon.


• 1 to 3 bunches of beets, roots only (greens can be used in any spinach or chard dish)
• Juice of 3 to 6 oranges and 2 to 4 lemons, approximately.
• 1 to 3 pinches nutmeg
• Dash of ground cloves


1. Wash the beets. Pat dry.

2. Place the beets in a steamer basket, with about 2 – 3 inches (5 – 8 cm) water in the pot. If you do not have a steamer basket, you can cook the beets directly in the water.

3. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat as low as it will go and continue to boil. Let the beets steam until they are soft enough to give easily when poked with a spoon or fork, and the skin comes off easily. This will probably take about 20 – 40 minutes, depending on the size of the beets and on how many there are. They can also be steamed in a slow cooker, following its directions.

4. While the beets are cooling, juice the oranges and lemons. In a medium to medium large mixing bowl, whisk the juices together. Remove any seeds.

5. Add the nutmeg and cloves to the juice mixture. Whisk.

6. When the beets are cool enough to comfortably touch, cut off the ends. Remove the skins. If the beets are cooked well enough, their skins will just slip off when you rub them with your fingers.

7. Slice the beets. Place the beet slices in the juice mixture. There should be enough liquid to just cover the beets. If necessary, add more lemon and/or orange juice.

8. Cover. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

One bunch of beets will serve about 4 to 6. If expecting a much larger crowd, more should be used. For best results, make citrus beets the night before. The longer it chills, the more time the flavors have to marry.

Acknowledgement: Inspiration for this recipe came from “Food,” by Susan Powter, Simon & Schuster, 1995. Powter provides very basic directions, with no precise measurements or proportions, for a dish called “Beets in Citrus Dressing,” which has much the same ingredients as this recipe. The numbers and proportions, and the inclusion of nutmeg, are my own invention.

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Cobra Beer

Originally when Cobra beer first started being produced in 1989 it was brewed in Bangalore, now production has moved to sunny Fulham. Originally the beer was to be called panther but the name was changed after tests suggested panther was not a popular name.

I have seen cobra available in lots of supermarkets but where I encounter it most often is in the curry house. The beers major selling point is as a less gassy alternative to other lagers, it is said to go perfectly with a curry.

Now, I adore spicy food but I do have a tendency to hiccup quite loudly whilst tucking into my phaal, therefore Cobra (you would think) seemed like a perfect choice.

First thing to notice about this beer is that it’s most commonly sold in large bottles, 660ml instead of 330ml, this is a good start you see because when the missus asks you how much you’ve had to drink tonight you can honestly reply….’why, a mere 8 bottles my dear’ and actually mean it.

Another point worth noting is that the bottle itself is aesthetically alluring, the brown of the glass and the yellow label are pleasing on the eye, also the bottle is covered with various Indian inspired motifs such as elephants and exotic plant life. While I’ve never met a soul who chooses their beer by the way the bottle looks, it’s good to know these things so you can keep your eye out for it.

Onto the beer itself, I have never had a beer I didn’t like (with one appauling exception which contained high levels of glucose syrup in it!)
But I have to say I don’t rank Cobra as a high favourite. The lower gas content is well suited for curries and I did notice a reduction in the volume and frequency of my embarrassing hiccups, and yet there just isn’t enough flavour there to warrant ordering another. I’d take the extra hiccups for a more delicious beer.

It’s alcoholic content is 5% so middle to high in strength. The lack of gas would make this a good choice for people who feel too bloated drinking regular lager all night. Also a good choice for the last few drinks of the evening (especially after a filling curry).

As I say, a beer has to go pretty out of it’s way to be bad and Cobra is certainly not ‘bad’, it just lacks the depth of flavour and full bodied robust qualities of some other lagers out there.

It’s low gas will appeal to some and Cobra definately fills a niche, it’s just not got quite enough to become a regular drink of mine.

1. The Impossibly Smooth World Beer | Cobra Beer UK
2. Sacred Heart Diet Plan Review
3. Cobra | Cobra Beer Partnership Limited | BeerAdvocate

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