When I first started making roast, I would not cook the meat long enough and they would come out tough.  The more practice over the years have made my roast fork tender, and I really learned from many mistakes I have made.  Sometimes I make beef roast in a crock pot or roast in the oven.  This recipe is for oven beef roast, but, this recipe could be cooked in a crock pot on low for 8-10 hours.


4-6 Lbs. Rump roast

4 Tbsp. Olive oil

3 (8 oz.) cans beef broth

1 envelope of onion soup mix

1/2 Tsp. salt

1/2 Tsp. Pepper

1 Clove of garlic, minced

2 Bay leaves

1 Sprig of thyme or 1/2 Tsp. dried thyme

1/2 C. Cooking sherry (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large roasting pan, add the oil and let heat on medium heat 2 minutes.  Put beef roast in pan and sear on all sides until browned.  After seared on all sides, turn the burner off.  I take the roast out of the pan so I can get the bits off the bottom when I add the liquids.  Stir in beef broth, onion soup mix, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, minced garlic and cooking sherry, stir until combined.  After blended together, re-insert beef roast.  I take a big spoon and pour the liquid over the top a couple of times.

Turn the oven down to 275 degrees.  Cover and bake in oven for 4 hours.  Roast should be at 140 degrees or above.  Serves 8.

If I want potatoes, carrots and celery in my roast, I add the last hour of cooking.  Vegetables also help give the drippings for the gravy added flavor.

Gravy from beef juices.

3 C. Juice from roast

1/2 C. Cold water

1/2 Tsp. Salt

3 Tbsp. Cornstarch or flour

When roast is finished baking, get 3 cups of juice and drippings and pour into medium size pan on medium heat.  Combine cold water and cornstarch and mix until blended.  Pour into gravy drippings and stir with whisk to prevent clumps.  Add salt and keep whisking until gravy is thick.  Good gravy should coat a spoon.  To test gravy, coat spoon then turn over and run finger down middle.  If streak on spoon stays then gravy is finished. 

Sometimes I take the juices from the roast and add egg noodles and cook on the stove until noodles are tender. 


  1. Roast beef
  2. Stop Eating Too Much & Eat Less Healthy Guidelines
  3. Pat's Roast Beef Recipe : Patrick and Gina Neely : Food Network

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    I grew up on a farm in Mississippi. I’ve been to hundreds of family reunions, 4th of July celebrations (one of the biggest holidays in the south besides Thanksgiving and Christmas) and A LOT of BBQ’s and Potlucks. There probably isn’t an appetizer I haven’t come across down here. But instead of listing them all out (and there are hundreds) I’ll put down the foods you’ll find at every southern function, without fail.

    Deviled Eggs

    – I have never been to a get together that didn’t have deviled eggs. Everyone has their own recipe. My family makes them by hard boiling eggs. Peeling them, cutting them in half, and scooping out the yolks. In another bowl the yolks are mashed and mixed with miracle whip, pickle relish, salt and pepper. The yolk mix is then scooped back into the egg whites and each egg half is sprinkled with paprika.


    -Slow cooked in BBQ sauce or Bacon Fat, and served with 5-10 different sauces. These are always the first things to get eaten up at a get-together, and I have to admit they are one of my favorites. Everyone has their own recipes for this as well. I would suggest cooking them with your favorite BBQ and spices, and serving with a mustard sauce. Many people serve these with little plastic toothpicks shaped like tridents or swords. If you make them…make sure to make a lot.

    Cheese Puffs, Bacon Puffs, Shrimp Puffs, Sausage Puffs, Corn Puffs…OH MY!

    -Pick some ingredients, (cook any meat before using) mix them with some biscuit mix and eggs, beat it up into a froth, and fry or bake them. There are millions of different kinds of puffs you can make. Choose your favorite spices and ingredients, and see what you can come up with.


    -Yes, watermelon. Its simple, delicious, and ALWAYS at a southern cookout. If you want to be really authentic, you could have a seed spitting contest too!

    Potato Salad, Egg salad, Macaroni Salad and Tuna salad

    -While just one can be served, often all four are. Everyone has their own family recipes, but basically you mix the main ingredient (potato, hard boiled egg, macaroni or tuna) with miracle whip, mustard, onions, celery and seasoning.

    Besides all these appetizers, people in the south often serve things like mini-chicken wings, brisket, cheese logs with crackers and meat slices, vegetable platters, ham roll-ups, pigs in a blanket, chips and dip, blooming onions, and crawdad boils.

    Now I’m going to go head to the kitchen for something to eat. This done made me hungry.


    1. List of foods of the Southern United States – Wikipedia, the free …
    2. Healthy Eating for Night Shift
    3. 14 Festive Mini Appetizers – Southern Living

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    There are many health benefits to drinking all teas. This is especially true of green tea. The reason that green tea is better for you than most other teas is because of the way it is processed.

    All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. “Herbal Teas” are not really tea and are more properly call herbal infusions. The harvesting and processing method used will determine which of the four major categories a particular tea will become. The categories are White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea.

    White Tea is made from only the young leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves are then steamed and dried, to prevent fermentation.

    To make green tea the leaves are allowed to wither, the leaves are then steamed or pan fried. They are then rolled and dried.

    Oolong tea is kind of a cross between green and black teas. The tea is withered and bruised. It is then allowed to partially ferment before it is pan fried to stop the fermentation process.

    Black tea is wither, and then allowed to fully ferment. The final processing step is to cook the tea. There are many ways to do this, each creating a different style of black tea.

    Green tea is more beneficial than the Oolong and black teas because it is not fermented. The fermentation process decreases the chemicals in the tea that are good for you, and increases the caffeine in the tea.

    A cup of green tea has only about 5% of the caffeine that a cup of coffee has. By comparison black tea has about 30% of the caffeine of a cup of coffee.

    So what makes green tea so good?

    1. It is high in Polyphenols. Although it is not proven Polyphenols may prevent cardiovascular disease, and may prevent cancer. Polyphenols also increase the rate at which calories are burned.

    Another benefit of Polyphenols is that they have been shown to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.

    2. It contains fluoride. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.

    3. It contains virtually no calories. When tea is consumed without sugar or milk it has virtually no calories.

    4. It contains only a small amount of caffeine. Compare to coffee and soda green tea has only a small amount of caffeine. Green Tea only has about 5% of the caffeine that a cup of coffee has.

    5. It has bacteria killing properties. The batteries killing properties help prevent food posing, help prevent gingivitis and kills the bacteria that causes plaque.


    1. Green tea
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    3. 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea (No. 3 is Very Impressive)

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    Combined with black and oolong, green tea is one of three popular Asian teas sold in Western markets currently. Green tea is considered the most antioxidant rich of the three as it’s growth process involves less oxidation, resulting in a more potent and beneficial tea. The scientific name for herbal green tea is Camellia Sinensis. Let’s explore some of the health advantages associated with Chinese herbal green tea.

    Green Tea Boosts the Immune System

    As was mentioned before, herbal green tea is an antioxidant rich beverage, thus making it naturally beneficial for maintaining health. The concentrations in green tea are extremely high, thus boosting the body’s ability fight off disease and stay well. It will also rid your body of free-radicals that are known to cause disease and illness. When consumed, the body’s natural immune system is enhanced, also preventing illness.
    The expulsion of free-radicals is also linked to the prevention of aging.

    Polyphenol, the predominant constituent contained in green tea, is a highly potent antioxidant as well. Cell strength and potency is naturally boosted by polyphenols, as it will also naturally benefit the immune system. An over worked immune system can result in a person feeling fatigued or tired. Polyphenols will help in combating this. Increased energy has been reported in persons immediately after increasing their consumption of green tea. Combined with a brisk exercise regimen, a diet in green tea will assist in increased energy.

    Using Green Tea to Assist With Weight Loss

    In contemporary times, green tea has become an extremely hot selling item in the health products sector. Many mainstream corporations have introduced green tea, or green tea based products. The weight loss sector is no exception. Green tea has proven effective in burning fat, a major component in a weight loss regimen. There are several products available today in pill format specifically targeted to weight loss.

    It has been said the approximately 2/3 of Americans are overweight. The health risks related to this statistic are great. It has been proven that herbal green tea can assist in a process called thermogenesis, the method by which a human body converts fat into raw energy. A diet high in green tea can help a person convert their fat into energy and subsequently use that energy to embark on an enhanced exercise plan. A winning situation indeed. Additionally, green tea can help increase the metabolic rate, another weight loss benefit.

    Green Tea Can Help Reduce Cancer Risks

    There have been several medical researchers that have produced documentation indicating that the antioxidants contained in green tea can thwart the growth of tumorous cancer cells with it’s ability to eliminate free-radicals in a cancer patient’s body. Additionally, the polyphenols within herbal green tea have proven critical in the eliminating of cancer cells without causing any harm to any of the healthy cells still within the body.

    There have also been indications that people who smoke cigarettes can benefit greatly from drinking increased amounts of green tea. The toxins that accompany smoking have been proven to be reduced greatly when consuming green tea. This in mind, a habitual green tea drinker can combat the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer emphysema, all risks for a habitual cigarette smoker.


    1. 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea (No. 3 is Very Impressive)
    2. Are You Getting Enough Dietary Magnesium?
    3. Green tea | University of Maryland Medical Center

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    Would you like some ideas for meals that are healthy and filling, but, where you won’t miss the meat?  Are you looking for ways to  add variety to your menu without the use of meat as the main  focus? There are many ways to make healthy meat free meals that not only are easily affordable but also are quite tasty.Replacing  meat in your meals does not man it has to be bland or tasteless.  You can substitute  vegetables  or eggs,soy based products and beans for most meat based dishes soy based products

    One simple and easy to make meal is any pasta based meal, such as, spaghetti with a nice tomato sauce using zucchini and mushrooms in place of the meat. You can also make a nice  eggplant Parmigiana to go with the spaghetti dish or as a meal in itself. A great and easy recipe for it  can be found at,http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/eggplant-parmigiana-recipe/index  Other meals from the Italian  cuisine are vegetarian lasagna, a nice baked mushroom and garlic risotto and pasta Primavera  

    Another internationally designed meatless meal is an Irish classic known as colcannon, or mashed potatoes and cabbage mixed together. Basically its boiled up potatoes mashed and cooked cabbage or kale that has been chopped up and stirred in and seasoned with onion, garlic and creamy butter. It is a good substitute for St. Patrick’s day and actually is a traditional Halloween meal. Other meatless Irish meals are stuffed peppers, Puy lentils and rice and potato cakes. you can find more  for these and other dishes at http://irishvegetarian.com/recipes.php

    Other international type meals are Chinese stir fry, Middle Eastern  falafel , Thai  vgetable curry and Mexican black bean quesadillas.These recipes and others can be found at http://www.ehow.com/info_8409421_simple-international-vegetarian-meal-ideas.html

     Eggs are a great substitute for meat in your meals and staying with an international flair we come to a much misunderstood meal. The quiche. A quiche is a French meal made of whipped eggs  seasonings and cheese mixed together with your choice of vegetables  added and baked in a pie shell until it is a nice golden brown. It can be served as a main course or as a side dish and if made properly will be a much requested dish.

     In England most meatless meals are of the soup variety including  asparagus soup with a poached egg, cauliflower, broccoli and mustard soup and leek and Stilton soup.recipes can be found for these and similar meals athttp://britishfood.about.com/od/introtobritishfood/tp/vegetarian.htm

    Closer to home, we have a vairety of South American meals that have no meat. Meals like black beans and rice,and the ever popular re-fried beans   Curtido De Repollo  or El Salvadorean Cabbage Salad*   And here in the U S alone we have many varieties of meatless meals including the always popular and healthy salads and macaroni based meals.

    In conclusion there are many ways to replace the meat in your meals. Its just a matter of insight, preparation and the willingness to try new recipes out.



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    Buying for a Southern baker can be a difficult thing to do, namely because the baker already has what they like. My grandmother for example loves the pans she has, and doesn’t want to change to anything new. Despite that, there are some options for that special Southern baker; gifts that they will love, and better yet, actually use.

    1.Disposable baking pans. Some Southern bakers simply enjoy the experience of baking more than eating their food, and for that reason, often give away their creations. Now they can stop worrying about when and where they will get back their pans. Look for decorative metal pans, or paper loaf pans, which work the same as traditional metal baking pans, but without the expensive associated with losing one.

    2. A cookie press. Manufacturers create this in different sizes with different attachments, for everyone from the beginner to the expert cookie maker. Metal tipped presses are usually more expensive, but plastic tipped presses are very affordable. If the baker likes to decorate cakes, this is an absolute must have. The different tips allow the baker to create a variety of designs, from grape vines to more accurate lettering on cakes. A cookie press also offers a multitude of tips to create dozens of different cookies. And if the Southern baker knows their way around a cheese straw, this makes pumping out the right size fast and easy.

    3. Cookie cutters. A good baker will probably already own a set of cookie cutters, but there are tons of options out there, covering every holiday and major character. Does she like to kick back with the latest Harry Potter book while something’s in the oven? Does she secretly collect Barbie dolls? Have a love for the Fourth of July? There are cookie cutters for those and a whole lot more. Another option is to keep an eye out for antique cookie cutters; even if they aren’t used, its not something that everyone else has. Last summer I found a set of 6 cookie cutters in a metal tin from the 1930s made in Japan, at a yard sale for 50 cents. Even though I’ll never use them, they make an interesting discussion piece in my kitchen.

    4. A set of good mixing bowls. Almost everyone I know has a few mixing bowls, usually a mismatched set since bowls tend to get lost or broken. The other reason to pick mixing bowls, is that they can be used as a regular bowl too. Everyone needs a set of good mixing bowls, even a great baker.

    5. For those without a budget in mind, consider a stand mixer. Cuisine Art makes several different models, with prices starting at $419.99. KitchenAid is the other major brand, and theirs come in a variety of colors and styles, including a special edition pink “Cook for the Cure” model to support breast cancer. Their line starts at $239.99 for the most basic model, while the breast cancer model retails for $349.99.

    Another option is to consider a gift basket; fill it with smaller things like muffin tins, cake pans, muffin tin liners, plastic wrap, and decorative canning jars. Fill it out with pictures of the baker in the kitchen, and special flavored oils. It’s a one of a kind gift that you can guarantee no one else is giving them.


    1. The Southern Baker: Sweet & Savory Treats to Share with Friends …
    2. Optifast Diet Program
    3. Great Gifts from Southern States – Southern Living

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    Gin and Bear it There’s a new kid in town!

    I was introduced recently to G’Vine, the only white spirit distilled from a grape spirit, starring the vine flower and boasts a soft and delicate floral bouquet. Unlike the other heavier scented gin that sits on my private bar, this newcomer to my collection has a smooth and satisfying combination of nine botanicals which have been chosen for their purity and aromatic properties. The tantalizing blend of ginger root, liquorice, green cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, juniper berries, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime, make it a unique and light gin that can be enjoyed on its own or in a mixed drink. After opening the beautifully packaged gin in its’ clear and citrus green colored bottle, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of a strong alcohol aroma. The essence of lime was the primary scent, followed by a licorice flavor on the tip of my tongue. I was able to sip my G’Vine Gin without any other added ingredients, which made this taste test a pleasure.

    Rarely drunk on its own, gin is a relatively dry spirit making it a great base for a simple drink such as gin and tonic, as well as the more exotic drinks with multiple additives such as a Pink Lady. The G’Vine infusion, which has been created by EuroWineGate, is unique to the gin family. The rare green grape flower, which lasts just two weeks after blossoming in June, is handpicked and carefully macerated into the Ugni Blanc grape spirit grown in the region of Cognac. In a second step, the neutral grape spirit which is must smoother and more suave than the traditional grain spirit, is then distilled in small batches. After which the rare combination of botanicals listed above is added. “We have combined the best of fine French craftsmanship with innovative distillation techniques to create G’Vine” said Jean-Sebastien Robiquet, founder and master distiller of EuroWineGate. “Gin is the original flavored vodka and G’Vine, with its combination of pure grape neutral spirit, whole-fruit botanicals, and infusion of vine flowers reflects the same value offerings driving the vodka segment today.” How can you not have a wonderful product to offer when you have a partner like Bruno Roux de Reilhac, as well as an elite team of people coming from the wine & spirits, perfumes & cosmetics, and food engineering industry?

    If you are on a quest for a gin that is different from the rest, give G’Vine a try. Currently, the initial distribution will be in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York City, Washington, DC, as well as Upstate New York. Once these lucky states receive G”Vine, there will be an aggressive expansion into the rest of the United States. With a suggested retail price of $38, G’Vine will be the rave at your next social event or during your own private tasting experience.


    1. Gin Reviews: rereview: G'vine Floraison | the GIN is IN
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    3. Review – G'Vine Gin | thecocktailgeek

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    Coffee is an essential part of the day for many people around the world. Whether they prefer a mug of strong black coffee, an Espresso, Cappuccino, Frappe, or Turkish/Greek Coffee. But did you know that the coffee bean, the world’s second most traded commodity, (second only to petroleum) has to go through a four step labor intensive process before it reaches your mug?

    There are two main species of coffee cultivated for commercial use:

    Arabica coffee

    This is of the highest quality having a good flavor and fine aroma. However, this makes it expensive. It is the oldest species of coffee known and is the most cultivated. Accounting for about 74% of the beans grown worldwide. It is grown in high mountain areas of Latin America, East Africa, Arabia and Asia.

    Robusta coffee

    This is a lower quality coffee higher in caffeine with a bitter earthy taste. It is easier to grow than Arabica making it cheaper to produce and therefor buy. It’s this type of coffee that you’ll often find in supermarkets own-brand instant coffee. It is grown in lowland areas in Western Africa, Southeast Asia and Brazil and was first discovered in the 1870’s growing wild in the Congo.

    Nescafe mix the two types of coffee together making for a low-cost blend which has some flavor – Better than the Robusta on it’s own yet nothing compared with the pure Arabica coffee.

    Growing and harvesting coffee

    Coffee is actually a fruit that grows on the coffee plant. A shrub, which has dark green oily leaves and small white scented flowers, which only grows in hot climates. Coffee beans are the two seeds found inside the cherry of the coffee plant. They are green in color, only changing to the brown coffee bean that we know, after roasting.

    It is grown in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world covering 80 countries and 4 continents with Brazil being the leading producer with 28% of the total world output of coffee and Columbia following in second place, producing about 16%.

    Coffee seeds are planted at the beginning of the rainy season with 20 seeds in each hole. Though it is likely that only 10 of those will survive to grow into a healthy coffee plant. They are transplanted several times as seedlings before finally, after 6 months growing time, the plants are put in the coffee plantation. Although it will be another 4 years until the plants are considered mature. They are often planted alongside food crops such as rice, corn and beans for the first few years or with Guamos trees to protect them from strong sunlight.

    Arabica coffee trees require constant care from farmers and specific conditions to thrive making it is a very labor intensive process. The coffee trees need just 2 hours of direct sunlight a day with a high humidity and lots of mist and cloud. The temperature needs to be between 60-70°f with an even rainfall of 6 inches per month. The trees also need to be fertilized and protected from pests and leaf rust, an infectious mold which causes the leaves to turn black and drop off.

    In countries such as Brazil and Mexico the mature coffee trees blossom over a six to eight week period. After the white flowers which resemble a Jasmine tree have dropped, the berries develop. When ripe and therefore ready to be picked, the berries are bright red and resemble a cranberry.

    In countries located along the equator, such as in Kenya and Columbia, a coffee tree can have blossoms and ripening fruit and mature coffee cherries on the branch all at the same time.

    Harvesting continues year round in Columbia while in other countries the main harvesting season lasts for about 4 months for Arabica coffee and slightly longer for Robusta.

    Trees grow to a height of 10 metres or more but are usually cropped to a height of three meters so that the fruit can easily be reached and removed.

    In some parts of Africa, usually Uganda and Zaire plus Ethiopia, wild coffee grows in the wilderness with wild coffee trees growing up to 10-15 meters tall!

    On average coffee trees can produce coffee for 20-25 years with around 2,000 beans a year which makes roughly 1 kg of raw coffee per year.

    Picking coffee

    There are several methods to pick the berries which contain the coffee bean…

    Hand-Picking or Selective Picking:

    High quality, Arabica beans are always hand-picked to ensure only high quality, ripe red berries are picked. If a berry is not perfect and at the peak of maturity it is not picked and left to ripen to pick later.

    Mechanical Picking:

    On large plantations in Brazil which produce Robusta coffee harvesting machines are used which shake the berries off of the trees.

    Strip Picking:

    In Africa and Indonesia, where Robusta coffee is harvested, pickers take all of the berries, ripe and unripe plus leaves off of the branch in one sweeping movement with there hand. The berries land on the ground on a cloth from which the harvest is later gathered.

    Processing coffee

    There are two types of processing, dry processing and wet processing. Each method varies slightly depending on the country and plantation although dry processing is used mostly for Robusta coffee whilst wet processing which is more labor intensive and expensive is used for processing the high quality Arabica bean.

    Dry processing:

    This is an old method mostly used in countries where water is scarce such as in Brazil, Africa and Indonesia.

    It is a simple technique, less labor intensive than wet processing and more natural; the freshly picked berries are left to dry in the sun for several weeks either being left on the tree to dry naturally or if picked, laid out on concrete patios 5-6 cm deep.

    The berries need to be dried evenly and are moved every 40 minutes to prevent them from laying on the wet surface too long. This is usually done by manual labour though a drying machine can be used to speed up the process.

    Wet processing:

    Wet processing is used mostly in countries in Central America where fresh water is plentiful. It is a fairly expensive process but makes for a better quality coffee.

    First the berries are soaked to remove any impurities. The unripe ones sink while the ripe fruit floats to the top to be processed further. The skin and pulp is removed by machine although it can be done by hand.

    The coffee beans are fermented in large water containers for two days; this is so that any remaining fruit flesh will dissolve and also to remove the thick sticky film layer surrounding the coffee beans.

    Next the beans are re-washed, hulled and spread outside to dry. They can also be dried in a machine powered by wood, gas or solar panel.

    Roasting the coffee beans

    Once the green coffee beans have been picked, processed and dried they must be roasted to bring out the flavor and aroma.

    Roasting lasts for 3-12 minutes and changes the bean both physically and chemically. Once the temperature inside the bean reaches 392°f (200°c) they decrease in weight and increase in volume causing the bean to become less dense. During this time the bean will caramelize changing from an olive green color to the brown color that we know.

    Once roasting is complete and the beans are cooled and sorted the coffee can be ground and brewed… Then it’s time to sit down and relax with a cup of coffee!


    1. Coffee preparation
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    3. Coffee: From Bean to Brew | Mike Cooper – YouTube

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    How to plan a dessert menu? Well there are several ways to do this, if you are organizing a dinner party you have to consider the main dishes as well as your starters to the meal, if it’s a grand affair, or if it’s an informal dinner party.

    You need to consider the likes and dislikes of your guests, as well as yourself. For the most part it would be assumed that you know your guests and their likes and dislikes to a degree anyway.

    So let’s start with a grand affair, which could be a special celebration like a birthday, a reunion, or something similar.

    If you are starting with a fruit you might not want fruit within your desserts, or if you did you would want to choose different fruits as desserts, if you had pastry somewhere in your meal either to start or part of your main meal you wouldn’t want a fruit pie or pastry within your desserts. What you need to do is find a real balance within the menu as a whole so that things are not repeated which will add too much bulk and make your guests feel bloated and too full before they even get to their dessert. Nearly everyone will look forward to the dessert so it’s worth making the effort.

    So let’s try putting together a balanced menu here, I am going to start with a small salad of rocket leaves as my base for a seafood starter, a combination of shrimps, mussels and a smoked fish like mackerel that is flaked perhaps, over the top of the other fish, or you could have a Mediterranean fish compilation of squid, shrimps and clams, perhaps cooked ahead of time and marinated in olive oil and lemon juice with seasoning and always add garlic, which I always add in large chunks so that they are easy to discard before I serve up. Not everyone is enamored of it and while they might not mind a hint of garlic they wouldn’t appreciate whole pieces of it on their plate. So we have our starter of rocket leaves, washed of course, as a bed for the seafood, spoon over the marinade, never waste it, and garnish with finely chopped parsley. No need to further season as the seasoning will have been done within the marinade. If your guests want to further season allow them to do that at the table by offering them salt and a pepper grinder which is always much nicer. Also offer plenty of fresh warmed bread, no butter as this will spoil the starter.

    Now for the next course, since the first course has been quite light we can now afford to offer something a little more substantial, remember this is the second course of four, since it is a grand dinner party, we want to make an impression don’t we? Ok, so I would suggest either a risotto or a pasta dish, perhaps a few ravioli with a very nice plain tomato sauce, or cannelloni with a ricotta and spinach filling with the same plain tomato sauce. If it’s a plain sauce then it won’t be too heavy. Keep it simple because the filled pasta is quite special as it is. The sauce is easily made, by just sauting a small finely chopped onion, a garlic clove and freshly chopped parsley, in olive oil, season, add your sieved tomatoes and cook for at the very least an hour, longer if possible. Obviously make enough for your guests, I would use two cartons of the tomatoes for four people as a starter course which is what this is, if it were for the main meal I would make more sauce.

    So the starter and second course is spoken for. Now comes the tricky part the main course, we need to think about what we started with which was fish, and the second which was a filled pasta dish, no meat used in the second course, so we need to decide what meat to use, which could be a leg of lamb, boned and stuffed with ham and mushrooms, I have cooked this many times and it looks pretty impressive. What you need to remember is that the lamb must be cooked very slowly, and it needs to rest, once cooked for at least half an hour before you slice it. So we will go with the lamb, your butcher can bone it for you, and if you are quite handy in the kitchen with this type of thing then go ahead and have a go and do it yourself. You do need a sharp knife which needs to be fairly small. Cut the lamb to the bone along the whole of the leg and simply scrape at the bone to remove the flesh from it. Once you have done this you are now ready to stuff it. You will need at least 8 to 10 slices of honey roasted ham, not too thickly sliced and lightly sauted mushrooms, onions and bread crumbs. Lay the ham across the open flesh of the lamb and top with a layer of mushrooms and onions and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Season well with freshly ground pepper and salt, now you need to bring the lamb together and tie it with fine string, if you cut lengths of string just big enough to knot off then it will be a lot easier. Take your time and secure the leg of lamb so that none of the stuffing is visible. It does take a little time but well worth it. Place it in a roasting pan just big enough for the piece of meat, season it, place it in a hot oven for 30 minutes to brown it a little then cover with aluminum foil and lower the heat as if you were braising. Allow it to cook on this low heat for at least four hours, check from time to time and baste it well. Once it is cooked remover it and let it stand.

    In the mean time think about what vegetables you might like. I like roasted veggies with my lamb so I would prepare a selection such as sweet red and green peppers, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, onions and whole plum tomatoes and perhaps chunks of aborigine. There are no hard and fast rules about what veggies to roast of steam for that matter, just what you like or prefer, and since we had a pasta dish for one of the courses I wouldn’t bother with potatoes here. Roasted vegetables always look nice and caramelized once done and they compliment the lamb beautifully, in face they compliment any roasted meat well.

    So now we come to the main reason for the written piece. How to plan a dessert menu, well I think you can see that planning a menu, even a dessert menu depends largely on what the whole menu is to begin with, so far we have a fish starter course followed by a pasta course, and then the main course of slow roasted stuffed lamb and roasted vegetables.

    We now need to think of desserts that will compliment the courses that have preceded the dessert. Lamb is quite fatty, so any dessert we choose should be refreshing and light. Fruit is always a favorite, but you might want to have more than one dessert on offer, so a good fruit salad is a good one, perhaps a dairy dessert, like a fool or syllabub, and perhaps an ice cream gateau of some sort. I don’t know about your guests but mine always like a little of them all so I usually have at least three if not four on offer.

    You could go in many directions with the fruit salad; you could have a berry fruit salad with lots of red berries, an exotic one with passion fruit, guava and pineapple etc. or a very plain one. I always like to add just a little sherry to mine and a dusting of cinnamon with a light sprinkling of brown cane sugar.

    The syllabub can be a citric one with orange or lemon juice, I have even made it with passion fruit and it is so delicious. Always be sure to offer small servings rather than large ones of the syllabub as it can be quite rich. Of course there is the cheese board, don’t have too many cheeses. Choose a hard one like good strong cheddar, a soft one like gorgonzola or another blue veined cheese and one in the middle, perhaps smoked or non smoked Gouda. Not everyone wants a sweet dessert..ice cream gateau, yes its so easy to make. All you need is a block or container of good vanilla ice cream, fruit such as soft berries and a coolie made of fruits cooked with sugar and sieved, and allowed to cool of course, although serving warmed coolie with ice cream gateau is quite acceptable. All you need to do is soften the ice cream just so it is a little pliable, not melted, put it in a bowl along with the soft fruit, add a little sherry or your favorite liquor, a fruit based one and mix all the ingredients together, place the ice cream mixture into a prepared cake tin and put it back into the freezer. When you are halfway through the main course take it out of the freezer to slightly soften, turn it out onto a nice glass plate and drizzle the cool coolie over it and sieve icing sugar over it. Now all you need to do is make a nice pot of coffee to finish the meal off nicely.don’t forget the mint chocolates.enjoy!

    This can be used as a basis for any menu making, think about who will be attending, what their likes and dislikes are, how they will be eating, at a table or as finger foods for a buffet etc, and what type of meal it will be, formal or informal. There are no rules as such, but just a little thought can make it as enjoyable for your guests as it will be for you, the cook. There is something quite special about sharing a meal with friends and family, so make it extra special.


    1. Easy Entertaining Recipes – Food Network
    2. Peanut Butter Diet
    3. Entertaining | BBC Good Food

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  • stylesizzle.com
  • Healthy Living

    An uncomplicated and extremely pleasant way to entertain guests. That would be the best definition for a cocktail party. And, honestly speaking, it is also a painless way to entertain business acquaintances or take care of social obligations with people with whom you don’t care much about spending a long evening or sharing a complete meal with.

    Let’s go straight to the main course of a cocktail: the drinks.

    If you have a large number of guests and no professional bartender to help out with the mixology duties, then the best idea is to let the guests help themselves out and set up strategically placed “self service” tables with the necessary items.

    You will need to provide your thirsty friends with at least five basic liquors: scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka and rum. You can also include interesting additions such as Peruvian Pisco and Mexican Tequila. Accompany them with an assortment of mixes, orange and cranberry juice, buckets of ice, wedges of lemons, glasses in several sizes and long-handled bar spoons. For the “light drinkers” you can include wine and beers. Don’t forget your non-alcoholic friends. Besides the juices, provide them with sparkling mineral water.

    If you want to keep things simpler, and have your friends just relax and be served, you can choose one or two types of cocktails, made up in batches. For example, pitchers of Martinis and Margaritas, of Tom Collins and Cosmos, any combination that you think might be a good mix for your crowd.

    In general, a cocktail party shouldn’t be longer than two hours. Those two hours should fall anywhere between 5 8 pm. It is not a good idea to go beyond that time, because a cocktail party is usually the prelude for another event: going out for dinner, the theatre, another party, etc. So, try to keep it within the two hour frame and, if there is going to be dinner afterwards, keep the appetizers light and simple.

    Talking about appetizers, we can go to the second most important element of your cocktail party: the food. Imagine how your party would end up with all those drinks and no food. Stay on the simple side. An assortment of well-chosen cheese and crackers, pates and small quiches bought at a specialty store are enough for an informal party. If you want to get more sophisticated and impress your guests you can have specially made hors d’oeuvres such as smoked salmon, stuffed mushroom caps, ready to eat shrimp, artichoke dip with veggies, etc.

    The last but not least element of a successful cocktail party is the ambiance. Make sure that you have different cozy sitting areas throughout the party so that people can sit down, relax and chit chat. Tall round tables are great for this type of parties, because people can eat, drink and talk, but they don’t get stuck in one sitting area. It gives them more room to move around and mingle. To set the mood, work up the lights to create a smooth atmosphere, cool music in the backgrounds, fresh flowers and candles.

    My best advice: don’t overdo it. The two most important ingredients of successful entertaining are simplicity and creativity. However you choose to organize your cocktail party, you should always be within your comfort zone and be able to manage it. In this way, you will not feel overwhelmed and when your guests arrive you will be relaxed and able to greet them with your best smile.


    1. How to Plan a Cocktail Party – Beau-coup
    2. Cranberry Juice Benefits
    3. How to Throw a Cocktail Party: 6 Steps (with Pictures)

    Image Credit

  • brokeandchic.com