Super Berries

I’ve been extensively browsing the web pages of SportsDirect recently; not one of my usual pastimes but I’m getting an early birthday present this year in the form of gym trainers and leggings. I know this sounds terribly dull and practical for a 21st, but I’m actually genuinely excited to get some proper kit to bop around in at my weekly step class. As I was pre-occupied with healthy living et cetera  this evening whilst casting around for my next Foodie Fact, I decided to find out which berries are best for you and why. (I try to fully embrace the fitness drive as and when it takes me, because I do otherwise live in a world that revolves mostly around bread, cake, cookies and ice cream…)

Here is an ABC of a few top berries, picked out from this article, that you should apparently add to your everyday ‘To Eat’ list:

  1. Acai berries* ~ full of antioxidants, amino acids and fatty acids to protect cells against disease and boost immunity
  2. Blueberries ~ contain masses of fibre, vitamin K (builds bones) and manganese, an energy boosting mineral, not a language
  3. Cranberries ~ the group of flavanoids called proanthocyanidins in these not-just-for-Christmas treats help lower the risk of urinary tract infections

*(pronounced ah-sigh-ee; I did not know that before today!)

Acai-Berries    blueberrycranberries(5) 

Enjoy berrylicious bakes with these ideas from the Guardian: The 10 Best Berry Recipes, or check back a couple of days on An Inexact Science and find my very own Lemon and Blueberry Yoghurt Cake recipe to tickle your tastebuds! How’s that for culinary alliteration, eh? Sleep tight little bakers and bakesses x       

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Well oil be damned…

Food fact of the day: oil is not only useful for cooking with. Corfu-olive-oil

Coat a spoon with a neutral-tasting oil, like rapeseed for example, to measure out sticky substances like golden syrup – the oil will make the syrup slide off the spoon easily for less mess and fuss-free measuring.

Also, before using a tupperware to store coloured foods (cooked beetroot, tomato-based sauces, etc.) wipe around the inside of it with oil to form a protective barrier that will help to prevent staining your tupperware. Now you too can become a domestic goddess like me!…  Til tomorrow folks x

The Perfect Steak

steak

Know how to cook your steak exactly how you like it? Well, the answer is in your hands. No, literally. Gordon Ramsay shows you how to tell if your steak is rare, medium or well-done by comparing the feel of the cooking meat to your hand, in the handy cooking tips section of his TV program, ‘Ultimate Cookery Course’.

For rare meat, when you press the steak with your fingertip it should feel like the inside of your thumb on your palm – quite squishy and tender. For medium, you want the same give as you can feel on the outside of your thumb. For well-done, press your finger into your wrist (where you would take a pulse) and the steak should feel like this; firm with just a little bit of give. If it’s easier to see it rather than read it (and I have been reading for hours and hours today so please excuse me if this post is slightly garbled) here is the link to the show on Channel 4 (you might not be able to get to this if you’re outside the UK, I’m afraid, but I’m sure its on YouTube): Ultimate Cookery Course – Series 1, Episode 10 (skip to 21:20).

Perfect for a celebratory dinner, or a special evening in – impress your guests with restaurant-standard steaks whether they are die-hard carnivores or terribly squeamish. Cheers Gordon!

How to de-grease stews and casseroles

According to Rob McCue, of the TV show Hell’s Kitchen, if your stew, casserole, soup or similar is too greasy or fatty, simply drop in an ice cube. The ice will coagulate the fat, which you can then easily scoop out, and voilà, you have de-greased your meal.  A very useful tip to remember, I feel, especially in this sort of weather when all you want is a hot, steaming bowl of nourishment to welcome you in from the howling gales and driving sleet. Since when did you have to dress like you were venturing across the Arctic Circle to get to lectures on a morning?!

5 a day

Firstly, apologies for my absence over the past few days – something unexpected came up last weekend which meant I was away from home, and today has just been absolutely manic and non-stop.  Tuesday has mercilessly catapulted me headlong back into term time mode! I do intend to have a new recipe post up by Friday, though, and to make up for the days missed, here are five fruitilicious facts to peruse and amuse:

1. If you rub the inside of a banana skin on a mosquito bite, it stops the itching

2. There are approximately 10, 000 varieties of apples grown around the world!

3. Strawberries were used as sacred symbols by Christian stonemasons

4. Bananas are high in B-complex vitamins, which help calm the nervous system

5. One pomegranate can hold more than 1000 seeds

basket with colorful fruits

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Stay healthy x

Bouncing Raisins

Today I found out that if you drop a raisin in champagne, it will bob up and down in the glass  – sinking to the bottom then rising to the top repeatedly. Not magic, but science (how dull): the wrinkles in the raisin trap the CO2 in the champagne, and the bubbles lift the raisin up to the top of the glass, where the bubbles are released, and so it sinks back down again. It keeps bouncing back and forth til the CO2 is all used up. Sadly, I didn’t discover this firsthand; I have neither raisins nor champagne in my house at the moment, and if I did, I can’t say I would have had an urge to drop a wrinkly piece of dried fruit into a luxury glass of bubbly. Someone else did though, and here’s a video to prove it:

(I wonder what the hotel thought of this…)

One potato, blue potato, three potato, four…

…Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more! I’m sure most people are aware that there is a huge range of potato varieties, and that certain types are best cooked in a certain way; i.e. King Edwards are bakers, chippers and roasters whereas Charlottes are best for steaming or boiling. I didn’t realise until recently, however, that all potatoes can be divided into four very straightforward categories: Early Season and Main Crop obviously relate to the time of year the potatoes are harvested – the smaller early pots appear in May time and only keep for 2-3 days, whilst larger main crop produce will keep interminably if stored correctly. Then there are Floury and Waxy types within both first categories – floury textured pots are your King Edward types, and waxy are the Charlottes, better in salads or with light meals than in a roast dinner. Not that interesting? Fair enough; because you’ve read to the end of the potato-spiel you can have one more fact: one particular sort of potato has bright blue flesh! It’s unimaginative name ‘salad blue’ is a bit of a let down, but nonetheless, veg isn’t normally blue, thus this discovery is exciting and intriguing. Green eggs and ham with your blue potato salad, anyone?

Blue_Salad_Potato