Monday, October 18, 2010

A new hob and a new hood

Pressure cookerImage via WikipediaWe're moving in to the new flat by 1st Week of December, approximately, and that means all the works would have been done by that time.

One thing that we needed is a new hob and a new hood, and we've been looking around, hunting around for some much-needed promotions or sales that will most probably gave us a chance to still get a good pair at the lowest price.

Well, there has been some promotional items going on, but the sales, they are not so good. I mean, we are late most of the times to take a look at the items on sale, and the 'good ones' have been taken up already, leaving us with what others refuse to take...

Not until this month, our better chance didn't come... and thanks to Mayer. Well, Mayer is one of the shops that's been promoting their items by giving a package deal of a hob and a hood for a lower price than when these items are individually bought.

This time around, their prices are lower when bought individually... and rightly so, because it is their 23rd anniversary here in Singapore.

Now, what attracted us even more is the fact that some items were on PWP promotion: purchase either a hob or a hood, and you get one of these (sink or a pressure cooker) for only $23. How's that?

We checked with the salesman, that if we bought a hob and a hood, will we e getting 2 pressure cookers? 'Yeah, yeah, that's possible,' he said.

We left.

We came back the next day, and made the selection, and finalized the purchase.

When he is entering the details in the system, he seemed to see something that made him say, 'I think you can only get 1 pressure cooker...' and of course, we were surprised.

I looked at the my wife, and she quickly replied, 'Put them in separate invoices!'

That solved the problem.

I mean, it would have been OK if we get 1 sink and 1 pressure cooker, but we wanted to get 2 pressure cookers and no sink - there's no use for the sink, and we are giving the pressure cooker as a gift.

So if you are at this time hunting for a good hood and hob, both of quality and price, go to Mayer. We bought our oven 3 years ago, and we're not regretting that decision.


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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eat your colours

This is quite a colourful article, I could say...

Adding colour to your meal is good for your health

PINK may be the colour of health. But the path to a healthier and possibly longer life is paved with a myriad of shades: Red, green and even blue. (And white, if you consider it a colour).

Despite how good they taste, not all foods are created equal. It's genetics, really, not so much a social condition. And according to various studies, some of the headliners of fruits and vegetables are, not surprisingly, of the more colourful variety.

These naturally have higher levels of a unique set of nutrients - specifically vitamins A, C and E, carotenoids such as beta carotene, and other beneficial phytochemicals (plant chemicals) - which are all antioxidants (or act like one). Think kailan, papaya and cantaloupe.

According to insights published by the Health Promotion Board, phytochemicals act like antioxidants because they, over time, help protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Trace minerals like zinc and manganese also act as antioxidants.

What are antioxidants? In short, they are colour-coded agents of your body's peace of mind that help fight nasty free radicals (naturally occurring unstable molecules, as well as those spawned by external factors such as pollution and UV radiation). These, you could say, are the villains behind the ageing process and a possible cause of the afore mentioned diseases that antioxidants target.

One of the studies featured on BBC's The Truth About Food also described how a modest increase in the daily intake of the antioxidant lycopene (even over a short period of time) can help improve the skin's defence against UV radiation (sunburn).

Foods rich in this variety include vibrant yummies such as tomatoes, grapefruit, carrots, capsicums and, yes, even watermelon. But recent studies have found a new Numero Uno - the James Bond of these natural born defenders - in the humble pomegranate juice.

In a 2008 analysis published in the Journal Of Agriculture And Food Chemistry, POM Wonderful 100 per cent Pomegranate Juice (also the largest US grower of pomegranates) was shown to be the leader in the antioxidant beverage category over red wine, green tea and several juices.

A scientific and clinical monograph performed by the American Botanical Council on the product (now available at leading supermarkets, by the way), found that pomegranate juice had "both a higher total polyphenolic content and greater antioxidant activity than other commonly consumed fruit juice, including grape, cranberry, orange, and apple juice".

More specifically, as an antioxidant, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice was found to be "100 times more powerful than blueberry juice and 300 times more powerful than grape juice".

Oh well, go ahead, have yours shaken (not stirred), if you like.

From TODAY, Food - Saturday, 09-Oct-2010
Eat your colours

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Give saturated fat a second chance, say researchers

Not really something to be watching out for, but why not? Let's just say researchers and authorities can make mistakes, sometimes...

A vendor wraps a variety of cheeses at Eastern Market in Washington, USA.
WASHINGTON: Researchers backed by the US dairy industry say saturated fat is unfairly blamed for causing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Instead of blaming whole milk and cheeses for clogging arteries, they argue, people should reduce carbohydrates and eat more fish - alongside a glass of milk.

That's the message from the Global Dairy Platform, promoting a series of research articles published in the October issue of Lipids.

"Although diets inordinately high in fat and saturated fat are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk in some individuals, assuming that saturated fat at any intake level is harmful is an over-simplification and not supported by scientific evidence," said Bruce German, a food science professor at the University of California.

The dairy industry says saturated fat intake has a limited impact on cardiovascular disease risk. For years they have argued that dietary advice wrongly blames saturated fat as the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.

Still, the American Heart Association advises that no more than seven percent of daily calories come from saturated fat, which occur naturally in many foods, including fatty beef, pork, cream, butter and other dairy products.

The AHA says, for example, that people who need 2,000 calories per day should get no more than 140 of them from saturated fats, which translates to about 16 grams of saturated fats per day.

Total fat intake should not exceed 35 percent of daily calories, the AHA advises. Remaining fat should come from nuts, fish and vegetable oils, which are sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Cardiovascular diseases accounted for one of three deaths in the United States in 2006, according to the AHA. Death rates from those diseases fell 29 percent in the 10-year period ending in 2006, it said.

Global Dairy Platform is an international non-profit organisation founded in 2006. One of its goals is "sustaining and expanding global demand for milk and dairy products," according to its website.

- AFP/de

From; source article is below:
Give saturated fat a second chance, say researchers

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some tips on baking

An Italian sweet bread with extruded nib sugarImage via Wikipedia
Sometimes an expert baker would tend to look at the basic things about baking with quick glance then say, "I know that already," or simply, just look past.

I just came from a basic communication class, and the facilitator confirmed once again that by changing roles, as a coach and as a coachee, you both have a feel and understanding of both sides of the coin.

And one thing made clear, is that the expert can't simply say "beat the egg till it forms peaks", and expect the new learner to understand that.

It should actually be like zero knowledge assumption every time. Makes sense to me: many, many years, another teacher said that when doing public speaking, assume an uninformed, but intelligent audience. Same base, and you can take it from there.

The secrets to baking good bread
There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread - and nothing more satisfying than baking it yourself

SOMETIMES the rewards of an Atkins diet just can't compare to the handful of heaven that is a gorgeous freshly baked loaf of bread.

Ditch the generic white and rediscover the delights of artisan styles from crusty ryes and sourdoughs to olive breads and brioche. There is nothing more welcoming than the smell of freshly baked bread - and it is even more satisfying when you have made it yourself.

To unlock the secrets to great bread-making, we turn to Sally Clarke, who has trained in London, at Paris Cordon Bleu, and then learnt about "real bread", artisan-style, in California. Her bakery hand-shapes and bakes over 2,000 loaves and pastries per night and supplies leading restaurants, hotels and shops in London.

Clarke's top tip for baking bread is patience. "This is the main thing you need. I have never met a nasty baker."

Alright then, put on a happy face and think sandwich. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

Sally Clarke's tips:

- Always preheat the oven to just below the baking temperature. Once the bread is in the oven, turn it up to the correct temperature - this will give the dough an added "lift" as it rises in the heat.

- Bottom-baked loaves look most authentic and hand-shaped loaves always look more beautiful than machine shaped, as each has its own individual style. For best bottom-baked results, use a clean terracotta roof tile, pre-heat in the oven, then place the shaped loaf on top.

- As water is one of your core ingredients, it's worth having the best. Use purified water - it makes for fresher tasting loaves. An average domestic water filter works fine.

- Use organic flour. The difference in flavour is noticeable, and you can feel the difference in quality from the mixing stage.

- Use sea salt instead of everyday table salt. Sprinkle on top of a rosemary bread before it goes into the oven for added crunch and flavour.

- Always use good quality ingredients. The finished article is only as good as the ingredients put into it. Cheap walnuts, for example, can have a nasty texture and rancid taste.

- When the bread is ready to bake, brush the dough with egg or milk before it goes into the oven.

- You'll need essential tools: A Stanley knife or a very sharp razor blade to score the bread just before it is placed in the oven. This will increase crustiness and enhance the look of the loaf.

From TODAY, Food - Saturday, 02-Oct-2010
The secrets to baking good bread

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