Friday, 26 August 2016

A World of Breads


What better than waking up to the fresh aroma of a baked bread. Breads have been the staple food in many regions across the world for centuries. Infact in the earlier days breads were also used as currencies. While breads have been around for a long time, in every nation, bread baskets are filled with unusual and intriguing types of loaves that contribute to daily meals. In eating and cooking with these breads, one can take a virtual trip to distant lands. Imagine enjoying the best of the Mediterranean, Italy or France in the comfort of your kitchen. It is certainly enough to set aside the processed sliced bread in favour for these artisanal loaves from around the world.

Various types of bread













Mediterranean Marvels

Soft pita baked to form a pocket is a classic of this region and a vehicle for numerous delicious fillings like fried falafel with creamy hummus and pickled vegetables or chickpeas and greens or leftover meat and sauce. Or gently warmed and topped with mashed avocado and half fried egg makes for a great breakfast. Cut into triangle, it can be baked into pita chips to serve with tangy muhammara. Thin, crunchy and flecked with sesame seeds is the dried version of lavash. It’s the perfect appetizer with a collection of dips or even as a quick snack to eat on the go. Pita has been widely popular across the globe and is one of the most consumable breads.

Mediterranean Pita Bread


















Italian Indulgences
Italy is home to two classic, universally beloved breads. The ciabatta is a long, wide loaf with a soft inside and thin crust and looks a lot like a slipper. Slice, butter and enjoy with a hot beverage, or dip into egg wash and pan fry for French toast (its soft crumb soaks up the egg while the edges hold their shape). Cut up leftover bread and combine with diced tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil and a vinaigrette for the classic panzanella salad. Simpler than a salad but just as filling is focaccia torn up and dipped in extra virgin olive oil. This flat, inch thick bread is studded with herbs like rosemary or ingredients like tomatoes, onions, olives to name a few. Cut into squares and serve as a snack or slit in the middle for a sandwich. These Italian delights can be customized innumerably according to once choice and taste.

Italian Ciabatta bread

















French Favourites
Croissant, Baguette, Brioche. Indulgent and sophisticated, these breads are perfect as an epitome of French food. Eating a butter or cheese croissant with a cup of coffee in a French cafĂ© is a top rated cultural experience, as is stepping into a bakery for a fresh baguette. Traditionally eaten for breakfast with butter or jam, all three breads are also versatile ingredients. A dollop of butter smoothly melts over the surface and is usually complimented along with tea or coffee over the breakfast. Flaky buttery croissants taste delicious smeared with cream cheese and lined with thin layer of smoked salmon. Spread soft cheese with ham in crusty baguette for a classic sandwich. Soft, buttery, savoury-sweet brioche is made from enriched dough and is perfect as a dinner rolls with soup, braised meat or vegetable stew. 


French croissant

















Bagel-icious
The bagel represents more a people group and a nation. The Jewish tradition of eating unleavened bread birthed this chewy, ring of bread in Eastern Europe from where it spread most notably to the United States, where people enjoy it for breakfast. A bagel can be topped with either creamy butter or diced vegetables or can even be enjoyed with a meaty topping.



Bagels
















These breads from around the world will surely make you crave to try them. Enjoy fresh hand crafted artisnal bread from around the world at a store near you. Visit bit.ly/2llpwU0 to locate a store near you.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Guide to Cooking with Cheese

Chevre, Ricotta, Cheddar, Brie, Colby, Muenster, Swiss. 
All of these are names of cheese from around the world. Made from cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, fresh or matured, hard or creamy soft, mild or stinky; the world of cheese is a fascinating place. It is filled with variety in shape, colour, aroma and texture making it an incredibly versatile ingredient in any cook’s pantry. But to respect this diversity and truly savour the complete cheese experience one must use a few thumb rules.

Chevre, Ricotta, Cheddar, Brie, Colby, Muenster, Swiss 

A World Beyond Processed Cheese
All of this choice means that there are so many options to experiment and try out in the kitchen when cooking with cheese. Gone are the days when the only cheese option was a processed block.  Now one can joyfully indulge in the stretchy texture of mozzarella when baked or the creamy mouth feel and salty notes of feta or the shards of Parmigiano Reggiano. Make a move to elevate your gastronomic experiences and save the processed cheese for a retro styled chicken salad.

various types of cheese 

To Melt or Not To Melt
A magical thing happens when cheese comes close to direct heat. It slowly melts down and is gloriously transformed into long, nutty brown strands of gooey cheese. Unfortunately, this process happens only with certain cheese, typically soft varieties like mozzarella and its baby version bocconcini, gruyere cheese, fontina, cheddar to name a few. Hard cheese like Parmesan or creamier cheese like feta, triple creams cannot be heated to get the same result but will be a waste of perfectly good cheese.

cheese grilled sandwitches 

Don’t Get Rid of the Rind
Rinds are the outside shell that forms on cheese during the cheese making process. Sometimes, the rind is entirely inedible like when made with leaves, wax or cloth. But when the rind is edible, it’s a good idea to save the rinds of Parmesan or cheddar for adding a punch of savoury, umami flavour to stocks, stews, pasta sauces and soups.  

cheeses with rind

Grate When Cold
Dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches, Mac n’ Cheese, casseroles, mornay sauces call for lots of grated cheese. To ensure all the cheese is properly grated and does not turn into mushy, refrigerate the cheese for an hour and grate it when it’s cold.

grated cheese on top of your favorite dish 

So many classic dishes around the world like the croque monsier, French onion soup, soufflé, fondue, mozzarella sticks,, pizza and cheesecake have cheese as a star ingredient. But there are so many ways to enjoy cheese in everyday meals as well. Crumble soft cheese like feta into a salad, layer Gruyere over sliced potatoes into a gratin, melt Swiss and fontina into a decadent cheese dip, grate Cheddar into an apple pie, add herbs like parsley and mint into ricotta to use as a spread in a roasted vegetable sandwich, whisk blue cheese into a homemade saladdressing
We hope this guide and cooking ideas have you excited to try a new cheese today! No matter what way you choose to join in our cheesy celebration, the results are bound to be absolutely delicious!