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Kitchen hacks you can’t live without

If your kitchen is on the small side, or you just own a lot of stuff, these kitchen hacks can be a life saver. From reusing household items unconventionally, to simple storage techniques, here are some of our favourites:

TicTac Herb Storage
These durable plastic containers are a really useful and neat way of storing your herbs and spices and the small cap opening means you can control the amount of herbs/spices you distribute. The clear containers will enable you to see what’s inside, and if all your herbs and spices are in these it creates a neat, uniform drawer or container that will tessellate perfectly.

chopping board Over the Sink Chopping Board
An over the sink chopping board can temporarily expand your counter space, perfect for smaller kitchens making it easier to multi-task. You can find  these in retailers such as Ikea. Now you have no excuse not to have all the family over for lunch!

 Magazine Holders as Storage
Magazine holders are surprisingly versatile and can be used as great space-saving hacks. Store kitchen essentials such as tin foil, cling film and baking  parchment – the boxes fit perfectly in the holders which can be stored easily in your cupboards. You could also store your tins neatly, eliminating  another storage problem as the rack creates a new “wall” to store items against.

 Say Goodbye to Fridge Odours
Use kitchen staple baking soda to make pouches that you can put in your fridge to get rid of any lingering odours. You can make the pouches out of some cotton cloth, a coffee filter, or even use an old (clean!) sock. Just remember to tie it securely so you don’t have baking powder in your dinner!

Shoe Organisers in the Pantry
If you have a pantry, hanging shoe organisers on the back of the door becomes a great way to store your snacks. It effectively uses the limited space you may have and also is herbs frozeneasily accessible and quick to find what you’re looking for.

Freeze your wine
Do you often use wine in your cooking but find it hard to create space in your fridge? Pour some cooking wine into ice cube trays and pop them in the fridge. Use when you need them and save the good stuff for the fridge!

Quick and easy herbs
Another one for the freezer, pop some fresh herbs and olive oil in an ice tray and freeze them. You can take them out and put them in sauces and pastas when you need them, reducing the amount of waste from continuously buying fresh.

 

 

Image Credits: WikimediaFlickr

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Six top tips for a barbecue at your new home

Everyone knows that one of the main features of a great British summer is a barbecue. So why not use that new home and garden of yours to host one for your friends and family? The British summer isn’t the most reliable when it comes to its weather, but in the hope that we do have at least a few nice weeks this year, why not give it a go using these top tips:

 Theme9539470342_308fa83bd3_b

A themed barbecue is a great way to build enthusiasm among you and your guests, whether you simply theme the food you plan on serving or opt for something  more creative. Whichever you choose, have fun with it! Create an idea that both you and your guests will enjoy being a part of. Make sure it’s not something overly  difficult or complicated, just something to add to the occasion.

 Games

Games are a great asset to a barbecue once the food and drink is underway. This will add to the fun aspect of your barbeque and give you the chance to try out your  creative skills as a host. You could even incorporate your theme! Why not divulge some family jokes or something that will trigger a memory among your friends? The  games can be anything as simple as a game of cards, to an amusing game of Twister!

 Try some new food

There are a number of conventional foods associated with a British barbecue; from the classic beef burger, to the good old hot dog. Why not show off your cooking and creativity by adding to these classics using recipes that people may not have tried before? Go back to your original theme and try to alter the food accordingly, whether adding some salsa and guacamole to your Mexican themed barbie, or making a big paella to channel your inner Spaniard.

Create some drinks

Exciting drinks to go with your food, whether alcohol or juice based, themed or none-themed, will enhance your barbecue even further. Try your hand at creating some cocktails or make a good old fruit punch or vintage lemonade for those less inclined to alcohol.

Invite the neighbours

You’re in a new house, which most likely means you’re in a new neighbourhood, so why not invite some of the neighbours? A laid back event like a barbeque is a great opportunity to meet and get to know some of the people on your new street, so try to invite them along to join you.

Make the most of your garden

You’ve got a nice new garden, so make the most of it! If you have garden furniture, make sure it’s accessible to your guests and spread out as to use as much space as possible. Even if your garden isn’t very big, you can still make the most of what you’ve got; put some rugs out for people to sit on or utilize your dining room furniture if possible.

 

Image credit: Takuma Kimura via compfight.com

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Spring cleaning for beginners
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Spring cleaning for beginners

With winter almost behind us, it’s time to start readying the home for spring and summer. Integrating new themes and colours into your home can add a new lease of life to a room, however before cracking on and adding vibrant new elements to your home, it’s time to have a thorough clean to prepare for the coming months, and make sure you can fully assess each room prior to investing in a new decor.

Clean your sink

It might not be the first place that springs to mind when considering where to clean, but the kitchen sink is known to contain more bacteria than your toilet seat. Considering that you’ll be needing to wash cutlery and crockery in the area, that’s quite a disturbing piece of information. Make sure you regularly disinfect the whole sink area of your kitchen, along with all surfaces you use when preparing food. As a starting tip, use a supermarket product you know is effective, rather than just your everyday soap and dish cloth – if these aren’t thoroughly washed at regular intervals, they can also be a hive of bacterial activity. If your sink is stainless steel, make it sparkles afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing. Not only does this process make the whole area look clean, but it also prevents water build-up, which deters mold and keeps the sink looking clean longer.

Wipe your Oven

Another area of your kitchen which is integral to be kept clean, due to the role it plays in the food preparation process is your oven. Giving the surfaces a thorough clean with an appropriate product can keep your oven in a sanitary state, but it also might be worth lining the bottom with a non-stick oven liner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher, and reused over and over.

Bedroom

It’s the area of your house you’ll spend most of your time, as your sleep is a huge aspect of your life, but it’s also amazing just how unhygienic a mattress can get. Obviously, you’ll do a regular clean of bed sheets, however many people disregard cleaning their mattress, something which can lead to hygiene issues. Regularly make sure you vacuum the area, as you would with any other area of the home, as this will keep the mattress as hygienic as possible. If you spill on an area, use a suitable upholstery cleaner to ensure you don’t allow stains to bed in to the material. Regular cleaning, and in some cases, the use of protective covering can be the best protection from allergens and dust mites in your mattress.

Declutter Your Drawers

Bedroom drawers are notoriously busy spaces, and can easily get out of hand, with clothes often being thrown in to the point of overflow. Prior to decorating your bedroom for the spring, or investing in new furniture or decorations, make sure to have a thorough clean out. Get rid of things you haven’t worn in a while, and thoroughly declutter.

Know the Hot Spots

Some areas in the home are breeding grounds for clutter. Whether it’s that hall side table used for keys, change and post, or the dining table that is used as a kids play area more than a spot top have a civilised meal. As part of your spring clean, make a resolution to keep these ‘problem’ areas clear. If you’re so lazy that you simple can’t resist dumping junk on the side, it might be worth adding decorations to a space, to make sure there is no longer any room for rubbish.

 

 

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Small gadgets to improve your kitchen
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Small gadgets to improve your kitchen

As a place where we spend more waking hours than anywhere else in the house, kitchens need a little bit more TLC. Unlike those of yesteryear, todays modern sculleries have evolved into more than just a food preparation area. According to a study by research experts, Magnet, the kitchen is now a place where we dine, study and socialise.

As a result of this evolution, the area has ballooned from an average of 5.9m² to a whopping 11.2m². It now includes gadgets such as flat screen TVs, radios, toasters and dish washers to make it as homely as possible. Investing in exceptional furniture and gadgets can make your kitchen more exciting to spend time in.

To help you renovate the area, here are some top rated gadgets and furniture you need in there.

The four minute doughnut

They’re the ultimate comfort food snack, and it can often be a pain if you just fancy indulging, but don’t have anything in the cupboards. Even if you had the energy to go off to a local shop and stock up, you’d probably have a selection of stale and unappetising donuts waiting for you. What could be better than having the ability to cook up a batch of treats from the comfort of your kitchen?

The Babycakes Doughnut Maker allows anyone, even kids, to bake six pastries in four minutes. It doesn’t need cooking oil and doesn’t fry the doughnuts, making it a healthier and affordable alternative for people who have a sweet tooth.

Dispensing all-round goodness

Sometimes, through the summer especially, there’s nothing better than an ice cold glass of water. In the winter, if your morning routine strictly consists of commencing the day with a hot cup of coffee, the BIBO table top water dispenser may be just what you need. It’s an all-in-one unit that relieves the need for appliances such as your kettle, coffee machine and water cooler; saving you space, while also providing clean filtered water. What’s more, the BIBO uses very little energy and can be programmed to automatically switch off whenever you’re not using it, saving money on your utility bill.

Scaling down

No one likes to work in a cluttered kitchen where the worktop looks like a storm came along with friends and had a party. We’re often looking for ways to save space, but getting rid of essentials such as weighing scales and chopping boards can be a real hindrance when it comes to cooking.

However, saving space is easy to manage with the Salter Scale. Designed to serve as a clock, thermometer and scale, the device allows you to save space by getting rid of all three appliances in your home. When you’re not using it, you can just hang the stylish, high-tech disk on the wall.

Eggcellent appliance

As humans, our senses are limited and can’t detect when something’s off until we come to prepare it for a meal. This often leads to disasters of stomach-turning proportions. Even more so when it comes to inspecting an egg’s freshness. It’s difficult to tell if an egg has gone bad just by looking at the shell. But as soon as we crack it open, our kitchens transform from a heavenly space into a rancid, sewer system in no time.

The Egg Minder spares your senses from the horror. It’s basically an advanced egg tray that tells you how many eggs you have and their current state of freshness. The appliance communicates with your smartphone and provides push messages when everything is about to get sour, or your supply is running low.

Author Bio: This article was provided by Tendai on behalf of BIBO. He spends the better half of his day trying to make the best coffee. The other half is spent writing lifestyle articles that help families cut costs and live happily ever after. Some of his stories can be found on his Google+ page.

 

Image used uncer CC license courtesty of home space

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It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.
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It’s competition time, share your top tips for a chance to win.

It’s the end of the week again, which can only mean one thing here at First Home News…we want to hear your First Home Views! The easy to enter competition gives you the chance to win the fantastic new interior design book, BrightBazaar; the brainchild of world-renowned blogger, Will Taylor.

So it’s time for us to once again turn the spotlight onto you lot – our readers – giving you the chance to share your wealth of house and home advice on a variety of topics.

Summer is still here, which means when the sun is out, we’re making every effort to head outside and entertain family and friends. Hosting weekend dinner parties can be the perfect way to spend time in the sun, relaxing and enjoying the company of those closest to you. So this week, what we want to know is this: ‘When hosting a dinner party, what item or accessory do you bring out to wow your guests?’

To enter, just leave your top recipe in a comment below this article. We’ll be announcing the winner on Monday. Good luck!

Bright Bazaar has an RRP of £25, and is available from Amazon. The book explores specific colour palettes for every room in your home to give you the confidence, knowledge and inspiration to get your colour choices right first time. Packed with personality and heart, playful but informative, engaging but practical, Bright Bazaar is brimming with ideas that work.

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How to detox for summer
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How to detox for summer

It’s not always easy making lifestyle changes, especially when you don’t know where to start. It’s not necessary to turn your life upside down overnight; instead just begin with gradual changes or ‘upgrades’ to healthier alternatives.

Here are five easy upgrades you can begin with today.

1. Go chemical free

Your skin is your largest organ and absorbs everything you slather onto it. If you have been using chemical-laden products filled with parabens, pthalates and formaldehyde, it’s time to think again. These chemicals are clogging up your internal highways and causing a toxic slump, which your body has the hard task of having to deal with. Do yourself a favour and opt for more natural products. Check out LoveLula.com who have done the hard work for you in and only stock products that are safe for your body.

2. Soft drink and Sodas

Many sodas and soft drinks have been linked to obesity, kidney damage and certain cancers. Consuming just one soda spikes your blood sugar levels causing your lives to turn sugar into fat. Many sodas also contain caffeine which makes pupils dilate and blood pressure rise, which then results in the liver dumping yet more sugar into the bloodstream. Swap soda for coconut water; it’s a low-calorie drink with a small dose of healthy omega fatty acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium and electrolytes making it the perfect drink post-workout, as it helps to rehydrate the body. Coconuts contain naturally occurring enzymes, which boast antioxidant properties.

3. Get juicy

I wouldn’t be without my juicer. For the last eight years, I have religiously juiced my self back to health. It’s one of the fastest ways to flood your body with nutrients, oxygen and enlivening enzymes, and it’s true that everyone I know that has started juicing, has never looked back. 

4. Ditch the dairy

Milk is nasty, inflammatory and very acidic to the body. It has also been linked to increased risk of osteoporosis, (despite what some companies have led us to believe). Switch to drinking oat, rice, coconut or nut milk, which can be made in a matter of seconds by blending nuts and water and straining through a cheesecloth or nut milk mag.

5. Healthy Bacteria

70% of our immune system lives in our gut, so ensuring there’s plenty of good bacteria there to keep the little bit of bad bacteria we need in check, is crucial to a healthy digestive system and our overall health. Our bodies also need essential fatty acids omega 3&6 for maintaining supple joints, heart health, brain function, and a strong immune system; our bodies cannot produce them so we must ensure they are included in our diets. I recommend Udo’s Choice probiotics and oils.

 

Polly Noble is a lifestyle advisor and health coach passionate about helping people improve their health. She is creator of The Conscious Life Guide – a lifestyle program designed to help people live a life they love.

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Enjoy spring cooking in the sun
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Enjoy spring cooking in the sun

As weather forecasters predict a drastic rise in temperatures over the coming week, it’s understandable that many of us will want to head into the garden to basque in the early summer heat. Whether you’re after something light to serve up to friends over the weekend, of just want something simple to cook and enjoy on your patio one evening after work, we’ve got some great, quick and tasty meals for you to enjoy.

Parmesan Spring Chicken

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 5 tbsp finely grated parmesan
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 400g new potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 140g frozen peas
  • a good handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Heat your grill to a medium temperature and line the grill pan with foil. Beat an egg white on a plate with a little salt and pepper.
  2. Tip the Parmesan onto another plate, then dip the chicken into the egg white, then the cheese.
  3. Grill the coated chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning until browned and crisp.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the potatoes for 10 minutes, adding the peas for the final 3 minutes, then drain.
  5. Toss the vegetables with the spinach leaves, vinegar, oil and seasoning to taste.
  6. Divide up into four plates, and then serve with the chicken.

Spring Salmon with Minty Vegetables

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 750g small new potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 750g frozen peas and beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • The zest and juice off of 1 lemon
  • small pack of mint  (leaves only)
  • 4 salmon fillets about 140g/5oz each

Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pan for 4 minutes. Tip in the peas and beans, bring back up to a boil, and then carry on cooking for another 3 minutes until the potatoes and beans are tender.
  2. Mix the olive oil, lemon zest and juice and mint in a blender to make a dressing
  3. Put the salmon in a microwave-proof dish, season, and then pour the dressing over. Cover with cling film, pierce and microwave on high heat for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Drain the vegetables and mix with the hot dressing and cooking juices from the fish.
  4. Serve the fish on top of the vegetables.

 

Spring Fish Pie

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 250g bag washed leaf spinach
  • 450g small new potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g skinless, boneless white fish fillet, cut into large chunks
  • 100g half-fat crème fraîche
  • juice ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. First, heat your oven to 220C and then tip the spinach into a colander in the sink and tip the potatoes into a saucepan.
  2. Bring a kettle full of water to the boil and pour enough over the potatoes to cover and slowly pour the rest over the spinach to wilt it. Bring the potatoes to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes until tender, then drain and mash.
  3. Leave the spinach to cool, and then squeeze out excess water with your hands. Scatter the spinach over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, leaving two gaps for the eggs.
  4. Crack the eggs into the gaps, then season with salt and pepper. Distribute the fish over the spinach and eggs. Spread over the crème fraîche and drizzle with the lemon juice. Loosely spoon over the potatoes, drizzle over the olive oil, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy and golden and the sauce is bubbling at the sides.
  5. Leave to stand for a few minutes, and then serve straight from the dish.

 

Photo Credit: Hagens_world via Compfight cc

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Sweet treats for Mother’s Day
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Sweet treats for Mother’s Day

They say the best way into someone’s heart is their through food. On Mother’s Day, try and prove that by cooking up a storm in the kitchen for your mum. If you want to really go all out this Sunday and spoil her, these tasty treats are sure to put you in the good books. From a sweet breakfast in bed to mid morning treats, here are some of our top Mother’s Day recipes.

Rainbow Jam Tarts

Ingredients:

For the sweet pastry:

  • 250 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 250 g icing sugar
  • 125 g unsalted butter, softened
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 orange or lemon
  • a splash of milk

For the fillings:

  • 30 heaped teaspoons of your favourite jams, curds, marmalades and jellies

 

Method:

  • Put the flour, sugar and butter into a food processor with a pinch of salt and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs
  • Add the egg, grate in the zest from your orange or lemon and blend the mixture together again, adding a little splash of milk to bring everything together, if needed
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place it into the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
  • Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the pastry so it’s 0.5cm thick.  Cut out rounds of pastry and place each of them into the tray
  • Put 1 heaped teaspoon of filling into each jam tart. Feel free to switch each filling up with an assortment of flavours
  • Place the trays onto the middle shelf of the oven and cook for around 12 – 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling
  • Remove from the oven, leave in the tray to firm slightly and then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool for a few minutes before serving. 

Mother’s Day Rhubarb and Ginger Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 325g brown sugar
  • ½ lemon
  • 250ml milk
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 100g butter, plus 1 tablespoon extra, melted
  • 300g rhubarb, finely chopped

 

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4 and line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  • In a large mixing bowl place the flour, baking powder, salt and 225g of the brown sugar. Mix, then make a well in the centre
  • Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the milk and set aside for a couple of minutes.
  • Place the orange zest, half the stem ginger, the egg, 100g of melted butter and the milk mixture into the bowl and beat thoroughly. Fold in the chopped rhubarb. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, filling each one to the top
  • In a small bowl place the remaining 100g of brown sugar, the extra tablespoon of melted butter and the rest of the stem ginger. Mix until it looks like a crumble topping, then sprinkle over the muffins
  • Bake for 25 minutes so the sugar turns golden and crispy and the muffins are cooked through. Serve warm with custard or cream

 

Scones

Ingredients

  • 150 g dried fruit
  • orange juice (for soaking)
  • 150 g cold unsalted butter
  • 500 g self-raising flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 heaped teaspoons golden caster sugar
  • sea salt
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk, plus a little extra for brushing

Method

  • Put the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over just enough orange juice to cover. Ideally, leave it for a couple of hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
  • Put your butter, flour, baking powder, sugar and a good pinch of sea salt into a mixing bowl and use your thumbs and forefingers to break up the butter and rub it into the flour so you get little cornflake – sized pieces.
  • Make a well in the middle of the dough, add the eggs and milk, and stir it up with a spatula.
  • Drain your soaked fruit and add that to the mixture. Add a tiny splash of milk if needed, until you have a soft, dry dough. Move it around as little as possible to get it looking like a scruffy mass – at this point, you’re done.
  • Sprinkle over some flour, cover the bowl with cling film and pop it into the fridge for 15 minutes.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 2 to 3cm thick. With a 6cm round cutter or the rim of a glass, cut out circles from the dough and place them upside down on a baking sheet – they will rise better that way (so they say).
  • Re-roll any off cuts to use up the dough.

Brush the top of each scone with the extra milk or some melted butter and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until risen and golden. At that point, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool down a little. Serve with clotted cream and a little jam or lemon curd.

Photo Credit: Elina Innanen via Compfight cc

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Best barbecue recipes
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Best barbecue recipes

Summer is just around the corner, and in many of our heads, this means glorious sun drenched weekends out in the garden, barbecuing up delicious foods and enjoying our favourite refreshing beverages. Following on from our barbecue buying guide posted last week, we’re here to provide you with some great barbecue recipes if you want to stray slightly from the traditional burger and hot dog.

Flame cooked Cajun fish

Main ingredients

4 x 200 g white fish fillets, such as seabass, snapper, bream or pollock (approx. 2cm thick), skin on, scaled and pinboned, one lemon

For the rub you’ll need:

Ten sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked, four sprigs of fresh oregano, two cloves of garlic, two level teaspoons of smoked paprika, one teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon of sea salt, one level teaspoon of finely ground black pepper, two tablespoons olive oil, one lemon.

Cooking instructions

  • To make the rub, you need to combine a few of your ingredients. If you have a pestle and mortar, mash up your fresh herbs and garlic in it until you’ve got a nice coarse paste (if not, use a blender or any other means to mix them).
  • Add the spices, salt, pepper and olive oil to your mixture, and then proceed to squeeze in the juice of half your lemon. Squeeze the lemon through your fingers, to prevent any pips getting into the mix.
  • Next, grab your fish and, using a sharp knife, lightly score the skin of your fish.
  • Now, it might get a bit messy – rub your mix into both sides of your fish using your fingers.
  • Massage the mixture thoroughly all over the fish, and push firmly into the scores to allow the rub to infiltrate the fish.
  • Place the fish into a non-stick pan and cook on a medium-high heat, skin side down, for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Once you’ve initially sealed the fish all over, make sure that you turn the heat down to low, then, very carefully, flip your fish over. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side, and check that the fish is cooked through before removing from the heat.

 

 

Spiced chicken kebabs

Main ingredients

500 g chicken breasts. Assorted vegetables, such as courgettes, mixed peppers. mushrooms and onions. 6-8 skewers

For the marinade you’ll need:

A handful of fresh coriander, a handful of fresh mint, 3 cloves of garlic, 6 spring onions, one red chilli, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a splash of olive oil.

  • Firstly, take your chicken breast, cut them into one inch cubes and place in a bowl.
  • Next, blanch the courgette strips in salted boiling water for 30 seconds before  then draining and allowing to cool.
  • Blitz all the remaining marinade ingredients (except the olive oil) together and then add olive oil whilst stirring, until you’re left with a loose paste.
  • Add the marinade to the prepared chicken pieces and together until all chicken is covered evenly.
  • Cover the bowl with foil or cling film, and store in the fridge for around an hour, allowing the chicken to marinade and the taste to develop.
  • Next, take your skewers and add the chicken and chopped assorted vegetables.
  • When ready, grill for around 5 minutes, turning regularly, until cooked.

Photo Credit: Mimolalen via Compfight cc

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Barbecue buying guide
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Barbecue buying guide

With the warm summer finally within touching distance, we’re all guilty of starting to dream of lazy weekends in the garden, over indulging in food and drink as we enjoy a well deserved break from work. Cooking up burgers, sausages and other meats over the open flame of a barbecue has become almost synonymous with the warm weather of summer, however if you’ve only recently moved into your new home, the chances are you’ll need to invest in a new barbecue before you can begin to plan your summer get-togethers. From solid structures to portable gas options, we’ve got you covered with our guide to buying a new barbecue.

Charcoal

Charcoal barbecue grills are the traditional option when it comes to cooking your meats outdoors. They have a number of advantages over the competition, and when utilised correctly, they are a great option for your garden. In terms of cooking the food, generally the burning charcoal means that meats can be cooked at a hotter temperature, and the flame grilled cooking style means the meats taste authentically barbecued to the palate.  Of course, when comparing to competitors, there are always going to be drawbacks, and the messy nature of cooking over burning coals is one downfall. If you’re cooking for a vast amount, you may need to restock on charcoal, as the initial heat soon dies away when cooking, and as the device is dangerously hot, the barbecue and surrounding area will need your full attention to avoid accidents.

Gas

Gas barbecues are a more convenient option when it comes to cooking, and the simple push-button starting mechanism provides an instant flame, on which you can begin cooking in around 10 minutes. Above the burners are flavouriser bars, which heat up and play the role that charcoal would on a traditional barbie. With the gas grill you get burner controls similar to a cooker, meaning you can quickly and easily manipulate temperatures to give you immediate desired results.  Contrary to what many people believe, there’s actually very little to no difference in taste when compared to a charcoal barbecue. The adjustability of gas means that it’s easier to cook food more evenly, with less risk of burning. After use, there’s no charcoal ash to dispose of, meaning that the process is far less messy, and easier to clean.

Charcoal options

You have many options available when opting for a charcoal barbecue. If you want to make a garden feature of your grill area, one great option is to build the supporting brickwork yourself. This means that the structure will constantly be on show in your garden. Once the building work is done, all you’ll ever need for your barbecue is the grill section, which can be picked up from Argos for as little as £30

For something more portable, our top option when it comes to a stand alone barbecues is this Weber model, which has a great design and is truly built to last. The round design means heat gets focused and the multiple vents allow you to control the temperatures with ease. With smoking capabilities, the large grilling area gives you plenty of space for direct and indirect grilling and even  comes with an optional rotisserie kit.

Gas options

Typically quite pricey options, there are plenty of designs out there to suit every need when it comes to gas barbecuing. Make sure you do thorough research into models before jumping in with a purchase, but here are a couple of our favourites for you to consider.

Make sure you set your budget before beginning to look at grills, as prices can easily head into the thousands. In our eyes, the king of the reasonably priced gas barbecue is this Broil King, which has three stainless steel Dual-tube main burners and allows you to cook and heat a variety of foods at the same time.

If you’re looking for something more modest in price, stores like B&Q have a range of options that are reliable, hard wearing and well priced, like this Bondi model. The grill and warming rack combination means you can cook items and then keep them heated until you’re ready to serve.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks via Compfight cc

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