Serving in Style with Master Class Artesa

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This Autumn we are thrilled to introduce the Master Class Artesa range by Kitchen Craft. This stunning range of table ware and serving pieces are created from an eye-catching blend of wood, slate, glass and copper. These natural materials look rustic yet sophisticated and are a great way to dress up your table and entertain in style.

Each piece in the Master Class Artesa range is unique in both appearance and function, from copper coated fondue sets ideal for a party or a fun night in, to wood and slate serving stands perfect for serving up appetisers, entrées or even afternoon tea.

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This gorgeous range will blend in perfectly with any style of kitchen or dining room, and offers a vast range of gifts perfect for the keen entertainer. Stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces such as the Master Class Artesa Copper Fondue Set and The Master Class Artesa Tabletop Pizza Oven make a statement and offer a night in with a difference, where you’ll be sure to impress your dinner guests with these fun and original ways of dining at home, while the Master Class Artesa Copper Bowls and Glass Cloches offer a more stylish solution to your every day dinner ware.

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Recent years have seen a growth in popularity of entertaining at home, and people in the UK today are every bit as happy to have friends and family round for dinner in their own home, as they are to fork out for expensive restaurants. You can choose your own menu, keep costs down, make as much noise as you want and you don’t need to book a taxi home. Shows such as Come Dine With Me have only fuelled this further, and the competition is strong to see who can throw the best dinner party. And although the quality of food and wine is still an important factor, the experience as a whole is what scores the brownie points. And part of the dining experience is, of course, in the presentation. The Master Class Artesa range caters to this perfectly and ensures your food and drink holds its own in the competition for who can put on the best dining experience at home.

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The Master Class mini frying pans and mini casserole dishes are perfect to serve up individual portions, while more sociable pieces such as the Master Class Artesa Wood and Slate Two Tier Serving Stand take care of the shared courses, such as a cheese board, appetisers or a traditional afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes.

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The Master Class brand is known for premium quality products to cater to all your cooking needs, from carbon steel baking trays to stainless steel pans, and these new tabletop additions complete this range of top quality yet affordable kitchen ware. Whether you’re looking for good quality kitchen essentials, or something sophisticated and original, make it Master Class.

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Keep an eye on our Master Class page for more fantastic products coming soon!

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#BWBO Week 3: Sea Salt & Rosemary Focaccia

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Carb loaders beware, this week’s BWBO challenge has certainly pushed us to the limits. Plenty of our incredible BWBO bloggers have risen to the occasion for this stage of the competition, but this recipe from Emily Ware of Off Beat Emily really gave us some serious cravings!

Emily has created a gorgeous recipe with classic Italian flavours that pair perfectly with tomato dishes or simply dunked in balsamic vinegar. Continue reading

BWBO Week 2: Oat, Raisin & Macadamia Nut Cookies

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It’s time to announce another winner for our ‘Bake with Bake Off’ challenge. You may have spotted some of your favourite bloggers joining in with our little twitter chat and contest, but there was one recipe this week that particularly caught our eye.

These yummy looking cookies come from Caroline at MyFamilyTies.com, who chose to mark biscuit week by rekindling fond memories of her time spent in Australia. Whilst Caroline was once lucky enough to be able to pluck fresh macadamia nuts straight from the tree, you can pick up these tasty treats from any local supermarket or adapt the recipe to incorporate your favourite nuts. Continue reading

#BWBO Winning Madeira Cake Recipe

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How gorgeous are these mini Madeira cakes? They were made by Jenna from Tinyfootsteps.co.uk for our ‘Bake With Bake Off’ competition and everyone at Silver Mushroom was left with rumbling tummies at their sight.

If you didn’t catch last week’s Bake Off, you absolutely missed out! The new team of bakers were tasked with creating the perfect Madeira cakes and whilst we’re biased, we think our Silver Mushroom bakers made some treats to rival this year’s contestants, particularly so in Jenna’s case. Mary Berry would be proud! Continue reading

How to put on the perfect afternoon tea party

Creating the perfect afternoon tea experience

There’s a rumour about Britain that spreads across the world, that at half past midday, everything stops for tea. Whilst this may no longer be the case today, we’ve still maintained our love for this quintessentially British tradition. A tower of sandwiches, mini cakes and of course a large pot of tea; this high-fashion afternoon treat has evolved over the years.

As Britain celebrates Afternoon Tea Week, what better time to look back at how this tradition came to be?

1840…

While many are unable to cast their mind back to a time before selfies and spiralizers, we need to go much further back in time to trace the origins of the afternoon tea phenomenon.

It all started with Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who simply couldn’t wait for her evening meal. Back in the day it was common for people to only have two meals a day; breakfast in the morning and dinner served as late as 9pm.

Can you imagine completing a full day’s work on only two meals a day in 2015? No wonder Anna described a ‘sinking feeling’ around midday that prompted her to indulge in an afternoon snack. What started with a pot of tea and buttered bread in her private quarters soon spread out into the summertime sun. Inviting her friends to Woburn Abbey, her afternoon tea soon became quite the social affair.

As many other socialites hosted their own afternoon tea gatherings, the craze swept the nation. It was so popular that it soon became respectable enough to be bought inside the drawing room, cementing itself as a British tradition.

What tea should you serve with afternoon tea?

What tea should you serve with afternoon tea?

Nothing beats traditional English tea, served with a dash of milk and of course no sugar! This isn’t a builder’s brew we’re serving after all. For afternoon tea you’re supposed to appreciate the flavour of your cuppa and you certainly don’t need a refined palate to appreciate the taste of a well-made cup of tea.

In modern tea rooms, a pot of Earl Grey can also sometimes be served. With gorgeous floral and citrusy notes from hints of bergamot, Earl Grey is a real treat! If you’re looking for a fancy alternative to your standard English tea, Earl Grey is a welcome choice.

How to host the perfect afternoon tea party

Cucumber sandwiches may not be in vogue these days, but they were the height of sophistication once upon a time. A popular choice for afternoon tea, you must thinly slice the cucumber to ensure your bread doesn’t go soggy! In fact, you could also remove the core if you’re particularly averse to wet bread.

Other traditional afternoon tea sandwiches include ham & mustard or egg & cress. However, changing trends have shaped what goes on our plates over the years and there’s no shortage of options for those who want to do something a little different with their butties.

  • Roast beef – Harking back to thrifty times, using your leftover roast to fill your sandwiches was a perfect way to treat yourself on a budget when times were hard.
  • Coronation chicken sandwiches – Fuelled by multiculturalism, curried mayo, raisins and chunks of chicken which celebrated Britain’s foreign trade industry.
  • Cheese and pickle – Often fondly referred to as a cheap ploughman’s, cheese and pickle has become a vegetarian favourite.
  • Salmon and cream cheese – A much more modern choice, smoked salmon is a real touch of luxury! Add in chives for a subtle twist.Finish your cake and sandwich stand off with a hefty-sized scone for each of your guests, accompanied with a pot of clotted cream and strawberry preserve. Just don’t ask your guests how to pronounce the word ‘scone’ and your afternoon tea will be a total success!

    Afternoon tea etiquette

    The famous quote from The Colour Purple by Alice Walker says it all really: ‘Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors!’ Have fun, but remember you’re in public. This sophisticated affair is the perfect way to catch up with old friends and colleagues, but it’s certainly no knees up!

    There are three simple rules to follow when hosting or attending afternoon tea:

    1. Fold your tea, don’t stir it! Bring your spoon from a 6 O’clock position to a 12 O’clock position and bring the liquid up with your spoon. Try not to move your spoon too vigorously, you wouldn’t want to clink your cup with the spoon – that will never do!
    2. Don’t force your pinky out. Once upon a time, people used to outstretch their pinky to help balance their cup. There is no proof that this works. This is 2015, so tip your cup however you wish – pinky or no pinky!
    3. Tea first, milk after. Only put the milk in first if you’re using vintage china, as the boiling water may chip or crack the teacup. Using this method in your standard mug is simply a crime!

    To put on the ultimate afternoon tea party, you’ll need to ensure your servingware is fit for the occasion. It’s particularly important to have some traditional cake stands on your table, and you can find some of these here.

    We hope you enjoy Afternoon Tea Week as much as we will!

Don’t fake it, bake it!

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Okay hands up, who’s ever bought a pre-bought cake to the office and claimed it as their own? Well, we’re not judging, but it’s ever so easy to create a cake these days, you don’t really have an excuse to cheat!

Whether it’s time, creativity or a lack of ingredients, your days of sneaky food shame are numbered, but thankfully we’ve got just the solution for you! Perhaps you have seen our star bakers taking on the Great British Bake Off challenge? Well don’t worry, we’re not going to bundle you into a tent and force you to bake, but we are going to show you just how simple it is to join in!

Toss those packet mixes aside and get your apron at the ready. It’s time to get baking!

How do you start baking?

If you’re looking for those kitchen essentials that every baker needs, then look no further. We have everything you need to get cooking and you can often bag a bundle that will give you the whole kit in one. Our gorgeous Mason & Cash set is highly recommended and we’ve even spotted it on GBBO! Now if that isn’t a ringing endorsement of a product, we don’t know what is.

You’ll also need to invest in a decent set of weighing scales. The crux of good baking is understanding the recipe – if you fail to read the recipe or set up your scales properly, you may come unstuck. Make sure you take into account the weight of your measuring bowl too. Many of us fail this important step and end up with 50g extra of every ingredient!

Aside from your kitchen gadgets, you may also need baking paper or foil. Read the recipe at least twice before you make a move, it won’t always say you need these elements in the ‘ingredients’ section.

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How to rescue a disaster bake

Every top chef once had to learn how to fry an egg – remember that if you ever find yourself in a kitchen pickle. You have to start somewhere and if you manage to bake a lovely cake that doesn’t quite look right, there are plenty of ways to make it look a little more appetising.

Icing is the Photoshop of the baking world. Scrape off the burnt bits and cover your cake in lashings of buttercream and decadent icing that really hit a sweet spot for baking fans. This isn’t cheating, it’s simply making the best of what you’ve got!

Our brilliant Katie Alice Cottage Flower cake decorating nozzle set gives you loads of ways to style your cake. With soft peaks of buttercream to intricate swirls of coloured icing, we eat with our eyes first, so go wild.

What could go wrong?

Who doesn’t like cake? Take the risk and make the effort to bake along with the Bake Off contestants this year!

As long as you read the recipe and check your guests’ allergy needs, there really isn’t a lot of room for error. To sweeten the deal we’ve even set up a post-GBBO twitter chat #bwbo, for you to ask any questions regarding your next bake. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

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!