I like shopping for groceries on my own because

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doing so with my husband and kids invariably means a lot of items that are not on the grocery list. Nevertheless, the grocery trips end up being fun (albeit tiring) and a good way to introduce the kids to new food.

One of the things my hubby got during out last trip was two packs of Nori – one plain and one wasabi flavored. If you don't know what nori is, it's the rather fishy-smelling papery ingredient they use as sushi wrap. Nori, which by the way is dried edible seaweed, is actually used in Japanese cuisine not just as sushi wrap, but topping and condiment for noodles and various dishes.

Feeling rather adventurous with the kid's palate, who by the way are still toddlers, my husband gave each a strip of nori (not the wasabi flavored of co

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urse!). We were expecting to see scrunched up faces and little tongues sticking out as they spit out the nori in disgust. Surprise! Both kids finished of their little strips in minutes and promptly held out their hands for more.

So what's my point? The point is simply that it's never too early to start training your kid's palate so that they will be able to appreciate all kinds of food better

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as they grow. Not only will you be helping them in case they do end up as aspiring chefs when they grow up, but you'll also have an easier time feeding them as they grow up because chances are they won't be such picky eaters.

Oh, and here are links to some recipes that use nori as ingredient from celebrity chefs Dale Talde (Nori Seared Tuna Steak) and Janella Prucell (Brown Rice Tempeh Nori Rolls).

Image via RemixYourHealth


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Chef Hugh “Fearlessly-Eatsitall” Fearnley-Whittingstall is at it again, pushing society’s buttons

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by declaring that people who eat pigs should be able to eat puppies too.

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According to Radio Times, the controversial chef told them that “You can’t object [to eating puppies], unless you also object to the farming of pigs. It’s an artificial construct of our society, a cultural decision, to make pets out of dogs and meat out of pigs: both animals could be used the other way round.”

Being a newly-converted vegetarian, he also said though that his stand on “high-welfare organic puppy farms” is just a matter of principle, and that he wouldn’t really eat puppies in practice, at least not unless he’s starving. While the statement is likely just him trying to point out his new found love for animals and his stance on the undesirability of eating pork, they are not going down well at all, especially with the RSPCA, WSPA, and other animal welfare advocates.

An RSPCA spokesperson already told the Daily Mail that even if the chef’s “comments may seem sensible but are actually quite controversial – especially when dogs are our most popular and loved pet.”

WSPA, on the other hand, is clearly against the issue as they have been working on ending the dog meat trade in South Korea for more than a decade now. According to their website, “The commercial production of dog meat involves cruelty at every stage, from ‘dog farm’ or street capture through to transport

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and killing.” And as Dr Les Sims of the Hong Kong Government Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department has stated (via The Telegraph), “No country in the world has developed a humane way of raising and slaughtering dogs, and in our opinion, it cannot be done”.

Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall may say that eating pigs is no different than eating puppies, but what do you say? Anyone care for a hot dog?

Image Credit: Gazzat and Fern Hill Farm

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Chef John Ash

A lot of cooks would agree that the use of wine in some meals have added a certain spice in making them sought after. Such can be attributed towards the contributions of Chef John Ash, an internationally recognized chef, educator and author. His continued work and application of wine towards cuisine and his evident mastery for winery has been his obvious trademark that has brought him towards world wide prominence.

John is known to hold various classes and teaches culinary schools and institutions with regards to the tricks of the proper use of wine for culinary meals. Majority of his known reliability has been attributed towards the wine industry and such has been something that has continued to push him up towards fame and fortune.

He has published two books, namely American Game Cooking in 1991 and From the Earth to the Table: John Ash’s Wine Country Cuisine in 1996. The latter book was awarded the Julia Child Award for Best Cookbook in 1996 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Chef Jody AdamsChef Jody Adams personifies the ease of being a great chef through the use of available resources found in your kitchen today. Being a good cook is a given with practice, but with more practice and a touch of imagination at that, good chefs are sure to arise. This has been one of the beliefs that have catapulted Chef Jody towards mastering the art of cooking.

Cooking in the eyes of Chef Jody would simply be like following instincts rather than the usual traditional cooking practices that people see on television or from reading the available cookbooks in stores today. It all boils down to following a cooking style which would carve out your name in the genre of food that a person would want to cook up.

This is the secret that Jody Adams shares as her ultimate success in cooking. With a wide array of recipes that includes starter meals, seasonal prepared meals and Italian tradition meals such as pasta until deserts, Chef Jody has a long list of recipes all based on her instincts and what she can do around the kitchen. People can do this as well if they know how to go around the kitchen of their homes as well.

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chocolatefondue_250A Valentines Dinner would not be complete without dessert and for me, this dessert should be something chocolate. Call it traditional. Call it mushy. I don’t care. I have to have chocolate on Valentine’s Day! So here is my pick from Rachel Ray’s ideas for the day of love – Chocolate Fondue:

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
Two 12-ounce bags semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Dried apricots, for dipping
Gala apples, cored and sliced, for dipping
Pretzel rods, for dipping
Marshmallows, for dipping

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa powder with 1/2 cup water and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the chocolate chips and vanilla and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
2. Serve the fondue warm with the apricots, apples, pretzel rods and marshmallows for dipping.

There’s nothing like good old chocolate fondue to top off a romantic evening. Imagine having a very satisfying meal together. How much more romantic can you get than this – a cozy conversation while dipping fruits and marshmallows into a sumptuous chocolate fondue? You can’t get any better than that, really. The rest of the evening is up to you. Happy Valentines everyone!

Note: If you do not like the fruits mentioned above, you can always find some other fruits that you prefer. Try bananas or strawberries.

As a chef, the choice of chef coats you make will play a major role in the presentation of your work, and to some extent its safety. Making the right choice in this department isn’t just about looking good, it also means you’ll provide yourself with all the comfort and utility you’ll need to work your miracles in the kitchen. Chef coats come in various shapes and sizes, but the basic idea is the same.

Chef coats, also known as chef jackets, are usually made of a thick material that provides good insulation (most commonly cotton) and are traditionally dyed white, which not only serves a practical purpose (makes stains easier to spot), but also maintains a clean, hygienic look if your chef jacket is always maintained in good condition. They’re usually double-breasted as well, and can be turned inside out to conceal a stain temporarily if the chef needs to make a presentation.

Chefs also need good chef aprons to perform their jobs well – like coats, chef aprons provide a combination of good looks and utility, though with the apron the accent is more on the utility part – a good chef apron would be easy to take off, and would usually feature pockets for holding utensils.

If you’re a woman, you should know that women’s chef jackets are slightly different than their male counterparts – a woman’s chef jacket is usually shaped slightly differently to accommodate for the different physique, and tend to come in slightly different color schemes as well.

Most people associate the profession of a chef with one traditional part of their uniforms – the chef’s hat. However, not many realize the importance of other aspects of a chef’s clothing. Chef coats have developed quite a lot in recent times, both in terms of looks as well as utility, and they’re currently an indispensable part of any respected chef’s equipment. Chef coats not only help identify the chef among their co-workers, but they also provide a variety of useful functions that help ease the job.

Does every person who works in a kitchen really need a good assortment of chef jackets in their wardrobe though? It all boils down to several factors. First, what type of cooking do you do precisely? If it involves a lot of boiling and generally working with hot materials, well-made chef jackets can provide you with the extra protection you’ll need to feel comfortable. Additionally, if you want to make a good presentation, wearing something respectable will always be of benefit.

It’s not just about the coat though – chef aprons are just as important as the coats worn by chefs, as they provide additional protection and utility, while also being a traditional part of a chef’s attire. Chef aprons are more commonly worn by non-professional chefs as they’re easily available and very convenient.

Women need to take care of themselves just as well in the kitchen – good women’s chef jackets are widely available just as men’s, and offer the same utility and comfort that help ease the job’s stress.

Children love christmas time. Maybe it’s because of the joy in the air or maybe it’s because of the gift giving. They definitely enjoy the decorating that is done for this holiday.

The gingerbread house is a fun christmas tradition. It allows you and your kids to work together to be creative. It also makes a great item for your christmas decorating. You might want to buy extra bits of the ingredients as some might get nibbled before you finish making your gingerbread house.

The gingerbread house starts with the form. Most use a cardboard house as a base. You can usually buy these in stores if you don’t want to make your own or try creating your own template, it is really easy. Of course you can always print out guides from online.
For the rest of the gingerbread house, try this recipe from Chef Bobby Flay. He introduced this recipe on his show, Food Nation.


  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups dark molasses
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Frosting, either store-bought or homemade
  • Brightly colored candies such as gumdrops, licorice, peppermint sticks, etc.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 5 cups of flour, the ginger and baking soda in a large bowl. Set aside.

Cream shortening and sugar in large bowl with mixer. Add molasses and lightly beaten eggs. Blend well. Gradually add dry ingredients. Knead in remaining flour, if necessary. Chill dough 1 hour for best rolling results.

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick directly onto cookie sheets. Cut patterns, removing excess dough. Chill 10 minutes before baking. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes.

Let cookies cool.

Next, to assemble house, you will want to make a simple cardboard house to use as your base to help hold the house together. Begin applying cookies to the cardboard using your frosting as glue. Once cookies cover the entire house you can decorate with colorful candies such as gumdrops, peppermint sticks and licorice.

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Everyone has his secret, and although many people would like to keep their secret just that – a secret – these things have a way of coming out into the open. Take this simple technique of cooking food in a bag.

Dubbed sous vide, the technique is basically that – putting food in a sealed pouch and dumping it in hot water (maintained at a precise temperature for a certain period of time). It has been around for so long, but not many chefs (celebrity or otherwise) like talking about it. I suppose the idea is too similar to instant food that health-conscious individuals abhor.

Cooking sous vide, however, is actually quite different. The result of using this technique is three-fold:

• Save time
• Save on costs
• Ensure consistency

What’s the advantage of using the technique? Basically, cooking food in sealed pouches at relatively low temperatures over time makes the fats and collagen in meat break down slowly. The juices and the flavors are also retained much better. You can just imagine how tasty the food will be – whether you’re talking about meats or vegetables!

To do this properly, you can buy a “real” sous vide “machine.” This includes the vacuum sealed pouch and a self-stirring bath. This will set you back several thousands of dollars, though. (Yeah it’s one other reason that not many people are using them.) On the other hand, you can set your own up by buying a vacuum sealed bag and making your own water bath. However, the results may not be the same as you have to monitor the water temperature more closely and make sure that the water is stirred constantly.

The next time you hear sous vide – do not be turned off. It just might yield the best meal you’ve ever had!

In some parts of the world, Fridays are considered to be a “meatless” day. That is, some people do not eat pork, beef, or any other animal flesh (except for fish and other seafood). I think this is because Friday is traditionally believed to be the day that Jesus Christ died. I could be wrong about the reason, but in any case, I am sure about this: Iron Chef Mario Batali has joined a cause. The Meatless Monday cause.

What’s it about? The initiative is being carried out by The Monday Campaigns, together with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The main goal is to cut back on the consumption of meat by 15% by not consuming meat on Mondays.

Now why would they want to do that? The answer is simple: eating less meat can be good for your health. Eating less meat also contributes to the efforts to save the planet.

The idea is noble, and the implementation quite simple – theoretically. For meat lovers, it might not be as easy.

Anyhow, famed celebrity chef Mario Batali, who is known for his love of meat, has decided to join the cause. It might seem ironic at first, since he has this awesome way with all sorts of meat. However, the chef himself justifies his commitment to Meatless Mondays:

“The fact is, most people in the U.S. eat way more meat than is good for them or the planet, Asking everyone to go vegetarian or vegan isn’t a realistic or attainable goal. But we can focus on a more plant-based diet. That’s why I’m such a big believer in the Meatless Monday movement!”

So how’s the chef going to go about it? All of his restaurants – all 14 of them – will be serving at least two vegetarian options every Monday. Pretty cool, although it would have been more radical if he had decided not to serve meat at all on Mondays, right?