Top 10 Deals of The Week

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We’ve got some fantastic special offers on at Silver Mushroom Ltd, so we decided to share with you our top ten deals of the week. We believe quality shouldn’t always be expensive and these are the products, hand picked by our team at Silver Mushroom Ltd that we think are the best value for money. Our top ten deals will be running until next Friday, May 8th, so get browsing now to get some fantastic bargains and top quality products.

Product-photography-Novo-Typhoon-teal-bread-bin-20140204-FO6A0169-web110. Typhoon Novo Teal Bread Bin – £29.99 (Was £39.99)

In at number 10, is the gorgeous retro Typhoon Novo Teal Bread Bin. The Novo range has seen huge popularity at Silver Mushroom over the past year, and is showing no signs of stopping, with this stunning teal blue being the firm favourite of the four colours. The Novo Teal Bread Bin is made from durable enamel coated steel, and features an inner shelf for ventilation, a magnetic door to seal the bread in and keep it fresh and can easily hold two loaves.

Kilner Drinks Dispenser9. Set of 2 8 Litre Kilner Drinks Dispensers – £36.98 (Was 45.98)

The Kilner Drinks Dispenser is THE must have summer accessory, and this set of 2 8 litre dispensers for £36.98 is not to be missed. The 8 litre capacity is great for parties or large families, and the airtight seal keeps the contents fresh when your dispenser is not in use. Perfect for cocktails, wine, cordial or water and they can even be used for warm mulled wine or cider in the winter. Featuring the embossed Kilner logo and a stylish chrome tap, these dispensers are the perfect addition to your home or the perfect gift for a friend.

steakstones8. Set of 2 Steak Stones Sizzling Steak Stone Set – £144.00 (Was £155.95)

Steak Stones are the ultimate in contemporary dining, and the perfect way to serve steaks. These stylish Sizzling Steak Stone sets each include one lava stone, which is heated in the oven, on the hob or on a barbecue, one porcelain side dish and three dip dishes, so you can serve your steak and sides cooked exactly the way you want it. These would also make a perfect wedding gift for a happy couple.

Kilner butter churner lifestyle7. Kilner Butter Churning Set – £27.99 (Was £32.49)

Make, serve and store your own home made butter with this beautiful set from Kilner. The Kilner butter churner is new to their range but looks beautifully rustic and traditional and allows you to make your very own home made butter in only ten minutes. Add your own flavours and twists, shape with the butter paddles and store in the lovely stylish glass Kilner butter dish.

dema designs 16. Dema Simplicity 16 Piece Square Dinner Set – £34.99 (Was £49.99)

This stunning square dinner set is perfect for every day dining, and is microwave and dishwasher safe, so as well as looking fantastic it is seriously practical. This porcelain set includes four dinner plates, four bowls, four side plates and four mugs. Tough, durable and stylish to boot. The ideal family dinner set.

0110.03615. Dema Simplicity Oil and Vinegar Set – £4.99 (Was £7.99)

And to match number 7, this lovely Dema Simplicity Oil and Vinegar set. These oil and vinegar condiments are the height of elegance and will look fabulous on any dining table. As with the Dema Simplicity dinner set, they are made from heavy duty porcelain, which looks fantastic and is microwave and dishwasher safe making it suitable for every day use.

Nova Red Wine Glass 33cl Set of 44. Ravenhead Nova Wine Glasses Set of 4 – £7.99 (Was £14.99)

These top quality wine glasses are from reputable brand, Ravenhead, and are perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine at home. Their quirky shape is stylish and contemporary, and they are a great size and shape for drinking white wine. This set comes gift boxed and would also make a great wedding or birthday gift.

image_ 0723. Kilner Compost Bin – £13.75 (Was £18.99)

Store your vegetable cuttings and kitchen waste in this stylish compost bin from Kilner. Carbon filters neutralise odours, while the tough stainless steel looks great and will fit nicely on any kitchen worktop or windowsill. Easy grip handle allows you to easily move your compost to your outside compost heap when ready.

Hudson and Middleton Anna Danielle “Shadow” Mug2. Hudson and Middleton Anna Danielle China Mugs – £8.95 (Were £11.95)

A fine bone china mug makes the perfect gift, and the Anna Danielle collection from Hudson and Middleton is perfect for the animal lover in your life. Made in Stoke on Trent in the UK, these top quality mugs come gift boxed and will be treasured for life. These are the last in our range as the Anna Danielle collection is no longer available from Hudsons, so act fast and get your favourites now.

Prisme 27cl Marine Blue Set of 41. Duralex Prisme Glasses in Marine Blue or Clear – £4.95 (Were £9.95)

Duralex is a name synonymous with quality glassware and these sets of the Prisme design are a steal at £4.95 per set. Available in a stunning marine blue colour or the standard clear glass, these are a lovely addition to any home or restaurant. Triple tempered for extra strength.

To check out all of our Top deals this week, click here!

Dress Up Your Kitchen with Ulster Weavers Home Fashions

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Ulster Weavers Home Fashions was founded Holywood, Northern Ireland. Creators of fine home textiles, the company can trace its history back the the 19th Century.

Originally weavers, the Ulster Weaving Co was founded in 1880. Ireland was famous for its homespun cloths and Ulster in particular had become famous the world over for its fine weaving. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the company continued to spin, weave, bleach and finish the high quality linen it had now become known and loved for.

It was in the 1960’s that Ulster Weavers branched out from simple weaving and decided to put their fine cloths to good use in the kitchen textiles industry. Initially they specialised in Irish linen tea towels, soon after branching out into other kitchen co-ordinates, bags and giftware. The days of domestic service were long gone, and people were now taking control of their own kitchens and entertaining their own guests at home, and they wanted to be able to do it in style, with home fashions of their choice, even in the kitchen, a room that before World Wars I and II would have been a room only viewed by domestic servants, and possibly the odd member of the household family occasionally, but certainly not by any guests. By 1960, the kitchen was becoming the heart of the home, seen by every family member and visitor frequently, and so why not dress it to impress?

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The market for these sorts of home fashions was certainly growing and by 1990, the Ulster Weaving Company was divided into Ulster Weaver Home Fashions and Ulster Weavers Apparel. Ulster Weavers Home Fashions covered the kitchen textiles; tea towels, oven gloves, aprons, gauntlets, bags and so on, whilst Ulster Weavers Apparel dealt with the more specialist and luxurious; the finest linen shirtings, most luxurious suitings, exquisite drapery fabrics and robust, durable furnishing textiles.

Since 1990, Ulster Weavers Home Fashions has gone from strength to strength, working with designers both in house and out to provide a fabulous variety of ranges to suit all tastes. Ulster Weavers pride themselves on their fine quality linen and textile products that are still designed in Northern Ireland to this date. With 125 years of knowledge in the production of textiles behind them, which is still relied upon to maintain the high standards within the company, Ulster Weavers have a firm grip on their market and a rich understanding of their trade.

Ulster Weavers has held the Royal Warrant as suppliers of kitchen textiles to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II since 1995, a prestigious title which is highly regarded both in the UK and abroad.

Silver Mushroom Ltd are thrilled to now have stock of several of the Ulster Weavers’ home fashions range, which we simply adore. These timeless prints and matching accessories are a must have for that personal touch to your kitchen.

Have a look at our range of textiles on sale now, all with free shipping.

Fine Dining with Viners

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Here at Silver Mushroom Ltd, we are thrilled to be able to introduce another brand to our collection, the classic and reputable, Viners. Viners have been designing and manufacturing quality cutlery since 1901, and are known for their top quality products, manufactured using home grown Sheffield steel, and their classic meets contemporary designs, which have seen incredible success and popularity over the last century.

Founded in 1901 by Adolphe Viener and his sons in Sheffield, England the company, which soon became known as Viners Ltd, grew to be the biggest cutlery manufacturer in England shortly after the 2nd World War. The Viener family were silversmiths by trade and initially worked in small workshops. When Adolphe Viener passed away, one of his sons, Rubens took up the reins of the family business and the role of driving force, bringing the company firmly into the 20th Century. Under Rubens’ guidance, the firm grew and expanded rapidly, manufacturing quality stainless steel cutlery and other kitchen products. In the 1960’s, Viners had prospered and become a strong market leader, with a modern factory in Sheffield and subsidiaries in Ireland, France and Australia.

However, as with most 20th century industries, the path to success did not run smoothly. Post war Britain had seen a collapse of steel and other heavy industries and this eventually had a knock on effect on England’s cutlery market, and it began to go into slow decline. East Asian imports began to flood into the UK factories, and Viners did the only thing it could do and imported cutlery to be finished in the UK and stamped “Made in Sheffield”. This brought with it huge debts, and loans for expansion were crippling the firm. In 1980 Rubens Viener had retired and in 1985, Viners went bust.

The brand name was later purchased by Oneida, one of the world’s largest designers and sellers of stainless steel and silver plated cutlery and tableware. Oneida kept the much loved brand alive for several decades before it was purchased by The Rayware Group in 2014.

The Rayware Group is a family owned business, which started up in 1975. They are now one of the leading housewares suppliers and currently own some of the UK’s best loved brands. Over the years, Rayware have done a fantastic job of reviving old British brands and bringing them into the 21st Century, introducing more contemporary ranges, whilst still maintaining the quintessential English charm and keeping a firm grip on the traditional values and ethos of the brands. Their brands currently include Mason Cash, Kilner, Ravenhead, Arthur Wood, Price and Kensington, Typhoon, and most recently Viners.

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We have worked with Rayware since we began in 2011, and we cannot deny they have been instrumental in helping us get to where we are now. We, and our customers have a love affair with certain brands such as Kilner and Mason Cash, that will last a lifetime and beyond, and we hope to soon add Viners to this list.

Whilst maintaining the quality associated with the Viners name, The Rayware Group have designed new pieces and new sets and re packaged the products to bring Viners up to date and have truly breathed life back into the brand. The range on offer is growing and we are excited by every new piece that is introduced to us. So far, we have seen the classic designs being revisited, as well as some more contemporary sets, all available in a range of set sizes from 16 piece to a 44 piece fine dining set. We are particularly looking forward to seeing stock of the 44 piece canteen sets in wooden cases, and the must have product for the summer, the Viners BBQ set in a metal case.

We are thrilled to be welcoming Viners on board, and confident that The Rayware Group can revitalise this fantastic brand and see great success with their fine cutlery in 2015.

How To Make Your Own Butter in a Kilner Butter Churner

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Kilner’s latest product, the Butter Churner, is an absolute must have this Spring. Even if you don’t have an endless supply of cream and therefore don’t want to make your own butter every day, to have the option there for special occasions is just fabulous. The beauty of home made butter is not only that you know exactly what has gone into it and can avoid nasty preservatives and chemicals found in some processed spreads, but also that you can flavour it however you want. Kilner have included some great recipes in with their Butter Churners, for Cinnamon and Honey butter, Parmesan Basil and Tomato butter and Chilli and Lime butter. As long as you have the basic recipe for churning your own butter, the rest is really up to you. And churning your own plain butter could not be more simple. Just follow these easy steps from Kilner’s own recipe and in ten minutes, you’ll have some lovely home made butter.

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1) Take 300ml whipping cream and allow to stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

2) Make sure your Kilner Butter Churner is clean and dry. If this is the first time you are using it, rinse in warm soapy water before thoroughly drying.

3) Remove the lid from your Kilner Butter Churner and pour he 300ml whipping cream into the glass jar. Place the lid back on and push down to create a seal. Turn the wooden handle to begin the churning process. After a couple of minutes of churning, your cream will become foamy. After 5-6 minutes, the cream will start to thicken, becoming very thick after 8-10 minutes. When you reach this stage, you kow you are nearly there. After 10-12 minutes, the churning will become quite difficult and then ease off again after another minute. Inside the glass jar, your cream should now have turned pale yellow and separated to form butter and buttermilk.

4) Remove the lid from your Kilner Butter Churner and pour the milk into a drinking glass. Buttermilk is useful in lots of other recipes, so you may want to hang onto this. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl and pour cold water over the top. You can add ice to help this process if you wish. With clean hands, massage the butter, squeezing out any excess buttermilk. Repeat this process twice.

5) If you wish to flavour your butter, or add a pinch of salt, now is the time. You can also use the Kilner Butter Paddles to mix in your herbs, spices or flavourings and then continue to use them to shape your butter into a block.

Homemade butter on paddle

6) Cover your butter with waxed paper or store in a Kilner Butter Dish. Keep refrigerated until ready to use and always consume within two weeks.

And there you have it. Super easy, simple, yet delicious home made butter in less than half an hour. Your guests will be impressed!

For more butter recipes, check out Kilner’s website www.kilnerjar.co.uk

Top 10 Mother’s Day Gifts 2015

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Mother’s Day falls on March 15th this year, so that doesn’t leave much time to be inspired and to find a great unique gift for the World’s Greatest Mum. Here at Silver Mushroom, we love to be helpful so we’ve come up with our top 10 best Mother’s Day gifts that will really show Mum how much you appreciate her this year!

Heidi - lifestyle1. Our new collection of Ulster Weavers textiles are not to be missed, and make fantastic gifts. Your mum can cook in style with one of our stunning aprons. And if you want to get her that little bit extra, we’ve put together some sets with matching oven gloves, tea towels or mugs so you can really splash out on her, without actually breaking the bank! Ulster Weavers are known for their gorgeous designs and top quality products so we can promise, these will not disappoint.

2. If, like most Mums, your mum loves a good brew, serve her a well deserved cuppa in a beautiful mug from Hudson and Middleton. These mugs are made from fine bone china, in the UK and we stock a great range of different artists’ designs. And they come beautifully gift boxed, so there’s no fiddly wrapping.

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In the forest bowls3. If your Mum is a keen baker, why not treat her to a stunning set of Mason Cash In The Forest Mixing Bowls. These beautiful woodland inspired bowls bring the outdoors in and will definitely put a smile on Mum’s face as she goes about her cooking and baking. Featuring a Fox, Owl, Rabbit and Hedgehog design in sizes 29cm, 26cm, 24cm and 21cm respectively, this set is perfect for all your baking and food preparation needs.

4. If your Mum loves all things home made and organic, why not butter her up with Kilner’s fabulous new Butter Churning set. The Butter Churner makes real home made butter in just ten minutes, while the paddles can be used to shape your finished butter which can then be served in Kilner’s lovely glass butter dish. Spread the word!

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5. Show Mum how much you love her with a Romantic Hearts mixing bowl by Mason Cash. This pretty range features a generous sized mixing bowl in pink, red or cream with embossed hearts around the outside. Perfect for baking, or to use as a fruit or salad bowl.

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6. Our new Typhoon Vision range of scales are no small measure and would make a great, unique gift for Mum. With a variety of colours available, there is sure to be something to suit your favourite Mum. Weigh them up here.

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7. If your Mum is a bit of a party animal, why not treat her to a stunning 5 litre Kilner Drinks Dispenser? Ideal for cocktails, punch and soft drinks, this is sure to be a talking point at any soiree!

Kilner wedding drinks dispenser

8. For the colourful characters out there, this set of 4 brightly coloured mixing bowls is sure to go down a treat. Classic shape Mason Cash bowls finished in gorgeous red, yellow, blue and green glazes will definitely brighten up Mum’s day!

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9. Our Time For Tea gift sets from Creative Tops are a lovely heartfelt gift, especially for the animal lovers out there. Gift sets with a china mug, and matching coaster and scatter tray make brew time that little bit more enjoyable.

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10. Who says Dad has to do the BBQ? We bet Mum would step up the challenge immediately if she had this beautiful set of BBQ utensils in a stylish carrying case. Everything you need for perfect summertime alfresco dining. Just add sunshine.

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That’s our top 10, but for more Mother’s Day gift ideas, check out our Mother’s Day section on our website.

Baker Street: A Mason Cash Revolution

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For over two centuries, Mason Cash have been providing us with top quality bakeware and to this day, their original designs are still popular across the globe. Recent decades have seen new production techniques, new products being added to the core ranges and colourful twists on the original designs. Pretty pastels, brave bold colours and fun slogans have all contributed to Mason Cash’s movement into the 21st Century, and they have successfully delivered time and time again. It is no secret that some of Mason Cash’s more modern ranges have been inspired by past eras, Bake My Day paying homage to the 1950’s house wife, while Flour Power is openly inspired by the 1960’s era of Peace and Love, and 2012’s Jubilee range featured puns inspired by historical monarchs. Despite moving with the times and creating more functional products for the modern day kitchen, Mason Cash can safely say, they have not forgotten their roots, nor the kitchens that have inspired and guided them through two centuries.

This season, Mason Cash have gone further back in time, stepped out of the kitchen (just for a moment) and found their inspiration in the Industrial Revolution. A time and place with far more grit and grime and altogether darker and more intriguing than your average 1950’s kitchen! A far cry from their usual bright colours and pretty statements, this Baker Street range centres around a mechanical inspired cream and steel grey theme, putting an ultra stylish twist on the classic designs. Far from being dismal or boring, this steel grey industrial design makes as bold a statement as the Revolution it was inspired by. And although designed around a 200 year old landmark piece of history, Baker Street is completely cutting edge right now, and bang on trend. Perhaps quite apt considering that the Revolution was the foundation for, and transition to, the way our manufacturing processes still work today!

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The beauty of this latest Mason Cash collection is that it can genuinely adapt itself to any situation and any home. The materials and shapes are undeniably Mason Cash design classics which are associated with a rustic, traditional kitchen and home (pick up any copy of Period Home or Country Living and you’re sure to find at least one Mason Cash cane bowl nestling somewhere amongst the pages), yet the steel grey colour scheme and bold fonts combination lends itself to the contemporary as much as to the classic. Think city apartment, open brickwork, stainless steel cabinets and then throw in the Baker Street range! Sit perfectly? Thought so! Now imagine a cottage kitchen, open fire, range cooker…..you catch my drift! And I challenge you to claim this range as either masculine or feminine. It’s so bold and brave and mechanical…..but it’s oh so pretty! You see? You can’t!

The Baker Street range is also as useful as it is stylish. From storage tins, to mixing bowls, pudding basins, oven ware and a great range of food preparation accessories, not to mention glass worktop savers, egg storage, flour shakers and even gift sets, Mason Cash’s Baker Street has everything you need to totally kit out your kitchen in style. The perfect range for a keen baker with a sense of class and finesse. We absolutely love what we consider to be Mason Cash’s boldest move yet, and are so excited to be a part of this 21st Century style revolution.

Have a look at the Baker Street range now available on our website.

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Miniature Tea Break Gingerbread Houses

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Last week, we shared a picture on our Facebook account of incredibly cute and festive miniature gingerbread houses, that sit on the side of a mug for the perfect tea or coffee break. We actually dug this photo out from last year’s archives because we think it’s just too darn cute not to share. Somewhat predictably, it attracted the same flurry of attention it enjoyed last Christmas. The only problem? We did not actually know where the heck the picture came from, or have a set method for making these little beauties! So, like the nice people we are, myself and my pro baker, Kate, promised we would do our best to work out the best way to make these tiny, tasty houses and then share it with the rest of you.

First, let me tell you, this was not as simple as it looks! Secondly, these photographs were not our first attempt. Thirdly, if you have no patience, click onto the next article now, because these things are a little fiddly. But just a little, so if you do have an ounce of patience, stick around.

The first time around, we tried cutting out the pieces for the houses separately before baking them, as you might do with a large gingerbread house. This failed miserably. Because the houses are so small, even the slightest rising or spreading of the mixture whilst cooking, meant the pieces did not fit together and quite frankly, ended up looking like we’d tried to glue a load of ginger biscuits in a lump. We attempted this twice (see, we are persistent!), before deciding to try a different way. We had no idea if it would work to cut the shapes out after the gingerbread was cooked, but we gave it a whirl, and hey presto we did it. The three key things you need to remember before you start this recipe, are: a) draw and cut out paper templates before you start cooking, so you can cut your shapes quickly, b) roll the gingerbread as thin as possible before putting it in the oven, and c) cut out all your shapes quickly, while the gingerbread is still warm and soft. It does not matter if they harden before you stick them together, as long as they are cut out.

You will need three shapes for your templates, and each house uses two of each. So you need a roof panel, a side panel, and a front/back panel. Like this…..

Templates

Okay, onto the recipe. You will need:

120g unsalted butter
100g dark muscavado sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
500g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2.5 teaspoons ground ginger

For the decoration:

80ml water
500g royal icing

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C

2. Melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan on a medium heat, making sure the mixture does not burn or stick to the pan.

3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a mixing bowl.

4. Add the melted mixture in the saucepan to your dry ingredients, and fold in to make a dough. If you feel it is necessary to add more flour at this point, then do so. You should be left with a solid dough

5. Roll out very thinly and place on a flat baking tray. You may find it easier to do this in batches, and make a few at a time, as the gingerbread cooks very quickly and you want to be cutting out shapes while it’s warm, so you don’t want to have too much cutting out to deal with at one time.

6. Cook for approx 5-10 minutes until the edges begin to turn brown.

Once you’ve got your shapes cut out, you can relax a little and start to prepare to stick them together and decorate them. We used Royal icing to glue the houses together, and decorated with icing as well. You could also add hearts or star shapes, glitter, hundreds and thousands or whatever you like.

To make the Royal Icing:

Combine the Royal Icing sugar and water in a bowl and whisk well, until the icing forms a stiff mixture. Spoon into a piping bag, and get ready to build.

Use the icing to stick the houses together, and then pipe on snow, and roof tiles in whatever style you like. Pop the houses on the side of a mug and prepare for the compliments to come flowing in from your guests!

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Top 10 Essential Winter Kitchen Items

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One of the things I love the most about winter, aside from open fires and woolly jumpers, is the food. Nothing beats coming home to a delicious home cooked meal on a cold wintery day. Hearty stews, succulent roasts, tasty casseroles, a home cooked pie or a lovely big bowl of hot soup. When it’s cold outside, there’s an abundance of recipes available to keep you warm and cosy inside.

We’ve come up with a list of our top 10 essential winter kitchen items that we just could not live without this season.

1. A Traditional Mason Cash Mixing Bowl

Traditional Mason Cash Mixing Bowl

A heavy duty mixing bowl definitely makes our top 10 this winter, for all the scrumptious home baked treats we want to make that are too heavy for the summer months, not least a home made Christmas cake. Mason Cash have a massive range of stunning ceramic mixing bowls, in a variety of designs, colours and sizes. But we have to admit, this traditional cane mixing bowl is still our ultimate favourite.

2. A Traditional Mason Cash Pudding Basin

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Nothing beats a sponge pudding and custard on a cold night, and if you want to make your own, then a traditional Mason Cash pudding basin is a must have winter accessory. These little beauties are available in seven different sizes, so you can make individual puds or a big family one. These traditional Mason Cash pudding basins are so iconic that they are still used in the Royal British Household today.

3. A Teapot

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Friends and family will be stopping by over the festive period, and we can guarantee they’ll be wanting a warm brew when they arrive, so it’s always a good idea to keep a pot of tea on the go. Price and Kensington have a stunning range of teapots in a variety of sizes, from the tiny two cups to the family sized ten cups.

4. A Mason Cash Petit Beurre Baking Set

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Nothing beats walking in to the smell of home baked biscuits, and this Mason Cash Petit Beurre set makes it super easy to make tasty, professional looking biscuits whenever you want. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the Petit Beurre baking set, you could always keep some cookie cutters to hand to make whatever shapes you choose.

5. A Large Stock Pot

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Home made soup is a fantastic winter snack and a great way to use all those hearty winter vegetables. This Swiss Diamond stock pot is perfect for filling with yummy veggies and simmering away to make the perfect winter warmer.

6. A Clay Cooker/Casserole

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Winter root vegetables lend themselves perfectly to belly warming, one pot dishes and if slow cooked in a Mason Cash clay cooker, or a casserole dish, they come out just perfect. These are also fabulous for those days when you want to come home and have your dinner ready to eat. Simply slow cook your casserole on a very low heat throughout the day for a scrumptious dinner . The clay absorbs moisture so your meat will not dry out, it will only be more tender and delicious the longer you leave it.

7. A Pie Dish

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What better way to feed a cold and hungry family than with a home made pie? Keeping one or even several pie dishes in the cupboard is essential in winter, to do just that. Mason Cash have a great Perfect Pie range, which offers several dishes designed to help you make the perfect pie.

8. A Kilner Dispenser (filled with warm mulled wine)

Kilner Drink Dispenser

If you’re having any parties or gatherings this winter, this is a fabulous party accessory. Fill with mulled wine, or warm cider for a super tasty Christmassy tipple.

9. A Mason Cash Basting Kit

Mason Cash Basting Kit

A winter roast is the perfect way to spend a Sunday, and then of course there’s the Christmas turkey to think about. This basting kit from Mason Cash contains all the essentials to create that perfect roast dinner.

10. A Large Roasting Tray

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Last, but certainly not least on our list of our top 10 winter essentials, the stainless steel large roasting tray. We’ve already said it above, but a home cooked roast is truly one of our highlights of the colder months, and a large, strong roasting tray makes it so much easier, especially on Christmas day. And this Mason Cash stainless steel version only costs £17.49 and is a generous 31.5cm x 41.5cm, so you can cook a giant roast and save your hard earned pennies for more important things……like presents!

How To Care For Your Non-Stick Pans

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A decent set of non-stick pans in your kitchen can make all the difference in the world to your cooking. Not only does a good quality, well looked after pan give better results, it also makes cooking (and cleaning) far more enjoyable in my opinion.
A good non-stick pan is one of the staple ingredients for a complete kitchen and a happy chef. Whether you want to invest in a top of the range brand that will last a lifetime, such as Swiss Diamond, or if you prefer to keep costs down but prolong the life of a lower or mid-range brand, there are a few tricks and tips that will keep your pans in tip top shape, and ensure they last you as long as possible.
When you first get your non-stick pan home, you will want to give it a wash with some warm soapy water before use. Do not use any stronger cleaners, as they are unnecessary and far too harsh. Some manufacturers advise “seasoning” or “conditioning” a non-stick pan before use by coating the surface lightly with oil, baking it, and wiping it off. This will help the non-stick quality of a pan, although some of the superior non-stick brands may not consider this a necessary step, so check the manufacturers guidelines if you are unsure.

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Whilst cooking with non-stick pans, it is often advised that you do not use metal utensils at all, as they will very quickly damage a lot of non-stick coatings. This is slightly different for certain brands such as Swiss Diamond, as their pans are made with an ultra-strong diamond coating, which can withstand a lot more than most non-stick coatings. They are in fact metal utensil safe. However, it is still not advised to use knives, forks or other particularly sharp metal items, even in top quality pans such as these, because eventually this will take its toll, and why cause wear and tear if you don’t really have to? Plastic, wooden, silicone, rubber or nylon utensils will definitely prolong the life of your pan, whatever the standard of non-stick coating, so it is always best to bear this in mind, even if you do have a pan that is tough enough to withstand metal.

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The chart below gives an indication of the lifespan of your non-stick coating. Swiss Diamond tested a number of different types of non-stick coating by rubbing them with sandpaper, to see how many strokes it took to remove the non-stick layer. The thought of rubbing a non-stick pan with sandpaper actually goes right through me, but we’re glad someone did it so that we can see how long our pans will last!

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Another tip to protect your non-stick coating is to not bake it in the oven at more than about 450°F. Again, there are certain top quality non-stick pans, that will withstand higher temperatures, but it is rare that you would need to cook at a higher temperature than this anyway. Intense heat will eventually damage the finish, so do avoid this wherever possible. Non-stick pans often produce better results at lower temperatures than ordinary pans anyway, so play about to find the best temperature for your cooking and you will likely find you do not need particularly high heat.

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Once done with your pan, let it cool before cleaning it. Submerging a hot pan in cold water can warp and ruin the non-stick coating. As can abrasive cleaners! Never use an abrasive cleaner, bleach or chemicals to clean your pan. On some occasions, simply a sponge or dishcloth wiped over the surface will suffice. Otherwise, warm soapy water and a soft sponge or brush. Do not use metal scouring pads! Also, do not ever put your non-stick pans in the dishwasher. The high temperatures can eventually damage the non-stick coating and void the warranty.
Do take care to clean your pans properly and thoroughly. Food residue left on a non-stick pan will eventually be baked on and will become carbonized. Once this happens, it will be very difficult to see or remove the residue. It is sometimes a good idea to wash each pan twice over to ensure you have removed any trace of food and oil or butter. This way, it will be as good as new each time you cook with it.

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Lastly, think about how you store your pans. Stacking them in a cupboard may seem like the easy option, but this can easily cause scratching over time. It is best to hang them up somewhere or use some sort of cloth or soft fabric in between each pan if stacking really is the only option.
It may seem like a lot of bother, but simply treating your non-stick cookware with love and respect will give you much more use, better results, easier cleaning in the long run, and will ensure your warranty is intact should something unavoidable happen to your precious pans.

NEW! Hudson and Middleton Fine China Mugs

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We’ve added some new, fun designs to the Hic Haec Hoc collection of Hudson and Middleton fine china mugs.

The Hic Haec Hoc collection offers an exclusive combination of amusing statements with stylish graphics from a brand new designer that fuses a witty combination of classic and contemporary innovation. A lot of their designs are sports focussed, although they have also turned to gardening and cooking designs as well (I suppose they are a sport to some of us!). The designs are clean, minimalistic, and fun; the slogans witty and ever so slightly risque in parts, which we absolutely love. The three designs below are the latest additions to our collection, but watch this space because we will be adding more.

Every Hudson and Middleton mug is made in the UK, from fine bone china, and comes individually gift boxed. They are the perfect Christmas or birthday present, and no matter who you are buying for, there is sure to be a mug to suit.

Hudson and Middleton work with many UK based designers to create these gorgeous fine china mugs. Proud to still be producing 100% of their wares in their Stoke on Trent based factory, they are best known for their high quality mugs, memorable, heartfelt designs, and for being “very nice people”.

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The Hic Haec Hoc “Great Baker?” design features a fun play on words, that any keen baker will find amusing. Begging the question, “Great Baker?” on the one side, with the play-on-words response “Prove It!” on the other. A perfect present for anyone who likes home baking, especially bread!

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Next is Hic Haec Hoc’s “Cooks Can Wok” design, featuring the fun slogan “Cooks Can Wok Wonders!”. Perfect for those who love a bit of Asian wok cooking.

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The last new design (for today) is the fun “Obsessive Cooking Disorder”, a fun slogan for those who are obsessed with being in the kitchen, cooking up a storm.

We will be looking for more new Hudson and Middleton mug designs to introduce to the website in time for Christmas, so keep an eye on our Mugs and Cups section!