Category Archives: Food Summer Tips

Piri piri chicken burgers

Serves: 4
Time to make: 30 mins, including marinating
Total cost: $14.00 / $3.50 per serve –
INGREDIENTS
  • 600g skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons minced red chilli
  • 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • oil spray, to grease
  • 4 buns or rolls
  • 2-3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • crisp lettuce
  • sliced tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Step 1 Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic. Use a rolling pin to bang the breast into even thickness to double its original size. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Step 2 Measure the next 6 ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag or shallow casserole dish then massage the bag or stir to combine. Add chicken and turn pieces (or massage the bag again) until chicken is coated on all sides with marinade. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Step 3 Heat a large, lightly oiled frying pan or barbecue hot plate to a medium-high heat then add marinated chicken. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (cut the thickest piece to see that there is no pink in the middle).

Step 4 Halve buns and spread with a little mayonnaise. Assemble lettuce, a cooked chicken breast then tomato slices between bun halves. Season if preferred and serve.

Variations

Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free varieties of bread and mayonnaise.

 

NUTRITION INFO

Kilojoules
1,640kJ
Calories
392cal
Protein
41g
Total fat
12g
Saturated fat
22g
Carbohydrates
35g
Sugars
7g
Dietary fibre
4g
Sodium
710mg
Calcium
70mg
Iron
2mg

Instructions

Step 1 Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic. Use a rolling pin to bang the breast into even thickness to double its original size. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Step 2 Measure the next 6 ingredients into a sturdy plastic bag or shallow casserole dish then massage the bag or stir to combine. Add chicken and turn pieces (or massage the bag again) until chicken is coated on all sides with marinade. Leave to marinate for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Step 3 Heat a large, lightly oiled frying pan or barbecue hot plate to a medium-high heat then add marinated chicken. Cook each side for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (cut the thickest piece to see that there is no pink in the middle).

Step 4 Halve buns and spread with a little mayonnaise. Assemble lettuce, a cooked chicken breast then tomato slices between bun halves. Season if preferred and serve.

Variations

Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free varieties of bread and mayonnaise.

The anatomy of food poisoning

Summer fun is here — but it’s also the season of food-borne illness. HFG senior nutritionist Rose Carr explains what’s happening in our bodies when food makes us sick, and how to avoid it in the first place.

What is food poisoning?

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating or drinking something that contains harmful organisms. This can include bacteria, parasites, viruses and toxins. In 2011 there were 656 reported cases of food poisoning from 122 outbreaks. However, most food poisoning isn’t reported as it’s often quite mild and may affect only a few people.

What happens in our bodies when we eat something dodgy?

When we ingest pathogens from food our immune system begins a chain reaction designed to rid the body of the harmful invader. Symptoms, and how quickly they develop, depend on the type of pathogen and also how much of it we have been exposed to. Often, symptoms start almost immediately or within a couple of hours of consuming the contaminated food or drink but some types of food poisoning can take several days to develop, which makes it difficult to establish the culprit.

The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps and fever. Food poisoning will often pass within 24-48 hours and plenty of fluid and rest is normally all that is required for most of us. Drinks containing electrolytes are helpful with diarrhoea and vomiting as dehydration is a risk. Bland foods are advised but if we can’t keep anything down because of nausea it’s time to see the doctor.

Other indicators that we should seek professional help include: recent overseas travel, blood in faeces, severe headache, dehydration, any other symptoms, or we are just not feeling any better after two days.

Are there any lasting effects?

While food poisoning is not serious for most people, it can have serious consequences for others. People at most risk from food poisoning are young children, older people, pregnant women and anyone whose immune system is compromised by other disease. If that’s the case, or you’re on medication for heart disease or diabetes, see a doctor straight away if you suspect food poisoning.

Some pathogens can lead to more serious conditions. Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) is an auto-immune condition affecting the nervous system that follows a campylobacter infection in a small number of cases. It is rare but serious, and can result in paralysis or death.

Salmonellosis can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning), reactive arthritis (Reiter’s syndrome) — an inflammatory condition that occurs as a reaction to an infection elsewhere in the body — or other non-intestinal infections.

What are the main culprits?

Some pathogens can be found naturally in foods such as raw meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, uncooked rice, flour, raw vegetables and bought salads. Other pathogens develop in food as a result of not being refrigerated quickly enough, or spoilage.

People handling food may have pathogens in the throat, nose, skin, hair or faeces. Food can be contaminated by touching the hair or nose and then touching food; smoking or going to the toilet without washing hands properly before handling food; or sneezing or coughing near food.

Cross-contamination of prepared foods can occur when surfaces and utensils are used for raw or cooked food containing pathogens as well as for other food.

Bacillus cereus can cause nausea, vomiting and possibly diarrhoea within one to six hours of eating infected rice or starchy foods such as potato flakes and pasta. Fortunately, this generally passes within 24 hours. Ingesting small numbers of this bacteria is not a problem but they multiply to dangerous levels when these foods are cooled too slowly, or not correctly stored in a refrigerator.

Preventing food poisoning: The 4Cs

  1. Clean hands (wash and dry them) before handling food. Clean utensils and scrub chopping boards between preparing raw and cooked food.
  2. Cook minced meat and sausages thoroughly (meat should not be pink) and cook poultry until juices run clear. Reheat leftovers until steaming hot throughout.
  3. Cover food. The only time food should be uncovered is when you’re eating it.
  4. Chill food. Keep raw and cooked food separate in the fridge. Use a chilly bin and frozen pad outside to keep food cool.

Summer safety: Avoiding food poisoning

Tips on how to handle and store food safely as the temperature rises.

Summer is all about spending time outdoors with friends – an evening barbie with the family after a long hot day, a picnic on the beach with the kids, a few nibbles and drinks with mates at a live sporting event.  But unfortunately food is more at risk of being contaminated by bad bugs in summer than at any other time of the year. With the right conditions these bugs can multiply in your food, leading to food poisoning and unpleasant side effects. Around 200,000 NZers are affected by food-borne illnesses each year, and some of these cases can be fatal. So it pays to handle and store food correctly.

Hands-on approach

For centuries microbes have been used in food production, primarily for preserving food, and are responsible for many popular foodstuffs such as cheese, yoghurt, bread and fermented foods. In recent years, beneficial bacteria known as probiotics have been deliberately added to food products such as yoghurt in an attempt to promote gut health.

But there are other microbes (bacteria, fungi, mould, parasites and viruses) that can accidentally get into food and cause food poisoning. These usually receive a helping hand from us. Imagine the number of microbes being transferred to your hands as you go about your daily business: opening door handles, using public transport, touching money as we pay our bills and typing on computer keyboards. Over the course of an average day, our hands can come into contact with more than 1000 different surfaces, and we may forget to wash our hands before handling food. Food poisoning incidents can also occur when food is kept at the wrong temperature, or incorrectly reheated, or it may have been subjected to cross-contamination (from mixing raw and cooked foods). All up, these inappropriate handling and storing methods can lead to more than 200 known diseases that can be transmitted through food.

Sussing out the symptoms

The symptoms of food poisoning can vary from mild to severe, and can occur immediately after eating or hours later. They can last anywhere from 24 hours to five days.
When you have food poisoning, you will probably experience one or more of these symptoms: vomiting, nausea, headaches, diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Depending on the contaminant and the severity, fever and chills, bloody stools, dehydration and nervous system damage may follow. Some food-borne pathogens such as Listeria bacteria can cause other symptoms such as miscarriage or meningitis in susceptible people. Food poisoning can also lead to other long-term illnesses and symptoms.

Food safety at home

It may come as a surprise for you, but it’s estimated that around four out of 10 cases originate in the home. How could this be? Well, during the day, your pet may have run through the kitchen and contributed a few bad bugs to the microbe colony on your kitchen floor. Most of us would never contemplate eating off the floor but some of us use our washing-up cloth to wipe up floor spills also. Then if you proceed to wash your plates or wipe your chopping board with the same cloth, those bad bugs are transferred across, begin to multiply and before you know it you are racing to the toilet! Yep, food poisoning is as easy as that – and this is just one of the many ways it can happen to you and your family.

Clean cooking tips

  • To keep your food hygienically clean, try to keep all utensils, equipment (including your hands!) and preparation areas squeaky clean. Make sure you thoroughly wash and dry your utensils such as chopping boards and knives, as well as surfaces, after preparing raw meat, fish and poultry.
  • Always use different utensils for raw and cooked foods and wherever possible, use utensils over fingers when handling food.
  • Remember to keep long hair back and remove jewellery when preparing food, and always cover cuts on your hands with a waterproof dressing or use disposable gloves.
  • If foods such as poultry and stuffed or minced meat need to be defrosted, be sure to completely defrost them in the fridge or microwave before cooking. Avoid defrosting at room temperature, then sticking them into the fridge until you need them, as this encourages the growth of bad food bugs.
  • Fruit and vegetables should be washed prior to cooking to remove any soil residues that can house bad bacteria.
  • The way your food is cooked is as important as the way it is prepared, as inadequate cooking is a common cause of food poisoning. With most foods and especially meat, poultry and eggs, cooking is enough to kill most food-poisoning bacteria.
  • Generally speaking, food should be cooked to at least 75ºC or hotter, as this temperature kills most food-poisoning bacteria. And it should be eaten promptly at a temperature above 60ºC, or it should be quickly cooled until it stops steaming, covered and stored in the fridge or freezer.

In the microwave

Microwaves are great cooking tools: they’re quick and convenient. But it’s important to remember that if they aren’t used correctly, foods can be cooked unevenly, making them a perfect feeding ground for bacteria.

  • Try to cut food into evenly-sized pieces so they all take about the same time to cook. Or you could put larger or thicker items towards the outside edge of the dish. It’s also a good idea to cover the container of food with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap as this will help to trap in the steam, promoting more even cooking.
  • Always rotate food in the microwave during cooking and follow standing time directions before checking to see whether the food is completely cooked, as food continues to cook even after the microwave has turned itself off.

Chill time

  • Under the right conditions, cooked food can be stored in the fridge for about two to three days. Your fridge temperature should be between 0-4ºC at all times. More foods are thrown in the fridge during the warmer months to prevent spoilage but try not to overcrowd the fridge or the temperature may rise.
  • Fridge temperatures may need to be adjusted occasionally to cope with the extra foods, the constant opening and closing of the fridge door, and the higher ambient temperatures. It might be worth buying a thermometer to ensure your fridge is working at the right temperature.
  • It’s important to always refrigerate cooked foods separately from raw foods, especially raw meat, poultry and fish, to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Keep raw food at the bottom of the fridge to avoid raw juices dripping onto other foods and contaminating them.
  • Try to avoid freezing single large amounts of food: break up into smaller portions so you can defrost and use as you need. Remember to label the container (including the date) and remove as much air as you can to prevent freezer burn. And never refreeze defrosted foods.

Flies, cockroaches and other pests

During the warmer months, more eggs are hatched and more pests run free. Cockroaches, flies and mice are all common pests who carry diseases and microbes, which they transfer to every surface they touch, including us!

The best way to keep your home pest-free is to keep it scrupulously clean. If you need to use a spray, put all food away prior to using chemicals and keep it covered until the smell of chemicals disappears. Most insects will be in search of moist food and will head straight to your rubbish bin – deter them by placing all food scraps in a bin with a lid so they can’t get in.

Savvy shopping

Most entry points of supermarkets start with the fruit and vegetable section, followed by refrigerated meats, milk, cheese and yoghurts. But if you think about it, it doesn’t really make sense to pick up all these cold food items first because they’ll just get warmer and warmer, possibly even reaching the danger zone.

Next time you do a supermarket shop, head for the non-food items first, followed by the non-refrigerated drinks and dry goods. Next head to the fruit and vegetable section, then shop for refrigerated meats, stop off at the deli counter, then pick up some ready-to-eat foods and cold beverages. Last but not least, head to the frozen foods and hot food section. When packing your trolley, try to keep cold and hot foods separate, as well as raw and cooked foods.

At the checkout, unpack your trolley the same way you loaded it, keeping cold with cold and hot with hot. Put meat, poultry and seafood in separate bags and keep cold and hot foods well away from each other when transporting them home.

In-store intelligence

Anyone selling or providing you food has a responsibility to supply you with safe food. But mistakes can happen and food can become contaminated without anyone knowing. So before you enter the store, keep these points in mind:

  • Damaged packaging such as ripped bags or dented cans, and bruised or battered fruit and vegetables, and cracked eggs will spoil faster.
  • Use-by or expiry dates are placed on perishable foods such as pre-prepared meals, fresh meat, poultry, seafood, dairy and pre-packaged salads and vegetables. The older the food, the more chance there is for microbes to grow and reach levels to cause us harm.
  • Best-before dates are used on stable products such as canned, dried and frozen foods. You can expect the quality of the product to deteriorate (such as changes in its taste, appearance and smell) more than its safety when it reaches this date.
  • Load lines in refrigerators and freezers are marked by a black line. They are used as a packing guide to make sure cold air can circulate and chill all the foods evenly. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid foods piled over the load line.
  • Food handlers who use one set of gloves between handling different types of foods, or share utensils between foods, are not practicing safe food handling. If they’re that sloppy in your sight, image them out of sight!

Travelling home

Did you know the temperature inside your car can reach 30ºC and higher on those hot summer days? To limit food spoilage when travelling home, turn up the air-conditioner or wind down the windows and place packed food out of direct sunlight. Try not to leave your groceries in a hot car while you go off and run other errands. Or make it easy for yourself and store all your refrigerated and frozen foods in chiller bags – especially if your journey is longer than 30 minutes or it’s a hot day.

The great outdoors

When eating outside, most foods such as salads, dips, cold barbecue chickens and antipasto platters are prepared ahead of time. These foods are already high-risk foods and need to be kept at between 0-4ºC, which is very unlikely sitting outside on the picnic table. To help reduce the likelihood of food poisoning from these risky foods, only serve small amounts. Keep the extras in the fridge (if eating at home) or in the chilly bin (if out at a picnic ground) and top up as needed.

Serving and eating outside means there’s a high possibility of pesky pests diving into the uncovered salads, dips and meats, so it’s always a good idea to keep all food covered when it’s not being used. And if possible, keep food in the shade.

Barbecue at the local park

When heading to a local park for a barbecue, it’s important to transport all meat, salads, dips and cheeses in chilly bins or chiller bags. Avoid packing just-cooked foods into the chiller bag for transport as it will raise the temperature.

The barbecue and park benches will only be as clean as the last person who used them, so always clean the barbie and eating area before use. Public barbies can also be unreliable, burning food on the outside and leaving them raw on the inside. This is an issue for high-risk foods such as chicken, hamburgers and sausages, so always check the meat has been cooked completely before diving in.

When you’ve finished for the day, throw out leftover foods if they haven’t been kept cold. Cooked meat can be brought home for leftovers but it should reach your refrigerator within two hours of cooking.

The bottom line

Many of the food-poisoning cases that occur each year could be avoided by practicing simple habits such as washing your hands before and after food preparation, keeping foods in the appropriate conditions and away from the hot summer sun, and always washing your fruit and vegetables before using them. Remember, if in doubt, throw it out! Enjoy your summer.

– See more at: http://www.healthyfood.co.nz/articles/2008/january/summer-safety-avoiding-food-poisoning#sthash.RnkGeT8F.dpuf

Salmon sushi salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad

1 carrot
large handful slaw mix
large handful rocket
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
100g cooked fresh or canned salmon
2 strips crispy seaweed (or use plain nori sheets)

Dressing

1 teaspoon salt-reduced soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon mirin
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions

Step 1To make salad, julienne carrot and combine with slaw, rocket and rice.

Step 2Mix dressing ingredients together and stir through salad. Top with salmon and seaweed.

Serving suggestions

If you prefer, serve with mayonnaise mixed with wasabi.