Category Archives: Food

Fields of Barley

In the 15th century, barley comprised the sole grain used to brew beer throughout the Holy Roman Empire, which included beer-loving countries like Germany and the Czech country of Bohemia. Along with its cousin rye, these two popular grains were ground into flour and cereal to feed the poor masses. Once wheat was domesticated, the upper classes eschewed barley as peasant food and embraced wheat as their major grain. (Because of barley’s nutritional value, the peasants probably outlived the upper classes by many years.) In ancient Greece and Rome, bread was made from ground barley flour and became a staple for athletes. Its fiber content and nutritional value were highly prized.

In Ireland and Scotland, beer and scotch whisky are still made primarily with barley. In the U.K. barley wine (which is actually a strong ale) has been a popular English drink for centuries. And during the 1500s, a popular British folk song immortalized a character named John Barleycorn, presumably sung loudly in numerous pubs and taverns, praising the grain and its contribution to popular libations. In 1993, the popular British singer Sting wrote and recorded a haunting ballad called “Fields of Gold” which seems to immortalize this thriving crop. In the U.S. Jack Daniel’s whiskey, the largest selling brand, is made with corn, rye, and malted barley. (note the different spelling of whisky, which is Scottish, and whiskey, which is American.)

Not to be written off as just another starch, centuries ago barley water and tea were often used for medicinal cures, and modern medicine recognizes the grain’s ability to help regulate glucose levels for diabetes, provide excellent high fiber and cardio benefits as well. In the U.S., northern states grow the majority of America’s crop, primarily Montana, Idaho and North Dakota, of which 25% is used for malting, 50% for animal feed. It is also a popular grain used in coffee substitutes. Worldwide production tops 144 million tons annually, with Russian the major producer of barley, France and Germany a distant second and third. Pearl barley is what most Americans recognize, added to soups and sometimes eaten as a grain instead of rice. Barley flakes make a hearty hot cereal, and barley flour can be mixed with wheat for a full-bodied bread or muffin.

Needless to say, like most grains, barley has been domesticated, cultivated and refined over the centuries to produce far more friendly crops and more uses than its ancient ancestor. Unfortunately, barley is not gluten-free and should be avoided by those with allergies. But for everyone else, a daily helping in some form can be highly beneficial. Consider tossing it into a variety of dishes, kneading it into dough, adding it to salads (cooked of course) and as an all-around grain to add fiber and nutrition to your menus. Barley may not be glamorous, but it sure packs a wallop nutritionally.

Healthiest Beverage in Your Regular Diet

We all know that coffee is loaded with antioxidants and valuable nutrients to improve our health.

Let’s know about scientifically proven 15 health benefits of coffee –

1. Enhances Our Physical Performance – Having a cup of coffee, usually a black coffee just an hour before physical exercise or workout can boost your performance by 12 %. Caffeine boost adrenaline levels in our blood stream. Adrenaline is our body’s “fight” hormone that helps our body for any sort of physical exertion.

2. Cure Pain – Just two cups of coffee can cure muscle pain that one gets a post workout by 48%, as stated in the Journal of Pain in March 2007.

3. Promote Mental Strength – It has been proven scientifically that coffee plays a vital role to bolster our brain. Researchers claim that individual who drinks 3-5 cup of coffee every day has about 65% less chance of developing mental disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Moderate intake of coffee also helps you to stay focused and mentally alert.

4. May Help in Weight Loss – We know that coffee is loaded with antioxidants but do you know that it also contains potassium and magnesium that helps our body use insulin, regulate the sugar level in blood. It also helps in reducing our craving for snacks and sugary treats. It also helps in fat cell breakage and uses it as body fuel for any physical training.

5. Enhance Our Fiber Intake – A cup of coffee usually represents an involvement of around 1.8 grams of a fiber of the recommended intake of 19-38 grams. As per the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

6. Lower Risk of Diabetes – As per the Achieves of Internal Medicine, people who consume 5-6 cups of coffee every day has 22% less risk of diseases like diabetes. Shocking but about 11.8% men of America above the age of 20 years have diabetes. Hence, it has become a growing concern and due to this, it is receiving lots of attention from the medical community. Recently, it has been discovered by Harvard researchers that men consuming coffee had a significantly lesser risk of developing diabetes of type – II. However, it is essential to regulate your sugar intake.

7. Reduces Risk of Alzheimer ‘s disease – Alzheimer’s disorder is a know neuro-degenerative mental disorder, which is also a leading cause of dementia. This disease usually affects individual above the age of 65 years and unfortunately, till today, there is no any specific cure for this disease. However, substantial evidence has been provided in European Journal of Neurology that caffeine or elements of coffee can provide protection against this deadly disease.

8. Reduces Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease – This is other most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s. Similar to Alzheimer’s, there is no such specific treatment for this disease. Hence, precaution is very vital to reduce the risk of such diseases. As per few studies, coffee intake helps in reducing the risk of Parkinson’s diseases ranging from 30 to 60%.

Different Types Of Candies Prepared

The type produced depends on the temperatures and cooling period of syrup during its preparation.

The History

In Old days steam power was used in factories. Candy making and consumption increased during 19th century. In early days of its development preparation was done mostly by hand. It used to be prepared at home or in small, local shops. Increased machine involvement caused prices to come down and consumption increased.In the late 19th century early 20th century, candy was considered sweet and friendly, so preparing it at home, giving to friends and relatives was the trend. But over time its manufacturing developed in to a big industry. There had been a time when it even got the status of alternate meal. At that time there was very little awareness about nutrition. It was only in late 20th century that people were made aware, that these give empty calories and their popularity came down.

Safety

Making candy can be hazardous at times, due to the high temperature of sugar. The temperature often exceeds 150 degrees Celsius. Even small splashes can cause burns.

Types Of Candies

They are basically 2 types of candies. Hard Candy and Soft Candy.

1. Hard candy

Hard candy, is a candy prepared from syrups heated to a temperature of 160 °C. After heating the syrup to this temperature, it is poured in moulds and then cooled till room temperature we get hard candy. To add color, food grade color is used.

2. Soft candy

Soft candy is subdivided in to two categories:

a. Cotton candy

Cotton candy is made by spinning sugar. The Machines used to make cotton candy has a spinning head covering a small bowl. Granulated sugar is poured in the bowl while it spins. Heaters melt the sugar, and this melted sugar is squeezed out through tiny holes by centrifugal force, and the molten sugar solidifies in the form of strands, then a stick, cone, or hands are used to collect the strands.

b. Marshmallows

The use of marshmallow to make a sweet dates back to ancient Egypt. It is prepared using egg whites, corn syrup and sugar. Now a days, marshmallows are prepared by process of extrusion. Extrusion is the process in which we force semi solid paste of sugar through small orifice to give it cylindrical shape.

I have covered common varieties here but there are many more types of candies available in the market.

You may be interested to know about other types of candies like jelly beans then you can search about it on Ezine to continue reading. I am also planning to write one article on jelly beans soon.

Southern Desserts

In most convenience stores, you can’t miss the display of Moon Pies (not really pies but more like sandwich cookies) sitting on the counter, just begging to be snatched up. They’re a southern tradition, kind of like their version of s’mores, made with graham crackers and marshmallow filling, then dipped in chocolate or butterscotch coating. Don’t try to make them yourself. Opt instead for a chocolate or lemon chess pie, which is easy, served in a single crust and contains a dense, sugary filling. Another no-brainer, fruit cobblers can be single or double crust, baked in a casserole dish and can have a crumbly topping sprinkled over the fruit filling, rather than a pie crust topping. Southerners like to use buttermilk biscuits on top. Sugar pie, originally from southern Indiana, is basically a custard base with lots of brown sugar or molasses, single crust. (Diabetics beware.)

Pies came to America with the first English settlers. Early colonists baked their pies in long narrow pans called “coffins” which also referred to a crust. (Not very appetizing for sure.) Centuries earlier, most pies were filled with meat and eaten as a main course, and early desserts were kept simple, featuring fruits and nuts. But American colonists used fruits from their orchards, replacing centuries of meat fillings, and it was during the American Revolution that the word “crust” replaced the less appealing term coffyn (original spelling). Probably a good idea, as our foodie President Thomas Jefferson would have frowned on serving desserts with coffyns at the White House. (His guests thanked him.)

In the summers when fruit was plentiful, early cooks prepared a crust, filled it with apples or peaches, and called it cobbler (sometimes referred to as a “crisp” or apple brown betty, both close cousins). The origin of red velvet cake plays a tug of war between New York and the South, making its debut in the mid-twentieth century, and each region has its own slightly different version. The red color came originally from beets, but now uses red food coloring, unless you really like beets. Banana pudding is always a hit, made with vanilla wafers, sliced bananas, vanilla pudding and whipped cream.

Okay, so what exactly is hummingbird cake? Basically a spice cake made with mashed banana, pineapple, pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. It’s also a popular pie, which includes similar ingredients but poured into a pie crust. Old-timers swear you’ll sing like a bird when you take your first bite. (Why not nightingale pie? They sing more.) Or maybe it’s supposed to get your taste buds humming, You decide.

Bakers Blue Label Marie Biscuits

Have you ever tried putting something on top of these biscuits? You can make miniature jam cakes that fill you up with sweetness like no other. If you don’t have a cake around somewhere in the fridge this is a perfect substitute.

Marshmallows work perfectly too. This is possibly one of the best sweet treats to make for yourself. All you need to do is place a marshmallow between two of the Marie Biscuits and put it in the microwave for a couple of seconds. A delicious melted marshmallow treat.

If you are having a party and want different treats besides cupcakes or tarts you can make sweet treats yourself. Dress up this biscuit with chocolate and sprinkles and serve it as a delicious dessert on the buffet tables. This works well for New Year parties, Easter parties or Birthday parties.

Most cheesecakes have a base that uses this biscuit. You can either make the traditional cheesecake or Tiramisu.

Traditional cheesecakes can either be baked or chilled. Crush the biscuits and layer them on the bottom of the pan. To give the base extra excitement you can add lemon juice, orange juice or zest prior to adding the mixture to the pan. Make sure you add a little sugar.

For the Tiramisu, you need to layer the biscuit between cream cheese, cream and chocolate shavings. Usually finger biscuits are used to absorb the espresso but Marie Biscuits work just as well. This cake does not require baking. Make sure you make a nine cup pot of espresso and add three teaspoons of sugar per cup.

Another trend present that can be seen all over the web is dessert balls. The crushed biscuits allow the dessert to stay stiff whilst being chilled and frozen for the baking or frying process. All that needs to be added is a chocolate dough which usually consists of milk, egg and flour, depending on the recipe and how it needs to be cooked.

Making sweet treats should not have to be complicated. They are delicious and deserve to be made as often as possible. Whether you want to impress a group of people or just want to have a party for one, these treats are great to have on the plate. Marie Biscuits can be found in bulk at a cash and carry wholesaler if you use a lot of it because they simply are the best.

J&E Cash ‘n Carry is one of South Africa’s biggest wholesalers in the following categories of products: Cosmetics, Groceries, Sweets, Personal Care, Household, Health, Beauty, Baby, Hardware, Electric & Stationery. We supply traders only, and offer the highest standards of service, the cheapest deals, and the best buying experience.

Coffee Culture in India

These fast expanding cafes are the prime spot for people to catch up or spend a few hours either working, reading or just whiling away the time. Equipped with free wifi and air-conditioning, these cafes are also fast becoming the venue of choice for informal work meetings. Where until only 20 years ago, cappuccino, latte and double shots would have been alien words, today’s Indian not only knows the difference between them but can also discern between a medium, dark or light roast and are on the hunt for the best coffee machine.

But even this pattern of coffee consumption is changing. Whereas earlier Indians were satisfied with drinking coffee at cafes and tea at home, the same no longer holds true, people now want to enjoy cafe quality coffee at home and are not shying away from purchasing coffee machines and single origin coffees to take their love for coffee to the next level. Another reason for this trend is the high level of sugar and artificial flavouring present in the signature coffee drinks of many cafes, which does not sit well with the health conscious youth of today. Contrast this with the scenario of only a few years ago when the average Indian would have had no idea about the different coffee brewing methods, let alone think of purchasing a coffee machine. The hunt for the best coffee machine is on as Indians comb through internet reviews, form coffee appreciation clubs, attend coffee tasting meets for the best brew available. Gourmet coffee roasters and sellers find themselves flooded with orders for their artisanal blends and instant coffee, the go-to coffee option of the past is given a miss.

While popular misconception may lead people to think that coffee machine price in India is horribly prohibitive or the products available are of poor quality, nothing could be further from the truth. Coffee makers in India are not only at par with international brands, but the prices are also competitive, making owning the best coffee maker for one’s needs a distinct possibility for everyone. Grinding ones own coffee, brewing it at home is now considered a sign of sophistication instead of a tedious and well-avoided chore as thought earlier.

From a niche beverage to a drink signifying upward mobility and youth, coffee in India has traversed a long and interesting path in just twenty short years leaving us to wonder what the next coffee consumption trend will be. And while we wait for it to turn up, may we suggest a piping hot cup of coffee?

Morphy Richards provides state of the art products under kitchen appliances. The name has been in the market for long and is associated with loyalty and quality assurance for years.

The First Health Food

The word yogurt originated in Turkey, where the practice of fermenting milk caught on in a big way. Recorded history tells us that Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongol Empire, and his armies lived on yogurt. (So for all you men out there who think yogurt is for sissies, think again.) The first references to yogurt are in Turkish writings during the 11th century, but it is believed that yogurt was eaten with honey since the early Bible times. Other countries seasoned it with spices and seeds, enjoying its smooth creamy texture. There are as many versions as there are countries, and its popularity spread long before its health benefits were totally understood. Middle Eastern countries used yogurt in many dishes centuries before it found its way to Western Europe.

Because yogurt contains good bacteria, it was believed to have curative powers especially for digestive and intestinal abnormalities. Francis I, a powerful late fifteenth century French monarch, purportedly was relieved of his chronic diarrhea by a physician who prescribed a daily helping of yogurt, and word soon spread throughout Western Europe.

In the country of India, a similar version called da-hi is a popular accompaniment to native spicy entrees. Frequently made from yak or water buffalo milk, it is also consumed in Nepal and Tibet and considered a staple of their simple diets. Iranians love yogurt as a side dish, often combined with cucumbers and other vegetables, and a popular substitute for sour cream. Lassi and kefir are other forms of yogurt in a liquid form among Indian and Middle Eastern cultures. Americans still prefer their own versions of yogurt and rarely venture out of their comfort zone. They have welcomed it into their diets, frequently as a substitute for vegetables oils, salad dressings, sour cream and mayonnaise.

Turkish immigrants brought their beloved yogurt to North America in the 1700s but it didn’t gain much popularity until the mid-1940s. Did Thomas Jefferson serve yogurt at state dinners? Probably not. Virtually confined to major cities and ethnic communities on the East Coast, it certainly would not have been a big hit out on the frontier, either.

By the early 20th century, it was viewed strictly as a “health food” and consumed by those who had digestive challenges. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg served it daily at his Battle Creek Sanitarium, where people flocked to experience his cures eating a restricted diet. Because of the lactobacillus component, it promoted healthy probiotics in the intestines and stomach, and boosted digestive enzymes. Presumably the first commercial yogurt enterprise, a small mom and pop business called Columbo yogurt set up shop on the East Coast in 1929.

The Food of the Gods

Aztecs considered cacao the food of the Gods, hence its scientific name theobroma cacao. As for the Maya, they believed that the Gods discovered the cacao plant in a sacred mountain where other food items were also found, and later the Feathered Serpent gave it to humankind to cultivate. There are numerous ancient tablets with medicinal, ceremonial and culinary references to it. It was also made into a powder that was smoked.

Cacao consumption has always been favored by the most refined, being enjoyed by both ancient Aztec kings and high-society Europeans during the 1800’s. Today it’s synonimous with Valentines’ Day and is often used by lovers who wish to express their adoration.

The brain on cacao secretes the same chemicals and feel-good hormones that are produced when we make love, or when an athlete experiences the runner’s high. Prominent among them is serotonin, the chemical of wellbeing. It also contains anandamide, which translates literally as the chemical of bliss, and so many minerals -many of which are often lacking in the standard American diet- that it’s nature’s own mineral supplement.

When eaten in its raw form, it has anti-depressant properties, increases pleasure and alleviates stress. There are very few foods this highly auspicious. It has been used successfully as a mood-booster by the authorities in London with youth leaving the club scene late at night, where it was proven to reduce the rates of violent crimes and unruly behavior.

Among the other health benefits, we find that it keeps the heart healthy, it’s a brain food that supports memory and learning, relaxes the muscles and alleviates menstrual pain. This is why women naturally crave chocolate when pregnant or during menstruation. The human body has the wisdom to recognize that superfoods like cacao and maca help to regulate the hormonal system.

I should warn my readers that all these benefits are optimized when we consume cacao in its unprocessed form, the way nature intended. Most commercial chocolate not only has lost much of the nutritional value of cacao, but also has been adulterated with caffeine and processed sugars. In its raw form, cacao has more than twenty times the antioxidants that processed chocolate has, and has little to no caffeine.

Raw cacao can be used in powdered form on smoothies or drinks. My favorite one is what I call the ‘raw cacao elixir’, a very easy-to-make drink which uses very cold baby coconut water, cacao and maca powders, and a sweetener. Sometimes during the summer I also add crushed ice to make it even more refreshing.

All-natural homemade dairy-free chocolate ice cream can be made and served in two minutes by blending cacao powder, a sweetener and a couple of frozen bananas. Maca powder is optional and adds a malty flavor to it. There’s a beautiful synergy between cacao and maca, as well as between cacao and coconut water.

The Misunderstood Superfood

There is a specific type of chocolate that is beneficial. And for those of us with a super-sweet tooth, it’s not the especially appealing kind.

Dark Chocolate. That’s right. And it has to be at least 70% cacao to be any good to you inside and especially out.

We really don’t have to get into it’s origins. It’s pretty commonly known that chocolate comes from the cacao beans in the tropical regions of the world, like Africa, Madagascar, and South America. Just like coffee, it’s much more familiar to us consumers once it’s been roasted and processed much further from its natural state. But we need to understand that the less processed our chocolate, the more beneficial it is.

Right out of the cacao bean, the pulp and seeds are referred to as cacao. It doesn’t become cocoa until it’s been roasted and ground up good. So when you are in the store and you see “70% cacao” or “88% cacao”, you usually know you’re getting the real unadulterated stuff. Dark chocolate contains more cacao and therefore retains it’s naturally-occurring compounds that the media sing praises about. Trouble is, that good-for-you components, also known as flavonoids or flavonols, are naturally bitter. When you’re eating semi-sweetened or milk chocolate, the manufacturers have replaced those compounds with milk and sugar so they would taste better. Frankly, your health isn’t the first thing on their minds… your taste buds are.

This is why the term “chocolate” as a superfood is a misrepresentation. My idea of chocolate isn’t the same as someone else’s. Hell, my idea of chocolate isn’t even what is was 5 years ago! The superficial Chocolate is the dark variety. And not just any dark chocolate. In fact, even if you find the chocolate bars that say “70% cacao” right on the front of the label, you need to check the ingredients. The first ingredient listed is usually the main ingredient. If it says anything besides “bittersweet chocolate” (I’ve seen “milk” in some), it’s not going to be the real thing.

By the way, in case you are concerned about the “chocolate liquor” you often see on labels, don’t worry! It’s not referring to anything alcoholic. After the cacao nibs are roasted and hulled out of their shells, then ground into a gritty paste, this is what it’s called. The word “liquor” simply refers to its liquid state. I can’t tell you how many times I had to clear this up for people who avoid alcohol for religious and health purposes.

A Guide to Its Uses and Health Benefits

The grains were a staple diet of farmers in many parts of India. However, with the passage of time and with the introduction of other grains, Jowar lost its prime position on the dining table. But modern research and its time-tested health benefits are restoring its past glory.

These white millets can be consumed by preparing various delicious recipes. Jowar grains can be boiled and stews or soups can be prepared. The white grains can be ground into fine powder and can be used as flour for making bhakris or bread. Jowar flour is used to make sumptuous omelette and dosa which are easy to digest by both the children and elderly alike.

Health Benefits of Jowar flour:

The nutritive value of Jowar is high. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. These gluten-free millets are loaded with high amounts of fibre. Fibre helps keep the stomach full and aids in maintaining the proper functioning of the digestive tract. A fibre rich diet lowers the risk of obesity, stroke, etc.

Jowar flour contains high amounts of iron. Iron is essential for the body to produce energy and red blood cells. It also contains good amounts of phytochemicals, which help prevent and treat various types of cancer. Theses phytochemicals lower the risk of heart diseases too.

Anthocyanins are also present in the Jowar, which help the body prevent damage from free radicals, which are harmful and can lead to cancer, boost ageing process, heart diseases and much more. Jowar also aids in lowering the cholesterol levels.

Antioxidants and phenolic content in Jowar regulate insulin and glucose level in the body. Jowar consumption is thus helpful for those who are diabetic patients. As the jowar is gluten free, it is beneficial to those who have celiac disease. It is, in fact, a boon to people with gluten sensitivity.

Jowar is a rich source of vitamins and the health benefits of jowar flour are extensive. It is a good source of vitamins like Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin.

This white millet also provides phosphorous, which is an essential nutrient required by the body for the growth and maintenance of bones. It plays an important role in triggering various enzymes and hormones. This mineral is present in Sorghum as phytate. Apart from this, it provides rich amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Jowar contains a high content of calcium as well. As the Jowar has plenty of nutrients, it is added to other cereal flour to increase the nutritive value.

The bland taste of the jowar blends with any of the cereal flour making it more nutritious.