So you have decided to discover the exciting and quality filled world of gourmet coffee types, right? You will enter into a realm where you will find the tastiest and freshest coffees, and beans that have travelled across the worlds landmasses and vast oceans to your roaster, and to the mug as fast as any human can manage. You can purchase coffees direct from all the known world-wide dealers. There are the winey African beans, or the smooth, acidy and easy to drink Central American varieties. In fact, whatever your coffee choice, there is an array of quality roasting machines to emphasise the aromas and flavours of each blend. Are you ready to enter coffee paradise?Your coffee will arrive with the absolute guarantee that each bean will be continuously of good quality. As you know, roasting beans is a fine art. Your roaster will recognise the individuality of your beans. Each bean has varied sizes, shapes, colours and densities. Every bean needs a unique temperature and time to bring out its true potential.Besides the coffees, the best brewing machines like the bunn coffee maker are built with quality in mind. You can still get the typical drip, a beginners delight, but if you prefer there are presses and hand brewers. However, you could go for more modern European technology with pod machines. Europeans use these machines because they infuse the boiling water through coffee type pads. Then, for espresso, you can opt for a pressurised and steamed espresso machine. Wow, the choices never end do they?Once you have your machinery and beans it is important to find the correct filters. The best are nylon, gold or permanent ones. Permanent ones are great for allowing the flavour to get into the water properly. However, it is imperative to clean them properly after every use.Your store will also carry coffee grinders. These machines let the aromas and oils to be released and infuse into the water for the perfect cup of, say, java. Imagine getting perfect coffee in your cup at home just like you would at the coffee-house?There is no need to buy your coffee supplies, machines and grinders anywhere else because you can find it all. Why not stock up on the best quality products out there? Your guest will keep coming back for more, but best of all you will be rewarded each morning with the perfect cup.
From historical times, roasted lamb has been a traditional delicacy for ushering in the spring season. Roasted lamb is also the most savoured meat item in Easter dinner. There is a reason for association of lamb with the spring season. The natural breeding cycle of sheep results in ample production of lamb during the months of March and April. Hence we get to hear about the term spring lamb.Before our mouth starts to water over a dish of roasted lamb, lets differentiate between a lamb and a sheep. Formally, a lamb is a sheep that is less than a year old. A baby lamb is six to eight weeks old while a spring lamb is even younger. It is only three to five months of age. Once a lamb crosses its first birthday, it is referred to as yearling. It matures to mutton once it reaches its second birthday. Present day animal husbandry practices, allow you to obtain lambs of varying ages throughout the year.Now lets move on to intricacies behind roasted lamb. The most favoured part of lamb is the rack of lamb. Actually, rack is a cut from the rib section. Eight ribs constitute a full rack. If you happen to order a rack of lamb in a restaurant, you will be served with Frenched bones. This is an arrangement for beautification purposes only. The meat is scrapped off the ribs. Though the Frenched rack has visual appeal, it deprives you of the true taste of lamb. Devoted lamb admirers will suggest relishing of the meat first and thereafter nibbling on the bones.Having said this far, let us get introduced to a highly popular lamb recipe for the next Easter- the roasted rack of lamb. To feed two, you will require 1 full rack of lamb; olive oil; 2 tablespoons of chopped rosemary; 2 tablespoons of chopped thyme; salt; pepper; a cup of red wine; 3 chopped garlic cloves and one tablespoon of butter.First check whether the butcher has removed the chine bone from the rack. Next, trim excess fat from the rack without overdoing it. Apply olive oil lightly on the rack. Next sprinkle half the quantity of rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper on both sides of the rack. With a grate at the bottom, place the rack on your roasting pan and then put it into a pre-heated oven at 375 degree. Continue to cook when a thermometer placed at the dead centre of the meat shows readings of 125 degrees for rare; 130 for medium rare; and 135 for medium.After cooking, allow the roast to rest for a while on a serving plate covered with an aluminium foil. Let the meat re-absorb the juices and the foil keep it warm. To prepare the sauce, pour wine on the roasting pan and bring it to boil. Add the other half of rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. When the quantity of the sauce reduces to half, add butter. Prepare individual chops from the roasted mass and serve hot after spreading sauce over them. To make the dish even more delicious, you can substitute homemade beef or veal stock for the wine. A composition of stock and wine would be the best bet.Americans consume a pound of roasted lamb or other lamb delicacies throughout the year. You will be interested to know that lamb is a delicacy that is even more popular in other parts of the world. Particularly, inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries savour it. The item is conspicuous in so many dinner tables during the Easter.
One of the biggest influences on the flavour of wine is whether it has been matured, or even just stored, in oak. There are people who are prejudiced against oaked wine and will complain of even the slightest hint of oak, but many experts agree that if a wine has been carefully oaked it does not taste of wood, but more like a wine that has had its flavour subtly enhanced.Oak aging of wine occurs when the wine has been fermented and/or aged in oak casks so that the flavour of the surrounding wood infuses some of its woodiness into the liquid. The resulting wine will usually taste richer, with creamy vanilla undertones and sometimes a little woody or even sawdusty. The oak is a type of seasoning for wine and getting the optimum level of oaky flavour is vital if a wine is to taste good at the end. Oak aging usually takes place in small oak barrels that hold 225 litres, being replaced every two or three years as newer barrels give the best flavour.Oak is considered to be the most ideal wood for this aging as it not only has superb watertight qualities but gives the right sort of flavours,aromas and textures to enhance the wine. But there are different types of oak that offer certain distinctive flavourings. The most commonly used are the highly-prized, tightly-grained French oak which gives a subtle hint of oakiness, whilst American oak gives a more obvious vanilla character to the wine. Consequently wines that are more powerful in flavour tend to be stored in American oak such as Rioja, North and South American and Australian varieties. Other factors that allow oak aging to affect a wines taste are the size of the barrels, (larger ones giving less flavour), the age of the wood used, the actual time the wine spends within the cask, and whether the barrels have been toasted (i.e. lightly burned on the inside).Now the fashion is for lightly "oaked wine" s and winemakers are producing more subtle, elegant flavours. Red wines are often aged in oak, which add the required extra body and richness, with hints of wood-spice, cream and tannin. Soft light reds such as Beaujolais are typically unoaked, but the richer more powerful styles such as fine red Bordeaux or Californian Cabernet Sauvignon are almost always aged in oak. Similarly Rioja is oak aged for a long time to give it a distinct mellow creaminess. Port and Madeira are wood-aged and have an obvious hint of oak, whilst even some Champagnes are aged for a short time in oak barrels, although they never taste very oaky, just a bit more full-bodied. Some premium sweet white wines are also oak aged.
Paella is one of the most sell-known Spanish dishes. This popular dish originated in Valencia but is now known around the world. The original dish consisted simply of available meat and vegetables, but this original dish has now seen many variations. The recipe for paella spread other areas of Spain and then far beyond the borders of Spain as people began to travel to and from the country. As the popularity of the dish increased, so did recipe variations. The preparation and serving became more elaborate in terms of servings and ingredients used. There are even several variations of the dish throughout Spain alone. In the coastal areas, shellfish and a variety of other fish caught locally are often used. Rabbit, mussels and lobster are less common variations but still fairly popular in some areas. A basic paella recipe is cooked in a large, shallow, flat pan called a paella pot. You can find paella pots on the internet or in kitchen supply stores. Most cook paella dishes on the stove, but it is still cooked over an open flame in some areas as the original recipe calls for. Rice, saffron and olive oil are the three main ingredients. As mentioned earlier, the original dish is made of what vegetables and meats are available. Of course, variations of the dish are easy depending on what types of meats and vegetables are used. The dish can be garnished with rice and fresh vegetables. To make a basic paella dish, stir fry the meat and vegetables in olive oil. Once the meat and vegetables are done, add rice to the pot followed by boiling stock. Boil this mixture of rice, meat and vegetables and, once it is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. You then need to let the dish set for some time to allow the rice to absorb the remaining liquid. Traditionally, in Valencia, any meat available was used with rice as the only consistent ingredient. For instance, seafood was often used in the coastal areas while rabbit or duck were used in other areas. The paella recipe initially spread to other regions of Spain, but as people traveled to and from the country, it spread to South America, North America and the Philippines. As its popularity increased, the variations and preparations became much more This dish continues to be a mainstay of the Valencia people who still take it very seriously. Depending on the ingredients used, it is served with either red wine or white wine. It is typically placed directly on the table and guests serve themselves to the delicious meal. Leftovers are not a concern when it comes to paella since the dish is excellent even when eaten the following day. Be sure to try local variations to the paella dish as you travel through the regions of Spain and, especially, if you are ever in Valencia!
France is certainly in the forefront of cheese manufacturing, with over 500 varieties of cheeses that are made in this region alone! While many of these cheeses are of the soft variety, French cheeses can actually be a healthy alternative to some of the cheese favorites that are frequently served in the United States. French cheeses are lower in fat while packing in the flavor because of the higher water content in soft cheeses that actually keeps the fat count at a reasonable level.These delicious varieties of cheese can be a great choice for everyday, by using them in pasta dishes and sprinkled into salads. They also work well for entertaining, on platters offering a variety of cheeses with crackers and crusty breads for spreading.French Cheese and Other FoodsFrench cheeses make a nice complement to a number of different types of food, including breads, fruits and honey. Soft cheeses like the popular brie taste delicious when paired with fruits like blackberries or figs. Blue cheeses work well with a number of fruits, as well as a variety of nuts for maximum flavor and variety. Try a salad sprinkled with blue cheese and chopped walnuts for a delicious topping.Semi-hard French cheeses are delightfully paired with fruits like pineapple, kiwi and cherries. Chutneys are another nice complement to many of the cheeses today, and you can make your own or buy them in a variety of gourmet shops. Try placing a bowl of chutney next to your cheese platter for guests to serve themselves.French Cheese and WineIt is hard to think about the delicious French cheeses without considering which wine is the best pairing. Wine and cheese go together like peanut butter and jelly, but the question always becomes which wine is the right choice? Red wines are often the clear choice with French cheeses, but there are many white selections that will work equally well.The best rule of thumb to keep in mind is to avoid a wine that is too light to mix with the pungent aromas and flavors of the cheeses that you will be serving. It is also a good idea to limit the number of choices in cheeses that you place on your platter to ensure that the ones you select will work best with your wine selection.Stronger cheese flavors will require a more full-bodied wine, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz. On the other hand, softer cheeses can be quite nice with a lighter and fruitier wine like Beaujolais.When in doubt about the right wine to serve with your French cheese platters, ask someone at your local liquor mart for advice. Many of these stores will offer wine experts that will answer all of your questions.