Tag Archive: blogger

  1. Dinner’s Served! Hints and Tips for a Great Soiree

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    Is it your turn to host your friends and family this month? While dinner parties certainly require some preparation, the run up to your soiree doesn’t have to be stressful. To help you, we’ve compiled some top tips – direct from our kitchen to yours – that will ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible:

    Be Realistic

    The first thing to consider when throwing a dinner party is this: do you have enough free time in your diary to adequately prepare for it? It’s all well and good agreeing to host 12 guests but be realistic about when they can come – and how much you can get done before they do. At the very least, give yourself a couple of weekends prior to your party. By doing so, you’ll have more than enough time to check if any guests have any dietary requirements, plan the menu, consider entertainment and discover the perfect wine pairing. If you’re interested in more about wine pairing, we’ve compiled some simple Wine Pairing Rules to get you started.

    ProWare Wine Pairing

    Pro tip: think carefully, not just about the dishes you’re serving, but about how well they complement one another. For instance, your guests might not want to eat a pastry starter, followed by a heavier, pastry main. You may also decide to opt for a theme for the evening – Italian or Indian, for example –which will help you pull together your menu, the canapés and the wine.

    It’s the Little Things

    Found yourself with a little extra time just prior to your evening do? Consider the little things which may make all the difference, like making your own bread for the soup, or even whipping up a few homemade canapés. If the idea of adding a tiny bit of work to your schedule (for maximum pay-off) doesn’t scare you, dive right in. If you are in need of a little canapé inspiration take a look at Luke French’s recipe for Wild Sea Trout and Linseed Cracker, which will be sure to delight your guests.

    ProWare Christmas Recipes Joro Red Cabbage

    Ask for Help and Prep in Advance

    When it comes to the preparation, it isn’t a failing on your part if you have to rope in a few people to help. Whether it’s your partner, your kids, even your neighbour, many hands make light work. If you can, choose dishes that you can do a majority of the cooking before your guests arrive. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in the kitchen all evening leaving your guests to entertain themselves.

    Here are a few of our favourite cook in advance side dishes:

    Macaroni and Cheese 

    ProWare's Macaroni Cheese

    Potato Dauphinois

    ProWare's Potato Dauphinois

     

    Think ‘Presentation’

    You’d be surprised at how a small addition to your meal – homemade, rustic-looking croutons or cheese straws to accompany the soup, perhaps? – can make a huge difference to how it looks on the table. So, why not choose simple dishes which can be improved easily with a few, clever little touches? Also, in terms of presentation, what you serve your food on can really make a big impact. A roast potatoes brought to the table in a beautiful roasting tray or individual side dishes served in mini pans to each guest are really eye catching and impressive.

    ProWares Cast Iron Mini Casseroles 2

    ProWare's Irish Shepard's Pie Recipe

    Be ambitious – Show stopping Recipes

    If you’re keen to impress, choose a recipe that will really ‘wow’ your guests. These Hasselback Roasted Potatoes are a nice twist on the usual roast potato and they can be prepared the night before, just leave them to soak in the fridge overnight. Or try this recipe for Sea Truffle Salt Baked Chicken by Michelin Star Chef Brad Carter is not only a delicious recipe, but Brad also includes instructions on how to serve it so beautifully too.

    Proware Recipe Sea Truffle Baked Chicken by Carter's

    Say ‘Yes’ to Seasonal

    If you’ve yet to decide on a theme, go seasonal! Autumn and winter are the perfect time for game, for instance – and here on the blog we’ll soon be sharing some recipes you can try out easily at home. Impress your guests with your cooking prowess and try something different in the process.

    And another thing…

    Don’t forget to decant your wine; it’s about the little things, after all. The Wine Spectator has some top tips for storing your favourite tipple or two, with decanting offering two key benefits. One is the fact that it separates wine from any sediment which may have formed. The second? It aerates a wine to release its flavours and aromas – yum!

    What are your top dinner party tips? Let us know by commenting below.

  2. The Game is On! Cooking Tips from Our Kitchen to Yours

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    Now that we’ve sadly said goodbye to summer – and the possibility of lighting the barbecue for a final fling – we’re turning our attention to all the things we have to look forward to in the kitchen. Hearty soups, deliciously meaty stews and all-round, good, old-fashioned comfort food to rival our grandmother’s.

    But autumn also makes way for another seasonal trend: game. That’s right; game season is upon us – and here on the blog today, we’re bringing you some inspiration for cooking with everything from pheasant to grouse and partridge. Read on…

     

    Carefully Select Your Meat

    Now, this is arguably the most important part of ensuring you get game right. Assuming that you aren’t able to join a shoot to get your own, there are a few other ways to source game meat. Firstly, find a reputable supplier and make sure you seek out prime cuts – like loin or the breasts. If, for example, you’re cooking venison, the joins like the haunch (leg) are a good place to start. Cook them slowly and they’ll taste amazing.

    But which are the most popular game birds here in the UK? Pheasant, partridge and grouse are right up there, of course. Try to buy whole carcasses of game birds, where possible. Make sure the head and feet are still attached, as this will be the best indicator of how old the bird is, as well as its overall quality.

    Secondly, did you know that you can often buy pan and oven-ready game direct from your local butcher? Lastly, most supermarkets also stock game meat, as will farm shops and online suppliers. If you go down this route, make a beeline for moist cuts which are also well-shaped. Avoid dry spots, or meat that looks discoloured – and always ensure the game smells fresh.

    Game is on

    Cook with Consideration

    You don’t often see novices cooking game – and it’s for good reason. While preparing a meal with game isn’t necessarily rocket science, it is usually cooked by those who know a thing or two about being in the kitchen. Your biggest challenge with game will be to keep it moist, since the absence of a lot of fatty tissue means that it’ll dry very quickly if you overcook it. Basting is key, here, as is covering the meat while slow cooking it. Don’t forget to flavour it well, too. For example, prunes and apricots work beautifully with partridge. Have a play around with flavours, too, as many a keen cook has stumbled upon a great pairing by simply being bold enough to experiment. Another tip is to pair game meat with other fattier meats for instance a venison burger mixed with ground bacon or pancetta and an egg yolk will help keep the burgers moist and add lots of richness and flavour.

    Get Your Money’s Worth

    We live in an increasingly wasteful society, so it’s as important as ever to ensure you’re really getting the most out of the food you cook. When preparing game, for example, you could keep back the kidneys and livers to make pâté, adding onion or butter and garlic and spreading it on toasted bread or brioche. Make sure you store your game correctly, too. Game should be plucked and drawn (gutted) after hanging, before it can be frozen or chilled. Keep fresh game in the coldest part of your fridge and make sure you cook it (and eat it) within one to two days.

     

    Where to start

    If you’re interested in cooking with game, we recommend giving the below recipes a whirl:

    Autumn Venison and Pheasant Stew is the perfect place to start and worked really well using our Copper Tri-ply Stockpot.

    Glazed Roasted Mallard Duck – created by Paul Welburn this flavourful recipe which includes pan frying the duck first and finishing it off in the oven.

    Braised Venison Cobbler – Paul Welburn serves rich, braised venison haunch topped with fluffy horseradish scones for a unique twist on a cobbler.

    Pan Roasted Venison Saddle, sausage, elderberry huntsman sauce, pear and parsnip purée –  A more intricate and ambitious recipe. Paul Welburn’s dish featuring venison loin would excite the taste buds of your dinner party guests.

    Do you have any top tips for cooking or preparing game? Do let us know by commenting below.

    Image of ProWare's Autumn Venison and Pheasant Stew

  3. ProWare Pans are a Tasty Prospect for Michelin-Star Chef Brad Carter

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    It’s not every day you get to tuck into Michelin-star food, so when the ProWare team dined at Carters of Moseley, we were keen to savour every last bite.

    We’d heard a lot about Chef Brad Carter, following his stint on TV’s Saturday Kitchen; his unique flair, passion and dedication to cooking – and, of course, his noteworthy beard – were just three of many things which stood out for us.

    It’s clear that Brad has spent time perfecting his craft, carefully pulling together a team of 14 talented people with the same unfaltering passion for food. Brad’s team of chefs, waiting staff and sommeliers all appear as ambitious and meticulous as the man himself.

    While the restaurant is unassuming – Brad himself describes it as ‘every day and high quality’ – the ethos of the team is anything but. With a nose-to-tail philosophy, Brad and co. ensure every last morsel of food is put to good use; each tantalising scrap of chicken makes its way into the kitchen’s delicious dishes, whether in the meal itself, or in a stock or as a jus. Meanwhile, when Brad buys a pig, customers can be sure nothing goes to waste.

    On top of that, the restaurant doesn’t use a lot of dairies or refined sugar, with processed ingredients always kept to a minimum. Fermenting rice to produce the basis for a sweet pudding is just one process the kitchen team employs, while nothing but the best, freshly ground single-origin coffee is brewed by hand using the pour-over method, weighed out at your table; the water heated to precision.

    Pure, clean flavours are what you’ll get and there’s nothing heavy on the palette here. What’s more, Brad believes in buying and serving the best of British ingredients. The enthusiasm for ‘local’ is evident in his many collaborations. Carter’s have worked alongside Churchfield Saltworks to produce a range of Droitwich Salts. Birmingham-based Brad has even created his own beer, using wildflowers he personally collected from city fields. Partnering with award-winning new Jewellery Quarter brewery Burning Soul, the drink has so far received a similar reception to his food.

    Brad aims to give diners: “…a taste of the food I love to cook and to serve up food you can’t get at home.” – and that’s certainly what we got.

    Back to our meal, then…

    Upon arrival we were warmly greeted and shown to our table. The restaurant was reasonably busy for a Thursday lunch, but thanks to it being four miles away from the city centre, it was easy to get to and made for a memorable treat.

    Indulging in a six-course lunch with complementary wine pairing, we enjoyed expertly executed dishes which were explained in detail. The highlight? Discovering more about the different ingredients, alongside facts about how the meal was prepared. Sipping a variety of organic and biodynamic wines, we watched the chefs work their magic, as we dined in the restaurant with a good view of the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

    After our meal, we discovered first-hand Brad’s immense passion for food, chatting with him and learning more about his journey into the industry. Of course, we were delighted that Brad – after hearing about Proware cookware – reached out to us, with the aim of collaborating.

    Having seen our pans, Brad was keen to try them in the kitchen at Carters. He couldn’t be happier with them, saying: “I cook to a high level every day in my kitchen and need cookware that is durable, with consistent performance and quality. The great looks are also an impressive factor of ProWare, as I will sometimes present dishes from stove to table. Overall the induction compatible pans from ProWare have incredible precision and consistency, exactly the same results I strive for in my dishes.”

    Be sure to take a look at the recipe Brad devised for us Sea Truffle Salt Baked Chicken.

    For your chance to WIN the ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Roasting Pan, Droitwwich Salt and a beautiful bottle of Gut Oggau wine check out our COMPETITION on the Great British Chef website.

    To learn more about Brad and his restaurant, head to chefbradcarter.co.uk

  4. 7 Ways to Use Our Minis

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    When we have done food events in the past, it has often been our mini pans that attract people to our stand. After the initial ‘ooohs’, ‘aahs’ and declarations of cuteness, people nearly always ask ‘but what would I use them for?’

    Well you’d be surprised just how useful they can be. Here’s a few things we like to do with them.

    1 Pot Pies

    ProWares Cast Iron Mini Casseroles 2

    Serving in a Cast Iron 10cm Mini Casserole is a great way to make individual pot pies that are not only sure to impress at a dinner party but provide a more generous portion than you might think.

    2 Toasting Nuts and Spices

    Proware Balsamic Pear Salad

    This helps release the aromatic compounds in nuts and spices, intensifying their flavour which can really improve things like curries and salads. We recommend using a Copper Tri-Ply 12cm Mini Frying Pan thanks to its compact size.

    3 Butter, Brandy and Basting

    In a professional kitchen the Copper Tri-Ply 9cm Mini Pan would likely be referred to as a butter pan and would be used extensively in the making of sauces and sweets. This functionality carries through to home kitchens too! Warming brandy for the Christmas pud, basting meats when barbecuing or infusing oils for bread, pasta and salads.

    4 Serving Dips and Sauces

    ProWare Dips

    Our Mini Casseroles are a great size for the table. The thermal retention of cast iron also means it can keep its contents warm (or cold, just pop in the freeze for 20 mins before serving) for a long time. Find some great dip recipes here.

    5 Frying an Egg

    Breakfast for one? A Copper Tri-Ply 12cm Mini Frying Pan is the perfect diameter for a single fried egg.

    6 Cooking for Kids

    If you’re warming baby food or cooking a small portion of veg, the Copper Tri-Ply 9cm Mini Pan comes in very handy.

    7 Serving Veg

    Whether you’re planning a romantic meal for two or a dinner party for ten, our copper and cast iron minis make for beautiful tableware to make your food feel that bit more special.

     

     

    Tip: Small pans can be unstable on some hobs. If this is the case with yours we would recommend a hob reducer to ensure your pan is properly supported.

  5. Foodie Dates for your Diary – April 2018

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    Spring is here and with it comes a lot of exciting foodie events for you to enjoy! Veganism and vegan food has become increasingly popular in recent years which is evident in April’s abundance of vegan festivals which include lots of food stalls and more, giving you the opportunity to try out some lovely food.

    Walton Hall Food Festival Paulas cooking in a camper

    Walton Gardens Food Festival

    14-15 April, Walton Hall, Warrington

    Entry: Free to enter (car park charges apply)

    The beautiful Walton Gardens will become a foodie paradise; hosting over 40 artisan producers serving lots of tasty hot food as well as great drinks to enjoy. The festival events will be held in the newly refurbished ‘Riding School’ as well as the main lawns and bandstand. Bring the family and enjoy all that this fabulous event has to offer.

    Porthleven Food and Music Festival

    20-22 April, Porthleven, Cornwall

    Entry: £7.50 – £35.00 (more details here)

    This festival, hosted in the stunning seaside town of Porthleven is perfect for the foodie who is also a music lover. This 3 day event, now in it’s tenth year is a well established event which brings around 30,000 people together each year who gather to enjoy demonstrations at the national and international chef’s theatre, enjoy tasty treats from the many food stalls, as well as music day and night and entertainment for all.

    Surrey Food Festival

    21st April, Old Deer Park, Richmond Upon Thames Surrey 10am-7pm

    Entry: £7.00 (more details here)

    The Surrey Food Festival returns for its 3rd year in 2018 with over 100 different food stalls showcasing their products, fantastic marketplace traders and a Kids Zone full of entertainment for the children to enjoy.  They’ll be a number of acts performing on the main stage throughout the day with plenty of bars offering various drinks ranging from champagne to speciality ale.  If you love food and drink this is definitely the place to be, a fantastic day out for all the family to enjoy! Tickets are currently on sale at £7 per person (under 16’s are free) with children’s wristbands available at £20 giving the little one’s unlimited access to the Kids Zone (wristbands available by pre-order only  http://www.surreyfoodfestival.com/tickets/ ).  Make Richmond Upon Thames your number one stop this April, you really don’t want to miss out on this fantastic event!

    Northern Vegan Festival

    7th April, Manchester

    Entry: £5.00 (under 16’s free)

    Due to the massive success of the 2017 event The Northern Vegan Festival 2018 will remain in huge venue Manchester central, Windmill Street, M2 3GX . The festival will have 200 stalls, 10 world food caterers, inspirational talks, innovative and exciting cookery demos, children’s activities, yoga, free samples and a huge seated cafe area. 100% of ticket money goes to animal welfare charities as the festival is fully volunteer run.

    Irish Vegan Festival 8th April

    Stalls, talks, demos and so much more

    Packed with hot and cold food, cosmetics, campaigns and more all at a lovely city centre location

    Glasgow Vegan Festival 14th April

    Glasgow Trade Halls – 50 fantastic stalls each day, 8 world food caterers, all day talks and all day cookery demos.

    Birmingham Vegan Festival 14th April

    100 stalls featuring mainly food. The profits of the event go to the charity organising the event which helps care for and rehome animals that have been rescued.

    Leicester Vegan Festival 21st April

    Leicester’s biggest vegan festival with over 80 stalls, all day talks and all day cookery demos!

    Scottish Vegan Festival 21st April

    The Scottish Vegan Festival is one of a series of vegan festival events. Our inaugural event was at the Corn Exchange, 10 New Market Rd, Edinburgh EH14 1RJ on Saturday 1st October 2016. They repeated it and grew the event in 2017 to be twice a year.

  6. Finding the Right Cookware for You

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    Buying new cookware can be difficult. Aside from being a financial investment, there is such a vast array of products out there that it is sometimes a challenge to choose correctly.

    You may be lucky enough to know exactly what you want and exactly where to get it. Or perhaps you’ve had the same set of pans for the last 30 years and just plan on buying the same ones again.

    If, however, you simply don’t know where to start, try asking yourself…

    What do you cook on?

    First things first, the type of hob you have (or plan to get) is very important. It will be either gas, radiant ring, ceramic or induction.

    A lot of cookware can be used on all types of hob (*cough* our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply for example *cough*), but there are some types that cannot be used on induction hobs. This is due to the item having a non-ferrous base. In other words, the base is not made of a magnetic metal such a cast iron or certain stainless steels.

    Pots and pans with a base made from a metal such as copper or aluminium are not compatible with induction hobs. Make sure to check your pans are induction compatible before trying to use them on an induction hob.

    What is your style?

    Your personal style and the aesthetic of your kitchen are factors that you should probably think about. As with kitchens, cookware is available in a wide spectrum of styles, from traditional to ultra modern. If you are planning on spending a lot of money it is important to go with something that you not only love but won’t get tired of. If you are easily bored, opting for high spec, expensive cookware is inadvisable.

    When designing our cookware we set out to give them a timelessness, to make them look and feel at home in any setting. We did this by incorporating traditional elements such as riveted handles and hanging loops in to a fresh and contemporary shape.

    Who do you cook for?

    Another consideration is the number of people you are regularly cooking for. Small saucepans (16cm or less) would likely be seldom used in a large family, thus it may be preferable to have 2 large pans (18 or 20cm) that will be used all the time than 3 or 4 of varying sizes, some of which may never leave the cupboard.

    Conversely, if you are generally only cooking for two, smaller saucepans will be used much more frequently. That said, it would no doubt be favourable to still have a large saucepan on hand should you have guests.

    With this in mind it may be better to purchase pans as individuals rather than in sets. Nobody can predict you cooking habits better than you. Explore our saucepans here.

    What do you like to eat?

    Most pots and pans are very versatile and can be used for all sorts, making them an essential part of any kitchen. There are certain items though that have quite niche roles in the kitchen, some of which may be of no use to you.

    For example, non-stick frying pans. There is no denying that they are great for fried eggs and pancakes. However, we would recommend one with a stainless steel interior for just about everything else. If you never cook fried eggs or pancakes, perhaps a non-stick frying pan is not for you.

    Likewise, the functionality of a milk pan is quite limited because of its small capacity. As their name suggests, they are perfect for warming milk and making porridge too. They can also come in very handy when cooking for small children or making sauces. Beyond this, their size can hinder versatility as a saucepan and potentially demote them to a non-essential item.

    ProWare Milk Pan Porridge

    A milk pan is a must when making porridge

    What do you already have?

    If you already have some individual pieces, don’t replace them for the sake of it. If they’re good quality and still in working order, keep them. Many items, including the entire ProWare range, are available as individuals so you can tailor sets around what you already have.

    Decision Time

    We hope these tips have given you some useful pointers on making the right choice for you. If you have any questions or would like to share a tip of your own we would love to hear from you! Get in touch via social media or email us at info@proware-kitchen.co.uk.

     

  7. Cooking with Copper: A Brief History

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    It is no secret that copper is currently experiencing a huge upsurge in popularity. This is mainly thanks to its beautiful colour featuring heavily in the ranges of countless homeware retailers. There is, however, far more to this lustrous metal than just its appearance.

    For example, it has a greater level of thermal conductivity than any other metal (except silver); roughly 60% higher than aluminium and 3000% higher than stainless steel. This means copper is capable of heating up very quickly when compared to other metals.

    Perhaps a less commonly known property of copper is it being inherently antimicrobial. A wide range of harmful microbes are unable to survive for more than a couple of hours when in contact with a surface made of copper or one of its alloys (brass and bronze). This has led to it often being used for frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, push plates and taps.

    A seemingly perfect material for cooking, it is therefore no surprise that it has been used in kitchens for millennia. But exactly when did we learn to utilise copper and its valuable assets?

    Origins

    It is hard to pin down an exact date when copper cookware was first introduced. Pieces discovered in regions of the middle east were dated as far back as 9000BC, suggesting cooking with copper began during the Neolithic period (≈10000-2000BC). As civilisations became increasingly capable in metallurgical techniques, metals such as copper became more widely used. It would have been around this time that copper replaced stone as the material used for making tools and cooking vessels.

    The use of copper is also well documented in Ancient Egypt. Not only was it used to produce water and oil containers, but it was also used to in medical practices. The antimicrobial nature of copper was exploited long before the concept of microorganisms was fully understood. The Smith Papyrus, a medical text written between 2600 and 2200BC records the use of copper in sterilising wounds and drinking water.

    Tin Lining

    Although copper is essential to many processes within the human body, it can become toxic if consumed in excess. It was this knowledge that gave rise to lining cookware with tin, a technique used for hundreds of years to prevent copper leaching in to food.

    These tin linings would eventually wear out and during the 18th and 19th century, it was common for people to send pans away to be re-tinned. This practice is becoming increasingly rare, as are the craftsmen who perform it. Despite this, there are still manufactures producing tin-lined copper cookware who also offer a re-lining service. Perhaps the best known of these is Mauviel, a French manufacturer who have been making this type of cookware since 1830.

    Tin has now largely been replaced by stainless steel as an interior cooking surface. Not only is it more cost effective, but the high grade of stainless steel used in premium cookware (typically 18/10) is highly resistant to corrosion and more durable than tin.

    Copper Base

    Another way in which the virtues of copper have been combined with those of stainless steel is in copper base cookware. A base plate made from a layer copper and aluminium is fused to a stainless steel body. This is done using a process called impact bonding using 600 tonnes of pressure.

    The high conductivity of copper means the base of the pan will heat much more evenly, reducing the formation of hot spots. Modern 3 ply copper cookware effectively extends this base construction up the sides of the pan also.

    Tri-Ply

    As manufacturing processes advanced it became possible to combine different materials to produce cookware made up of three distinct layers, each possessing their own unique properties. These are as follows;

    1st Layer – Copper

    Very high thermal conductivity allows the entire outer surface to heat rapidly and evenly.

    2nd Layer – Aluminium

    Provides a lightweight core with excellent thermal retention.

    3rd Layer – Stainless Steel

    An inert and highly durable cooking surface.

     

    Copper Tri-Ply Construction

    It is this type of construction that is used by ProWare to produce our Copper Tri-Ply cookware. You can find out more about how these pans are made here.