Category: FOOD NEWS

Fruit Cake: The Holiday Essential

Fruit cakes have become more than just a Christmas treat. Loved by young and old alike, this delicious treat has a colorful history and tradition that extends to this day. Did you know that the fruit cake industry began in Roman times? The belief was that it would provide blessings to them during the time of harvest. The combination of fruit and nuts made this a favorite delicacy by people during this time.

While it was regarded as a type of food that will bring blessings, in the 1800s, the exact opposite happened. It was believed to be sinful and was prohibited in some regions. Not long after, the cake was again regarded as a treat that could help bring love to unmarried individuals. The fruit cake became a symbol of hope as well; in many parts of England, they put a small slice under their pillow so they can start to dream about their future loved one.

Fruit Cake: The Holiday Essential

What exactly is fruit cake made of? The ingredients that are included in the classic ones may vary, but it is typically battered together with some nuts and a little rum or brandy. A vacation is almost never complete without a piece of fruit cake. Most people will associate a fruit cake for cheering during the Christmas season.

One of the biggest advantages would be that it can last for weeks and months. Unlike other types of cake, as long as you keep it refrigerated, it will not easily spoil. The rum inside is what makes this treat lasts longer, and more delicious at that!

Fruit cakes are also best enjoyed when cold or frozen. Sometimes, people opt to keep it for several days to let the flavor and the brandy sink in. It is also typically wrapped in foil and is perfect for parties and gatherings during the holidays. If you want to serve to younger family members, you can substitute alcohol for fruit juice. Make sure you also let the fruit juice be absorbed well by the dough to add to its flavor and rich taste.

There are so many things that you can serve on the Christmas table during the holidays, and fruit cake should always be one of them! This special treat is something that you and your loved ones will surely enjoy. Having a slice will really help get you in the spirit of the holiday season. Aside from that, you can also opt to give out fruit cake to your family and friends as gifts! They will surely love having this on their dinner tables as well. It is also best served with tea, coffee or a glass of wine.

If you plan to buy for the holiday season, make sure that you are able to find those that use authentic fruit and not just the artificial kind. There are many shops and specialty stores online that will make homemade fruit cakes for you. Take time to shop around and enjoy a slice of the best … Read More


Top Tips for Hiring a Catering Company

There are several tips that you can use for hiring catering services in Austin, TX.

Top Tips for Hiring a Catering Company

Catering Options

The first tip is to make sure that you narrow down some of your options. There is a big chance that you are not going to have the time or resources to go through a list of 100 different catering companies. Therefore, you need to narrow down the list as soon as you can. One of the best rules is to select at least three companies that have a good reputation for the quality of its food, good customer service, and reliability.

There are three main things that you can do to learn about the company. The first thing is to read the reviews that people have put online. The second thing is to contact them. This can be done online or through the telephone. Therefore, you will need to ask them a lot of questions that you might have about the services that they do. The third thing is to ask other people for references. This needs to be people who have used this type of catering services austin tx before. They will be able to tell you what type of experience that they had with the catering company.

Taste test

The second tip is to set up a taste test. You will have a hard time trusting a company if you are not able to taste their food. It is important to remember that everyone is going to say that they are the best of the best. It is better if you make this decision based on your own taste buds. It is never a good idea to go to taste test on an empty stomach. You should take another person with you on the taste test because everyone has different tastes.

You want to make sure that you are going to be served a variety of different foods. This is the best way that you will be able to get a good feel of the entire menu that they offer. It is a good idea to take notes of all of the foods that you like or that you did not like. This needs to include the overall rating of the catering company. You should not set up more than one taste test in one day. You can also discuss the options for a menu with the catering company you like.

Diets

The third tip is to make sure that the catering company is able to accommodate all of the different diets that might be attending the party. This includes the vegan and gluten diets allow with any of the food allergies that the people might have. You will want to have a list of the different items that they can cater for you. You also want a list of most commonly ordered packages. Find out the price per person for the packages that they have. You should also find out if you purchase any additional items will it … Read More


Cooking Tips For Cakes and Batters

Cakes are made lightly by tiny bubbles of air or gas which have been introduced into the mixture during the making. The air or gas is usually introduced by one or more of the following ways:-

1.            Air is incorporated into the flour during sieving or rubbing in.

2.            Air is beaten into the mixture as in batters, or during the creaming of fat and sugar in a creamed mixture.

3.            A chemical raising agent such as baking powder is used to introduce bubbles of gas into the mixture.

Most cake mixture is made light and spongy by two or all three of these methods.

The action of baking powder.

Baking powder consists of an acid such as cream of tartar and an alkali, usually bicarbonate of soda. These two substances are mixed together in the correct proportions and when moisture is added, effervescence takes place and tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide are given off. When heat is applied to the mixture, more gas is given off and at the same time the heat expands the bubbles of gas which will make the mixture well risen and spongy.

The action of baking powder is a quick one. It starts as soon as moisture is added and after a while it works itself out. It is therefore important to remember that any mixture containing a chemical raising agent should be cooked as soon as possible after mixing, otherwise the action will have worked itself out before the cake is in the oven.

Preparation of cake tins.

It is necessary to grease the baking tins or patty tins to prevent sticking. This can be done by rubbing the inside of the tin with greased paper, or by brushing with melted fat until the bottom and sides are evenly coated with a thin film of fat. Remember to grease the corners and right up the sides of the tin. The tin can then be dredged with flour and any excess flour should be removed by turning the tin upside down and gently tapping all over the sides. Cakes baked in ‘greased and floured’ tins have nice crusts and are very easy to remove from the tins.

The high sugar and fat content makes creamed cake mixtures burn more readily than plain cake mixtures. It is therefore better to line tin for rich cakes. To line a round tin, take a strip of greaseproof paper ½” higher than the tin. So that it will be long enough to go right around it. Fold up ½”along one long edge of the strip of paper and snip the folded strip at 1″ intervals. Fit this strip inside the tin so that the snipped edge lies flat on the base of the tin. Cut a round of paper the size of the base of the tin and fit this round of paper on top of the snipped edge of the paper. Sandwich tins need only be lined at the bottom. Grease the sides and lined … Read More


Creating and Serving Salads During Your Summer Dinner Party

We like to entertain guests during the summer months and I like to serve salads as our meals. I never know exactly what kind of salad accompaniments to prepare so I like to offer a little bit of everything. When you are preparing salads to serve at a dinner party, you always want to start out with the freshest ingredients possible, so don’t purchase them more than 1-2 days in advance.

Here are a few ideas of what you can serve so that your guests can create their own perfect salad.

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, loose-leaf and head lettuce, mushrooms, onions, radishes, red beets, red peppers, snow peas, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini

Meats and Fish: grilled chicken and fish, ham, turkey, pepperoni, salami, seafood

Miscellaneous: cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, alfalfa sprouts, green and black olives

Cheeses: American, blue cheese, cheddar, Swiss, Colby Jack, provolone

Toppings: bacon, croutons, crushed Chinese noodles, raisins, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tofu

Dressings: French, Italian, Blue Cheese, Thousand Island, Ranch, Honey Mustard, Flavored Vinaigrettes

When it comes to serving your salad items, here are a few tips.

1. Serve the cold items in chilled bowls or serving plates.

2. Pat dry all vegetables with a clean dry cloth after rinsing/cleaning them.

3. Shred and chop all items into bite size pieces ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in proper airtight containers.

4. If combining your salad ingredients ahead of time (instead of using individual serving dishes), prepare them 1-2 hours before serving time.

5. Always serve a variety of dressings and vinaigrettes as everyone has different ‘likes’ and taste buds. All dressings should be well chilled before serving.

6. A properly set table will include a salad plate with fork. It is bad hostess etiquette to make guests use their dinner plates or soup bowls for eating their salads.

7. Keep all ingredients chilled until 20 minutes before serving time.

When it comes to creating the perfect summer salad, the possibilities are endless. For each individual person, the perfect salad will be different. I like mine loaded with a variety of vegetables and cheese, my husband enjoys his with a variety of meats, and our daughter enjoys just a handful of vegetables with some seafood mixed in.

The most important thing to remember is to offer a variety of items and make your ingredients colorful and appealing to the eye.… Read More


Healthy Camping Snack Alternatives

Let’s face it, camping in our nations great outdoors can leave you hungry. Since there is no refrigerator or microwave in most peoples tents, you need to plan for those times in between meals when you just absolutely have to get something in your stomach quickly. Hopefully the following ideas will help you to beat the in-between meal hunger attacks you will get on your next camping trip.

If you are craving protein than you are building muscles, and there is no better source than meat. This is when a flavorful piece of jerky comes in handy. Don’t like beef? Try turkey, venison, bison, duck, chicken or just about any other kind of meat you can think of. You can buy a dehydrator and make your own. This will save you a lot of money in the long run. Of course you can always just pick a package up at your local grocery store if you prefer. There are many popular brands to choose from.

No list of camping snacks would be complete without the all important old favorite, trail mix. Don’t just think nuts and raisins though. Choose from other dried fruits such as banana chips, dried apples, dates or any other dried fruit you prefer. Throw in some dried wasabi peas or soy nuts for a spicy crunch. Some pretzels or multi-grain croutons give it a nice flavor too. Add a few candies, such as M&M’s or Reeses Pieces to add a little sweetness. This helps to offer more appeal to the younger children with you. High Fiber dry cereal makes a great additive and most are vitamin enriched. Remember that grains provide energy for your muscles and your brain, and dried fruit provides vitamins and minerals for healthy hair, nails, skin, and your immune system. Also, the nuts provide important fats and protein. Buy the ingredients separately and let everyone help mix them in a large zipper bag the day before departure, or let everyone mix their own individual bag with the items they prefer.

Last but not least, store bought snacks. Think granola bars, multi-grain chips, wheat crackers or fruit and cereal bars. These snacks will last long, while boating or backpacking. Fruit such as apples, bananas, and oranges make a great pick-me-up on any trek. Also, string cheese, puddings, peanut butter, and yogurts are popular, when hiking. There are numerous new healthier alternatives coming out every day. Check your local health food store for more quality, carry anywhere, types of foods.… Read More