Archive for the ‘Tips and advice’ Category

Celebrate Persian New Year in style

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Did you know that the Persian New Year (or Nowruz) falls around the spring equinox? It’s a time of new starts – so what better time to sample some food from the region and find out a little about Iranian cookery?

So, what should you expect? As in all Middle Eastern cookery, you can expect to find generous helpings of lamb and yoghurt, as well as familiar items such as kebabs, koftas and koresht. Chicken is a favourite, almost always accompanied by rice dishes which are delicately seasoned and enlivened with additions like onions, raisins and dates. And sweet foods certainly get a look-in with pastries and dishes featuring nuts like pistachios and walnuts.

Here are some links that will help you read around the subject and find great recipes:

  • IranMania: Persian recipes – a chance to get an insight into the kind of food that is served in Iranian homes.
  • FarhangSara: Iranian food culture – learn about everything from the use of meat and vegetables to sweets and side dishes and meal etiquette and customs – and get recipes too from this Iranian cultural website.
  • New Food of Life – Najmieh Batmanglij’s book of this title features 250 classical and regional Iranian recipes, sumptuous photographs and extensive cultural insights. Sample a little of it on the Asia Food website….
  • RecipeSource: Persian recipes – including soups, stews, relishes and sweet dishes.
  • Google Directory: Persian cookery – find your way to a host of links on the subject.

Seasonal eating for March

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

In like a lion and out like a lamb – and at the moment we’re somewhere in the middle! The beginning of March can still feel like the worst of winter but by the end of the month we will hopefully be seeing the first signs of spring.

And it’s time to introduce some new flavours and cheer up the warming but by now somewhat routine fare that we’ve been eating all winter. So, while root vegetables and brassicas will no doubt still feature, we can now aspire to some slightly more exotic flavours.

So what seasonal foods are on offer in March? This BBC Food article on the subject suggests keeping an eye out for early rhubarb. And its delicious sweet-yet-sharp flavour shouldn’t just be making an appearance in desserts. You can use it to flavour soups, hotpots and roasts as well.

If you’re crying out for some fresh green stuff on your plate then now’s the time to shop for flatleaf parsley which is a great ingredient in stir-fries and sautés. On the root veg front there’s plenty of carrots, leeks and beetroot about and purple sprouting broccoli is a wonderful seasonal treat.

Check out some recipes by following the links here – and if you’ve got some sure-fire March food secrets then be sure to leave a comment and share!

Check out some seasonal eating tips from the BBC

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Keen to cut down on food miles and improve your diet by eating with the seasons and avoiding expensive imports that may have travelled across the world to reach your nearest supermarket?

Then take a look at this BBC article on seasonal food for January – its suggestions include scallops, pears, parsnips, carrots and leeks.

And there’s a great page of parsnip recipes, including parsnip crisps, parsnip and Jerusalem artichoke soup with onion compote, parsnip fondants and parsnip and carrot mash.

Sounds just what we all need to while away these long winter evenings!

Protect your rights with The Furniture Ombudsman

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Here’s a little heads-up for anyone looking to understand their consumer rights. Did you know that there’s an independent arbitration service you can use if you’re not happy with a furniture purchase, and which includes a number of kitchen retailers?

The Furniture Ombudsman is the independent standards body for furniture and floor coverings and is not allied to any retailer or manufacturer.

Its role is to improve the standard and service offered by retailers, manufacturers and other associated companies.

It provides information for consumers, a dispute resolution service, independent inspection and testing plus advice on buying furniture.

Retailers signed up to the scheme include Magnet, B&Q, MFI and Marks & Spencer, among many others.

For more information visit

View its extensive kitchen buying guide here >>

Food blog roundup: resolutions and lots of comfort food

Monday, January 14th, 2008

We’re halfway through January and all rather glumly settled back into our everyday routines once more. So what better time to cheer things up with a little comfort reading by seeing what some food bloggers are writing about this week?

  • Angela at A Spoonful of Sugar has made a great New Year’s resolution – to grow more of her own fruit and perhaps also veg. She talks about what she’s got planned, and about her other cooking resolutions.
  • Aidan Brooks, a blogging trainee chef, has been cooking with bream, cassava and kumquats under pressure: “This meal did not turn out to be my greatest domestic culinary experience. Unfortunately, as I was doing three other things while cooking I managed to burn the kumquats beyond the point of no return. It was my Goon moment – when my professional chef training went out of the window and like most men under pressure I reverted to the multi-tasking level of a hominid.” Get the full story here…
  • Cheer yourself right up with some shortcake with polenta, dried figs and pine nuts courtesy of Annemarie at Ambrosia and Nectar. And without busting your New Year’s resolutions wide open too…
  • Margot at Euro-Caribbean food blog Coffee & Vanilla is inviting you to sample creamy puy lentils with herbal pepper. Sounds very good indeed to us…
  • Niamh at Eat Like A Girl has been recounting her foodie highs and lows of 2008: “Apologies to anyone from Japan, but I don’t think I will ever quite recover from eating an octopus ball in Tokyo, it looked so delicious but just wasn’t to my taste and gave me quite a shock! I was expecting something quite crispy but contained within was a slimy octopus in what felt like raw egg.” Read about some of her happier moments here.
  • Egg, Bacon, Chips and Beans is right up our street – it carries recommendations for finding marvellous fried breakfasts. Its latest is at Bridge The Gap Café in south-west London. Warning: these photos could make you very hungry…
  • Jenn at The Left Over Queen is waxing lyrical about the joys of seasonal eating and the discovery of a good local farmers’ market.
  • Holler at Tinned Tomatoes has published an incredible interactive guide to making deep-pan pizza, one of the ultimate comfort foods. View it here.
  • And finally… Nicey at A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down finds his New Year’s resolution to stay ‘waistline-neutral’ in tatters after discovering that McVities is plotting the return of the dark chocolate hob-nob.

espares: spare parts for your appliances

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Looking for a spare part for an appliance, and maybe finding it a little difficult to track down?

Pay a visit to espares. This retailer has spares for all kinds of kitchen equipment.

You just shop by manufacturer, and it couldn’t be simpler. You’ll find spares for the following items:

It’s also got a range of kitchen cleaning products and cookware accessories from brands like Whirlpool and Electrolux. So this is a website well worth checking out.

For more help, take a look at its range of appliance guides.

Get the tools for your kitchen project

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

It’s a fact that plenty of people are planning a spot of kitchen renovation in the New Year – after all, what better time to take advantage of the sales?

With this in mind, our DIY sister site,, has just put together a seasonal guide to buying power tools.

While this may serve as a briefing for present-buying for DIY fanatics or a handy hint sheet to print out and leave lying casually round the place, we also think it’s a pretty good place to start as a shopping list to get you launched on that post-Christmas kitchen project you swore you’d tackle soon.

Check it out here: Our top 10 tips for buying power tools.