The consummate male needs to be able to handle whatever is thrown at him with savoir faire. Think James Bond meets Dr Spock, with a touch of Jamie Oliver thrown in.
Gentlemen, how many of these can you confidently tick off? Hmm… maybe it’s time to upgrade your talents.
Quick and Easy BBQ Tips
It may look easy, but there is a definite art to turning out perfectly grilled food from a BBQ. Want to impress and looking for a foolproof, (well almost), way to entertain al fresco with a chef’s aplomb? Read on…
Choose the right BBQ. Don’t scrimp on this if you want a good result. Charcoal beats gas hands down if you want tasty, authentic food, and remember to buy one with a lid. That’s how you keep food moist and juicy and lock in the flavor.
- Get the temperature right. Different foods need different heat levels and cooking times.
- Steak and chops need a strong heat to sear the outer area and seal in the moisture and flavor. The coals should be white hot and glowing, but without an actual flame. Don’t keep turning the meat; allow one side to brown nicely before turning it to the other side.
- Use tongs rather than abarbecue fork to turn the meat. Test for doneness with tongs. Rare is soft when pressed, medium is springy but soft and well done is very firm. Remove steak, cover it loosely, and rest it in a warm place for few minutes before serving. Remember that the cooking process actually continues after you remove the meat from the heat.
- The more expensive the cut of meat, the more tender it will be. Fillet is the most tender, but sirloin, T-bone or rib-eye steaks deliver more flavor. Meat is best when it has been allowed to age in the refrigerator, or with the butcher.
- Shrimp should be left with the head and shell on, but the vein running down the back should be carefully extracted prior to grilling. You need a keen eye and a sharp knife to make the incision, but it gives a much cleaner and more attractive finished result. Keep it to the edge of the grill; it shouldn’t be overcooked as it can dry out easily.
- Fish is great on the grill, but again, it is easy to overcook. If it is cooked directly, and not encased in foil, it should be lightly oiled to stop it sticking to the grill. Seasoning is a matter of preference and personal taste. Fresh fish tastes superb with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of herbs, but you can go for more exotic options as well. Allow around 8 to 10 minutes grilling time for each 5 cm of thickness.
- Chicken needs a longer cooking time, on a lower heat, so can be placed around the perimeter of the grill to avoid it burning on the outside and remaining too pink in the center. For a fail-proof recipe that will have your friends begging for more, give this a try:
BBQ Chicken Marinade
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Pinch of chili powder (optional)
Whisk tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, seasoning and salt and pepper in a bowl.
Place chicken in a large, shallow ceramic dish. Pour over half of the marinade and turn to coat. Let rest in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Remove chicken pieces and place on grill. Baste regularly with the remaining marinade mix and turn as required. When ready the chicken should be a rich brown, with a shiny sticky glaze.
A Dad’s Guide To Calming A Wailing Baby
New parents can face a whole gamut of emotions when their ‘little bundle of joy’ suddenly becomes a squalling, implacable little bundle of high-octane rage. Well, let’s face it. It’s tough feeling a bit under par, and having no way to explain it, or fix it.
That’s where parenting skills are put to the test. And dads, it’s not just the new mom’s job to deal with it, she may be feeling like letting loose a little herself. Here’s a dad’s simple guide to restoring peace, at least temporarily. A crying baby is actually a normal baby, when a baby is too passive or unresponsive you may need to consult your pediatrician.
Common Reasons Babies Cry:
Sleepiness or fatigue
A wet nappy or diaper
Colic, acid reflux or a food allergy
… Or simply hunger
With experience you will learn to identify the different types of crying, along with your baby’s body. Clenched fists, an arched back, curling legs up to the chest, and a bloated abdomen could indicate colic, a common condition from 2 weeks up to 14 weeks after birth.
After checking that your baby’s temperature is normal, and that the diaper is dry, you can try the following methods to calm the baby (and yourself) down.
- Cradle your baby on his or her side in your arms close to your chest. The beat of your heart will be reassuring.
- Use a gentle swaying or rocking motion, and sing or hum gently.
- Wrap your baby in a swaddling blanket to create a feeling of security.
- You can check whether your baby is too hot or too cold by feeling his or her tummy. Don’t be guided by the temperature of your baby’s hands or feet. It’s normal for them to feel a little cold.Adjust your baby’s clothing and covers to make her/him more comfortable.
- Use a low, constant sound as a distraction. Household appliances have proved good for this, or alternatively use a special baby-soothing ‘white noise’ CD.
Always check with your pediatrician if you see a dramatic change in your baby’s behavior patterns, i.e. sudden quiet, unresponsive periods, lack of responsiveness to the environment or stimuli.
Do get enough rest. If you fail to get enough sleep and stress out it can be picked up easily by the baby and add tension to the situation.
Don’t blame yourself or your spouse if your baby keeps crying. Take turns being on ‘baby duty’ especially in the afternoons and evenings when crying is more common.
Never shake a baby; it can cause long lasting damage by breaking the fragile blood vessels in the head.
Remember that these days will pass. You will look back on them with nostalgia someday.
Essential First Aid Knowledge
Accidents happen, emergencies arise and sometimes you need to be able to handle things until professional medical help is available. What do you do if someone is electrocuted, poisoned, or suffers a heart attack? How do you stop bleeding? How can you assist someone bitten by a snake, scorpion or spider? What do you do if someone has sunstroke, or breaks a limb? A little basic training can go a long way, and could be lifesaving. So why not invest a little time and energy in taking a first aid course? There are several conducted by accredited trainers, here are a couple worth checking out:
Egyptian Red Crescent
The Egyptian Red Crescent organizes first aid training courses in both English and Arabic languages. These training courses include theoretical and practical training and target different segments of the community.
The training courses include the following topics: Primary survey, heart attack, airway obstruction, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), AED, drowning, bleeding, burns, fractures, abdomen, chest, and eye injuries, shock, fainting and coma, convulsions, poisoning, diarrhoea, bites and stings, exposure to extreme temperatures, Triage, and prevention of children’s injuries.
First Aid and CPR In Egypt: Help Save a Life
Help Save a Life runs monthly courses for certification in First Aid, CPR and AED for individuals and companies. The certification is globally accepted and satisfies the requirements of governmental and international authorities worldwide. Courses are customized to the client needs and can be offered in either English or Arabic.
Telephone: (+20) 2 23492133 / 23492124 / 23492106
Fax: (+02) 2 23492098 / 23492107
Add a Little Music to Your Life
Ever noticed the guy who can casually stroll across to a piano, sit down and effortlessly roll out some amazing tunes? Or the kid who can pick up a guitar and really make it speak volumes? There’s something about being able to play an instrument, any kind of instrument that transforms a mere mortal into something a lot more intriguing.
Feel inspired? Then head on down to one of these excellent centres to learn how to unleash your inner maestro…
Art Mania in 6th October (across from MOA), and in Galleria Mall is a music school that can nurture budding rock guitarists and drummers. If you are on the west side of town take time to pay them a visit.
Cairo Music Center
The Cairo Music Center is your institute of choice for learning virtually any instrument you fancy. Lessons are given in piano, guitar, violin, drums and oud, as well as singing, if your vocal chords are up to it. If you are really serious about progressing you can even take exams and receive certificates from ABRSM in the UK.
Finoon Arts Education Center
Whether you have a passion for classical, oriental or rock, Finoon has you covered with lessons in all genres. Lessons are tailored to suit each pupil’s pace of learning, and sessions are initially one-on-one until the pupil is ready to play in a group ensemble.
Legato Egypt for Music and Arts
Lessons are available in piano, guitar, violin, drums, oud, flute, electric guitar and singing. The center has a strong community focus as well and also offers arts and crafts classes.
Vibe for Developing Arts
Vibe is an integrated music complex, offering lessons in contemporary music. This is your place if you see a future lined up in the world of recording hits. The center offers everything from lessons, recording facilities, musical instrument sales and repair and sound equipment rental.
Fayrouz district, in front of Gate18 Mall of Arabia
Galleria 40 Branch
Culture Lab, Ground Floor
Cairo Music Center
14 El Zohour St, off Airport Road
Cairo, Egypt 11341
Tel: 2266-7544 / 2266-8649
Al Yarmouk Street, from Abbas El Akkad, Nasr City
Tel: 24011807 / 24011856 / 01022630333
11 Refaát Saleh Tawfik St., Hegaz Square
Tel: 02 21805330
Sonata Music Center
0100 093 3945
Vibe for Developing Arts
02 37620021 – 0109 0955515
Simple Massage Tips
Endless traffic, on the go from 6 am to way past midnight? Massive workload, kids driving you crazy? Result? Stress build up and tension in every part of the body.
Yes, it’s your lovely better half we are talking about. So what can you do to help her unwind, and show how much she is truly appreciated? Time for a relaxing massage.
While it takes considerable training and expertise to carry out many types of remedial massages, there are some basic Swedish Massage techniques that are not difficult, and that can work wonders. Always bear in mind though, that you should not carry this out if there is any possibility of pre-existing orthopaedic or muscle damage. That’s when you need to consult a specialist. Remember, never put pressure on the spine itself, and avoid the belly as it can be a sensitive area.
- Set the mood. Clear the kids and pets out of the way, turn off the TV, lower the lighting and put on a little low key, relaxing chill out music. The area should be as clutter free as possible.
- You need a firm, supportive surface; a bed or firm mattress will do if you haven’t invested in a proper massage table. You need to be able to move around all sides freely.
- Towels, olive oil with a drop of your preferred essential oil. Lavender, ylang-ylang and chamomile are fragrant, relaxing, and safe even in pregnancy.
For obvious reasons clothing has to be kept to a minimum. Areas that have been massaged should be covered by a clean towel to stop body heat escaping, so modesty can also be preserved. The head should have a small pillow or folded towel to rest on.
Begin with the shoulders; work down to the neck, and down the arms to the hands. Then return to the upper and lower back. Then work down the thighs to the calves, leaving the ankles and feet for last.
Work upwards in the reverse order with a softer touch.
Effleurage: These strokes should be applied with the palm of the hand in a soft, fluid way. The purpose is to gently stretch the soft tissue and promote relaxation. This technique is essential before and after more energetic strokes.
The Fan Stroke: Place you hands on either side of the spine above the hips, with your fingers facing the head. Slide your hands up to the shoulder blades, exerting a little pressure. Move outwards towards the shoulder blades in a curve, then back down the rib cage to your start position.
Everyone will be familiar with this. Using a steady rhythm to firmly knead the muscles and skin for around half a minute. That should get the knots out!
The final touch:
Now that you have created a state of ease and relaxed bliss for your mate, arch your hands and awaken the senses gently with a gentle raking over the whole body with your fingertips.
What’s left? Enjoy a cool drink together and let the closeness you have created envelop you.