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COOKING

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 …

Your Banana Bread Horoscope

Madame Zucchini here for more gastrological wisdom. As foretold (by the calendar), February 23 is Banana Bread Day – but which banana bread recipe is the most auspicious for you? Aquarius: Classic Banana Bread You’re an old soul, and you believe that the cookbooks of the 1930s (around when baking soda became popular) that first started praising the simple cake made from the pulp of overripe bananas had it right. The universe will reward your traditionalism with a hardy, softly …

How to Throw the Perfect Pizza Party

Saturday, February 9 is Pizza Day, and how better to celebrate it with an old fashioned pizza party? Nothing is more fun than gathering your friends to mix and match ingredients and then watch it all come together in the oven. And don’t worry – homemade pizza using the freshest ingredients and baked to perfection isn’t as difficult as you think. First, check out a basic recipe. Next, set your amateur pizza chef guests up for success with these steps: Make the …

A Comprehensive Guide to Yu Sheng

Writer Jo-ann Huang investigates a Lunar New Year tradition specific to Southeast Asia that has confounded her for over a decade At Chinese New Year, few dishes are as divisive as Yu Sheng. Do you revel in the ritual, tossing veggies as high as you can? Or do you have to be dragged kicking and screaming by your elders, rolling your eyes at how silly and superstitious it seems? Perhaps it’s less the ritual than the actual dish itself. While …

Taking the Guesswork out of Baking

For novices and first-timers, baking can be very hit or miss: it either goes very right (rarely) or very, very wrong (more likely). Help is at hand. Gregory Ong is the founder of Bakestarters, a Singaporean company that creates baking kits complete with step-by-step instruction cards and video tutorials. His aim is to make it possible for anyone to get baking right the first time around. This can be those new to baking, but also old hands who are attempting …

EATING

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 …

Valentine’s Day Wine Guide for Newbs

It’s Valentine’s Day, and you know what that means: chocolate, fancy dinners and, of course, wine! What’s that? You don’t know the first thing about wine? You rarely ever drink it? This just won’t do. Skimp on the wine for your candle-lit dinner and it’s game over, pal. But don’t worry, we have your back. This crash course will blow through the basics of food-wine pairing and let you get back to planning for the big V. First things first: …

Eat as the Romans Eat: The Mediterranean Diet

Welcome to the Mediterranean Diet. Or as they call it in southern Italy, Greece and Spain: Food. (Just kidding.) The Mediterranean Diet isn’t merely Mediterranean-style cuisine, but a whole dietary regimen inspired by the health benefits of olive oil, fish, wine, nuts and vegetables common to the region. A diet style that evokes lounging on a veranda while enjoying the balmy breezes of the Adriatic, it’s gained a lot of popularity in the last decade. But the Mediterranean Diet has …

Eight Auspicious Dishes for Chinese New Year

Food is an essential element of Chinese New Year, with many families investing great time and effort to prepare and serve traditional dishes. The New Year is meant to mark new beginnings, so it’s important to many Chinese that they eat foods considered to be auspicious. From meat and sweet treats to salads and fruit, these are some of the foods widely believed to bring prosperity, wealth, good luck and longevity. Yusheng Yee sang is a uniquely Malaysian-Singaporean salad served cold …

Eat Like The King: The Elvis Diet!

Elvis Presley would have been 84 this week, but what’s the King of Rock and Roll doing on a home cooking blog? Well, Elvis wasn’t just famous for his music and swagger; he also had a tremendous appetite and a whole menu of favourite dishes from the butter and gravy-soaked American south. From BBQ bologna to coconut cake, these dishes are as delicious as they are iconic, but be warned: enjoying Elvis’s diet more than once per year might also …

Water: How Much is REALLY Enough?

According to common wisdom – and lots of A-list celebrities – the answer is “a whole lot”. Water regimens (eight glasses a day, or six, or three before lunch and five before bed, etc) have been credited for everything from weight loss to perfect skin. Fortunately for those of us losing sleep over our hydration, modern water lore is based mostly on hearsay and pseudo-science. So what are the facts on H2O? And how much do you really need? Disclaimer: Hydration is extremely …

INGREDIENTS

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 …

Types of Flour and Their Uses

Flour, merely powdered wheat kernels, is one of the simplest ingredients in the kitchen. And yet, many of us are daunted when confronted by myriad flour options in the supermarket: bleached, unbleached, whole grain, pastry flour, all-purpose flour and more. Here is a brief guide to help raise your understanding of flour. What is flour, exactly? The short answer is that flour is simply dried, powdered wheat kernels. But factors such as which parts of the kernel are used and …

It’s World Egg Day. Let’s Get Cracking!

Have you ever found yourself Googling such egg-related queries as “How much cholesterol is in an egg?”, “Are egg yolks healthy?” or “Are brown eggs worth the price?” If so, your confusion and uncertainty are understandable. Over the decades, eggs have been alternately demonised, praised, and demonised again in food and nutrition circles. While they’ve been a dietary staple for as long as humans have existed, questions about them and their nutritional content persist. On the eve of this World …

Know Your Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the most popular vegetables used in cooking. They’re rich, versatile, savoury and pair with a huge variety of flavours. They can punch up a soup, balance out a steak and even step up as a hearty main course when meat isn’t an option. This is a quick guide to cover some of the mushroom basics and the more common varieties. (And remember: You can’t spell “fungi” without “fun”.) Where do mushrooms come from? As fungi, culinary …