How to make your own pesto

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Nothing beats the fresh fragrance of authentic Italian pesto. A durable little sauce that combines the slight texture of pine nuts with the earthy perfume of basil leaves, pesto has crossed borders bringing the rich flavour of the Mediterranean with it.

Instead of tinkering with various kitchen gadgets, the Typhoon range takes things back to basics with their pestle & mortar, mezzaluna and herb pot set. Using the traditional method really brings out the distinctive scent of this dish that it’s most renowned for. Making pesto in a blender creates too fine of a texture and dispels the characteristically herbal scent.

It couldn’t be simpler to make your own pesto from scratch. Here’s how you do it.

Ingredients:

3 handfuls of fresh basil leaves
1 handful of pine nuts
Salt & pepper for seasoning
1 handful of grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
½ clove of garlic

1) Roughly chop the basil leaves and garlic with your mezzaluna.
2) Add them to your pestle and mortar, grind them into a paste and ensure they are well mixed together.
3) Combine your pine nuts and continue to levigate the mixture.
4) Once you have a paste forming, gradually add your olive oil to loosen the texture.
5) Mix in the parmesan cheese and adjust the olive oil if necessary.
6) You can then add your salt and pepper seasoning to taste.

A classic taste that embodies traditional homemade Italian cuisine, don’t be afraid to put your own stamp on this dish with various herbs and spices. We love livening up our pesto with sundried tomatoes and chilli, to make a ruby red pesto that adds a fiery twist to pasta dishes.

You could also add mint leaves and a squirt of lemon juice to steps 1 and 2 for a fresh hit of uplifting aroma.

What also makes pesto so great is its many uses in the kitchen. You’ll have no doubt tried it on pasta and pizza, but the options don’t stop there. Whatever flavour pesto you make, you can use it to enhance almost any dish to wow your dinner guests.

Pesto meatballs – Combining your regular meatball mixture of eggs, mince and breadcrumbs with a few extra teaspoons of your homemade pesto can instantly transform this family favourite.

Green eggs and ham – Adding a teaspoon of pesto to scrambled egg may seem a little wild, but the result is absolutely gorgeous. A popular American breakfast, serve alongside ham or bacon on a soft fluffy bagel.

Pesto-roasted vegetables – Making homemade pesto is worth it to try these gorgeous glazed vegetables. Pesto can liven up any roasting veg, from traditional parsnips, carrots and red onion to the Mediterranean mix of cherry tomatoes, courgettes and aubergine; any vegetables taste fantastic baked in this.

Pesto hummus – Whilst pesto is a gorgeous dip to serve with bread, combining it with classic hummus creates a velvety accompaniment for your savouries.

Green mash – Liven up your comfort food by adding pesto to mashed potato. Perfect for serving with slow-cooked lamb for a Mediterranean twist on an English favourite.

Get started with our Typhoon pestle & mortar today and see what culinary creations you come up with!

#FathersDayBakes: Daniel’s recipe for success

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Judging by our Twitter feed, there were plenty of delicious bakes specially created for our #FathersDayBakes competition, but there was one in particular that caught our eye…

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Look at this fantastic vanilla sponge cake from Daniel, aged 9! Decorated with edible flowers, lashings of butter cream and a smattering of sprinkles, if only his mum sent us a slice instead of just a picture! We recently hosted a little competition on Twitter to see what #FathersDayBakes you were cooking up this year and this entry from Daniel really stood out for us (although it was a very tough decision to make).

Not only did Daniel bake this classic all by himself, he gave it his very own twist by extravagantly decorating the sponge. In fact, it turns out he’s a dab hand in the kitchen, with his mum proudly informing us of his success at the BBC Good Food Cake and Bake Show. Daniel had the chance to have afternoon tea with the one and only Mary Berry after wowing judge Eric Lanlard in the junior bakes category.

Daniel absolutely loves baking and wants to open his own restaurant one day, called ‘The Brilliant Chef’.

If you’re feeling inspired just reading about Daniel’s success, why not recreate his amazing Father’s Day bake?

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g margarine or baking fat (e.g. Stork)
  • 125g self raising flour

For the butter cream

  • 150g butter
  • 300g icing sugar

1)Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl.

2) Gradually mix in your margarine, vanilla extract and eggs.

3) Pour your mix into a deep cake tin lined with baking paper (Daniel used a 20cm circle tin).

4) Bake in a preheated oven at 180c until golden and cooked through, for roughly 20 – 25 minutes.

5) Once you think you’ve finished baking, you can check if it’s cooked thoroughly by poking a knife into the centre of the sponge to see if any cake mix remains. If there is any left over on the knife when you pull it out, you may need to leave the cake in for a few more minutes.

6) Leave to cool on a baking rack.

7) Once completely cooled, cover with your butter cream. Mix 150g of sieved icing sugar with 300g of butter and liberally coat your sponge. If you do this too soon the butter will melt, so ensure that your sponge is completely cooled. Daniel admittedly didn’t measure out his buttercream ingredients as he prefers to work to his own taste. What a maverick!

8) Now you can get creative by decorating your cake. Daniel used edible wafer flowers, mini marshmallows and polka dot sprinkles.


Baking has always been popular in the UK, but it seems to be particularly cool at the moment. Whether you’re an expert in the kitchen or a complete beginner, you’ll find everything you need in our Bakeware section. Check it out here.

How to butter up your guests this summer

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Entertaining friends this summer? Cook up some flavourful dishes that let you honestly say ‘I made this!’ Kilner’s latest product, the butter churner, is an absolute must-have this summer and gives you the power to transform your recipes with intense flavour.

Ditch processed spreads and jarred sauces in favour of something much more indulgent that is sure to wow your guests. Using the Kilner butter churner, you can create a totally custom taste to transform traditional summer treats. All you need is 300ml of cream, a touch of creativity and a little bit of elbow grease (not literally of course!)

 

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

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

3) Remove the lid from your butter churner and pour the 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.

4) After a couple of minutes of churning, you will notice that your cream begins to foam, this is completely normal.

5) Continue to churn for another 5-6 minutes and the cream will start to thicken, becoming very thick after 8-10 minutes.

6) After 10-12 minutes the churning will become quite stiff, but then ease off again after another minute. Your cream should turn a pale yellow and separate to form butter and buttermilk.

7) Remove the lid and pour the excess milk into a drinking glass. Buttermilk is useful in lots of other recipes, so you may want to hang on to this!

8) 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.

Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to add your flavouring! Whilst classic salted butter is a great option for everyday luxury, your creation deserves a little something extra…

There are plenty of unique recipes to try so you might get carried away! Here are a few of our favourites…

Garlic & parsley – Perfect for mushroom skewers, this delicious combo is an excellent choice for BBQs, particularly if you’re entertaining vegetarians. Pre-roast your garlic by chopping a full bulb in half horizontally. You won’t need the whole thing for your butter, but you can keep the leftovers aside for puree.

Add roughly-chopped parsley leaves and 2 cloves of your roasted garlic for an earthy herbal hit.

Sweet chilli – For a touch of fiery flavour, why not try our recipe for sweet chilli butter? The beauty of this great tasting spread is that you choose exactly how spicy you’d like the butter to be, gently balancing the sugar and chilli flakes.

To create this taste sensation, you’ll need to beat a teaspoon of sugar, one clove of garlic and some chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar. You’ll be left with a fine seasoning for your butter that will beautifully blend with the creamy texture.

Used on BBQ or roasted chicken, the sugar will caramelise on the skin during the cooking process for a decadent finish.

Cinnamon - Sweetened butter goes far beyond thick buttercream, you can easily use your butter churner to add a homemade twist to desserts. Adding a touch of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of icing sugar gives your butter a sweetened edge. Perfect for dunking mini donuts and spreading on biscuits, this velvety dessert is great for sharing!

So there you have it, three luxurious recipes that will completely transform your al fresco dining experience this summer!

 

How to serve up the perfect Wimbledon-themed garden party

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The sun always shines on Wimbledon (except for when it’s raining!). A time when sporting heroes collide and our favourite athletes battle it out for the title, this event has become synonymous with the Great British summer. Whilst we can’t all be sitting courtside next to the likes of Victoria Beckham, Samuel L. Jackson and Fergie, we can recreate the feel good summer vibes with our own Wimbledon-themed garden party.

Get your polo shirts and Pimm’s at the ready, it’s time for a traditional British summer knees up. Whether you pitch up a gazebo on the patio or line your lawn with the dining room chairs, we’ve got a few tips to help you host a successful gathering.

Make sure your guests are on form

God forbid Murray, Federer or the Williams sisters break the sacred on-court dress code at SW19. The same should go for your guests too. Nothing says summer like a crisp white polo shirt and shorts. Perfect for an afternoon of relaxing in the garden, white clothing is the perfect way to ensure everyone sticks to your Wimbledon theme and remains cool in the sun.

Does your garden look the part?

Jazz up your lawns with table runners, bunting and subtle fairy lights for when the sun eventually goes down. You don’t have to go all out, as we’ve no doubt your summer blooms will decorate your garden beautifully, but it always helps to have those little finishing touches to add to the ambience.

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Give your Pimm’s a punch

The classic summer tipple, Pimm’s is always the perfect concoction to cool your guests down, however this year we’re mixing things up a bit. Whilst cucumber and mint may be the conventional way to serve this classic summer treat, there are plenty of variations to turn your Pimm’s into a perfect party punch.

How about a refreshing Pimm’s and ginger beer combo, topped off with lime? Stored in a self-service Kilner jar, this alternative summer cocktail will be the talk of your gathering! As you can see from the image to the right, no summer garden party is complete unless you’ve got a glass jug full of Pimm’s to hand around!

But don’t forget the classics…

Who doesn’t love sunbathing with a bowl of strawberries and cream? Wimbledon simply isn’t Wimbledon without this sweet combination.

Once you’ve finished with the BBQ, make sure your guests have got room for dessert. It doesn’t take much culinary expertise, but they do say to appreciate the simple things in life! While we’re on the subject, why not serve up your fruit in our Mason Cash Zest Strawberry Mixing Bowl? After all, you can never have too many strawberries during Wimbledon!

Host your own tournament

There’s something this party seems to be missing… tennis! Of course, you can’t celebrate this prestigious sporting event without giving it a go yourself.

You could set up a court in your very own garden, using your washing line as a net. Or you could even simply challenge partygoers to see how many times they can bounce a tennis ball on a racket without it bouncing off down the lawn. These little party games are the perfect way to entertain little ones that may be attending your garden party too. You could also settle the debates over Andy Murray’s tournament chances with your very own Wimbledon sweepstake.

However you celebrate Wimbledon this year, celebrate in style!

Could cake be the perfect Father’s Day gift?

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Who doesn’t love a slice of cake with a cuppa? Well, we know for a fact that dads do. We’ve even conducted some very scientific research to pin down exactly what type of dessert delights they’d prefer this Father’s Day.

Chef hats at the ready, because of the 750 men we asked, over a quarter of them declared their love of cake. At a time when beach-body mantras are being thrown out the window, we’re waving goodbye to calorie counters and indulging ourselves in a spot of cake for Father’s Day. If you can’t spoil your dad for this one day of the year, when can you?

Our survey gave them the tricky decision of choosing between flapjack, biscuits, muffins, brownies and cake, with a landslide victory for cake. So why not get busy in the kitchen for a personalised and thoughtful way to show your appreciation for your dad on June 21st?

We’ve even teamed up with world-renowned chef Damian Trejo to concoct an easy and delicious cake recipe. He’s cooked for the likes of President Obama and The Dalai Lama, so we think this cake might just be good enough for the most important man in your life too! This cake mix serves 10 generous portions, so the good news is that there will be more than enough to share.

All you need are 9 ingredients and a little kitchen magic to create a thoughtful and thrifty gift that your dad will absolutely love.

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Chocolate Cake

175g self-raising flour

2tsp cocoa powder

1tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

150ml sunflower oil

150ml semi-skimmed milk

2tsp golden syrup

Topping

60g white chocolate

  1. Sieve together your flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and gradually add in the sugar.
  2. Gently warm up your golden syrup in the microwave for 20 seconds, on a low heat.
  3. Mix together the eggs, milk, sunflower and oil with your warmed golden syrup.
  4. Fold the mixture into the separate bowl which contains the dry ingredients you sieved before and beat with a large spoon until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a cake tin that has been lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 35 minutes at 180 degrees. Amend the baking time to 15 minutes if the recipe is being used for cupcakes.
  6. Wait for your cake to cool whilst you melt your white chocolate. Once cool, liberally drizzle your melted chocolate all over the cake.

The beauty of Damian’s cake recipe is that you can totally customise the final product to put your own spin on it. Whilst we created a lovely little tray bake, you could alternatively use a bundt tin, loaf tin or even make cupcakes.

Our pink silicone heart-shaped cupcake moulds are perfect for creating individual chocolate cakes for you to decorate. You could even get the kids involved with these easy-to-use trays that are perfect for baking novices. Simply wait for your bake to cool and gently tap the bottom for your cakes to ease out of the mould.

However, we know that dads aren’t always easy to please. That’s why we’ve also got a range of bakeware for you to create a whole host of Father’s Day goodies.

If your dad has more of a savoury palette, why not consider baking some rustic crusty bread? Our Mason Cash terracotta mixing bowl is perfect for baking bread for dads with more of a savoury tooth. You could even experiment with herbs such as rosemary and garlic, or throw some sundried tomatoes into the mix for a distinct taste of the Mediterranean. A humble gift for dads that don’t want a fuss, homemade bread gets everyone around the dinner table to celebrate his day.

Perhaps you’d like to give him something he could savour for a little while longer? How about creating a family of gingerbread men and present them in a decorated tin? Our Mason Cash Baker Street family gift tin has all the perfect tools to create a full tin of gingerbread men for your little ones to decorate and give to their dad. Coloured icing, Smarties and raisins are all you’d need to recreate him in gingerbread form. He’d have enough to last him quite a while, which might mean you’re on brew duty for some time!

Whatever you choose to bake your dad this Father’s Day, we’d love to see it! If you send a picture of your homemade treats to @SilverMushroom1 on twitter using our #FathersDayBakes tag, you could be in with a chance of winning £100 to spend across our range!

So get baking and good luck!

Is Your Kitchen Summer Ready? 5 Tips to Get You Started

Does your kitchen need an overhaul this summer?

Picture the scene, it’s the height of summer and you’re having a little al fresco get together with your friends and family. You go into the kitchen to collect cutlery for your guests but nothing is in its place. You find yourself emptying the entire contents of your cupboards to find that what you’re looking for is right at the back. By the time you’ve found what your guests needed you’ve burnt whatever is now smouldering on the BBQ and travelled half way to Narnia by exploring the depths of your cupboards.

Never mind Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, this is our very own, real-life kitchen nightmare. You’ve got an untidy space that certainly isn’t ready for the summer. The peak season for house parties and BBQs, guests are going to be in and out of your kitchen a lot, so you’ve got to make sure it’s ready for summer!

Here are five handy tips to get you started.

1) Protecting your kitchen from ants

Ants have the power to ruin your summer if they find a way to get into your kitchen. On the hunt for crumbs and sprinkles of sugar that have missed your tea cup, they don’t mind crashing the party. You can use caulk to plug any little gaps they may squeeze through and deter them with a white vinegar wash.

Using the acidic liquid on work surfaces is not only a natural antibacterial agent, but the smell is also said to put them off from venturing into your home. You’ll hardly notice it yourself and it’s a much cheaper cleaning agent than most popular alternatives.

2) Serving up a treat

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When entertaining your guests, you must remember that we often eat with our eyes first. That doesn’t mean you should crack out the bone china collection that has been passed down no fewer than eight generations of your family, but you should have a good think about how you’re serving your guests.

For example, you may think that having refreshing summer punch would be the perfect way to celebrate the sunshine, but you couldn’t serve it in a plush bowl outside. A big bowl of sugary punch would be a magnet for wasps and flies that simply can’t wait to invade your space.

How about a sealed drinks dispenser instead? Your guests can help themselves to a lovely summer cocktail without having to fight off any bugs and beasts that want a glass themselves!

3) Loose pasta lurking

Kilner Jars make great pasta holders

Ever pulled something out of your cupboard and experienced the random raining of pasta shells, trickling from the top shelf?

You need to remove your pasta packets from the cupboard immediately. It’s near impossible to tear open a bag of pasta tactfully enough to ensure that all the contents stay in the bag after the first use. Pop them in an airtight jar, such as these gorgeous Kilner jars. They’re perfect for standing on your worktops, allowing you to keep an eye on how much pasta you have left, before starting a dish and realising there’s none left in the packet!

Not only is it more hygienic to keep your carbs in these lovely jars, it also keeps the summer bugs at bay.

4) Add a little colour

Ulster Weavers products - Giving your kitchen a beautiful splash of colour

Much like the beautiful blooms that decorate your garden in the summer, your kitchen will need a few vibrant jewels too! Invest in matching oven gloves and an apron to build a theme and use the accent colours in each to add blips of colour around your kitchen.

Keeping a colour theme creates a homely vibe and invites the new season into your home, so why not take a closer look at our gorgeous range of kitchen accessories? Many people forget about the fine details when decorating their kitchen. Okay, you’ve picked a lovely paint colour that complements your tiles, worktops, cupboards and floor perfectly, but you can really set the look off by thinking a little more carefully about your kitchenware. Take a look at this recent post about our Ulster Weavers products for more inspiration.

5) Replacing tired utensils

Quality Sabatier Noir utensils

Tatty old utensils simply won’t do, especially in cases where your spatula is half burnt, and smouldered on to your oven rings. We’ve all been guilty of leaving our utensils a little too close to the heat, but there’s always at least one eagle-eyed guest that will spot your worn utensils. Not only are they an eyesore, they’re also a lair for harmful bacteria. Chips in wooden spoons and melted plastic utensils provide the perfect texture for bacteria to hold on to and thrive.

Treat yourself to an updated set of utensils to reinvigorate your attitude to the kitchen and the culinary delights you’ll be serving up to guests. Again, as mentioned in point five, try to think about the colour and design of your new utensils and how these will be incorporated into your kitchen. We recently discussed the practical and aesthetic merits of our wonderful Sabatier Noir Range of utensils on our blog. You can also check out our classic and quality Sabatier Noir collection here.

10 Things You May Not Know About Honey

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What do we know about honey? It’s made by bees. Golden in colour. Delicious and sweet. Tastes great on toast, or as a healthy sweetener. This may be enough for a lot of you, but did you know that honey also contains a whole treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal values. The sweet golden liquid from the beehive is a popular kitchen staple, loaded with antibacterial and antifungal properties that have been used for its healing and therapeutic properties since the ancient Egyptian times. Here are ten things you may not have known about honey, but you’ll probably be pleased to find out.

1. Alleviates Allergies

Honey’s anti inflammatory effects and ability to soothe coughs has led to the belief it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. A common theory is that honey acts like a natural vaccine. Honey naturally contains pollen, which when the body is exposed to small amounts of it, triggers an immune response which produces antibodies, so naturally fighting the allergy to the pollen without the need for antihistamines or other pharmaceutical drugs.

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2. All Natural Energy Drink

Honey is a brilliant source of natural energy with only 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon. The naturally occurring, unprocessed sugar (fructose and glucose) directly enters the bloodstream and can deliver a quick boost of energy. The rise in blood sugar acts as a short term energy source, perfect for just before a workout, especially in long endurance exercise.

3. Memory Booster

Sweet, golden honey is loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent cellular damage and loss within the brain. Honey’s ability to help the body absorb calcium can in turn aid brain health. The brain needs calcium in order to process thoughts and make decisions. As our life expectancy increases, and populations continue to grow, so does the chance of dementia setting in due to lack of vitamins and minerals.

4. Cough Suppressant

Even the strongest of us sometimes fall victim to the pesky cold, and can be left with a persistent cough for days or even weeks afterwards. Honey is the all natural cure when it comes to these annoying and sometimes painful coughs. A hot toddy before bedtime is a long standing remedy for coughs and colds, and the whiskey no doubt helps clear the head and induce sleep but it is the honey that is the real miracle worker here. Studies have shown that children between the ages of 1 and 5 with a night time cough, coughed less frequently when they were given two teaspoons of honey, 30 minutes before bedtime. Much tastier than nasty cough medicines!

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5. Sleep Aid

Yes, you heard us correctly, consuming honey can help improve the length and quality of your sleep. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin, a neuro transmitter that improves mood and happiness. The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and quality of your sleep.

6. Dandruff Treatment

A 2001 study published by the European Journal of Medical Research asked participants who suffered with dandruff to apply honey, diluted with 10% warm water, to the affected areas on their head. It was left for 3 hours before rinsing with warm water. It was found the treatment relieved itching and within a week, the participants had no scaling. Within two weeks, skin lesions were healed and it was even believed certain patients showed improvements with hair loss. Even after six months, there was no relapse. Cheaper than anti dandruff shampoos, with far less chemicals and we bet you’d smell much sweeter.

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7. Natural Antibiotic

Honey is a natural antibiotic that can be used both internally and externally. A conventional treatment for wounds and burns, honey is a natural disinfectant that kills off many species of bacteria. A 2005 study published in the British Journal of Surgery found all but one of patients who suffered from wounds and leg ulcers showed remarkable improvement after a topical application of honey to the wounded areas.

The use of honey for treatment of microbial infections dates back thousands of years. Research conducted more recently on Manuka honey, has proved it to be effective against E-Coli, Salmonella and MRSA amongst others.

8. Anti-Cancer Properties

Honey has been hailed as “a powerful anti-cancer agent”, and is believed to be of profound benefit in fighting cancer. A superlative healing food, with more than 69 health benefits, honey is believed to positively impact both the development and progression of cancer and tumours. Naturally occurring flavonoids and phenolic acids are believed to be the primary anti-cancer compounds found in natural honey and involved in its beneficial properties. Studies have proven it to be effective in the treatment of cancer, therefore making it a potential and very promising anti-cancer agent, which warrants further research.

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9. Blood Sugar Regulation

Honey contains simple sugars, which are not the same as those found in refined, white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey offers the perfect combination of fructose and glucose which actually assist the body in regulating its blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy balance. Honey is also known to have a low glycemic index which can help lead to improved insulin responses and blood cholesterol levels. In layman’s terms: it’s good for you!

10. Beautiful Skin

Anything to assist us in the quest for beautiful skin, is always welcome on our menu. Honey’s natural anti-bacterial qualities mentioned above, can be particularly useful for the skin. Ever heard of ancient beauties applying honey and milk regularly to keep their skin looking youthful, radiant and smooth? Well, they weren’t crazy. Honey’s natural anti oxidant and anti microbial properties protect the skin from the damage of the sun’s rays, and support the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh, leaving it silky smooth and soft. It also has an ability to absorb and retain water, which makes it an ideal ingredient in many cosmetics.

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Why not try out this Carrot Face Mask and see the results for yourself?

Top Kitchen Tip: How to Peel Garlic in a Jar

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Garlic not only tastes fantastic, but it also has a lot of very useful medicinal properties as well. It has been used since Ancient Egyptian times for culinary and therapeutic properties, and is still one of the most widely used foods in the Western world. Perfect for adding intense flavour to pasta dishes, spicing up a chicken dish, roasting in whole cloves with chunky root vegetables or even pickling and eating raw. However you prefer it, I think a huge proportion of the UK population would agree, garlic is an absolute essential in our kitchens. The only teeny weeny issue we have with this wondrous vegetable (is it a vegetable?…. Herb?….Spice?) is having to peel it! Not only is it fiddly and time consuming, you won’t get the smell off your fingers for days. And garlic may smell fabulous when it’s sizzling away with some onions in a pan, but two days on your fingertips, and you won’t enjoy the aroma quite as much.

For a while, people have tried to come up with faster methods of peeling garlic, alongside more effective methods of removing the scent from your hands, but none of them have been quite up to scratch…until now. It may sound crazy, but this peeling garlic in a jar method is super quick, super efficient and saves your fingers from unwanted smells. Before I had seen this particular jar method, I had seen a rather effective method online using two bowls, placed rim to rim with the garlic in the middle, and shaken vigorously to loosen the skins and “peel” the garlic. This method is a good one, and a great way of ensuring none of that sticky, stubborn skin is caught up under your finger nails. However, it is quite tiring, and can be tricky to hold the bowls together and not fling the garlic cloves all over your kitchen.

The method shown in the video below, from DaveHax on YouTube, uses similar concepts to the bowl method but is easier to do, and will not cause any mess at all. You can choose whether to use a full garlic head or to separate the cloves first and just peel the amount you need. If you are using a full garlic head, place the entire bulb in the jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake vigorously. The outer skin will separate from the cloves and you can pause to remove this from the jar to give yourself a bit more space. Continue to shake the jar until the thinner skin separates and you have perfectly peeled cloves. Tip out into a bowl and pick out your freshly peeled cloves, ready for crushing, chopping, pickling or storing in oil for later use.

If you need to shop for some jars to try out this great kitchen hack, check out our storage sections by clicking here.

The Kilner Drinks Dispenser: This Summer’s Must Have Accessory

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British Summer Time has always been somewhat unpredictable and in recent years, we’ve seen more temperamental behaviour from the weather than ever. Heat waves in March, hurricanes in April, snow in May…nothing surprises us about British weather anymore, but do we let it get us down? Do we heck! We may have a moan about our weather some of the time (all of the time), but when the sun peeps through the clouds for more than half an hour one day of the year, or even if it’s just dry for a day (we live in the North West, it’s a rarity) we get outside and we make the most of it.

This summer, or should we say Spring for now, Kilner are offering some fantastic party pieces to really make the most of your summer fun. Whether it’s a barbecue, garden party, festival, sports day or just a beer garden that gets you in a sunny mood; Kilner have some absolute must-have accessories to really top it off in style. Not least of which is the Drinks Dispenser.

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Launched last summer, the Kilner Drinks Dispenser caused a real stir, and was in such high demand that we ran out by May and couldn’t get more stock in until August (you can imagine our dismay). This year, the Dispensers started selling in their droves back in March, probably partly due to our firm beliefs that this year will be THE year that we finally have a long, hot summer and if we don’t, we’ll just keep calm and pretend. Since then, demand has continued to steadily increase, and we are indeed starting to wonder if anyone is left in Britain who doesn’t own one of these beauties.

The launch of the 5 litre Kilner Drinks Dispenser last year, was a stroke of genius for those of us who want a smaller gathering. Striking though the 8 litre version is, have you any idea how difficult it can be to drink 8 litres of cocktails between four of you? Trust me, we did our research and this is not something you should try at home! So to be given the option of a mini me version that looks every bit as fantastic as its big brother (maybe a little bit cuter) felt like all our birthdays had come at once!

5 litre dispenser

The 5 Litre Kilner Drinks Dispenser soon got itself noticed and was level pegging in popularity with it’s predecessor in no time, fulfilling more household needs where the 8 litre was taking care of the pubs, restaurants and weddings. Most people who love the Kilner Drinks Dispenser, love the accessories that go with it, and want to keep a running theme so we put together some sets with a dispenser and some drinking jars, to allow our customers to make a bold statement at their parties or barbecues.

We have seen photographs of Kilner themed weddings, and were blown away by how great they look and how much is on offer. You can serve the drinks in a dispenser, drink them from a Kilner handled jar, display flowers in a Kilner Preserve Bottle, make home made wedding favours in a coloured jar, and serve desserts and condiments in various clip top jars. There is absolutely no doubt that when it comes to kitchen ware, Kilner is the brand of Summer 2015.

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The latest addition to our favourite, summery brand’s repertoire, the 8 Litre Square Dispenser, crept in quietly back in February and is steadily climbing its way to reach the dizzying heights of its rather bold counterparts. The buzz surrounding the classic shaped dispensers may have somewhat overshadowed the launch of the more quirky looking Square Dispenser, but it was not long before its good looks, quirky shape and retro style embossed logo were noticed, and the demand once again, began to grow.

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Whether you’re a lover of classic style, or appreciate a more quirky retro approach; whether you love a grand garden party or a quiet gathering of friends on a summer evening, and whether you prefer gin or juice, and just a small tipple or 8 litres of the stuff, there is something for everyone from the brand of the Summer!

Shop for everything Kilner, here at Silver Mushroom.

Kilner: Our top 5 products from our favourite brand

Preparing sour cucumbers in the kitchen

The last two years have been busy ones for the Kilner brand, both with their much loved and cherished traditional glass clip top jars (which have seen a major comeback in the kitchen recently, and are featured in every home magazine and cooking programme in existence) and also with their new products launches that just seem to get better every season! We thought it couldn’t get much better than the Kilner Drinks Dispenser, but then they go and launch a Kilner Butter Churner and matching accessories that is quite simply, to die for. Kilner products are a fantastic way to accessorise your kitchen, make a statement at your parties and to purchase as birthday, Christmas and wedding gifts. We have hand picked our top five favourite Kilner items from the whole range to share with you.

5. Kilner Honey Pot and Beech Wood Dipper:

Kilner honey pot and drizzler

This little beauty was launched in Spring 2015, and is one of the cutest Kilner products available. The compact little jar has all the traditional Kilner charm, but the lovely shape emulates the shape of a bee hive and the beechwood dipper is a lovely accessory to use in conjunction with the honey pot.

Honey boasts a great deal of health benefits including alleviating allergies, boosting memory, aiding sleep as well as being a natural energy booster, cough suppressant and an effective treatment for wounds and burns. It is also a great healthy alternative to sugar in baking, cooking or even in a cup of tea.

4. Kilner Preserve Jars:

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Yes, we know these are one of the oldest Kilner products on offer, and probably the simplest (maybe with the exception of the drinking straw!) but the old faithful preserve jar has made it into our top 5 favourites because of its endless uses. Stating the obvious it is a great accessory to store jams, preserves, chutneys and anything else you can make and store in a jar. But then after that, it is a drinking glass, a fun way to serve cocktails, a candle holder. Paint it in chalk paint and use it as a vase, mount it on a board and make a wall mounted utensil jar, plant herbs in it or layer the dry ingredients of a cake mix and gift it to a friend. Endless possibilities from a simple, classic product. And that’s why we love it so!

3. Kilner Spice Jars:

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These lovely little things were always going to make it into our top 5. A superb way to store and display your spices, these super cute, super quirky little jars make us want to keep our herbs and spices out on display, meaning they are always to hand when we’re cooking and are admired by everyone who sets foot in the kitchen. The wooden Kilner crate which is available in the 20 piece spice jar set gives them a lovely rustic feel to boot. However, the Kilner Spice Jar’s talents do not end with herb and spice storage. Why not use them to serve up sauces and condiments, or fill them with bath salts or body scrub as wedding favours?

2. Kilner Drinks Dispenser:

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The absolute Spring/Summer must have, the Kilner Drinks Dispenser, out of all the Kilner products, has probably created the biggest stir to date. The Drinks Dispenser hit the ground running when it was launched in Spring 2014 and is showing no signs of slowing down in popularity. It began with the 8 litre drinks dispenser, but was then joined by the lovely “mini-me” 5 litre version last winter and we have recently seen the launch of the more retro looking Square 8 litre dispenser.

1. Kilner Butter Churner:

Kilner butter churner lifestyle

In our top spot this year, is our ultimate favourite Kilner product, the Kilner Butter Churner. We absolutely love home made food and drinks, so we were very excited to learn we could now churn our own butter at home, in only ten minutes. Not only is this Butter Churner super easy to use, but it looks great. Based on the original Kilner jar design, this lovely piece is ideal for those of you out there who love to experiment in the kitchen and make as much from scratch as possible. It also looks uber cool on display and makes a unique, imaginative gift.