Archive for September, 2010

Why Use Silicone Bakeware

September 15th, 2010

First of all lets dispel or should I say misspell a common problem. There is a difference between silicone and silicon. Silicon is a natural chemical element on Earth, primarily as a major component of sand. Silicone is a man-made substance made from silicon and other chemical. A common form is a rubber like plastic used in kitchen aid because of its heat resistant properties. So you are unlikely to find any silicon bakeware.

Silicone bakeware are those brightly coloured tins, containers and kitchen canisters in the local kitchen store , but many of us traditionalist are wary of change and still prefer a glass metal or ceramic cooking container. However don’t be deterred by change as there are some good reasons to buy silicone bakeware. These are:

Light Weight And Portable

Silicone is light weight in comparison to other cookware which is a definite advantage when lifting that cake into the oven or if you have to travel with your cookware.


It cannot be chipped or cracked and doesn’t wear like rubber. They can be used in the microwave and cleaned in the dishwasher and you never have to worry about dropping them.

Easy To Store

Because silicone can be moulded into intricate shapes they can come in various shapes and colours. From muffin cases to cake moulds you should be able to find one that fits your needs. Because these are light and flexible they are easy to store even in high awkward to reach cupboards.

Doesn’t Stay Hot

Silicone doesn’t conduct heat in the same way glass, metal or ceramic so it doesn’t take long before you can touch the silicone bakeware.

If you are still not convinced with the benefits of silicone bakeware then you should try to experiment slowly. A perfect item to first trial is the silicone spatula. Heat resistant and available in many colours and sizes silicone is the perfect material for such a kitchen implement. Unlike rubber spatula’s they don’t wear or need trimming. I am sure once you have experiment with such a device you will soon eagerly want to try a silicone bakeware set.

Selecting A Vegetable Slicer

September 14th, 2010

With all of us trying to be more health conscious making sure you have five portions of fruit or vegetables is one target we should all try to achieve. But what’s the difference between a vegetable and a fruit and does it matter. There has been many an argument in a pub quiz to differentiate fruit from vegetables. In fact fruit can be scientifically defined as the ovary of a seed bearing plant.

Vegetable which’s name comes from the Latin vegetabilis (animated) and from vegetare (enliven), which is derived from vegetus (active), which refers to the process of a plant growing. A vegetable is loosely defined as edible part of a plant with a savoury flavour. One of the most common misconceptions is the humble tomato. Which is a fruit however in some countries was taxed as a vegetable.

Using a vegetable slicer is a great way to get more vegetables or even fruit into your diet. They come in many forms but the basic mechanics of a vegetable slicer are a blade mounted at angle and some form of moving the produce evenly onto the blade.

The vegetable slicer comes in three main forms

Mandolin Vegetable Slicer

This is probably the most traditional slicer and normally has a main plate at an angle which then leads onto a blade. The blade can be interchangeable to give different results and adjusted for different thicknesses. These have been developed more recently to include more safety devices to protect the chef’s fingers. Also some include a container to catch the sliced vegetables.

Spiral Vegetable Slicer

The less common spiral vegetable slice works by attaching the produce to a handle that then rotates on a screw mechanism which forces the fruit or vegetables onto a blade. The blades can be changed and angles to produce different thicknesses and results.

Electric food chopper

This works by having a rotating blade and manually pushing the produce into the machines. A great example of an electric food chopper is the Magimix food processor which cannot only just chop food but can also help to produce pastry.

Safety First

Which ever vegetable slicer you choose make sure you follow the manufactures instructions on how to clean and use your product. Many have an open blade and should be treated with the respect they deserve. Storing the alternative blades in secure kitchen canisters placed in a high cupboard away from the reaches of children is essential.

Meat Grinders An Essential Kitchen Accessory

September 7th, 2010

With the popularity of processed food or the convenience of buying pre-minced meat the use of meat grinders have become less common in the modern day kitchen. With the electric mixers with blades many people have ignored the meat grinder. However the use of a quality meat grinder will produce a better consistent minced meat which you can adjust easier with a meat grinder rather than electric mixer. There is also something traditional and satisfying about grinding your own meat. Be it a grinder for your home or small business a well-designed meat grinder should last many years and give you some quality ingredients to cook with.

Mechanics of a meat grinder

Invented by Karl Drais in the 19th century the meat grinder can either be manually powered or electric. One of my best memories from my child hood was helping my mother assemble the meat grinder attach it to the kitchen table top and grinding bread to create awesome bread crumbs. There is something very traditional about cranking a meat grinder and feeding the meat into the funnel. As the product describes meat grinders primarily grind cooked and raw meat such as beef, veal, chicken, turkey, duck, pork, venison and even vegetables (although a vegetable slicer is better at preserving the texture of your vegetables). It has become a more popular kitchen appliance as we are all becoming more health conscious and want to know exactly what goes into our beef burgers or sausages.

The meat grinder is normally made from metal with a cast base and consists of a screw conveyor to force the meat from a funnel or hopper onto a rotating knife and through a hole plate from which the ground meat exits. This hole plate can be adjusted for different results. The grinder can be disassembled for easy cleaning and maintenance. The driving force can either be  a handle you rotate or an electric motor in larger industrial models.

Other attachments can be added to the end of the meat grinder to aid producing sausages.

Selecting a meat grinder

When selecting a meat grinder for your requirement the budget will dictate the style of grinder. A good manual grinder will cost around $30 – $60 however an electric powered model can be from $90 upwards.

One tip when selecting a manual grinder is to ensure the method of securing the meat grinder to your table top is compatible with your kitchen and more important is a well design secure fixing. You don’t want to get you new hand cranked grinder home only to find it does fit your kitchen table top or even worst breaks free on the first turn of the handle.

Electric models are rated in watts however don’t be fooled by wattage alone as build quality and ease of disassembly for cleaning is essential.

Popular manufacturers for meat grinders are
Norpro, Waring, Deni, Panasonic and KitchenAid.