Baking for Beginners: How to Make Perfect Bread

Home-baked bread would have to be one of the most delicious things you can create at home, no matter which bread you buy as your regular home supply it just never compares to when you freshly make it yourself. There are many different types of bread that are very easy to put together, making your own bread is not as complicated as you may think, and once you get used to the basic recipe you will find yourself adding all sorts of flavorings and new spins on the ingredients to add that personal touch.  

Flour

The flour that you use within your bread will have a direct effect on the overall product and the flavor and texture of your bread, it is important that you look at buying quality flour if you want to vary the bread you make. For a basic white loaf, it would be ideal for you to choose a strong white bread flour as these tend to have more gluten content which gives your dough the desired elastic texture. A healthier alternative to the traditional flours would be to use wholewheat flour to create a more grainy wholemeal loaf.  

Flavorings

As mentioned previously when you become more experienced with baking your own bread at home you may start to think about how you can alter the recipe that you use, one way to do this would be to add extra flavorings and seasonings to create a whole new product. If you want to add some depth to the bread why not try adding your favorite herbs and spices, seeds, and grains. If you want a smokier flavor you should toast the seeds beforehand which will also add a slight crunch and texture.  

Toppings and Fillings

 Home-baked bread is perfect as a starter or appetizer and when you fill it with tasty treats such as your favorite cheese or sauces when baked together the flavors of whatever you added seeps through the bread adding moisture to the loaf. You could serve this with dipping sauces on the side so that you and your guests can start dipping pieces of your bread into the sauce as a nice starter to introduce your guests with minimal effort or time spent in the kitchen. If you are a fan of garlic bread then you could apply this method when using garlic butter to be used as a side for all of your Italian classics.  

Researching New Recipes

If you are interested in expanding your repertoire of bread recipes and flavor combinations then you should definitely invest in some of the great baking cookbooks that are currently on the market. If you are not a fan of the physical copies or recipes the internet is also home to a wide range of blogs and food websites where you can find the latest trends in baking bread and how to serve your own homemade loaves.  

Bread In My Kitchen is a great example of resources for bread lovers as it details every aspect of home baking as well as the new equipment that is being released, bread baking these days tends to revolve around the automated bread making machines where you simply make the dough and leave it for a few hours to prove and then cook.  Do not worry however, if you prefer to make your bread by hand there is also a large section about how to do this properly including how you should be kneading your dough to reach the perfect consistency and which ingredients are the best to use around the world.  

Can Eating Food in Bed Increase Your Chances of Bed Bugs?

Can Eating Food in Bed Increase Your Chances of Bed Bugs?

Anyone who has experienced living with bed bugs would be able to tell you how much of an inconvenience they are. Bed bugs are attracted to blood, particularly human blood. As you spend hours in your bed each night and you’re asleep during this time, bed bugs are attracted to living in beds so that they can consume your blood whilst you sleep. Whilst bed bugs aren’t deadly they can cause many health issues including rashes on your skin, psychological issues as the thought of having bugs crawling on you tends to scare people and people can also be allergic to them. As bed bugs can be dangerous it’s important to look out for the so that you can try and get rid of them as soon as you notice anything is wrong as this is the easiest time to do so. One of the most widely stated things about bed bugs is that if you eat food whilst you’re in bed this will cause you to get bed bugs but recently many people are wondering if this is actually true.

Does it increase the likeliness?

Many people avoid eating in their beds at all costs as they were told stories when they were younger about how in doing so, they will attract bed bugs. On the surface level, this would appear to make sense as bugs are generally attracted to dirty places, and having a bed filled with crumbs would make your sleeping environment a lot dirtier. However, as bed bugs are attracted to blood, not human food, eating in bed doesn’t increase the likeliness of getting bed bugs. Many parents tell their children that eating in bed causes bed bugs as they didn’t want their children’s beds to be full of crumbs. As children do not tend to listen many parents used this story as a deterrent to prevent their children from eating in bed and making a mess. It is often surprising for people to find out that the main cause of bed bugs is actually traveling. Bed bugs are most commonly found in hotel beds, if you visit a hotel and sleep in a bed with a bed bug infestation then it’s likely many of these bed bugs will attach themselves to you and the infestation will spread to your own bed. This is also true for if anyone in university halls gets bed bugs and they even spread via clothes in retail stores.

How to get rid of bed bugs

After finding out that you have bed bugs you might be ready to burn your bed and buy a new one, but luckily there are solutions much less drastic than this. If you suspect that you have bed bugs the first step is to identify all of the areas of your home that are infested, once you’ve done this then you need to try and contain the damage to these areas only. You should hoover up any areas that you’ve identified bed bugs living in and throw away the vacuum bag straight away. This is great preparation for applying a bed bug treatment, you should also make sure to clean your whole house to make sure they aren’t hiding in some other spots. The best treatment that we’ve found plant oil-based products, like EcoRaider, which contains fewer damaging chemicals than your standard pesticide but is equally as effective. This should deal with most of the damage but make sure you monitor the area in case any survived and start laying more eggs.

3 Great Japanese Dishes you Need to Try

Japan is well known worldwide to have amazing cuisine. It’s mainly based around rice so if you’re going to try and make any Japanese meals then you’ll need to get yourself a good japanese rice cooker to make the meals as authentic as possible. Japanese became such a popular cuisine because their meals vary so much as they use over 1500 different ingredients to create a whole variety of dishes. In Japanese cuisine they try to use ingredients that are in season, this is one of the reasons why there are so many dishes, and as they always use fresh ingredients their dishes are more delicious. Many people assume that salmon has always been one of the main ingredients of sushi but surprisingly sushi shops only started serving salmon in the 20th century as prior to this it was deemed unsafe to eat, now however it is a huge part of Japanese cuisine. We’ve found the 3 best Japanese dishes that you should try if you’re wanting to try Japanese food.  

Sushi

Sushi is the most well-known Japanese dish and is the most consumed Japanese dish. It’s a very iconic Japanese dish and many people instantly associate sushi with Japan instantly. Sushi is usually a small ball of rice that has been seasoned with a delicious vinegar mix and then paired with various ingredients, most commonly fish or for a vegetarian option, vegetables. Alongside this people usually eat their sushi with soy sauce or wasabi sauce as it gives it even more flavor. Sashimi is a very similar dish, except it is only the wasabi sauce and the meat/vegetables, there is no rice in this dish.  

Ramen

Ramen is another popular Japanese dish; ramen is consumed so much in Japan that they even have museums dedicated to the history of ramen. Ramen is a very simple dish but is delicious, it is wheat noodles in a bowl with sauce and mixed with any other ingredient you choose. As it goes well with all ingredients, this means that ramen never gets boring as you can always create new flavors.  

Tempura

This is a small dish that may be more suitable as a snack. The dish is created by taking seafood or vegetables and deep-frying them, this is then served with sauce, most commonly Tetsuya sauce.  

5 Fantastic Dishes That Originated in Australia

Australia is well known for its love of BBQs and sweet treats. People do not exactly plan their holidays to Australia based on its excellent cuisine, but this doesn’t mean that Australia doesn’t offer up some delicious dishes. Australia was a real historic mixing pot during its founding and because of this, the country adopted a lot of dishes from different countries and produced some of your meals. Here are 5 fantastic dishes that originated in Australia.

 

Vegemite

Vegemite is arguably Australia’s most famous dish. This salty paste is not often eaten on its own, but instead as a thin layer on a slice of toast. Vegemite on toast is a staple breakfast dish in all households throughout Australia, and it’s hard to find someone who isn’t a big fan. Vegemite doesn’t have to just be used on toast, as it can be incorporated into a large number of dishes. A famous dish that is made using vegemite is a veg bake.  A veg bake is a pasta bake that incorporates vegemite with cheese and pasta. This adds some more salt to your average bake and is something that definitely shouldn’t be eaten regularly if you are someone that worries about your cholesterol.

 

Pavlova

The pavlova is the most well known in Australia. A good way to judge whether or not someone is a true Australian is by how good their pavlovas are. Creating a pavlova is something that is taught from a young age and is something that every grandmother makes ahead of a family meal. Pavlovas are an example of the excellent catering that Brisbane has to offer, as they have been reinvented thousands of times and can be flavored in many ways, making them incredibly versatile.

 

Tim Tamms

Though this may not technically be described as a dish, it would be impossible to make an Australian cuisine list without including Tim Tamms. Tim Tamms is a childhood favorite that you never really let go of. This chocolatey biscuit can be found in every Australian household and is a go-to when you are in need of a sugary snack. A popular Australian trick is pairing a Timm Tamm with hot chocolate. You can then dip the Tim Tamm in the hot chocolate and let the biscuit melt slightly, making it the perfect winter snack during Australia’s colder months.

 

Chicken Parmigiana

As you may be able to guess, this dish didn’t exactly originate completely from Australia, but it is still widely considered to be an Australian dish. This is because you can find this dish just about everywhere as it is eaten so regularly by the Australian people. You could walk into a pub and sit down to drink a pint and eat a chicken parmigiana and it would seem perfectly normal, as it is as common as fish and chips are to England. This is really a comfortable dish that you can expect your parents to cook for you once a week if you are an Australian citizen and it’s not hard to understand why it is so loved.

 

Kangaroo

There is no meat available to you that is more Australian than Kangaroo. Though not everybody thinks you should eat it, Kangaroo is enjoyed by many Australian citizens and is a very popular outback dish. Tourists are often eager to try Australia when they are visiting, as you won’t find the dish anywhere else in the world. Even if you don’t agree with eating Kangaroo, there is no doubt that this is a delicious meat that can be used in many ways to make some pretty fantastic food.

The Meat Lover’s Guide to Properly Smoking Meat

When it comes to smoking meat for the first time it can be hard to know what to do, thanks to this handy guide we’ll be breaking down the basics and telling you how to choose the right meat, how to use your equipment, and how to do the actual smoking process. Smoking your own meat is a very personal thing, with the opportunity to personalize the different things you use as you become more experienced. Getting started in smoking your own meat creates a real sense of achievement and is a skill to be used throughout the year, having a supply of home-smoked goods is a real treat which can be passed on through the family.

 

Choosing the Right Meat

You may be surprised to know that you can smoke anything, depending on what you choose to smoke will decide how long you should smoke your chosen produce. You should think of it in the same way you would if you were cooking the meat normally, something like a chicken will take a few hours to be smoked properly whereas a steak will not require as long in the smoker especially if you like your meat on the rarer side. For your first time smoking, I would say that you would be better off choosing meat that you are familiar with and one that you enjoy. That way you should be able to recognize when the meat is ready as well as being able to taste the difference in comparison to your standard cooking methods.

 

Smoking Equipment

Of course, before you actually get started with your first attempt at smoking you will have to decide what level of equipment you are going to invest in. For your first attempt, I would recommend using a cheaper, basic barbeque. This has everything you need for a successful smoking session and if you are lucky enough to already own a barbeque will save you a lot of money. You will need some basic barbeque tools that are strong enough to withstand high temperatures, safety gloves, and your chosen wood.

 

If this isn’t your first time having a go at smoking meat or you are serious about starting this hobby, then you may choose to invest in an electric smoker, although these devices are quite expensive they more than pay for themselves when you start regularly smoking delicious meats. If you are in the market for a new electric smoker then visit https://mycozybackyard.com/best-electric-smoker/, for a review of one of the best models on the market.

 

Choosing the Right Wood

What many people forget when it comes to smoking meat is how the wood affects the taste of the finished product, professional smokers have been arguing over which type of wood is the best and the answer is that it depends on the flavor you enjoy. Classic oak wood is going to generate quite an earthy taste in comparison to something fresher like pinewood, the best thing to do in this situation is to try different types and find your favorite. You will also find that different woods have different burn times, so you should also consider how much of a type of wood you use during a single session so you can work out which wood is the most cost-effective.

 

If you want to add more flavor to your meat there is no reason why you can’t add some extras when you start smoking, many people enjoy adding different fruits and vegetables and some herbs and spices to the mix to add extra flavors to the smoked meat.

3 Common Kitchen Issues and How to Fix Them

Whilst the kitchen is the best room in the house, it is also the most problematic thanks to how much it’s used. No one wants to pay to get their kitchen issues fixed all the time so we’ve found out the 3 most common issues and we’ll tell you how to fix them yourself.

 

Cabinet Doors Not Closing

Everyone hates it when they go to close their cupboard and it stays slightly open. Not only does it make your kitchen look less appealing it can even be a health and safety issue. This issue comes about due to the hinges within the cabinet, luckily it is a simple fix. All you need is a screwdriver, a couple of anti-clockwise turns of the screws and your door will be as good as new.

 

Unclean Water

Clean water is vital for the smooth running of your kitchen so this issue can be a real problem, you’ll want to get rid of brown well water as soon as you spot it. This can have a few different causes like a buildup of minerals in your pipes, luckily the fix can be as easy as running your tap for 20 minutes and flushing out the problem.

 

Dishwasher Not Cleaning Dishes

You know that plate you didn’t remove all the food from because that’s the dishwasher’s job? Well, that could be the cause of why your dishes aren’t coming out as clean as they used to. The food that was left on the plate may have been too big for the dishwasher and can cause problems with clogging in the pipes. An easy fix for this is to make sure you give your dishes a rinse before putting them in the dishwasher and that you’re washing dishes with the correct water temperature.

How to Create The Perfect Kitchen with Limited Space

These days more and more people are testing their culinary skills at home. With hundreds of varied cooking shows reeling in more viewers than TV could ever dream of and millions of recipes one search away, it has become easier than ever to cook and to want to cook. But many of us don’t have kitchens outfitted with thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment – or even a kitchen large enough to hold them. Luckily, with a bit of clever thinking from others in the world, you can fit a lot more into your little corner of heaven creation than you would have thought, without sacrificing a significant amount of the utility a full kitchen could provide.

 

Storage

The most important and ever effective thing to consider is storage. This is the area where you must be most creative, as there is no use buying your giant wok when you have nowhere to keep it! Traditional solutions to this can be as simple as over-head cabinets or large hanging frames, perfect for keeping many extra items and at arm’s reach always! Combining these with corner storage units you can invest huge amounts of useful space seemingly from nothing. There are also more advanced items you can find such as ovens with prebuild storage compartments with specialized equipment designed to slip inside. The best thing I found for my kitchen was a highly modular wall rack designed with large slits and hooks so you can hang every utensil you can think of at any angle you choose, perfect to keep any of your culinary weapons to hand for all occasions.

 

Alternative equipment

Much of the time you may find that there are extremely large appliances that would just be much more useful if they were a fraction of the size. These are one of your greatest tools for building your perfect kitchen. Not every space can have all the largest and most extravagant ovens built into them, so many companies have come up with smaller alternatives that can pack a huge punch but are inherently much easier to fit into a small space. One of the most increasingly popular examples of this is a countertop induction stove. These can be built into your countertop or even bought as its own portable unit. They are extremely safe as they don’t use any gas or ignition to create heat and are far more easily controllable than a standard stove.

They can also be built into any configuration of sizes and positions and you can have exactly as many as you need. These will revolutionize any small kitchen, no matter how you decide to place them. To continue modernizing and improving your small kitchen, you can also buy convection ovens which come as their own, smaller units which can be placed anywhere in the kitchen. These are extremely powerful units which can often be more powerful than regular ovens, while still retaining the ability to cook on low heat. These do, of course, come with the caveat of far less space in the oven unit, so you may not be able to cook that huge Thanksgiving meal, but the trade-off can easily be worth it. Especially if you intend to cook east Asian food, a small deep fat fryer is ideal if you live alone as conventional units are bulky to store and use, often becoming an issue even in larger kitchens. Hence, the almost miniaturized alternative is brilliant for making your calamari perfectly.

 

These will be your greatest tools to start designing the kitchen of your dreams in spaces that at first glance might only be able to allow a student to cook basic meals, but really holds all the tools you need to create advanced and interesting dishes just like your favorite celebrity chef.

5 Effective and Completely Safe Diet Plans That Work

Dieting can be a powerful tool to reclaim power over your health. It can allow you to go about your day with more energy and know you are making an active attempt towards self-betterment. But there are also a lot of fad diets out there that can cause your body more harm than good.

It can be difficult enough to know the best foods to help you lose weight and even more difficult to stick to a diet plan. So we have compiled a list of 5 Effective Diet plans that are also absolutely safe. No crash starvation or harming yourself to drop weight. These are diet plans that are designed to make you feel better and enjoy your meals.

 

Plant-Based Diet

This might seem like going vegetarian. And in a way it is. But many people seem to misunderstand the positive effects a purely plant-based diet can have on the body.

It is 100% possible to get all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to survive from plants. This includes protein. The diet has a success rate of nearly 90%. The biggest factor that contributes to weight loss for this diet is the fact plants have more fiber than other foods. So you will stay fuller for longer. This is a great diet to eliminate the desire for snacking.

 

The Paleo Diet

This diet is a popular but often overlooked one. It is about eating foods similar to that of our ancient ancestors. So nothing processed. It also removes grains, sugars, and milk. These are all things our ancient ancestors did not have access to.

It puts an emphasis on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts as well. The idea is you are engaging in the natural life cycle of the planet. The way our bodies were designed to. While you may feel some discomfort as you adjust, soon you will feel fantastic.

 

Ketogenic Diet

For those looking for a healthy weight-loss method, the Keto diet is a fantastic choice. Backed up by a lot of research, the idea is you consume foods high in natural fats, but avoid carbs.

Your body naturally burns fat as a source of energy. But natural fat burns quicker and healthier. This is a rigid diet plan that must be kept to, along with regular exercise. But you will soon find your weight is converted into lean muscle in no time, along with you feeling generally better.

 

The DASH Diet

Too many products contain sodium these days. Known more commonly as salt, it is difficult not to consume it. But too much salt is bad for you, as too much of anything is.

The diet encourages you to avoid foods with a high, or even medium sodium content. It instead wants you to get more natural vitamins and sugars from fruits and veg.

This diet is a great one for anyone with heart conditions, hypertension, or other health issues related to eating. It is one of the most recommend diet plans by doctors.

 

Dubrow Diet

There is a huge difference between starving yourself and fasting. Intermittent fasting is actually an extremely useful and healthy tool when done right. This is how the Dubrow Diet works. You fast for 16 hours and then eat for 8. This means you will get to eat at least once a day.

You do have to consume all your daily meals within the 8 hour period, and the diet is based around non-processed foods. The idea is your body gets used to eating less often, reducing the habit of snacking, while also filling you with healthy, nutritious foods when you can eat.

Secret Chef Tips to Grilling a Perfect BBQ

In the summer months so many of us host barbecues as a way to have fun, spend time outside with loved ones, and eat some delicious food. However, many of us question whether we are grilling correctly and if there are things we could do to improve. There are many different steps you can take to ensure you have a perfect BBQ but you may be surprised to hear that not all of them involve the food you are cooking, here are some secret chef tips to help you have the best possible BBQ.

 

Marinade

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to barbequing would have to be marinating your meats and any other food you plan on cooking on the grill. Because the BBQ exposes your meat to such high temperatures you should always have a marinade on hand to not only protect the food from cooking too quickly but also infuse extra flavor. Marinades should be added to your produce prior to cooking it to give it time to infuse with your meat or vegetables, and any leftover should be added to your food whilst it is cooking. This also ensures your food doesn’t get too dry or tough as the BBQ is so hot moisture evaporates far more quickly than normal methods, if you are not already using marination in your BBQ cooking then I would definitely urge you to do so from now on to give your food a significant boost in flavor and quality.

 

Choose a Variety of Produce

Another issue that many faces when choosing to cook on the BBQ is the choice of what they feel can actually be cooked, what many don’t know is that pretty much anything can be cooked on a BBQ if you have the right tools. With many people limiting themselves to the same foods, barbecues do have a tendency to become rather monotonous in terms of what is being served. This does not have to be the case at all, why not try broadening the food you are buying and try new things like different kinds of seafood, grilled vegetables, or using new and interesting seasonings and flavorings to add a new taste to your meat. Barbequing is no reason to just serve the classic burgers or sausages and you should be encouraging your loved ones to eat new and exciting meals.

 

Have Fun With It

Although the food you serve is fundamental to your BBQ is also very important to remember to have fun, your BBQ should be an enjoyable social event, and stressing about food is something that should be avoided. Why not try sprucing up your garden with some novelty decorations or even treat yourself to some funny bbq aprons to let people know you’re the head chef. Having a BBQ is an opportunity to spend time with your friends and family and cooking high quality, the luxury meal should not be prioritized over having a good time.

 

Don’t Forget the Drinks

With so much focus being placed on the food you serve, many people often overlook the drinks, a nice cocktail or a bottle of wine can make a delicious pairing with your grilled food. The flavors of your marinated meats are so powerful that something fresh and fruity would be a great accompaniment to keep you refreshed. Cocktails like sex on the beach or even a mohito which both contain fruit juices are great for summer and the choice of a drink that you can be sure many would enjoy.

 

Overall, there are multiple fundamental points to remember if you want your BBQ to be perfect, from drinks to your food choices there are many things you can do to impress your guests in terms of what you are serving. Although all of this is important you must also remember the reason you hosted such an event, to have fun. It is vital you make the most of spending time with your loved ones and if you are lucky enough to have great weather you should be making the most of this too as we all know how quickly those summer months fly by.

The Rising Temperatures in Connecticut are Causing More Rodent Infestations

Connecticut is a beautiful state. While it is often forgotten on the world stage, the wonders of this lush, proud land are many. It boasts some of the most beautiful vistas you will find anywhere. Not to mention the cities within Connecticut are filled with fantastic restaurants, independent shops and markets, and a strong sense of community.

But for all its wonders, Connecticut is facing a two-fold problem that is soon to become an issue across the rest of the United States. Rats!

The Rising Heat

Everywhere you go, you will find rats. While you might not always be able to see them, it is said you are never more than ten feet from a rat at any time. And in Connecticut, this has become an increasingly real fact. But why has the number of rodent infestations nearly doubled in recent years?

To put it simply, the heat. It is no secret that our world is being devastated by climate change. England experiences hotter summers every year. Canada’s frozen tundras are melting by the day. Water levels are rising slightly, but noticeably, every year as well.

And Connecticut is feeling the heat. Every year for the past four years, the summers in Connecticut have reached new daily highs. Sometimes rocking up to 85-86 degrees Fahrenheit. And it isn’t uncommon for the temp to go higher than that at the peak of summer.

The Rodents

Rats love warm spaces. They thrive in them. That isn’t to say they can’t live in colder climates, because they can. But if they have a choice, they will take the lovely, warm, and secure major city with its nice restaurants, hiding spaces, and ever-warming atmosphere.

A new report published by pest control at yalepest has concluded that the restaurant boom of 2018, which saw the service industry double in both the number of restaurants and average customers served per year, is partly responsible for the increase in rats.

In fact, it was originally thought this was the only reason the rat population was increasing. The idea is that more food waste meant more rats.

This was quickly proved wrong as Alaska experienced a similar service industry boom, but has seen only a minor increase in their rat population. It was noted that the average yearly summer temp of Alaska was not rising as much as it was in Connecticut.

The next round of the study saw the pest control firms running regular temperature checks at the sites of the worst rodent infestations. Their conclusions were what we feared most. The areas were experiencing the highest temperature increases, due to the number of buildings or public works, combined with the natural temperature.

Tackling It

All of this sounds terrible, doesn’t it? A State, taken over by rodents as it slowly boils. But it isn’t as bad as it might seem.

While Connecticut is suffering from the worst rodent problem in years, it is also one of the States best equipped to handle it, perhaps only beaten by New York.

The Pest control firms working out of Connecticut are some of the strongest in the world. This is partly due to the fact that America has declared Pest Control an essential service. This means there are a number of strong tax benefits provided to them.

But more than that, it is the Connecticut sense of pride that drives these firms to work as hard as they do. People from Connecticut are ready to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done to make sure their home is the best it can be.