Thursday, December 22, 2016

5 Kitchen Updates That Will Make Festive Cooking Easier

You can feel it in the air when the festive season starts approaching. Whether it’s a cool chill or the sun starting to blaze, there is suddenly an atmosphere of preparation, of celebration, of togetherness. While many of us love hosting the events and parties that the season brings, preparing a feast for family and friends takes a lot of work. 

Streamline your food preparation and take the hassle out of hosting with our 5 tips on how you can make festive cooking easier.

1. Create Space for Food Storage

Clearing fridges and cupboards is a must-do before the festive season begins. Alternatively, if you’ve been meaning to invest in a larger cupboard or fridge, now is the time to do it. Sharing seasonal foods is a joy, but holidays are the times when shops are their busiest. You want your produce to be fresh, but shopping the day before a holiday is a guaranteed way to find yourself in the thick of frantic crowds, and stuffing produce into an overfilled fridge is a good way to ruin it. By freeing up plenty of space in your fridge, you’ll be able to complete your produce shopping a few days in advance and keep your food fresh for the big day. Creating fridge and cupboard space will also make the post-feast clean-up a much easier task – plenty of room for delicious leftovers!

2. Review Your Knives.

Struggling to cut pumpkin or carve chicken with a blunt or inappropriate knife is both time-consuming and dangerous. Having even just a couple of reliable multi-purpose knives to call on is an investment in efficiency. Use a guide to decide which style of knife will make the most valuable addition to your kitchen, and invest in some high quality makes. Consider a knife block, magnetic strip or customised draw for your knives – storing them separately protects edges from damage and makes grabbing the right one at the right time easier. Whether you’re putting together a Christmas barbecue, preparing Thanksgiving roast, or garnishing some New Years’ cocktails, having the right knives for the job will mean speedier, better results.

3. Get Organised.

This might mean organising your pots and pans so that they are easily accessible. Maybe you need to throw out unused utensils, or make it easier to find the right one by re-homing them in a purpose designed canister. It’s also a good time to review your condiments and seasonings - what was opened last year that has just been sitting around waiting for you? A spice rack with your favourite spices means that you don’t have to search through the rarely used for what you use the most. Look at getting an oil pourer attachment for your cooking oils - no more fiddling with greasy lids while you’re in the middle of browning onions! Getting organised doesn’t have to be a chore, either – with so many decorative canisters, strips, knife blocks, racks and holders on the market these days, think of it as a styling opportunity for your kitchen decor.

4. Utilise technology.

There are so many gadgets on the market today that can make food preparation easier. Tablets and smartphones are one of our top picks – you can browse all the recipes the internet has to offer with ease and store them in one place, which takes up far less room on the kitchen bench than multiple open recipe books! Make sure your meat is cooked to perfection with a Thermapen. Give your crème brûlée the perfect crust with the help of a kitchen blowtorch. Even non-electronic gadgets can help, such as garlic choppers and vegetable slicers. No matter which part of your chosen recipes you find the fussiest, there exists a gadget to help make your life easier!

5. Update Your Mindset.

Sometimes, we get so caught up in preparations that we forget we don’t have to do it alone. Hosting celebrations generally means that there are plenty of friends and relatives at your disposal – get the kids making biscuits, the cousins tossing salads and your uncle watching the barbecue. Any recipe that can be prepared ahead of time is a winner, and often guests feel best when they can bring something along to contribute. Teamwork means that you can spend more time with your loved ones than in the kitchen by yourself. Artisan bakers and specialty food stores are perfect for finding quality bread, dips, Christmas puddings, pies, cakes and sweets, and the fresher and higher quality your ingredients, the less preparation they’ll require to taste fantastic.
The most important thing to remember is that festivals and holidays are times to be around those we love. They are times to remember everything we are grateful for, and great food and drink is just the icing on the cake!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to Eat Well and Stay Fit this Christmas Season

We all love to enjoy the festive season with friends family and great food to bring the year to a close, but many of us regret the overindulgence of the holidays and aim to make changes in the New Year. 

What if we decided to be a little more proactive in eating better during the holiday period, giving ourselves a better shot at reaching our goals for the new year!?

One of the best ways to ensure we eat healthily during the Christmas period is to lower our intake of a number of foods that we don’t really need. Sugar, salt, fat and gluten tend to be the regular ‘nasties’ found in a lot of our food that we could well do with cutting down, or cutting out altogether.

A gluten-free Christmas is one to remember!

Creating a gluten-free Christmas sounds impossible due to all of the gluten laden foods that we consume every year, but with a number of great alternatives cropping up that offer a truly exceptional taste, we think it’s worth spending a little time making it work for everyone.

Gluten tends to rear its head in many savoury dishes at Christmas time, including cakes, pastries and a number of sweet favourites that we simply can’t miss out on. So finding a number of fantastic recipes for gluten free Christmas puddings will have many people head over heels!

One of the best ways to get your favourite desserts though is to order online from some of the best local shops that offer pre-made cakes and desserts that are free from gluten, and offer a much healthier alternative than the things in the shops.

Purchase Christmas puddings and deserts online

You can buy Christmas pudding online from a number of supermarkets and stores, but the real secret to a home-made dessert is with a boutique pudding specialist. Pud For All Seasons offers gourmet puddings that you can purchase online to treat yourself whenever you need it most.

With gluten free Christmas puddings created with care and baked with love, who could resist a little cheating to order your food in time for your Xmas dinner?

Gluten free puddings are one of the best alternatives for the real thing, considering they feature a much richer ingredient list that does away with gluten in favour for specialist flour and baking products to give it a uniquely classic taste to enjoy with family this year.

Cut down on unnecessary ingredients to give yourself a boost for the New Year

Cutting down on your stodge is a great way to feel fit, and take on much less gluten and fat than previous years. Take the time to look for alternative recipes in terms of butter, salt and sugar content for all of your meals and you may find that serving up the leanest Christmas lunch may be your best ever.

Not only will you feel lighter and healthier due to the lack of unnecessary ingredients, you will also see the praise of your guests who will have made a great start to the New Year, in keeping fit, healthy and gluten free for this holiday season!