Decorative Sushi

Kazari Maki Sushi

Hot Stone Cooking

Hot Stone Cooking is first referenced in Egyptian times, with people using the extended, but lower heating time of stone for items that couldn’t be cooked directly in the fire. Skip forward five thousand years or so and the concept has undergone something of a rennaisance with products now offered which have been refined for both home and commercial use.

Obviously the stone is the key ingredient and the exact composition of the stone will affect both the time it takes to heat the stone and also the time you can cook on the stone for. A popular misconception is that you can use granite or marble, but whilst these stones can work, their lifetime is very limited due to cracks that appear as the higher moisture content causes the stone to expand unnaturally during heating.

Volcanic rock is the only natural stone that can withstand direct and sufficient heat to give a pleasant cooking experience and even then certain types of stone will still experience surface cracks and we have offered a guide under each brand reviewed on this site to show how resilient and fit for purpose the stone that is used is.

The general rule of thumb is that the stone should be somewhere between 300-440ºC, though we have found that at the higher end the food can overcook and even burn. The optimal heat to cooking time ration appears to be found at around 350ºC, though lower temperatures can be used for certain steaks, including Tuna, which don’t require quite as much heat to cook.

Cooking Platter and Bowl

Source: Hot Stone Cooking Association

Afternoon Tea

High Tea for Two in Hong Kong

Cakes and Pastries

  • Muffin
  • Chocolate Puff
  • Macaroon
  • Strawberry Tart
  • Blueberry Tart
  • Chocolate Cake
  • Chocolate and Jelly Beans

Savoury Finger Food and Dessert

  • Shrimp oh Baguette
  • Ground Meat Puff
  • Smoked Salmon on Bread
  • Matcha Mousse
  • Lychee Jelly

America’s Next Top Super Berry?

Anne Marie Chaker wrote in Wall Street Journal ……..

As the health world touts berries as a low-sugar, high-fiber super food, growers, chefs and food companies are looking for the next big mainstream berry hit.

Move over, acai. Food and flavor companies are hunting for the next big berry.

Berries are nutritional royalty these days for their reputation as both a “low glycemic food” and a rich source of antioxidants, the substances that may protect cells against the damaging effects of “free radicals.” And like a dash of red lipstick, berries provide a splash of rich color and an upscale aura to supermarket products ranging from breakfast cereal and granola bars to juices and yogurt. Their fan base spans from the health- and diet-conscious community to picky toddlers.

Most berries want to emulate blueberries, which have transformed from tasty things found in muffins and pancakes to stars of the produce aisle, says Lu Ann Williams, head of research for Innova Market Insights, based in the Netherlands. Now more varieties want to make the leap from seasonal treat to staple. Since 2008, Innova says, U.S. marketers have introduced 358 products with goji berries as an ingredient, about 200 with bilberry and more than 500 with elderberry, the latter driven largely by its use as a natural food coloring. “They’re here to stay,” Ms. Williams says.

Growing demand has led U.S. farmers to plant more acres of berries and spurred imports from more growers overseas, especially raspberries from Mexico and blueberries from Chile. Their tiny size often means laborious handpicking and special packaging and shipping, and many travel long distances to American supermarkets.

The result is that berries remain a premium product, with an average retail price of $2.82 for units comparable with $1.68 a pound for stone fruits like plums, peaches and nectarines, according to Nielsen Holdings N.V.’s Perishables Group.

No wonder berry consumers tend to be higher-income, says Roberta Cook, agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis. “Families with kids living in affluent suburban neighborhoods and cosmopolitan areas index extremely high for berries,” she says.

In the past two years, weekly same-store supermarket sales of berries have risen 18%, according to Nielsen, despite an average 4% rise in retail prices for the berries in the same period. Sales of raspberries rose 31%, and blackberries and blueberries 27% and 25%, respectively. Strawberries’ respectable 11% increase is actually a drag on growth.

The Washington Red Raspberry Commission, which represents growers, has taken note of blueberries’ success and funded recent studies on raspberry consumption’s effects on diabetes, chronic inflammation and other ailments. Driscoll Strawberry Associates Inc., a Watsonville, Calif., berry grower, last year began promoting heart health on supermarket signs and recipe cards with the slogan, “Raspberries…Your Heart Will Love You Back.”

Of course, as with a lot of dietary health claims, consumers’ hopes often outweigh the scientific evidence.

Once best known for flavoring ice cream, black raspberries are now playing a role in cancer research. Don Sturm has more than doubled the size of Sturm’s Berry Farm, in Corbett, Ore., in the past five years to 290 acres. He grows everything from blackberries to Marionberries, but much of his new acreage is devoted to black raspberries.

In 2009, Mr. Sturm formed a partnership with a cancer researcher, Gary Stoner, and a tech entrepreneur, Steve Dunfield. Their company, BerriHealth, sells black raspberry liquid extract and freeze-dried powder to university researchers testing the effects on cancers and chronic inflammatory diseases.

“I never even liked black raspberries that much before,” Mr. Sturm says. “But now I make sure to put them on my cereal every day.”

Some trace the start of the berry boom to the late 1990s, when Tufts University researchers showed that a diet of blueberry supplements helped alleviate age-related declines in motor and brain function in rats. In addition, blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, pigments that provide the dark-blue color and offer antioxidant benefits. The Tufts findings fueled hundreds of studies on the effects of other berries on cancer prevention and heart health, says Mary Ann Lila, director of North Carolina State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute.

Next came acai, the small, black berry from Brazil, which made a splash in 2008, when TV doctor Mehmet Oz called the acai an “antiaging” food.

The tiny, purple aronia berry, or chokeberry, a native of the eastern U.S., had all but disappeared from cultivation until growers saw its potential as a health food. The Midwest Aronia Association formed in 2008. Westin Foods, of Omaha, Neb., whose top-selling food product is bacon, now sells aronia berries under the Superberries brand in packets of gummy chews for kids and in concentrate form for adding to smoothies.

Amy Butts, 31 and the mother of two boys, had never heard of an aronia berry before wandering into the Superberries store in Omaha last year and buying the gummy chews. They have since replaced the Betty Crocker fruit-flavored snacks that used to be a staple in her household. She pays about $19 for a bag of 11 packets, which lasts about a month.

Unfamiliar berry flavors can be earthy or tart, as in the case of goji berries and bilberries, which are the blueberry’s smaller, tarter cousins. To introduce these flavors to consumers, many companies blend them with sweeter, more-familiar flavors, like raspberry or pomegranate, says Ed Nappen, a senior marketing manager for International Flavors & Fragrances Inc., the big supplier of ingredients based in New York.

On the radar for next year is the Olallieberry, a hybrid cross of loganberry and youngberry that is known locally in California, says Andrea Ramirez, customer marketing manager for Torani, a San Francisco maker of berry and other flavored syrups. “Seasonally you see it around here in pies and other desserts,” she says. “It tastes sweet and tart and is especially good in lemonades, iced teas and cocktails.”

Barberries are tart, currant-size red berries known primarily in Iranian cooking. Dried barberries—called zereshk—can be found in Middle Eastern markets. Clif Bar & Co.’s “Kit’s Organic” line of snack bars, launched a year ago, features a Berry Almond flavor that contains barberries along with dates, bilberries, almonds and sea salt.

“I had never heard of them until our cook in the kitchen said, ‘Hey, try these,’ ” says Tara DelloIacono Thies, Clif Bar’s registered dietitian.

“Shocked” is how she describes her reaction to the flavor. They give a “nice balance” to the sweet dates, she adds, and their smaller-than-a-raisin size adds unique texture.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Grilled Chicken Breast with Fiery Salsa


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each)
1 lemon, cut into quarters


1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt


1 cup chopped mango
2 to 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp canola oil


  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Brush over chicken and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix together salsa ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade. Grill chicken 4 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. Remove to serving platter. Squeeze lemon juice over chicken and serve with salsa.


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