Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh !! ( What is that? )

The below article is not penned by me and I am not against supermarkets or its policies.  

But of curiosity I was looking for answers for my below questions

  • Why my milk expires on exact date according to label of the supermarket?
  • How old will that be my milk ?
  • Why I am allergic to some products from New Zealand ?

Answers didn't look great , but I found the truth behind the life of many more stuff and reasons for its fantastic looks.

Most shoppers are prepared to spend more on something in the supermarket if it's labelled 'fresh'. But 'fresh' can be used to describe food that has been heat-treated, partfrozen, industrially or chemically altered and stored for weeks on end. 
Fresh food


Even with the best red meat, there is a long delay between the animal’s death and the arrival of a cut on your plate. This is particularly true in the case of lamb.

The New Zealand lamb now in the shops has travelled 11,000 miles by ship in near-freezing conditions, taking six weeks or more. That means that although it is sold as ‘fresh’ in supermarkets, it is nearly two months old when we eat it. Truth is : if it needs to stay fresh for 6 weeks or more thinks of the preservative added in that !! and that must be the reason I became allergic and sick.

British lamb, by contrast, will be on the shelves within three to four weeks of slaughter.
Good beef should be three or even four weeks old before it reaches the shelves because the flavour and texture of the meat improves if it is hung. 

But other meats are on the shelf sooner: Sainsbury’s says it takes eight days for pork to get from the slaughterhouse to its shelves.  
Anyone's guess: While some meats benefit from aging, many 'fresh' cuts have been semi-frozen for weeks
Retailers know that we look for a fresh red colour in raw meat, and use a number of high-tech tricks to preserve that. Fresh meat may be displayed in ‘modified atmosphere’ packs with harmless gases inside that delay natural discolouring.
Sodium and potassium salts are often added to sausages, salamis and bacon to suppress bacteria and preserve the colour, giving a shelf life of six months or more for some cured meats. 
Most supermarket chicken is four or five days old by the time it arrives on the shelves. But Marks & Spencer says that fresh chicken is on sale the day after slaughter, and then left on sale for nine days.


Anyone who has baked their own bread knows that loaves start to dry and harden within hours. So tricks are needed to keep bread soft for up to ten days on the supermarket shelves and then at home.
Our daily bread: But a loaf can be days old and still remain on the supermarket shelf
Depending on where you live, the bread may take two days to get to a supermarket in the first place.
Most popular sliced brands have preservatives and mould inhibitors such as calcium propionate and ascorbic acid. They may be baked using enzymes that don’t have to be declared on ingredients lists, so beware of labels that say ‘stays fresher longer’.

Recently, Tesco was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming that its shops sold ‘fresh bread, baked from scratch’ when, in fact, it and other stores often ship in ready-made or part-baked loaves and give them a final turn in an oven.
‘Most supermarkets’ so-called bakeries are nothing more than loaf tanning salons,’ says the Real Bread Campaign’s Chris Young.


Many recipes call for ‘fresh eggs’,  and there can be a big difference in taste and texture. Yet in a Tesco store yesterday, I found shelves being newly stocked with eggs that were already nine days old — which I calculated by subtracting 28 days from the ‘best before’ date.
Legally, eggs can arrive on shop shelves as much as ten days after being laid (‘extra fresh’ means they are less than nine days old). Marks & Spencer promises to get eggs onto the shelves within seven days.
But most professional chefs would insist on eggs less than a week old, because the raw egg becomes more liquid with age and the taste deteriorates.
Although the egg industry now prints a ‘best before’ date on most eggs, it has rejected calls to print the actual laying date. But if you subtract 28 days from the best before date, you can work it out.


One of the few things labelling rules are clear about is that frozen food cannot be sold as fresh. Yet no one can quite work out what the exact definition of ‘frozen’ is — particularly when it comes to fish.
Cod, haddock and other trawled fish from the waters of the north Atlantic may lie on ice for up to 12 days or more while the vessels are at sea before making the long journey to the fishmonger, meaning that by the time it reaches your fridge it could be 16 days old
But, technically, they have never been fully frozen so can still be sold as ‘fresh’. That means they carry the same labelling as fish caught on Britain’s coast, when the time from net to slab can be just 24 hours.
Although you might think this would pose a health risk, the truth is that much of our food is frozen, de-frosted and re-frozen, yet people rarely get ill.
Matters get even more complicated given that some fresh fish must be frozen by law for 24 hours in order to kill parasites. This happens for tuna and prawns that are eaten raw.
The huge tropical prawns now popular for barbecuing and Spanish-style tapas are often called ‘fresh’ even though that is technically not legal. They have usually been frozen previously, and shipped or air-freighted 6,000 miles or more in a process that can take between six weeks and as much as a year, but are then defrosted for sale as if freshly caught.


Once upon a time, you could get fresh fruit juice only by squeezing it yourself. Now shops offer a huge range of juices with shelf lives from two weeks to one year, all of them with either a direct or implied claim to freshness.
The cheapest — and least fresh — is ‘juice made from concentrate’.
That comes from abroad as a syrup that will have been filtered, pasteurised, evaporated and then frozen: the only fresh thing about it is the water added in the factory to reconstitute it. It will then be heat-treated again. Preservatives are often added, and the resulting shelf life can be a year or more.
Juices sold as ‘not from concentrate’ have either been pasteurised with heat, or treated with high pressure and filtering. They usually have a shelf life of a month. According to the Food Standards Agency’s advice to manufacturers, ‘freshly-squeezed juice’ should have a sell-by date no longer than two weeks after processing. And if it has been pasteurised (heat-treated, as milk is), it should say so, though it is often very hard to find the small print.
Some bottled ‘freshly-squeezed juice’ is exactly that — and has a much shorter life as a result. Marks & Spencer says its is on the shelves the day it is squeezed, is unpasteurised and has a shelf life of eight days from bottling.


Our modern taste for fresh green veg and salads at all times of the year (we import more than 60 per cent of all we eat) has led to an immense technological effort on the part of producers, and more dubious bending of the word ‘fresh’.
Fresh green beans, broccoli and peas from Africa or asparagus from South America that have been air-freighted generally reach the shelves within a week of picking, though they can be up to ten days old.
Sainsbury’s says it manages the job with beans from Kenya in three to four days and broccoli in five days.
Baking potatoes have often been around for six months.
Despite requests from consumer groups, no retailer has ever agreed to print packing or picking dates on the potato labels.
Outside the summer months, most salad vegetables and tomatoes travel by truck from Holland or Spain, where they are grown in giant climate-controlled greenhouses.
Salad leaves and spinach are washed in chlorine and then stored in ‘modified atmosphere’ packaging, slowing the rate at which the fresh leaves rot. Typically, salad from Spain is in the shops four days after picking.
These details do not have to be mentioned on the label.


Oranges and lemons are generally coated in a thin film of wax to stop them from being damaged during shipping and to make them look shiny and attractive.
So are many apples; despite the orchards that once covered the country, we now import three-quarters of all we eat.
These will be shipped from all over the world in refrigerated containers, often using special gases to delay over‑ripening, and it can be as much as six months before they reach the shelves.
Bananas from Central America take at least 11 days to reach Britain by ship. So they will be picked when still green, and on arrival treated with ethylene gas — a plant hormone which occurs naturally in fruit but is artificially introduced to ripen it.
Dangerous in high concentrations, artificially-made ethylene is believed to be harmless in the quantities used for the fruit we eat.
The plastic bags in which bananas arrive help preserve them even longer — up to 25 days.
Grapes are most often imported from Egypt. By the time they reach the shelves, they will be between four and ten days off the vines, depending on whether they were sent by air or sea.


‘Dairy-fresh’ milk means very little.
Straight from the cow, milk starts to separate and deteriorate within hours. To enable it to survive in the shop and then your fridge, ordinary fresh milk has its fat levels altered and is then pasteurised  — heated to more than 70 degrees centigrade — to remove bacteria.
This means it will usually be 48 hours old by the time it reaches the shop, but it stays drinkable for three days in the fridge or up to a week if unopened.
However, the process destroys vitamin C and many of the nutrients present in ‘raw’ milk.  
New technology that removes organisms with microscopic filters allows some milk to be sold as usable for up to 21 days if unopened. Manufacturers such as Cravendale call this product ‘fresher tasting’ — but is that the same as ‘fresh’?
Courtesy : AP

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Toothpaste uses

You’ll be amazed to know how many benefits an ordinary toothpaste can provide. You can start considering your toothpaste a “Magic tube” because the miracles it can do for you are simply unbelievable.

Here is how you can make use of this “Magic tube”:
Tooth paste as a hand sanitizer
Want to make your hands germ free? Take a drop of toothpaste and mix it with a little water, apply this mixture to your hands. The mixture would not only work as a disinfectant but would also help you get rid of the dreadful smell of the onions and garlic if you have diced one.

Piano Cleaner
Constant tickling on the ivory piano keys can turn them dirty. You can clean them up, the same way you clean your teeth. All you need is a brush and toothpaste, brush the keys of the piano well and then rub them with a damp cloth. If toothpaste can work on human teeth, it can also work well on elephant’s teeth (ivory). Toothpaste is equally good as a cleaner for modern pianos with plastic keys.
Fix Nail Holes
We know nail holes make your walls look bad and you might need some professional help to fix them. Wait! Try toothpaste. You can easily fill the nail holes with toothpaste, let it dry and touch it up with paint. Problem solved!
Excellent Stain Remover for Clothes
Ink, lipstick, ketchup! Dropped them on clothes? Don’t worry! Toothpaste will make these stains vanish in a minute. Just apply some tooth paste on these tough stains, scrub them, rinse well and poof! They are gone.
You can even clean up your carpet stains with the help of toothpaste in the same way.
Quick Remedy for Pimples
Need a quick remedy to treat those pimples? Simple! Apply toothpaste on the pimple at night and wash it in the morning. By morning, it will be gone. Toothpaste effectively absorbs the oil from the pimples, making them dry and flattens them. Keep in mind that this remedy shouldn’t be used more than once a week as it can make your skin over dry. Also do a patch test before applying as some people might get skin irritation by using it.
Makes your CDs Scratch less
Oops! There’s a scratch on your important CD. No problem! Put some toothpaste on it and wipe it off with a piece of clean cloth.
Tooth paste as Jewelry and Cutlery Cleaner
Now you don’t need to take your gold and diamond jewelry to the jewelry store to get them polished when you have toothpaste at your home. Take some toothpaste and brush your piece of jewelry with an old tooth brush, rinse with water. It will make them sparkling clean. You can clean up your silver cutlery in the similar way.
Can serve as your shoe polish
Toothpaste can serve as your shoe polish. It can help remove scuffs from your leather shoes. Apply some of it on the area that has been scuffed and rub it with a soft piece of cloth, then wipe off with a clean damp cloth. Your shoes will turn good as new. It can also clean the rubber area of your fleets or sneakers.
Works as crayon remover from walls
Your little one has been showing his art skills by drawing on the walls? Now you don’t need to cover that with paint. Just apply a little toothpaste on the area where crayons have been used and rub it with a damp rag.
Deodorize Baby Bottles
Baby bottles develop sour milk smell after being used constantly. To deodorize your baby’s bottle use a little toothpaste and scrub it really well with the bottle brush. Make sure you rinse it thoroughly afterwards.
Effective for Burns and Insect Bites
People working in kitchen usually get their fingers or hands burnt. Unfortunately, if it happens next time, put some toothpaste on the affected area. The key component, Eucalyptus found in toothpastes will soothe the burns. (Personal experience)
Insect bites are causing you itchiness? Apply some toothpaste over it. Toothpaste works well for flea, ants and mosquito bites.
Nail Cleaner
Next time you can do your manicure at home. At least you won’t need a professional help to fix your nails. The teeth and nails are made up of similar material. So just the way you clean your teeth you can clean your nails as well. Just switch your tooth brush with a nail brush and clean up those nails thoroughly.
Works as a Defogger
Professional swimmers use toothpaste to defog their swimming goggles. Just apply some toothpaste and rub with a clean damp cloth, they will turn clear.

Note : Please don't use gel.

Courtesy : Google.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Healthy Diet for £15 / 23 USD a week

The recommended daily intake of calories - 2,500 for a man and 2,000 for a woman.  Also need to cook at home, partly to avoid the 20% VAT added to takeaways and eating out.

Source : BBC 

With careful planning, an adult could spend as little as £12 per week on a healthy, balanced diet, says Tom Sanders, a professor of nutrition at Kings College London.
Filling up on starchy foods and cheap fruit and vegetables is key. Think lots of baked potatoes, hearty soups and pasta bakes.


Courtesy :BBC News Magazine

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Non Stick Cookware and Cancer

Many people would say Teflon is a modern day “convenience”. Cookware coated with Teflon makes cooking and cleaning up much easier. 

The non-stick coating, used in Dupont Teflon pans, has been found to release one or more (up to 15) different toxic gases when heated to high temperatures, a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been labeled carcinogenic by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This is a chemical that is being used in many household products from cookware, coated paper plates and even microwave popcorn bags. 
Studies showed that Dupont was polluting drinking water and presented a very real danger to pregnant women and the baby’s they were caring. A recent study has shown a link between thyroid disease, cancer and Teflon. 
Scientists have said that the product will release fumes that can cause flu-like symptoms in cases of overheating at 662 degrees fahrenheit – a temperature that can easily be exceeded when a pan is either preheated on a burner, placed beneath a broiler or in a self-cleaning oven.
The worst issue behind Teflon pots and pans
As careful as we try to be – Teflon pots and pans can easily get scratched at some point. In fact, the truth is many people tend to use battered and scratched Teflon cookware. Teflon is usually used to cover aluminum which in itself is a dangerous metal – implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The best way to protect you and your family is to use cookware made from: ceramic, stainless steel or glass. If you know anyone cooking with Teflon pots and pans – PLEASE share this article and help save a life.
Courtesy : Blanche Levine

Friday, April 19, 2013

Clean the loo with cola


Banish cooking odours
Is there a smell of fish, curry or something you've burnt? You can banish unwanted cooking smells from the kitchen by boiling a cup of distilled white vinegar and a couple of cloves in an uncovered saucepan for a few minutes.
Get your saucepans sparkling
Remove burnt-on stains from pans with cheap own-brand cola. Pour just enough into your pan to cover the burnt area. Boil, stir, then remove from the heat. Pour away the hot cola and the burnt residue should go with it. Finish off with a rinse and a quick wipe with a clean cloth.
A bottle of cheap cola, an old coat hanger and half a tennis ball can have your home shining
A bottle of cheap cola, an old coat hanger and half a tennis ball can have your home shining
Descale a kettle
Cut a lemon into large chunks and place in your kettle. Fill the kettle with water, allow to boil, and then leave the lemon and water mixture to stand overnight. Discard the fruit and water the next day and rinse thoroughly before using your limescale-free kettle to make a cup of tea.
Clean a microwave
Place a cup of boiling water mixed with half a cup of lemon juice in a bowl in your microwave and ‘cook' on high for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl carefully and wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean, damp cloth. All food deposits should come away easily.
Degrease a glass oven door
To get rid of burned-on grime on a glass oven door, mix a thick paste of bicarbonate of soda with a tiny amount of water. Lay some old newspaper on the floor underneath the oven door and, wearing rubber gloves, use a cloth to rub the paste on the inside of the door. Leave it for about 15 minutes and then wash it off. This magic paste should also remove the remains of burnt food from a hob.
Remove stains from china
Wipe stains from china with a dab of bicarbonate of soda and a wet cloth. If the stains are really persistent, dissolve a denture-cleaning tablet in a bowl of water and soak the china in it (avoid doing this with very expensive or highly decorated china, denture cleaner contains bleach which could damage patterns). Once the stains have gone – rinse well with clean water.
Create a surface cleaner
Mix together one part distilled white vinegar with two parts water and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Applied with a cloth this fluid will cut through grime on most surfaces, from bath to floor and kitchen cupboards. Try adding a couple of tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to soapy washing-up water, too, if you have a stack of dirty, greasy dishes to wash - it will cut through the grease like magic.
Boost your freezer
Scrunch up pieces of newspaper and pop them into any gaps between the packets and bags of food in your freezer. This stops the freezer cooling empty spaces and makes it much more efficient.
Freshen a smelly fridge
Halve a lemon and scoop out the flesh. Fill your empty lemon shell with salt and pop it in a back corner of the fridge for a cheap but effective natural deodoriser.
Save on scourers
Keep two of the net bags that lemons and oranges come in. Put one inside the other and scrunch up to make a very efficient scouring pad. 
Polish your chrome
A dab of baby oil buffed over a chrome surface with a soft cloth will give a mirror-like shine.
Unblock a sink...
Cut a tennis ball in half. Put one half over the plug hole, dome up, and give it a good pump. The ball will act like a plunger.
...and flush away odours
Pour half a cup of bicarbonate of soda down the plughole, followed by one or two cups of white wine vinegar. Leave for ten minutes, then rinse through with a kettle full of boiling water. The foam and froth will work its way down the pipes and flush out any trapped gunk and bad smells.

Clean limescale off taps
Pour vinegar into sandwich bags, and attach a bag over each tap with duct tape or an elastic band, so that the limescale is submerged in the vinegar. Leave overnight. Remove the bags in the morning and wipe clean (this method is not suitable for brass or coloured fixtures).
Whiten your grouting
Thick bleach and an old toothbrush should get stained grouting clean. Dip the toothbrush in the bleach and use it to scrub the grout between the tiles. Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth.
Get a loo as good as new
Cheap cola also makes a very efficient toilet cleaner. Pour a litre into the toilet bowl. Leave for an hour or more, then scrub and flush for sparkling results.
Unclog a shower head
Unscrew a blocked shower head and place it in a bowl of vinegar to soak overnight. Rinse with warm water the following morning. It should be limescale-free and unclogged.

Hide dark-wood scratches
Put a spoonful of instant coffee in an eggcup or similar small container, and pour in the tiniest amount of boiling water until the mixture looks like a very strong espresso. Once cooled, dip a clean cloth in the coffee and apply the liquid to scratches on dark wood. Once they've been camouflaged, buff with a clean, dry cloth.

We spend £1 billion a year on cleaning products in the UK but you can save a fortune with these handy tips
Refresh pot pourri
Spruce up old pot pourri by decanting it into a sandwich bag with a generous sprinkling of salt. Give the bag a good shake, the salt will knock off all the dust. Transfer the pot pourri to a new bag - minus any loose salt - and shake again. Put the clean pot pourri into a bowl and revitalise with a few drops of essential oil.
Give your wood a sheen
The juice from half a lemon mixed with quarter of a cup of olive oil makes a great polish for wooden furniture. Apply a little to a duster and buff over the wood. The lemon cuts through grime and the oil leaves a lustrous sheen.
Erase grubby marks
Use an ordinary pencil eraser to get rid of fingerprints and marks on light switches. A rubber on the end of a pencil is a useful tool for cleaning remote control handsets, too.
Wash your windows
A drop of vinegar on a scrunched-up pad of old newspaper is brilliant for cleaning windows.
Burnish your brass
mix equal quantities of salt, flour and vinegar. Dab an old toothbrush into the paste and apply it thickly to dingy brass. Leave the mixture on for at least an hour – the longer you leave it on the shinier the final result. When you're ready to remove it, wipe the paste off with a damp cloth and then buff with a dry, soft cloth.
Buff up that copper
Pour lemon juice onto cloudy copper and sprinkle with salt. Rub the solution in with an old rag until the metal is gleaming again.
Shine your silver
Buy the cheapest toothpaste you can find and, using an old toothbrush, liberally coat tarnished silver with the paste. Gently work the paste over the surface of the silver with the brush and then rinse away and buff dry with a soft cloth. The tarnish will have vanished.
Dust down those radiators
Dust stops radiators from working efficiently, so cleaning them will save money long-term.
Wipe radiators down with a damp cloth, and use a wire coat hanger for those hard-to-reach areas. Wrap a cloth around the hook of the hanger, bend the body of the hanger to the shape and length you need and work your way behind and between the radiator panels.
Spruce up your carpet
Have you got a drab carpet? Get out the bicarbonate of soda. Sprinkle it liberally  over the carpet, leave for about 15 minutes, then vacuum away dust, dirt and any fustiness will evaporate, too.

Extracted from Superscrimpers by Eithne Farry, to be published by Square Peg and Endemol on April 25 at £9.99.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Visit to Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral in London is the mother church of the Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster. It is dedicated to the "Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ".


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Snow Walk

After many attempts I too learned to walk on ice see how it is :)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The last wishes of Alexander the Great

On his death bed, Alexander the Great summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
  1. The best doctors should carry his coffin;
  2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones etc.) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery; and
  3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!
One of his generals, who was surprised by these unusual requests, asked Alexander to explain.

Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:

1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal.2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth, although our good deeds can be our travelers’ cheques. TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!6. So my dear, the best present that you can give to your family and friends, is your TIME. May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can LIVE, LOVE and DIE in peace