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Ingredients

Artisanal Sausages

If it wasn’t for her son’s autism, Stephanie Siow would probably never have become a food entrepreneur. His condition meant Siow had to give up full-time work so she could care for him. Needing a new income stream to support the family, the 48-year-old decided to start a home business, and she launched Stephanie Siow’s Artisanal Sausages last year. But it wasn’t just about making extra money. Siow wanted to teach her 17-year-old son life and work skills so that he …

Star Anise Secrets

If you’re familiar with Chinese cuisine, then star anise, with its distinctive, eight-pointed shape, will be no stranger to your kitchen. Its distinctive taste – with even more of the same compound that gives ordinary anise and liquorice their unique flavour – packs a huge punch in that small, pointy package and represents one of the five major spices in Chinese cooking. Those less accustomed to cooking Chinese dishes might not consider star anise a very versatile spice. How could …

Stop Using Boring Regular Butter

By Jimmy Sizzle Yo! This is Jimmy Sizzle, the coolest cook in the kitchen (you can tell from my shades, biker jacket and studded leather toque). You know what’s lame? Butter. You know what’s awesome? Compound butter. Compound butter is like ordinary butter, except where ordinary butter (like the dean of my culinary school) is soft, plain and boring, compound butter is mixed with herbs, spices, nuts, vinegar or other ingredients. It’s easy to make yourself and totally rad. Garlic …

Cooking with Red Dates

The Cantonese call them hong zhou, but to many of us, they are red dates and they are quickly earning another title: superfood. The red date is not just full of nutrients, though; it also has a rich history and cultural significance within the Chinese community. This plump, deep red fruit is popularly called a “date” because of its similar texture and size to the Middle Eastern brown date. The red date comes from a buckthorn shrub or tree that …

Cooking with Tea Leaves

Tea leaves aren’t just for brewing and drinking. Yep, that’s right, you can eat them too, and some cultures around the world have embraced tea leaves as a staple ingredient. The best known is Japan, where tea in the form of matcha (specially prepared and powdered green tea leaves that have a slew of health benefits) is common in ice cream, cakes, smoothies and other confections. But regular, old tea leaves, whether loose, powdered or even pickled, can add a distinctive, …

The Great Bay Leaf Conspiracy

Search Google for “bay leaf conspiracy” and the results might shock you: article after article wondering if bay leaves are a true herb, or merely a far-reaching scheme by the culinary industry to get you to put useless leaves into your food. One author, writing for The Awl, wonders: “What does a bay leaf taste like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf smell like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf look like? A leaf.” They’re crazy, right? Bay leaves are a …