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Advice for first time drinkers

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When going to the pub and drinking for the first time, it’s important to drink moderately. There are many good pubs out there like The Cornershop Bar and it is a great experience going to pubs for the first time and having your first pint but you also probably want some advice as well. The first piece of advice for drinkers of all experience levels is this: know and understand how alcohol affects the human mind and body so that any risks or dangers can be minimized or avoided. 

  • Stay hydrated. One major effect of alcohol on the human body is dehydration, and dehydration is the cause of many of the negative side effects of drinking, including the hated hangover. So, drinkers should, among other things of course, prepare for and manage this effect before, during, and after drinking. 
    • Eat first, snack during, eat after.  Drinking on an empty stomach means that the alcohol will hit quickly and all at once. However, if the body is digesting food, especially food with a lot of protein, like meat or nuts, the body will take longer to digest the alcohol. To keep the slower digestion going, drinkers should snack while they drink, top their stomachs off before going to bed, and plan to have protein-rich foods available for when they wake up. 
    • Drink water, drink water, drink water. Drinkers should drink plenty of water on the day they plan to drink, especially during their pre-drinking meal. A good rule of thumb while drinking is to make every third drink a glass of water. Additionally, they should have at least one, if not more, glasses of water before going to bed post-drinking and do the same when they wake up. This should lessen effects like headaches and muscle cramps. 
  • Stay safe. Drinking alters many things in the human brain and body, including reflexes, emotional regulation, judgement, and impulse control. This means drinkers tend to do things they wouldn’t normally do, and it also means they become vulnerable to the actions and choices of others. So, before drinking, everyone should take steps to avoid these things.
    • Have a designated driver. Some drinkers drive to the location at which they plan to drink, thinking they will call a ride service when they plan to leave, but many complications can arise with this plan. Firstly, since drinking impairs judgement, some drinkers end up driving regardless of their plan. Secondly, drinkers may have trouble using their phone to order a ride or drivers may not be available when they are needed. Thirdly, if the drinker can’t drive or order a driving service, they may feel compelled to accept a ride from a stranger or someone they just met, which is never safe. 
    • Have a designated sober person. This may be the designated driver, if the designated driver stays on location, or it may be a friend they meet at the location who does not plan to drink. The role of this person is to have their own sober fun, but it’s also to serve as a check on the drinker’s impaired judgment, emotional regulation, and impulse control. This may include comforting the drinker if they become emotional, helping the drinker regulate their intake, discouraging the drinker from making unsafe choices, or pointing out possible safety risks from others. 
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Most Iconic Italian Dishes

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Italian dishes; we all know them and we all love them! But what are the most iconic Italian dishes that we all know and love? Want to eat some of the most authentic Italian food? Check out Grapevine Shoreditch.

There are so many great Italian dishes, but what are the most popular dishes, the most iconic dishes? Well, we are going to find out here and now.

The Dishes 

The first dish that always comes to everyone’s mind is always spaghetti, so let’s start with that one. 

Spaghetti is a dish that has long, thin, round noodles called, well, spaghetti noodles. Here is why spaghetti noodles are called what they are. Spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, which is a diminutive of spago, meaning “thin string” or “twine”.

Spaghetti, along with the noodle usually has a tomato-based sauce poured over the top. The next thing that most people like to put in their spaghetti is meat, usually beef. Now there are two ways people usually put meat in their spaghetti, one is to mix ground beef in with the sauce and make it a meat sauce, the other way is to meatballs in your spaghetti and make it spaghetti and meatballs.

Now for the next dish, Pizza! Pizza is one of the most iconic Italian dishes.

Pizza is a dish made from a flatted circular piece of dough, which is then typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese, and usually a few seasonings such as basil, bay leaves, and possibly several other spices.

 There are also many different toppings you can put on your pizza such as olives, pepperoni, mushrooms, different types of vegetables, and many other things. That pizza is then put into a wood-fired oven and cooked.

Our next dish is Lasagna. Lasagna is made with layers of pasta stacked on top of each other. Those layers of pasta typically have some type of ragù which can have meat and tomato sauce, vegetables, cheese, or cheese and vegetables in it along with different types of seasonings and spices. 

Lasagna actually started out as a poor man’s food, and then it transformed from a poor man’s food to a rich meal filled with the ragù, or meat sauce.

The next dish on our list is Ravioli.  Ravioli is a type of Italian dumpling, where they usually stuff some type of meat or cheese between two thin pieces of a flat piece of pasta. That pasta is typically square, but they do make them circles or half-circles at times as well. 

The last dish on our list is actually an iconic Italian dessert called Gelato. Just like normal, we saved the dessert for last.

Gelato is similar to ice cream, although it is not exactly the same. Gelato has a smoother more velvety texture than normal ice cream does. It also has less fat than ice cream does. Gelato is dense, where ice cream has more air in it which makes it fluffier.

Gelato also usually has a more intense flavor than ice cream does.

There are so many other dishes we could talk about, but I will leave you here with these Most Iconic Italian Dishes for you to try for yourself!

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The most popular Italian dishes

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Let’s clear the air: 1) Italian dishes are more than pasta and pizza, 2) Italian pasta and pizza isn’t what most people think it is, and 3) Yeah, Italian pasta and pizza is amazing, but so are other Italian dishes. So, without further ado, here are some of the most popular  Italian dishes with their proper descriptions:

  • Pasta. Want pasta delivered to your doorstep? Check out Gigi’s Pasta. Saying “Italian pasta” is like saying “bread.” What kind of pasta? With what toppings? With what type of sauce? The fact is, different regions in Italy are famous for different types of pasta, and each chef and home cook puts their own spin on those pastas. The following are two examples of the literal thousands of pasta variations that Italy is famous for
    • Spaghetti alla Carbonara, for example, is most famous in the Vatican City region and is made with toppings of eggs, bacon, cheese, pepper, and chili pepper.
    • Tagliatelle al ragù alla Bolognese is famous in the Bologna region. Tagliatelle is a long, flat, egg-based pasta served with sauce that includes beef, pancetta (salt-cured and dried pork-belly strips), butter, carrots, celery, onions, and tomatoes.
  • Pizza. Like pasta, pizza comes in innumerable varieties in Italy.
    • Margherita pizza is famous in the Naples region and is generally made with a thin crust and a topping of olive oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. 
    • La pizza Napoletana is famous in the Napoli region. The crust is made with wheat flour, yeast, salt, and water. As such, the dough requires 24 hours to properly rise. The specialty here is definitely in the crust, which is a fluffier variety than Margherita pizza crust, and can be topped with various ingredients. 
  • Arancini are breadcrumb-coated fried rice balls that are often stuffed with ragù, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and peas. Like other Italian dishes, the ingredients differ regionally.
    • Arancini con ragù is popular in Sicily and generally contains tomato sauce, rice, and mozzarella.
    • Arancini con burro originates in Naples and contains creamy béchamel sauce (white sauce).
  • Lasagne is originally accredited to the Naples area and consists of layers of lasagne pasta, cheese, ground meat, vegetables, varieties of sauces (like ragù, béchamel, or tomato sauce).
  • Osso buco alla Milanese’s base ingredient is veal shanks, which are braised in white wine. The veal is topped with vegetables and gremolata (parsley, garlic, and lemon). Many diners enjoy consuming the bone marrow after eating the main dish. As the name suggests, this dish originates in the Milan region. 
  • Prosciutto is best known in the central and northern regions of Italy, though variations throughout the country certainly exist. In this region, though, prosciutto is most frequently made with sliced, dry-cured ham and served with pasta, cheese, or sweet melon. 
  • Ribollita translates to “rebioled” and comes with the most variations as it is soup  traditionally made of unfinished food from other meals. The primary ingredients are water, bread, and vegetables, though it can also sometimes contain meat. This dish is especially popular in the Tuscany region of Italy. 
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Keto Grilled Cheese That Tastes Like The Real Thing

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There are many hard things about eating healthy, especially when you are sticking to a specific plan. Some recipes are incredibly complicated. Sometimes you just want something comforting and straightforward. We will go through everything you need to know about making a keto-friendly grilled cheese that will satisfy your craving without stressing you out.

The Right Stuff

Having a “healthy” grilled cheese may seem like an oxymoron. They are typically high in salt, fat, and carbs. Fortunately, those who follow the keto diet know that fat doesn’t have to be wrong. The most important part for you to keep your meal keto-friendly and your diet on track is to choose the right bread. 

Long gone are the days of nutrient deficient, high carb bread. When selecting your bread, of course, make sure the carb count is low (look for something in the two carbs per slice range) and the fiber count is high. Fiber has many health benefits as well as helps you feel full and satisfied. You also want to look for bread that has protein. Yes, it’s real! Protein is vital for building muscle and meeting your other dietary goals.

The only other ingredients you need for a fabulous sandwich are butter and cheese. Seriously! You can make a grilled cheese with any kind of good melting cheese you like. I enjoy combining a slice of sharp cheddar with a piece of muenster or provolone. I might use all three if I have them handy. All that’s left now is butter, and the more, the better in my experience.

Griddle Cheese

Now, there are many ways to make grilled cheese. If you are a person who thinks mayo cooks better than butter and enjoys the flavor, please continue basking in your wrongness. All jokes aside, my favorite way is to coat the bread slices in butter, then cover the old sandwich griddle that belonged to my great granny. I just love getting to use it because it reminds me of all the comfort and love that went into the grilled cheeses my granny made for me as a kid. Half the appeal of grilled cheese, for me at least, is in remembering those childlike feelings. It is comforting food!

If you don’t have an old family heirloom or sandwich press, you can still make a fabulous grilled cheese sandwich with nothing more than a frying pan. If you need to be told how to make a grilled cheese, this is probably your best bet. You can control the temperature and add more butter as it cooks if needed. Unlike hamburgers, if you’re a flipper (I’m so guilty), you can flip until perfection without fear.

Step It Up

There are seemingly endless ways to jazz up grilled cheese. If you’ve burned yourself out on the classic, I have some keto-friendly suggestions:

  • Avocado
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni
  • Egg
  • Guacamole
  • Pesto
  • Jalapeños
  • Bologna
  • Blue Cheese
  • Feta Cheese

Now that you know a healthy way to work one of your favorite foods back into your diet, it will make sticking to your plan more manageable and way more delicious. The science behind keto says the best diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. Once you get the right bread, you’re left with a lot of fat, fiber, and protein. Sounds keto (and tasty) to me! Of course, your body still needs carbs, just not nearly as many as we typically consume unrestricted. The perfect bread will always have some carbs, but they are negligible.

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Oat Bars for a Morning Energy Boost

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So, let’s just be real here. A whole lot of us find ourselves lacking in energy most mornings. Sometimes you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, or maybe you’re just simply not a morning person, but your job needs you there by 7 every morning. Whatever the case may be, most of us could use a little help getting up the energy to carry us through those hours before lunch break. And sometimes, coffee or energy drinks just don’t cut it. That’s when oat bars can come into the mix and rescue you from those dreary early mornings.

Get Breakfast in Without Sacrificing Sleep

So, here’s the situation. A lot of us, know a healthy breakfast is a key to more energy in the morning. But, like… so is sleep, you feel? That’s where an oat bar can enter the equation and provide you with some morning fuel that you don’t have to get up even earlier to consume. 

With all the nutrition but literally zero prep, you can get your nutrients and your sleep, too. Snooze away, night owls. Oat bars have you covered.

Long-Lasting Energy without the Crash

Many of us out there are used to relying on caffeine to give us that boost we so desperately need in the early hours. But caffeine, while wonderful, is fleeting. Eventually, you’re going to come off that high and crash, leaving you more tired than before. Not to mention, the added sugars from energy drinks and sweetened lattes only exacerbate the issue, leaving you with not only a caffeine crash but a sugar crash, as well.

A good oat bar, packed with nutrients and vitamins, can give you longer-lasting energy that’s backed with all-natural energy-boosters like fruits, oats, and proteins. This means you won’t have any drug to crash down from, and you’ll be able to avoid that post-caffeine headache while also avoiding that fight to keep your eyes open at your desk before 11 AM (specific? Maybe. Relatable? Most likely).

A More Healthful Option

With natural, wholesome ingredients, a good quality oat bar will nourish your bod with things like fruits for natural sweetness, oats for brain-feeding carbs, and a natural protein like egg whites, a solid oat bar provides you with all of the nutrients you need and none of the junk you don’t.

Remember that quick convo we had about refined sugars harshing your mellow earlier? Unfortunately, a lot of fast breakfast options come loaded with these artificial sweeteners and flavors. This means that donuts (while delicious) will give you an initial sugar rush, but the effects will be short-lived. Plus, those empty carbs won’t leave you feeling actually satisfied and full, but more bloated and craving more.

A Good Option for Those with Food Sensitivities

In recent years, a lot of us have paid more attention to our gut feelings (literally) and seeing a specialist if we think our diet may be a part of our discomfort. There’s no doubt that what you put in your body has a huge effect on your overall health, and many of us have sensitivities to or trouble digesting things like dairy, gluten, and corn. If you’re one of those people who experience bloating or nausea, or even a food allergy to, one of those commonly-present, sneaky little ingredients, oat bars can be a great option for you. The best of the best oat bars are gluten and lactose-free, making them a perfect fit for most people, no matter what your digestive system can or cannot handle. With nutrition that’s good for you and your body, and oat bar provides you with guilt-free, allergy-free energy that doesn’t leave you bloated or crashing.

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Simple Sourdough Recipe For Beginner Bakers

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Copy of Simple Sourdough Recipe For Beginner Bakers

Freshly baked Sourdough Bread straight out of the oven and slathered with delicious salted butter has got to be one of life’s greatest pleasures. Perhaps you think that the only way to get your hands on a show stopping sourdough loaf is to head to your local bakery or brunch spot. Well, we’ve got good news for you — baking sourdough bread at home isn’t as complicated or complex as it may seem. 

With just a handful of ingredients such as Flour, Water, Salt and a sturdy stand mixer, you’ll be able to produce the perfect open crumbed loaf day after day. Ready to bake up a storm? Then read on to find out more about how you can embark on your sourdough journey, even if you’re the ultimate novice at bread baking. 

The Mysterious Sourdough Starter 

First up, in order to bake sourdough bread at home, you’re going to need an active and fed starter which replaces the yeast and helps your loaf rise and develop its distinctive sour flavour. Even though it sounds complicated, a sourdough starter is actually simply a mixture of flour and water that is fed on a daily basis and left out for a week in order to encourage the growth of wild yeasts and bacteria. 

If you don’t have a friend whom you can pinch a bit of starter off, you can always buy dehydrated starter flakes online or even just make your own from scratch. Do keep in mind that you will need to prepare your starter one week in advance if you are attempting to start the process yourself. For more information on how to prepare the perfect starter, click here

The Easiest Sourdough Bread 

Ingredients:

  • 150g bubbly, active starter
  • 250g filtered Water 
  • 500g Bread Flour
  • 10g Himalayan Sea Salt 

Tools: 

  • 1 Banneton
  • A Razor Blade or Bread Lame 
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Gallon Sized Ziploc Bag 

Instructions:

  1. Whisk the starter, water flour and salt together in a big bowl. Squish everything together with your hands (or with your stand mixer with bread hook attached) until all of the flour is absorbed. 
  1. The dough will be dry and shaggy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rest (autolyse) for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour, if preferred.
  1. After the dough has rested, work the dough in the bowl into a rough ball, about 15 seconds. At this point, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in a warm spot to rise. The dough is ready when it no longer looks dense and has doubled in size. 
  1. This can take anywhere from 3-12 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen and ingredients along with the potency of your starter.
  1. During this rise, you can choose to perform a series of ‘stretch & folds’ to strengthen the dough. Click here for a step-by-step video tutorial.
  1. Once your dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl and place onto a floured work surface. You do not need to ‘punch down’ or deflate the dough. 
  1. Starting at the top, fold your dough over toward the centre. Give it a slight turn, and then fold over the next section of dough. Repeat until you have come full circle.
  1. Using a bench scraper, create tension in the dough by turning it in circular motions until the ball of dough is smooth. Flip the dough over and place it seam side down into Dutch oven that has been liberally coated with cornmeal. 
  1. Leave the dough for about 30 minutes to 1 hour and cover with the lid of the pot or a very damp cloth. The dough is ready when it is slightly puffy but not double in size.
  1. Preheat your oven to 250 C for at least 15 minutes. Right before your bread goes into the oven, make a shallow slash with a razor blade or your bread lame about 2 inches long in the centre of the dough. 
  1. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and then remove the lid and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Keep in mind that all ovens are different; you might have to make minimal adjustments to these temperatures.
  1. Remove the bread from the oven, and allow to cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Avoid cutting bread when it is too hot as it will be gelatinous in texture. 

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When it comes to homemade sourdough, practice makes perfect and once you have mastered the basics, the varieties and options are endless. We hope that this article has inspired you to get baking homemade sourdough — we’re sure your friends and family won’t complain about it either! 

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