Archive for October, 2010

Why You Need a One Touch Can Opener

October 27th, 2010

The tin can was first invented in the Netherlands by their Navy to preserve freshly caught salmon and is believed to have been used since 1772. Boiled in  salt water (brine) it was then smoked and put in tin plated boxes made from iron. What is fascinating is the first tin opener wasn’t patented until 1855 in England which makes you think it could almost answer the age old question which came first the chicken or the egg or should I say the tin or the tin opener.

The first can openers were very basic and were just a type of knife. The more familiar traditional manual tin opener as we know it today was not designed until 1925 when the second serrated wheel was added  too hold the cutting wheel against the rim. This was a far cry from the original method of opening the tins using a hammer and chisel. The rotating wheel tin opener has become one of the most popular used gadgets in our kitchens today.

The next major development of the can opener was the  introduction of the safe edge can opener that did not leave any sharp edges around the opened can. The electric tin opener has been the obvious next step in the development of tin openers however many have tried and failed. It has only been since the development of small powerful battery powered motors has an electric tin opener been usable for the domestic market.

The most popular of these is the Culinare one touch can opener. Originally designed for the elderly, the one touch can opener will open  a can with no other input from the user other than placing it on the top of the tin and pressing the button. With a compact design, which is easy to clean the electric one touch can opener comes in both battery powered and rechargeable models. The lid is removed as easily as one, two, three and is safe to dispose of as it leaves no sharp edges.

The one touch tin can opener is a genius design and although initially designed for people with limited hand mobility it is a great gadget to save us all time in the kitchen. You can set the can to open your favourite tin of beans while you select your favourite saucepan from your saucepan set and then put some bread in your 4 slice toaster. An your opened tin of beans will be ready and waiting.

Choosing Breakfast Bar Stools

October 20th, 2010

It might be a through back to the seventies but breakfast bar stools are back into fashion in recent years. Maybe because kitchen space has become a premium with the price of real estate or that you miss sitting on your favourite bar stool at your local bar. The breakfast bar is an efficient use of space in your kitchen and has the advantage that you can store your stools underneath the counter top when not being used.

Breakfast Bar Stool Options

When choosing a stool there are a few options you need to consider.

Height

Probably one of the most important features is the height of the stool. Make sure you buy the correct height stool for your requirements. If you already have a breakfast bar then measure the height underneath your counter top. However if you have not yet installed your breakfast bar you can select your bar stool and install the kitchen counter top to suit. A good guide to the correct counter top height is your standard commercial bar counter top. These are normally installed about 40″ (1.016m) to 42″ (1.066m). The right size height stool for this would be 30″ (0.762m) as this would give a comfortable clearance of  about a foot. The home breakfast bar is normally slightly lower at 36″ (0.915m) so a good height would be 24″ (0.61m) to 26″ (0.66m) stool.

Adjust and Swivel

You then have a choice of either a fixed height stool or one that adjusts in height. The height adjustable stools give you that extra comfort to get the perfect height for the individual person. However don’t just focus on the height of your stool make sure you don’t buy too wider stool and you have enough room for the number of stools you require.  Ensuring they can all be stored underneath your bar without sticking out will make your kitchen or bar area look neat and tidy. Some bar stools have a swivel seat that makes it easy to position your self comfortably although these can seem a bit unstable if you are not use to them.

Style and Material

You will have a wide choice of styles and material to choose from and most will come down to personal taste. Try to match the stool to your kitchen design and style. Stools come in many different materials from leather, vinyl, acrylic, steel, chrome or wooden for that traditional looking breakfast bar stool. You should also consider which material will suit how much you will use the stool. For most requirement a wipe clean surface will not only last longer but is more hygienic.

Stability and Surface

A good tip is to try and test drive the stool of your choice as you hope to have the bar stool for many years. Don’t just go for cheap breakfast bar stools as comfort is important and it’s best to invest in a stool that will last you a long time and you will be happy with. One consideration you should not forget is the floor surface they will be standing on. Not only do you want a stool that will not damage your floor but also one that is stable as you don’t want to fall of you bar stool when tired in the morning or when you have had one drink too many.  If you have a vinyl floor ensure you go for a stool with a wide base rather  than small feet as these can leave indentations in your floor that are hard to remove and unsightly.

Where to Buy

Now you know the type of stool you are looking for you will need to search your local stores or the internet for your perfect stool. Whether it’s Amazon, Ikea, Argos, B&Q or a local independent store you will be sure to enjoy your breakfast or drinks so much more when comfortably sitting  on your new breakfast bar stools.

Le Creuset Stoneware

October 13th, 2010

The French are world famous for their cooking and have given us nouvelle cuisine and famous brands of kitchen appliances such as the Magimix food processor and Le Creuset cookware.

History

Le Creuset are renowned for using traditional materials and hand crafting modern designed cookware. Best known for there cast iron cookware they were founded in 1925. Based in Fresnoy-le-Grand in Aisne, France they chose this place as it was at the crossroads of all the required raw materials, coke, iron and sand. After the war they continued to develop their innovative cookware to include different coloured enamels. This soon became very popular and in 1952 they started to export to other European countries and also the United States.

Since they were bought by the current President, Paul Van Zuydam in 1988 they have continued to expand into other countries, innovate and diversify. Their range now includes silicone bakeware, stainless steel saucepan sets and stoneware bakeware.

Although still sticking to their distinctive design that would co-ordinate with their range of cast iron cookware the Le Creuset Stoneware has developed into a range of it’s own. Manufactured using specialist clays fired at the highest temperatures they are enamelled with the distinctive vibrant colours we have all become to love. Able to resist chipping cracking and the all important stain resistance they can offer a 5 year guarantee. Scratch resistant the stoneware can be used in the traditional oven, microwave or under the grill. Able to withstand temperatures as high as 260°C (500°F) and as low as -18°C (-65°F) they are dishwasher safe and are happy to be put in your freezer when you have that left over casserole.

The Le Creuset Stoneware Range

Preparation items include a mixing jug and a pestle and mortar.

The cooking items is probably the largest selection and ranges from small ramekins, oval, round and rectangular dishes and their world famous casserole pots.

There Storage range includes kitchen canisters for example storage jars, a salt pig and a butter dish.

If you are looking for a serving range then look no further as it includes teapots, milk jugs, sugar bowls, mugs and soup bowls.

If you need a gift for a loved one then there is a starter set that will introduce them to the advantages of the Le Creuset cookware. This includes 20cm cast iron round casserole dish, 26cm stoneware rectangular dish, 24cm stoneware oval dish and 2 stoneware ramekins. The set is available in Cerise, Volcanic, Granite, Almond, Graded Blue, Satin Black & Teal colours and you should be able to find one that will match your loved ones kitchen and personality. For the perfect gift look no further than the Heart Range of ramekins and dishes which as you can guess are moulded in the shape of a heart. These dishes show the love and effort the chef has put into the meal they are serving.

Whichever stoneware you choose make sure you enjoy selecting from the various vibrant colours available to match your kitchen and you will get years of enjoyable cooking with them.

4 Slice Toaster, Quick & Eco Friendly

October 5th, 2010

The smell of toasted bread in the morning is something everyone loves. Along with home made coffee and baking bread these smells are used in shops to entice us to buy more food. When selling a house I have heard it suggested you use the same smells to make people feel more at home. The toaster is a common kitchen appliance in our kitchen today and essential for all student chef’s. Be it beans on toast or just a morning crumpet the toaster can soon help cure those morning cravings for food or if you have a hangover. Just enough time to make a cup of tea or coffee to go with your toast there is nothing worst than seeing your room mate or partner tuck into a  golden brown piece of toast dripping with smooth butter. That is why  a 4 slice toaster is the new essential kitchen gadget. How many times have you gone to make a quick lunch of beans on toast to find out you are the one that gets the two pieces of cold toast because you are waiting for the other two pieces to be done.

Not only that but you will be being ecologically friendly because a 4 slice toaster is more efficient than a two slice toaster. Some people would suggest cooking it under an oven grill or using a toaster oven, but not only would that take longer having to wait for the oven grill to warm up, but would also cost more money.  Even a  4 slice toaster oven would be less effecient as the bread is normally further away from the element than a standard 4 slice toaster. There are energy efficient toasters which cover the slots at the top to keep the heat in. This can save a little energy but has the disadvantage that you cannot see your bread toasting. Personally I believe a 4 slice toaster is more efficient than a two slice toaster not only in the amount of time it takes but also in the energy it uses. The only caveat to that is ensure your 4 slice toaster has the ability to turn off the slots you are not using. The other  tip for being both ecologically friendly and cost efficient is to ensure you switch your toaster off when not being used. Many of today’s toasters have L.E.D lights which can consume electricity by just being plugged in.

We all love toast and its a great snack that although not totally healthy most people never get tired of. So why not treat yourself to a 4 slice toaster you will never regret it.