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COOKING

Make Your Own Kombucha: Part 2

Now that you’ve mastered the art of basic brewing, let’s move on to the fun part of making kombucha – flavouring and carbonating. This process is called secondary fermentation because the cultures feed off the sugar in the things you’ve added – typically fruit – and in this way continue the fermentation process. We’ll also cover how to manage your SCOBIES, including how to store them for future use or split them to give away to another home brewer. Flavouring …

Make Your Own Kombucha: Part 1

Love Wholesome contributor Jo-ann Huang brews her own fermented tea and lives to tell the tale Kombucha, or fermented tea, is no longer just a trendy drink loved by rich and health-obsessed hipsters. Australian brands Remedy and Mojo now feature widely in chain supermarkets, and homegrown breweries Yocha and Craft & Culture have built up loyal followings. The 2,000-year-old elixir, which is said to have originated in China, has a long list of purported health benefits, including a calmer gut …

Recipe Secrets: Keralan Banana Dessert

When you have a glut of something, what do you? Some cooks say that the best and most creative recipes come from times of abundance – bananas being a case in point. Home cook Mary Samuel grew up on a tea plantation near Dengkil, about 40 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur. Her mother always cultivated many banana trees and it was up to the rest of the household to find creative ways to use them during harvest season. The family was …

Why Your Kitchen Needs a Dutch Oven

A note from your grandmother found in the kitchen… What’s that there? A Crock-Pot? Do I, your dear old gran, see an electric slow cooker in your kitchen? Posh! Back in my day, we didn’t need fancy gizmos to make a stew, pot roast or broccoli casserole. We did it the old fashioned way: A Dutch oven! Eh? You don’t have a Dutch oven? Of course, you do! I gave you one on your wedding day, and you left it …

Cutting Boards: Wood vs Plastic

You might think a cutting board is just a surface to keep your table or your countertop from getting sliced, but there is more to a cutting board than meets the knife. A lot more – and what material you choose can affect both flavour and food safety. So what’s the difference between wood, plastic and glass, the most common cutting board materials? Softness and hardness The first thing to keep in mind is how hard or soft your cutting …

Meatballs of the World

March 9 is Meatball Day, a time to celebrate one of the world’s oldest staples. The simple dish of balled-up minced meat has found its way into almost every national cuisine, from Italy to Israel to Canada. So join us as we sample meaty globes from around the globe – trust us, it’s going to be a ball. Italian (“big a-spicy”) meatballs Italy is our first stop on our meatball tour, home to those iconic meatballs served with pasta or …

EATING

Is Bubble Tea Healthy?

We hate to burst your bubble, but bubble tea is not really healthy. Don’t get us wrong, we love bubble tea (for those living under a rock: cold, often flavoured tea filled with tapioca balls, a.k.a. “pearls” or “bobas”). It’s delicious and fun and you should totally drink it sometimes. It just isn’t particularly good for you. At best it breaks even, nutritionally speaking. At worst, it’s a sugar-load dessert drink. Let’s take the standard drink of popular bubble tea …

Raya Food from Around The World

In June, nearly two billion Muslims will come together with family and friends to celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan. To ready you for the occasion, we’re going to take a short culinary tour to find out what Muslim communities around the world enjoy during the festive season of Eid al-Fitr (known as Hari Raya Aidilfitri in much of Southeast Asia). Some of these dishes are also commonly found during Eid al-Adha (or, as we know it, Hari …

A Vegetarian Raya

The celebrations to mark Hari Raya Aidilfitri are a great chance to enjoy your favourite dishes – particularly for members of the Muslim community, who have just finished observing the month of Ramadan. Families, friends and loved ones come together to enjoy delicious curries, salads and grilled meats, which are then topped off with celebratory sweets reserved for this special occasion. These days, many people are opting for vegetarianism or veganism, be it for health or ethical reasons. Some popular …

8 Must-Have Raya Treats

The festival of Hari Raya Aidilfitri – known elsewhere as Eid al-Fitr – marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims, and will be celebrated in early June. Hari Raya is associated with a wide range of delicious curries, sweets and snacks – here are eight of our favourites to savour this year. 1. Ketupat This Hari Raya dish is an iconic symbol of Eid – to the point that it doubles as a festive decoration that …

Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Worry About Antioxidants

You would have to be living under a dietary rock to not have heard of antioxidants – a kind of supernutrient extolled for their miraculous, age-defying, disease-thwarting properties. Accordingly, antioxidants are now used in marketing campaigns of everything from coffee to aloe vera skin cream. But what is an “antioxidant” anyway? And do they actually do anything? Simply put, antioxidants are thought to fight something called “free radicals”. Free radicals are reactive molecules that float around the body wreaking havoc. …

Foods that Fight Cholesterol

For the health-conscious, there are few dietary nemeses as feared as cholesterol. In and of itself, there’s not too much to fear from the fat-related molecule, which plays a key role in the structure of the cells in your body. When too much builds up in your blood and blood vessels, though, it can lead to high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Know how cholesterol works The first thing to know is that cholesterol, for …

INGREDIENTS

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 …

Breakfast of Champions? Try Oatmeal

January is Oatmeal Month, celebrating the warm, soft porridge made from (you guessed it) oats. Now, let’s get this out of the way. Oatmeal does sometimes get a bad rap. It’s viewed as the celery of the breakfast world: a healthy but ultimately boring mushy mass next to your granola parfaits and poached eggs. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: oatmeal might actually be the best breakfast dish in the whole world – and here’s …

Truffles: How to Buy, Prepare and Eat the Ultimate Delicacy

Yes, pigs really do hunt truffles. Yes, they really can cost US$50 each. And yes, they are worth it. French connoisseur Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin dubbed the rough, clumpy little tuber the “diamond of the kitchen”, and foodies since antiquity have struggled to cultivate enough of them. Although in modern times truffles have become easier to grow and harvest, they remain a true culinary delicacy with gourmet chefs (and ambitious blog readers!) around the world vying for the finest specimens to …

Peanut Butter: How to Make It and How to Cook with It

There are a lot of reasons peanut butter is the ultimate spread: it’s tasty, easy to eat, lasts a long time in storage, pairs with all sorts of other foods and – with plenty of energy, protein and fibre – packs a surprising nutritional punch. But that’s not all – it’s also very easy to make at home! Of course, without commercial-grade equipment (or artificial emulsifiers and stabilisers) it is difficult to replicate the impossible smoothness of the factory-made stuff, but homemade peanut …

Turmeric: The Little Spice that Could

If there is one quintessential Southeast Asian spice, a flavour that divides East and West and sets the beef and potatoes of Germany and Britain from the exotic aromas of Malaysia and India, it would be turmeric… aka the Golden Spice. Pungent and powerful with mysterious health benefits, the root of the turmeric plant is an ancient, foundational ingredient used in dishes, traditional medicine and even dye from India to China. Keeping a little turmeric on your spice rack can …