How to take care and maintain mechanic tool sets

How To Take Care Of and Maintain Mechanic Tool Sets

Mechanic tool sets just like any other tools need proper and regular maintenance in order to remain in top notch condition. Maintaining your tools will ensure that they function properly whenever you need to use them.

Even if the tools are of very high quality, proper maintenance is inevitable to keep them in proper condition and maintain their lifeline. Below are some guidelines on how you can properly take care of your tools.

Tips to take care your mechanic tool sets

General maintenance

  • Wipe them regularly to clear them of any corrosive substances such as petrol, brake fluids, and any other solvents including water.
  • Keep the tools in a closed tool box to protect them from dust as tools which are covered with dust easily absorb surrounding moisture causing them to rust quickly.
  • Handle your tools carefully to avoid dropping them especially very hard falls. Additionally, avoid scenarios that would scratch your tools, or hitting them unnecessarily may destroy the plating that covers them, exposing the bare metal. Exposing of the bare metal accelerates corrosion which destroys your tools faster.
  • Inspect the tools regularly for any defects. After every use would be best if you can do it, but at most a week shouldn’t pass before you check your tools and take appropriate action incase of any defects.
  • Tools which are not used often may contain light surface rust. The light surface rust also needs to be cleaned by use of a clean cloth and a water displacement product.
  • Finally, after working with your tools, ensure you clean up any foreign material or debris that is left on your tools.
  • Proper storage is key. Keep them in a place that they will be inaccessible to kids as they might bang them or throw them up and down hence destroying them.

Also, avoid places that they can easily catch dust or water. You may choose to put them in drawers, hang them on pegboards, on high shelves. You can store your most used tools in a toolbox for easier access.

  • Avoid garages and basements as they present humid conditions that may cause your tools to rust if they are not well aerated.

How to maintain ratchets

  • Wipe them clean of any foreign material after use.
  • Every week, ensure the backing plate screws are fixed tightly into place so that no contaminants enter the head of the ratchet.
  • Disassemble the ratchet head monthly, soak and clean it in a solvent to get rid of dust and other debris that may have built up over time.
  • Regularly check your ratchet’s main drive gear and pawls for any wear, tear, or damage.
  • When you are re-assembling your ratchet, grease the ratchet gears and lock all screws with a thread locker.

Maintaining the toolbox

Toolboxes are not waterproof and therefore also need extra care when storing them so that the tools you have kept inside can also remain in good condition. You can maintain the condition of your toolbox in the following ways:

  • Lock the box properly and tightly at all times.
  • Clean and lubricate the locking mechanism and hinges regularly with a light oil and also lubricate the lock barrels with silicone spray or graphite powder.
  • Inspect the rubber seal periodically to confirm if it is still in good condition and repair or replaces it if it is not.
  • Regularly check if there are any holes that could cause the toolbox to leak. If any, seal them with a silicone sealant.
  • Ta simple way to ensure your toolbox remains dry is by throwing in some silica gel and rust collectors to protect against rusting.

Since acquiring high-quality tools can be very costly, it is important to maintain them regularly. This will ensure that they will serve you right at that point when you really need them for that urgent DIY.

Even if you do not use a certain tool regularly, always check up on it and clean it from light rust and any dust because you never know when it may come in handy.

Keeping your tools in a safe place away from potential contaminants and also away from the reach of children could help you keep them functional for longer.

The Ultimate String Trimmer Buying Guide

The Ultimate String Trimmer Buying Guide

No matter how much you take care of your lawn in terms of trimming it, there will always be some weeds or other grasses that grow in your lawn or around the trees in your garden.

Well, such plants and weeds require to be cut or trimmed with the use of a string trimmer since it is easy to use plus, it does not damage the lawn in your garden.

There are different kinds of string trimmers on the market for you to choose from depending on your needs and preferences as well.

So, if you are a first-time buyer and you don’t know how to choose the best tool for your garden, the following are the ultimate guide to buying the best string trimmer.


• The work required

Does your garden get affected by weeds in large portions or it is just small spots in between the lawn or around the plants?

It is essential that you survey the number of weeds you want to get rid of from the garden. This helps you determine the right kind of string trimmer to choose in order to make your work easy.

If your lawn has a large area that has weed or other grass, choose a wheeled string trimmer since it will make your work faster and easy as compared to a handheld trimmer.

But, if the lawn has the weed in some parts of the garden, a hand help trimmer would just be perfect since it will enable you to eliminate the weeds and the grass without cutting the lawn.

The amount of work to be done in the garden determines the kind of string trimmer to buy for use.

String Trimmer


• The type

The type of the string trimmer is another area that you must consider when buying the tool for your garden. There are electric string trimmer, a gas-powered trimmer and also a cordless electric trimmer.

These types of trimmers differ according to their functioning and the reliability of work. If you want to cut long grass and weeds in your garden, a gas-powered string trimmer is a perfect choice as it works quite fast and it is more powerful.

If you are working in an area that is near the house, a corded electric trimmer would be ideal for you since you can comfortably plug it to an electric source but if you are working far from an electric source

Make sure to choose a cordless electric trimmer for easy working. The cordless electric trimmers are usually equipped with a rechargeable battery.


• The cost

The string trimmers are sold at different prices depending on the features and their functionality.

Even if you can still get a good trimmer at a pocket-friendly price, you will need to spend a couple of hundred dollars in order to acquire a good and quality string trimmer to serve you for a long time.


• The shape

Although the shape of the device does not matter in most cases, it is also essential to consider how your garden is leveled or if the flowers and plants in the garden are planted in different shapes.

Most string trimmers are designed into two main shapes which are curved and straight. If you have portions that are bent at the garden and you want a trimmer that will trim the weed without touching other plants and grass, get a curved string trimmer.

But if your garden is straight or you are working in the middle area of the garden. A straight tool would work for you.


• The maintenance requirement

All string trimmers need checking and serving occasionally to see if they need repair or there are parts that require being changed.

The gas or oil trimmer needs to be emptied and cleaned while the electric ones need to be check if the motor and other powering parts are working properly.

String Trimmer

So, before you settle on a particular string trimmer, ensure that you will be able to afford its maintenance and if you need a technician to check it, make sure that it will not be difficult to find one in your location.




If you are planning to buy a string trimmer to keep your garden neat and free from weeds and other grass. use the above buying guide to help you select the most ideal trimmer for your garden and the one that will suit all your needs respectively.

Perfect Shower Valve

How To Repair A Single Handle Tub and Shower Valve

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you must know how to repair a single handle tub and shower valve. It is not an easy task, especially for the beginners, but with the right guide, everything is easy.

Here, we describe how to successfully repair this in your home, so you can prevent leaking of the water, and more than anything else, you will prevent further complications.

A broken valve can cause some bigger flood, and that is what you do not want in your home. Pay attention to these steps and get your valve fixed in the easiest manner.


Tools You Need

For any work at home, you need an adequate tool to start with. In this case, you need:

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • A new cartridge
  • Screws

These tools are the most important, especially in situations when you want to fix the valve for longer. Some temporary solutions are good, but it is better to get a long-term solution. When you have everything prepared, get ready for some action!


Step 1 – Turn off the water shower

Before any work, make sure that you turn off the water supply in your home. This could be done in the specific point of your home, or in your building, if you live in an apartment.

If you are not sure where the main water valve is, ask your neighbor or someone you trust. It is important to have the water off, because you prevent unexpected water flow.


Shower Valve

Step 2 – Remove handle

At this point, you need to remove handle in order to reach escutcheon plate. This part is easier to do if you have a screwdriver. You will expose shower valve and that is when the fixing starts.


Step 3 – Loosen locking nut

When you see the valve, it is good to loosen the locking nut, because this is the point under the pressure. Pliers will help you loosen this part, and sometimes, you will need to use a little bit of force.

Start with single movement and be careful not to loosen the nut too aggressively, if you do not want to damage the part.

Pull old cartridge away from the center of the main valve. In this case, it is good to have a new cartridge to replace the old one.


Step 4 – Put new rubber seat

The end of the pencil is where the rubber seat is located, and that is when some additional adjustment is needed. Put new rubber seat and push it into the valve.

Pay attention to the spring, because this part will hold the seat at the right place. Repeat the process with the remaining seat. When you do this, take a new cartridge and get ready for installment.


Step 5 – Insert the cartridge

When you have a new cartridge in your hands, everything is simple. Insert the new cartridge in the place of the existing valve, and fix it tight.

Put the O-ring over the new cartridge and tighten the overall locknut with pliers. If you need additional tightening, use the electrical pliers.

These are a little bit stronger that the normal ones. Now, you have new cartridge installed and the work is almost done!


Step 6 – Secure the escutcheon plate

When you have the mentioned parts fixed, make a next move and secure the escutcheon plate. Here, you need to use appropriate screws.

If the old screws are damaged, take the new and make sure that you install them properly. Press the entire escutcheon plate and secure this part with the screws.

Maintaining a single handle tub and shower valve will be easier if you tight the screws the best you can.

Shower Valve image


Step 7 – Attach the handle

If you are ready to complete the work, attach the new handle to the existing valve. Voila! The work is done. You have a completely new installation that can last for long.

When you make all the steps, you are ready to check if everything works properly. Turn on the water and test the temperature.

Adjust it to 120 degrees F, because this temperature is usually the most adequate. A finishing touch is installment of the temperature to get the stop limit. This way, you will prevent any scalding that can occur.

You fixed a single handle tub and shower valve, so you can use the water completely safe. Enjoy your work. This DIY work is simple with the guide like this one.

Is Manuka Honey Effective for Hair Health Improvement

Is Manuka Honey Effective for Hair Health Improvement

Manuka honey is mainly produced in New Zealand. The honey is derived from bees pollinating native manuka bushes.

It is popularly used as an alternative medicine due to its healing properties. This honey is packed with antibacterial components, which all contribute to treating infections as well as other conditions.

Despite being known as a traditional alternative medicine, this type of honey still needs scientific validation. Thus, requiring manufacturers to avoid putting medicinal or health claims on their products.

Regardless of the lack of scientific approval, there are a lot of notable health benefits that you can get from using this honey. It can be beneficial for your health inside out. One of the many popular uses of this honey is for improving hair health.

How Manuka Honey Relieve in Different Hair Problems

This honey comes with a handful of benefits when it comes to hair health. Getting to know how to utilize it for every problem will allow you to experience these benefits firsthand. Learn how to use the honey for various hair problems with the following:

Prevent hair breakage and split ends to enjoy smooth and silky hair

Honey is believed to improve moisture not only on the skin but also on your hair. It increases protein needed to strengthen hair strands.

Honey can also act as a humectant, which helps your hair to store more moisture. Thus, protecting it from hair breakage and split ends.


Manuka Honey

Enjoy longer and healthier hair:

Scientifically, this benefit is not yet proven. However, many can attest to the effectiveness of applying honey with cinnamon to your scalp. It can reboot all dormant follicles to make you enjoy thick and long hair.

Treat and prevent dryness of scalp from recurring:

Known to provide moisture to the skin, you can get rid of dead skin from your scalp and prevent the dryness of your scalp from recurring with creating a gentle scrub with this honey.

Due to its anti-inflammation properties, it soothes the itchiness and redness of the scalp. Its antibacterial properties can also lessen dirt buildup and keeps your scalp as clean as possible.


More reasons why you should try Manuka honey for your hair with this post:

Getting to know these things will give you an alternative solution for your hair problems. It can be used as a simple hair treatment you can use regularly or occasionally when any of the mentioned problems occur.

Can You Include It in Your Beauty Routine?

For people who like creating organic beauty products that they use regularly, Manuka Honey can actually be a great addition to your beauty routine.

Given that it can improve your skin’s moisture, you can apply it directly to your skin and use it as a facemask. Leave it for a few minutes and wash off with warm water followed by cold water to tighten pores.

It can act as your organic moisturizer and cleanser and see your skin glow with regular use. As beneficial as it is for the skin, you can also create an organic lip balm with this honey as one of the ingredients.

In addition to being used as a treatment for hair problems, it can also act as hair bleach. Since honey has hydrogen peroxide, you can apply it to your hair and leave it on overnight.

Most likely, light-colored hairs will show results the morning after. However, it may take a while for those with darker hair.

Other Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

Aside from being a unique organic beauty solution, Manuka honey is also known for other health benefits. Some of these benefits are the following:


Great Health Tonic

Due to the high levels of antibacterial and wound-healing properties found in this honey, it is widely known as a natural health tonic that is highly recommended by many.

Alleviates Digestive Disorders

The antibiotic properties on the other hand help in alleviating digestive disorders. It has prebiotic content that aids in the discomfort felt in the digestive tract.

Alternative for Antifungal and Antibacterial Solution

As a popular alternative for antifungal and antibacterial solutions, it is believed to treat wounds, ulcers, and burns.

Effective for Oral Problems

The antimicrobial properties of the honey can potentially treat periodontal disease, gingivitis, and reduce plaque. Get to know more about the health benefits mentioned above and other benefits at this post from Readers Digest:




As the final verdict for the health benefits of Manuka honey, especially with your hair, it can actually make your hair problems diminish naturally.

This is a great alternative than over the counter medications as the honey doesn’t bring harmful effects. It is safe for your hair and consuming it can boost your overall health.

Why Kids Learn Better Playing With Robot Toys

Why Kids Learn Better Playing With Robot Toys

It is the interest of every parent to buy a gift or a toy robot that will not entertain the kid but also educate the kid. Kids learn much faster and better to play with the robots toys than the adults.

When looking for a toy robot then you should look for the one that will not require a lot of learning or else mechanical knowledge.

In this article I am going to alight some of the reasons why kids do learn faster playing with toy robots than the adults:


Kids Do Share Adventures

Unlike the adults the kids mostly share their adventures with their friends back at home and classmates at school. They are able to learn new tricks while on the play because every kid is ready to boast of his/her new learned lesson of how to do a particular play with the robot.

This helps the kids learn faster because if the kid who has the knowledge exposes the tactics it is very obvious that the rest of the kids will be able to learn and that is one of the most reason why kids learn much faster than the adults.


Availability of The kid

Kids sometimes do have all the time by themselves trying to learn unlike the adults. You will not want to tell me you can spend much of your precious time learning about toy robots which in return will not be of advantage to you.

It is very clear that your kid can have all the time having play for fun unlike the adults who has other responsibilities clinging to their backs.

Will you surely be comfortable when taking all your time in trying to learn a toy robot yet you have nothing to provide for your kids or else the financial burden is on top of your head.


Kids Love fun

Kids do love fun more than anything else. You will be amazed on how your kid will be driven into fun by a simple thing which seems to be of no importance.

This curiosity of the kids towards play and fun then makes them be able to learn quite faster and better than the adults.

It is interesting to learn that a kid can go for a very long time without taking anything to the stomach in the name of having play and fun unlike the adults who are ever busy trying to make their ends meet.


Understanding Capacity

Unlike the adults, kids don’t have many things to think about this helps them have the ability to learn much faster than the adults who at times their brains are very much engaged in doing their endevours.

For real kids have nothing to worry about and this enables them to be quick learners which is more different to the adults. Kids mind are still in the process learning new things you cant compare them to adults.

robot toys
image credit:


Make of The Toy Robots

Most of the robots are specifically made for the kids like for instance , you cannot expect an adult to be playing with a toy robot which is specifically meant for kids.

This makes it difficult for the adults to actually learn faster than the kids because it may be a difficult task to the adult to go looking for the toy robot designed for adults. This toys robots are in most cases made to settle the urge of fun for the kids.


Toy robots are Changing

Economy and technology are drastically changing into the modern digital era which most of the adults might not be able know. Kids are in the position of learning faster and better in this era of improvement of technology unlike the adults.


Things are changing and if by any chance you missed the knowledge of some things as an adult then it is clear you might not be able to know them unlike the kids who things are changing when they have all the ability and time to learn every thing that comes along their way without so much difficulties.


In this article then you have learned that adults are very different to kids when it comes to learning the toy robots. It is now very clear to you that kids have the ability to learn more faster than the adults.

Slow Cooker’s Pot Roast

Slow Cooker’s Pot Roast The Long Braise Home

By owning a slow cooker, you will find yourself in constant search for recipes and dishes that will taste good and still allow you to miss out on much of the process, at least the cooking part.

A pot roast in a slow cooker is one of the more popular recipes and is among the favorites of family meals that find their way to your menu whether you own a crock pot or not.

Let’s begin with the choice of meat. A pot roast is a braised beef dish that uses tougher parts of the animal like the chuck. This type of meat is quite lean and all muscle.

Bearing this in mind, it would be a bad idea to quickly cook it. Imagine roasting it in a convection oven. It would be tougher than eating a shoe.

Slow Cooker’s Pot Roast

What it needs is a long time in the oven in a lidded pot. Sounds familiar? Pot roast slow cooker is pretty much a perfect fit because braising and simmering is the proverbial bread and butter of slow cookers.

Making tough meats juicy and tender is not a sprint race. It’s a marathon, and slow cookers are the equivalent of a Kenyan or an Ethiopian runner.


The Preparation Process

A pot roast in a slow cooker is as simple a recipe as they come, but it’s not just throwing a chuck of beef in a crock pot and letting it cook. The preparation process is a relatively easy one.

Firstly, a pot roast in a slow cooker or oven is meat with vegetables. Prepare the vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots.

These are the US favorites, but adding garlic, celery and leech might rub the meat the right way. Adding potatoes is a nice way of making a one-pot dish out of your pot roast in a slow cooker recipe, but you might consider leaving the potatoes out for the sake of the gravy sauce which we’ll get to later on.

Once the veggies are ready, put them on the bottom of your crock pot, but make sure you leave enough room in the center of the pot for your meat.

The Browning

A slow cooker will take care of the hard part which is the long braise to victory, but  there is a bit of cooking you need to take care of before handing it over to your slow cooker.

Before this step, you should rub the meat with some seasoning. Some salt and pepper will suffice. It is vital to fry the surface of your meat in a pan or a skillet using vegetable oil.

You will only cook the surface of the meat and, by doing so, remove excess fat and help contain all the great flavors in the meat, but more importantly this step gives the flavor a roast must have.

Once the surface of the meat has lost its pink color, you are ready to start your pot roast in a slow cooker.

The Beginning of the End

With your vegetables in place, add your meat to the center of the pot. Adding more seasoning is optional, but what is a must is the liquid that is essential for the long braise.

You can simply add water, but using stock will greatly enhance the flavor. Adding red wine like Burgundy will also give the meat a deeper flavor.

The liquid should cover the bottom of the dish, but you can add more if you want to make more gravy. The secret to a pot roast in a slow cooker is the long braise, so use your low setting on your slow cooker, cover it with your lid and let it cook from 8 to 10 hours.

This long braise will mix all the juices in the meat and vegetables and turn your tough chuck into a tender delight.

Slow Cooker’s Pot Roast


The Gravy and Bon Appetite

A pot roast in a slow cooker is nothing without the gravy. If you added potatoes earlier, you can simply serve the veggies in their gravy sauce as a side dish.

But if you have mash potatoes, take all the cooked vegetables and leftover juice from the pot and sieve it so you are left with just the liquid.

Make sure you get everything out of your vegetables by squashing the juices out through the sieve. Take all the liquid and add some red wine to it and bring it all to a simmer. You can make it thicker with a corn starch if necessary.

You should always remember that it is the long braise that gives you pot roast in a slow cooker the right flavor, so be playful with the ingredients and you will always have a juicy dish at the end of the day.

Old School Stove Pressure Cookers vs. New School Electric Pressure Cookers

Old School Stove Pressure Cookers vs. New School Electric Pressure Cookers

Seeing that we are blessed to be living in the age of huge technological advancements, we have been given the best seats in the house to observe the rise in quality of almost all devices, machines, appliances etc.

A new car model always has an edge over the old model, unless the old one simply has vintage value. A new computer can never be outperformed by its predecessor.

Does this logic apply to pressure cookers ? Are the new electric pressure cookers simply superior to the traditional stove pressure cookers?

Old School Stove Pressure Cookers vs. New School Electric Pressure Cookers

The Technological Line of Division

Although pressure cooking has been in use for decades, the new electric variety, also known as the third generation of these appliances, brings us improvements and novelties.

Firstly and most obviously, an electric pressure cooker has its own automated electric heating source which is also why it lacks the word stove.

This also means that its application has been simplified in terms of heat regulation, allowing more people to make fewer mistakes of obtaining the right pressure and maintaining it.

An electric pressure cooker also provide us with a more varied menu of settings as opposed to the stove pressure cooker which had only “High Pressure” or 13-15 PSI (pressure per square inch) and the “Low pressure” 6-8 PSI.

New settings such as “Meat” or “Rice” have been introduced making it seemingly easier – most pressure cooking recipes were written for the old stove ones and their modes of operation.

What is more, an electric pressure cooker has been notorious for its inability to reach 15 PSI and some of them, depending on the manufacturer and model, can pull off from meager 6 PSI to 13 PSI.

This difference you must bear in mind when using recipes that have not been adjusted to new electric pressure cookers which will probably imply more cooking time than for the old stove pressure cookers and a higher energy cost because they cook at lower pressure.

Safety and Convenience Factors

When pressure cooking, the cook is exposed to the risk of being burned or scalded, making safety a priority for both appliances. Although stove pressure cookers are not obsolete in this respect, the electric pressure cookers allow safer monitoring of steam thanks to their digitalized controls.

They even enable you to take care of other errands and leave it unattended thanks to an automatic mechanism that prevents pressure from reaching dangerous levels or too high an expenditure of electricity.

Practicality is a different matter. Although the electric pressure cookers require almost no monitoring, they also require more time to pressure – 3 minutes to be exact, which is not long.

However, the time for them to reach natural pressure release takes almost double the time, which is about 15 minutes longer than the stove pressure cookers, because you cannot simply remove them from the stove or their heat source.

Most new electric pressure cookers allow you to take the pot out, which is most helpful when dealing with the washing-up.

Apart from that, the electric pressure cookers are still appliances in their own right that require more space on the kitchen counter and cannot be put away with other pots and pans like the stove pressure cookers.

A stove pressure cooker is basically a pot with a very good lid and a pressure gauge, which allows you to use it as a pot for other forms of cooking.

It is also advised that you pay your electric bill regularly because an electric pressure cooker has no alternatives like a gas stove or a wood-burning stove.

New School Electric Pressure Cookers

And the Winner Is….

Well, the winner is pressure cooking. Choosing one over the other is a complex matter. The electric pressure cooker is easier and safer to use, but is also less powerful and usually not what your grandmother had in mind when she was writing down her recipes.

The stove pressure cooker is a pot that requires a bit more skill, but allows more practical aspects and takes up less space.

I would not say that the electric pressure cooker has managed to overshadow the traditional stove pressure cooker, but the pressure is on – a pun very well intended

Beef Bourguignon

Time for another Caprioska- Beef Bourguignon

I’ve been wanting to make this for quite a while, for a few reasons … I don’t know a better hearty meal for a cold winter’s evening – and I’ve been promising Miss Bambola I’d make it for ages!

This is a fairly time consuming recipe, and can be intimidating – but believe me, it’s worth it and it does become pretty easy once you’re familiar with it as each component is really simple on its own.

It’s also quite tolerant of variation, so feel free to add veges or change ratios and so on.

Come serving time this will sit nicely on one of the staples – polenta or rice, for example – or can be eaten from a bowl with crusty bread.

What follows is a cut down and lazified version of that appearing in Stephanie Alexander’s “The Cook’s Companion” (an absolute must-have IMHO), look there for compliments, garnishes, and a stricter  recipe.

Beef Bourguignon

As you can see I’m the kind of person that believes in maison plus (or suffers from OCD, if you prefer).

If you’re an unbeliever with decent knife skills, you could certainly just cut and prep as you go – but I tend to take that time to prepare the rest of the meal. So for me the first step is:

Set aside the measured ingredients and cut everything to size… and admire the awesomeness of your preparedness.

Once you’re done gloating, in a heavy iron pot brown the bacon first gently, then onion after and set aside.

Season beef with pepper and brown a few at a time in remaining oil and bacon fat – but don’t overcrowd the pan! You just want to seal it well and taunt the neighbours without letting it stew.

Poor off the fat, return beef to the pan and scatter over 2 tbsp flour. Crank the heat, stir and allow the flour to cook a little.

Keeping it hot, pour in wine and lift and turn beef to allow it to bubble and reduce as it hits the pan.

Strictly speaking, one would flavour one’s dish with a /bouquet garni/ made by tying the assorted ‘erbs and orange zest in cloth and depositing it in the pot. I however am lazy, and do not currently possess said cloth

So I’m just going to “bung”* the herbs in with everything else and let the diners deal with the risk of a small slice of orange and a bay leaf (I’m sure they’ll cope). Once you’re done ranting (or at least, once I’m done) add the bacon and onion and their juices as well.

* Bung- verb, act of unceremoniously applying one object or ingredient to another larger item while looking in another direction and humming ‘LA LA LA LA LA’. syn, “plug”.

Now for my favourite bit – the actual stewing! You’ll want to pour stock over just enough to cover all the meat and such, and then cut a circle of baking paper to fit just inside and hold down the stew.

I forget the name for this again, but trust me – it’s A Thing. Once patted down the lid goes on and the pot is transferred to the oven to bubble away for two hours.

These two hours are a good opportunity to get the rest of your meal ready, chat to your neighbours about that mysterious waft of awesome smells coming from “somewhere nearby”, dispose of that excess red wine in the recipe or run down the road for a Caprioska.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to further cement my obsessively clean kitchen in your mind with a snap of the sink after all this frying and cooking and tigers, oh my:

Two hours up? Back to work! Check if the meat is tender, if not leave it on for an hour at which point you can add the mushrooms (and soft vegetables) and return the pot to the oven for a further half hour.

Time for another Caprioska

One of my favourite things about this kind of meal – particularly when you’re cooking for a large group – is that you can prepare almost ready to serve (such as this point, with the bourguignon) and then leave it as long as a day, before reheating and finishing off the dish. So if in doubt when you’ll want to serve.. just get it almost done and fire up when your guests are ready.

By now the smell of your kitchen is probably driving you to ravenous hunger, a sure sign that’s about ready. Pull the pot from the oven and return to the stove on a medium heat. Tear away the baking paper to reveal your glorious dinner:

The last step prior to serving has a fancy French name which eludes me at the moment, but is essentially a butter/flour thickener in the last stages of cooking off.

You form a smooth paste by working the flour through the butter, then mix with a ladle of the juice from the pan, then return to the pan and work through the whole dish. After a minute or two on the stove this will begin to thicken and is ready to serve!

While I’m a fan of curling up on the couch with a bowl of just the bouguignon and a chunk of bread, we have been serving at the table (lah-dee-dah!) on polenta with shared sides.

And I’d expect you could do quite a lot with garnishes to make things interesting – crispy bacon, onion, shallots, some sour cream or a buttery white somethingorother, for example. It just smells too delicious to wait and I’ve never made it to garnish time personally.

In order of required ingredients


    • 200g fatty/streaky bacon in 1cm cubes
    • 24 french shallots (or 12 small onions)
    • 1.5kg chuck or blade steak in ~5cm cubes
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 18 small flat mushrooms (or 9 medium button)


    • 2tbsp olive oil
    • 2tbsp brandy (optional)
    • 2 cups red wine
    • 2 cups well-flavoured meat stock
  • 40g softened butter


    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 sprig thyme
    • 2-3 stalks parsley
  • Small piece of orange zest


    • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Plain flour

Beef Bourguignon


  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • In an enamelled cast-iron pot (they might be expensive, but such artisans’ tools!), heat half the oil and brown the bacon gently. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add onions and allow them to become golden, then set aside with bacon. Repeat with any additional hard vegetables one wishes to add.
  • Season beef with pepper and brown a few cubes at a time in oil (add remaining half) and bacon fat. As each cube becomes a rich brown, remove from the pan.
  • When beef is browned tip off fat, sprinkle over 2tbsp flour and turn with a wooden spoon, keeping heat high to allow the flour to cook.
  • Keeping the heat up, pour in wine and lift and turn beef to allow it to bubble and reduce as it hits the pan.
  • Add herbs and orange zest to the pan along with bacon and onion (and their juices).
  • Pour on stock to cover, press down a circle of baking paper and cover with a fitted lid.
  • Transfer pot to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  • If meat is tender, add mushrooms and cook for another 30 minutes – if not, cook for a further hour before adding mushrooms and any other soft vegetables one may wish to include.

* Pot can be allowed to cool and reheated when required at this point – great for prep prior to a larger event.

  • To finish off the dish, ladle off 1 cup of juices from the pot, form a paste of butter and 2tbsp flour, and mix into the juice.
  • Return flour mix to the pot and mix thoroughly while returning to the boil to thicken slightly.
  • Serve, enjoy, relish.
Overview of Rice Cooker

Overview of Rice Cooker

A rice cooker at first would seem as an unnecessary appliance clogging up your kitchen counter, but it all depends on how important rice is in your diet.

With the rise of global cultural exchange, Asian cuisine and its integral rice base have become as recognizable as bread or pizza in the USA. Rice cookers are as varied as are ways to prepare rice.

Apart from straight up rice boilers or steamers, we can talk about paella pans, risotto pans, or the instant microwave-ready plastic containers that add to the taste as much as to the name.

Overview of Rice Cooker

Considering how far back we can trace evidence of rice cookers and rice cooking, we are sure to conclude that there is an art and skill to preparing the perfect rice.

From old ways of gathering and washing rice to the meticulous cooking, nowadays, we are concerned with faster and more practical solutions.

One of the benefits of an appliance such as an electric rice cooker is the fact that it uses its own heating element, instead of that last stove top that you always seem to be in need of.

The process itself can’t be rushed, so your rice will take the time it normally takes, but you will be relieved of the stirring duty and be able to rest your ever watchful eye.

A bonus to your well cooked rice will be the fact that the electric rice cooker will keep it warm thanks to the thermos-like technology of the casing the rice is cooked in.

Although models and manufacturers of rice cookers are vast and diverse, there is an underlying process which they all share.

Rice is cooked in a bowl which can normally be removed from the appliance and used in different ways, but washing the rice in it might not be best recommended. Once in the electric rice cooker with the lid on, absolutely crucial to the cooking process, it will heat up to a maximum of 212 degrees

Fahrenheit with the thermos programmed to switch the heat off and let the rice absorb the hot water with the help of the steam contained under the lid.

It all boils down to you just having to measure the rice, wash it and add the right amount of water and the rice cooker takes over from then on.

Asian rice is probably the most famous group encompassing the likes of Indian rice and Japanese rice. Rice cultivars can vary in grain size and content which further influences the way it is measured and cooked. Some long grain varieties such as Thai jasmine rice and Basmati rice are best cooked when boiled.

Others have to be boiled, but also absorb the water they are cooked in, like the Japanese rice.  Most electric rice cookers specialize in a variety of rice and cooking others might not be as accomplishing.

The Japanese were the first to manufacture commercial and industrial rice cookers but not slow cookers  and are still thought to produce quality appliances.

Other practical solutions and alternatives to electric rice cookers are gas rice cookers, which are usually intended for cooking larger quantities, owing to a more powerful heat source that has a faster effect.

A more viable home alternative to an electric rice cooker is the microwave rice cooker which is also faster, but if not used correctly can lead to your rice being burned and always uses the water absorption step, making it suitable for some, but not all types of rice.

There is Rice for All Tastes

Cooking rice can be a simple preparation of a side dish or base for the main meal where you don’t show off your culinary abilities but require consistency that a rice cooker can provide.

Rice Cooker

It will also give you the time and space to focus your effort on other parts of your meal. However, many people value the ability of a cook to simply prepare rice the right way.

Rice cookers will not be of much help in preparing a fine risotto or a paella rice dish which need you to add and combine more flavors. There is a time, place and a recipe for everything and some involve a rice cooker and some just don’t.

breakfast ideas

Quick Healthy and Low Calorie Breakfast Ideas

Many a times it so happens, that we leave home for work, without having breakfast, or at the most, we simply have a cup of tea or coffee before venturing out.

Although we keep reading about the importance of breakfast and why it shouldn’t be skipped, seldom do we abide. More so, because we think our bodies are ailment-proof.

But constant skipping of breakfast can have long term implications on our overall health and fitness.Breakfast being the first meal of the day, helps the body gain its fuel to last it for the entire day.

All the more, did you know that skipping breakfast can lead to obesity?

Those kilos that you strive to lose, actually tend to accumulate if you ignore this important morning meal.According to a study by researchers at the University Of Minnesota School Of Public Health, breakfast keeps us in good shape and teenagers who eat breakfast regularly, actually weigh less and are more healthy, than those who skip it.

Quick Healthy and Low Calorie Breakfast Ideas

Here’s how:

While we are asleep for 6-7 hours, our body is actually in a state of fasting. Once we are up, our body demands the fuel to start working and if we skip this fuel or if we try quenching our hunger by tea or coffee. Our metabolism slows down immensely, thereby lowering the capacity to burn fats and contributing to weight gain.

But if your reason for skipping breakfast is that you are out of ideas for quick and better options, we bring to you some of the quickest and healthiest options available:

Fruit plate with milk

An intake of mixed fruits with a glass of milk provides you with that instant energy booster. And this is as simple and quick to prepare. Some essential fruits that must be in the plate are apples, papaya, oranges, chikus, pear, bananas. Milk will give you with high dose of proteins, while the fiber and vitamin content will be given by the fruits.

Oats (Javi)

Oats provide for an excellent source of fiber as much as a single serving of oats provides almost twenty percent of the daily fiber requirement. Oats can be mixed in a bowl of milk  and sugar can be added for taste and it can be topped with walnuts for added energy.

Oats with milk and sugar is the simplest, quickest and nutritious breakfast. And what’s more?Oats are a rich source of antioxidants, and boost immunity.

Eggs with fruit juice

For a quick ‘Eggy’ breakfast, you can simply make a quick omlette and combo it with a bread. This would make for a good egg sandwich which you can relish with tomato sauce. Besides, you can simply break an egg in a container and beat it and mix chopped tomatoes, onions and green chillies.

Then put this mixture on the pan and in two minutes you would get a tasty egg Bhurji (scrambled egg). The fruit juice is an instant energy booster.

breakfast ideas


These are one of the most concentrated, natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and proteins. What’s more, sprouts make for a quick breakfast, all you have to do is soak them overnight and the next day morning, they are ready to be consumed by sprinkling in some spices and lime.

Other than this, no chopping, or peeling is needed. Also, another way of relishing sprouts is by cooking for a few minutes and garnishing it with salt and spices. Sprouts are more nutritious when raw, and contain anti-carcinogenic properties.