Confessions of a Hamburger Junkie

When you think of hamburgers it conjures up all types of images in your head. If you are a real hamburger “junkie” you can even smell the delicious juicy burger when someone even mentions the word.  Your mouth starts to water and you crave a double patty smothered with pickles, ketchup and onions delicately sitting between a bun with a side of fries. 

I guess hamburger junkies don’t care where their burger comes from.  A quick trip through a McDonald’s drive through would satisfy the desire to sink your teeth into that meat and bun, but some are more choosy.  Being a real burger junkie I want a meat that is real and flavorful.  One that reminds me of good old fashioned American picnics and home.  Five-Guys restaurant has a real burger that any junkie would truly love.  When you walk in, the wonderful smell of hamburger hits you square in the face.  As you make your way to the order counter the thought of all the choices of condiments almost makes you cry.  Upon seeing the cooks flipping the burgers with such grace almost makes you faint.

When you make your way to your seat to wait for your order number to be called the thoughts of burgers are racing through your head.  Picking up your order is blissful, the feel of paper bag crinkling in your hand. Just knowing that within minutes you will be in hamburger heaven. Opening the foil to reveal your burger is the highlight of the day, and that first bite is the best thing that you can think of in a long time.

After your burger “fix” you happily move on with your day. Sometimes you think you should kick your habit.  All that fat, all that cholesterol, it can’t be good.  Then the image of a nice juicy burger floats in front of your eyes again.  All of a sudden you can smell the meat sizzling on the grill.  The thoughts of ending your hamburger junkie days start to disappear. The desire to change disappears more and more after passing billboards with pictures of smiling faces holding hamburgers.   You start to look forward to tomorrow. You start to picture what you will have on that burger tomorrow. Then you decide that being a burger junkie is just who you are. After all, there are worse things than being addicted to burgers…right?

Reference:
1. Prattle Encore | Confessions of a Burger Junkie | Prattle On, Boyo
2. Confessions of a Teaching Junkie


Chinese Wines

Alcohol has been known to exist in China for over 5,000 years. In 1928, archaeologists discovered bronze vessels for wine in the Shandong province which dated back to the Shang dynasty. In 2003, an ancient tomb was discovered from the Shaanxi Province which also had wine vessels. And again, this past May, another wine vessel in a tomb was discovered. Archaeologists have also discovered written instructions from 4,000 years ago on the various methods for making alcohol.

China has two forms of alcohol to enjoy: Huangjiu or yellow alcohol and baijiu or clear alcohol.

Huangjiu

The yellow alcohol is a fermented beverage, usually made from wheat or rice, though sometimes with broomcorn millet as well. The alcohol content ranges, but is generally under 20%. Huangjiu is a general term used for all of the yellow alcohol in China. The Huangjiu are broken down into classifications based on the production method, the type of started used and the dryness of the beverage. 

Production Methods of Huangjiu

Hot rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is set outside to cool. Once it is warm, but not too cool, the processing will begin.

Cool rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is soaked with cold water in order to cool it. Then it is ready for processing.

Feeding rice method: Rice straight from the cooker is put into the fermenting mixture three times to make a sweeter wine.

Fortified method: This method makes the sweetest variety of wine because it used distilled wine to stop the fermenting process. 

Types of Starters

Small: This method is mostly used in the humid, tropical region because it produces the least amount of heat out of all the starters.

Large: This method is the most popular.

Red: This method is where the flavored and colored beverages fall into.

Dryness and Sweetness

Gan (dry): low heat and almost no sugar

Ban Gan (semi-dry): this version is the one that is the most exported. It has between 1% – 3% of sugar.

Ban Tian (semi-sweet): The difference in this one is that instead of water, it uses some dry wine for liquid instead of water. It has anywhere from 3%-10% of sugar. 

Tian (sweet): It is possible to make this wine all year long.

Nong Tian (extra sweet): Has more than 20% of sugar. 

While still in the huangjiu category, there are two more wines that are also fermented, but not part of this category. They are choujiu, which distinguishes itself because it is made from glutinous rice, and Qingke jiu, which is made from the highland barley of Tibet.

Moving on to the baijiu, or distilled category, the most famous one is known as Mao-tai. This is known as China’s national drink, just as sake is Japan’s drink. This drink is served at all diplomatic and state dinners and is saved for those special occasions, such as holidays. It is extremely expensive to acquire. Not only are the ingredients special – quality sorghum, a specific kind of yeast, and water from a specific spring – as this is what gives it that unique flavor. The production process is also lengthy: after going through over 5 distillations and fermentations, each, it is then aged for 3 years. But, supposedly, the wait and the expense are worth it. The beverage is as clear as water and goes down just as smooth.

Baijiu are classified based on fragrance. The fragrance categories are pretty self-explanatory, except for a few of them. The heaviest is the sauce fragrance, which has been said to be unappealing for the untrained nostril. For connoisseurs, however, the fragrance is quite lovely. The sauce category is followed by heavy, light, rice, honey, and layered. 

There are also many different types of baijiu, falling into either the flavored or unflavored category. The unflavored range from the cheapest variety which is great for the common man to those that have been double- or triple-distilled.

The flavored variety incorporates many different types of flowers, herbs, medicinal herbs, tea leaves and crystal sugars. 

Whatever your taste variety, whatever your wallet will allow, there is certainly a Chinese beverage or two for you to try. Cheers!

Reference:
1. Wine in China
2. Learn about Wine: China | Regions | Berry Bros. & Rudd


Christmas 2010 Gift Ideas for Beer Lovers

If a beer lover in on your 2010 Christmas gift list, then you might want to get him or her a related gift for the holidays.  Consider the following ideas.

Beer

Of course beer is going to be one of the most popular gifts for a beer lover.  If he likes something specific such as Budweiser or Miller, then get him that.  Also consider whether he or she likes lite beer.  Some people prefer it in a certain type of container such as a bottle or a can, so pay attention to that. 

They also sell a lot of combo beer packs.  One interesting one is beers from around the world, which contains a selection of different brews from different countries.  This can be an unusual gift that will give him or her a taste of a lot of different flavors.  It might even introduce him or her to a new favorite.

Beer mugs

A lover of beer might like some beer mugs out of which to drink them. You will find many different choices.  If you go to a Renaissance Fair you can often buy a beautiful one crafted from wood.  They sell a lot that are personalized with the person’s name.  You can get these online at a source such as www.personalizationmall.com.  Some of them have different graphics on them.  Some have the person’s first name.  Think about whether they would just like one nice one for themselves or a group of them that they can use for when they have guests.  Some of them also come with a set with plates or other items to use.

Book on beers

There are many different books on beers.  Some of them explore the history of beer whereas others discuss different beers.  You can try Beer Book by Sam Calagione and Tim Hampson, Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Mosher or Beverage on Earth by Swierczynski.  This might make a great gift for someone who loves beer.  They also make cookbooks that have recipes that include beer in them.  For instance, you can use it in a dip or other foods. 

If a beer lover is on your 2010 Christmas gift list then a gift related to this might be just perfect.  Consider the above ideas when making your selection.

Reference:
1. Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for the Beer Lover in Your Life
2. Top 10 Gift ideas to purchase for a Beer Lover (part 3 of 3 …


Chicken thigh casserole

Chicken casseroles, although in theory delicious, can unfortunately sometimes see the chicken served dry and a little bit chewy. There are three principal reasons why this may be the case. The most likely is the lack of fat on the chicken and in the casserole. Fat not only adds flavor to meat during cooking, it serves to help keep the meat moist. Secondly, the chicken may be overcooked, a condition which will see further juices lost from the meat. Thirdly and finally, the casserole may not have been allowed to rest when it is taken from the oven, just as a whole chicken would be rested prior to carving.

The good news is that all of these issues are very easily addressed and resolved. The first point you should consider is the type of chicken pieces you include in your casserole. Rather than simply using diced chicken breast meat, why not try using whole chicken thighs? The meat on chicken thighs is probably the most tender and juiciest on the bird and by cooking them whole, with the skin on, you are incorporating the thin layer of fat under the skin in your casserole to help keep the meat moist, as well as gaining the additional flavor from the bones.

Ingredients for four servings

12 large chicken thighs
½ stick (2oz) butter
2 large carrots, scraped and roughly chopped
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 pints fresh chicken stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Begin by putting your oven on to preheat to 350F.

Put the chicken stock in to a pot and on to the heat to reach a simmer. Add the butter to a large frying pan or skillet and gently melt. Season with salt and pepper before adding the chicken thighs in two batches to brown and seal. Lay the chicken thighs in the casserole dish and add the carrot, potato, onion and garlic. Sit the fresh herbs on top and season with more salt and pepper before carefully pouring in the hot chicken stock.

Put the lid on the casserole dish and cook in the oven for forty-five minutes. Remove the dish to a heat proof surface, take off the lid and leave it alone for fifteen minutes for the meat to rest. It will not go cold in this short time period.

You may wish to use this fifteen minutes to complete the preparations of your casserole accompaniments. Try serving it with a vegetable such as cauliflower or broccoli, or alternatively in a deep dish with fresh crusty bread for dipping.

Reference:
1. Smothered Chicken Casserole recipe from Betty Crocker
2. 20 chicken thigh recipes – goodtoknow


Coffee that has the cat by the tail

Looking for the unique coffee experience that will have your taste buds wondering what its experiencing? The Asian market has found a coffee that has you looking at your cat’s litter box. And seeing it in a whole other way. The price tag will also have you wondering what good your kitty can do for you.

Kopi Luwak or Civet Coffee is produced in Indonesia, Philippines, islands of Sumatra, and Java. What makes it unique is it is collected from the dung of the Asian Palm Civet Cat. Yes, cat poo coffee served up to you at $50 a cup. Only around 500 lbs hits the market a year at a whopping $1,500 dollars each pound.

The Asian Palm Civet is a cat sized nocturnal mammal native to South East Asia and Southern China. It averages about 7 lbs and covered with coarse, shaggy hair. It is grayish in colour with black on its feet, ears and muzzle. It resembles the raccoon in markings and mannerisms. Its primary food source is fruit such as chiku, mango, rambutan and best of all the red cherry of the coffee trees.

When the cat eats the coffee cherries the locals gather the dung. The inner bean of the berry is not digested. The beans are then washed, polished, dried and lightly roasted for your cup.

“It is wasted as an espresso, you’d have to make it in a plunger cup as the milk would destroy the flavour,” Rob Forsyth, chairman of the Australasian Specialty Coffee Association told Nine News.

It is believed that the enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee’s flavour by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. University of Guelph professor, Massimo Marcone put the beans to the test comparing them to the controlled beans of Columbia. He found the bacterial counts were lower in Kopi Luwak, their colour had more red and yellow tones than the green of the Colombian, surface more smooth and votile compounds were different.

The coffee has been described as earthy, musty, syrupy, smooth and rich with jungle and dark chocolate undertones. It has a strong taste and even stronger aroma.

“The coffee was musty, it had a fermented taint (and a distinct poo note),” stated Dean Gallagher, master roaster of Western Australia’s 5 Senses, on his webpage. He traveled to Bali to see the hype for himself.

“The resulting coffee is gritty. The aroma is smoky and pungent and even somewhat reminiscent of its immediate origin, but the flavour is unique, mild and smooth with a hint of rich dark chocolate and secondary notes of earth and musk,” reports Peter Cave for ABC News.

People are still lining up to try the experience. In Australia most people are trying it for the hype, to say that they have tried it. In Asia it is a delicacy that has many cafes buying up all that they can get off the coffee dealers. In America it is the new coffee sensation for the coffee elite and geeks. So much a glorification is given that the Coffee Critic was featured on Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003 to tell about the new coffee fad.

Even when China had their SARS virus outbreak that was linked to the Asian Civet Cat and started destroying thousands of the animals, people were still lining up at the cafes. The excuse was that the Indonesian cats were different than the Chinese cats.

Vietnam is now marketing a Weasel’ coffee, Philippines have come onto the market with their own Kopi Luwak, and there is also a coffee made from deer dung. What has the human population come to?

Reference:
1. Asian palm civet
2. Amazon.com | Kinto Mugtail Cat: Mugs: Coffee Cups & Mugs


Carls Jr and Hardees Fast Food Chains Launch Location Based Rewards Program

Fast food, as the term implies, is often consumed by people who are too busy to sit down and eat food that takes more than a few minutes to prepare and serve. These fast food aficionados are usually on their way to some meeting, a class or some other activity and they grab a burger and fries and devour them on the way to the destination.

Because they’re constantly on the move and they typically have a smartphone to incessantly check emails and keep them on schedule, customers of quick serve restaurants (QSRs) are ideal prospects for location-based loyalty programs. Leave it to the company that produced televisions ads that featured a scantily-clad Paris Hilton washing a car while eating a burger and Kim Kardashian consuming a fresh salad in her PJs to come up with a loyalty/rewards program that is based on the hottest social media.

Advertising trade publications such as Mashable and Ad Age first reported that the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains have launched a GPS-enabled loyalty program that rewards users for checking in at these restaurants across the U.S. The program is called The Happy Star Rewards app and it is available for iPhone and Android smartphones. This is the first time that the fast-food industry has combined location-based check-in technology and rewards, according to parent of the two chains, CKE Restaurants, Inc.

Just Drive Through and Check In

Because of the competitive nature of the quick serve restaurant category, innovative or even wacky promotions have always been a part of winning the dollars of the very fickle fast foodies. While some would question the taste or nutrition of their food, the company’s promotional efforts have always been ranked “Four Stars” by marketing observers and this Happy Star app is an evolution of this past success. In addition to enabling digital tracking of customer visits, the new app offers guaranteed rewards, a restaurant locator, a social media interface, streaming videos, menus and nutritional information.

In announcing the new location-based loyalty program, the company said that users who download the rewards app from the iTunes App store or Android Market and check in at any of the chains’ locations will begin to earn awards immediately. The first check-in and every subsequent fourth check-in will earn the participant a spin on “The Wheel of Awesome,” which is the rewards app already present on both chains’ Facebook pages.

By spinning the wheel, the customer can earn a chance to win discounted and free menu items, branded gift cards, prizes and merchandise from participating partners. The current partner prizes include Sony electronics and movie tickets to the upcoming film “The Green Hornet.” Participants in the promotion can transfer coupons from the prize wheel app on Facebook directly to their mobile phones in order to redeem.

Users who check in but have not yet earned an “awesome” spin can receive a coupon for a currently featured item. They may choose to save the coupon for seven days or redeem it immediately in-store or at a drive-through. In a deft move to integrate the promotion to the company’s social network media, once redeemed, users can share the experience with friends by posting on Facebook and Twitter. In an effort to increase loyalty of these participants, reward offers increase in value with the frequency of check-ins.

The company notes that check-ins are limited to three per day and are also limited to one per day-part (breakfast, 5:30 to 10:30 a.m.; lunch, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and dinner/late-night, 5 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.).

The combination of Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s is the #4 ranked burger chain in the United States. McDonald’s is ranked first in terms of locations with 31,000 stores and it is followed by Burger King and Wendy’s chains. Carl’s Jr/Hardee’s are primarily found in the Southern, Western and Southwestern U.S. and the company is expanding into Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Russia, Vietnam and China in the coming years.

A Marketing Recipe for Success

The population that embraces mobile technology is the bull’s eye for fast food marketers. This group is seldom without some form of mobile device – whether it be smartphones or other web enabled gadgets – and they are heavy users of social networks such as Facebook and location based applications such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Marketers at the CKE Restaurant chain have evidently been noticing these trends and have implemented a strategy to take advantage of them.  

The Happy Star application integrates with the chains’ existing digital communities by offering the same look and feel as the brands’ Facebook pages and streaming YouTube videos. It builds on CKE Restaurants’ community approach to social media, which has driven their combined Facebook fans to more than 1 million friends. All of these tactics are textbook examples of integrated marketing

While some fast food purveyors have been tweaking their offerings to include more healthy items, Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s have not made this move. This app is not going to make burgers and fries any healthier. However, most likely, it will get busy people who enjoy getting a reward for their loyalty to these restaurants to buy these products on a regular basis and that’s a marketing recipe that CKE Restaurants will find very tasty indeed.

Reference:
1. Hardee's
2. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's Launch Innovative Mobile Rewards App …


Children and Dining out

Taking your children out to a restaurant and having a good time as a family can be a contradiction in terms. Often little ones get bored and want to find ways to entertain themselves which can lead to them disturbing other customers and embarrassing you. Below are five tips on how to control the situation and enjoy the evening out as a family.  Everybody is different and all may not apply to your situation but hopefully some will be helpful.

Let Everyone Know What Is Expected

Life is busy but if you’re going out to eat take a few minutes to sit your children down and explain to them what is expected.  Explain that they are to do as instructed, stay in their seats and in general conduct themselves in an appropriate manner.  Very young children won’t understand but even toddlers will get the message if you follow through with negative consequences when necessary.  Explain what’s going to happen if they don’t follow the rules.  Every family is different with consequences being age appropriate.  Truthfully it may take more than one time out and about to end up with well behaved children but you have to start somewhere.

Restaurant Choices

Pick a child friendly establishment where the wait time has a reputation for being short.  It’s unfair to expect young children to sit a long time in anticipation of a meal without acting up.  If appropriate let the youngsters have a say in where you’re going to eat.  Give them a few suitable choices and take a vote.  Let them know that although there are rules the outing is meant to be a good time.

Come Prepared

Many restaurants offer crayons and other items to entertain children.  But bring along items with which your little ones can play quietly or even read a story in a low voice while you wait. For older children engage them in conversation while the food is being prepared.  It’s the perfect time to catch up on everyone’s activities.  Ask questions about school, friends or any problems they have.  You can listen as a family and offer suggestions on how situations can be improved.  Sometimes youngsters who clam up at home will talk more freely in another setting.

Allow Choices

You don’t want the youngsters to stuff themselves with unhealthy foods but you also want them to enjoy themselves.  Let them decide what they would like and suggest a salad or soup before the meal. This will help fill them up and perhaps cut down on how much undesirable items they will consume.  You can make suggestions like baked chicken but don’t be surprised if they bee line it for hamburgers and fried chicken fingers.  Often the serving size will be well beyond what they can comfortably consume so get a take home box and put some of the food into before they begin to eat.  This will help teach them about portion size and still allow them to enjoy one of their favorite foods.

Don’t Over Stay

When everyone is finished it’s time to exit right.  While you may want to linger over coffee and talk to your mate it probably won’t happen with the youngsters becoming bored.  You’re better off leaving while the leaving is good.  Gather everyone up, praise them if appropriate, pay and go home once the final crumb has been picked and last sip slurped.  You and yours can always enjoy a glass of wine or cup of tea together when everyone is in bed.

The important thing is to make family outings, including dining, enjoyable.  You want to connect as a family.  If you have a few failures consider them learning experiences and try again.

Reference:
1. How to dine out with kids … and enjoy it! (ages 2 to 4) | BabyCenter
2. Kids Eat Free Restaurants – Where Do Kids Out to Eat Free


Christmas Gift Ideas for Beer Connoisseurs

As the Christmas season approaches, it comes time to start scouring the streets for gifts for friends and loved ones. As we all know Christmas shopping can be a challenge at the best of times. A task that becomes even more difficult if you’re shopping for someone with specialised interests. So, what do you get for someone whose specialised interests include all things beer? Well, after no small amount of searching it seems as though there is an excess of potential gift ideas fir for any lover of beer.

A Good Read

Anyone who professes to be a connoisseur of fine ales and lagers will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the beers he or she loves. Here you might want to pick up a copy of The Brewmaster’s Table by Garrett Oliver or The New World Guide to Beer by the late Michael Jackson. Both of these books describe the world’s major styles of beer, give a bit of history as well as offer tasting notes about the classic examples of each style. Or, if the person you’re buying for is interested in making his own beer, The Complete Joy of Home Brewing by Charlie Papazian is a must.

If your friend prefers a shorter read or access to more diverse information, a magazine subscription might be the way to go. “All About Beer” and “Zymurgy” are very informative magazines dealing with everything beer. Both magazines offer great articles about beer, news, reviews of breweries, and lists of beer related events taking place around the country. In publication since 2008, “Beer” magazine promises to be a fun, interesting addition to the world of beerzines.

Gift Baskets and Such

Many department and specialty stores offer gift baskets for all occasions. With a little time and effort you can put together such a basket for the beer connoisseur. Any major city has at least one beer store that offers a stellar selection of craft brewed or imported ales and lagers. Decide on a theme (your friend’s favorite brewery or beer style let’s say) and pick out a variety of beers in that theme. Place them in a gift bag or basket and you’re ready to go. If you don’t know what kind of beer your friend really likes, more and more beer stores offer gift certificates that person can use any time.

There are more and more beer of the month clubs these days than there used to be. Beer of the month clubs can be a little pricier than other gifts, but they offer so much more than other gifts can. First of all, someone else puts your friend’s gift basket together for you. Second, whoever gets this gift enjoys a wider variety of beers than they might otherwise receive. Check the company’s rules and regulations, though. Some companies won’t ship outside the country or to certain states.

Beer Collectibles

Beer collectibles are an opportunity for your friend to build up a killer collection of beer related paraphernalia. The best place to start searching for beer paraphernalia is your local craft brewery. Breweries like Anchor, Brooklyn, and Bridgeport brewing offer a variety of beer mugs, shirts, tap handles and so on for anyone with money to pay. If you live far away from a brewery you want to order from, most will ship within North America and take most major credit cards.

There are also websites that offer collectible items for sale. With a little searching you can find items from now defunct breweries. Anything from beer glasses to tap handles, serving trays and bar towels are out there for the budding collector or serious enthusiast. In addition to websites like eBay and amazon.com, the following sites can help you find whatever collectibles you might track down.

.www.ciuitre.it

www.breweriana.com

www.beerhistory.com/breweriana

Reference:
1. Gifts For Beer Lovers – Business Insider
2. 18 Gift Ideas for Beer Lovers | Men's Journal


Candy Making Basics

I started making home-made candy about six years ago and through trial and error I have learned some things that are very important to know when making candy. If you are making candy that requires a candy thermometer, try to find a good metal one or a nice digital one. These prove to be more accurate then the glass ones. You may pay a little more but it’s better than having to throw a whole batch of candy in the trash.

When it comes to sugar in candy-making pure cane sugar is preferable. Pure cane sugar melts better and combines well with the other ingredients. Sometimes when using beet sugar you will end up with a gritty texture. Don’t, however, use extra fine sugar. It measures slightly differently than granulated sugar. And no matter what do not use artificial sweeteners unless the recipe calls for it.

When cooking candy on the stove-top be sure to use a good heavy aluminum pan. Don’t try to use a nonstick pan. The candy cooks to very high temperatures and can damage the surface of your nonstick pans. Also a heavy aluminum pan with distribute the heat more evenly and your candy is less likely to become scorched. Also, make sure you use a good size pan, to prevent boil over.

Butter and margarine are both acceptable to use when making candy, unless the flavor of the candy requires a buttery flavor, such as toffee. Margarine can be used when you are trying to bring out another flavor such as chocolate or peanut butter.

Suppose you have a problem with sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pan? Here’s what you can do. Cover the pan when you start the cooking process, the lid holds in the steam and washes the sugar crystals down the side of the pan.

Now lets say you accidentally over-cook the candy. It can be saved as long as it isn’t scorched. Leave the candy on the stove-top and carefully add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid, water, milk, whatever liquid was used in the original recipe. The temperature of the candy should drop and you can continue cooking it until it reaches the correct temperature.

When using chocolate to dip your candies, you need to melt it slowly. You can use the microwave, just make sure you stir it every 30 seconds to keep it from burning. If the chocolate seems too thick you can add one or two tablespoons of oil to it to thin it out. If you have a double boiler, you can use this. When using a double boiler, heat the water to boiling in the lower pan, remove from the heat, place the top pan from the double boiler on top and add the chocolate. Stir the chocolate until it melts. The benefit to using the double boiler is that the temperature of the chocolate does not drop as quickly. Whatever you do, do not let any water get into your chocolate. This will cause the chocolate to seize up and will ruin it.

If you are uncomfortable using baking chocolate for dipping, please feel free to use the chocolate or white bark coatings available at the grocery store. There are also colored candy melts you can get in the craft section of your favorite department store.

Candy-making does not have to be intimidating. There are many recipes that you can try that don’t require a candy thermometer. Start out with something easy and work your way up. Check out some of the recipe web sites on the internet and type in easy candy recipes in the search bar. You will be sure to find some recipes that suit your skill level. It can be a very fun and rewarding hobby.

Reference:
1. Candy making
2. Candy Making Basics (A Beginners Guide)


Breakfast Rice Dish Kedegree

Special breakfast Kedgeree

This rice breakfast dish is a very nice thing to have not just for breakfast but at any time of the day. It’s like a risotto but with all the comforting things for breakfast as well. It is a strange blend of break fast and curry , now the two top British dishes that we like to eat .

1 tbsp olive oil
50g/2oz butter
1 onion, finely chopped
350g/11oz Arborio rice
750ml/1 pints warm chicken stock
1 heaped tsp curry powder
150g/5oz smoked haddock fillets
2 free-range eggs,
chopped fresh coriander leaves
3 slices of Black pudding 2 slices of smoked streaky bacon nutmeg and fresh ground black pepper

Take a pan and heat the oil and the butter in it. Add the chopped onions and allow them to soften. Now as it cook take the rice and start to cook that , letting the butter and oil soak in to the rice but do not let it brown or burn .

Place a pan of water on the on the stove and start to heat it up ready for you to poach the eggs. Place the bacon on a try and put it under the grill to.

Now add curry powder to the rice and start to get all the flavour’s in to the rice. Then as it all cooks together getting the flavour in to the rice start to add the chicken stock a little at a time. Letting the rice absorb the liquid before adding some more . If you are a real purist you will have the stock hot and add it as it cooks but that is not entirely necessary and you have the bacon and the eggs to do so do not get to much going on at once or it runs the danger of all going wrong.

Cut up the haddock fillets and when the rice is almost cooked and you have added the last of the chicken stock add the smoked haddock and stir that it and turn the heat down to low and let the fish cook in the rice. The heat in the rice should cook the fish and if you do not keep stirring it you will have nice big flakes of fish .Finally finished with the fresh coriander and the nutmeg and black pepper to taste .

Then add the black pudding under the grill with the now crispy bacon to warm threw. Poach two eggs in a pan and start to assemble the finished dish. Place the rice in to the centre of the plate. Place the three pieces of black pudding around it to make a triangle. Then cross the crispy bacon over the rice and the two poached eggs on top of that.

As you cut in to the eggs and the yolks run down in to the rice , and you start to eat the finished dish you will realise that what at first might seem strange can work very well .

Reference:
1. Kedgeree
2. Kedgeree Recipe | Fish Recipes | Jamie Oliver Recipes