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Entertaining with Cheese

How to entertain guests with a cheese platter?

There are innumerable ways to enjoy cheese, the best and simplest way is a sampling of cheeses on a platter with all the trimmings. An extravagant wedding reception, a fine dinner party or a buffet at a star hotel, a store opening or even a baby shower nowadays will definitely sport a cheese platter with a delectable variety on it. The mouth-watering savoury taste of cheese has made it the go-to appetiser.

Cheese
Cheesy, Close-Up, Colour, Cook

Cheese is more popular today than ever. Although at some point of time cheese did have its own course, today one can find that it is at 35,000 feet in first class cabins where it is served as a course on the menu. The relaxed formalities of today mean the cheese course at the dinner table is rather rare but has become popular during cocktail hour at parties.

Cheese platter

Cheese as part of the hors d’oeuvres course is wonderful and extremely practical, because, once it is served it does not require any further fuss or effort from the host or hostess. But if you do plan to serve a cheese platter for your party it is important to get it right. The most important detail when serving cheese is to serve it at room temperature. When slicing cheese, include both the heart and the rind so everyone can enjoy an equal share of the various flavours, though the way cheese is served largely depends on its shape and texture.

Round cheeses like brie and camembert can be served by cutting little wedges or triangles and emmental can be served by cutting it into thin slices. When making a cheese platter, you should present a variety of cheese- a soft cheese (brie), a hard cheese (an aged cheddar), and for the less adventurous include some mild cheese and for the adventurous include some kind of sharp cheese like blue.

You won’t be able to dictate how your guests sample your cheese selection, but a beautiful cheese platter presentation says everything about you as a host or hostess. Make sure you have plenty of small plates and cocktail napkins for guests to serve themselves along with a separate knife per cheese with plenty of fresh fruits like grapes and some dried figs or apricots along with a selection of fresh fine breads and crackers as accompaniments.

Emmental cheese
Emmental de Savoie. Pierre-Yves Beaudouin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 4.0

A simple tip when arranging a cheese platter cut just a few slices of bread at a time as bread can go stale very quickly, you could leave a cutting board and knife with the loaf for guests to help themselves. But this humble dairy product, made from pressed curd of milk, doesn’t just marry up with dips, crackers and fine wine.

Cooking with cheese takes it to a whole new level. Not just sprinkling some mozzarella over your pizza or some cheddar on your au gratin but try to include cheese in everything from your casseroles to sauces and salads.

But there is always the dilemma which cheese do I use? Some tasty trusty cheddar, ricotta, feta, goat’s soft cheese, hard cheese, or blue cheese…now that we can easily find hundreds of varieties of cheese at the supermarkets – well, they each lend themselves perfectly to being cooked in different dishes as per the demands of the recipe. Hard cheeses include cheddar, parmesan and Swiss. Soft cheeses include feta, ricotta and brie, while blue cheeses include Stilton, Roquefort and gorgonzola.

Cheddar cheese
sweet dreams are made of cheese Who am I to disagree? Travel the world and the seven seas Everybody’s looking for Cheddar Image credit- Robert Couse-Baker- flickr.com

Cheddar firm texture and sharp taste make it perfect for cooking in skillet recipes, casseroles and even savoury cheesecakes as well as desserts. The slightly tangy and sharp flavour of parmesan makes it a great combination with vegetables and tomato based sauces. The mild, sweet flavour and silky texture of Swiss would work well in a Quiche or pies or even in a fondue, thanks to its excellent melting capabilities.

Goat’s cheese, with its slight tangy and buttery consistency, is wonderful when cooked with lentils, or sprinkled over a risotto or with a beetroot or spinach salad. The super sharp, ripe taste of blue cheese works great in a lasagna with walnuts or a mushroom pasta bake or a delicious garnish with a pumpkin or broccoli soup. Different cheeses respond differently to heat, so before you go on a conquest of experimenting it would be better to try some tried and tested recipes first.

Then once you have mastered the tastes and textures you can go wild with all the choices but also remember everyone’s taste buds are different and unique, so you can’t go wrong.

 Cooking and serving cheese are Fun!.

How to entertain guests with a cheese platter?

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In the Morning of Life

As I rose in the Morning, with the first rays of the sun, nature brought in the fragrance of  fresh flowers. The air around was cool and serene. I spotted this beautiful bird among the trees. 

In the morning of life
Coppersmith Barbet

I recall these beautiful lines, 

In the morning of life, when its cares are unknown,
And its pleasures in all their new lustre begin,
When we live in a bright-beaming world of our own,
And the light that surrounds us is all from within;
Oh ’tis not, believe me, in that happy time
We can love, as in hours of less transport we may; —
Of our smiles, of our hopes, ’tis the gay sunny prime,
But affection is truest when these fade away.

When we see the first glory of youth pass us by,
Like a leaf on the stream that will never return,
When our cup, which had sparkled with pleasure so high,
First tastes of the other, the dark-flowing urn;
Then, then in the time when affection holds sway
With a depth and a tenderness joy never knew;
Love, nursed among pleasures, is faithless as they,
But the love born of Sorrow, like Sorrow, is true.

In climes full of sunshine, though splendid the flowers,
Their sighs have no freshness, their odour no worth;
‘Tis the cloud and the mist of our own Isle of showers
That call the rich spirit of fragrancy forth.
So it is not ‘mid splendour, prosperity, mirth,
That the depth of Love’s generous spirit appears;
To the sunshine of smiles it may first owe its birth,
But the soul of its sweetness is drawn out by tears.

~Thomas Moore

Nature rejoices and is grateful for the new day that has begun.

Something special awaits you each day.  
All you need is to recognize it and make the most of it.
Have a positive attitude throughout the day and then I am Sure for you that Today is Going to Be a Great Day!!!

Cherry or Cherries on Top

Cherry on top

Black Forest Pie Cake Cream Cake Chocolate Chips

Recently, I attended a friend’s birthday party. The birthday was celebrated on a very grand scale. It was held at a famous 5-star hotel hall. The birthday cake was a Black Forest Cake.  A cream cake with a lot of chocolate chips and not just a Cherry On Top but cherries on top!

Let’s celebrate the cherries on top!

Details You Need To Look At While Cooking

Cooking is an art, technology, and craft of preparing food for consumption with the use of heat.  Across the globe, there are various techniques used from grilling food over an oven fire to gas stoves, to baking in various types of ovens which reflect the unique environmental, economic, cultural traditions and trends.

Go green with organic vegetables- Details of cooking ingredients.
Ecologically grown vegetables.

In cooking, you require Details about the ingredients used in a dish and the method of cooking to make that delicious meal. Ingredients comprise usually of  vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts as well as herbs and spices come from plants, while meat, eggs, and dairy products come from animals. Mushrooms and the yeast used in baking are kinds of fungi. Cooks also use water and minerals such as salt. Cooks can also use wine or spirits.

Ingredients that occur naturally contain various amounts of molecules called proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. They also contain water and minerals. Cooking involves a manipulation of the chemical properties of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, water, vitamins and minerals.

All cooking ingredients are measured with Metric style measuring cup set. It is an important utensil in the kitchen. The typical cooking measuring cup sizes are 1 cup, ½ cup, 1/3 cup, ¼ cup and 1/8 cup and in the case of typical spoon sizes, 1 tablespoon, ½ tablespoon, 1 teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon.

Nasi Lemak - Cooking details while preparing this dish
Nasi Lemak
Image courtesy- traveldelight.biz

There are various methods of cooking since antiquity – baking, roasting, frying, grilling, barbecuing, smoking, boiling, steaming and braising. A more recent innovation is microwave. Various methods use differing levels of heat and moisture and vary in cooking time.

These major hot cooking techniques comprise of
•  Roasting – Barbecuing – Grilling/Broiling – Rotisserie – Searing

•  Baking
Baking – Baking Blind – Flash baking

•  Boiling
Boiling – Blanching – Braising – Coddling – Double steaming – Infusion – Poaching – Pressure cooking – Simmering – Smothering – Steaming – Steeping – Stewing – Vacuum flask cooking

  Frying
Fry – Deep frying – Hot salt frying – Hot sand frying – Pan frying – Pressure frying – Sautéing – Stir-frying

•  Steaming
Steaming is usually done by boiling water continuously, causing it to vaporize into steam; the steam then carries heat to the nearby food, thus cooking the food. It is considered a healthy form of cooking, holding nutrients within the vegetable or meat being cooked.

Smoking

Smoking is the process of flavouring, cooking, or preserving food by exposing it to smoke from burning or smouldering material, most often wood.

Similarly, there are temperature charts for details on cooking meats, poultry, eggs, leftovers, and casseroles.

A delicious meal prepared with details of cooking.
Chinese Prosperity Food with Salmon Photography: ProjectManhattan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Cooking has been around for centuries and everyone is connected to it in some form or the other from bringing friends and family together or planning to make a fulfilling home cooked meal instead of ordering one.

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