Lessons in the "food" Category

Meals children should be able to cook by the time they are 11

Today, let’s talk about meals that children should be able to cook by the time they are 11. These include scrambled egg on toast, cheese on toast, sausage and mash, as well as porridge.

There are many other easy meals that kids can prepare. These include roast chicken, meatballs and a stew. By the age of 11 children should also be able to prepare desserts, such as fairy cakes, sponge cakes and apple crumble.

When faced with the challenge of preparing their own meal, most 11 year olds might just head for McDonald’s. It could also be a 3 minute ready meal in the microwave or a take away.

Food scandal in Eastern Europe – lower quality than West Europe

Recently a friend suggested I write an English lesson about inferior food being sold in Central and Eastern Europe. In other words products of lower quality, or the same product - but the contents having lower quality inside the package.

How can this be possible? Believe me it is! I live in Slovakia and I hear this story time and time again from my students and friends.

Many Slovaks like to go to Austria to go shopping. Why? Because food is cheaper, and of better quality.

Anyone shopping in Slovak supermarkets is likely to be sold inferior quality goods, like cheese, washing powder, coffee, milk chocolate, and Coca Cola. In Austria those same products are of a much higher quality.

A sensational year for English wine

Thanks to the long Indian summer in England wine producers in the country are this year predicting a grape harvest of ‘sensational’ quality. The recent spell of hot weather that created a mini heatwave, combined with a previous hard winter and mild spring, should help produce a crop of tasty grapes, according to experts. Industry insiders regarded last year as phenomenal, with English producers turning out a record-breaking four million bottles, up by around a million on the previous year.

The trade body English Wine Producers said they do not expect such a bountiful harvest this year because many vineyards are reporting smaller berries. But they are predicting a high quality of English wine, as the smaller grapes are expected to be concentrated with flavour.

Category: England / Wines / Grape Harvest

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s?

Would you take your mother for a meal to McDonald’s? That is the question. Well, would you? I ask it, as I took my 87-year-old mother to McDonald’s recently. What an eye opener that was! Why? Because it was her first visit to a McDonald’s in about 40 years! It will probably be her last! She is slightly disabled and I push her around in a wheelchair.

This particular McDonald’s was in Asda, a British supermarket, on the edge of Norwich, England. It was a late lunch, around 3.30pm. We thought Asda’s might have their own restaurant. Horror! There was only a McDonald’s. We decided to try it, as we were on a tight schedule, with little time to hunt elsewhere for lunch.

Category: Food / Restaurants / McDonald’s

Go to work – on an ostrich egg!

News from the UK advises that Waitrose the supermarket chain has just started selling ostrich eggs. The eggs that can be 24 times bigger than a hen’s can weigh in at almost 2kg (4.4lb). For those hoping to “go to work on an ostrich egg” might think twice and save that particular treat for the weekend, as they can take an hour or two to boil.

You’ll also need a huge appetite to eat a whole one. Described as having a distinctive, light flavour and texture the ostrich eggs are ideal for cooking. They can be fried; hardboiled or scrambled. They also make very good omelettes - using a very large frying pan – just like chicken or duck eggs.

A spokesperson said: “They are very good for meringues because the white is much lighter than chickens’ eggs.” In fact one egg makes 100 meringues or 32 soufflés. Diners are advised that a simple tap of a spoon is unlikely to break the shell. A roasting spike or a domestic drill is more suitable! The reason is that the egg must withstand a 300lb (136kg) bird sitting on it.

Category: Lifestyle / Eggs / Ostrich Eggs

Coffee and chocolate are the key to a long life

Coffee and chocolate are among the key foods and drinks needed to live a long and healthy life. Tea is another. These form part of a list of 20 “lifespan essential” foodstuffs that has been drawn up by Professor Gary Williamson from the department of food science at Leeds University in England.

Fruits and vegetables dominate the list. All are rich in naturally occurring chemicals, known as polyphenols, which have been linked to a variety of health benefits including protection against heart disease.

The 20 suggested lifespan essential foodstuffs on the list: apples, blackberries, black tea, blueberries, broccoli, cereal bran, cherries, cherry tomatoes, coffee, cranberries, dark chocolate, green tea, oranges, peaches, plums, raspberries, red grapes, red onions, spinach and last but not least strawberries.

Category: Lifestyle / Food / Science

Great British Desserts

Today let’s look at some great British desserts. Traditional favourites are apple pie, apple (and blackberry) crumble and rhubarb crumble. All are served with custard or fresh cream. A similarly popular pie is lemon meringue pie. This tasty pastry tart is filled with thick lemon sauce and is topped with meringue.

Sponge puddings are very popular in Britain. Traditionally steamed, these days most are microwaveable. They include; treacle sponge pudding with custard, chocolate sponge with chocolate sauce and sticky toffee pudding. Spotted dick pudding is another favourite dessert. However, this is made with suet, currants and raisins. It’s served with either custard, a sprinkling of sugar or golden syrup.

A popular summer dish is summer pudding that’s made with sliced white bread and summer fruits. Another dessert to try is bread and butter pudding. It’s made with stale buttered bread, milk, eggs and raisins. Other old favourites include; a jam rolly-poly, baked custard, custard tarts, cheesecake, yogurt and fruit fool e.g. gooseberry or raspberry fool.

Category: Great Britain / Food / Desserts

Russia burns: Moscow under smog: Grain export ban

The heat wave that has gripped Russia this summer continues. As a result devastating fires continue to burn continuously right across Central Russia. The fires have caused havoc. There has been no rain for months. In parts, the land resembled the results of implementing a ‘scorched earth policy’. Thousands of people have lost their homes in 14 regions of Russia over the past few days. Up to 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the blazes.

Category: Russia / Moscow / Devastating Fires

Great British dishes!

Food is always a good talking point in any conversation. So today, let’s talk about some Great British food dishes. Britain has some fabulous mouth watering choices. So what are they?

Well, let’s start with one of the most popular – freshly bought fish and chips from the fish and chip shop. In England, cod is the favourite fish in the south; haddock in the north. The chips are sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Northerners like mushy peas with theirs.

Another British dish is Steak and Kidney Pudding or Pie. The former is made with suet, the latter with pastry. Both are filled with succulent cut-up pieces of British beef and ox kidney. They are delicious with potatoes and English vegetables and some Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce.

A similar traditional pub meal is pie and mash. These days pie is made with beef. More than 50 years ago however, Londoners from the East End made this pie with jellied eels, as eels were then cheaper than beef.

Beans Meanz a bit less from Heinz!

Baked beans lovers in Germany and Austria recently kicked up a bit of a fuss after it emerged that tins of the famous Heinz variety contained fewer beans than cans sold in Britain. European fans of the famous Heinz product have been angered after it emerged in an Austrian newspaper that the British variety are superior to its European counterpart. In fact, tins in Austria and Germany were found to have a less tasty sauce and a more watery taste than their British equivalent. Heinz that for decades has used the famous slogan ‘Beanz Meanz Heinz’ has been under attack from fans following the Austrian Times comparative study.