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How Do They Make Airplane Food? Emirates Flight Catering and Emirates A380 Business Class Review

Plating Business Class meals during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering

Airplane food. How do they do it? If you’ve ever wondered how an airline gets a meal from the kitchen and into that airplane trolley, this post has all your answers.

Preparing airplane food is no easy feat. It’s a tightrope operation involving meticulous logistics on a grand scale. There’s no room for error either. Every flight needs its meals on-time and delivered onto the plane before it departs. Nothing can be forgotten. Once the plane takes off, there’s no turning back.

Behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Emirates Flight Catering in Dubai

My recent media trip to Dubai was sponsored by Emirates and as part of our itinerary, we visited the Emirates Flight Catering facility on a behind-the-scenes tour. Security is paramount here. We need to pass through two security checkpoints before presenting ourselves at the security desk. Here we hand in our forms declaring we are free from any infectious and communicable diseases, sign a log book and surrender our passports before walking through security X-ray machines.

After donning white coats and hair nets (plus beard nets for some!) we descend into the belly of the building.  Here all deliveries are scanned by Dubai police – not Emirates staff, to prevent any conflict of interest – before being released into the de-boxing area. To prevent infestations from bugs or rodents, all deliveries are removed from pallets and de-boxed before transfer into the supply storage area.

Elimination of possible contamination is of utmost priority. In the kitchens they even have a de-glassing area: any products in glass jars or bottles are kept here and their contents must be transferred to plastic containers before use in the kitchen. This minimises the risk of glass contamination should a glass container be accidentally dropped in food preparation areas.

Airplane food trolleys during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Returned airline service trolleys waiting for sorting

There are airline service trolleys as far as the eye can see in the post-flight sorting section. All food items inside the trolley must be discarded. The crockery and plastic trays are re-used after going through high pressure dish washers.

Stacking crockery for washing during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Stacking crockery for the dishwasher in the Warewash

Clean crockery during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Clean crockery and trays

Corridor leading to the kitchens during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Entering the kitchens

The Emirates Flight Catering Facility is enormous but then again, it needs to be. They process 150,000 meals every day through this facility. On a good day they’ll process 155,000 to 160,000. The facility runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are 1600 to 1800 staff onsite at any time.

Gold Standard sample for visual accuracy during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Gold Standard sample for visual accuracy

The kitchen area is where most of the action happens. Consistency is vital, we’re told, and each area has a Gold Standard reference to ensure every item looks as similar as possible.

Buttering bread using gloves during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Speed buttering with gloves

How do you butter thousands of bread rolls with maximum efficiency? This guy just uses gloved fingers to dip and spread butter during his shift. He moves like lightning. Everyone here works with their head down and at rapid pace.

Bread roll assembly during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Bread roll assembly

Threading olives onto toothpicks during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Threading olives onto toothpicks

We’re told that staff rotate jobs here to prevent RSI and boredom but I don’t envy the person who has to thread olives onto toothpicks as part of their shift!

Assembling cheese platters during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Did somebody say cheese?

There’s a ripple of excitement when we spot the cheeseboards being prepared for Business and First Class passengers. Cheese? Yes, please.

Selecting grapes for cheeseboards during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Selecting grapes for the cheeseboard

Attention to detail is clearly a priority, as we watch grapes being carefully sorted and selected for addition to the cheeseboard.

First Class entrees preparation during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
First Class entrees

Business Class and First Class meals are a step up from the Economy Class foil trays most of us are used to. These meals are fancier in presentation (and ingredients) and are carefully plated up on Royal Doulton fine bone china.

Tuna tartare entrees for First Class during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Tuna tartare entrees for First Class

Housemade baklava during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Baklava dipped in chocolate made inhouse

All of the Arabic pastries used on-board are made inhouse. Arabic foods are an integral part of Emirates catering, and they prefer the ability to quality-control inhouse, an option they admit is available in Dubai because of relatively cheap labour costs here.

Housemade Arabic pastries during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Arabic pastries

Preparing giant stew during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Giant stew 

The kitchen is filled with industrial-sized pots and grills. Everything is made here on a grand scale.

Chicken skewers and sausages during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Chicken skewers and chicken sausages being portioned for Economy Class

Economy Class meals are portioned into aluminium trays. All meals for all classes are blast chilled to 2C-3C and then heated if required on-board the aircraft.
Visual menu guides during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Visual menu guides for each flight

Each flight has different meals for each passenger class, with each to be plated exactly the same. In addition to photos in the hallway, we notice that every assembly line has a folder propped open with photos of the meal they are currently working on.

Plating Business Class meals during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
To ensure easier traceability, one employee is responsible for assembling all Business Class and First Class meals on a single flight

Traceability enables Emirates to identify the source of any problems or issues easily. Assembling the Business Class and First Class meals sounds like fun until we find out that one employee is made responsible for both classes of meals on a single flight. Pressure!

Dessert trays for Business Class during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Dessert trays for Business Class

Loading up a trolley for Business Class during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Loading up a trolley for a Business Class flight to Japan

Assembly line for Economy Class meal trays during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Assembly line for Economy Class trays

The Economy Class meal trays involve a multi-staff assembly line. It looks more like a factory as trays as moved down the line at rapid speed, each person adding two items before the conveyor belt moves it forward to the next person.

Assembly line for Economy Class trays during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Each person on the assembly line is in charge of placing specific items onto the tray
Cutlery polishing zone during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Cutlery polishing station

There are shrieks and giggles when we approach the cutlery polishing station. The women here look like they’re having a grand time chatting and gossiping as they polish each item of silverware.

Rolling cutlery packs int napkins during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Rolling cutlery packs into napkins for Business Class and First Class

The silverware is by Robert Welch, packed into rolled napkins for Business Class and First Class passengers.

Preparing Economy Class cutlery packs during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Preparing the cutlery pack for Economy – the lady in front is in charge of toothpicks

The plastic-wrapped cutlery most of are used to in Economy is made up on a detailed assembly line with a partitioned conveyor belt moving through several staff members. The belt moves at such speed, each person barely has time to add one item before it moves through a machine that seals everything inside a plastic packet.

Flight Preparing Monitoring tracking during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Flight Preparation Monitoring program tracks when each meal class has been completed

Multiple flights are being worked on at the same time. The Flight Preparation Monitoring program tracks when each meal class has been completed. An entire flight row must be completed with green ticks before it can be loaded for delivery to the aircraft.

The peak period is in the early hours of the morning as 40% of Emirates flights leave between 7am and 11am.

Dispatch zone during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Dispatch zone

Catering is delivered to the aircraft about 1-2 hours before scheduled departure. Cooking for each meal commences 12-14 hours beforehand. Tray assembly begins 4-5 hours prior to flight departure.

Trolleys loaded with meals ready for delivery during a behind-the-scenes tour of Emirates Flight Catering
Trolleys loaded with meals being moved into the lift for delivery to the airplane

We’re also surprised to learn that Economy has a meal load of 100%. That means no extra meals of any kind which would explain why you sometimes miss out on the chicken or beef. Business class is loaded with 120% and First Class is loaded at 150%.

Emirates Flight Catering facilities are also responsible for the food in the Business Class and First Class lounges at the airport.


hey dear folks! sprouts here, sprouts there, sprouts everywhere. when i was a child i have hated brussels sprout so badly but now, brussels sprout is favourite type of cabbage.
today’s recipe is well-suited for cooking with sprouts as it gets the most intense flavour and the best taste out of them. no matter, if you have hated sprouts up to now or you already are a sprouts lover, this recipe will change your mind as for brussels sprout and you’re going to love this hearty vegetable. i bet you will!

for this recipe, you roast sprouts and sweet potatoes (a stunner, you already know) with ras el hanout, a moroccan spice blend, just THE spice blend! i commonly purchase mine from an organic grocery store. added to these spicy roasted vegetables are creamy good-quality goat’s cheese, fresh lamb’s lettuce and a killer sauce made, among others, with olive oil, maple syrup and orange juice.

are you in on it? great! here we go:

|serves 2|

400 g brussels sprouts, stalk and outer leaves removed, washed + cut into halves
600 g sweet potatoes, peeled + cut into cubes
1 small red onion, cut into small wedges
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ras el hanout
sea salt & black pepper
2 handful of lamb’s lettuce, washed + drained
80 g good-quality goat’s cheese, crumbled

maple-orange vinaigrette
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
sea salt & black pepper

preheat oven to 225°. toss brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, red onions, coconut oil, and ras el hanout in a large baking dish; season with sea salt and pepper. roast, tossing once, until everything is tender, soft and browning, 25-35 minutes.

while the vegetables are roasting, prepare the maple-orange vinaigrette. in a jar with a lid, combine olive oil, orange juice, maple syrup, garlic (optional), sea salt and pepper. shake well until vinaigrette is combined.

to serve, divide roasted vegetables onto large bowls; add lamb’s lettuce and mix together gently. drizzle each bowl with the prepared maple-orange vinaigrette and sprinkle with crumbled goat’s feta.

toss until everything is well-coated, season with sea salt – if needed – and simply enjoy!



Hey folks, today is all about good coffee. I’m such a coffee lover and always hunting for high quality, fresh coffee beans. This is where Stooker Roasting Co. comes in. Stooker is a specialty coffee roaster in Amsterdam. They hunt for the most tasteful beans from all over the world. Their goal is to roast delicious coffee while making sure that the entire supply chain from the grower to exporter are fairly and properly paid. Thumbs up! This is exactly why I wanna introduce them to you, folks.

I am absolutely impressed by the packaging itself. Stooker coffee appeals to both design and coffee lovers like you and me. Freshly roasted beans lose their flavour over time. Therefor Stooker supplies us with the freshest beans possible. They manage this by roasting on demand. This time I have chosen #6 Costa Rica filter coffee and placed my order online at Hello Frankie Store. After that Stooker roasted the Costa Rica beans on the following Thursday. Hello Frankie Store send the beans before the weekend, so I could start my week with fresh Stooker coffee. The smell when I opened my package of freshly roasted coffee beans on Monday was awesome. Ground coffee or even stored roasted coffee beans cannot match up to freshly roasted beans.

What kind of brewing method do you prefer? While doing my A-levels, I was used to brewing with the french press. When I was sharing a flat with other students, we’re using a conventional filter machine. As I discovered an old Melitta filter on the flea market, I started grounding fresh coffee beans with a hand mill and brewing coffee with that cute little porcelain hand filter. Last Christmas I got a little Chemex and now I drink next level shit coffee each morning. I can fully recommend you investing money in this filter-drip coffee maker as your resulting cup coffee will be light, bright and delicately nuanced – simply beyond delicious.
What’s more, I admit I’m drawn to the Chemex as it is one of the most beautiful design objects with its charming wood handle and leather cord.
Here’s a little Chemex brew-it-yourself guide for you. All measurements are referring to the small Chemex brewer (1-3 cups).
Chemex brewer
Chemex filter
freshly roasted coffee beans
coffee mug
19g freshly roasted coffee beans
300ml water + more for rinsing your paper filter
 Weigh and grind 19g coffee, medium-coarse grind setting.
Boil water.
Fold and place the filter into the Chemex with the three layer side facing the spout. Rinse with hot water to remove any paper flavor and preheat the Chemex. Pour away the water.
Add your ground coffee. Wet the grounds with a small amount of your pre-measured hot water (75ml), pouring it in a circular motion to wet all the grounds. The coffee will begin to “bloom”. Wait 30 seconds.
Add the rest of your water in a steady circular motion starting from the center and working your way out.
Once the coffee finishes dripping through (3-4 minutes), remove the filter, serve and enjoy your cup of coffee!

I like coffee beans that are slightly roasted, as it gives the flavours in the coffee more of a chance to shine. As to Stooker Roasting’s Costa Rica coffee, this whole thing has a juicy mouthfeel and citrus flavours, then comes the sweet milk chocolate finish which rounds of the taste profile perfectly! #6 Costa Rica convinces me with its milk chocolate finish for the simple reason that I prefer coffee beans with a subtle chocolate flavour.

Some of you guys asked me where the grey porcelain cups are from. The answer is Amsterdam design studio De Intuïtiefabriek. These espresso cups, I’m serving our coffee in, are from their project ‘SUM’ – a colourful collection of porcelain cups, bowl and plates. Their tableware is modern, urban and timelessly beautiful. I got two of their grey porcelain cups online, just as Stooker coffee, at Hello Frankie Store:

| #6 Costa Rica filter coffee by Stooker Roasting Co.
| SUM espresso cup G5 by De Intuïtiefabriek

I hope you enjoyed my little coffee series about Chemex brewing, high quality coffee and the introduction of Stooker, the Amsterdam coffee roaster.

Cheers, Lisa! 



Hello friends, it’s actually spring! That’s why I’m sharing this spring-like kohlrabi coconut soup with you today. Cooking with the seasons makes lots of fun. Today is all about kohlrabi and radishes. As a child I was used to snack them raw, together with our common “Brotzeit”. Um, well, we cut them into sticks/pieces and served them to our bread and butter breakfasts, lunches or dinners. I was wondering how I can turn these both spring vegetables into something zeitgeisty, more grown-up at once, and how they work together best.

Have you ever turned kohlrabi into soup or even roasted radishes? Not yet? You’re missing much! I bet you’ll never wanna eat kohlrabi and radishes another way.
As to the soup, it’s texture is creamy no end thanks to rich coconut milk. The soup is aromatic and mild at once, what makes it very pleasant and soothing – it has presence without demanding attention.
On to the radishes, that are roasted with nigella seeds – my newest king of spices – they are crispy, and will make you shout: “Oh wow!”.
The refreshing cilantro gremolata, that is freshly pestled in mortar with garlic and other good stuff, makes the recipe complete, and it all works out.

This soup is easy and quick to make, looks like spring in a bowl and even tastes like spring. Serve it with slices of toasted sourdough and this soup is worth making for either lunch or dinner once a week all spring, as it is such a vibrant trio – soup, topping + gremolata.

Here it is, a recipe for tasty and hearty kohlrabi coconut soup with roasted radishes, nigella seeds and cilantro gremolata – make sure you have fresh bread at hand to soak up all leftover soup in the bowl.

|serves 2 as a hearty main entree or 4 as a side dish|

350 g kohlrabi, peeled + diced
1 medium potato, peeled + diced
1 tbsp. coconut oil
½ yellow onion, diced
½ leek, white part cut into thin rings
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
400 ml low-sodium vegetable stock
100 ml canned coconut milk
1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
freshly ground sea salt + black pepper to taste

8 red radishes, halved
1 tsp. nigella seeds
2 tsp. olive oil
freshly ground sea salt + black pepper to taste

handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, finely diced
a pinch of sea salt

fresh bread for serving

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

In a large saucepan, heat coconut oil on medium heat. Add onions, leeks, cumin and coriander. Sauté until onions and leeks are soft, not browned, about two minutes. Next put kohlrabi and potatoes into the saucepan, season with sea salt and pepper, toss properly, sauté for further two minutes while stirring continuously.
Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.
Take the saucepan from heat. Add apple cider vinegar, and blend the soup using an immersion blender until smooth. Add extra coconut milk if desired and adjust seasoning.

Toss together the radishes, nigella seeds, olive oil salt, and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 12-15 minutes, until both crispy and tender.

To make the gremolata, put cilantro, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and a pinch of  sea salt in your mortar, and pestle until the cilantro leaves’ liquid exits and everything is mixed up.

Serve soup hot, in two bowls, with fresh cilantro gremolata, and roasted radishes right out of the oven. Enjoy the soup with either cripsy toasted or fluffy fresh bread.

If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, you also could mix up the cilantro gremolata in a small bowl.

Classic Strawberry Shortcake – Thanks, Grandpa!

I was visiting my mom last summer, and overheard her and my aunt talking about making strawberry shortcake using “dad’s” recipe. They were obviously talking about my grandfather, which was surprising, since I had no idea he baked.

I remember he did a lot of cooking growing up, but it was things like frittata, meat sauce, or polenta. I never once saw him bake anything sweet. Nevertheless, he apparently gets credit for inventing our official family recipe for strawberry shortcake, which I’ve adapted here.

What he had done was taken the strawberry shortcake recipe off the box of a certain, very popular premade biscuit mix, and added extra “everything,” as my mother put it. So, that’s what I did here, except instead of using the stuff in the yellow box, I used self-rising flour, which I’m pretty sure is basically the same thing.

The only other major change is the original recipe calls for regular melted butter, but as you’ll see in the video, I like to toast mine just a little, to bring out those subtle, nutty flavors. I’m hoping Armand Cianfoni would approve. I really hope you give “our” strawberry shortcake a try soon. Enjoy!

Makes 6 Large or 8 Normal Strawberry Shortcakes:

2 cups self rising flour ((You can make you own by sifting together 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon fine salt)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup milk

4 tbsp butter, melted, and lightly toasted to a golden-brown

4 pints fresh strawberries

1/2 cup white sugar

*add 1 tbsp water, if strawberries aren’t perfectly ripe

3/4 cup cold heavy cream, whipped with a tablespoon of sugar and a few drops of vanilla (watch demo here)

– Bake at 425F.  for 15-18 minutes or until browned.

Baking Homemade Brownies

Baking homemade brownies is one of life’s sweetest delights. The smell of the brownies baking in the oven never fails to attract every family member to the kitchen to await the finished treat. When they are finally done it doesn’t take but a few seconds for them to disappear, having been devoured by everyone who could get a hold of one.

The only hard part of preparing brownies is the preparation and the cleanup afterward. It takes longer to prepare and bake brownies than it does for them to be eaten, especially if they come out delicious. For this very reason many people prefer to buy brownies from the store and miss out on the deliciousness of home-made brownies. Following these simple tips ensures that you will have delicious brownies that the whole family can enjoy with little or no hassle.

1. Don’t over mix when preparing the batter and if possible mix the batter by hand. This will ensure that the brownie does not come out bland or too dry.

2. Spay the bottom of the pan with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to cover the surface evenly. You can also dust the pan lightly with cocoa powder. Using cocoa powder ensures that you won’t have white residue on your brownies as you would if you were to use flour.

3. Follow the recipe instructions carefully especially the temperature and cooking time instructions. To test if the brownies are done stick a toothpick into the brownies. If they come out clean it means that the brownies are done.

4. If you want to keep the brownies from over-drying you can wrap them with plastic wrap and put them in a zip bag for added protection.

As a final tip: enjoy your brownies with your whole family, give them as gifts, share them with your co-workers, and don’t forget to make plenty for everyone.

Crab, Lobster, Mahi mahi

Crabs are crustaceans. In the crustacean family, there are about 6793 different species. They can be found in oceans and seas. But they are found in fresh water and on land as well. Crabs are a decapods crustacean which simply means they have ten arms or ten feet, therefore, Lobsters, shrimp and prawns for example, are members of the same family.

Crabs are under the classification of vertebrates. They have an exoskeleton and normally have a large pair of claws. Most crabs are omnivores feeding predominantly on plants, algae, fungi and other living and non living organisms. They thrive in tropical environments and many species like the fiddler crab, the mangrove tree crab and the red crab are found in the tropics.

Ideal mating conditions for crabs are when both the outer temperature, as well as the water temperature is high. The female can deposit 1000 eggs and upwards as pregnancy lasts for up to two weeks. Over 1million tons of crabs are estimated to be eaten worldwide yearly.

Types of Edible Crabs

 King Crabs

Red and blue king crabs have similar features, what differentiates them is their habitat. The blue prefer the deeper rocky areas, they thrive in these surroundings and can measure up to 18 lbs in weight. The red crabs like the shallow muddy areas. They can multiply rapidly.

King crabs are used for food because of their size and their very tasty meat.

Snow Crab

Snow crabs can weigh as much as 1.8 kg. They are called Bairdi Crabs. Snow crabs shell colour varies at different stages in their lifespan. Similar to King Crabs, they are well known for their fleshy legs.

Stone Crabs

Stone Crabs are brownish in colour, mixed with grey spots and a lighter underbelly. They feed on small mollusks as well as other small crustaceans. At two years, the females reach the mating stage .During which a typical spawning season, they can produce up to a million eggs.

The body of the stone crabs is small but the claws (chelae) can measure 70mm long or more. Hence the reason they are sought after, consumers consider this a delicacy since most of the meat is located in the claw.

Crab cakes are a treat that is served with savoury special sauces and dips and can be a great appetizer served with the main course.


Lobsters are decapods crustaceans .Two well known species are the spiny and slippery species. Lobsters feed mostly on fish, algae and mollusks. Tropical lobsters are generally the ones people consume most. They usually live in crevices and rocks. They tend to conceal themselves with the ocean grass. As they grow, their shell comes off and they grow a new one until they grow again. Some can even live beyond 50 years.




Restrictions are a major key in the conservation of lobsters. Over the years there has been a marked decline in the lobster population. Therefore measures have been taken to regulate lobster harvesting at specific times and in specific seasons of the year. These strict measures have been effective in dealing with the problem despite occasional rule breakers.

Lobsters claws contain the most meat at times. The meat from the tail as well can be eaten. Most people crack open these parts to get the delicacy out.

Lobsters can be served with a choice of grilled or baked potatoes as well corn on the cob. A special sauce can also be an addition to the meal.

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi is a common place Dorado or dolphin .It is found in subtropical and tropical waters. They are carnivorous and feed on smaller fishes and crustaceans. Mahi Mahi actually derives its name from Hawaii .The name distinguishes the fish from the mammals dolphin. They are a fast spawning fish in vast warm areas of the ocean. They are mostly found on surface water and are really great swimmers due to their slender built.

Mahi Mahi flesh is soft and similar to sardines and is excellent for grilling. Mahi Mahi can be served with rice or grilled vegetables. Try one of the recipes here on the site below. Bon Appetite!





4 Factors to Consider Before Applying to Culinary School

If you have a love for making food, eating food and experiencing food, you may want to become a chef. It’s the only logical profession for someone that lives for the culinary life. If you are the kind of person that travels far and wide, waits in long lines to get into the newest restaurant, or if you enjoy strange and mysterious ingredients, you probably want to go to school to learn the restaurant industry. It may take a few years to get from chef to restaurateur, but you have to start somewhere. If you have ambitions, you have to be willing to be in it for the long haul. However, you want to start with getting your degree from a culinary school. Before you apply to culinary school, you want to consider a few crucial factors. Here are four factors to consider before applying to culinary school.

  1. A Love for Food

One crucial factor to consider is your love of food. In order to be successful in the culinary industry, you need to have a love for food. The truth of the matter is that to become a cook – no matter if you are working as an assistant or a head chef – you need to have a lot of passion. Most of the time, this passion comes from loving what you cook – and what others cook. This why you want to eat as many dishes from as many countries – to wide your palate appreciation.

  1. Desire to Move

When you are a cook, you need to be where the food is – the good food. This is especially the case if you are still going to school. Most of the time, the good food exists in major cities, like New York, Paris and London. If you want to broaden your palate, you may want to travel to places like Japan, India and places in Africa. This will really give you a sense of what food is like in different countries – and it will give you an idea as to how this food is prepared. This will be immensely helpful when it comes to bringing these dishes back home.

  1. Willingness to Work Hard

Of course, when you enter the culinary field, you have to be prepared to work very hard. A typical kitchen it fast paced and bustling. If you cook as slow as you cook for yourself in the evening, you will have a lot of angry customers on your hands. Plus, there are a lot of people in any given kitchen, which means that you have to be prepared to make room and deal with the stress.

  1. The Competition

On top of everything, you want to be ready for the competition. There are only so many restaurants out there, so you have to find a way to get your foot in the door. One of the best ways is to boost your credentials. For instance, you may want to attend UCLA or NEC Online to get a management or business degree. In the end, you could find yourself a valuable asset in the restaurant industry with dual degrees.

Why Should You Consider a Culinary Education?

Anyone who has a true passion for food should consider a culinary education. There are a lot of different jobs that you could work from chef, sous chef, baker, food critic, food scientist, a restaurant owner, and more. Each of these professions has the potential to make for a very lucrative career if you want it to, but you have to be truly passionate about food. Here is why you should consider a culinary education.

Creative Field

Good chefs are always in need, no matter what city you live in. But not only is the career of a chef a very viable way to make a living – it’s also a very creative field. You will have the opportunity to give a restaurant its signature flavor and in many ways, its caliber. Not only will you be able to create the permanent menu for a restaurant, but you will also be able to play around with different seasonal varieties for daily and weekly specials.

Good Life Skill

Whether or not you really enjoy cooking, you can’t argue with the fact that it’s an incredible life skill. Everybody needs to eat, and so everyone should learn to cook for themselves. So, if you don’t go to culinary school, then you can watch cooking channels on YouTube from your dorm room at UC Davis. Unfortunately, if you don’t want to spend your whole life eating frozen, microwavable food, you’re going to need to learn how to cook.

Stay Healthy

Overall, people tend to maintain a much healthier diet when they are shopping and cooking for themselves, rather than eating out at restaurants. This is because you actually know what’s going into your food when you are making it yourself. However, a lot of restaurants load their meals with calories and saturated fats because they appeal to people’s tastes. If you go to a school like Maryville University, you will want to know how to cook for yourself, because the restaurants don’t offer a lot of healthy choices.

Connect with People

No matter how much you like to cook, there’s nothing like finding a potential mate who can cook. We all love to eat, and if you enjoy eating well, then being with somebody who can cook really matters. You can either cook together, or you can trade off cooking for one another. Either way, you will have a much easier time making a relationship last when at least one person is a talented chef. Whether you are cooking to please your spouse, or to please your family, or to please an entire community, when you cook for people, you provide them with a joyful experience to remember.

Lots to Explore

It doesn’t matter how long you spend in life studying the culinary arts, there is always more to study. Every time you move or even travel to a new place, you are educating your palate. The more time you spend cooking with different people, the more you will learn about working with different ingredients and different tools. You will be refining your craft for an entire lifetime.

Easy Ways to Earn Extra Money Selling What you make

If you need a bit of extra money, setting up a part time business is a good way to make what you need. Here are a few easy ideas that can be implemented even if you do not have a big pool of cash available.

Sell something you make

People who are good at crafts can always earn money by selling what they make. These days it is quite easy to go online and sell well made items, or, if you prefer, sell them at local shops or fetes.

Set up a hog roast business

These days it is possible to hire hogroast machines in most parts of the country. They do not cost much to lease and it is easy to learn how to use one. A regular sized hog can easily feed 80 people. If you sell most of it, you will make a good profit.

All you need to do is to go online and get your food safety certificate and any licences your local council requires. You can easily hire a food vendor pitch, or book yourself a slot at a local event.

Sell other food products that you make

Getting involved in selling other food products can also be a good way to make money. It does not have to be anything complex either.

You could for example buy yourself ten litres of good quality olive oil, some fresh herbs and fancy bottles. Using these items, you can make up beautiful flavoured oils, and sell them for a good profit.

Taking good quality raw ingredients and transforming them into something special that you can sell at a profit is far easier than you think. The fact that there is growing demand for these high quality products means that it can be a very lucrative business.

Award for Excellence 2016 finalists announced by Visit England

Visit England have announced this year’s Award for Excellence finalists, highlighting the best of English tourism in a range of categories. The awards aim to raise the profile of England as a tourist destination and recognise exceptional commitment to service and superior standards.

There are 16 categories in total covering tourism and hospitality. All the finalists will receive an award at the 8th March ceremony held at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens. The awards range from gold to highly commended. Categories include Bed and Breakfast, Small Hotel, Large Hotel, Tourism Pub and Business Tourism.


Image Credit

One thing the nominees all have in common is their commitment to customer service and ensuring the highest standards are maintained at all times. If you’d like your business to feature on a future shortlist, it is never the wrong time to start raising standards and looking at ways to improve your offerings.

Creating an award-winning menu

Focussing on high-quality ingredients usually means shopping seasonally and as locally as possible. Food that is in season and hasn’t travelled far from field to plate will be fresher, tastier and will prove the perfect building blocks for your menu. The BBC has an excellent guide to eating seasonal produce that reveals which produce is in season during each month of the year, making it easy to plan menus ahead of time. Ensuring you have a high-quality commercial freezer and refrigerator that is fit for purpose is essential, and reputable suppliers such as FFD Ltd will be able to help you select the right equipment for your needs.

Sticking to hygiene guidelines

If you’re new to the hospitality or catering industry or could simply do with a refresher course, the Food Standards Agency has plenty of tips and lots of advice to help you ensure you adhere to the highest standards. They even have a handy diary you can download and fill in to make it easy to keep on top of hygiene matters; your local authority inspectors might want to see this when they visit your business.

Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can focus on the little touches that really make your business stand out from the competition. In the hospitality and tourism sectors, going the extra mile can often reap big rewards.

Catering Wholesale Suppliers: Getting Top Quality Products for Discounted Rates

Catering companies need to have access to the best products at affordable prices in order to increase the overall success of their businesses. Having a reliable wholesale supplier is an important component of having access to high-quality products. Finding a wholesale supplier can require a lot of time and energy if it is not done strategically. When looking for a wholesale supplier, the following considerations may help hasten the process.

How Broad Is the Range of Products?

Restaurants and catering companies need access to a wide range of products in order to keep their establishment running at its highest capacity. Using different suppliers for their inventory and products is time-consuming and inconvenient. As such, a high-quality wholesale supplier should be able to offer them everything they need in one place.

Suppliers should offer more than just catering supplies. They should also have kitchen and cleaning supplies that are related to the catering industry. Suppliers that think ahead of their customers and make sure that they offer a diverse range of products will be greatly appreciated for the time and money they save companies.

In addition to having multiple types of products, suppliers should also provide brand name products as well. Having the option to purchase brand name products at a discounted rate will help catering companies feel that they are receiving products that can be trusted.

Fast Shipping and Delivery

Shipping and delivery are highly important. Catering companies may run out of essential supplies quickly and need immediate item replacement. As such, a supplier who can provide speedy delivery is preferred. A catering company who runs out of supplies and has an extended delay in receiving their items loses credibility and is at risk of losing customers and business. Suppliers who can anticipate their customers’ needs and quickly follow through on delivery will be of great assistance.

Special Offers and Promotions

Even at discounted rates, supplies can be expensive. As companies grow, their needs increase, causing their inventory also to expand. Having a supplier who is willing to provide special offers, packages, and promotional prices can make all the difference for some catering companies. Offers such as a certain percentage off, promotions, and packages can go a long way.

For catering companies, taking advantage of special offers can help them streamline their supply needs. The use of packaged deals and promotions can also be more convenient to catering companies because they can get all of their items in one place.

Variety of Order Options

Catering companies need to have access to multiple ordering options. Whether they need to order on the phone, on the internet, or by catalogue, the diversity in options is helpful for them. Wholesale suppliers who offer multiple ways to order also provide convenience for their customers.

Quality Customer Service

Similar to having a variety of ways to order, a quality wholesale supplier will also offer multiple ways to provide customer service. They will offer convenient hours of customer service in person, by phone, and by Internet. Catering companies deeply appreciate being able to resolve any customer service issues quickly. Since they are often constricted by time, companies need to know that the supplier is easily accessible and available.

Availability is not enough in regards to customer service. In addition to being available, suppliers also need to be quick at resolving problems. The quicker they can resolve a client’s problem, the faster the client can go back to their business and other company matters.

Customer service requires being available, efficient, and knowledgeable. Companies may rely on suppliers to provide recommendations for their catering supplies. Newer companies who do not know what they need or how much of certain supplies that they need may require guidance and expert advice on how to proceed. A wholesale supplier who is willing to not only resolve customer issues but to also provide knowledgeable advice is above the rest.

Experts in the Industry

Being in the hands of an expert is always the ideal for customers. Catering companies want to know that their wholesale supplier is going to be reliable and trustworthy. Wholesale companies like Pattersons catering wholesale suppliers who have been around for more than one hundred years are experts in the industry. They know exactly what clients need. Checking how long the wholesale supplier has been around and assessing their level of expertise helps. Length of experience relates to the quality of the service.

Are Financing Options Available?

As previously mentioned, purchasing supplies can be expensive and burdensome, particularly for new catering companies and restaurants. As such, looking at whether a wholesale supplier offers financing options is helpful. Financing can help reduce the cost of expensive items up front and distribute the price over time, making it more manageable.

Being able to have the opportunity to buy high-quality products is important and will help avoid expensive repairs and costly problems that may occur later on with cheaper products. Financing gives companies the option of buying what they need now to avoid future hassles and frustration.

What Do Other Customers Think?

Another way to pick out a supplier is to review customer testimonials and ratings. Past and current customers disclose the strengths and weaknesses of wholesale suppliers. Often, customers honestly describe the issues they have had or the great service they received. Having access to customer reviews is a convenient way to determine the quality of a supplier. Superior suppliers will have testimonials posted on their website for companies to easily find and review.

Putting It All Together

Finding a quality catering wholesale supplier does not have to be burdensome. Reviewing the scope of products offered by the supplier, their efficiency with customer service and delivery, special offers, and availability of financing options will provide valuable information. Moreover, checking their testimonials and customer reviews is another way to gain pertinent data to discern whether they are the best match. Catering companies should seek suppliers that will cater to their needs.


Geraldine Georgeou Summer Eating Interview

Question: What advice do you have to get our eating habits in top shape?

Geraldine Georgeou: I recommend three guidelines to keep eating habits in top shape:

Always have 3 meals a day: especially breakfast, to begin fuelling your body and help avoid feeling hungry or overeating throughout the day

Ensure your meals are balanced: make sure you’ve got a balance of low GI carbohydrate (such as basmati rice), protein and controlled fat in each meal

Be prepared: keep a handful of nuts available for an on-the-go snack, and go to the supermarket with a list and a full stomach to help steer clear of unhealthy, impulse buys

Focus on balance and learning to identify your pitfalls – then you can really boost these areas up.

Question: How should our eating change in Summer?

Geraldine Georgeou: It’s more about how our eating can change in summer. The summer lifestyle (warmer weather, longer days, parties) means you’re naturally more likely to eat healthier and increase our intake of healthy foods, including:

Fruit and vegetable: there’s an abundance available
Salads: due to the warmer weather, such as summer rice salads as they’re tasty and easy to make
Lean proteins: summer is BBQ season, meaning we tend to reach for BBQ-favoured leaner protein options

Another factor is the days are longer and you’re more active. When you’re more active you’re more conscious of the foods you eat, so as not to undo your good work.

Question: How can we beat bloating, especially before putting on the bikini?

Geraldine Georgeou: This is a common question around summer. Bloating can happen for many reasons, including menstruation and hormones. Surprisingly, just being hungry can make you more bloated.

A couple of steps you can take to help beat the bloat are to avoid high salt foods and ensure you’re eating good fibre, lean proteins and low GI carbohydrates, such as basmati rice or sweet potato, to assist with good digestion.

Question: What’s a typical day’s diet for you, in Summer?

Geraldine Georgeou: In summer, I try to stick to fresh food as much as possible.

Breakfast: In the morning I like to have wholegrain toast with some mashed avocado, lemon and cracked pepper, and a boiled egg on theside.

Morning tea: For a morning snack, I love having a fruit compote, including fresh mango, blueberries, pomegranate and a dollop of Greek-style yoghurt for some added protein and calcium.

Lunch: I try to ensure my lunch meals are as balanced as possible. For example, I’ll have a couple of rice paper rolls with Jasmine/ basmati rice, prawns, chicken, carrot and snow peas.

Afternoon snack: As an afternoon snack, I’ll have a small handful of nuts with a piece of fruit, such as a couple of plums.

Dinner: For dinner, I like to play with my Greek heritage! I love lamb souvlaki with a Greek-style salad, a small pita break and tzatziki.

Question: Which of the SunRice range is your favourite?

Geraldine Georgeou: SunRice Basmati Rice. Not only does it have a delicious aroma, but it’s low GI, versatile, is great to incorporate into dishes like stir-fries and is easy to reheat for lunch the next day.

A really tasty Basmati rice recipe is rissoles in stroganoff sauce with Basmati rice. Here’s a link to the recipe.

Question: Is it detrimental to avoid gluten and dairy, if we do not have an intolerance?

Geraldine Georgeou: Yes, as you may be missing out on important nutrients for growth and development. Cutting out gluten could mean you’re missing out on important wholegrain fibres for bowel health. Avoiding dairy will likely mean your diet will be low in calcium, which can affect your bone health.

If you do think you have an intolerance or are restricting your diet, please see an Accredited Practising Dietitian. They’ll help determine if you need to eliminate gluten or dairy and suggest food swaps you can make to ensure you’re still getting all your vital nutrients.

Question: Is there such thing as too much fruit?

Geraldine Georgeou: Yes. Fruit is a source of carbohydrate, which is important fuel for our bodies, but portion sizes are still important when eating healthy foods.

I always recommend eating the whole fruit on its own will ensure you get the full fibre content and will overall be more filling and satisfying. While fruit is a healthy food, it can still add up if you overeat on it.

Question: What’s the one piece of advice you give to all of your clients?

Geraldine Georgeou: Avoid fad diets, as they focus on cutting out or back on food groups that are necessary for growth and development.

Any diet you follow needs to meet the nutritional requirements of your lifecycle – for example, a 20-year old will need to eat differently than a 50-year old. Here’s a link to where you can see what the recommended nutritional requirements are for your life stage.

Always work with your medical team and dietitian to identify your health goals, to ensure you reach them in the healthiest way possible.

Question: What do most Australians not consume enough of, in their diets?

Geraldine Georgeou: Protein, particularly at breakfast. Consuming protein at breakfast means the nutrient is distributed throughout your body during the day, helping you to feel fuller and avoid overeating.

Carbohydrates are another nutrient Australians don’t consume enough of. Confusion in the media has led to many believing that all carbohydrates are unhealthy. Australians have forgotten that staple foods, such as rice, provide vital nutrients and fuel for the body.

Question: How many meals/snacks should we be eating a day?

Geraldine Georgeou: It depends for everyone, but I’d always recommend three meals and two snacks each day. Ensure your meals are balanced with protein, low GI carbohydrates and vegetables.

Look to combine protein, carbohydrates and good fat in your snack choices, for sustainable energy – an example is a small handful of nuts with a piece of fruit.

Overall, listen to your body and see what it’s asking for. If your stomach is grumbling around 3pm, a small, considered snack is good.

Question: Do you recommend detoxes? If so, which?

Geraldine Georgeou: Detox is a very generic word. What are you detoxing?

Detoxing for me means changing an eating habit, rather than a quick fix. It could mean you’re now choosing to eat healthier and that you’re focusing on a particular health goal, such as drinking more water and less coffee or reducing your sugar intake.

I always recommend making balanced diet choices and healthy swaps.

Organic food giant

This time, we got “Organic food giant” crossword puzzle clue. Next we will look for a few extra hints for Organic food giant, 4 letters answer”. Finally, using all gathered information, we will solve Organic food giant crossword definition and get the correct entry.

Similar crossword puzzle definitions:

Heaven on earth;
Genesis locale;
Tree of life locale;

Try this 4 letters answer: EDEN

Please note! There may be multiple solutions to a specific crossword puzzle definition. We apologize in advance, if there is another solution for: Organic food giant crossword clue. Please send it to us and we will add it too, ASAP!

Homemade Life Workshops

These workshops take approximately 45 -75 minutes depending on topic, but can be customized to fit any program. Each presentation invites the participants questions and comments. Some provide visuals and can include hands-on participation. Everything is practical and everyone walks away with something they can do right now to begin living a homemade life that nourishes your body and spirit. I’ve presented to large groups in a formal setting, casual small spaces with children underfoot, and everything in between.

The cost of these workshops is a sliding scale depending on what your group can afford. Basically, I love sharing this information and will present for the cost of my travel, as I learn something every time I present.


Bio: Cara Achterberg is a freelance writer, blogger, and mother of three who lives in New Freedom, PA. She raises much of her family’s food supply in the form of organic vegetables, fruits, and chickens. She is passionate about organic living and believes it is the answer to many of the health and social struggles we face, as well as the most balanced way to raise a family.
Contact Cara


Homemade Life

Every news story seems to bring more causes for worry – what we’re eating, what we’re doing, what we’re breathing, even what we’re thinking. For parents, these worries are multiplied as we make decisions about how to raise our children.
In this introductory workshop, we’ll examine issues like:
– Processed foods – preservatives, additives, artificial ingredients & food dyes
– Incorporating more whole, organic foods in to our menus (and budgets)
– Strategies for convincing a skeptical family of the importance of “clean” eating
– Raising kids who are kind, planet-conscious, and creative
– Slowing down, living more simply, and reducing the stuff and stress in our lives
– How living a healthier, happier, homemade life not only improves our own lives, but our communities and our planet

Join us as we explore how to create a healthy, happy, homemade life in a world that bombards us with demands on our time, wallets, and sanity. You’ll leave with lots of ideas, resources, and inspiration to begin living your own healthy, happy, homemade life, and perhaps some food for thought.



WORKSHOP #2                                   

Eating organic on a budget.

Sure, we all want to eat organically, but who can afford it? This workshop is crammed full of ideas for buying, growing, cooking, and saving on healthy food. We’ll talk about how to make your current budget stretch to afford the foods that will have the most impact on your health and your family’s health. Find out how you can make your own peanut butter, granola, instant oatmeal, bread, yogurt, ice cream, and other staples of everyday life. There are lots of small ways you can start living a homemade life today. No one does it overnight, but we all can make changes now that move us towards the life we want.


Clean, green living

Living a healthy, happy, homemade life means finding ways to clean and care for your home without toxic chemicals. It’s much easier than you think – and it’ll save you money! This workshop is filled with ideas for reducing, recycling, re-using, saving money and lightening your load. Need some inspiration for cleaning up your act – find it here!



Raising organic kids

Tons of ideas for teaching your children how to live a healthy, happy, homemade life. Need a plan for chores, screen time, paper/project accumulation, packing lunches, traveling, partying, laundry, household help, and a whole bunch of other parental dilemmas? Join in the discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and how we can grow healthy, happy kids.




Organic gardening for the average Joe

I’m no master gardener, but I’ve been doing this long enough to know a few tricks for growing food for our family. It’s all about what saves time, money, and effort. A garden is the foundation for a healthy, happy, homemade life. If you don’t have your own space – don’t despair there is ground to go around. Come learn how to create a garden where there once was lawn, start your own seeds, and harvest a healthy, happy, homemade life.



Canning and preserving like your grandma did (sort of…)

Canning and preserving food is simple and requires very few special tools and certainly no special skills. Learn the tricks, tips, and methods that will help you make the most of the food that is in season in your garden and the farms around us.




Chicken keeping for everyone

Dreamed of collecting your own fresh eggs from your own fresh chickens? It’s not an impossible dreams. Chickens make great pets and pay their own way. They don’t require any more space than a dog kennel in your back yard and not only do they offer fresh eggs, but they make great pets and provide endless hours of entertainment. Learn how you can start chicken keeping this week!




Homemade Eating

Ideas for cooking, baking and serving healthier foods. It’s not only what you take out, but what you put in your foods that make them healthier. Learn about some good things like flaxseed, cranberries, salt, coconut oil, and grass-fed products and find out about the dangers of food dyes, MSG, aspartame, and genetically-modified organisms.



Homemade Holidays (and Birthdays)

Holidays can be times of overindulging, overspending, and overstimulation, but they can also be times of great joy, meaningful tradition, and quiet connections. Explore ideas for making your holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, and birthdays) heavy on the meaning and light on the stress. Ideas for healthy, happy, homemade birthday parties and holiday celebrations and traditions.



Homemade Me

Sometimes when our lives are consumed by others’ needs and wants, we forget about our own. Do you make room in your life for creativity and meaning? Take some time to reflect on what you’re doing for YOU. We’ll explore why and how you can exercise your body, mind, and spirit for a healthier and happier you.

Organic Food: A Lesson In Information Literacy

As we head into the throws of the summer and the coming onslaught of fresh produce from local growers hitting the markets, we thought it might be helpful to provide a little information literacy into the world of organic foods. We’ve long taught our students to read the nutrition labels to compare serving size, fat content, ingredients, and more using real props such ascereal boxes. But now that organic food has become mainstream in supermarket chains, it makes sense to educate our students about organics as well.

Since this is a multi-billion dollar industry today, we want our learners to know what it means to be organic, whether it is safer to eat, what are the nutrition facts, and how to read food labels. The motion graphic What Is Organic Foodfrom Epipheo is a good resource to start with to help students understand organic foods and, more importantly, that just because something is organic, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you, healthy, or nutritious.

As the video points out, organic chicken nuggets, mac ‘n cheese, or sandwich cookies can still be considered “junk food” without pesticides. It is how the food is created, prepared or raised without chemicals, genetically modified organisms, or radiation in the process. These are just a few examples. In other words, it doesn’t necessarily mean that ingredients are nutritious, just that the ingredients are organic.

Source: Foododdity (detail)


Source: USDA Organic Progra

If we want our kids to be smart consumers, they need to know who gets to use the USDAOrganic label. The infographic “What Does Organic Really Mean?” provides a clear layout to explain who can use it. Only food where a minimum of 95% of the ingredients are organic can use the seal. Food that is between 70-94% organic cannot put the label on its products.

Marketing and packaging of food is no different from any other industry trying to sell its products. A little media literacy goes a long way in helping kids, and adults, make healthy choices. The Mayo Clinic’s page on nutrition and healthy eating gives a short overview of the real difference between organic foods and their traditional counterparts as to nutrition, safety and price. It makes a point that “organic” is not interchangeable with “natural.” Other terms that can also be misleading to consumers are “all natural,” “free range,” or “hormone-free.” These products are not organic.

Lastly, many consumers, let alone kids, are not aware of what those little stickers mean on every piece of produce we purchase. They are called “price look up codes,” or PLUs. However annoying these little stickers might be, they provide valuable information about the food we’re buying. So it makes sense to help students know what these numbers mean. The simple graphic called “Learn Your Labels” explains it all. If the produce is organic, the five digit code starts with a 9, if it is a genetically modified organism (GMO) an 8, and if it is conventionally grown a 4.

Source: Royal Hawaiian Orchards

Information and media literacy are important aspects of the learning process and equally so in making healthy choices. Anytime we can add to the overall knowledge of consumer information for our students, the wiser they become about scrutinizing the world around them.

For other infographics, please take a look at:

  • Fruits, Veggies, and Pesticides
  • Farm to Fork: The Story Of Our Toxic Food System

Do You Really Need to Buy Organic Foods To Avoid Pesticide Residues?

Last week, a meta-analysis from a highly credible, academic source (Stanford University, its medical school and nearby institutions), raised serious questions about the often-touted, nutritional advantage of organic food.  They digested the contents of 237 peer reviewed articles comparing organic and conventional foods and diets.  They concluded that “the published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods.”  This drew a great deal of attention and organic advocate defense.  Because even though Stanford is affectionately known by alums such as me as “the farm,” it is certainly no ag-school promoting the status quo.  Instead, it enjoys a very strong reputation for research excellence.   It isn’t easy to dismiss these findings.

Many commentators, confronted with the highly credible de-mythification of the nutritional advantage of organic, jumped to the paper’s slight evidence supporting a 30% reduction in exposure to pesticide residues as a way to justify paying extra for organic. Does the science really support that claim?  No.

What I found disappointing about the Stanford study was the weakness of its analysis of differences in pesticide residues.  First of all, of the 9 papers it analyzed on this topic, only one was based on US crops.  Seven were about European food and one was from Australia.  The single US study used data from the 1990s.  Since that time there have been significant declines in the usage of older, more toxic pesticides.

The Stanford-associated authors drew the cautious conclusion that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposures to pesticide residues…”, but they didn’t do anything to put that statement in perspective.  In fact, their analysis was only a comparison of the number of pesticide detections with no consideration of which pesticides were detected at at what levels.  Without that information, one can easily be counting,  as equivalent, chemical residues that could differ by a factor of a hundred thousand or million in terms of relative risk.   The Stanford group may have been limited by doing meta-analysis instead of original research, but in any case this sort of “detection counting” is the same egregiously misleading “analysis” that is committed each year by the Environmental Working Group in compiling their “Dirty Dozen List.”

How Would You Best Answer Questions About Pesticide Residue Safety

The truth is that at least for the US, there is a perfectly good way to answer the question, “Should we be concerned at all about pesticide residues on our conventional food?”  There is a publically available, fully transparent, downloadable data-set that provides exactly the information needed to get those answers. Each year, a group in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-AMS) conducts a huge effort called “The Pesticide Detection Program.” (PDP).  They collect thousands of samples of food commodities from commercial channels throughout the year, and then take them back to the lab and analyze each for hundreds of different pesticide residues.   It is effectively a “report card” on the entire food production system about how well it protects consumers from undesirable pesticide exposure.

I’ve been working for a while to do a rigorous analysis of the latest available PDP data from 2010.  It has been a daunting task, because it is a nearly 2 million row, 85MB document. It contains a great deal of useful information in a form not easily accessed or understood by the public.  However; once this is data iscrunched; it is easy to see why the USDA, EPA, FDA conclude that consumers have no need to worry about the safety of their food supply from a pesticide residue point of view.

The graph above shows that the vast majority of the residues that the USDA scientists detect are at less than one part per million (1 milligram/kilogram).  There really are not very many chemicals, synthetic or natural, that are of concern at these levels, but fortunately the USDA data does identify what the chemicals were and one can find out about them by searching for an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet).

When most people hear the word, “pesticide” they imagine something quite dangerous.  What they don’t know is that over the last several decades, the old chemicals have been steadily replaced by much less hazardous ones that have emerged from a multi-billion dollar discover effort.  That is why 36.6% of the residues detected in 2010 were for chemicals that are less toxic to mammals than things like salt, or vinegar or the citric acid in your lemons (see graph above).   73 percent of the detections  were for pesticides that are less toxic than the vanilla that is in your ice cream.  90.5 percent of the pesticides detected were less toxic gram per gram than the ibuprofen that is in the Advil tablets that tens of millions of people take on a regular basis.  95.4% of the detected residues were from chemicals that are less toxic than the caffeine that is in your coffee each morning.  “Pesticide” does not equal “danger.”


Even so, the best way to answer the question, “should I worry about pesticide residues?” is to compare what was detected to something called the “EPA tolerance.”  Companies that want to register new pesticides or to continue to use older ones spend well over $100 million dollars and several years of research to characterize the hazards (or lack thereof) that are associated with each chemical.  These are used to inform a sophisticated, EPA-driven  “Risk Assessment” process that determines if the chemical can be used and with which restrictions (e.g. how long the use must stop before the crop is harvested.)  The “tolerance” that comes out of this process is designed to set a maximum level of that pesticide residue that should be detected in practice. This value includes a generous safety margin (on the order of 100x).  Anything that is detected which is below the tolerance is not of any concern.  The tolerances are set specifically by chemical with differences for each crop to reflect  differences in the amount people would eat and which crops tend to be consumed the most by children.  

What Does The Residue Testing Say?

The reason that the USDA can look at their data and make strong statements about safety is that the residues they find are virtually all below the tolerances, mostly far below (see graph above.)  Only 7.8% of the residues detected in 2010 were even within the range of 0.1 to 1 times the tolerance.  More than half were less than 1% of the tolerance (see graph above).

The Stanford study cited a 30% reduction pesticide residue detections which is essentially meaningless in the context of the miniscule risk associated. Unfortunately, many consumers have been convinced that there is a risk where there isn’t one.  They have gotten this from misleading promotion of organic as “pesticide-free” when it isn’t, and by the scaremongering of groups like the EWG. The net effect of consumer concern about pesticide residues, driven by distorted messaging, may be a reduction in fresh fruit and vegetables consumption (see graph below).   After some modest increases in fruit and vegetable per capita consumption in the 80s and 90s, those trends have ceased or even been reversed.  How much of that is related to disinformation about the risks associated with pesticide residues?  A study by the Hartman group found that some consumers said they reduced their produce purchases specifically because of the “dirty dozen list.”  The question needs more research.

This new study, even if it is from Stanford, does not provide consumers meaningful guidance on the question of whether they should spend more to avoid pesticide residues.  The more relevant USDA data says that they don’t need to hesitate to buy and consume “conventional” foods.
You are welcome to comment here or to email me at  Graphs are based on USDA-AMS pesticide data and USDA-ERS produce trend data.


Six Reasons Organic is NOT The Most Environmentally Friendly Way To Farm

Contrary to widespread consumer belief, organic farming is notthe best way to farm from an environmental point if view. The guiding principal of organic is to rely exclusively on natural inputs.  That was decided early in the 20th century, decades before before the scientific disciplines of toxicology, environmental studies and climate science emerged to inform our understanding of how farming practices impact the environment.  As both farming and science have progressed, there are now several cutting edge agricultural practices which are good for the environment, but difficult or impossible for organic farmers to implement within the constraints of their pre-scientific rules.

There was one window during which the rules for organic might have been adjusted to reflect a more modern understanding.  In 1990 the US Congress charged the USDA with the task of setting a national standard for what products could be legally sold as Organic.  That agency was inclined to include more science in a definition of “what is safest for us and for the environment,” but the organic community of that day was adamant that the rule should only reflect the purely natural definition embraced by their existing customer base.  Long before the final Organic Standardswere published in 2002, it was clear that the industry preference had prevailed and that the rules of organic would still reflect their pre-scientific origins.  That is why the following six environmental issues exist for organic farming.

1. Less Than Optimal Fungicides

Copper Sulfate

Organic farmers use pesticides, but only those qualified as sufficiently natural.  Thus, copper-based fungicides are among the few options available to an organic grower for the control of fungal plant diseases.  These are high-use rate products that require frequent re-application and which are quite toxic to aquatic invertebrates.  There are much more effective, and far less toxic, synthetic fungicide options without environmental issues, and which, unlike copper, break down into completely innocuous materials. Organic growers can’t use those fungicides.  Similarly there are many environmentally benign, synthetic insecticides and herbicides which cannot be used.

2. A Surprisingly High Carbon Footprint for Compost

The greatest original contribution of the early organic movement was its focus on building soil health.  One of the main ways that organic farmers do this is by physically incorporating tons of organic matter into the soil in the form of composts. Unfortunately, during the process of composting a substantial amount of methane is emitted which means that broad use of this soil-building approach would be problematic from a climate change point of view.

3. Practical Barriers to Implementing No-till Farming

No-Till Field

The best approach to building soil quality is minimizing soil disturbance (e.g. no plowing or tilling) combined with the use of cover crops.  Such farming systems have multiple environmental advantages, particularly with respect to limiting erosion and nutrient movement into water. Organic growers frequently do plant cover crops, but without effective herbicides, they tend to rely on tillage for weed control. There are efforts underway to find a way to do organic no-till, but they are not really scalable.

4. Difficulties Implementing Optimized Fertilization

Fertilizers are associated with many of the biggest environmental issues for agriculture because of the challenges in supplying all a crop needs without leading to movement of those nutrients into surface or ground water or to emissions of the highly potent greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.  The best practice is to “spoon feed” the nutrients through the irrigation system at levels designed to closely track the changing demands of the crop throughout the season.

Drip Irrigated and Fertilized Grapes

This requires water-soluble forms of the nutrients and that is very expensive to do for the natural fertilizer sources allowed in organic.  Since the plants absorb those nutrients in exactly the same molecular forms regardless of source, this cost barrier is a non-scientific impediment to doing the best thing from an environmental point of view. Organic fertilizers like composts or manures are also much less practical for variable rate application, an environmentally beneficial option for rain-fed crops in which different amounts of fertilizer are applied to different parts of the field based on geo-referenced soil and yield mapping data.  Finally, the organic avoidance of “synthetic fertilizers” would mean that these growers would not be able to use what appear to be promising small-scale, carbon-neutral, renewable energy-driven systems for making nitrogen fertilizers.

5. Lower Land-Use-Efficiency

The per-acre yields of organic crops are significantly lower than those for conventional.  This has been well documented both bymeta-analysis of published research comparisons and by public data generated through USDA commercial production surveys.

The shortfall is driven by limited pesticide options, difficulties in meeting peak fertilizer demand, and in some cases by not being able to use biotech traits.  If organic production were used for a significant proportion of crop production, these lower yields would increase the pressure for new land-use-conversion – a serious environmental issue because of the biodiversity and greenhouse gas ramifications.

6. Lack of an Economic Model to Move Beyond Niche Status

Finally, agriculture needs to change in ways that accomplish both productivity and environmental goals.  That optimal farming approach must become the dominant system over time. Even if organic had maintained its growth trend from 1995 to 2008, organic acreage in 2050 would still have represented less than 3% of US cropland.

Trend line for US organic cropland as of of 2008

Then, between 2008 and 2011, USDA survey data showed no net gain in US organic acreage. Environmentally desirable “conventional” practices like no-till, cover cropping and a variety of other precision agriculture innovations are already practiced on a much broader scale and have the potential to be economically attractive for farmers without any price premium mechanisms.  Innovations in farmland leases could greatly accelerate the conversion process if growers could be guaranteed long-term control of fields so that they could profit from their investments in building soil quality.

Consumers Who Want To Do The Right Thing

There are many consumers who are willing to spend more for organic food because they believe that they are making a positive difference for the environment.  While it is commendable that people are willing to do that, the pre-scientific basis for the organic rules means that the environmental superiority of organic cannot be assumed. While “only natural” is appealing as a marketing message, it is not the best guide for how to farm with minimal environmental impact. Between rigorous, science-based regulation, public and private investments in new technology development, and farmer innovation, modern agriculture has been making excellent environmental progress. That trend, not organic, is what we need to encourage.

Organic Foods Suck: Study

Like a tsunami of cold water on the good name of organic food, the story was all over the media early in September. You pretty much had to be living off the grid to miss it. The headlines were withering enough to dry out a rack of organic grapes:
“Stanford scientists cast doubt on advantages of organic meat and produce” (New York Times)
“Organic foods may not be much healthier” (National Post/
“Organic food no healthier than non-organic: study” (Reuters)
“New study finds scant evidence of health benefits from eating organic foods” (Globe and Mail)
Stanford University’s PR department had spun the study for maximum media impact. What editor or columnist doesn’t love an emperor-has-no-clothes story? And when the emperor is organic food, for some it’s a feeding frenzy:
“The organic fable” (New York Times columnist Roger Cohen)
“Stanford study shows organic food no safer or healthier than conventional food”(National Post columnist Marni Soupcoff)
“Study sticks fork in organic claim” (Washington Times)
Below the schadenfreude headlines, the details of the study – as spoon-fed to the media by Stanford and the study’s media-friendly authors – unfolded. An ambitious meta-analysis (a study that pools the results of previous studies) of over 200 studies comparing organic and conventionally grown food mostly came up “meh.”
The study (published September 4 in Annals of Internal Medicine) reported scant statistically significant evidence that organic foods are nutritionally superior.
It claimed that organic produce was less likely to harbour pesticide residues, but only by 30%.
And it found that “the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to 3 or more antibiotics was 33% higher among conventional chicken and pork than organic alternatives.”
In other words, modest benefits for foods with less than modest price tags.
The take-home message was as predictable as the headlines. Senior author Dena Bravata, MD, summed up the sentiment in a much-reprinted quote from the press release: “There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making decisions based solely on your health.”
It wasn’t until days and weeks after the tsunami had come and gone that well-informed critiques of the study began to surface. But by then the story was cold. The critiques seldom travelled further than minor blogs, low profile news releases or alternative media. To this day, most people have heard the bad news but not the rebuttals.
Those critics included many credible voices: New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman, veteran sustainability guru Francis Moore Lappé, Scientific American “Greengrok” blogger and scientist, Bill Chameides. One of the best critiques was written by Mother Jones food and agriculture columnist Tom Philpott. His column was my gateway drug to the study’s own emperor-has-no-clothes issues. It led me to an even more penetrating take-down by Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., an agricultural economist and professor at Washington State University, and eventually to the study itself, ensconced behind an expensive paywall.
Misleading numbers
So what was wrong with the Stanford study? To my mind, grossly misleading numbers trumpeted to a scientifically naive public (and media) by a major university were the root of the study’s evil.
Take those 30 percentish differences between organic and conventional food samples.
What if I told you that in multiple studies, pesticide residues have been found in 7% of organic food samples and 38% of conventional food samples. Which of the following would you consider to be the most meaningful way of communicating that difference to you?
  • There’s a 31% difference between organic and conventional foods (38 minus 7).
  • Organics carry 18.5% of the pesticide risk of conventional produce (7 over 38) or, conversely, they’re 82% less likely to contain pesticide residues (38 minus 7 = 31 over 38 = 81.5%).
  • Conventional produce is 5.4 times more likely to contain pesticide residues than organics (38 over 7).
I hope you’ll agree that the latter two examples, which unlike the first one calculate the relativedifference between food samples, give you a much better idea of the practical, real world difference between organic and conventional foods.
Relative differences are the default language for reporting findings in scientific research. When you read that patients who took Drug A enjoyed 33% fewer heart attacks than patients who took a placebo, that’s a relative difference. The raw numbers in the study might have been 30 people out of 1000 (3%) taking the drug had a heart attack vs 45 out of 1000 (4.5%) on the placebo. If the researchers had reported the absolute difference in percentages – 4.5% minus 3% – the headline would have been:
Heart Drug Flops
Ceminex cuts heart attack risk less than 2%
But that’s how the Stanford scientists chose to report their results, making big differences seem meagre. The numbers I quoted earlier – 7% vs 38% – are the actual numbers the Stanford team reported in their study. So far so good. But then they subtracted the 7 from the 38 to arrive at the absolute difference of just 30% (not 31% because the numbers had probably been rounded). As Benbrook – a former Executive Director of the National Academy of Sciences’s Board on Agriculture – critically observed: “Their seemingly unimpressive finding of ‘30% lower risk’ corresponds to an overall 81% lower risk or incidence of one or more pesticide residues in the organic samples compared to the conventional samples.” Statistically, the odds of this organic advantage being insignificant (just a chance variation) were less than 1 in 1000, as the researchers themselves reported.
It doesn’t stop there. The methodology chosen by the Stanford team ignored any reported differences in the pesticide concentration in samples (organic and conventional) that tested positive. Not having checked the studies they reviewed, I’m ignorant too. But knowing what we know about how liberally pesticides are used in conventional agriculture and shunned in organic farming, it isn’t a stretch to speculate that in the 7% of organic samples that contained pesticide residues, the pesticide concentrations were much lower than those in the 38% of conventional samples that did. If the average contaminated orange from a conventional orchard contained, say, a total of 10 parts per million of two or three different pesticides, the average contaminated organic orange might have contained just one or two pesticide residues totalling 2 or 3 parts per million. Such differences weren’t quantified in the Stanford study. But Benbrook, who knows the research like the back of his hand, says that when these differences are factored in, “the potential health risk of pesticide residues in organic foods compared to conventional foods typically averages 10 to 20-times smaller than that in conventional foods.”
That’s a long way from 30% smaller.
Sweeping superbugs under the rug
And so it went for most of the study’s other findings.
That 33% difference in antibiotic-resistant bacterial contamination? Absolute difference. Crunching the numbers reported in the study – 57 out of 358 (15.9%) organic samples contained antibiotic-resistant bacteria; 166 out of 343 (48.4%) conventional samples did – shows that, relatively speaking, the non-organic meats were three times more likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, again with odds less than 1 in a 1000 that the difference was due to chance. But armed with their absolute difference of just 33%, the Stanford team didn’t even bother to comment on the health implications. And the news release all but blew the finding off, noting that “the clinical significance of this is … unclear.”
The same release had branded the study as a doctor’s quest to better serve her patients. The study, it stated, “stemmed from Bravata’s patients asking her again and again about the benefits of organic products. She didn’t know how to advise them.”
Well, how about advising them they have a threefold greater risk of catching a superbug from a conventionally produced pork chop or chicken wing? (She might also want to advise them that plant-based meat substitutes – beans, hummus, tofu, veggie burgers, soy hot dogs etc. – carry close to a 0% risk of being contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.)
And what about the health implications of those “30%” higher pesticide residues? Because most of the analyzed studies hadn’t reported if or by how much the residues exceeded regulatory safety limits, the Stanford team essentially dismissed the clinical implications as “unclear.” But even if pesticide residues never exceeded officially safe limits for any single food, if every non-organic carrot, apple or bowl of soup Johnny eats has a 38% risk of containing some pesticide residues, it all adds up – perhaps to a level that clearly is unsafe. Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group, had some pointed words on this subject for the Stanford scientists:
“Studies that have come out in the last two years have linked exposures to organophosphate pesticides with increased risks of ADHD and lower IQ in children and to low birth weight and early gestation among newborns,” Cook said in an EWG news release. “The authors of this study, for whatever reason, decided not to focus on this new and troubling research showing that a diet of food high in certain pesticides could pose such serious and lasting health impacts in children. That’s a glaring omission, in my opinion.”
The other big finding in the study was that only one nutrient of the 14 studied was significantly and unequivocally higher in organic foods: phosphorous. The researchers were probably right to write this difference off, because phosphorous is abundant in any diet and I’ve never heard of a little bit more equating to better health.
The Stanford team also reported weaker evidence that organic produce is better endowed with useful phytochemicals called phenols (resveratrol, the possibly life-lengthening compound in grapes and red wine, is a phenol), with omega-3 fatty acids in milk and chicken and with vaccenic acid (a fatty acid of uncertain healthfulness) in chicken.
Based on how the nutrition data was crunched and presented, the Stanford team reasonably concluded: “Despite the widespread perception that organically produced foods are more nutritious than conventional alternatives, we did not find robust evidence to support this perception.”
But neither did they find robust evidence that organic foods aren’t more nutritious. Fourteen nutrients is a small fraction of the beneficial compounds found in foods. Even most vitamins and essential minerals – including ones like selenium and zinc whose availability to plants is dependent on the quality of the soil, an organic farming selling point – weren’t included in the study due to insufficient data. Just a year earlier, researchers from the University of Newcastle analyzed pretty much the same literature and reported that organic produce is approximately 12% more nutrient-dense than non-organic – a small, but real (statistically highly significant) difference. Looking over the raw numbers reported in the Stanford study, one finds an echo – undiscussed by the Stanford team – of the Newcastle results. To begin with, although the differences in the Stanford study weren’t statistically significant in most cases, organic foods were better endowed with 10 of the 14 nutrients. Non-organics beat on just 3 (there was a tie for potassium). Similarly, while 133 nutrient comparisons between organic and conventionally produced foods favoured the conventional samples, 199 favoured organic. Advantage organic: 50%.
So, in terms of nutrient density, the jury is still out on whether organic food is trivially or significantly superior to non-organic. Meanwhile, the pesticide advantage is confirmed. As for the credibility of the Stanford study, the jury is in.
Syd Baumel is editor of The Aquarian. He often pays extra for organic food, but mostly for the social and environmental benefits.
UPDATE, May 2013. In its February 19 issue, Annals of Internal Medicine published reader feedback to the Stanford study. All five letters were by scientists and one clinician, including Charles Benbrook and Kirsten Brandt (lead author of the Newcastle study described above), and all were critical. Among the new wrinkles:
Sari Lisa Davison, MD, wrote:

As an internist who relies on the Annals to publish articles that are free from bias and for which authors’ potential conflicts of interest are clearly stated, I was dismayed that Smith-Spangler and colleagues’ article on organic food did not indicate that some of the authors are affiliated with Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, which receives funding from agribusiness and agricultural chemical companies, such as Cargill and Monsanto.

In their response, the study’s authors denied any funding from or financial relationship to organizations “that could be perceived to influence our published work.”
Preston K. Andrews, Ph.D, of Washington State University wrote:

The authors also neglected to include a 2010 study (3) that compared organically and conventionally grown strawberries in California in which cultivar and environmental factors were meticulously controlled. This study found increased concentrations of vitamin C and total phenolic compounds, as well as higher antioxidant capacity, in organic strawberries. (For the sake of full disclosure, I am a coauthor of this study.)

The authors attributed the omission to a coding error on their part. But they questioned that the vitamin C difference in the other study would have been big enough to change the results of their meta-analysis, which found no significant difference in vitamin C concentration between organic and conventional produce.

This Ingredient Found in Organic Foods Causes Cancer!

Why would the average consumer decide to switch to organic food?  Typical reasons include food of higher quality that is hopefully more nutritious although conventional produce grown locally and picked at the peak of ripeness would no doubt rival the nutrition of organic produce picked early and shipped long distances.
Consumers also generally assume that any food labeled as USDA Organic will not contain any dangerous ingredients or chemicals.  After all, buying certified organic food is still the only way to avoid genetically modified ingredients as GMOs are regularly slipped into healthfoods labeled as “natural” and even those containing organic ingredients but less than 70% organic overall.
Based on these assumptions, consumers would likely be surprised and even shocked to learn that a likely human carcinogen that triggers massive gastointestinal inflammation and symptoms in many people continues to be allowed by the National Organics Standards Board (NOSB) for inclusion on the list of ingredients permitted in certified organic food – food bearing the USDA Organic label!
This dangerous ingredient, carrageenan, which most consumers are unaware is lurking in so many of their beloved organic products, seems harmless enough at first glance.
Derived from seaweed, carrageenan is a highly processed food additive that has no nutritional function whatsoever.
What it does do is act as a fat replacer or stabilizer in certain types of dairy products, dairy substitutes like soy milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, almond milk, and other processed foods.
As you can see, buying lowfat is not a good idea and not just for the fact that you are losing the valuable whole fats that satiate and steady the blood sugar.  By opting for lowfat or alternative dairy products, consumers are choosing instead to consume a toxic additive that is a likely carcinogen!
Even Dr. Andrew Weil has been telling people to avoid carrageenan since 2002.  Carrageenan is so toxic and inflaming to the human digestive system that this food additive is formally classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (part of the World Health Organization) as a potential human carcinogen.  Scientists first discovered that carrageenan causes gut inflammation as far back as the 1960′s.  Inflammation is a very serious condition as it is a primary symptom in IBS, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer as well as dozens of other diseases.
The hype from the carrageenan industry claims that “food grade” carrageenan is different from the low molecular weight, i.e., degraded carrageenan that is toxic to human cells.
This spin fails to mention that not a single sample of products containing carrageenan that were tested could be said to be free of the degraded form. Some samples contained as much as 25% low molecular weight carrageenan.   This testing was conducted as part of a 2003 ruling by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Food which required that a maximum of 5% degraded carrageenan be contained in a processed food which includes the additive.
Another problem is that research available since the early 1980′s indicated that even food grade carrageenan is probably converted during the digestive process to the degraded, highly toxic form.   More recent research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), pinpointed the exact metabolic process by which carrageenan triggers inflammation.   Shockingly, this biological event was found to mirror the way pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella wreak havoc in the gut.
The takeaway for consumers from this very discouraging NOSB ruling is to not take anything for granted just because a product is labeled USDA Organic.  It still could be extremely damaging to your health!

Organic foods offer few definite nutritional benefits


STANFORD, Calif. — You’re in the supermarket eyeing a basket of sweet, juicy plums. You reach for the conventionally grown stone fruit, then decide to spring the extra $1/pound for its organic cousin. You figure you’ve just made the healthier decision by choosing the organic product — but new findings fromStanford University cast some doubt on your thinking.

“There isn’t much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you’re an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,” said Dena Bravata, MD, MS, the senior author of a paper comparing the nutrition of organic and non-organic foods, to be published in the Sept. 4 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

A team led by Bravata, a senior affiliate with Stanford’s Center for Health Policy, and Crystal Smith-Spangler, MD, MS, a Veterans Affairs physician fellow at the center, did the most comprehensive meta-analysis to date of existing studies comparing organic and conventional foods. They did not find strong evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or carry fewer health risks than conventional alternatives, though consumption of organic foods can reduce the risk of pesticide exposure.

The popularity of organic products, which are generally grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers or routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones, is skyrocketing in the United States. Between 1997 and 2011, U.S. sales of organic foods increased from $3.6 billion to $24.4 billion, and many consumers are willing to pay a premium for these products. Organic foods are often twice as expensive as their conventionally grown counterparts.

Although there is a common perception — perhaps based on price alone — that organic foods are better for you than non-organic ones, it remains an open question as to the health benefits. In fact, the Stanford study stemmed from Bravata’s patients asking her again and again about the benefits of organic products. She didn’t know how to advise them.

So Bravata, who is also chief medical officer at the health-care transparency company Castlight Health, did a literature search, uncovering what she called a “confusing body of studies, including some that were not very rigorous, appearing in trade publications.” There wasn’t a comprehensive synthesis of the evidence that included both benefits and harms, she said.

“This was a ripe area in which to do a systematic review,” said first author Smith-Spangler, who jumped on board to conduct the meta-analysis with Bravata and other Stanford colleagues.

For their study, the researchers sifted through thousands of papers and identified 237 of the most relevant to analyze. Those included 17 studies (six of which were randomized clinical trials) of populations consuming organic and conventional diets, and 223 studies that compared either the nutrient levels or the bacterial, fungal or pesticide contamination of various products (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, milk, poultry, and eggs) grown organically and conventionally. There were no long-term studies of health outcomes of people consuming organic versus conventionally produced food; the duration of the studies involving human subjects ranged from two days to two years.

After analyzing the data, the researchers found little significant difference in health benefits between organic and conventional foods. No consistent differences were seen in the vitamin content of organic products, and only one nutrient — phosphorus — was significantly higher in organic versus conventionally grown produce (and the researchers note that because few people have phosphorous deficiency, this has little clinical significance). There was also no difference in protein or fat content between organic and conventional milk, though evidence from a limited number of studies suggested that organic milk may contain significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

The researchers were also unable to identify specific fruits and vegetables for which organic appeared the consistently healthier choice, despite running what Bravata called “tons of analyses.”

“Some believe that organic food is always healthier and more nutritious,” said Smith-Spangler, who is also an instructor of medicine at the School of Medicine. “We were a little surprised that we didn’t find that.”

The review yielded scant evidence that conventional foods posed greater health risks than organic products. While researchers found that organic produce is 30 percent less likely to be contaminated with pesticides than conventional fruits and vegetables, organic foods are not necessarily 100 percent free of pesticides. What’s more, as the researchers noted, the pesticide levels of all foods fell within the allowable safety limits. Two studies of children consuming organic and conventional diets did find lower levels of pesticide residues in the urine of children on organic diets, though the levels of urinary pesticides in both groups of children were below the allowable safety thresholds. Also, organic chicken and pork appeared to reduce exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but the clinical significance of this is unclear.

As for what the findings mean for consumers, the researchers said their aim is to educate people, not to discourage them from making organic purchases. “If you look beyond health effects, there are plenty of other reasons to buy organic instead of conventional,” noted Bravata. She listed taste preferences and concerns about the effects of conventional farming practices on the environment and animal welfare as some of the reasons people choose organic products.

“Our goal was to shed light on what the evidence is,” said Smith-Spangler. “This is information that people can use to make their own decisions based on their level of concern about pesticides, their budget and other considerations.”

She also said that people should aim for healthier diets overall. She emphasized the importance of eating of fruits and vegetables, “however they are grown,” noting that most Americans don’t consume the recommended amount.

In discussing limitations of their work, the researchers noted the heterogeneity of the studies they reviewed due to differences in testing methods; physical factors affecting the food, such as weather and soil type; and great variation among organic farming methods. With regard to the latter, there may be specific organicpractices (for example, the way that manure fertilizer, a risk for bacterial contamination, is used and handled) that could yield a safer product of higher nutritional quality.

“What I learned is there’s a lot of variation between farming practices,” said Smith-Spangler. “It appears there are a lot of different factors that are important in predicting nutritional quality and harms.”

Other Stanford co-authors are Margaret Brandeau, PhD, the Coleman F. Fung Professor in the School of Engineering; medical students Grace Hunter, J. Clay Bavinger and Maren Pearson; research assistant Paul Eschbach; Vandana Sundaram, MPH, assistant director for research at CHP/PCOR; Hau Liu, MD, MBA, clinical assistant professor of medicine at Stanford and senior director at Castlight Health; Patricia Schirmer, MD, infectious disease physician with the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System; medical librarian Christopher Stave, MLS; and Ingram Olkin, PhD, professor emeritus of statistics and of education. The authors received no external funding for this study.

Information about Stanford’s Department of Medicine, which supported the work, is available at The Center for Health Policy is a unit of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford.

# # #

The Stanford University School of Medicine consistently ranks among the nation’s top medical schools, integrating research, medical education, patient care and community service. For more news about the school, please visit The medical school is part of Stanford Medicine, which includesStanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. For information about all three, please visit

Previous study: 

UK Food Standards Authority Organic Foods report (Dangour and colleagues 2009).

Other posts:

Questions about land-use inefficiency not answered by Monty Don

Something to Chew On — Mike Gibson

Comparing the yields — organic versus conventional

Peer reviewed paper:

Smith-Spangler, Crystal MD, MS; Brandeau, Margaret L. PhD; Hunter, Grace E. BA; Bavinger, J. Clay BA; Pearson, Maren BS; Eschbach, Paul J.; Sundaram, Vandana MPH; Liu, Hau MD, MS, MBA, MPH; Schirmer, Patricia MD; Stave, Christopher MLS; Olkin, Ingram PhD; Bravata, Dena M. MD, MS

Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review.[Review]
Annals of Internal Medicine. 157(5):348-366, September 4, 2012.
Background: The health benefits of organic foods are unclear.

Purpose: To review evidence comparing the health effects of organic and conventional foods.

Data Sources: MEDLINE (January 1966 to May 2011), EMBASE, CAB Direct, Agricola, TOXNET, Cochrane Library (January 1966 to May 2009), and bibliographies of retrieved articles.

Study Selection: English-language reports of comparisons of organically and conventionally grown food or of populations consuming these foods.

Data Extraction: 2 independent investigators extracted data on methods, health outcomes, and nutrient and contaminant levels.

Data Synthesis: 17 studies in humans and 223 studies of nutrient and contaminant levels in foods met inclusion criteria. Only 3 of the human studies examined clinical outcomes, finding no significant differences between populations by food type for allergic outcomes (eczema, wheeze, atopic sensitization) or symptomatic Campylobacter infection. Two studies reported significantly lower urinary pesticide levels among children consuming organic versus conventional diets, but studies of biomarker and nutrient levels in serum, urine, breast milk, and semen in adults did not identify clinically meaningful differences. All estimates of differences in nutrient and contaminant levels in foods were highly heterogeneous except for the estimate for phosphorus; phosphorus levels were significantly higher than in conventional produce, although this difference is not clinically significant. The risk for contamination with detectable pesticide residues was lower among organic than conventional produce (risk difference, 30% [CI, -37% to -23%]), but differences in risk for exceeding maximum allowed limits were small. Escherichia coli contamination risk did not differ between organic and conventional produce. Bacterial contamination of retail chicken and pork was common but unrelated to farming method. However, the risk for isolating bacteria resistant to 3 or more antibiotics was higher in conventional than in organic chicken and pork (risk difference, 33% [CI, 21% to 45%]).

Limitation: Studies were heterogeneous and limited in number, and publication bias may be present.

Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Why You Can Feel Guilt-free Buying Non-Organic Produce


There are several different reasons people are willing to pay more for organic produce, but many consumers do so believing that it is a way avoid pesticide residues.  That widely held belief is unfounded.  Here is why:

  1. There are definitely pesticides used in the growing of organic crops.  There are residues of those materials on the harvested products.
  2. Residues of synthetic pesticides are also frequently found on organic produce, even though they are not materials that are approved for use on organic.
The reason I feel the need to challenge the “avoid pesticides via organic” myth is that it causes many consumers to feel unwarranted marketing and peer pressure to spend more for organic. The guilt tripping is particularly intense for moms.  The not-so-subtle message is, “if you really cared about your family or your health, you would spend the money for organic.”  Whether this leads people to spend more than they should, to buy less total produce, or just to feel bad, it is a destructive outcome based on disinformation. Yes, there are low level pesticide residues on both categories of produce, but in neither case should those residues dissuade you from enjoying all the health benefits that come with eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

Residues of Organic-Approved Pesticides on Organic Produce

Anyone who has ever gardened realizes that there are plenty of pests out there that like to “share” the plants we grow for food.  There is no magic feature of organic that gets around this biological reality, and so there is an extensive list of pesticides that can be used by organic farmers. That list is not based on safety, but rather on whether the material is considered “natural.” “Natural” does not automatically mean “safe.” Indeed, some of the most toxic chemicals known come from nature. The organic-approved pesticides still have to be registered with the EPA because it is that agency’s job to insure that these materials can be used in ways that are safe for us and safe for the environment.

Some organic approved pesticides are very benign (low hazard) materials, but so are a great many of the synthetic pesticides used by conventional farmers.  Some organic-approved pesticides are slightly to moderately toxic. This is also the case for synthetics.  There are many pesticides that are used by both conventional and organic growers.  Some of the pesticides commonly used on organic crops are applied at rather high rates (pounds per treated acre).  Some are approved for use until almost immediately before harvest.  In any case, organic-approved pesticides definitely leave residues on treated crops by the time they reach the consumer.

Synthetic Pesticide Residues on Organic Produce

Occasionally, government agencies intentionally conduct specific surveys of organic produce to check for residues of non-allowed, synthetic pesticides.  The Canadian Health Authority did this in 2011/13 and they found synthetic pesticide residues on 46% of the organic produce samples.  In 2010/11, a similar survey was conducted by the USDA, and they also found synthetics on 43% of organic produce samples. Both sample sets included produce grown in the US, Canada and Mexico. What both of these agencies found wasn’t alarming, but it definitely doesn’t fit the marketing claims about organic as a way to “avoid synthetic pesticide residues.” The presence of these residues does not generally mean that organic growers are violating the organic rules. Some of produce may have been mislabeled. Also, the testing methods are simply so sensitive that they can detect materials that got there unintentionally through something like spray drift or from harvesting or storage equipment.  In fact, the rules for organic have always allowed for the “unintentional” presence of such chemicals.  Buying organic does not mean “no synthetic pesticides.”

Should We Worry About These Residues?

Since avoiding all pesticide residues is not an option, the remaining question is “Should we worry about them?”  Are the residues on organic and conventional different enough matter?  The short answer is, “No.” Here is why.

When regulatory agencies such as the EPA approve a pesticide for use on a crop, they use all the information they have about that chemical to define an amount of it which can be present at the consumer level without any meaningful risk.  In the US that is called a “tolerance” and in most countries it is called an MRL (maximum residue level).  These thresholds are designed to be very conservative, so that as long as the residues are at these levels or lower, they are about 100 times less than an amount that would be of any concern.  These values are based on an extensive risk assessment based on millions of dollars worth of required testing.  The regulators also restrict how the pesticide can be used (e.g. how long between the spray and harvest) so that any residues left should be below the tolerance.

So whether we are talking about the residues on organic or on conventional, the meaningful questions are:

  1. What is the particular chemical that was detected?
  2. How does the amount of that chemical which was found compare to the crop/chemical-specific tolerance or MRL?
Every year the USDA collects samples of produce, takes it into the lab, and looks for residues of pesticides. They publish the data, and what it consistently shows is that the residues are virtually all below or even well below the conservative tolerances.  Similar data is generated in Canada.  California does additional testing.  The results from these more extensive testing programs are very much like those occasional studies with organic:  yes, there are residues, but no, they are not worrisome.
Each year, an organization called The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list that it claims to provide guidance for consumers about which fruits and vegetables have the “most pesticide residues” and thus which are high priority for buying as organic.  In making their list they specifically ignore the data which the USDA provides about the identity of the chemical and about how its concentration compares to the appropriate tolerance.  EWG has never provided any justification for this absurdly non-scientific approach. They also never happen to mention the reality that there are also often pesticide residues on the organic options. The publication of this list is apparently very good for the EWG’s fundraising efforts, but it is a huge disservice to consumers. Their “Dirty Dozen List” or “Shopper’s Guide” is one of the most egregious examples of the dishonest, guilt-based marketing that puts so much pressure on moms and others.

Just enjoy!

Study after study demonstrate the substantial health benefits of a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.  That beneficial and delicious produce will come with some trace levels of the pesticides that conventional or organic farmers used to be able to successfully produce the food for your family.  You can enjoy it without guilt.


I am Anti-Organic Foods

Anyone whom has read this blog is probably aware that I don’t like the Anti-GMO movement. I find the movement to be highly deceptive and uses propaganda and fear mongering in order to get people to buy “organic” food, and to reject all GMO foods no matter what.

Normally in spite their BS I would still have bought and eaten organic foods, not because I believed it was healthier for you (although I admit I at one time I did believe that) but because it tasted a little better, but now knowing more facts about the Anti-GMO movement and the extremes that they have gone to, and about organic food and it’s sustainability, as well as the organic food industry itself, I can no longer consciously buy and/or eat organic foods. To put it bluntly I am now Anti-Organic Foods, and I have several reasons (besides what I just what said here) why.

My first and foremost reasons for why I am now Anti-Organic Foods is because of the Anti-GMO movement itself and what it’s highly deceptive propaganda and fear mongering has done, which is to cause governments around the world to pass completely moronic Anti-GMO laws that is based off of fear rather than legitimate science, and has at times because of these laws hampered research into GMO foods, and to cause normally intelligent to reject GMO foods without any reason other than what lies the Anti-GMO movement has told them.

Another reason why I am now Anti-Organic Foods is because of the deaths that have been caused by the Anti-GMO movement and their propaganda, particularly in developing in certain developing countries where the leaders of those countries actually rejected food donations because they were lead to believe (most notably by Greenpeace) that the food may have contain GMO foods and was (according to these Anti-GMO groups) poisonous. This type of deception has resulted in thousands of deaths, and possibly more.

My third reason why I have rejected organic foods is because of the physical destruction caused by the Anti-GMO movement, particularly of experimental GMO food crops due to the perception that these crops were dangerous. This destruction has caused millions of dollars worth of damage, not to mention the lose of valuable research data. The fact that many Anti-GMO groups (including Greenpeace) often praise this destruction, and have been accused of directly or indirectly responsible of being the cause of such destruction only makes the whole Anti-GMO movement look so much worse to me.

Now my fourth reason for rejecting organic foods isn’t because of the Anti-GMO movement, but because of organic foods itself.

Organic foods are luxury foods. That’s all they are. They are not any healthier or better for you, they just taste better. They won’t solve the world’s food supply problems, and infact will make them worse due to organic foods having lower crop yields than GMO crops, and also not being able to be grown in as many places as GMO crops can.

Organic crops are also not as environmentally friendly as they’re made out to be and require far more land to grow on than GMO crops do, and require far more pesticides inorder to keep insects away than GMO crops (and despite what you have been told a lot of farmers that grow organic foods actually do use pesticides, and lots of it).

My fifth reason for rejecting organic foods is because of the organic food industry itself, particularly with the self created perception that the organic food industry is a small and humble force. It is not.

Some of the farmers in the organic food industry might be small and humble, but the industry as a whole is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry (Whole Foods Market, one of the largest organic foods supermarkets, made over nine billion in 2010) so in my opinion it’s very deceptive how the whole organic food industry has made itself out to be.

My final reason why I have rejected organic foods is because of the self imposed perception that organic foods are ethical.

In my opinion organic foods are not ethical. It’s perceived ethicalness is based off of lies created by a group do-gooder no-nothings who believe that because something that is created by a multi-billion dollar corporation then it must be evil and dangerous. This type of belief has lead to both the creation of the most outrageous lies and have been the cause of many deaths, all inorder to force people to eat luxury foods.

Because of all this I have decided to avoid eating organic foods when and where I can. I just don’t feel right eating something that is based off of lies.

Top 10 Reasons To Grow Your Own Organic Food

1. Get The Nutrition You Need and Enjoy Tastier Food!
Many studies have shown that organically grown food has more minerals and nutrients that we need than food grown with synthetic pesticides. There’s a good reason why many chefs use organic foods in their recipes—they taste better. Organic farming starts with the nourishment of the soil, which eventually leads to the nourishment of the plant and, ultimately our bodies.
2. Save Money
Growing your own food can help cut the cost of the grocery bill. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars and month at the grocery store on foods that don’t really nourish you, spend time in the garden, outside, exercising, learning to grow your own food.
3. Protect Future Generations
The average child receives four times more exposure than an adult to at least eight widely used cancer-causing pesticides in food. Food choices you make now will impact your child’s future health.
“We have not inherited the Earth from our fathers,
we are borrowing it from our children.”
– Lester Brown
4. Prevent Soil Erosion
Soil in developed nations is eroded several times faster than it’s built up naturally. Soil is the foundation of the food chain in organic farming. However, in conventional farming, the soil is used more as a medium for holding plants in a vertical position so they can be chemically fertilized. As a result, many farms worldwide are suffering from the worst soil erosion in history.
5. Protect Water Quality
Water makes up two-thirds of our body mass and covers three-fourths of the planet. Pesticides – some cancer causing – contaminate the groundwater an can pollute the primary source of drinking water.
6. Save Energy
Modern farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry, consuming a significant percentage total energy supply. More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest crops. If you are growing your own food in the city, you are cutting down on transportation and pollution costs.
7. Keep Chemicals Off Your Plate
In the United States, many pesticides approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans. If you are growing your own food, you have control over what does, or doesn’t, go into it. The bottom line is that pesticides are poisons designed to kill living organisms and can also harm humans. In addition to cancer, pesticides are implicated in birth defects, nerve damage and genetic mutations.
8. Protect Workers and Help Small Farmers
A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers exposed to herbicides had six times more risk than non-farmers of contracting cancer. In California, reported pesticide poisonings among farm workers have risen an average of 14 percent a year since 1973 and doubled between 1975 and 1985. Field workers suffer the highest rates of occupational illness in the state. Farm worker health is also a serious problem in developing nations, where pesticide use can be poorly regulated. An estimated 1 million people are poisoned annually by pesticides.
Although more and more large-scale farms are making the conversion to organic practices, most organic farms are small, independently owned family farms of fewer than 100 acres. It’s estimated the United States has lost more than 650,000 family farms in the past decade. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicted that half of this country’s farm production will come from 1 percent of farms by the year 2000, organic farming could be one of the few survival tactics left for family farms.
9. Promote Biodiversity
Mono-cropping is the practice of planting large plots of land with the same crop year after year. While this approach tripled farm production between 1950 and 1970, the lack of natural diversity of plant life has left the soil lacking in natural minerals and nutrients. To replace the nutrients, chemical fertilizers are used, often in increasing amounts. Single crops are also much more susceptible to pests, making farmers more reliant on pesticides. Despite a tenfold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects have doubled—partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
10. Help Beautify Your Community
Besides being used to grow food, community gardens are also a great way to beautify a community, and to bring pride in ownership.

Organic Food Causes Autism and Diabetes

While people think of “organic” cultivation techniques as natural and safe, there are important points we might consider.  Most of the plants used today have only been developed genetically in the last 100 years, and even “heirloom” varieties were bred relatively recently.  There have been no long term studies, and plants certainly are known to produce a wide suite of toxic compounds.
Worse, organically cultivated plants are placed in highly artificial environments.  Rather than growing in soil as it exists, soils are highly amended with composts and manures. High levels of nitrogen and carbon dramatically alter gene expression leading to patterns never observed in nature. Van Djik et al. (2012) found that there were dramatic differences in gene expression between conventional and organically-grown potatoes, with organic potatoes showing higher expression of stress-related genes. There have been no long-term studies to assess the effects of this un-natural gene expression. 
It is clear that this causes human diseases. The first graph below shows organic food sales.  The second graph shows increasing numbers of autistic children and the bottom graph shows diabetes.  Those results are pretty conclusive.
The graph on the left shows organic food sales. The graph on the right shows autism incidence. The graph below shows increases in diabetes.  Clearly a connection. 
Do these data support a hypothesis that organic food causes autism or diabetes?  Not at all.  The paragraphs above do illustrate how easy it is to write something completely unfounded that sounds legitimate. In these cases the data are real but they implied associations are not, or at least there is no evidence for them.
But if you read comments sections of blogs and articles there is a massive tendency to draw a link between GMO food, cancer, diabetes, autism, etc based on the same type of correlations.
Even Robyn O’Brien, a sharp author and communicator, fails to see the difference between causation and correlation in her TEDx talk.  She passionately develops a relationship between GMO crops and allergies, asthma, obesity and other human ills– that absolutely does not exist.  It is a little dishonest.
Bookmark this page.  Next time you see someone stating that transgenic crops are dangerous because of disease incidence since they were introduced, remind them that many other dynamics are also at play.  Also remind them that there is no legitimate causal relationship between biotechnology and human disease or disorders.


The Identification and Interpretation of Differences in the Transcriptomes of Organically and Conventionally Grown Potato Tubers

Jeroen P. van Dijk, Katarina Cankar, Peter J. M. Hendriksen, Henriek G. Beenen, Ming Zhu, Stanley Scheffer, Louise V. T. Shepherd, Derek Stewart, Howard V. Davies, Carlo Leifert, Steve J. Wilkockson, Kristina Gruden, and Esther J. Kok
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2012 60 (9), 2090-2101

Encore Catering

I was able to experience the luxury of Encore Catering during their open house. Encore Catering is a family-run business that was established in 1979. Their passion for fine culinary skills and catering really shone through during this fabulous event. Media and VIPs had the opportunity to mingle and try an amazing range of dishes that showcased the different types of food Encore Catering offers.

I got to try a few cocktails from barchef toronto, a company that provides the ultimate cocktail experience. A couple of my favourites were their Basil Daiquiri and Sailor’s Mojito! I admit, if I didn’t have to drive home that day I would’ve tried the entire drink menu! They make each cocktail unique to its own. For example, the Rocket contains pomegranate seeds!

My favourite food stations had to be the Tapas and Philly Cheese stations. They had food items that I generally would not have on a daily basis nor at restaurants! All the food was made fresh on the spot and created beautifully with detail. The desserts they had were plentiful as well! I wish I took the opportunity to try every single sweet but by that time, I was happily stuffed with everything else.

Overall, Encore Catering has a great selection of food that would be perfect for catering. They do all sorts of events, from weddings to small corporate gatherings. If you would like more details on their catering, please check out their website!


Nutella Buttons – Tuesdays with Dorie

Nutella Buttons - Tuesdays with Dorie
Nutella Buttons

I have 10 minutes to post this before I have to head out to work!

I made these.
I didn’t put enough nutella in some of them.
I topped some of mine with more nutella.
Because, really, you can’t have too much nutella.
This is a post for the awesome baking group, Tuesdays with Dorie.
Out of time. See you later!
– mary the food librarian

Nutella Buttons - Tuesdays with Dorie

Tuesdays with Dorie doesn’t publish the recipe. You should get Dorie’s book: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere! You’ll love the book. I promise

Be sure to check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers and their take on this yummy recipe!


Catering management is executed in many diverse ways
within each of the four segments. The first, commercial segment,
traditionally considered the profit generating operation, includes the
independent caterer, the restaurant caterer, and the home-based
caterer. In addition, hotel / motel and private club catering operations
are also found in this category.
Segment Non-commercial Segment
1. Military
2. Diplomatic
1. Independent
2. Hotel / Motel
3. Private Clubs
4. Restaurant /
Catering Firms
1. Business / Industry Accounts
2. School Catering
3. Health Care Facilities
4. Transportation Catering (in-flight
5. Recreational Food Service
(amusement and theme parks,
conference and sport arenas)
6. College and University Catering
7. Social Organizations (fraternal
and social clubs)


The food service industry (catering industry in British English)
encompasses those places, institutions and companies that provide
meals eaten away from home. This industry includes restaurants,
schools and hospital cafeterias, catering operations, and many other
formats, including ‘on-premises’ and ‘off-premises’ caterings.
Catering is a multifaceted segment of the food service
industry. There is a niche for all types of catering businesses within
the segment of catering. The food service industry is divided into
three general classifications: commercial segment, noncommercial
segment, and military segment. Catering management may be
defined as the task of planning, organizing, controlling a n d
executing. Each activity influences the preparation and delivery of
food, beverage, and related services at a competitive, yet profitable
price. These activities work together to meet and exceed the
customer’s perception of value for his money.

Chicken Tikka Masala

I am lagging behind with a lot of recipes that I have been cooking lately, as the other grown-up family member in our house decided to go starch and sugar free as of 1 March. That was good bye to many easy dishes that we/he had on a regular basis: no more pasta, rice or potatoes, even if it was just on the side…Bye bye to you-eat-a-sandwich-I-just-have-a-salad.

The transition was easier than I thought. Determination and and open mind to new foods helped a lot to introduce cauliflower rice, paleo wraps, boiled eggs, eggs in any form, and rich cream-based main dishes.

I kept saying that it would be going the wrong direction if one ever felt overly hungry between meals. That would be the trap when you tend to grab sugary and starchy snacks. In order to avoid that, the main meals must be filling enough. What’s the point of having a healthy salad if you are hungry again an hour later? Then what would you eat? Rich main meals are the answer. If I ever eat salad, I have 2-3 boiled eggs with it. Or a decent sized salmon fillet. Or a steak.

This curry has become one of our new staples. I got a bit tired of the coconut milk-based Chicken Curry. A tomato based curry is so much fresher.
I am a sucker for any ideas/recipes that reduce the time that I have to spend in the kitchen. Now here comes the best part of this recipe:
It is worth cooking huge amounts of this sauce, and keep them in portioned containers. As the Masala is cooked separately, the dish is easily made into a Fish or Prawn Masala. If you drop peeled prawns or fish cubes into the ready sauce and cook them through, you have a different dish altogether. It saves you a lot of cooking time on several evenings. I love that. Bon appetit!

(Print Recipe)

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper
500g boneless chicken thighs

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 red chili, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala

1 can chopped peeled tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons seas alt
2 cups water

1/2 cup cream

Serves 2-3
In a bowl, mix yogurt with ginger and garlic, salt and pepper and chicken thighs. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Remove from marinade and set aside.

In a large pan, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and chili and sauté until lightly browned.

Add chicken thighs and sauté until browned, around 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

Add tomato paste, garam masala and paprika and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in tomatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn down the heat to let simmer for 20 minutes.
Let cool a little before blending the sauce in a mixer until smooth.

Pour sauce back into the pan. Bring sauce to a boil, add chicken and cook until cooked through, around 8-10 minutes. Stir in cream. Serve garnished with fresh coriander.

Guest Post: Catering a wedding with food trucks

Over the last 10 years, food trucks have become mainstays in the downtown dining scenes of major cities like Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. More recently, they’ve begun showing up at weddings and other events that used to be reserved for more traditional catering services. In fact, food trucks are quickly becoming one of the main go-to sources for food at weddings. Here are a few reasons why you may want to incorporate a food truck into your Big Day…

Reduce Your Budget
Weddings are expensive. The typical wedding in the USA costs about $25,000. Hiring a traditional catering service to provide food at a wedding can cost thousands of dollars. With the average cost falling somewhere between $20 and $40 per person, traditional services can seem out of reach for many young couples. A food truck, however, can cost significantly less, with most hovering near the $10 per person range. Because food trucks bring the kitchen to the wedding, the food offered is often times a lot fresher than food that was prepared elsewhere. There also isn’t nearly as much cleanup needed as there is with a traditional sit-down meal, and the amount of food that goes to waste is nearly non-existent.

Enhance the Menu Options
Unlike traditional catering services, food trucks will often offer a more specialized menu. Each truck typically has a theme (Mexican food, sea food, Thai food, etc.) and only offers food that fits within their theme. If you’re seeking a variety of food for your wedding, the best method is to reserve several trucks that offer different kinds of food, but this practice is only recommended for weddings larger than 200 people. Another wonderful benefit to food truck catering is that they offer your guests the ability to order something that fits their mood. Plus, they’re able to order larger or smaller portions depending on how hungry they are or what they feel like. This will help cut down on food waste, which is a big plus when you’re footing the bill!

More Things to Consider
When deciding whether or not a food truck is the right option for your wedding, there are a few things you’ll need to consider. The first is weather. By nature, a food truck will provide service to an outdoors location, and although summer may seem like the ideal time to host a food truck wedding, it could also result in guests having to stand in line under a hot summer sun. When planning to hire a food truck, make sure accommodations are made in advance so that guests remain out of the sun while waiting in line. You may need to discuss additional concerns with the venue coordinator, like a paved surface for the truck to park as well as electrical, water and sewer hookups for the truck’s kitchen. If you’re planning on having a lot of guests attend your wedding, you’ll want to be sure you hire enough trucks. A general rule of thumb that I’d suggest is one truck for every 70-80 people. Food trucks are usually pretty quick with the service and are able to serve a lot of people in a short amount of time, but this will ensure that all your guests get fed quickly. You’ll also want to consider how your guests will feel. Is your food choice the right choice for the guests you’ve invited? Are your guests expecting a traditional sit-down meal with a set start time? Does the theme of the truck fit within the weddings theme, or does it detract from the wedding? By considering these issues in advance, you can save yourself a lot of last-minute stress.

My Final Thoughts
Although there is no “one-size-fits-all” option for every wedding, a food truck certainly offers a good alternative to the traditional catered meal. This will free up funds to do something fun like go on an extended honeymoon and it’ll give your guests the opportunity to experience something truly unique and memorable at your wedding!

Trisha Jefford has worked a variety of jobs across the food service industry, from waiting tables to being a personal chef. Trisha currently produces food-related content for EZ Cater, a site that specializes in finding local catering or the perfectcorporate caterer.

Emirates Business Class, A380 Dubai to Sydney

Business Class seating on Emirates in the A380
Business Class seating on Emirates in the A380

There’s a great thrill about walking toward the signs marked “Business Class” as the economy plebs (oh how soon we forget) trundle with resignation toward their cattle pens. Our Emirates flight back to Sydney was on the A380 airbus which has configured all of Economy onto the main deck and First Class and Business Class passengers on the upper deck.

I turn right into Business Class but still try and sneak a glimpse of the mystical First Class section. According to the Emirates website, each of the 14 First Class suites have private fully stocked mini-bars, a table, mirror, wardrobe and a sliding door that enables increased privacy. There are also two onboard shower spas! Mile high hairwash, anyone?

Arrival champagne and orange juice in Business Class on the Emirates A380
Arrival champagne and orange juice 

But I’m still grinning with glee as I settle into my Business Class seat. It’s easy to spot the newly upgraded passengers, taking selfies in their seat while the regulars go straight into sleep mode. Cabin crew move quickly through the cabin offering glasses of champagne or orange juice and take care to address each passenger by name.

Business Class has a staggered 1-2-1 seating configuration which means every passenger has unrestricted access to the aisle.

Arrival champage, personal minibar, deluxe nuts with Bloody Mary and Bvlgari amenities kit in Business Class on the Emirates A380
Welcome champagne; personal drinks bar; deluxe nuts with Bloody Mary; and Business Class Bvlgari amenities kit

I’m stoked to discover each Business Class seat has its own (non-alcholic) drinks bar which comes stocked with Voss still water, Perrier sparkling, cranberry juice and two kinds of soft drink. Most importantly, each seat comes with power sockets – two USB ports and a universal power point to fit any appliance required in-flight. Entertainment options are comprehensive with a huge playlist of movies, TV shows and games on their ICE entertainment system. The screen is huge. You can also pay for satellite Internet, with prices starting at US$7.50 for 5Mb of data.

The Bvlgari amenities kit for females is a little bit fancy too, packed in a reusable Bvlgari make-up bag. Even the usual peanut pack is upgraded to a deluxe mix that includes macadamias and what look like the world’s biggest cashews.
Business Class seats with extended footrest on the Emirates A380
Business Class seats with extended footrest beneath the seat in front

But let’s be honest. The biggest difference between Economy and Business Class is the luxury of space when it comes to seating, especially the seat pitch (the distance between one point on a seat to the exact same point on the seat in front).

Emirates Business Class seats have a seat pitch of 48 inches of 1.2 metres. This is a 50% increase on Economy which has a seat pitch of 32-34 inches or 81-86cm.

Business Class seat pitch and flat bed configuration on the Emirates A380
Business Class seat pitch and flat bed configuration

And when you’re faced with the reality of a 14-hour flight, are there two words more magical than flat bed? Methinks not.

The Business Class seat extends to fully flat bed that cleverly lines up with the extended foot rest beneath the seat in front. That meant my 5’8″ frame could easily lie down flat. Bed time couldn’t come fast enough!

Business Class lunch menu options on the Emirates A380
Business Class lunch menu choices from Dubai to Sydney

The range of options for lunch is staggering with four different mains to choose from.

Traditional local Arabic mezze entree Business Class lunch on the Emirates A380
Traditional local Arabic mezze for entree

I chose the local Arabic mezze for entree and was super impressed with the punchy flavours of the babaghanoush, the hommous, the tabouleh and dolmades vine leaf. It came with rounds of flat bread and having only just seen the logistics behind the Emirates Flight Catering facility, I thought this dish looked remarkably fresh.

Prawn biryani main Business Class lunch on the Emirates A380
Prawn biryani

My prawn biryani main looked simple on the plate, but the sauced up prawns were addictive with a delicious level of heat. The basmati rice was wonderfully aromatic and tasty with spices. The individual grains were distinctly fluffy and separate too.

Cabin crew serving Business Class lunches on the Emirates A380
Cabin crew serving Business Class meals

Business Class meals are served separately by course. This means each course is at optimal eating temperature but it also means that a three course meal will take about an hour to receive and consume. Given the amount of eating we’d done in the previous week, I skipped dessert (quelle horreur) but I was keen to get to know my flat bed. And you know what? It was brilliant. I fell into a deep sleep for a couple of hours.

Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge at the rear of the upper deck
Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge at the rear of the upper deck

But let’s say you wake up hungry. Or you’re sick of watching movies and need to stretch your legs?

Head on down to the onboard lounge! Business Class has an onboard lounge at the rear of the upper deck. The First Class onboard lounge is at the very front.

Horseshoe bar in the Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge
Cabin crew take turns to man the horseshoe bar

The onboard lounge includes a free-flowing bar, lounge seating and hors d’oeuvres. It’s a bizarre feeling to wander up to the horseshoe bar and request a drink from the bartender, manned in turn by cabin crew from Business Class.

Passenger lounges in the Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge
Lounges with seat belts for use during turbulence

It’s even more surreal to sit on the curved leather lounges, nursing a drink and chatting with fellow passengers. During periods of turbulence, passengers need to return to their seats or sit on the lounge and use the seat belts.

Hors d'oeuvres in the Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge
Hors d’oeuvres 

Mini bagels, canapes, fruit skewers and desserts line the bar and countertop. At one point there are so many people back here, the bar feels more like a party. A polaroid camera is even pulled out by a steward at one point, with passengers encouraged to pose behind the bar.

Flying has never been so much fun, and as I bite into a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, I pause and think, I know exactly where you came from!

Desserts in the Emirates A380 Business Class onboard lounge

A conversation about brinner

All Day Breakfast


I introduced the high end concept of breakfast at dinnertime to the children last week. An idea that was born out of not having that much in the fridge; apart from eggs, bacon, sausage and mushrooms (not forgetting beans from the cupboard and some old spuds, just starting to shoot).

Plus I really couldn’t bothered to cook anything proper. No dangerous frisking with mandolins. No sous vide quackery. No fine, delicate plating, with micro herbs, using tweezers.  No, I really couldn’t be arsed with any of that. So a fry up seemed to be the order of the day. Besides, it was about time that the twins were familiarised with the mighty ‘All Day Breakfast’. Which are arguably the three best words you can ever find on a menu.

But to keep on trend, I decided to announce that we were having “brinner” that evening. As everyone seems to be doing it these days.

Anyway, the response was muted, puzzled and slightly flabbergasted at the whole prospect and it was my son who took up the mantle, to challenge this stray into unfamiliar territory. Dinner is obviously very important to this young chap and shouldn’t be messed with and this was his reasoning:

“Hey guys, I thought we would have something a bit different tonight, how do you fancy some BRINNER tonight?!”


“Brinner Fin! It’s like breakfast, but you have it at dinnertime.”

“What… are we having Rice Crispies for dinner Daddy?”

“No, we are having an English breakfast. Bacon, eggs, beans, you know, the sort of thing we have on a Sunday morning sometimes.”

“Is that healthy?”

“Erm, well, yes and no.”

“Shouldn’t we have porridge instead then?”

“No, porridge for dinner would be silly.”


“Because porridge is silly full stop.”

“Can we have pancakes then?”

“No, you always put far too much sugar and lemon on them and that is not healthy.”

“But we can have bacon and sausages for dinner?”


“But bacon and sausages aren’t very healthy are they.”

“No, they’re not really.”

“Can I have porridge then?”


“Why not?”

“Because porridge isn’t dinner…”

“You mean brinner.”

“Yes, I mean brinner, you can’t have porridge for dinner.”


“BRINNER! I mean brinner.”

“Well I am confused Daddy because if we can have porridge for breakfast, why can’t we have porridge for brinner? Because that would be a lot healthier than having bacon and sausages wouldn’t it?”


“You…….you just don’t have porridge for brinner……..that’s all. It’s um, a breakfast…. breakfast food. Not a dinner….breakfast food. I mean brinner. What I mean is Fin, porridge isn’t really what you’d call a…… brinner…. brinner food. Do you get what I mean?”


“Well, brinner sounds stupid then.”

And you know what? He is right. Brinner is a stupid idea.  But then again, maybe I didn’t execute the concept clearly. Maybe I am too narrow minded? Maybe I simply have to face up to the fact that I clearly hate porridge. Lots of questions remain unanswered after that night

Didn’t stop him eating the bacon and sausage though.

Lamb with pearl barley, root vegetables and port gravy

This post first appeared on the Great British Chefs blog back in March and as such, is slightly of date of date season wise. But it’s a good ‘un, so I wanted to also post on here.

This dish, using succulent shoulder of lamb, which has been braised in some stock, with vegetables and herbs, slowly, over many hours and then picked by hand (once cooled), then rolled and wrapped in clingfilm, left in a fridge overnight, and then unwrapped the next day and pan-fried to create a crispy outer coating, and then roasted for a further 10 minutes, in a hot oven, to ensure even cooking, might not be the simplest approach. But if you want to wow your friends and family this coming Easter with an alternative take on that traditional Sunday roast, then it is well worth taking the time with this one.

I use the wow word with confidence here because I have made this several times for my own friends and family now and have witnessed first hand, much licking of fingers and plates. So I know it is good and as such, I proudly call this one of my signature dishes.
Except it’s not really a signature dish because I discovered the technique in Jason Atherton’s Gourmet Food for a Fiver. I also pinched his celeriac purée too. But I have put some of my own original flourishes to this dish. Namely the pearl barley and the port gravy, which both benefit from the intense lamb stock that results from the initial cooking. In the past, I have simply relied on rummaging through the freezer to see what benign, frozen, yellowish lumps of carcass liquor (i.e. long forgotten chicken stock) I’ve got stored away as a base for the braise.
However, this time around, I used some powered lamb stock from Essential Cuisine to kick start proceedings. Boasting a strap-line of producing ‘professional cooking stocks for the home chef,’ the general thought process for using it went along the lines of “I wonder how more lamby can this lamb dish be?” The likely response being “None, none more lamby.” Although you would have to be a fan of Spinal Tap to get that joke.
Did this all lean towards lamb overkill though? No, not at all. In my opinion, using this rich, tasty stock really broadened the overall savoury quality and countered any cloying sweetness that may have been apparent before. Especially in the port gravy, where I also snaffled in a glug of veal stock, the professional chef’s favourite.
Full of heartwarming vitality, comfort and wonderful, healthy fibre, you might say that this is really something you should eat on a cold, winter’s day and oversteps the mark season-wise. But I say nay, this can be dish with its feet firmly planted in verdant spring. Just replace the roots with new vegetables such as purple sprouting broccoli, watercress or asparagus, which will be in abundance soon.
But maybe don’t leave out the creamy celeriac. That really goes well with the lamb. As does everything else. In fact, don’t change anything. It is my signature dish after all.
(And partly Jason Atherton’s).
Lamb with pearl barley, root vegetables and port gravy
1 large shoulder of lamb bone in, approx 1.2 kgs
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
Half a bulb of garlic, chopped
Few sprigs of thyme and rosemary
Tomato puree
Half bottle of white wine
1 litre of Essential Cuisine Lamb Stock
Oil, for browning
For the pearl barley
250gm pearl barley
600mls lamb stock (should be enough left over from the braise or make up some more using Essential Cuisine lamb stock)
1 onion, finely chopped
Large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Knob of butter
For the celeriac puree
1 large celeriac, peeled and diced
100 ml cream
For the root vegetables
6 carrots, chopped into large batons
6 parsnips, halved
For the gravy
500mls Ruby Port
300mls Essential Cuisine lamb stock
300mls Essential Cusine veal stock
1 onion, sliced
2 sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
To garnish
1 tbsp of chopped mint leaves
First brown the lamb all over by frying in little bit of oil in a large stock pot. Remove and then do the same with the onion, carrot, celery, thyme and rosemary. When they begin to soften, add the garlic and tomato sauce and cook for a minute or two, then add the wine and reduce right down.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Return the lamb to the pan and make sure its submerged in the cooking liquor, add water if necessary. Bring the heat so that everything gently simmers, cover with foil or a lid and cook for 2 and half to three hours. Leave to cool and then remove the lamb, reserving the cooking liquor.

Pull the meat apart with your fingers, removing the bone and any gristle and fat so that you just have the slivers of meat.

Lay a triple layer of cling film on the worktop and spoon the lamb along one end to form a log. Roll up the lamb tightly, twisting the ends and chill overnight.
Strain the reserved liquor and leave that in a bowl in the fridge overnight. All the fat from the lamb will rise to the top and solidify, which will make it easy to remove, leaving behind the clear stock.

Next day, make your celeriac puree by placing into a pan with a covering of water. Bring to the boil and then cook the celeriac over a medium-low heat for 10 mins or until it goes soft. Drain and tip into a blender, adding the cream and blitz until smooth. Season to taste then put to one side and reheat when ready.

For the pearl barley, gently fry the onion in a pan until becomes soft and then add the pearl barley and then add the lamb stock. Gently simmer until all the lamb stock is absorbed and then add the parsley and lemon juice right at the end and stir through.
Parboil your carrots and parsnips in some boiling water for five minutes, drain and then roast in the oven (preheated to180C) for 20 minutes.
For the gravy, place the onion into a pan with a splash oil and put on a hob to soften. After 5 minutes add the thyme and stir through and then pour the port into a pan and reduce by half. Sieve into a clean pan to remove the thyme and onion, then add the lamb and veal stock, pace back on the heat and keep reducing until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Right at the end, add a knob of butter for bit of sheen.
For the lamb, about 45 mins before plating up, take the lamb out of the fridge to come up to room temperature and then unwrap and cut the lamb log into even portions. Place a frying pan on the hob with a splash of oil and fry off the portions so the outside becomes crispy all over and cook through in the oven for another 10 mins.
To plate up, spoon the puree in the centre of the plate, spoon some pearl barley to the side and place the lamb on top. Add the roasted carrots and parsnips and drizzle all over a generous helping of port gravy. Finish by scattering a pinch of mint across the meat.

Zealous Cafe and Catering, North Sydney



Zealous has a new menu and now has two cafes, both on little walker st. The new second cafe in 90 Arthur St / little walker st is at the bottom of a commercial building. It’s decked out with much more seating than the tiny original cafe.

I used to be a regular at Zealous as the staff are friendly, the food was delicious and it was of high value competing with all the North Sydney Eateries.

The staff are still very friendly but Zealous no longer competes as well with the rest of North Sydney. There are plenty of North Sydney cafes where lunch on average is $15-20 for a sit down lunch. In terms of take away options, you’re looking at $12ish.

I ordered the lamb salad with quinoa, kale, tomato and broccoli (above, $12). It was a very healthy salad and filling but tasted very dry. There are many other salad alternatives in North Sydney that are tasty and cheaper. I miss the old salads that Zealous used to offer for $6. I previously would agree and advocate with the 100% like rate but I would probably downgrade this to a 75% now.

I’ve also tried the chicken roll (below, $12) which had spicy chicken bits, corn and salsa relish. The chicken was dry and the bun looked slightly burnt.

I will definitely come back for convenience. However there’s a lot of great places to eat in North Sydney!

Prices: $15 to 20 for lunch

Location: 90 Walker st, North Sydney

Hope, Faith & Gluttony

I found an inspiring article on Hope Haskell Jones, who despite coming from a family who had little or no interest in cooking, could at age 12, whip out delicious chocolate chip cookies and cheesecakes.

After graduating from Cornell University’s Hotel School, Hope worked in several different business arenas from catering management to real estate, but baking was her true calling.

She started baking in her home kitchen and making deliveries out of her Ford Explorer before starting her own bakeshop. Hope’’s bakeshop, appropriately named Hope, Faith & Gluttony specialized in cookies, cakes, bars and pies, became a hit among the local community.

“It’s amazing when you love something how you find a way to do it and I love to bake. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my days than being creative with food!”

Several years into the business, Hope’s working hours ate into her life and she took a break from the business to figure out what to do next. She eventually reopended Hope, Faith & Gluttony asHope as a mail order baking company that provides customers with some of the tastiest and most sinful treats!

“Not having to be open to the public eight hours a day makes all the difference,” Jones says. She bakes most days of the week in Long Island City, then packs up and ships the goodies to her online customers.

Interested in some delightful sins? Visit Hope, Faith & Gluttonyhere.

Zone Diet Catering | 10/19/2006 | Guilt-free Zone: North Miami caterer makes dieting easier

One of the challenges that caterers face is to provide meals to those with special dietary requirements. Not only does the food have to taste delicious, the food is restricted to certain ingredients. A lot of people are on strict diet regimes because they either want to lose weight or for a variety of health reasons.

But one catering service in Miami, Florida capitalizes on the specific needs of dieters by catering meals for a market of people on the “Zone Diet”.

A beautiful — and healthy — meal is the premise of Zone Diet. Meals are 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat,said Zalmi Duchman, who took the Zone Diet a step further in November by starting a home delivery service with recipes based on the diet popularized by the best-selling books by Dr. Barry Sears.

As you can see in the article, this caterer offers a delivery service at set times and can charge a premium for the healthy meals.

Customers are happy because they get healthy and delicious meals delivered to their door which also adhere to their dietary requirements.

As people become more health conscious there exist opportunities for caterers who are able to prepare meals for those with specific dietary needs.

Several niches that may exist include catering to those on organic, vegetarian, diabetic, South Beach, low-carb and cancer recovery diets. People with these special needs are customers who tend to pay a premium.

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Tommorrow’s Kitchen Today – McCormick Place Offers A Glimpse Into The Future

More than 300 exhibitors participated in the Remodeling Trade Show at McCormick Place this weekend featuring the latest and greatest homeowner’s gadgets. I am a big fan of kitchen gadgets especially those that come in my favorite shade- pink.

CBS 2 has a short video on some of the latest and greatest in kitchen technology featured at a show including a microwave oven which wont burn your food and a stove that cooks using magnetism. Very cool, if only they had them in a color other than stainless steel.

Watch the video here.


Bristol Catering Company Fined GBP5,000 for Breaches of Food Hygiene

Catering company fined GBP5,000 for wedding party food poisoning – 25 October 2006 – CatererSearch

Foster Rooms, a catering company based in Bristol has been fined GBP5,000after 42 out of 54 guests at a wedding party were hit by severe food poisoning. An investigation by environmental health officers showed that foodhad not been cooked to a sufficiently high temperature causingCampylobacter symptoms to appear.

Foster, In mitigation, said that it prepared750,000 meals at 3,000 events around the South West last year and had been leftshocked by the incident and had apologised unreservedly to the guests.

While the district judge ruled that this was an isolated incident and fined them GBP5,000 , a further hearing will be held into the level of costs Fosters Roomsmust pay for the more than GBP30,000 sepnd by the Bristol Councilinvestigating the incident.

Soul Food Tour – Miss Ada’s Kitchen and Catering

Miss Ada’s Kitchen and Catering feels somewhat like a myth.  I’ve heard of it, seen brief mentions of it in a few food forums but I can’t find much information on it. This unique downtown breakfast and lunch spot is so obscure that I can’t even find a phone number online! But no worries, I got a photo tour of this one of a kind family owned and operated institution.

How to get there
The cafeteria style eatery is located inside the American Red Cross Building, at the corner of Chestnut and Jackson.  There’s plenty of FREE parking on the back side of the building.

View from the side.

Once you entered the building, sign in with the security guard to your immediate right. You’ll get one of these babies:

Proceed to the elevators and go to the second floor.  Walk down the hallway immediately to the left of the elevators and you’ll see a small black sign perched on top. Fresh home cooking beckons within.

The Menu
Miss Ada’s offers a rotating menu of southern comfort food, changing daily and monthly.  You can expect to see around 2 entrees each day with an array of side dishes.  Favorites like fried chicken, meatloaf, fried fish, smothered pork chop, chicken and dumplings, etc. are on the menu.  They can fax you the month’s menu or just call before you come to see what they’re offering.

January’s menu

There’s also a hearty and reasonably priced breakfast menu.

The kitchen takes up a majority of the tiny room, with a small counter and display case of side dishes and desserts.  You order directly with the cook and he makes it fresh right in front of you.

Kitchen and counter

Fried catfish/cod and chicken wings were on the menu the day of my visit.  Sides included mashed potatoes, green beans and cabbage.  The friendly cook asked me if I wanted fried corn bread, then to my delight, proceed to pouring the batter and made it right on the spot.

My fried catfish was large and good but not the best I’ve had.  It’s a little softer than I would’ve liked and not as fresh. The green beans and cabbage, however, were some of the best I’ve had anywhere.  It was naturally sweet, tender and delicious.  Entree, two sides and a drink came out to be $9.22. Very reasonable for freshly made home cooking right in the heart of downtown.

It’s strictly a take out place, so you’ll have to take your to go box down the hall to the employee lounge or back to your office.

Though my entree was a bit of a dud, my delicious side dishes spoke volumes about the potential of other menu items here.  I’ve heard my coworkers raved about the quiche and ribs.  So, I’m reserving judgment for now and am looking forward to trying other items in the future.  If you work in downtown Louisville, I recommend stopping by for a visit.  Friendly staff, reasonably priced hot meals and the appeal of a secret lunch spot make it worth the visit.


Meals starting from RM160 per month,  delivered to your home daily from Monday – Friday, excluding public holidays.

Tiffin rates:-
• 1 pax = RM160 per month (20 deliveries)
• 2 pax = RM320 per month (20 deliveries)
• 3 pax = RM480 per month (20 deliveries)

Price quoted are based on meals for 20 days in a month.

Customise dishes and menus can also be requested (e.g. steam fish, prawns, vegetables, specialty dishes) and prices can be provided accordingly

Meals are pre-paid for 1 month at the begining of each month.

You can commit to any number of days in a week. e.g. just for Tuesday, or Just from Monday – Wednesday etc.

Your delivery is completely flexible, all you have to do is give us a call 1 day in advance to cancel a meal, add on to the number of pax (e.g. you have family members joining you for dinner) or make a special request for special meals.

To Order

1. Give us a call (03 78464525 / 017 3321877) for inquiries

2. As soon as we process your order we can start delivering. If you’re are on our delivery route we can start on the same day.

Our Commitment

Let us share with you what really goes on behind the scenes at Sin Seng Leh Food Catering to deliver the best food to your table.

1. Dedicated, Experienced Local Chef
Our inhouse chef prepares all the food himself with care and attention to the freshness, taste of the food.

2. Short time from preparation to Delivery
 Sin Seng Leh Food Catering prepares all the food from a professional central kitchen, strategically located near Bandar Utama and Subang 2. All the food is cooked shortly before being delivered right to your door-step.

3. Ensuring food taste and look good
At Sin Seng Leh Food Catering we conduct taste and visual tests prior to the delivery of each and every order. Dishes that do not meet our stringent standards are promptly replaced. Among our quality-control measures are forbidding staff to compromise on food quality.

4. Last-minute customised orders
Sin Seng Leh Food Catering can produce last-minute customised orders* within just 3 hours from ordering time, thanks to our large flexible kitchen organization.

5. Quality vs Quantity
 Sin Seng Leh Food Catering doesn’t believe in compensating for quality with quantity. We always prepare our food quantity according to the number of people catered for, hence one reasonable-sized portion per person. .

“Multi-tiered metal containers packed with food”

Little luxuries in life:
• Tucking the kids to bed early
• Kicking back and watching your favourite TV show
• Enjoying a home-cooked meal after a hard day’s work
Sin Seng Leh Food Catering ‘s daily food delivery have been a part of many Malaysian’s daily lives, and a little luxury to them at the end of a hard day’s work. Just as you work hard during the day, we strive to make your dinner as enjoyable as possible. Much care goes into planning for the daily menu so you feel our passion. Just as much effort goes into the daily preparation of your meal so that a complete meal comes piping hot for your enjoyment.


West of Seoul is excited to offer catering for your next party or event!  Offer your guests amazing cuisine with our innovative catering that provides superior service advantages.  By having our professional crew and gourmet kitchen on wheels at your event, you get to choose what type of menu, budget and service option is best for you and your guests.  Whether you’re having a fundraiser, corporate team building event, late night wedding buffet or an intimate party in your home, West of Seoul has numerous options for you.


The Fun and Interactive Food Truck Event!

If you are hosting a more casual event and want to bring the exciting food truck vibe to your door, let our crew roll up and have your guests come right to the truck, keeping the mess and clutter out of your space.  With this more casual service and fuss free option, you get amazing street inspired eats and entertainment with zero mess when we roll out at the end of your event!


A Finer Affair

If you are hosting a formal function, we’ll take the attention off of our truck and let the more upscale tone of your event shine. With the advantage of our mobile commercial kitchen we are excited to offer superior gourmet catering with eclectic and unique menu options.  With our event management service, the quality doesn’t stop with the food as we will custom tailor every detail from the menu to style of service to suit your event perfectly.

Kitchen Tips-Cooking tips

vegetablesHere are a few Kitchen tips to make your time in the kitchen easier

  • Add 2 tsp of water to the egg mixture to get fluffy omelette.
  • To peel baby onions/pearl onions easily,soak them in cold water for 20 minutes.
  • Use warm water for kneading dough to get soft rotis.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the water while boiling eggs to prevent the egg shells from cracking.
  • Add a little rice flour to the wheat flour while kneading to get crispy pooris.
  • Add a few pieces of raw potato(skin peeled) to remove excess salt in the dish.
  • To powder 4-5 cardamoms- put it on a flat surface and powder it along with sugar using a rolling pin.
  • Add a tsp of oil or a tsp of lemon juice while cooking rice to prevent the grains from sticking.
  • While cooking ladyfingers, add a few drops of lemon juice or a tsp of yogurt to avoid becoming sticky.
  • To reduce the risk of flatulence while having legumes, change the water 2-3 times during the soaking process.
  • Before making dosas, add 2-3 drops of oil on the tawa, then rub with half an onion, to prevent the dosas from sticking to the tawa.
  • Add a pinch of sugar while boiling green peas to retain their green colour.
  • To ripen fruits faster, wrap them in a newspaper and keep them in a warm place for 2-3 days.
  • To set curd faster, add a slit green chillie to it.
  • If you have excess lemons, squeeze the juice, add salt and deep freeze it in an ice tray. Use it to make juice or add 2 cubes to yourlemon rasam . Those lemon cubes will stay good for 10 days.
  • For onions to brown quickly, add salt to it while cooking.
  • Most of the Indian gravies have certain things in common. You can prepare the basic gravy and freeze it for a few days in case if you are too busy or have to prepare it in the early hours.
    Heat oil, add finely chopped chillies, finely chopped onions,finely chopped tomatoes/tomato puree, salt , chillies powder, cook till oil separates and freeze it .When needed, warm it and have it as such or add potatoes or paneer or anything vegetables you prefer to the gravy and season it.
  • Soak almonds in hot water for 15 minutes to remove its skin easily.
  • You can use the water in which dal is cooked as a stock for your soups.You will also love the Cleaning tips

    Hope you all liked it.

In with the new, out with the old

In the past year FIG has been tremendously lucky to add some great people to our staff, but we’ve also had to say goodbye to some familiar (and much loved) faces. I’ve love to speak a little to how this makes me feel as a boss and introduce you to the newbies as well as properly thanking and saying goodbye to those who have left.

We do one wedding show a year – Committed, a show hosted by theGreen Wedding Alliance. Stephanie Lu Jokich moved back from the Bay Area to join FIG Catering’s team on the day of Committed 2014. She is an artist and free spirit at heart and loves to paint, dance, and listen to music. Having never worked at a catering company before she had a big learning curve, but is now a wedding pro and will handle over 30 this year in addition to starting a new farmer’s market this summer!

Stephanie stepped into a pretty big void left by Elyse. Elyse was FIG’s first real salesperson (other than Molly & Justin) and she helped grow the business tremendously. I learned a lot about managing employees/being a boss from Elyse and I hope she took some good and left some bad from my example.

Our last sous chef shout-out was by Terri Macak – she was two chefs ago. Our newest sous is Antonio Bolanos and although he’s only been with us for about a month we’re hoping not to stress him out as much as our last sous. The business goes from slow (now) to extremely busy and it’s hard to juggle work and personal life. Unlike many chef jobs you are often working in crazy, usual situations and places that, try as you might, you can’t always be prepared for.

Late last spring we added two additional salespeople – Kati Johnson and Holly Gillis. Kati served with City Year for two years and is excited that FIG offers her a place where she can gain professional experience, be around pretty things (she currently collects vintage plate ware for us), and still feel like she’s doing good. Holly came from the restaurant world and is still getting used to sitting at a desk for much of the day, but she’s eager to make sure good food is getting to good people – helping with corporate events and possibly getting an apiary up and running in our backyard.

We recently relinquished Michelle to a full time position at Firehouse Chicago. We helped the owners of the Firehouse build their venue business and used Michelle as the venue manager. She was so good at it that they decided to take out the middle man (us) and hire Michelle as their employee. We still hope to see her often as we cater events at the Firehouse, but we miss bossing her around.

Our service staff is on-call and we gain and lose a lot of them throughout the year. We were happy to promote one of our best bartenders, Al Klopper, to Beverage Director of FIG Drinks, our still-kind-of-underwraps bar catering division. Unfortunately we also lost Jordan, who wrote this oh-so-elegant staffing blog for us and was a great employee for many years.

To learn more about our sales staff, including how to get a hold of them, visit our website.

As FIG continues to get older (we just celebrated 10 years!), I’m sure we’ll have a lot more subtractions and additions to our staff. I hope that we can grow and learn, as well as teaching the people who come through our doors.

Gluten-Free Wheat-Free Baking Tips + Substitutions

Help is Here!

Need wheat-free gluten-free baking tips? Here’s what works- and what doesn’t- in quirky Gluten-Free Baking and Substitution Land. From Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess®.

Gluten-Free Goddess Baking Tips + Substitutions

Baking Substitutions for Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free and More

Notes on GF Flours:

Gluten-free non-wheat flours generally fall into three weights- light starch, all-purpose medium, or heavier whole grain. A blend of medium and heavy flours with some starch mixed in to lighten, tenderize, and help bind the batter or dough works best, and tastes best (too much starch can result in a gummy texture).

Light, starchy GF flours include sweet rice flour*, white rice flour, and the ubiquitous gluten-free starches- tapioca starch, cornstarch, potato starch (NOT potato flour, which is whole different animal) and arrowroot starch.

Medium flours are akin to ‘all purpose flour’- these include sorghum flour, certified gluten-free oat flour, and superfine brown rice flour. If you cannot find sorghum flour (also known as jowar flour) certified gluten-free oat flour is the closest option. Brown rice flour will work in a pinch- though, in my opinion, makes for a less appetizing product. Rice flours tend to be gummy, unless proper fiber and starch is added.

The heavier grains (including psuedo-grains like quinoa) tend to contain more protein. Think of flours like buckwheat, quinoa, millet, cornmeal, nut meal, and bean/legume flours as akin to baking with whole wheat flour. You get a similar denser product, often darker in color, and with less rise.

*Note that sweet rice flour is very sticky.

For substituting flours:

If you are going to substitute a flour choice, match your flour weight. Sub sorghum with gluten-free oat flour, or brown rice flour (medium weight to medium weight), for instance, and sub heavier millet with heavier buckwheat. Sub cornstarch with potato starch or tapioca starch (starch to starch). Note that potato starch is light and rises soft, and tender, while tapioca starch tends to get a tad tough, though it does brown nicely. You may wish to combine these two starches to achieve both softness and a golden crust.

I favor a higher protein (but tender) texture to my baked goods; so you’ll find many recipes featuring whole grain sorghum flour, almond flour or hazelnut flour, buckwheat flour, (not a grain at all, but a groat, related to rhubarb) and millet flour.

The best tasting gluten-free flour I’ve found is sorghum- also known as sweet sorghum and jowar. If you can handle oats- certified gluten-free oat flour is also superior.
Brown rice flour is a better baking choice than plain white rice flour (but, please NOTE- with the startling high arsenic levels in brown rice products, I cannot recommend consuming a lot of brown rice flour- do your research on this).
White rice flour has a slightly gummy mouth feel- it dissolves in the mouth- and has an odd cooked-rice taste. I tend not to use it. But if you like it, Babycakes? Knock yourself out.
As for the bean based flours like soy and chick pea flour, many use them to boost protein and lower the carbs in gluten-free baking. I loathe soy and bean flours. They taste metallic to my tender tastebuds. And like many a celiac, I have trouble digesting them (milled beans!); but if beans work for you, it’s an alternative high protein choice. Start by subbing only a part of the flour blend with a bean flour- say, start with using 1/2 cup in a recipe. See how you (and your tummy) like it.
If you can bake with cornmeal (make sure it is certified gluten-free), I have many recipes with it- tender polenta-style cakes and breads and muffins. Gluten-free cornmeal brings a tender, sweet and slightly grainy texture to baked goods. (If avoiding corn, try substituting your own whole grain flour blend, or use almond meal as part of the blend.)
Coconut flour is an animal unto itself. It is fiber rich and highly absorbaent. if you add it to a recipe blend, you may need to add more fat or liquid. Stir it in and let it sit to see how it behaves.
For subbing coconut flour in a recipe- I have used flaxmeal, and almond meal.
Your own preferred gluten-free flour blend (or baking/pancake mix) can be substituted in all of my baking recipes one-to-one. Texture and rise may be slightly different, however. You’ll need to develop a feel for your own preferred blend and how it behaves (needs longer baking time? an extra egg white?). In general, GF blends based on white rice flour and starch will give you an inferior, gummier product.
And please note- you may have to adjust the moisture level in my recipes if you use different flours than I have used or live at a different altitude. Experience helps, of course; follow your instinct as you bake and grow accustomed to how your particular gluten-free flour blend works with your oven, in your kitchen, and climate (dry or humid).
Tips: If recipes are consistently under-cooking (gummy in the middle or sinking) your oven temperature may be off. Some ovens can be quite temperamental. Even new ones. Purchase an oven thermometer to gauge how your oven is performing. You may be surprised, as one reader was, to discover that your preheating stage takes additional time before it reaches true baking temperature- despite the on light that declares oven ready.
If your oven is on target, but your baked goods are gummy, first check your flour blend- is is white rice based? That alone can equal gummy. Try baking at a higher temp- at 375º or 400º instead. Keep an eye on it- it will rise faster and bake faster. But it just may solve your problem- especially for breads.
Adding fiber to your batter can really help texture. Try adding flax seed meal.
Karina’s Notes on gluten-free batter:
Gluten-free batters are a bit different than wheat flour batters. They are stiffer at first, then stretch and get sticky as the xanthan gum and starches do their thing.
If the batter “climbs” the beaters, slow down the speed and slightly lift the beaters to encourage the batter to move back down into the bowl. Move your beater around the bowl in figure eights, at a slight angle. Practice your technique- soon you’ll be winging around gluten-free baking like a goddess.


Gluten-free starches include cornstarch, arrowroot starch, tapioca starch/flour, and potato starch. In baking they are- for the most part- interchangeable. That said, tapioca starch on its own can bake up tough. So blend it with potato starch or cornstarch for a softer end product.

Sweet rice flour is also a possibility, but it is a very sticky starch; use it sparingly in baking (no more than 1/4 cup) or the recipe may turn out gummy.

Note: Potato flour is not the same as potato starch. I don’t use potato flour in my baking; it’s heavy, gluey and best used sparingly for thickening a gravy. But I love potato starch in breads and muffins and cakes- it gives breads spring, and tenderness.

You can also add 1/4 cup flax seed meal to your flour blend for added fiber.

Using Baking and Pancake Mixes as a Basic Flour Sub:

This is a super easy solution- especially for those not familiar with gluten-free baking. For an all-purpose baking, waffle and pancake mix try Pamela’s Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix. Please note* it contains dairy (buttermilk) and almond meal- so it may be off limits to some, but it is the best gluten-free baking mix I’ve tried.

The advantage to using a gluten-free baking or pancake mix in a recipe is: the xanthan gum and salt is already in the blend. I do not usually decrease the leavening in the recipe I am converting, however; gluten-free baking seems to fair better with an extra leavening boost.
For gluten-free flour blend ideas and a basic GF flour template see Karina’s Gluten-Free Baking + Cooking Tips.


The main fat most of us need to substitute in gluten-free dairy-free (aka GF/CF) and vegan baking is butter. Butter is a tough one because it brings so much buttery flavor to the recipe. However, I’ve been baking and cooking successfully without it for years.
My current mainstay? Organic coconut oil. Choose the best quality for silky texture and mild taste. It is lovely in sweet recipes. For biscuit style recipes I use it solid, as a shortening, cutting into the flour blend. For quick breads and pancakes, bring it to a warmer temperature so that it liquifies.
Mainstay number two? Olive oil. This popular heart-healthy oil is wonderful in breads, muffins and cakes that feature herbs, citrus, and strong flavors like pumpkin. And of course, I love extra virgin olive oil for quick salad dressings.
If you prefer Canola oil, choose a non-GMO, organic, expeller pressed, and buy a reputable brand.
When I bake cookies, I use organic coconut oil or an all natural non-dairy no trans fats shortening. The one I use is Spectrum Organic Shortening made from non-hydrogenated palm oil. I also recommend the organic shortening for pie crusts. It also works for crisps and crumbles (note* I now prefer coconut oil in crumbles and streusel toppings). The one drawback with using this shortening is it lacks flavor- it is tasteless. To compensate I add an extra teaspoon of good vanilla extract to the recipe.
If you prefer another vegetable oil besides olive oil- for whatever reason- simply substitute that oil for the butter called for in a recipe- but start with 1 to 2 tablespoons less. Some thinner oils may result in a wetter batter.
Ghee is a popular fat in Indian and Ayurvedic cooking that is pure butter fat (boiled and separated from whole milk). If done properly ghee theoretically contains no traces of milk protein (casein) or the milk sugar lactose- but- if you are sensitive at all, please check your source to confirm that proper testing was done on the ghee and it is indeed, casein free. The advantage is the flavor- it tastes like butter. The big disadvantage is that ghee is pure saturated animal fat, and therefore not heart healthy- at all. Saturated animal fat is pro-inflammatory. Ghee is not a health food (no matter what ghee advocates say). Pure saturated animal fat raises inflammation in the body.
There are several non-dairy margarine blends available- with differing degrees of usefulness in baking. Most are soybean oil based. Many have some form of casein added (check ingredients!). In general the softer or whipped blends have too much water in them to be useful in baking. The harder stick style (though not as healthy) is better in baking. I do not recommend using any trans fat margarine or shortening. Trans fats raise inflammation in the body.
In a pinch, I have found that a creamy, mild and not-too-tangy gluten-free vegan mayonnaise can sub for part of the butter or margarine in a baking recipe- especially in chocolate recipes.
Fat free?
Some readers like to lower the fat content in a recipe. For this kind of substitution there are several alternatives. One of the most popular is to use applesauce. Applesauce works well in recipes with fruit, nuts, ginger, and cinnamon- such as muffins, cookies and cakes. I don’t care for it in chocolate recipes. I don’t like my chocolate tasting tangy.
Another choice is canned pumpkin, squash or sweet potato. Or try gluten-free baby food- such as jarred pears or apricots, even prunes. Canned or jarred purees of fruits and vegetables add body and moisture to the batter, with zero fat.
Remember- stronger fruit flavors fare better in recipes with equally strong tastes- such as molasses, warm spices such as cinnamon and ginger, and pumpkin.

Egg Subs:

My first choice is Ener-G Egg Replacer. It works well in most recipes. Whisk it with warm water for a light frothy texture and hot water for a thicker, binding effect. A recipe adjustment may be needed to help body and volume- adding a tablespoon of starch like tapioca, arrowroot, or applesauce helps. For more creaminess, you might try adding a teaspoon of fat as well, such as light olive oil or Vegenaise (yolks have fat, after all).
If avoiding corn (Ener-G Egg Replacer may use a corn source according to several corn sensitive readers), substitute 1 tablespoon tapioca or potato starch plus 3 tablespoons water for each egg called for in recipe to help binding. You will need to increase leavening a bit to compensate- add an extra 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Flax seed meal is a choice for those not allergic to flax seeds. Use two tablespoons ground flax meal plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder blended with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg called for in recipe.
Chia seeds can also be used as a gel for gluten-free baking. From the genus Salvia hispanica, chia is a plant in the Mint family- an excellent alternative for those of us allergic to flax seed.
Note on using seed based gels: They often make gluten-free baked goods a tad gummy in the center- especially those based on rice flour. And they lack the leavening factor. Additional compensation in a recipe is needed to make the gels work. I would add 1/2 teaspoon more baking powder.
Banana: Try a half mashed ripe banana plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder for each egg. Think about flavors- banana is not always simpatico.
Mayo: Use 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise in place of one egg, for binding. I would add a little extra leavening- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Tofu: Use 1/4 cup silken tofu for one egg for binding; I would add a little extra leavening- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Not vegan: Dissolve 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin in 1 tablespoon cold water; add 2 tablespoons boiling water. Beat vigorously until frothy. I would also add a little extra leavening- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. Gelatin does make it a little rubbery- so use as a last resort.

Sugar-Free? Sugar substitutes include:

In standard baking recipes, 2/3 to 3/4 cup honey (reduce liquid in recipe by 1/4 cup) can be substituted for 1 cup granulated or brown sugar. I would start with the lesser amount; gluten-free starches combined with honey may create a gummy texture.
Honey or agave is not recommended for crisp cookies- the cookies will be chewier and softer. Flavor and density will also be affected.
If you are a vegan, try using maple syrup (it adds a maple flavor- not always desirable) or gluten-free brown rice syrup, or organic raw agave syrup. I would start with the guidelines for honey, above.
Blackstrap molasses (from cane or sorghum) can also be used. It has a distinctive, deep taste. Use roughly half, and add ginger and cinnamon.
As a wrap-up, in general, when using a liquid sweetener, use less than the amount of sugar called for (taste test to adjust sweetness level). Adjust the liquid by two tablespoons less to begin with. And note that overall volume of the batter may be less, so you may have to use a smaller baking pan.
For an extensive discussion about sugar substitutes see this post Sugar Blues: Gluten-Free Baking Without Sugar.

Dairy Substitutions:

A favorite dairy free substitute in gluten-free cooking and baking is organic light coconut milk. I use it in sauces, soups, curries and stir-fries. It’s fabulous in whipped sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squashes. Check and compare labels- as too much guar gum, a common additive in coconut milk, can act as a laxative for sensitive individuals.
Another terrific non-dairy choice is hemp milk. It has a strong taste- and takes some getting used to- but hemp has nifty EFA’s and Omegas and is richer, creamier than most other non-dairy milks (such as rice milk, soy milk or nut milks). I use it creamy sauces, smoothies, ice cream, and soups. I also use in creamy desserts like my fabulous Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Not all hemp milks are equal when it comes to taste, so shop around and taste test. And some (Living Harvest vanilla hemp milk, for example) may use a barley enzyme in the natural vanilla flavorings; always call the manufacturer to discuss the gluten-free safety of the product.
Rice milk is thin but it works. Try vanilla rice milk in sweet recipes for a flavor boost.
Nut milks and soy milks are silky and work beautifully in gluten-free baking.
Here’s how to make your own non-dairy condensed milk or evaporated milk.

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk:

3 cups coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup organic sugar- or sweeten to taste with agave
Stir ingredients together in a sauce pan and heat gently; cook slowly over low to almost medium heat, stirring constantly, until the volume is reduced to about 1 cup.
Add some vanilla extract to taste, if you like; and a pinch of sea salt, if desired.
Cool the condensed milk and refrigerate if not using right away

For Evaporated Coconut or Non-Dairy Milk:

As above, but omit the sugar and pour the milk into a saucepan; cook gently over low to medium heat, stirring until the coconut milk is thickened and reduced to 1 and 1/2 cups. Cool. Refrigerate.
Some Dairy-Free Tips:
For a tasty creamy sauce for comfort foods like mac and cheese try my vegan Cheesy Uncheese Sauce– it’s scary good.
In savory recipes try using a light vegetable broth in place of milk- this works in soups, and mashed potatoes that top my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie, etc.
For a thorough non-dairy resource check the wonderful web site Go Dairy-Free. Its author has a new cookbook and guide to dairy-free living that has extensive resources, titled Go Dairy Free.

Gluten-Free Thickeners

For making gravy, use a slurry made with arrowroot starch instead of wheat flour; it thickens better than gluten flour, anyway. I like to add a dash of dry sherry, brandy, or wine to the gravy as well. (What’s a slurry? Stir a tablespoon of arrowroot starch into an equal amount of cold water. You now have a slurry. Add it to the gravy and stir over gentle heat till thickened.) Arrowroot, by the way, is a starchy powder made from West Indies tubers. It’s a good choice for those avoiding corn and potato.
Other starches also work for thickening gravy, sauces and soups:
Potato starch is a Kosher favorite for thickening. Make a slurry and add it to gravies, sauces and soups. Stir constantly as you heat gently till thickened- and don’t boil it. Potato flour can get lumpy. It’s not my favorite thickener.
Cornstarch may be used to thicken stir-fry sauces and chile that you’ll be eating right away (it doesn’t freeze well). Cornstarch also creates a glossy look (I don’t like my gravy shiny) and it doesn’t re-heat well. It also gets a bit gluey for my taste if it starts to over-cook.
Tapioca starch (also a tuber- called manioc, yucca or cassava) thickens a sauce rather quickly. You can add it to a soup or sauce near the end of cooking time if you need to.
Taste test and make sure the starch slurry you added has cooked enough so that your sauce, gravy or soup doesn’t taste “starchy”; if it does, continue to stir and cook a bit longer.
For making a roux- a cooked flour and butter paste used as a thickening base in white sauces, stews, cream soups, gumbo, and cheesy dishes like macaroni and cheese- there are several choices.
Sweet rice flour is an excellent choice for making a roux; it has a lovely neutral taste and is tolerated by most- except those allergic to rice.
If you need to avoid rice flour in a roux I might suggest using sorghum flour- it works.
And if you are avoiding grains completely, try making a slurry with potato starch instead and adding it into the liquid as you heat it. Use sparingly- as potato starch or potato flour thickens and clumps quickly.
Other thickening ideas include:
Add some cooked mashed or baked potato, or even sweet potato; whisk it in; stir well and cook gently.
If you can do eggs, adding egg yolks helps to thicken a sauce or soup base. Stir and cook through thoroughly but do not boil or heat too quickly; use gentle, lower heat and whisk to blend.
Using gums for a gluten sub:
Xanthan gum is a cellulose additive that adds stretch and viscosity to gluten-free recipes, but those who are hyper-sensitive to corn (xanthan gum is often derived from a corn base) might try using guar gum.
Guar gum is legume derived, so those who are sensitive to beans, soy or legumes may react to it. Even if one is not allergic to legumes, guar gum may act as a laxative in sensitive individuals.
I was recently asked about baking with no gums.

Here are some thoughts:

I’ve been avoiding gums lately- here’s my post about it. (EDIT)

Try adding a tablespoon of potato starch, or tapioca starch (or arrowroot); certain starches have a binding ability, especially when whisked with warm liquid.
If you can handle eggs- try adding an extra whipped egg white or two.
Adding 1-2 tablespoons of honey- or agave- to a baking recipe adds moisture and binding.
If you can tolerate flax seed meal; try making a gel and adding a tablespoon to recipes. It doesn’t bind quite as well- but it adds fiber and has a lovely texture.
For things like muffins and quick breads- I have a crazy thought. How about adding a half cup of fruit jam to the batter? The fruit pectin will help with binding and moisture.

Peanut Free:

For a legume-free nut-free peanut butter substitute try using sunflower seed butter aka Sunbutter in recipes- it is delicious in cookies, cakes, brownies and stir-fry “peanut” sauce. Check with the manufacturer if you are highly allergic to peanuts; you’ll want to confirm the sunflower seed butter was made in a peanut-free legume-free facility.
Sesame seed butter (also called tahini) is another choice. It tends to be a tad bitter, though, and may not be kid friendly; I compensate by adding a little honey or agave, to taste.
Other seed and nut butters include hemp butter, cashew butter, soy butter, pecan butter and almond butter; all may replace peanut butter in any recipe.


If you are allergic to baker’s yeast you will need to find leavening that helps the bread or pizza dough rise. Baking powder and baking soda are two alternatives (use a teaspoon of lemon juice in the recipe to help activate the rising action). Check with your physician to see if baking powder and/or baking soda is acceptable for you. See my New Irish Soda Bread recipe here.
For those of you using eggs, organic free-range eggs would be an excellent way to create rise in yeast-free bread baking. Try adding two extra egg whites, beaten till frothy. You may need even more, depending upon the recipe. Experiment with eggs and find what works for you.

Catering food – Dos and Don’ts

I have been living in U.S for 16 years now. Used to throw a lot of parties. I have never catered food from anyone till today. Some people might think it is because of the number of people. I have a record of cooking an elaborate meal for 80 people all by myself. So, number is not the issue, just my preference. When I say this, I have nothing against getting food from outside. But, having eaten catered food at lot of places has taught me few things about catered food. I am sharing those tips in case it helps anyone in planning their parties.

Dos and Don’ts in a nutshell:

1. Know what to expect. If you are getting food from a restaurant, make sure you have tasted your dishes. It might not be possible to taste all the dishes if you are getting from someone working from home. Rely on word of mouth.

2. Order as per the season. Avoid ordering food that goes bad very easily. It is best to avoid things that have coconut, mashed vegetables in hot weather.

3. Calculate the distance from where the food is coming. Food goes bad as early as 4 hours from the time it was made. If you plan to pick up the food a bit early, plan on refrigerating. Caterer starts cooking food at a certain time based on your time of pick up. Don’t try to rush him/her and end up having to deal with the worry of food going bad.

4. Unless it is for a traditional, religious event, try mixing and matching types of food. Be creative.

5. Even though you are getting food catered, make something yourself. Something that is your signature dish and liked by all. There should always be a personal touch.

6. Don’t order from a person just because they are cheaper. It definitely doesn’t mean that more the price, better the quality. You need to know what is good and be willing to pay the price if it is good.

7. Set aside a budget. Stick to it. No need to get extravagant food and not enough of it. It is better to serve simple, well made food rather than serve exotic food that nobody wants to eat.

8. Make sure you as a host taste everything before you put it on the table for others. I have seen food having gone bad too many times and it is not nice to your guest to eat that and realize it has gone bad.

9. People enjoy food more when there aren’t too many varieties. I lose all my appetite if I see arrays of trays. See if that makes sense to you.

10. When you get food delivered, if it comes in a warm box, make sure you remove the food trays and keep it in an airy room. Basement is actually the best place to keep the food in case there is time before serving. If the weather is warm, run your air conditioner or at least a fan.

11. It is always best to label your food. Lot of times, people won’t know what it is and it helps if there is a label.

12. If possible, introduce a food that you have liked but is not known to most of your guests. It makes a nice topic of conversation while filling the plates.

Another tip not related to food…..

If the party is at home, trash pickup needs to be paid attention to also. With disposable plates and people not reusing the cups, plates, it gets full in no time. It helps to bring in the huge trash container inside if you can find bags to fit them with. What I do is line a collapsible laundry basket with multiple huge trash bags. Once it is full, just take out the top bag and tie it. It makes it very easy instead of looking for a bag and lining when the bag is full and there are people waiting to throw their plates.

If anyone benefits from this article, it was well worth of the time taken to write.

Have a nice weekend.

Cooking Tips

1.Tips for frying Chicken
Make sure that the oil is hot, when the chicken is already brownish lower the heat, allowing the chicken to be cooked evenly inside, then when it is almost done, increase the heat to high to give it a crispy texture and nice color. Remove and place in a paper towel to absorb the extra oil. I hope the next time you will cook fried chicken  it’s not raw in the middle and the outside is already charred. Happy Cooking :-).

2.How To Maintain the Natural Color of the Vegetables even if It’s Already Cooked ?

To keep the natural color of the vegetables even if it is already cooked, in soup, sauted, stir fried, etc, make sure that when it’s time to add the vegetables you increased the heat to high, making it to be cooked very quickly, and do not cover.
 Here are some of my dishes with vegetables and look at the color, it is not grayish,
it is so natural! 🙂

3. Cooking tips in Baking Bread
If you want the bread to have a shiny look, brush it with beaten egg before baking.
If you want it to look crispy brush with melted butter before baking.

4. How to remove the bitterness from bitter melon or ampalaya?
The secret to remove the bitterness of the ampalaya is to put a little salt in the oil during heating or sauteing and cook it over high heat. Have a try .


Dorm Cooking Tips

 When you have just started to cook you will encounter lot of questions on-

  • Which appliance should you buy?
  • How to plan menu and grocery shopping?
  • What items are essential for daily cooking?
  • How to use up the extra groceries that you have bought to cook a meal?

This place will have answer to such queries and more.You can ask me questions related to these. I don’t claim to be an expert but will try to answer your queries and also give you a link to other blogs.

1. Does a Rice Cooker cook anything other than rice ? Click on the title
2. Do you plan to buy a sandwich toaster, grill and a waffle maker ?Click on the title

 3. Menu Plan to use up the perishable vegetable on the same day.Click on the title

4. Get to know about your microwave. Click on the title

Cooking with Consciousness

I think recipes are not what I share in my blog but also how one can stay healthy and happy in ones life so all my post ends with the tag line be happy stay healthy. Many years back when I started this food blog, a friend online asked me that why I  my blog address says it’s peacecooking. I wrote to her that for me cooking is meditation in action which I learnt from my Mother. Until and unless you cook with full attention, love and peace no food will be delicious and add on to your health.I came across this beautiful article Cooking with Consciousness by Aruna Ladva which I thought will be worth sharing in this divine time of Easter. I am sure it will enlighten all my readers and this outlook will help to keep you happy in kitchen and you and all your loved ones will always glow in health and happiness.

Cooking with Consciousness by Aruna Ladva
Have you ever stopped to wonder why mum’s food always tastes good, better than even a five star restaurant? That’s ‘cos mum cooks with love, from the core of her heart. Nowadays home cooking may not be what it used to be, (think take-aways, processed food, microwave ovens and not enough time!) but nevertheless it is known that cooking and eating with the right consciousness will improve the health of your mind, body and spirit. As Buddha once said: ‘To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.’

‘Cooking with consciousness’ is an interesting concept and well worth experimenting with. Especially if you are a meditator, you will notice a difference in your thoughts and awareness if you practice the mindful preparation and eating of food.
It begins in fact from the moment you go to buy your food. As you make your way to the supermarket, maintain a clear and focused mind – so as to select only the right ingredients, which will nourish and enrich your mind and body. Try to buy and use food items that are as close to nature as possible. Do not be pulled into the chocolate aisle or the pastry section! Continue to exercise self-talk that; I will only pick and choose the healthiest of ingredients!
As you walk up to the cashier, count your blessings that you have the funds to be able to pay for your food. Bless your food as you see it being packed into bags. And happily part with your money.
Once you bring home the goods, and begin to put them away, fill your spirit with joy as you simultaneously fill up your pantry. Feelings of abundance in the kitchen, as in every other area of your life, create prosperity in the bank account, believe it or not.
And once you have the appetite, begin to cook. When food is prepared in a clean, tidy and peaceful environment, then it can become a meditation in itself. Play some soft music in the background, and create similar thoughts to these below…
I the peaceful being of light… begin to spread light and love into my eyes and my fingers… therefore everything I see and touch, is being filled with light and love…
My spirit is filled with the abundance of God’s Divine Love… and I infuse God’s Love into the molecules of these precious pieces of food… that will nurture and nourish me… with every powerful thought I create, I turn this simple matter into holy food…
I cook with a sense of detachment… I cook not for me or for anyone in particular, but simply for the joy of cooking… I cook because the act of cooking is sacred and reverent – since food will create the structure of my blood, muscles, and raise energy levels in the body… I pour love and peace into the food I am preparing… and that is being felt by all of those who eat it….
Once the food is prepared, cooked and served, it is a good idea to sit in silence with it for a few minutes and offer thanks to God, the Provider, Nourisher and Sustainer, before beginning to eat… thereby infusing it with even more positive energy!
And when we eat, we can also do so with the awareness that each mouthful is nourishing and energizing our body. Our positive thoughts have a beneficial effect even on the molecular structure of the food we eat. Religions and mystics have known this for millennia, and now even the scientists are beginning to agree!
It is now common knowledge that our thoughts or intentions can affect matter; see experiments conducted by the Japanese Professor Masaru Emoto on how he transforms water crystals. Likewise our thoughts in the form of vibrations, will affect the food we eat. Or, look at it from another standpoint; if we eat food that’s been prepared by an angry person… we may just wonder why we have indigestion at the end of the meal! Yet another good reason to return to good ol’ home cooking!
There is also something to be said about an old adage, ‘the family that eats together stays together’. In world, where we have become too selfish, it is important to remind ourselves that mealtimes were a time for sharing and caring – not only families would eat together every day, but also communities. It was a time for creating bonding and harmony between brothers and tribes! Today however, it may be a quick ‘bite on the go’, or the temptation to eat quickly while watching TV! Food eaten without awareness or a sense of gratitude or appreciation will not nourish the body or the mind in the same way.
With the advent of the fast food industry, many of us have moved so far away from the touch and feel of preparing real food from scratch that we have also forgotten the taste of real food. We have become disconnected from nature, having forgotten that our bodies themselves are also part of nature. Processed food that is overloaded with additives, preservatives and artificial flavour enhancers, dulls our palates and deadens our senses – in every sense, physically and mentally!
Eating good, healthy and well-cooked food is a sign of self-regard. Eating ‘rubbish’ also speaks volumes about our levels of self-respect. Have we perhaps moved so far into our busy lives that we don’t even care to look at what we eat any more – its straight from the packet into the mouth? When we value our body, not in an arrogant way, but as a trustee of an important instrument given to us on loan, then we value ourselves. Not only that, but we will get a great deal more mileage out of this vehicle that I, the soul, use to get around in!

It’s time…
 to realize the power and effect thoughts have on matter. Cook with a happy and elated consciousness not because you have to or are simply in a rush to get it over with. The few extra moments you will take to put the love, care and attention to your meals will go a long way in helping you create a powerful state of mind. Your body too will thank you with good health. This gives a whole new meaning to the statement: ‘Wat’s cooking!’ Not only on the stove, but also in the pot of your mind!

Wishing all My friends celebrating  Very Happy Easter.


Creamy Pasta

Pasta is my all time favorite. Today I am sharing with you all a very delicious simple creamy pasta recipe. It’s simple,easy and quick to cook. In today’s recipe I made a healthy twist instead of using cream or mayonnaise I used buttermilk  potato creamy mixture. It keeps the calorie count low and it also taste great.You can make it more rich adding more veggies, eggs or chicken. I am sure you will like this simple creamy pasta.

Creamy Pasta


  • 1 cup boiled elbow macaroni
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup butter milk
  • 1 boiled potato skinned
  • 1/2 tsp mixed Italian herb
  • 1/4 cup canned sweet corn
  • 1 tbsp cheese grated
  • 1 tsp chopped parsley / coriander
  • 3 to 4 shaved cheese slices
  • to taste salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Take your blender and blend potato with buttermilk. Blend them into smooth runny mixture.
  2. Heat butter in a pan. Then add crushed garlic. Fry till brown. Then add the butter milk mixture. . Let it come to boil. Then add macaroni and sweet corn. After that add Italian herb and grated cheese. Mix well. Adjust seasoning.Put off the flame. Garnish with chopped parsley and shaved cheese.Your yummy creamy pasta is ready to enjoy.


Egg N Vegetable Soup

Egg n vegetable soup is a very delicious soup for a cozy night meal. In this soup you have the goodness of vegetables , eggs and also lentil. Lentils are very healthy.Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K, but are particularly rich in dietary fiber, lean protein, folate and iron.Lentils are not only one of the oldest commonly consumed legumes in history, but they are also one of the simplest to prepare since they don’t require a lengthy soaking time like other beans.I am sure you will love this wonderful egg n vegetable soup.

Egg N Vegetable Soup


  • 4 to 6 florets of cauliflower
  • 1 carrot cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh green peas
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 1 green cardamom small
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 4 tbsp mashed lentils
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups chicken stock/ vegetable stock
  • to taste salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat butter in a pan. Then add crushed cardamom and star anise. Then add boiled and mashed lentils.Fry a little. Then add cauliflower, carrot, green peas, turnips and chopped ginger. Now add onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well.Add mashed lentils. Mix well. Now add chicken stock or vegetable stock. Let it come to boil then add salt , sugar and pepper. While it is boiling whisk two egg with salt and pepper. Mix well. Let it come to boil and then put off the flame and have it with any bread roll. I love to have this egg n vegetable soup with my garlic bread roll.


Cooking Basics

Here are a few basics recipes/cooking basics for beginners-

ginger cardamom tea
How to make tea

How to cook rice in a pressure cooker

How to blanch tomatoes

How to make ghee

How to make paneer at home

How to smoke an eggplant

How to prepare sambar

How to sprout bean seeds

How to make Dal for rice or roti (basic dal recipe)

How to prepare dosa and dosa batter

How to cook brown rice
( in rice cooker, pressure cooker and pan )

How to make Fruit Custard

How to make plain paratha

How to make Ginger Garlic Paste

How to clean Plantain flower (vazhaipoo)

How to bake cake in pressure cooker

How to cook Dal  (Also find dal tadka recipe)

How to cook Basmati Rice

How to make South Indian Filter Coffee

Cup and Spoon Measurements

How to make Yogurt at home

How to sprout mung beans at home (green gram)

Baking tips for beginners

How to make Green tea

How to peel Garlic easily

How to cook Millets (Varagu, saamai, kudraivali, tinai)

How to make Phulka (tawa methed and on direct flame)

How to extract coconut milk

How to cook couscous and sauce recipe (vegetarian)

How to make ginger cardamom tea

Indian Spices List  (in English, Tamil and Hindi) Also tips on how to make other basic ingredients like cumin powder, coriander powder etc.

How to make Rava Upma (basic rava upma recipe with step wise pics)

How to season dosa tawa

How to cook Quinoa (in rice cooker, on stove top and pressure cooker)

How to remove excess salt in a dish (gravy,curry, dal,soup)

How to make Butter at home (from scratch)

How to make Refried Beans from scratch (Mexican)

Basic Mexican Salsa Recipe

How to steam vegetables

This page will be updated as and when cooking basics are posted. Hope you enjoyed browsing my site and  recipes.Thank you for visiting Padhuskitchen.

Banana Pancake With Coconut Lime Syrup

Today I am sharing with you a very delicious yummy breakfast banana pancake with coconut lime syrup. In hot summer morning this delicious hot pancake with creamy chilled coconut syrup flavored with lime will give you a real refreshing feeling. This pancake is loaded with the goodness of banana and egg and a healthy morning platter. If you want to skip sugar then try out with honey. I am sure you all will love this flavorful banana pancake with coconut lime syrup.

Banana Pancake With Coconut Lime Syrup


  • 2 cup flour
  • 2 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 ripe banana mashed
  • 2 pinch of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsp oil
  • For coconut Lime syrup
  • 1 cup thick coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar or to taste
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Cooking Directions :

  1. Whisk milk, eggs, ginger and cinnamon together in a jug. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and salt. Make a well in the center. Add milk mixture. Whisk until just combined. Add mashed banana then mix well.
  2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking oil. Using 1/4 cup mixture per pancake, cook 2 pancakes for 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on surface. Turn and cook for a further 1-2 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  3. Heat 1 cup coconut milk with sugar. Constantly stir and reduce it in a consistency you want.Put off the flame and add lime juice. Mix well. You can make it earlier and store in your freezer and then serve the chilled syrup.
  4. Now pour the syrup over your pancake and relish. To add more you can top it with pineapple jam pearls or any kind of jam of your choice. Enjoy Banana pancake with Coconut lime syrup.


Thin Spicy Lamb Patties

Weekend call for something delicious which will take less time to make and we can enjoy with our friends and family. Today I am sharing with you a very delicious recipe thin spicy lamb patties which you can make and enjoy sitting at your garden while chatting and sharing good times with your friends and family.

Thin Spicy Lamb Patties

Ingredients :

  • 2 cup ground lamb / goat meat
  • 2 onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 4 tbsp grated cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mixed dried herb/ spices
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander and parsley finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint chopped
  • 1 tbsp red chilly sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • 2 to 3 oil
  • to taste salt and pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Take a bowl in it take ground lamb, cheese, onion, garlic, ginger, cheese, dry herb or spices (what ever you are using), bread crumb, fresh coriander, mint and parsley, red chilly sauce, tomato sauce. Mix together until well combined. Roll the mixture into equal size balls, then press to flatten. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat a hot plate or grill to medium-hot and oil the surface well. Place the patties on the hot plate and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve the patties with a simple side salad .