Monthly Archives: June 2017

It is Easy to Follow Simple Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe

It is Easy to Follow Simple Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe

Baking used to be something which was popular and almost every girl was taught how to bake and cook. These days it seems that the art of baking is fading away and many people find it difficult to manage even the simplest cooking. This is why I was glad to see my nephew trying out some baking in the holidays and he produced some amazing results by following an easy clotted cream recipe along with a homemade toffee apples recipe. This is the simplest pear and Pear and Chocolate Tart Recipe which he perfected. Read the rest of this entry

Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Gourmet Foods and the Use of Alba White Truffles

Whenever you think about culinary arts and skills, think gourmet foods and white truffles. Gourmet foods come with high quality and taste. These dishes are very common in the United Kingdom, despite being originally from Alba, Italy. They are as well among the most highly upheld and traditional foods of exotic cooking that have been passed down from one generation to another by the Roman culture. Read the rest of this entry

Eleven Steps to a Better Cup of Coffee

Eleven Steps to a Better Cup of Coffee

If you are like most coffee drinkers, you probably think you are already getting an awesome cup of coffee. However odds are that you can probably still improve the quality by following these eleven steps:

1. Use Quality Coffee Beans

Stay out of the grocery stores! OK that is a serious statement, but seriously do not buy coffee beans at the grocery store. No one knows when it was roasted and that is a critical, key point in coffee freshness. These beans are known for being stale, whether they are in the gravity bins (especially stale!) or bagged (usually stale!). No one really knows how long the beans have been in the bins or bags. Buy your coffee from an area independent coffee shop or artisan coffee roaster that can verify the roasting date. This is the only way to know you are buying freshly roasted coffee beans of gourmet quality. Their reputation is on the line so they strive for the best quality coffee freshly roasted.

2. Store Properly Remove your beans from the original bag and put in an airtight container like Tupperware or Glad Ware. The more opaque the container, the better to keep harmful light out. Extreme light like keeping coffee in a glass jar on the sink can cause deterioration of your beans, allowing your final cup of coffee to taste flat or stale.

Do not store in the freezer or refrigerator. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place like a cupboard or pantry. Refrigerators harbor many odors and coffee is very porous. It will act like a sponge to odors whether it’s ground or whole bean. Freezers can cause freezer burn, and the flavor oils to crack and lose flavor. These oils are where the flavor is. Storing in the freezer freezes the surface condensation each time the coffee is taken out of the freezer.

Excess moisture will cause your beans to stale faster and shorten the life span of your coffee so a cool, dry and dark place it recommended for storage.

3. Proper Grind and Grind Just Before Using

The grind of the coffee matters. Your coffee should be ground for the type of brewing method you are using. Coarse for French press and single serve, fine for espresso. The in between matter but for most auto-drip makers your grind should be just finer than coarse meaning that when you rub it between your fingers the grinds should feel similar to typical bread crumbs. Espresso grinds should feel like somewhere between sugar and powdered sugar. Also, by using a burr grinder your coffee will receive less friction than a typical blade grinder giving your grinds less chance to get scorched during grinding.

Coffee is very porous and will absorb odors and air (oxygen) very fast. Oxygen will make your coffee taste really bad! So, the longer your coffee is ground and not used the longer it has to stale and make a bad cup.

4. Measure Properly

Weigh your coffee before you grind it. To make a good, well-rounded cup of coffee you should use approximately.75oz (22g) of coffee beans to every 8oz of cold water. You can +/- to taste but this is a good starting point.

5. Purified Water at Precise Temperature

Fresh, clean tap water (purified is best) or quality spring water is recommended. Do not use mineral water, distilled water or tap water with any type of odor. It will make your coffee taste bad. The water should be between 195-205 degrees when ready to brew. At this temperature, the coffee will get proper extraction to optimize the flavor oils and caramelized sugars inside the coffee bean. This is hard to accomplish with most home brewers as the heating elements are not heat adjustable nor are they reliable to heat to the proper temperature at all. Good home coffee brewers will cost about $200 but are well worth it and last a lot longer. If you can, try the single cup pour over methods available or other brewing methods such as French press or siphon. The taste difference is remarkable. Google search each method for more information.

6. Brew Just Enough to Drink

Letting your brewed coffee sit waiting is not a good idea. And more so please do not let it sit on the hot plate! This is a good way to cook your coffee. Constant ‘keep warm’ mode like this will make it taste bitter. If you have to brew more than one cup and are not going to finish is right away, get an airpot of air tight hot container to keep it in. Still drink it within an hour or so but it will buy your more time.

7. Let it Cool

By letting your coffee cool to about 170 degrees (for black coffee) you will not only avoid burning your mouth, you will also get a more enjoyable coffee experience because you will taste the true essence of what coffee is all about: the brightness, the chocolaty notes, the citrus notes, the spices. It’s all there, get a little geeky! If you insist on pouring cream and sugar in your coffee, forget #7 and for #8 respectively!

8. Drink it Black

This is the coffee geek purist in me coming out! I used to drink my coffee with cream and sugar all the time until I got into the coffee business years ago. Society decided cream and sugar was the norm because of bad tasting coffee, not because coffee tastes bad. Coffee used to be bitter as a rule, but that was your father’s cup! Most likely the canned stuff from the grocery store. Ick! That is the old-school coffee made from Robusta beans, a low-grade coffee. Today the high quality coffee beans are called Arabica and you get them from coffee houses and artisan coffee roasters. When beans are blended and roasted properly black coffee is not bitter. It may take some getting used to but I assure you that you are missing a lot of great tasting coffee by adding cream and sugar!

9. Throw Out Any Leftover Brewed Coffee

This is part of #6 above, but deserves its own number. If you have brewed coffee left over past an hour in an airpot or air-tight container, throw it out. Brewed coffee has a life span as well and letting it cook itself in a container is not part of it.

10. Throw Out Any Leftover Coffee Beans

OK let me clarify! By this I mean the coffee that is left over after 21 days. Coffee beans have a life span of approximately 21 days from the day it is roasted. I prefer to drink mine within 10 days but that is just the coffee geek again. If you can span your coffee for use within 21 days of the day it’s roasted you will get a better tasting and far more superior cup. I know, you are asking “how do I know when my Seattle’s Best or Newman’s Own coffee beans were actually roasted?” Well, see #1 above for your answer.

11. Rinse and Repeat

That says it all! If you follow these steps I promise you will notice a more flavorful and tasty cup of brew!

How to Live a Successful Fitness Lifestyle

How to Live a Successful Fitness Lifestyle

Question From Ann, NewYork City: Every time I begin a fitness program, life gets in the way, I start stalling and before I know it I’ve fallen off the wagon and gained 5lbs. I can’t really afford a personal trainer but I can see how they can help you stay on track. I’ve tried DVD’s and classes with no success. Is there anything out there that can help me.

Answer : Thank you Ann for your honesty, I know many women have similar frustrations while pursuing their fitness lifestyle. There’s a lot of new research out there in the Fitness world and from that dearth of research is a new hybrid of personal trainers. They’re called Fitness Lifestyle Coaches, they can provide both exercise and behavioral guidance and they are a cheaper alternative to a Personal Fitness Trainer. I will address your question in the mindset of a Fitness Lifestyle Coach so you will catch a glimpse of how the lifestyle fitness coaching process can work. Read the rest of this entry

Turkish Coffee FAQ

Turkish Coffee FAQ

Turkish coffee is the oldest way of making coffee. This is a short article answering frequently asked questions about Turkish coffee. You can also post your question as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it.

Questions are in bold.

What kind of coffee must I use for Turkish coffee?

Turkish coffee nowadays is usually made of Latin American blends. Usually the blends contain two kinds of coffee: Arabica and Robusta. Except for the Latin American coffees the blends may also include coffees from Asia or Africa. Some of the best coffees for Turkish blends come from Brazil, Ethiopia and Yemen.

Should I use a coffee particularly made for Turkish coffee or can I use any blend?

Turkish blends are created in a special way to be optimized for Turkish coffee making. Most people that drink the popular Turkish coffee brands are used to a special characteristic taste. This doesn’t mean that you cannot use another coffee blend to make Turkish coffee. For example you can use an espresso blend. The only requirement is that it must be ground very fine like powder. If it isn’t ground fine enough there will be no foam on top of the coffee after you make it and the taste will be weak.

So, in other words you can experiment with any blend you want if you grind it fine enough for Turkish coffee. The taste will be different than the usual though.

Is it healthy?

Turkish coffee is as healthy as any regular coffee. Actually according to some some researches a quantity of two small Turkish coffee cups (demitasse cups) can be beneficial for the heart. If you exceed this amount then it may become bad for your health like any other coffee. Bear in mind that Turkish coffee is made almost as quickly as instant coffee but it’s far better for your health.

What is this thick thing on top of Turkish coffee? Is it like espresso?

When you make Turkish coffee properly you will notice on top a layer of dark, thick and homogeneous foam. This is also known as kaimaki in Greece. If the coffee doesn’t have kaimaki then something is definitely wrong with the coffee making:

  • small quantity of coffee used
  • not properly heated
  • ground coarser than required
  • very stale coffee

In some Eastern countries it is an insult to serve Turkish coffee without this special foam on top.

Kaimaki foam is looks similar to the espresso crema but it very different in terms of physical properties. The espresso crema is formed not only due to heat but also because of high pressure so it’s quite different.

Do I need any special expensive equipment for Turkish coffee?

Making Turkish coffee is very easy and very fast. All you need is a small coffee pot and a heat source. You can use a small stainless steel pot and your electric stove top but it’s preferable to use a traditional copper or brass Turkish pot. Regarding the heat source it’s better to use low fire to make the coffee. A gas burner or an alcohol burner is my favorite heat source for home use.

What size coffee pot do I need?

This is a question that creates a lot of misunderstandings. Basically it depends on how much coffee you are going to make each time.

First, what you need to know is that you will need a coffee pot that holds approximately double the amount of coffee. This is because coffee must have enough room in the pot to foam up and furthermore because of the so-called “oven effect”.

Let me explain…

Traditional Turkish coffee pots have an hourglass shape. This special shape creates an oven-like effect when making Turkish coffee. The oven-effect is highly desirable for better taste. The only requirement for this “oven-effect” is to fill the pot till the point where the pot diameter is smaller. Usually this means a half-full pot.

So, If you want to make two demitasse cups, for you and your friend, you will need a 4 demitasse-cup size coffee pot.

Please note that sizing differs among manufacturers. So instead of looking for a 4-cup size coffee pot look for a coffee pot that holds 4*60ml which equals 240ml. 60ml or approximately 2oz is the size of a demitasse cup.

What about a coffee pot for just one cup?

In this case you will need a coffee pot that holds 2*60ml=120ml coffee.

What about one normal cup?

One normal cup is approximately 250ml so you will need a 500ml pot.

These numbers are not exact. They are just guides to help you. Most of the times buying a bit smaller coffee pot will also be adequate.

Can I grind Turkish coffee with my coffee grinder?

Turkish coffee is ground at the most fine grind setting. Most grinders for home use are incapable of grinding so fine. If you have a blade grinder consider upgrading to a burr grinder. This doesn’t mean that every burr grinder can grind Turkish coffee. So if you are in the market in research of a burr grinder make sure it has a Turkish coffee setting. Some burr grinders don’t have a Turkish coffee setting but they can be modified very easily to grind fine enough for this coffee. This information can be easily found if you make a couple of searches in a search engine.

Another solution are manual-operated Turkish coffee grinders. These grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders and because of their low speed coffee is ground gently without getting heated. In cheap burr grinders because of the small burr dimensions the rotating speed is higher. This way the friction is bigger and the heat generation is higher. More heat means more coffee taste destruction! So in other words small grinding speeds of manual grinders are better for your palate! The big drawback is that this sort of grinding can remind you of manual labor sometimes…

Is there any special way to serve Turkish coffee? Any special tradition?

If you have guests and you want to impress them with your coffee making mastery and your hospitality you can do some simple things. First use a big traditional looking serving tray and put some glasses of water for your guests. Water is used to clean the mouth before tasting the coffee. Prepare the coffees immediately before serving time so that they keep their kaimaki foam and their temperature. You can pair the coffee with some cookies or muffins.

For dessert after the coffee you can offer traditional Turkish delight or baklava. Your guests will be grateful!

If you have any questions about Turkish coffee please post your comments. Enjoy!

Buy a Case of Ramen to Begin a Food Storage Program

Buy a Case of Ramen to Begin a Food Storage Program

Food storage and emergency preparedness have been buzz words for decades among people who are trying to be prepared for whatever the future may bring. There are companies which provide elaborate plans and programs to help people buy the food they need in order to sustain themselves and their families during emergencies or natural disasters.

Most people will never personally experience a devastating act of nature which will immediately change their lives and cause them to need to use their food storage. However, many families will have personal tragedies strike such as illness or loss of a job which may cause them to rely on food which they have stored for a rainy day.

Several home based businesses have sprung up in the food storage and emergency preparedness arena. If people are interested in food storage, there are ways to earn money by working from home in these businesses. Several companies provide a network marketing and direct sales opportunity. People who have a passion for preparedness may find a lucrative business by sharing the knowledge and products with friends and neighbors.

Complete devastation from such natural disasters as the earthquake a year ago in Haiti may not have been able to take advantage of personal food storage if there had been any. However, for most people food storage is a means of feeling some security in their day to day lives with the knowledge that they are prepared in case of an emergency.

Ramen is a hot noodle dish which is popular in Japanese culture and among many Americans as it has become readily available in a packaged form which is simple and easy to prepare. Indeed, many high school and college students almost live on ramen. Although it is not as inexpensive when served in restaurants, it is a cheap meal which can be tasty and filling when made at home from the packaged instant variety.

There are several different brands of ramen available in grocery stores. Fancier types of packaged noodles may also be found. They are convenient and easy to prepare. An extremely simple and inexpensive way to get started with a food storage program is to buy a case of ramen or several cases. With the price per package sometimes as low as ten cents, a case of twenty-four packages can be less than $3.00. You may find that your family enjoys it and uses it as a staple for their diet or as an after school snack.

Food storage is a good idea for every family. An effective program may be started for only $50 a month. Whether it is done on a serious basis with a plan or just being prepared with food for a few days, it is wise to have some extra food stored. If you are interested in a feeling of security, check it out and get started. Getting into a home based business may be another way of being prepared.

6 Lessons Learned: Trees

6 Lessons Learned: Trees

The Advantages of Trimming Trees. Tree trimming is a very easy task, but it can be difficult at times. The the health of the tree is improved making the tree to grow for a longer period. The work should be done in the late fall or early winter until all the leaves have fallen off which indicate that it is ready for winter. The leaves will start to grow after pruning is done. When a tree is damaged by a storm or by a natural calamity, the broken branches should be pruned so as to give space for other buds to emerge. It is not good to wait till the late fall so as to attend to the tree that broke long time ago. A the tree damaged by a wildfire should be trimmed. The health status of a tree is greatly improved by getting rid of all the shattered branches. The branches of the tree that are growing towards the center of the tree should be pruned for they make the tree to become congested. Then you should cut the tree so as to shape it into a good and a nicer shape. There are many benefits for trimming a tree that has damaged or overgrown branches. The first one benefit is that the health of a tree is promoted. Trimming makes the tree to grow stronger and stay for a longer time since the dead and pest-infected parts are removed. Tree trimming improves the appearance of the tree and appearance of the compound. The production of flowers, leaves, and fruits of the tree is greatly improved if the infected parts are removed.
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The house and the property is protected from any danger by cutting the tree. Hanging branches can break off and cause a lot of damage to the house or the people in that compound. The branches can fall on the rooftops causing leaking of the rooftops when it rains. The branches that are hanging loosely can interfere with power lines leading to a problem of power failure. Tree trimming has an advantage in that there will be no cases of the power failure caused by falling tree branches.
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The family members are protected from any harm that might be caused by falling tree branches and also the look of the house compound is increase. The family is protected from any risk of loosely hanging branches which might fall causing destruction. It is advisable to prune the tree so as to improve the way your house look. This can attract more clients if you intend to sell your house for the compound will be neat and beautiful. Tree trimming has a healthy benefit to the people who live in the surrounding. Tree trimming exposes more sun to the people and also increases the air flow in the surrounding area thus improving the health of the people. Trees should be trimmed in different times of the year so as to make the compound look appealing and to improve the lifespan of that tree.

The Path To Finding Better Services

The Path To Finding Better Services

What are Chimney Liners? It is important for all chimneys to have chimney liners. Having a chimney liner installed is an expensive project, but it is worth it if done right. Before getting any work on your chimney done, it is important to keep in mind that estimates do not always reflect the final cost. It is important to prepare something extra to be safe. All options for installing a chimney liner should be carefully checked before any work is started. Each options requires different materials and these materials will determine the cost. After seeing all these options and how much they will cost you, you will then decide which option will fit your chimneys needs. There are some pointers to remember while choosing a chimney liner. For one, aluminum liners area no-no for fireplace chimney flues. It now even advisable to use aluminum liners for oil furnace flues. The reason is that this liner will simple be destroyed by the heat of either of these flue. Aluminum liners by far cost less but it is a poor choice. Aluminum liners are delicate and rip so easily even during installation. A chimney fire could result when the aluminum liner is damaged by heat. Instead, stainless steel liners should be used. Aluminium liners may work with gas furnace flues.
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Moving on, another consideration is insulation for the chimney liner. It is nice to know that not every liner installation needs a liner insulation. However, you get a big advantage when you have it. One of the reasons is that it can stop liner rattling on windy occasions. Meanwhile, there are plenty of options for insulation. Usually, it is a mix of materials, thus the name mix. On the other hand, some use sleeves. Sleeves act like coating for your chimney liner. Therefore, the liner goes through the sleeve, the rest going down to the bottom of the chimney.
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At the moment, many experts say that sleeves are still no better than the mix insulation type. This is so, even if manufacturers of sleeves claim that they are the best choice. Mix insulations has got the liner fishend down to the bottom of the chimney where is it is mounted. The the bottom will be sealed with cement. Your liner can benefit greatly from this seal. Speaking of cost, typically installation of liner can knock you up $1000 or more. This is the reason why it may be considered a major home improvement. Moreover, because of the cost, it is important that the homeowner trusts only the right company to install the chimney liner. If done correctly, it can help make your chimney work more efficiently.

A 10-Point Plan for Tips (Without Being Overwhelmed)

A 10-Point Plan for Tips (Without Being Overwhelmed)

Microhardness Testing Essentials – Vickers and Knoop Hardness Tests Hardness test procedures make use of an indenter probe that is displaced into a surface under a particular load. The indentation generally has a set dwell time. Traditional mechanical testing calls for the measurement of size and depth as a way to determine hardness. Macrohardness and microhardness are the two ranges of hardness testing. Macrohardness involves testing with over 1 kg or some 10 Newton (N) in applied load. With applied loads less than 10 N, microhardness testing is usually used for thin specimens, plated surfaces, thin films or smaller samples. There are two very common microhardness methods used today, and they are the Vickers and Knoop hardness tests. For more exact and repeatable results, microhardness testing has to be responsible for the effects of sample preparation, size and environment. Samples should be perpendicular to the indenter tip and fit in the sample stage. A really rough surface could reduce indentation data’s accuracy; a tested method for polishing samples is the safest. The microhardness tester must be in complete isolation from vibrations. Samples having many phases or variations in grain sizes require statistical data. Vickers Hardness
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The Vickers hardness test makes use of a Vickers indenter that is pressed against a surface to a pre-determined force maintained usually for 10 seconds. As soon as the indentation is done, the indent will be checked optically to measure the lengths of the diagonals, which is key to determining the impression’s size.
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There is, in the lower range of the applied load, some degree of operator bias that must be expected using this method. Based on ASTM E384-11, indentation diagonals have to be above 17 microns in length. This test is not valid for coated samples with coating thicknesses below 60 microns. For several kinds of samples, the contact depth is different from the displacement depth since the surrounding material becomes elastically deflected during the indentation process. Besides the above, microhardness data accuracy and precision will also be influenced by this effect. Knoop Hardness Similar to the Vickers hardness test is the Knoop hardness test, another microhardness technique. The procedure involves a Knoop indenter pushing into a surface in order to measure hardness. However, with its more rectangular or elongated form, the Knoop indenter looks different from a Vickers indenter for microhardness testing or a Berkovich indenter, which is used for nanoindentation. The Knoop hardness test method is often used for the microhardness testing of lighter loads, and requires meticulous sample preparation. Knoop hardness testing is done on samples requiring indentations to be close together, or on the tip of a sample, both being benefitted by the different probe shape. A particular load is applied for a pre-defined dwell time. The Knoop test method only makes use of the long axis, in contrast to the Vickers hardness method. Making use of a chart, the resulting indentation measurements will then be converted to a Knoop hardness number.

Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Options? This May Help

Overwhelmed by the Complexity of Options? This May Help

Information on Homes for Sale There are such a variety of homes made available for sale on the market of its kind, these can vary such as extravagantly built homes, condominiums, penthouses, condos thus numerous decisions must be considered before you make the pick based on what you needed and wanted. Long gone are the times of purchasers squandering ends of the week driving around taking a gander at homes because, most recently, there have been a great change in the manner of finding a suitable home for the family. This innovation was largely brought about by the influx of the internet. Just think of the numerous ways how you can take after that perfect house just by going online – it is definitely the best way to find available Homes for sale in Summerbrooke. On the off chance that you need to purchase or offer your home to interested buyers, you can take a gander at various notices in the homes available to be purchased through local newspapers, listings or even various media sites.
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Basically, you will get the opportunity to give all that you would in an average posting – with complete information on rooms, lavatories, carports, apparatuses, and so on. This, by the way, is one noteworthy and highly favorable position to checking out postings on online websites about available homes for sale – it allows you to obtain all the necessary information from budget down to housing requirements so you can make an informed decision. When you are offered a home, or you yourself would be the one making the offer, you ought to know that the purchaser’s market is moderate as there are a bigger number of homes available, and chances are they have also looked at other options such as houses for sale in Summerbrooke.
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The house ought not to be overrated or underestimated since occasional changes and the market fluctuations can influence the value and assessment of the lodgings itself. Numerous houses have been claimed by banks and organizations, so they do have the comfort to take a gander at it since it is more precise to purchase than other possessed houses although there are certain benefits too, that reclaimed houses can offer to interested buyers, especially in terms of the overall price or source of finances for it. Look for the direction of a specialist to assess your home to get the right gauge especially when it comes to finances and other monetary resources. On the off chance that you are at a loss on what to do next, better check on the services of a Summerbrooke real estate agent so you can get the proficient and professional service that you needed.