Jun 122012
 Posted by at 13:18 Uncategorized Comments Off on The 2 biggest myths about home made lunches

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When I was working as a wine maker, bringing lunch from home wasn???t something that only happened from time to time. It was an every day thing. A matter of survival.

You see, most wineries are in remote locations. There usually isn???t a sandwich shop around the corner that you can just duck out to. And even if there was, during vintage the days are long and intense ??? often around the 16 hour mark. So there isn???t really time for doing much more than eating and getting back to work.

We all know that a home made lunch tends to be more nutritious, less expensive and better tasting than grabbing lunch from the work canteen or local cafe. But sometimes I think there are a few myths we tell ourselves about taking lunch that hold us back from having a really fun and enjoyable lunch experience.

So what are the 2 biggest home made lunch myths?

Myth No. 1. You need to be super organised to have home made lunches.
Repeat after me, ???I don???t need to be super organised to have a home made lunch???. All you need is time to go out at lunch (or on your way to work) and buy a few ingredients to make you lunch when you get back to the office. No forward thinking required. See below for more tips on this strategy.

Myth No. 2. You need loads of time in the mornings to prepare home made lunches
Time in the mornings is precious. There are 2 super easy solutions here. Either pack lunch the night before or make it at work.

3 myth-busting tips for home made lunches

1. make extra at dinner
I know it???s not a new concept but it???s really a brilliant way of getting yourself into the home made lunch habit. If you???re already going to the trouble of cooking, it hardly takes any extra effort or planning to double your recipe and then pack into lunch boxes as you???re serving up. Then you can pop them in the fridge or freezer, ready to grab as you dash out the door.

2. learn to make lunch at work
This is perfect for people who aren???t into planning ahead. Just run out and pick up a few things from the local supermarket or deli then come back to the office and pull together your quick and tasty lunch in the work kitchenette area.

If you???re looking for ideas to get you started, see my post on 3 uber-simple lunches you can make at work in less time than it takes to go out and buy something.

3. try a bit of lunch customisation.

This is a compromise step where you maybe grab some BBQ chicken or fried fish from your local takeaway, but rather than just adding a side of chips, you duck into your local supermarket and grab a lemon and some washed salad leaves to add a healthy ???customisation??? to your lunch.

Are you looking for more quick, healthy lunch ideas?

lunch square logo

The latest class at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School is all about helping you develop and improve your healthy lunch habit.

Doors are only open for the next few days. So be quick!

For more details go to:

bok choy & mustard salad
bok choy & mustard salad
serves 2

If you haven???t ever had bok choy raw in salads, you???re in for a real treat. The texture is just so good. Fresh and crunchy, you can just feel it doing you good as you eat.

I???ve included canned tuna here because I love it. But it really isn???t essential. See the variations below if tuna isn???t your thing.

2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon rice or sherry vinegar
1 bunch baby bok choy, well washed
1 can tuna in oil, drained

1. Combine mustard, vinegar and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a bowl.

2. Finely slice bok choy, crosswise into bite sized pieces. Toss in the dressing.

3. Divide between 2 bowls or lunch boxes and top with the tuna.

different veg ??? replace bok choy with shaved cabbage.

no rice / sherry vinegar? ??? use lemon juice or white wine vinegar.

carnivore ??? replace tuna with shredded cooked chicken or crispy pieces of bacon.

vegetarian ??? replace tuna with sliced hard boiled eggs

vegan ??? replace tuna with a generous handful of almonds or brazil nuts.


video version of the recipe

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLsoFg3HKKg]


want more stonesoup?

Then have a look at my almost daily blog, The Stonesoup Diaries. Recent articles include:
:: What is Mr Wilkinson???s favourite vegetable?
:: The secret to an amazing cheeseburger
:: The ???formula??? for dinner magic

Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School Update!

lunch square logosolve your dinner dilemma [fresh ideas] logo
reclaim your waistlinemaster your meal plan

The doors to the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School are NOW OPEN! For the next few days only???

For more details, click on the the class which sounds most interesting below:
Note: When you sign up, you???ll get access to ALL the classes for the one low price???
Beyond the Sandwich: Healthy Lunch Ideas

:: Solve Your Dinner Dilemma
:: Reclaim Your Waistline
:: Master Your Meal Plan

Jules x

ps. I???m going to be raising my prices for the SVCS in July, so if you???ve been thinking about taking some classes, now is a great time to join!


from stonesoup http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2012/06/the-2-biggest-myths-about-home-made-lunc…

Jun 112012
 Posted by at 17:01 Uncategorized Comments Off on The Homemade Pantry’s Ricotta Cheese

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[Photograph: Jennifer May]

The white plastic tubs of ricotta available in supermarkets are never remarkable. And if you’ve only experienced POLLY-O, then you need to taste the wonderful thing that is freshly homemade ricotta.

This recipe for Ricotta Cheese adapted from Alana Chernila‘s The Homemade Pantry may very well have you forgoing the grocery store stuff for good.

It’s a dead simple process, gradually bringing milk, cream, and lemon juice up to temperature so that curds and whey form. The separated mixture is then strained through cheesecloth and voila! Ricotta, smooth, creamy, totally awesome ricotta.

What Worked: Homemade ricotta beats out store bought by miles. And it’s not all that difficult to DIY.

What Didn’t: No complaints, this stuff is good.

Suggested Tweaks: Whipping in some fresh herbs would be nice, but milky simplicity is kind of the best part of ricotta, we think, at least.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Homemade Pantry to give away.

Get the Recipe!

from Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/how-to-make-ricotta-cheese.html?utm_source…

Jun 092012
 Posted by at 23:31 Uncategorized Comments Off on Sunday Brunch: Sausage-Stuffed Corn Muffins

Editor’s note: Each Saturday morning we bring you a Sunday Brunch recipe. Why on Saturday? So you have time to shop and prepare for tomorrow.


[Photograph: Sydney Oland]

These muffins take everything that’s great about corn muffins and breakfast sandwiches and combine them in a simple recipe that you can make ahead of time. They’re just as delicious room temperature as they are warm, which makes them a great snack for an early morning start to a road trip or even a brunch picnic in the park.

This is a simple version of a recipe you can take as many ways as there are sausages. You could use breakfast sausage and add maple syrup to the batter, or some chorizo and a few bits of diced red pepper. Or even use bratwurst and add some diced onions and serve with a big bottle of beer!

Get the Recipe

Sausage-Stuffed Corn Muffins ??

About the author:??Sydney Oland lives in Somerville, Mass. ??Find more information at sydneyoland.com (or read eatingnosetotail.com)

from Serious Eats http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/06/sunday-brunch-sausage-stuffed-corn-muffins…

Jun 092012
 Posted by at 23:16 Uncategorized Comments Off on “the one” chocolate mug cake $0.29 each

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she needs a chocolate mug cake.

Perhaps it’s one of those days where you just want to curl up on the couch all day and watch bad Lifetime movies about stolen babies (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). Or maybe you just ran four miles for the first time in your entire life and unless you counteract it immediately with a dessert, the universe will be thrown out of balance and implode, and the entire 2012 apocalypse will be all your fault. Or maybe it’s your birthday and everyone forgot so there was no cake. Okay, sorry, that last one was kind of depressing. Anyway, my point is, sometimes you just need a bite of cake to make things right. Just a bite.

I was never a fan of mug cakes because all of the versions I’ve tried have turned out rubbery and just not at all delightful. Until I found this recipe, which for me is “the one.” This is why I like it:

  • It’s not very sweet. (If you want it sweeter, add more sugar or some chocolate chips.)
  • It’s small. Other recipes I’ve tried have just been too big and they make me feel like I just over indulged. This one is just a few, rich, delightful bites.
  • There is no egg. I find that eggs make mug cakes rubbery or spongey and they also mean that you can’t scale the recipe in size. If you want a small cake, you can’t just split an egg in half, right?
  • There are a lot of variations. Add chocolate chips, use nutella, jam, or caramel sauce in place of the peanut butter, vegan-ize it by using soy milk in place of cow’s milk… lots of options.

Don’t be tempted to leave out the peanut butter (or jam, or whatever you drop in the center) because it helps keep the cake moist and rich. It simply wouldn’t be the same without it.

So, shout out to Jessie at Made From Scratch for experimenting with mug cakes until finding this perfect mix. You just saved the universe from imploding!

the one chocolate mug cake

“The One” Chocolate Mug Cake

Print Friendly and PDF
Total Recipe cost: $0.29
Servings Per Recipe: 1
Prep time: 3 min. Cook time: 1 min. Total: 4 min.

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder $0.02
2 tsp sugar $0.01
1/4 tsp baking powder $0.02
a pinch salt $0.01
1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.04
2 Tbsp milk $0.04
1 Tbsp peanut butter $0.13
TOTAL $0.29

When calculating the price of extremely small quantities of extremely inexpensive ingredients, it gets kind of wonky… so let’s just say that this is really inexpensive, k? K.

STEP 1: In your mug, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of salt). Make sure there are no clumps.

STEP 2: Stir in the vegetable oil and milk until the mixture is smooth. Drop a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center and push it down into the batter.

STEP 3: Microwave on high for one minute and then enjoy!

(Microwave power varies slightly, so you may want to experiment with the cooking time, give or take 5-10 seconds. One minute is a good place to start).

the one chocolate mug cake

Step By Step Photos

dry ingredients
Measure the dry ingredients into a mug (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt).

stir ingredients
Stir them together until evenly mixed and there are no clumps.

wet ingredients
Stir in the vegetable oil and milk until it is a smooth mixture. You can use soy milk and make this recipe completely vegan!

peanut butter
Drop a dollop of peanut butter down into the center and press it into the batter (I should have pushed this in a little more, you want the PB to be mostly covered in batter).

cooked chocolate mug cake
Microwave on high for one minute and you’ve got yourself a cake with a melty, peanut butter center!

chocolate mug cake
And then five or six delightful bites later, you’re done and you don’t feel like you do when you “accidentally” eat a whole pint of ice cream. …not that that ever happens.

from Budget Bytes http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/2012/06/one-chocolate-mug-cake-029-each.html?…

Jun 062012
 Posted by at 14:08 Uncategorized Comments Off on The last-minute cook’s answer to no-knead pizza dough

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In tomorrow???s paper, you???ll find my love letter article about Jim Lahey???s no-knead pizza dough, the latest addition to my culinary bag o??? tricks. (Lahey is the New York baker whose career was catapulted in 2006 when Mark Bittman published his no-knead bread recipe.)

Crazy good pizza from my little old oven in three minutes flat. I didn???t believe it until I tried it, but now that I???ve got the recipe and technique down, I???ve been trying to convert everyone around me.

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Last month, some friends and I got together for a pizza party using a double batch of the no-knead dough. Guests brought their favorite ingredients, and we had fun mixing and matching them to create individual pies to our own liking.

A week or so later, another set of friends hosted another pizza party. This time, we were the guests bringing the ingredients instead of the dough, and when I showed up, the host asked me if I wouldn???t mind helping get the dough started.

You mean you haven???t started the dough?

I don???t think I asked that question outright, but the little Jim Lahey-inspired voice inside my head certainly did.

Pizzas made with his style of dough turn out so great because the flour, yeast, salt and water have had time to ferment over time, up to a day ahead of time, and almost every other pizza dough recipe I???ve tried has called for at least an hour of rise time before you shape the bake the pizzas.

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But Doris Ann didn???t seem worried, so I wasn???t worried either. We got to work making double batches of her favorite recipe (below) while their backyard pizza oven got hot. Within an hour, we were shaping the dough and sending the disks outside to be assembled and baked in the 900-degree oven.

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No regular oven can get that hot, which is where Lahey???s broiler method comes in handy. I haven???t tried Doris Ann???s dough recipe in the broiler, but she assures me that you can bake it on a pizza stone in an oven set at its highest temperature (hers goes up to 550) and get similar results.

If I ever find myself in need of pizza in a hurry, I???ll turn to this recipe, just don???t tell Mr. Lahey.

Last-minute pizza dough

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) quick rise yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. olive oil
With a pizza stone on the bottom rack of an oven, preheat oven to as high as it will go, around 450 to 500 degrees.
Whisk together flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Using a stand-up mixer with a break hook attached, turn the mixer on low and add water and oil. Continue mixing for three minutes, adding additional flour if the dough is too wet and sticky after a few minutes of mixing. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead for three minutes and let rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Divide dough ball in half. Stretch each dough ball with your hands into a 12-inch disk. Place disk on a peel coated with corn meal. Add toppings and slide on to the hot pizza stone. Bake 4 to 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it.

??? Doris Ann Newton

from Relish Austin http://www.austin360.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/food2/entries/…

Jun 052012
 Posted by at 00:01 Uncategorized Comments Off on Five novels and their occult inspirations

Guido Mina di Sospiro and Joscelyn Godwin, authors of The Forbidden Book, wrote about five novels and their occult inspirations for Boing Boing:

How do you find works of occult fiction that are not just fantasies? We have just published one of them: The Forbidden Book, released as an e-book by The Disinformation Company. It is a murder mystery, a romance, a political conundrum, but above all an account of magick in action. We think of it as belonging to a rare strain of fiction by authors who actually know occult traditions and the philosophies behind them. That way the reader is not just playing “let’s pretend” but learning some insights into reality that are potentially life-changing. See below for more about The Forbidden Book.

Here are some other novels that we admire:

Screen Shot 2012 06 04 at 4 19 00 PMZanoni, by Bulwer Lytton, is the premier occult novel of the nineteenth century. Lytton was a novelist and playwright, a dandy, a politician, and eventually a Baron. He is supposed to have been initiated into a German Rosicrucian order, and to have been in the Orphic Circle, a London group that used child clairvoyants. Dickens and Disraeli were his friends, but they didn’t follow his arcane interests. For instance, they weren’t with him when French occult author and ceremonial magus Eliphas Levi, in Lytton’s presence, evoked the spirit of the Greek Neopythagorean philosopher Apollonius of Tyana on a London rooftop. Zanoni is a description of initiations by one who has evidently passed through them. It is famous for introducing the themes of the “Dweller on the Threshold” who tries to block the aspirant’s path, and the “augoeides” or luminous self. The novel tells about two men who have gained the secret of eternal life. One of them is content to rest on the accumulated wisdom of his 5,000 years, but Zanoni voluntarily gives up his immortality. He finds that human love is more precious still, even though death is its inexorable price.

NewImageAt the end of The Lord of the Rings, the elven princess Arwen Evenstar would make the same choice when she married Aragorn and became mortal. But neither Tolkien nor C.S. Lewis belonged to any occult order. That distinction belongs to the third of their “Inkling” group, Charles Williams. One day he may get his movies and be as famous as they. Williams was in a Christian magical order, the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross founded by the scholarly mystic A.E. Waite, and all seven of his novels draw on that experience. His method is to take some mythical or archetypal theme and see what would happen if it became manifest in the modern world. War in Heaven, for example, is about black and white magicians fighting for possession of the Holy Grail. Williams probably imagined his chilling account of a Black Mass, but considering that the book was published in 1930, he surely felt the tensions building in the spiritual world before breaking out on earth — in other words, “As above, so below,” an expression well known in the occult milieu and first used in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes.

NewImageThe Philosopher’s Stone, by Colin Wilson, is not about alchemy but about Wilson’s lifelong quest for “Faculty X,” the transcendent consciousness and paranormal abilities that he and many others have known fleetingly but cannot summon at will. Wilson is a great story-teller, and his characters seem at first to be on a typical science-fiction jaunt, using technology to expand their consciousness. But the waters get deeper and the issues more serious, until the climactic appearance of the Old Ones — that’s right, straight out of H.P. Lovecraft! Dedicated to the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, The Philosopher’s Stone anticipates Wilson’s bold leap with The Occult, the book that would alienate the literary world while giving wings to his genius.

Screen Shot 2012 06 04 at 4 07 26 PMMercurius, the Marriage of Heaven and Earth, by Patrick Harpur, is the real alchemical novel for our time. It is set in a “Miss Marple” world in which a very English vicar was doing alchemy on the quiet. (He’s probably based on the real Reverend William Ayton, a secretive member of the Golden Dawn.) A later tenant of the vicarage discovers his papers, and a complex web develops between her and him. The story tracks the stages of the alchemical work in a seductive mix of humor, ambiguity, and spiritual tension. It’s also a painless crash course in Jungian psychology. As in Wilson’s case, the novel is a curtain-raiser for a non-fiction masterpiece. For Harpur, this would be his Daimonic Reality: a Field Guide to the Otherworld.

NewImageThe Forbidden Book is about the deciphering of a real book from the 1600s, The Magical World of the Heroes by Cesare della Riviera. It’s set in Italian locales of bewitching beauty and sinister resonance, with episodes in Washington and Provence. Beside love, murder, and pursuit, the American protagonist finds himself caught up in a burning issue of today’s Europe: the growing Islamic presence and the reaction against it. On top of that, the book reveals things about sexual magic, its powers and its dangers, that you won’t easily find anywhere else.

from Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2012/06/04/five-novels-and-their-occult-i.html?utm_sour…