Gourmet Gift Baskets

If you are looking for a special gourmet gift to be send to a special person without you having to get out of your chair, go and have a look at BisketBaskets.com. They have been in business for over 13 years and deliver amongst others to HARPO studios: if it’s good enough for Oprah, it must be good.

Browsing through their site already puts a smile on your face. The gift baskets are well pictured and you can start browsing according to gift occasion or type. Personally I would want to receive the Farmhouse Blueberry Pancake & Waffles gift set. However there is something for everyone: wine, gourmet, candy, m&m gift baskets, …

A special section is reserved for pets and petowners: if you want to surprise somebody who owns a cat, dog or puppy, and you want to treat for example both the dog and their owner, make your choice out of these marvelous dog gift baskets.

The gift baskets are both for corporate as for personal gifts, and you can even by a handmade card with a hand written text to make your gift even more personally standing out.

Payments can easily be made by credit card or Paypal. For a limited time ground shipping for orders above $125 is free. More information about shipping can be found by each item: standard policy is to ship all items ordered before noon on the same day but the estimated delivery date will be provided when you check out.

Best of all: you can shop today and have your gift basket delivered at any occasion without any extra charges.

Mango Ice

Almost as good as homemade icecream yet much easier: a mango ice recipe of guest chef Wokkingmum.

Who is Wokkingmum?

A mum obviously, who knows how to handle a hectic life, sharing her fast cooking tips and delicious recipes an her site: Let’s get wokking. Each of her recipes are illustrated with her own pictures: what you see is what you get: a culinary site I love!

Mango Ice Recipe

Mango Fresh Fruit Smoothie

Mangos are available everywhere in Malaysia, delicious to eat on their own but even more delicious when cold. When you have a blender, mangoes are ideal to blend with some milk or yoghurt and freeze. Scoop out just before it’s completely frozen and you have a creamy icecream without any fatty cream.

Mango ice ingredients

  • 1 mango: skinned and sliced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) home-made syrup (add to taste), made from 125 ml water and 125 grams sugar, if available, add screwpine-leaves for some extra flavor

How to make mango ice

  1. Blend the mango and syrup in a blender
  2. Remove and freeze the blended mango
  3. When the mango ice is about 80% frozen, remove from freezer.
  4. Use a fork and pick the mango to break the ice.
  5. Scoop and serve with mango slices.

More Mango Tips

  • If you have a smoothie blender, you can freeze the home-made syrup in your icecube tray. Blend the frozen syrup with half a mango and half a cup of milk.
  • However: never use a blender for blending ice unless the knifes come with a warranty.

We kindly thank wokkingmum for featuring her mango ice, do leave a comment and add your recipe to be featured on theskinnycook.com

Indian chicken curry recipe

Delicious Indian chicken curry recipe: fast and easy with a blender, more authentic using a mortar and pestle.

A lot of sweat and tears making your own curry mixture with fresh and dry herbs. More tears if you use an extra amount of chilies… This curry chicken recipe is prepared much faster using a blender, but most Indians will assure you that nothing beats authentic flavor when grinding the ingredients manually.

Indian chicken curry recipe ingredients

  • 1.75 pound (800gr) boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 1 ripe tomato, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon (sea)salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Spicemixture (A):

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves (use the leaves only, not the stems)
  • 100g onions, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 red chilies, seeded and sliced
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and sliced

Spicemixture (B):

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (ketumbar) powder
  • 3 tablespoons Chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (for meat, we love the brand Baba in Malaysia, but choose your own preference)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 7 ounce (200gr) long beans, cut into about 2 inch (4-5cm) lengths
  • 2 cups (about half a liter – 470 ml) coconut milk (can be replaced with normal milk, but of course that gives a different taste)

Seasoning:

  • 1/2 teaspoon (sea)salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock granules
  • Juice of 1 lime

How to make a delicous Indian chicken curry

  1. Indian chicken curry recipeMarinate chicken with salt, ground black pepper and tomato. Set aside for an hour.
  2. Heat oil in a pot, fry ingredients (A) until fragrant and onions are lightly browned.
  3. Mix in ingredients (B) and continue to stir until well blended. Add chicken and coconut milk. Cook covered at a gentle boil for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Take off the lid of the pot and put in the long beans. Continue to simmer until beans are just cooked. Add seasoning to taste and dish out to serve.

Couscous Salad Recipe

Couscous salad recipe

Fast and easy couscous salade recipe with a low fat healthy dressing: ready in 15 minutes with raisins, yogurt, tomatoes, egg and herbs.

So you are health conscious and when you go to a restaurant, you opt for your daily dose of veggies ordering one of the many salads on the menu: sounds healthy right?

Nothing better than raw vegetables, but the demon is in the dressing: what makes a salad delicious is a creamy mayonnaise, worse sometimes when the mayo comes from a bottle with a long shelf life. Not do you add huge amounts of fat to your veggies, the hardened fats in the dressing will clot your arteries slowly but surely.

Take a delicious caesar salad: a creamy mayo dressing and fried croutons: the more delicious when more oil was used for frying. A little side dish caesar salad can easily contain up to 500 calories. That should be good to go if that’s all you are eating that serving…

An easy substitute for mayonnaise is a not too sour yoghurt. You can start out by mixing 1/2 yoghurt under your mayo to find out that the taste is almost the same, minus 50% of the fat. Continue till as far as you can go adding more yoghurt.

For my typical French fries dressing I substituted mayonnaise with yoghurt, some salt, some mustard and added a pinch of curry powder heated a few minutes in a tiny bit of oil. Just use your imagination: there are so many things you can add in a yoghurt to make it more tasty, especially fresh herbs. If your imagination is not awake yet, just google for ideas.

The easiest and most delicious substitute for mayonnaise is a ripe avocado mashed together with salt, lime, chopped onions and spices: from a health and fat conscious point of view, compared to mayonnaise, it’s the holy grail or better the "holy guacamole".

The recipe below uses a salade dressing based on yoghurt with spices, herbs, hard boiled eggs and a little olive oil.

Easy couscous salad recipe

Serves 4.

For the couscous:

  • 360 ml (12 1/4 US fluid ounces) water
  • 240 gram (8 1/2 oz) couscous
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 50 grams (about 2 oz) of raisins
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the salad dressing:

  • 1 small pot of yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • salt and pepper to taste (do taste and adjust accordingly)

For the salad:

  • a small can of corn (about 5 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 firm tomatoes

How to make couscous salad

  1. Place the couscous in a large bowl. Add coriander, dill, basil, pepper and raisins and mix well.
  2. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and stir well with a fork in order that nothing sticks together.
  3. Boil water with some salt and once boiling, pour it over the couscous. Cover the couscous and let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the eggs hard (10 minutes in boiling water), let them cool down under cold water and cut into pieces.
  5. Meanwhile, wash the tomatoes, remove the seeds and cut the tomatoes into small pieces.
  6. Drain the corn and set aside.
  7. In another small bowl, add the yogurt with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon chives, salt and pepper and mix well.
  8. Back to the couscous: after 15 minutes loosen the grains with a fork so that nothing sticks together.
  9. Add the tomatoes, corn, chopped hard boiled eggs and the yogurt dressing and mix well.

Place the couscous salad in the refrigerator and serve cold when needed.

Kiwi smoothie

Enjoy a fast and easy healthy breakfast or snack replacement making this banana kiwi smoothie.

Ready in , 4.5 stars based on3 reviews.

Looking for smoothie recipes doesn’t have to be an excuse not to make them as the basics are:

  • the best smoothies are made with frozen fruit or yoghurt
  • mix fresh fruit and ice cubes for the right consistency
  • make sure you have a blender that is made for crushing ice and
  • taste and adjust ingredients.

Some fruits are ideal to add to give smoothies their thick consistency like always available bananas (ideal if you have bought too many: just cut into pieces, freeze them in and use in smoothies) or mangoes.

Berries add a deep color to the drink and only a few strawberries can make any blend an even better blend: a good reason to buy them in bulk when they come in season during spring and freeze them in small portions of 4 or 8.

Use milk, yogurt or fruit juices to add some liquid or use soy based link or yoghurt to add more protein to your already healthy drink.

All that’s left to do is blend all ingredients and add sugar or sweetener to taste: blend for 30 minutes, taste, add more sweetness if needed and blend another 15 seconds.

Banana kiwi smoothie recipe

  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 little pot of Greek yogurt
  • 6 ice cubes
  • some milk if needed
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to taste or
  • 1 tablespoon of honey to taste

How to make a kiwi smoothie

Kiwi Smoothie

  1. Peel and cut the banana into slices.
  2. Peel the kiwi and cut into pieces.
  3. Place the fruit with yogurt, sugar or honey and ice cubes in the blender .
  4. Blend until you get a frothy drink.

Taste and add more sweetness if your green kiwi was too sour or add some milk when you like your kiwi smoothie a bit less thick (after adding things, blend for another 15 seconds). Serve immediately.

Crab Salad Recipe

Crab Salad Recipe

Super healthy, delicious and easy crab salad recipe with exotic Mexican flavors of lemon and avocado.

Did you know you can easily substitute mayo with much healthier mashed, creamy avocado? This is something they know in Mexico for ages, and they call it ‘guacamole’.

For those that have read that you can grow fat by eating avocados, do know you kan lose lots of weight by simply substituting mayo for avocado. Not to mention you won’t be clogging your cardiovascular system with hardened oils from mayo with a long shelf-life bought in the shop.

Add to that: making mashed avocado is much easier than making fresh mayonaise at home, and the recipe below is a fast an easy winner on all front: taste buds included.

Recipe for crab salad

  • 250 grams (8oz) of canned crab meat
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 lime
  • 175 ml (6 fluid ounces) jar of green olives, pitted and sliced
  • pinch of dried or fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (for some extra oomph: a pinch of cayenne)

How to make crab salad

  1. Mash the avocado with a fork.
  2. Mix the drained crab meat with the avocado, then add the olives and finally the dill.
  3. Squeeze lime juice over salad and stir again.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper (and some cayenne if you find that anything that sounds Mexican should be hot).

This crab salad recipe serves ideally as a crab salad sandwich on your favorite bread, pita or tortillas. You can also substitute the crab with tuna.

Chi Tea green tea extract

Chi Tea green tea extractGreat for your heart, easy to drink and pleasant tasting: green tea extract from organically produced Chi Tea.

Extracts are always more potent as the original: a 30-drop dose of this concentrate diluted in a teacup of hot water is equivalent to more than 10 cups of normal green tea.

Benefits of changing your diet and lifestyle

Books have been written about the benefits of green tea, but by now we all know there is no 1 miracle food that cures all and makes you live until 200 years old.

However being aware of what you eat and making the right choices, will make you life longer in better health for sure. If you change 2 fuzzy drinks with 2 glasses of green tea made from an extract: that could last you a month. That’s extremely convenient, unless you love the exercise of carrying fuzzy drink bottles to your car every now and then.

The extract from the brand Chi Tea is also free of caffeine and free of alcohol, and includes other healthy plant extracts all from organic produce. Last but not least: it tastes great.

I mean, if you need to change your lifestyle for the better, make sure what you are eating and drinking tastes good. Diets based on healthy ingredients but cooked without taste are a recipe for long term disaster: we have food buds and we want to please them, it’s a basic need that fastfood restaurants and processed food producers know all to well.

Luckily for us: if you know what ingredients can be found in nature, and how to combine them to make tasty food, you don’t need MSG and still enjoy overly delicious food.

Green tea benefits

  • reducing the risk of getting cancer: Japan, a heavily consumer of green tea, has the world’s lowest rate of prostate cancer. Again no miracle food: Japanese people eat a lot of fresh fish and stay away from processed food.
  • enhancing the overall immune system
  • lowering total cholesterol and "bad" LDL-cholesterol, increasing "good" HDL-cholesterol levels
  • reducing blood pressure by acts as a “blood thinner”, hence reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Since this particular extract doesn’t contain any caffeine, you don’t have to bother about side effects caused
by caffeine. Concentrated Chi Tea green is not only caffeine free, it’s also alcohol, herbicides, pesticides and fluoride free. Whichever extract you buy: always make sure it comes from organic produce: as you don’t want to concentrate residues of pesticides nor herbicides!

Apart from the green tea health benefits, this particular Chi Tea concentrate is a super anti-oxidant: one cup containing more than 95% Polyphenols and 62% EGCG anti-oxidants. It is fortified with concentrated extracts of goji berry (used in many Chinese tonic soups), astragalus root (lowers blood pressure and regulates blood sugar) and lohan kuo (natural sweetener):

    Goji berry
    Goji Berry: looking like red raisins, just a bit smaller

    astragalus root
    Little strips of Astragalus Root (pak kei) to boost the immune system, increase energy and improve breathing.

    Lohan Kuo
    Natural sweetener Lohan Kuo : easy to spot in your Asian supermarket as they are a bit bigger than ping-pong balls and woody.

Green tea extract gives you a convenient way to consume lots of green tea without the hassle of cooking leaves and concentrating the benefits of green tea at east 10 fold. Look for organic produced extracts like the Chi Tea brand and if possible find extracts that taste great and combine more than 1 ingredient as diversification is the key to a healthy diet.

Fried Prawns Recipe

Fried Prawns Recipe

Delicious, quick and easy fried prawns recipe step by step illustrated.

You can make this recipe even more tasty when you add fine cut mixed vegetables like for example 1 carrot, 1 onion and 1/2 red sweet pepper.

Fried prawns recipe ingredients:

  • 24 large prawns, gutted (remove the black intestinal tract), head removed but tail intact
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken stock (cold water in which half a stock cube dissolved in it)
  • 1 cup cream
  • peanut oil to fry
  • fresh grounded pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (indonesian spicy red chili paste)
  • fresh coriander/cilantro leaves

How to fry the prawns

  1. Heat the oil in the pan, add the prawns and season with pepper.
  2. Turn the prawns after 1 minute, add the sambal oelek and fry rapidly until the gray prawns change to orange/pink.
  3. Stop the frying by adding the cold chicken stock, stir well to get all the flavors in the stock, add the cream and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove immediately from heat, stir in the cilantro leaves and serve the pan fried prawns.

Saeco Espresso Machine : Saeco Namo Deluxe SBS

Make 2 hot espressos at once with the luxurious 15 bar Saeco Namo Deluxe SBS Espresso Machine (15 bar): a value for money coffee machine.

Why this Saeco Espresso Machine?

I bought this Saeco Espresso Machine : Saeco Namo Deluxe BBS as a present for my parents. My parents have a lot of guests coming over, most of them love coffee, so what better to buy them than:

  • an Espresso Machine that makes espresso when a guest arrives: just push a button and "tadaa" : hot Espresso!
  • an Espresso Machine that makes 2 cups in 1 go (again you can drink your espresso together with your guest)
  • an Espresso Machine that makes both strong and mild coffees

What I love about this Saeco Espresso Machine?

saeco espresso machineWhat I like about this Saeco Espresso Machine is:

  • entertaining your visitors to a cup of espresso is fast and effortless, as all the work of putting in coffee, water… is done way beforehand: when suddenly a visitor arrives, all you have to do is start the machine, and a bit later a cup is ready for you AND your visitor. Not like the Delonghi Espresso machine reviewed later, you can easily clean up AFTER your visitors leave. (The Saeco Espresso Machine takes about 4 pints (2 liters) of water and 1 package of un-grinded beans (Coffee bean packet of 8 3/4 ounce – 250 gr)
  • the coffee is really hot!
  • you can make strong or mild coffee by the turn of 1 button: SBS stands for Saeco Brewing System… The Saeco Brewing System lets you master the flow of the water over the beans: a slow flow for a strong espresso and a fast flow for a normal cup of coffee (or a "cafe lungo" as Saeco calls it)
  • machine part is taken out and easily rinsed with hot water

What I "hate" about this Saeco Espresso Machine?

This machine does make some noise grinding the coffee beans, due to a very durable long lasting ceramic grinder. And my mother always has to remind my father to be careful with the door, which looks a bit fragile, yet is still working perfectly.

The Saeco Namo Deluxe BBS has a compartment for the coffee grit and tells you when the coffee grit compartment is full…Or it tries to tell you: actually it only counts the amount of cups made and after 12 or 13 cups the compartment is for sure full. Depending on your coffee consuming habits, just remember to empty and clean the coffee grit compartment every 2 or 3 days, and don’t get too upset when the Saeco Namo Deluxe SBS tells you the grit compartment is full and when you open it, actually the grit compartment is not full yet.. Just take
it out and clean it, because once the compartment is really too full, coffee grit will fall in the machine, no matter how carefully you are taking it out.

Another minus of this Saeco Namo Deluxe SBS espresso machine for a big cup coffee drinker like me, who loves his big cup of coffee black, black, black…: this is again an espresso machine, and a big cup doesn’t fit under this machine. But like I said before: it just takes another press of the button to let the coffee maker make you another cup of hot, hot, very hot coffee!

Price of this Saeco Espresso Machine?

I purchased this in Belgium for 599 Euro, which is about 750 American dollar.

Conclusion Saeco Espresso Machine: Saeco Namo Deluxe BBS

This Saeco Espresso Machine (15 bar) is value for money for a "luxurious" Espresso Machine. It makes 2 hot espressos at once and you have your hands and mind free to entertain guests and visitors when the espressos are made.

This Saeco Espresso Machine is an ideal gift idea if you are family or friends and want to buy a present together for somebody else. In the category of luxurious Espresso machines, this Saeco Espresso Machine is in the low price category and real value for money.

Thai Iced Coffee Recipe

An easy yet delicious Thai iced coffee recipe with the extra sweetness of cardamom!

If you really want to drink this Thai coffee like it is served in Thailand, then add much more sugar and cream! I especially like the extra added sweetness of the cardamoms in order to add less sugar and cream…

Thai Iced Coffee Ingredients

  • 5 fluid ounce (150 ml) strong coffee (2 teaspoons Nescafe)
  • 5 + 1/4th ounce (150 gr) ice-cubes
  • 3 cardamom pods with seeds
  • 1.5 fluid ounce (45 ml) evaporated milk
  • 0.175 ounce (5 gr) (1 full heaped teaspoon) brown sugar

iced coffeeThai Iced Coffee Preparation

  1. With the mortar, open the cardamom pods. Add cardamom with Nescafe or brew a strong cup of coffee. Leave the cardamom at 15 minutes in the coffee and add the sugar: stir until the sugar is diluted.
  2. Put ice in a glass, poor over the coffee and add the evaporated milk. (I don’t bother to discard the cardamom)
  3. Your Thai iced coffee is ready to serve