Fancy Yourself As a Food Critic

A food critic is a pretty sweet gig if you can get it. But there are literally legions of wannabe food critics out there all tweeting and posting their experiences to their social media followers. So how do you separate yourself from all the noise?

Here are a few important tips:

Any serious food critic worth their salt will first and foremost visit the establishment to experience the food on offer and only then write about his or her experience for the benefit of prospective readers rather than going out with the intention of reviewing the place unless you are getting paid to do this. In that respect the food critic should be highly knowledgeable about the food in question and be able to understand the process that went into producing the food, the ingredients and whether they are locally sourced or fresh.

Get up close and personal with the particular industry you are interested in writing about and study every aspect of it in detail from the history of the particular style of food right through to its production and the ingredients that go into it. Visit as many food establishments as possible and write about them even if the review is only going to be published on your Facebook profile or tweeted about. Eventually people will take notice of you and start following you on social media if you consistently write in-depth and valuable reviews.

It helps if you have a background in writing although it is not necessary to have a degree in journalism or in English or any other language although it helps greatly if you have a strong grasp of language. What is more important is to have an intimate understanding of the industry in question and a passion for what you are writing about. Although you will be expected to stay on top of trends and to be familiar with new food concepts and industry speak.

Get as much writing experience as you can by submitting articles to newspapers, writing articles for websites, guest blogging and generally getting your name out there as much as possible. Any reviews you write not only add to your experience but can be presented to a prospective employers further down the track.

Always ask the owner before you whip out a camera or iPhone and start taking photos. With the popularity of Instagram, Foodgawker, Pinterest, Yummly and other foodie photography sites and the profusion of wannabe food critics many places have put blanket bans on photography inside their premises. This is understandable so always make sure they are okay with it before you start snapping away.

If you really want to stand out from the crowd don’t just write about what an amazing experience YOU had at whatever place you just visited but really describe it in detail to your readers using descriptive (but not flowery) writing. No-one really cares about some unknown food critic who comes across with an air of arrogance or self entitlement. They want to know what is in it for them and what THEY should expected if they visit said establishment.

And lastly, don’t become a food bore! Keep yourself from slipping into self-indulgence by keeping your food reviews interesting and relevant and always writing with the reader in mind..

Do you have knowledge of the baking industry? Unique Bakes is currently seeking for people to review bakeries and patisseries and also looking for guest bloggers. Visit the site and start writing reviews or submit articles to us to be published on the blog.

Fruit Cakes – The Holiday Essential

Earlier, fruit cakes were considered just as Christmas treats. But, nowadays this trend is vanishing and people include this dish for many celebrations in their lives. Not only for celebrations, nowadays, they look for such an enthralling stuff to eat whenever they find free time and during weekends. This delicious treat has a very colorful and great history. Yes, this cake started its journey during the roman period itself and they used this as a symbol of joy to celebrate their harvest. The combination of fruits and nuts made the fruit cakes the best delicacy during festive seasons and during harvest periods.

While, it was considered by the Roman as the food that can bring special luck in the following harvest year, the exactly opposite thing happened around 1800s. Yes, people in some regions started to believe this delicacy to be sinful and they kept away. But, soon after this decline period, people again have started to include it in their celebrations and happy moments. It was once considered as a symbol of hope as well in some part of England. Even, people used to put a small piece of cake under their pillow with the hope that it will bring good dreams about the future loved one.

So, here comes the question what exactly are these eatables made up of. Even though, the ingredients used in the making might differ, they typically include fruits and nuts and even a little brandy or rum is used.

Nowadays, holidays are never getting fulfillment with sponge cakes or at least without plain cakes. Some are opting for the latter alternatives for their birthdays too, just because they can show their creativity in making attractive designs on their own. For instance, couples can get plain cakes for their wedding and can show their creativity in engraving their names together to mark the occasion. Some online stores selling these eatables are also selling decorating supplies

Some people love the spongy texture of sponge cakes and this is why regardless of the occasion, they choose this alternative as against many other alternatives. Nowadays, with the availability of online stores dealing with many different alternatives for the purchasers to choose from. People interested in preparing these eatables on their own home can get the bases required for preparation as well from reliable online store dealing with these supplies. There are base cakes and upon them, the purchasers can make their desired decorations for a party gathering to enthrall their friends.

Cakes are perfect choice for celebrating any occasions like wedding, birthday, Christmas etc. Nude Cakes provides plain cakes, fruit cakes with full of plump, juicy and sponge cakes with wonderful moist, silky, smooth and rich in taste.

Homemade Soups- How Do I Make Soups for Diabetics

For millions of people, canned soup just doesn’t cut it. This is especially true for those that are looking at sticking to a diet that is well enough for diabetics. When you or someone you know has this disease, eating a variety of foods will be difficult, especially when they are loaded with sugars and salt. Finding a good mix and balance of food can be rough, but it’s not an impossible task. In fact, you will find that there are a variety of different things that you can do, including learn how to make diabetic soups to make sure that all is well with nutritional content. The following steps will help you deliver on the promise of great flavor, without worry.

Ditch The Bullion Cube

The first thing that people reach for when they are making a soup base is bouillon cube. This is not a good thing to go with, as it can be full of salt, and even MSG. It’s far better to seek out a different solution, including no sodium chicken or vegetable stock to utilize in your soup creations. You’ll want to ensure that it’s 100% organic as well, and look carefully at the ingredients for any added sugars or anything that could cause the caloric intake to rise exponentially. You’ll want to stick to this starting point, unless you’re going to use a great deal of water and season soups on your own, without the help of salt that is in the stock.

Vegetables Fill Out Soup

When you’re creating soup, especially for those that have diabetes, make sure that you look into adding many vegetables. Vegetables, legumes, and more can add filler to any meal and without added sugars. You’ll have to be careful to select your mix carefully because not all of the items in your grocery store’s produce department will taste good together. Seeking out solutions that will taste good is tough, but it’s not impossible. Finding a balance is all about what you want the end result to taste like, and what flavor profiles you want to add.

Lean Meats, No Fat

Look into adding meats that are lean, and have no fat. If you’re going to use chicken, for example, avoid adding the skin and try to utilize breast meat. It’s important to not add too much meat that has a high cholesterol or fat content. That could mean that you need to add only leaner cuts, and perhaps skip out on meats together. Be selective with the type of meat you’re going to utilize if you are going to make soups in this category.

When in doubt, look for filling options like chili, stews, and even purees that can be very filling in the end. The process of learning how to make soup for diabetics is not difficult, as much as it is time consuming. You’ll want to avoid canned solutions, or anything that has too much reliance on salt, sugar, and other elements that will not be good for the body. Nutrition matters greatly here, so keep a look out for labels and different additions that you’re going to put into your mix.

Who Wants To Eat Chocolate For Health

You may be surprised to hear that eating chocolate is a great way to ensure an effective weight loss diet plan. Research conducted by YouGov has concluded that those who eliminate chocolate completely from their diet tend to put weight on rather than lose weight. Why? Usually as a result of compensating for missing out on this tasty treat by eating more of other types of foods.

The survey which was carried out discovered that 86% people who actually continued to eat chocolate were successful at losing weight.

I regularly write articles about eating a sensible realistic lifestyle diet or what I prefer to call a ‘eating plan’. This is because in order to lose weight and keep it off the eating plan needs to be a lifestyle approach to help stop the ‘yoyo’ diet effect.

Nutrition Scientist, Janet Aylott, commissioned the YouGov survey. The extensive research surrounding the survey found that “diet centred around food elimination are much more likely to fail”.

MEN – there is even more good news!

Eating chocolate may actually help you to live longer. This information comes from a Harvard University team which conducted a study over 65 years. It included 8000 men who ate chocolate up to three times per month. It found that these men lived almost a year longer as opposed to those who did not.

This research team concluded Cocoa contains antioxidants called polyphenols. This antioxidant is also found in red wine. Polyphenol helps prevent the oxidation of harmful cholesterol.

So go ahead and enjoy eating chocolate. It not only may help prolong your life but will help you achieve your weight loses goals for life!

Dust off the chocolate cookbooks, involve the kids and start making some tasty chocolate treats at home. This is a great way to teach children about sensible eating habits. There is a tonne of learning opportunities in cooking with children also. Gathering all the ingredients necessary to make it, measuring instruments such as jugs and measuring spoons etc.

Take the opportunity to talk to children. I often get great conversation out of kids when they are pre-occupied with something they love. Cooking is a great way to spend time with them and strengthen the parent bonds.

Portion control

This delightful treat is still calorie dense but is super healthy so keep serving sizes small and use as a mid-afternoon tasty treat to see you through to dinner. This great news is that the fudge is lower in calories and sugar than your typical fudge bought in a store.

7 Tips for Chocolate Factories to Get Certified

Chocolate factories are usually subjects of constant quality and hygiene testing. Some of them pass the test and are handled official certificates proving their well management. Certified factories proud themselves with this title that makes them trustworthy. To acquire these certifications, chocolate factories in the Middle East should start decreasing possibilities of future issues by going back to the beginning with a suitable infrastructure design:

Building: Minimizing the challenge of external hazards (insects, dust, soil… ) by inspecting the building for pest access, soil and dust. A lot of insects are known for being attracted by sweets. Forbidding them to reach the chocolate by closing all possible accesses keeps away microbes and bacteria. Getting rid of dust and soil repels unwelcome creatures from entering the factory.

Process Line: Controlling the movement of raw materials to avoid the combination with cleaning products. The best solution is to have two entrances far away from each other: one for the raw materials, and the other for the chemicals. This would maintain a good quality away from infections and proves an efficient manufacturing.

Ventilations and air flow: Regulating temperature and humidity that suit the chocolate. It must always remain away from humidity and on a temperature between 17C – 20C to prevent it from melting. Messing with that will result in damaged chocolate. An automatic ventilation system can conserve the perfect conditions when employees leave the factory.

Equipment: Optimizing the machines used for production to prevent residues from corrupting the coming products. Doing so, decreases the cleaning time in favor of chocolate production. In other terms, the time spent to remove the residues from the equipment, will be replaced to make chocolate instead.

Services: Managing the availability of potable water, electricity, gazes and other supplies at all time. An absence of one of these services might lead to a defection of a whole product batch. For example, an electricity cut will prevent the machines from working, and keep the chocolate under inappropriate situations that might damage the product.

Waste disposal: Keeping waste disposal areas away from edible products. Separating them will result in a low risk of chocolate contamination. It also lowers the potential of odors that attracts pests. The most appropriate idea would be having two different blocks disconnecting the edible products from the waste.

Medical screening: Testing medically all employees to warn the management of any possible infectious disease. During the hiring procedure, all candidates must be subjects of a full medical exam. All the personnel must take care of their own health, not to affect others’ and contaminate the chocolates. Any sign of trouble must be directly reported to the medical staff.

Implementing these procedures grants the chocolate factory certifications for quality, health and safety management systems. The administration should aim on obtaining these certifications as they give a good reputation for the business. The customers will be reassured that the factory is responsible and cares about their health.

Pork and Noodles With Hot and Sour Sauce

Udon noodles are Japanese wheat noodles resembling linguine in width, but shorter, about eight inches long. Treat them like pasta-boiled in salted water, not added directly to the stir-fry.

The sauce in this recipe is boldly flavored, but not heavy or “saucy”-it simply coats the pork and noodles with spicy, gingery flavor. This means you won’t see puddles of it in the wok or in your bowl, but a small amount equals big flavor.

Note: Ground fresh chile paste is often sold as “sambal oelek” in Asian food markets. Many supermarkets also carry it in the international aisle. If you can’t find sambal oelek, substitute a chile-garlic paste or other hot sauce.

Serves 5-6

Ingredients

For the Sauce

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 Thai or habanero chile, stemmed and finely chopped

1/4 cup vegetable broth

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp ground fresh chile paste (sambal oelek)

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tsp white sugar

For the Pork and Noodles

6 oz soba noodles

2 tbsp peanut oil, divided

1 lb ground pork

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 oz snow peas, sliced in half lengthwise

3 scallions, thinly sliced, white and dark green parts separated

chopped cilantro leaves (with small stems), for garnish

Preparation

For the Sauce

Whisk all ingredients in a medium bowl until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Set aside. Re-whisk again just before using.

For the Pork and Noodles

Cook the noodles in a large pot of salted, boiling water 10 minutes. Drain.

Heat a wok (or large, deep skillet) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Add the pork and garlic and stir-fry until just cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon and wipe out any remaining liquid.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the mushrooms, snow peas, and white parts of the scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes.

Return the pork mixture to the wok and add the sauce. Cook, stirring to incorporate, until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes.

Add the drained noodles to the wok and toss well to combine. Cook until hot throughout, 1-2 minutes.

To serve, divide the pork and noodles among 5-6 shallow bowls and scatter the green parts of the scallions and the cilantro on top.

Roasted Carrots and Onions Go Great With Steak

My husband and I have visited San Francisco many times. Each time we visit we try to eat at new restaurants. One time we decided to have dinner at a steak restaurant, part of a national chain with a good reputation. Our dinner lived up to the reputation and we could have eaten it twice.

“What’s the vegetable this evening?” I asked the server.

“Roasted carrots and onions,” he replied. “It’s the only vegetable we have.”

While carrots and onions didn’t sound too exciting to me, I ordered the veggies and a side salad. As the server approached our table I could smell the steak and the vegetables. Both smelled fantastic and were fantastic.

Instead of starting with the steak, I took a bite of the veggie mixture, and nearly swooned. The slightly brown carrot chunks were sweet and the onions had melted into brown ribbons of gooey flavor. I wouldn’t have been upset if the roasted veggies were my entire meal, and enjoyed them as much as the steak.

Boiling veggies can reduce flavor, whereas roasting them brings out flavor. Jennifer Armentrout, in her Fine Cooking website article, “An Essential Guide to Roasting Vegetables,” says this cooking method has several advantages. It is “fairly quick and hands-off,” she writes. Armentrout thinks adding a dash of lemon juice brightens flavor and she also tosses veggies with Moroccan spices, or olive oil infused with rosemary and thyme. Garlic and soy sauce may add punches of flavor.

This cooking method also allows you to do your prep work hours ahead. For best results, cut the vegetables into uniform pieces. To prevent the vegetables from sticking, line the pan with non-stick foil, parchment paper. or coat it with baking spray. Make sure the veggie chunks are coated with olive oil. Roast at a high temperature, anywhere from 400 degrees to 475 degrees.

I had family members over for Sunday dinner recently and we had charcoal-grilled steak. I also served this side dish. Nobody asked for seconds on steak, but all, except one, asked for seconds on Roasted Carrots and Onions, and cleaned out the serving bowl. Here is my recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds of carrots
1 very large yellow onion
3 tablespoons light olive oil (more if you think you need it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs

METHOD

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed pan with baking spray and set aside. Peel the carrots and cut into one-inch chunks. Scatter the chunks in the pan. Remove the paper skin from the onion and cut in half. Set the flat side on the cutting board and slice each half into crescents. Scatter the onions over the carrots. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil. Using your fingers, toss the carrots and onions a bit to distribute the oil evenly. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Roast for 30-45 minutes, flipping the chunks with a spatula half way through the process. Remove from oven when the veggies start to brown. Makes six scrumptious servings. These veggies also go well with chicken, fish, pork, and ham.