Tag Archive: cook

  1. 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.

  2. Our Fresh Essentials

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    Following the discussion about our most loved food cupboard ingredients (which you can read about here), we decided to have a chat with the ProWare team about the fresh ingredients that have a permanent place in our fridges.

    Faye – Lemons

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Lemons

    ocado.com

    “They are incredibly versatile. Full of vitamin C and have a fantastically uplifting fragrance. You can feel immediately more virtuous by adding lemon to a pint of hot water as part of your daily routine and it is particularly great with some sliced ginger, a chilli and a drop of honey if you have a nasty cold. Lemons are great in both sweet and savoury cooking. Halved inside a roast chicken, zested to give tomato sauce a lift or in lemon cheesecake. Don’t forget a slice in a gin and tonic too!”

    Fiona – Carrots

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Carrots

    tesco.com

    “We always have carrots in the fridge as they’re great raw for a snack or to bulk out a salad. We love them steamed or roasted as part of a meal and they are full of vitamin A.”

    Danielle – Minced Beef

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Minced Beef

    ocado.com

    “I regularly make either bolognaise and chilli so this is a must have in my kitchen. When I’m on a health kick I always buy the 5% fat version which is a nice alternative to the typical healthy protein sources such as chicken and eggs.”

    Robert – Garlic

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Garlic

    waitrose.com

    “Garlic forms part of the base in almost everything we cook at home. It’s an essential ingredient in such a vast array of cuisines that we are never without it. We even grow it in our garden!”

    Rachel – Chorizo

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Chorizo

    morrisons.com

    “I always have a Chorizo in my fridge. It’s great because it has a long shelf life so can sit in there as a back up for a last minute meal. Its easily made into a pasta dish with whatever vegetables I’ve got kicking about.”

    Jayne – Mushrooms

    ProWare Fresh Essentials Mushrooms

    ocado.com

    “I am never without fresh mushrooms as they are so versatile and a great addition to many vegetarian recipes. They are also delicious cooked on their own, especially for breakfast”

    Lawson – Feta Cheese

    “Perhaps not the most versatile cheese but it really can’t be beaten when crumbled over salads, pasta or pizza. It has a fresh, vibrant tang that really livens things up and I just love it!”

    Get in touch!

    We would love to hear about what your cupboard essentials and why you love them. Please leave a comment below, email or tweet us.

  3. Our Food Cupboard Essentials

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    Whether its an essential cooking ingredient or a dinner time emergency fall back, we all have those ingredients that we keep on hand at all times. We asked the ProWare team what their food cupboard essentials were and why they always have them in.

    Faye – Peanut Butter

    “Great at breakfast or for a quick snack! We have it by the spoonful, in smoothies, on toast, spread on to a rice cake, or served with an apple. Mix with lime juice, smashed garlic, chilli flakes and a bit of soy makes a quick, versatile satay sauce – great for dips or poured into the wok over a stir-fry. It is protein packed, full of fibre and monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium and vitamins E,C & A. What’s not to like?”

     

    Fiona – Sardines

     

    “They are cheap, nutritious and very tasty. Tinned sardines are great on toast for a quick lunch or mixing into some pasta with tomatoes for dinner, they are full of vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.”

     

    Danielle – Chopped Tomatoes

    “I make either bolognaise, chilli or lasagne at least once a week so always use a tin with these! I also add them to curries a lot or just have them as they come in a fry up. A very versatile ingredient and healthy too.”

     

    Robert – Anchovies

    “Tinned anchovies have an intense savoury and salty kick. I use these all the time to add flavour to stews, pasta and roasts. They really round things off beautifully.”

     

    Rachel – Sweetcorn

    “A regular feature in our house. A tin of this is a great healthy back up when the fresh stuff has run out and can be added to pasta dishes or salads. It’s also great with a roast or the kids favourite quick meal– chicken nuggets and wedges!”

     

    Jayne – Chickpeas

    “They have a high fibre content and are a great source of protein for vegetarians (like me). They also provide essential vitamins and minerals while being easy to throw in to all sorts of dishes. I buy them tinned for convenience but you can also get them dried in bags.”

     

    Lawson – Smoked Paprika

    “I use this on all sorts. It brings a smokey spice to tray bakes, hearty soups, stews and casseroles. Its also an essential ingredient for me when making chilli.”

    Get in touch!

    We would love to hear about what your cupboard essentials and why you love them. Please leave a comment below, email or tweet us.

  4. 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.

     

  5. 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.

  6. The Kitchen Kit We Can’t Live Without

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    There are items you buy for your kitchen that you think will be life changing. You get it home, purposefully cook something that requires its use and marvel at the speed and ease with which you have managed to hull a strawberry or slice an avocado. After a few weeks you realise that the task you bought this gadget for can be done with a knife. Just as quickly (if not quicker because you already have a knife out of the drawer) and just as easily (when you think about having to dismantle and wash your new toy). So it remains untouched, existing only to make your utensil draw harder to open and to act as a constant reminder of your misguided vision and wasted money.

    However, there are those things that become your close culinary companion that you use almost every time you cook. You may stumble upon something in a shop completely by accident, its £2 so you throw it in your basket without giving it a moments thought and it turns out to be the the single most indispensable item in your kitchen. It could be something you treated yourself to 10 years ago because you always wanted one. It was expensive but hey, you get what you pay for; and you still have it now, sitting on a shelf looking as good as the day you bought it.

    We think it important to celebrate those things that can be kept and used and loved for years on end so we asked members of the ProWare team to tell us about the kitchen kit they have come to treasure.

     

    Faye – Fully Forged All-Purpose Knife, £13.99, Lakeland

    http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15222/Lakeland-Fully-Forged-Stainless-Steel-All-Purpose-Knife-10-5cm-Blade

    lakeland.co.uk

    Why I love it – 

    “£14 is a steal for this knife. It’s the perfect size and shape for all sorts – fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese; just everything. The blade stays sharp after prologued use and it can go straight in the dishwasher afterwards. It has a lovely sturdy and well-balanced feel in your hand. For all round performance and value, its the best knife I’ve ever bought!”

    Fiona – The Garlic Twist, £18.50, Amazon

     

    The Garlic Twist

    amazon.co.uk

    Why I love it –

    “We use a lot of garlic at home and this has saved us so much time. It’s a quick and easy way of producing finely chopped and minced garlic. No more fiddly chopping or scraping bits off a chopping board. Once twisted, the contents can be used when required and simply emptied in. It also works great with ginger, chillies and herbs.”

    Danielle – Stainless Steel Turner, £4, M&S

    M&S Stainless Steel Turner

    marksandspencer.com

    Why I love it – 

    “Put simply, its just a great turner. It has a large surface area which makes it good for flipping omelettes which I have quite frequently, or fried eggs. It hasn’t overheated and deformed like a previous one I had. I have a lot of roast veg and chicken combos so it’s good for serving them up as well and because of the nylon head it doesn’t scratch baking trays and non-stick cookware. For M&S it’s very reasonably priced for the quality you get and no more expensive than a lot of their competitor’s offerings.”

    Robert – Hygiplas LDPE Chopping Board, £19.99, Nisbets

     

    Hygiplas LDPE Chopping Board

    nisbets.co.uk

    Why I love it –

    “Very easy to clean, non-absorbent and kind to knife blades. £20 may seem expensive for a plastic board but these are solid and will last years. They’re also available in various colours to avoid cross contamination of raw and cooked ingredients.”

    Rachel –  Pyrex 2L Glass Bowl, £6.62, Amazon

    Pyrex Glass Bowl, 1.0L

    amazon.co.uk

    Why I love it –

    “You just can’t have too many of these – they’re so versatile! Oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe and really excellent value for money. Available in sizes 0.5L to 3L and they are all handy but I find the 2L to be the best all-rounder.”

    Jayne – Tupperware Batter Shaker (get one similar here)

    Tupperware Batter Shaker

    Tupperware Batter Shaker (via pinterest.co.uk)

    Why I love it –

    “I have an original Tupperware batter shaker that my mum bought me when I first left home (that’s a long time ago now) and I still use it all the time for batter mixes and scrambled eggs. I used to use it for Angel Delight treat time when my lads were young and it’s now become my grandson’s favourite ‘ok to play with’ item from my cupboards. Apart from the fond memories, it’s a great little gadget that I can’t image being without!”

    Lawson – IDEALISK Whisk, £1, IKEA

    IDEALISK Whisks

    ikea.com

    Why I love it –

    “I bought these on a whim about a year ago because my old whisk was starting to rust – at a quid for two I really didn’t expect much. The quality of both whisks is excellent and they represent outstanding value for money but it’s the coil whisk (the one on right) that was a real game changer for me. I use it all the time! It has a flat bottom so it’s perfect for use in small saucepans and jugs, it’s light, easy to clean and despite being essentially a length of wire, the handle feels very ergonomic.”

    Get in touch!

    We would love to hear about what you have in your kitchen and why you love it. Please leave a comment below, email or tweet us.