Category Archives: Features

Foodie links For 12/9/2011 – The McDonald’s special

I’ve had this idea knocking round in my mind for a post about McDonald’s, they are probably the best known fast food chain in the world and there are people who say that the industrialisation of the food chain is their doing. In truth, the roots of industrialisation of food started during the world wars of the last century but that’s a whole other post 😉

The problem is that every time I try to write this post it comes off sounding like it was written by some sort of dangerous fanatic. That’s not my goal, so I’ve decided to simply post some McDonald’s related videos and links to finally get this need to talk about McDonald’s out of my system.

How to Make Oatmeal . . . Wrong
Kids’ Nutrition Classes Brought to You by…McDonald’s?
Mayor McCheese? Newsom Vetoes SF Happy Meal Ban
McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy
US mother sues McDonald’s over Happy Meals
McDonald’s thrives as it sticks to its game plan for success
McDonald’s to Serve Sustainable Fish in Europe
McDonald’s¼ Announces Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices
15 Facts About McDonald’s That Will Blow Your Mind

So after reading through those and watching the videos, what do you think about McDonald’s?

Foodie Links for 29/8/2011

I just love the ideas behind this fantastic new Austin, Texas grocery store. Also the name and domain choice are just too geeky not to love :)

This is the very reason that a Pizza Stone is a good investment if you’re gonna make your own Pizza.

As some of you may know I’m always partial to a whole roasted pig, I’ve posted about it before so naturally when I see a post titled “A Beginner’s Guide To Roasting A Whole Pig” I’m gonna give it a click and see what tips I can pick-up.

Giant Exploding Melons!!! well maybe not quite giant but interesting to see what happens when you over do the growth hormones.

David Lebovitz recently published a post called “10 Goofy Foods You’ll Find in a French Supermarket” and I was wondering what would you want to see included in an Irish version?


The microwave cooks food with energy created by microwave emissions at high frequency, which activate the water molecules in the food and the agitation created produces heat which cooks or reheats food.

Microwave oven
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It can be used to cook food in its entirety, partially, reheat food or even to defrost food. You can save up to three-quarters of the time taken by conventional methods, for his reason it is often called the refuge of the lazy and/or disorganised cook. This is because the microwave does nothing for the flavour of food and in many cases provides a far inferior tasting finished product to a conventional option, but it sure is quick. That said it does cut cooking odours and minimise the shrinkage of meats or fish and it is useful for small quantities of food.

The interior needs to be kept clean at all times. Metal or gilded containers should never be used. Also the door seal should be checked regularly, if it is damaged the microwave should not be used until it is repaired.

I’ll admit that our microwave gets a lot of use in our kitchen for three purposes, the first is for making porridge in the morning and this falls into the lazy/disorganised category as I just can’t be bothered with saucepans and watching when I’m still just waking up myself, mix the porridge in the bowl, bung it in the microwave and ninety seconds later I stir in some mashed banana and eat my breakfast. The second is for heating Elly’s “hotpack” that she uses instead of a hot-water bottle.

The final and most frequent use that our microwave gets is as a bread box, it’s big enough to hold 2 full loaves and it’s an airtight container, you just have to remember to let the oven cool before placing the bread inside and closing the door.


Baking is one of the broadest terms when it comes to cooking as it covers so much from the humble baked spud through cakes, pastry, breads, pizza and uses such a wide range of equipment and even different types of ovens – however throughout all this diversity the following statement is true of all the variations…

A wood-burning pizza oven baking pizzas at Mau...
Image via Wikipedia

Baking is the cooking of prepared foods by convected dry heat in an oven using natural moisture.

You can use any number of specialist tins and trays for specific baked items as well general purpose ovens, pastry ovens, pizza ovens and forced air convection ovens. Regardless of the tins or trays and the oven that is used they should always be loaded within their capacity and should be cleaned regularly to prevent spilt food and particles starting a fire.

Shallow frying

Five sausages (Cauldron Lincolnshire) fried in...
Image via Wikipedia

When shallow frying, the food is cooked in a small quantity of fat or oil. There are four different types of shallow frying.

  1. Shallow frying where the food is fried on both sides in oil or fat in a frying pan.
  2. Sauté where the food is tossed in hot fat or oil to cook quickly. A sauté pan is ideal but a frying pan can be used
  3. Griddle fried where the food is cooked quickly on a lightly oiled hot plate or Griddle pan.
  4. Stir-fried where the food is tossed in hot fat or oil over a very high heat, usually done in a wok but a frying or sauté pan can also be used in an emergency.

This is a quick method that can add colour, flavour (from the oil or fat) and a crisp finish to most foods as required.

It’s important to use a pan of a suitable size for the food that you intend to cook and not to crowd the pan as this can affect the quality of the result. As always care should be taken when moving hot pan and especially when tossing a pan with hot oil in it. Finally never leave a pan unattended as oil and fat can catch fire when too hot.