Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy and safe Christmas to you all

For us in New Zealand, Christmas Day is only 12 hours away.  It is summer and we will be having BBQs and parties outside.

Don't forget - if you are cooking outside on a fire or a BBQ, steak requires only to be cooked on the outside, as the inside of meat from a healthy animal is essentially sterile.  If the steaks are thick, make sure that the edges are also cooked.  However, meat patties have been made by blending together minced meat and possibly egg as a binder.  The inside of the patty is not sterile and so the patties must be cooked through properly.  Use a meat thermometer to be sure that the inside has reached at least 75C.  You can't judge whether the meat is cooked just by its colour.

I prefer not to cook chicken on the BBQ because it is difficult to ensure even heating.  However, if the BBQ has a hood, it is essentially the same as an indoor oven.  Ensure that the chook is cooked properly, again using a meat thermometer.  I also prefer not to put stuffing into the body cavity - it slows down the cooking process and it's difficult to determine when it's done.  Cook the seasoning separately.

Round our place, there are very rarely any leftovers.  However, make sure that food doesn't stay in the sun any longer than necessary.  Ham that has been handled may well be contaminated with Staphylococcus.  If eaten straight away, this is no problem, but if left at room temperature, the bacteria may grow, since all their competitors have been killed in the preparation process, leaving them free to grow in the salty favourable conditions.

Remember that several food borne pathogens can grow, albeit slowly, in the refrigerator, so use leftovers within a day or so.

Recent changes in legislation in New Zealand mean that driving after more than one alcoholic drink risks being charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.  Better to have a designated driver, or stay off the turps!

To all my readers, I wish a happy Christmas and an enjoyable New Year.

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