Saturday, March 31, 2012


Hi friends, I am a guest blogger today at Sobha’s – here’s the link  and I am very excited about this great opportunity. Please share this with me at Sobha’s. Thank you all- have a great week.

Hi Sobha, what a wonderful surprise for me this morning.. This is awesome- such a beautiful write up from you dear.
I am very happy and honored to be in your esteem space. Hopefully, we will continue to excel in our blogging ventures and wish the same to all our blogger friends  from east and west, bringing our culinary talents together on the same dining table.. Thank you very much for the beautiful award. I really love this, you did it yourself !!..

This article is also published out of my curiosity to find out whether the majority of my readers (including my silent readers) are interested to read on "Gain weight" issues.

Dieting is the practice of eating food in a regulated manner, to achieve or maintain a controlled weight. In most cases dieting is combined with physical exercise.
Some athletes, however, follow a diet to gain weight in the form of muscles or to maintain a stable body weight.
 Obesity is not due to overeating; obesity is due to eating too many calories. 

Detox diets eliminate "toxins" from the body, but may not cause weight loss-  such as dandelion roots (for liver filtering) and celery or other juicy low-calorie vegetables (for salt absorption)

FOOD provides nutrients from six broad classes- Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates. Vitamins, Dietry minerals and water.
1.Carbo are metabolized to provide energy.
2.Proteins provide amino acids, needed for cell construction, especially muscle cells.
3.Essential fatty acids are for brain and cell membrane construction.
4.Vitamins and trace minerals helps to keep good electrolyte balance and for metabolic processes. 
5.Dietry fiber affects one's health, although it's not digested into the body.
6.Water- More than 90% of the chemical reactions in your body happens in water- drink enough water.
Drinking enough water helps eliminate toxins and fat. Heavily processed and fried foods, sweets, junk foods and alcohol should  be avoided in a healthy diet.

Prunes- good laxative.

Refined processed carbs are a major cause of unhealthy weight gain, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2, and many more. They are foods that have been canned, frozen or packaged.

Weight gain is an increase in body weight, either by muscle, fat or excess fluids such as water.
“Overweight” means excess weight due to fats- fat above healthy level.
Weight gain depends on: energy(calorie) density of foods, exercise, water intake, salt content in the food, time of day eaten, age, individual's overall stress level, and amount of water retention in ankles/feet.

"Underweight" means weighing less than what is expected of a healthy person. (underweight = insufficient weight) .
Do check with your doctor to determine why you are underweight.

1-Underweight due to genetics
3-Mental or physical disease such as cancer, tuberculosis, hyper thyroidism, liver problems(cant absorb nutrients), Gastro intestinal and eating disorders(anorexia nervosa)

Malnutrition underweight may be due to insufficient caloric intake  and/or vital nutrients by the body.
In women, being grossly underweight can stop menstruation, become infertile and possible pregnancy complications, anaemic, hair loss and osteoperosis even for young people.
Being lean can often be healthy, but being underweight is a concern.If it is due to poor nutrition, a medical condition, or if you are pregnant.See your doctoror dietician for an evaluation.


Appetite Stimulants:

Appetite is the natural instinctive desire for food. It should be distinguished from hunger, which is the body's craving or need for food 
Natural appetite booster like seasonings, herbs and spices to add flavor and aroma.

Herbs known to encourage eating as appetite stimulants.

They are chamomile, sage, thyme, lavender, tarragon, yarrow,

majoram, hawthorn, myrrh, gentian, wormwood, hops and centaury.

Vitamin and mineral supplements, generally, may be harmless BUT some nutrients are dangerous.
Men (and women who don't menstruate) need to be careful of iron poisoning. 
Retinol (oil-soluble vitamin A) is toxic in large doses. 
In home studies, excess vitamin E supplements helps increase mortality, congenital heart defects in offspring and higher risk of stroke.
Certain drugs may increase appetite, but may have severe side effects,

Not advisable to take, unless doctor(s) prescribe

Allowable only for severe underweight cases like cancer or AIDS patients
Besides eating natural appetite booster, exercise stimulates appetite.
What's a good way to gain weight if you're underweight?
If you're underweight, trying to gain weight can be as hard as trying to lose weight when you're overweight.
You should choose foods that are both energy and nutrient-dense instead of high-calorie junk foods.

The main goal is to increase your overall calorie intake.
Some healthy ways to gain weight when you're underweight:
*Eat more frequently. Underweight people may feel full faster. Eat five to six smaller meals during the day rather than two or three large meals.
*Choose nutrient-rich foods.

For an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain breads, pastas 

and cereals;

fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy products; lean protein 

sources; dried-fruits and raisins.

*Foods that are both energy and nutrient-dense

include legumes,nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.

You may also want to increase your consumption of dairy 

products, meats, seafood and poultry.

*Try smoothies and shakes. Don't fill up on diet soda, coffee and other drinks with few calories and little nutritional value. Instead, drink smoothies or healthy shakes made with low-fat milk and fresh or frozen juice, and sprinkle in some ground flaxseed. 
In some cases a liquid meal replacement beverage may be recommended. Drink fluids either 30 minutes before or after a meal, not with it, to avoid becoming full before you eat.
*Add in calorie-dense snacks. Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits and avocados. Have a bedtime snack, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a wrap sandwich with avocado, sliced vegetables, and lean meat or cheese. 
*Top it off. Add extras to your dishes for more calories-  cheese in casseroles, soups and scrambled eggs, and nonfat dried milk in stews
    *Have a healthy treat. Be mindful of excess sugar and fat. Have healthy treats that also provide nutrients, such as bran muffins, yogurt, fruit pies and granola bars.
  *Exercise. Exercise, especially strength training, can help build up more muscles. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite
.Your meals should be balanced with the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Choose a portion of a protein source such as meat, poultry, fish, seafood, legumes or tofu and serve with a side of green and colorful vegetables.

     Add a serving of starchy foods such as potatoes, sweet corn, rice or pasta as energy-dense carbohydrate sources.

You can add a few extra calories to your vegetables and starches by
topping them with butter, olive oil, sauces or cheese.
If you like to snack, choose energy-dense foods, such as dried fruits,
raisins, nuts and seeds.
You can eat sandwiches made with peanut or other nut butters, or
use meats and add calories with slices of cheese or avocado.  

Creamed soups are generally higher in calories than 

clear brothsAdd more calories to creamed soups by adding a 

spoonful of dry milk  powder.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
-*Have an extra slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter at breakfast.

-*Add extra cheese to an omelet

-*Slice an apple and serve with almond butter

-*Stir chopped nuts into plain yogurt and top with honey

-*Carry a trail mix for a convenient snack-dried fruits, nuts and seeds

-*Eat larger portions of starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet corn

-*Add calorie nutritious beverage- milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice
   Sources from wikipedia,  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffaloes, goats or sheep. 
It is produced by coagulation of the milk protein, casein.Normally, the milk is acidified and the enzyme rennet added, causing coagulation. The solids are then separated and pressed into final form.Most cheeses melt at cooking temperature.
Cheese contains calcium, protein, phosphorous and fat.
Cheese is actually concentrated milk and thus more benefits than milk.
Being a lactose intolerant, i have no problem- ripened cheese contains only 5% of the lactose found in milk. I am a sucker for cheese. ha ha
 7grams protein= 30gram of cheddar cheese OR 200gram milk 
 200mg calcium= 30gram of cheddar cheese OR 150gram milk
Some studies claim that cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and American cheeses can help to prevent tooth decay.
The calcium, protein, and phosphorus in cheese may act to protect tooth enamel. Cheese increases saliva flow, washing away acids and sugars.
A study by the British Cheese Board in 2005 found that cheese promotes good sleep. Cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid that  relieve stress and induce sleep. For lactose intolerant, ripened cheese contain only 5% of the lactose found in milk. 

However, some aged cheeses contain significant concentrations of these amines (histamine, tyramine), which can trigger symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction, headaches, rashes and blood pressure elevations.


There are several hundred types of cheese in the world. Switzerland alone has over 450. 

They vary by ingredients, made by different formulas, are fermented and aged differently. 

But they are all some form of animal milk, fermented into a soft to hard textured solid.

Cheese can be fermented and/or aged into a soft, semi-soft or hard food. It can be mild in flavor and aroma OR very sharp and strong.

Here are some types of the more commonly found cheese- varying texture, color and flavor intensity, depending on the ingredients used and length of the aging process.
examples: Brie, Camembert, Feta, Cream cheese
Thissoft cheese are used to spread on bread or crackers.
FETA CHEESE  from sheep milk, ( Greek: φέτα) is a white brined curd cheese traditionally made in Greece. Feta is an aged crumbly cheese,in blocks, with a slight grainy texture and a strong salty taste.
It is used as a table cheese, in salads, pastries. Also in baking, eg:"spinach pie" and "cheese pie". It’s a soft cheese, which can be spread on bread or crackers  and either served cooked or grilled.

cheeses made with goat's milk, with a very soft, crumbly texture and white color

this super soft cheese is used in baking, spread on bread and specifically bagels, crackers, savory snacks , with some raw vegetables, in cheesecakes,in salads and in the making cheese sauces.
Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting, white cheese with a high fat content.
Traditionally, made from non skimmed  cow’s milk enriched with additional cream. 
Also used in place of butter or part butter, when making cakes or cookies, and to make cream cheese frosting, which is similar to buttercream frosting ( a ratio of two parts cream cheese to one part butter) for carrot cakes.
examples: Mozzarella, Cheshire Edam, Gloucester, Lancashire, Red Leicester, Emmental, Munster.
This type of cheese does not undergo any heating or pressing. The rind is rinsed and brushed with a solution of salted water enriched with specific bacteria, which encourages orange-colored fungi to appear. 

Ideal for snacking or desserts, some can be used for cooking if they stand up well to heat.Fresh mozzarella from buffalo or cows milk is generally white, but may vary to slightly yellow depending on the animal's diet.
Mozzarella is obtained through kneading and stretching the curd until it reaches the desired consistency.
Used for most pizzas and lasagna.

Examples: Cheddar, Monterey jack, Emmentaler, 
Once transformed into curds, these types of cheese are heated, pressed, moulded and left to ferment. This is how the famous holes appear in cheese that is stored in cellars (such as Emmental). They are very rich in calcium. Maturing can take from 3-9 months, or longer.

Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, yellow to off-white, and sometimes sharp-tasting, produced in several countries and originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset.
It is the most popular cheese in the United Kingdom, accounting for 51 percent of the country's annual cheese market and the second most popular cheese in the United States, after Mozzarella.

Monterey jack goes well on turkey sandwiches. Soft brie is smeared on French bread. Monterey Jack is an American semi hard cheese made from cow's milk.
Another version , Pepper jack mixes hot peppers with Monterey Jack.It is low in tyramine content, an organic compound associated with headaches, a cheese, safe to eat for migraine sufferers
Emmentaler is from Switzerland and is also known as Swiss cheese. It is a yellow, medium-hard cheese, savory but not very sharp in taste.
Switzerland had 450 varieties of cheeses, 99% from cow’s milk, the rest from goat’s milk.

The “original Emmentaler” has to be aged in traditional cellars with different age profiles: 
It is produced with raw cow's milk, adding only natural ingredients (water, salt, natural starter cultures and rennet). it is often put on top of gratins, dishes which are then put in the oven to let the cheese melt and become golden-brown and crusty.
examples: Parmesan, Gruyère , Aged Manchego, Tuscano, Mascarpone
A hard cheese needs to have less water content (30-48%) than a soft cheese (which has 50-70%). Packed into moulds and stored for long periods (up to two years), they become hard and more pungent over time.

Parmesan cheese stands much more on its own in a Caesar salad as opposed to on top of a red pasta sauce. It is a hard cheese, grated and sprinkled over pasta dishes.

Gruyère  named after the town, Gruyère in Switzerland. Gruyère is sweet but slightly salty, with a flavor that varies widely with age.  When fully aged (five months to a year) small holes and cracks appear, with a slightly grainy mouth feel.
Gruyère is one of the finest cheese for baking. It is a good melting cheese, particularly suited for fondues. Used in traditional French onion soup and in chicken and veal cordon bleu. It is a fine table cheese. When grated, it can be used with salads and pastas

Mascarpone (English: /ˌmæskɑrˈpoʊniː/ or /ˈmɑːskərpoʊn/. This is an Italian cheese made from cream. Mascarpone is milky-white in color and is easily spread. It is a main ingredient of modern Tiramisu. Ricotta or mascarpone is used for cheesecake
The cheese is made up of a mixture of cheese(s), butter, cream and milk that is heated and emulsified. Some are flavoured or spiced.
Cottage cheese.This is a very white, curdled fresh cheese with 80% water content, milk, is curdled and drained and there is no ageing. Cottage cheese is typically eaten with fruit or in salads.
Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton,
Boursin, Brick, Brie
Stilton with ginger and mango is good for dessert.
The cheese is inoculated with penicillium cultures, allowing mould to 
develop in the cheese. This is what produces the green or blue veins.
Generally, cheeses with a high water content  are lower in fat, but fat is important for the cheese’s texture and taste, so low-fat ones a bit bland.

RICOTTA means “cook again” in Italian, referring to the second processing of the liquid in cheese production. Made made from the whey left over during the production of cheese from milk. 
Ricotta is not properly a cheese because it is not produced by coagulation of casein. 
Rather it is made by coagulating other milk proteins, left over in the whey that separates from the milk during the production of cheese.
Ricotta can be safely eaten by individuals with casein intolerance. 
Is a favorite component of Italian desserts- cheesecakes, cannolli, cookies. 
Also used in savory dishes- pasta, calzone, pizza, lasagna and ravioli.
It can be mixed with condiments, such as sugar, cinnamon, orange flower water and chocolate shavings and served as a dessert.
Combined with eggs and cooked grains, then baked firm, 
A great substitute for mayonnaise in salad and as a sauce thickener.

Is there an alternative cheese without lactose, whey, lactic acid, lacticity, lactaromoty, colostomy, or anything else animal in it?

The first 100% Vegan Cheese that tastes great and actually melts!" Vegan Gourmet® Cheese Alternatives" are currently available in four delicious flavors: Mozzarella, Cheddar, Nacho and Monterey Jack .
With its liberal use of aubergines and tomatoes, this is an ancient Sicilian dish.
"Parmigiana" is the Italianization of the Sicilian dialectal word "parmiciana", and likened this to "parmigiana"(sicilian- meaning "shutters"), due to the overlapping manner in which aubergine slices are laid in the dish.
The word Parmigiana is often rendered as "Parmesan" in English-speaking countries.
Recipe from with many thanks.
I tried this, I just cooked it the way it is, the ancient Catania way ad find it delicious, what more parmesan being one of my favorite cheese. There you are, do give it a try. For me, cheese is exquisite- anytime...
Ingredients: Yield 4 servings
2 big eggplants
800 gm tomato sauce
1 clove garlic
1 egg
Grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Cooking directions:
This recipe is originally from Catania, which means that the Parmigiana is limited to only three layers.
Cut eggplant into slices, soak in salt –to remove some of it’s water and bitter taste.
In the meantime prepare the tomato sauce using garlic and tomato puree(passata)
Then rinse and drain eggplants. Fry in a non stick pan using minimal oil ( I did shallow frying). Next time, I must do pan fry only, for a less oily finish

In a baking pan, spread some tomato sauce, then arrange ingredients in layers starting with eggplant slices, next tomato sauce and finally a layer of parmesan.
After 3 layers, spread to cover whole of top with beaten egg, mixed with parmesan, salt and pepper. Personally I did not use salt, as parmesan is salty enough.
The egg makes the top layer crispy.
Bake at 180C for 20 minutes.
Tip: It is easier to cut when dish is not too hot and best to serve when parmesan is lukewarm, it’s more enjoyable and tastier.

On another note, I found this 
Here is a pic to begin with.. do check this out, innovative, there is a lot more ingredients added to this recipe, such as three types of cheeses and six herb varieties.
check this out at...... 

I GOT A COMMENT FROM MALAY KADAZAN GIRL, WHICH I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT IN THIS POST- SHE SAID: When I was breastfeeding my eldest son, I can't eat cheese because my son was allergic to it. He gets rashes whenever I ate cheese. No pizza for me for months.  Thank you Diana for your great contribution- wan from cooking varieties