Category Archives: Meal Planning

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Shared Grill-BBQ Plates Reduce Cross Contamination Potential

Gluten_Contaminated_bbqThe following are some points to consider that will help you have a Gluten free summer by minimizing cross contamination potential from a shared grill/BBQ plate.

What to do;

Try to grill/BBQ the gluten-free foods first, when the grates are clean, or else reserve a section of the grates just for the gluten-free food (be sure nothing with gluten drips onto it).

If these steps are not possible, grill/BBQ the gluten-free food on aluminum foil or in packets that will keep it off the grill/BBQ surface. I use a double layer of foil as a precaution.

Avoid other sources of cross-contamination.

Make sure separate sets of utensils/bowls etc are used for gluten-free food preparation and cooking. In particular, be careful that utensils used to handle gluten free food on the grill/BBQ are not also used on food that been marinated or coated with gluten containing sauces. Also, be sure the BBQ hosts understand how to protect gluten free food from cross-contamination.

Other Possible ways of Cross Contamination

When you are attending a BBQ, picnic or any other social event where there is both Gluten free and non Gluten free foods being served you have to watch out for cross contamination in communal foods such as dips, spreadable condiments, butter and anything else that could have had a Gluten contaminated utensil used in it. Never double dip! Butter dishes, jelly jars, and salsa at a BBQ are some examples of the types of places you’ll find potential gluten cross-contamination.

Gluten can often be found on cooking utensils, pots and pans, counter tops and more. Even cleaning cloths can spread gluten all over the place.

When I go to a sheared BBQ or picnic I always take my own condiments and keep then separate. I also label them in a bold colour that they are gluten free.

If possible try to have your gluten free food on a table separate from the non Gluten free food. It will protect the serving utensils and food from being cross contaminated.

If that isn’t possible, be sure to serve yourself and your family first before the other guests are served. Some people may not understand utensils used across dishes can be hazardous to anyone who is gluten-free.

Using Herbs

herbsOutlined below are some suggestions of what herbs to use with what meats or vegetables. Herbs are a great option when you are living a seasonal fresh to bring full flavour to your dishes. If you are not big on the use of herbs in your cooking start with some of the suggested matched below and play around with tastes.

You will find out what you like and this will open the door to even greater tasting foods.

I use both fresh and dried.

You can download this post as a pdf by clicking here

Herbs with meat.

Beef –
Basil, Bay leaf, Caraway, Chervil, Lovage seed, Cumin, Garlic Fenugreek, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme and Peppermint.

Lamb –
Basil, Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Chervil, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon Balm, Lovage seed, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Saffron, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme and Savory.

Ham –
Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Mustard, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary and Savory.

Pork –
Anise, Caraway, Cardamom, Coriander, Chervil, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Fennel, Lovage seed, Marjoram, Savory and Thyme.

Veal –
Basil, Bay leaf, Chervil, Chives, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Venison –
Bay, Lovage seed, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Sweet Marjoram.

Rabbit –
Basil, Bay, Marjoram, Lovage seed, Rosemary and Sage.

Liver –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Turkey –
Basil, Garlic, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Parsley and Sweet Marjoram.

Chicken –
Thyme, Anise, Basil, Bay leaf, Borage, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Cumin, Dill, Fenugreek, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Lovage, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory and Tarragon.

Duck –
Bay, Rosemary, Sage, Sweet Marjoram and Tarragon.

Goose – Fennel, Sage and Sweet Marjoram.

Fish – Anise, Basil, Borage, Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Baked or Grilled Fish –
Basil, Bay, Caraway, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme, Lovage, Marjoram, Mints, Parsley, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Salmon –
Dill seed and Rosemary.

Fish Soups – Bay, Lovage, Sage, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Oily Fish – Fennel and Dill.

Seafood – Basil, Bay, Chervil, Chives, Dill, Fennel Seed, Marjoram, Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme.

Herbs with vegetables

Artichokes –
Bay, Savory and Tarragon.

Asparagus –
Chives, Lemon Balm, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Chervil, Dill and Tarragon.

Avocado –
Dill, Marjoram and Tarragon.

Beans Dried –
Savory, Cumin, Garlic, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, and Thyme.

Beans, Green –
Savory, Basil, Caraway, Cloves, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Sage and Thyme.

Broccoli –
Basil, Dill, Garlic, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Oregano, Tarragon and Thyme.

Brussel Sprouts –
Dill, Sage and Savory.

Cabbage –
Basil, Caraway, Cayenne, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Marjoram, Sage, Savory, Borage, Dill seed, Mint, Oregano and Savory.

Carrots –
Anise, Basil, Chervil, Chives, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Dill, Sage, Ginger, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme and Chervil.

Cauliflower –
Basil, Caraway, Chives, Cumin, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon and Fennel.

Corn –
Chevil, Chives, Lemon Balm, Saffron, Sage and, Thyme.

Eggplant –
Basil, Cinnamon, Dill, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Savory and Thyme.

Lentils –
Garlic, Mint , Parsley, Savory and Sorrel.

Mushrooms –
Coriander, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Dill, Lemon Balm, Parsley, Rosemary and Savory.

Onions –
Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme.

Parsnips –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Parsley, Savory and Thyme.

Peas –
Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Basil, Chervil, Marjoram, Mint, Parsley and Sage.

Potatoes –
Parsley, Basil, Caraway, Chives, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lovage, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon and Thyme.

Spinach –
Anise, Basil, Caraway, Chevil, Chives, Cinnamon, Dill, Rosemary, Thyme, Borage, Marjoram, Mint, Sage, Sorrel and Tarragon.

Squash –
Basil, Caraway, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Savory and Dill.

Tomatoes –
Basil, Bay leaf, Chives, Chervil, Coriander, Dill, Garlic, Lovage, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon and Thyme.

Turnips –
Dill seed, Marjoram and Savory.

Zucchini –
Basil, Dill, Marjoram, Rosemary and Tarragon.

Bob’s Red Mill Flours in New Zealand

Over the past few years I have seen so much growth in Gluten-free product availability and this is a wonderful thing. I have also seen a growing number of people not Gluten-free but have family and or friends that are. 

What is pleasing is that lots of these people are taking care when GF people come to their homes. I get a lot of people like this asking for advice and help to better cater to GF peoples needs and keep them safe. 

Rebs-Mill-BannerIn New Zealand, we have in some ways, been driven to adapt recipes from North America and find substitute ingredients. I came across many, in fact hundreds of recipes that called for this flour or that from Bob’s

Organix Wholefood Ltd based in Auckland is behind Bob’s Red Mill products being available here in New Zealand. And its not just Bob’s Red Mill from the US. And they have coconut flour. Many of my recipes mention coconut flour. It’s a great option for Gluten-free that can also be paleo for those that eat the caveman diet. 

They bring in a wonderful range of other products like Red Ape Cinnamon and Singing Dog Vanilla. These are two of my favourites. 

All of their range of products are available through New Zealand. You can find a complete list shops stocking their range here…… 

http://www.organix.co.nz/where-to-buy/ 

How I Learned To Cook As A Kid

Getting Kids In The Kitchen – They will be set for life

Many of the people that know me are aware how passionate I am about getting kids into the kitchen. This stems directly from my mother getting me in the kitchen at a young age.  I have her to thankKids-in-Kitchen for the chef I have become. 

I started doing things in the kitchen at about the age of five. My mum started ne doing things like shelling peas from our garden or when we had picked our own at a market garden. 

From there she started me helping to make things like stocks and sauces. Then came the vegetable cooking. Mum was all about timing and she would get me to wash and prepare the vegetables and then call me when it was time to put them on the heat. Mashed potatoes was the first and soon after that came beans, peas, carrots etc. 

Once mum was happy that I understood about heat and the need for safety she started me making cups of tea and coffee. I remember the first cup I made, I was so proud. A few years later mum mention that that first cup was well stewed but she drank it. 

When mum was having a party she got me to prepare and mix the dips, crackers and cheese, putting chippies in bowls etc. It was also my job to offer them around the visitors and I remember the smiles I got when I said I had made the dips. 

The next progression was cooking mince or sausages and matching this with a tomato sauce she had taught me. This was usually served over pasta that I had learned to cook. This was about the time when she started teaching me what herbs went with what meats and vegetables. 

Then came the roasts. I started with roast chicken and by the time I was ten I could roast a chicken with vegetables, carve and serve the family. I found this very satisfying and once this was mastered I went onto beef and pork. 

I also suggest that when the time is right get the kids to compile their own recipe book of the things they like to do in the kitchen. 

Getting kids cooking. 

5 to 7 Years 

At this age kids are at school and are developing listening and advancing their learning skills. Getting them involved in the kitchen is a great addition to their learning at this time of their life. 

Here are the sorts of things that my mum got me doing. 

Kneading dough

Measuring things

Cutting out shapes using cookie cutters

Cracking eggs

Using a sieve

Washing vegetables

Peeling vegetables with a vegetable peeler

Grating cheese

Squeezing citrus fruits to make a drink

Whisking egg whites

Making smoothies

Rubbing in butter with flour for pastry

Crushing biscuits in a plastic bag with a rolling pin

Icing cakes/biscuits

Buttering a slice of bread with some jam/honey on top.

Making toast with a topping

Eating what they cook and licking out bowls.

Getting them to help serve meals onto plates

Helping to clean the kitchen

Putting things away

Getting prepared vegetables ready to cook and salting the water for you.

8 and Over 

Its important to remember that different children will master different cooking skills at different time with differing degrees of enthusiasm. I recommend that you watch them develop and match new kitchen challenges and skills that they can succeed with. This keeps their enthusiasm high and they will stay motivated.

Toasted sandwiches

Cooking a simple fruit pie or crumble

Baking and icing a cake/fairy cakes

Threading kebabs

French toast

Preparing a simple salad or a fresh fruit salad

Mixing a salad dressing

Making toast for the family breakfast

Making their sandwiches for their school lunch

Making the shopping list

Mashing potatoes

Making a cup of tea or coffee

Scrambling eggs

Making bread

Cooking soft or hard boiled eggs

Cooking sausages and mince

Making stocks, simple tomato sauces

Cooking pasta

Cooking vegetables

 

 

 

 

Is Eating Seasonal and Local Expensive Part One Getting Started

Chicken-Lemon_Honey_Ch-SkewAs a seasonal fresh chef I get told all the time that “we can’t eat local and seasonal fresh, it costs too much”. 

I have to say, this is not true and it can be made a reality with a little understanding on how to buy in season. Seasonal food is better for you and the planet , plenty of nutrients and flavour ! 

Eating locally supports the economy you live in or are close to. It also supports local and smaller farms who are farming sustainably 

Eating seasonally also reduces food costs because when we buy what is abundant and in season, the supply is higher and this means the cost of the food is lower. This enables you to buy better quality items while stretching your food dollars. Often they will have specials and you can buy up on, blanch vegetables and freeze for later use. 

When I say local I don’t mean at the supermarket, I mean from your local farmers markets or green grocer. The benefit of buying from these two is that either they have grown the produce themselves or they have sourced from local suppliers and can tell you where it has come from. 

When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive.  It’s the basic law of supply and demand, and when crops are in season you’ll be rewarded financially by purchasing what’s growing now. 

Ok, How Do I Start? 

Planning Your Weeks Meals 

The first thing I suggest is to start a meal plan for the coming week. I do these late in the week in the evening so I can take advantage of the farmers markets and green grocers. 

You can download a A4 weekly meal planning chart here…. 

www.jimmyboswell.com/GFS_Meal_Planning.pdf   

When you are starting chat with family and find out what they want over the next week and make a list of the meal suggestions. 

Spend time each week looking for recipes. The internet is great for this. Remember to bookmark sites you like to you can get back to them quickly. 

Decide what to prepare. I find it helpful to think in terms of categories, for example: 

Soup or Salad

Ethnic styled meals like Italian meatballs, curries etc

Pasta

Casserole

Quick & Easy. 

Ethnic – you could divide it into cooking styles 

grilling & BBQ’s

crock-pot

stir-fry

roast

If I pick one from each category, there’s sufficient variety that my family won’t complain, and by putting the Quick & Easy meals (tacos, hamburgers, spaghetti) on harried days, dinner will get done on time. 

Save one day a week for a new dish from a cookbook or a food blog if you like to try new things. If it’s from a blog, make sure you print out the recipe and keep it with your menu plan or in a notebook just for that purpose. 

To help with herbs and seasonings have a look at my blog on herb and spice blends that makes cooking a lot easier. 

http://www.tasteofhome.co.nz/everyday-dried-herb-blends/ 

Start a Meal Calendar.

Now that you’re getting inspired in what to eat, start a calendar of what you’d like to cook over the next few days or few weeks and mix and match meal requests from family and friends. 

Kids-in-KitchenThis is also a great way of getting kids in the kitchen helping meals that they love. They can start with washing vegetables, mixing things together, cracking eggs and loads more. This gives them pride in what has been cook and what they are eating. 

Choose a shopping day and make a shopping list. 

This makes it easier to plan where you need to go and this can save a lot of time and money. 

Check what’s on sale. 

This works in with meal planning and your shopping. When you are making the shopping list check your pantry and add to the list anything that needs to be re-stocked. 

Plan for leftovers.

This is a very good way to eat fresh and save money through buying when things are on special. I regularly cook one or two big healthy casseroles or ragus at the beginning of the week and eat off them all week long for lunch. 

Some people can only eat leftovers for a single night. There are many ways that we can have the leftovers in different ways. I will delve into this in another post. 

Be strategic about freezing.

The freezer is your friend. Actually, it’s the friend of future you. Make a double batch of that sauce you love, some stocks half or all for later. Make a double batch of soup, stew, chicken cacciatore — throw it in the freezer. Let a month go by, and those leftovers will look fresh and tasty! 

Don’t overstuff the refrigerator.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your fridge is over-full. Also, things get hidden in the back. Don’t let things go bad. Keep your fridge airy and light, with a sensible, realistic amount of food in it. 

Keep a well-stocked pantry.

Meals are easier and quicker to prepare if you keep your pantry well-stocked. Don’t run out of olive oil at inconvenient moments. Have spices and herbs ready to season and flavour dishes you are cooking.

YMCA – Yesterdays Meal Cooked Again – A Budget Helper

I love YMCA. This is a term my mother coined when I was about 6. I remember coming home from school and asking ‘whats for dinner’ Quite often I would get the reply, YMCA, yesterdays muck cooked again. Mum used to say muck instead of meal, they both work for me.

The leftovers.

I am a great fan of them and its not just about how so many leftover dishes develop better tast the next day its also about budgeting and saving time. An example is the last 2 days. I saw some lean mince on special and thought, Ragu. I know I had plenty of potatoes, I get them by the 10kg bag, cost $6 at present. I also had some celery, onions and carrots in the fridge that needed using. There was also some tinned, diced tomatoes in the pantry.

I bought the mince, cost $5.16 for about 500 grams . Headed home to start cooking. I know that by bulking out the mince with lots of vegetables that I would be left with enough for a YMCA meal the the following.

I cooked the Ragu and served with creamy mash and some mixed vegetables that were in the freezer.

Ragu recipe is available at this link….. http://jimmyboswell.com/foodblog/lean-lamb-mince-ragu-with-basil-and-tomato-sauce/ (I chopped the vegetables chunky rather than fine that is mentioned in the recipe)

The next day I make a like dish with cheese topping. Total serves from a total spend of about $10 for the two days.

YMCA Dinner Sheppard pie

Meal Planning

At the recent Auckland Gluten Free & Allergy Show I talked about meal planning and how this can help make gluten free living easier.

Meal planning for the week can also help us to save quite a lot of time and money and we can select dishes that can offer good levels of leftovers making the meal planning easier and a great way to same money.

I suggest that you plan your meals for the week on a Saturday or Sunday. Flyers have been delivered from supermarkets and you can scan these for specials. I have a link below to a meal planning chat for you to download.

Once you have planned dishes check what you have at home and them make a list of what you need. Keep the meal planner handy when you are shopping as you may find specials of things you need.

http://www.jimmyboswell.com/GFS_Meal_Planning.pdf

Here is a great link to meal planning tips

http://www.mealplanning101.com/2008/09/tips-for-better-meal-planning.html 

 

Shared Grill/BBQ Plates – Cross Contamination Potential


The following are some points to consider that will help you have a Gluten free summer by minimizing cross contamination potential from a shared grill/BBQ plate.

What to do;

Try to grill/BBQ the gluten-free foods first, when the grates are clean, or else reserve a section of the grates just for the gluten-free food (be sure nothing with gluten drips onto it).

If these steps are not possible, grill/BBQ the gluten-free food on aluminum foil or in packets that will keep it off the grill/BBQ surface. I use a double layer of foil as a precaution.

Avoid other sources of cross-contamination.

Make sure separate sets of utensils/bowls etc are used for gluten-free food preparation and cooking. In particular, be careful that utensils used to handle gluten free food on the grill/BBQ are not also used on food that been marinated or coated with gluten containing sauces. Also, be sure the BBQ hosts understand how to protect gluten free food from cross-contamination.

Other Possible ways of Cross Contamination

When you are attending a BBQ, picnic or any other social event where there is both Gluten free and non Gluten free foods being served you have to watch out for cross contamination in communal foods such as dips, spreadable condiments, butter and anything else that could have had a Gluten contaminated utensil used in it. Never double dip! Butter dishes, jelly jars, and salsa at a BBQ are some examples of the types of places you’ll find potential gluten cross-contamination.

Gluten can often be found on cooking utensils, pots and pans, counter tops and more. Even cleaning cloths can spread gluten all over the place.

When I go to a sheared BBQ or picnic I always take my own condiments and keep then separate. I also label them in a bold colour that they are gluten free.

If possible try to have your gluten free food on a table separate from the non Gluten free food. It will protect the serving utensils and food from being cross contaminated.

If that isn’t possible, be sure to serve yourself and your family first before the other guests are served. Some people may not understand utensils used across dishes can be hazardous to anyone who is gluten-free.

For more information about living Gluten free recipes and living visit my Facebook page

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