Tag Archives: Food and Related Products

Stewing

Cookbook-beef-stew
Image via Wikipedia

What is stewing?

It’s when you cut food into even sized pieces and simmer them in a minimal amount of liquid or sauce that forms part of the stew.

There are three different ways to cook a stew although I have to admit I’ve only ever used the first two. The first way is the one that most of us would be familiar with where the food is cooked in a liquid that is thickened by the ingredients themselves.

The second, is when the food is cooked in a liquid from which a sauce is made and the last way would be when the food is cooked in a prepared sauce.

Usually a stew is cooked at around 180C in a heavy based saucepan with a suitable lid or a casserole. It’s a great method of cooking for a number of reasons, but the best ones are that it retains almost all the nutrients of the ingredients and it’s also quite cost-effective to make as less expensive meat cuts can be used.

With stews it’s particularly important to remember correct handling of your pans as not only is it easy to burn yourself but in many cases you will be lifting heavy pans with hot liquids inside in and out of your oven, be careful of your back and remember to lift with your legs 😉

Food related stuff I’ve spotted on the Intertubes III

A new burger joint where the customers really do set the menu, what a fantastic idea and if your idea sells well you could be eating for free. It’s a far cry from this place…

An interesting article talking about food miles. I still think that it’s better to buy as much locally grown produce before resorting to food that has travelled half the world. Freshness trumps all in my opinion.

Chocolate and booze, what a classic mix, now available in this ice-cream recipe, thanks to Kieran Murphy for sharing the link.

Is it too early to be talking about what I want for Christmas? Meh, I don’t think it matters anyway as I don’t think even Santa would spring for these cookbooks for me. Check out the price tag before you say you’ll buy them for me 😉

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

I recently watched Food Inc. partly out of curiosity, partly out of my fascination with all things food and partly to see if I was on the right track with my move to home cooked meals from fresh ingredients and boy was it an eye opener. So many questions, so few answers…

This film, one would assume, has it’s facts straight, otherwise some of the monster food companies would be suing it out of existence. But it’s not just about the facts, the film is very well made and the way the facts are revealed is not designed to shock but to educate us.

After watching it I know I will be paying a lot more attention to where my fresh food comes from and how it’s produced, be it meat, poultry, fish or fruit and veg. We all need to be more aware of these things so that we can all make better choices for us and our families.

If you eat you need to see this film!

I would love to hear from Irish farmers and slaughterhouses about the conditions in their operations so as ever the comment form is open below.

Cooking for one – Part I

Is a cookery skill in itself. Most recipes, including a lot of the ones on this site are aimed at making meals for at least 2 or more people. Cooking for one can seem a bit bleak, so what can you do if you are only cooking for one? Starve? Stuff yourself?

Alone

Well neither is a good idea, obviously. If I were cooking for myself and no one else these days I would most likely not cook for one. Confused? Well allow me to explain…

So long as you have a reasonable sized freezer, soups, sauces, curries and stews can all be made up in bulk and then frozen in portions. We do this regularly anyway and we’re cooking for 2 people most of the time.

When I was working full time, I’d spend a few hours most weekends making up tomato sauce, soups, stews, meatballs and pizza bases. Anything that wasn’t eaten over the weekend would be frozen so that they can be pulled out of the freezer on the way out the door to work and they would be defrosted by that evening. This meant that all that was needed in the evening was a reheat. So even when tired coming in after a long day, it wasn’t a chore/hassle to reheat some stew or soup or put together a quick pasta and meatballs.

And for those days when you forget to pull something out of the freezer, there was always frozen Pizza bases. Put the oven on to heat up with the pizza stone in it, once it’s up to temp, lift out the pizza stone, put a frozen pizza base on it and in the length of time it takes to add some sauce and toppings, the base will have mostly defrosted. Into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, slice it, eat it, delicious.

We keep a jar in our fridge with some of our tomato sauce in it at all times for exactly this reason (and for quick bolognese, pasta and meatballs etc.). When it gets empty we simply take some more out of the freezer and refill it.

The best way to cook for one is actually not to a lot of the time. But there are other options as well and I’m going to expand on these a bit more in future posts as well as some tips for freezing different types of meals.