Tag Archive: lifestyle

  1. Cookware – The Perfect Wedding Gift

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    Finding the right gift to help make the happy couple’s day that extra bit special can be something of a minefield. This is particularly true for those who haven’t registered a gift list where you can simply pick something off that suits your budget. With web based services such as Prezola, it is now possible to make contributions to high value items, honeymoons or just send gifts of cash.

    If you haven’t been blessed with an approved list that guarantees sheer delight regardless of what choice you make, things can be trickier. You want to get them something they’ll love, something they can keep for a long time and perhaps something that they will actually use. That said, you have four other weddings this year alone so you can’t spend a fortune. Where to start?

    This is where cookware (and ProWare) comes in. Firstly, it doesn’t matter if you are a Michelin starred chef or ready meal aficionado, everyone likes a nice pan. Whether it is being used on a daily basis to create a plethora of culinary masterpieces or it is nothing more than an ornament hanging from a hook, beautiful cookware really does complete a kitchen.

    Fortunately for those with friends and family with very specific taste, there is such a vast array of cookware on the market that you will definitely be able to find something they like. As tempting as it may be to go for style over substance, resist; especially when buying for keen cooks (they will thank you for it). If you buy well, good cookware can last a lifetime. So not only will your gift see them though decades of family meals but it will also serve as a reminder of their special day for years to come. For more information on choosing the right cookware click here.

    How Can ProWare Help?

    With wedding season upon us, now is the time to start thinking about what you are going to get for the brides and grooms in your life. If you have decided to get something special for their kitchen, ProWare have you covered. With three ranges to choose from you will find something to suit all tastes. Even for those who aren’t big cooks we have a great selection of mini items that make beautiful tableware.

  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. A Return to Home Cooking

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    Our lives are getting busier and our diaries are getting fuller. We are now contactable at all hours, information is being thrown at us on an increasing number of platforms and there never seems to be enough hours in a day. But as people are become less willing to set aside what little free time they do have to the pursuit of cooking, perhaps that is exactly what they need.

    Research suggests that those who regularly eat home cooked meals tend to be happier and healthier. They consume less sugar and processed foods and as a result have higher energy levels and better mental health[1]. Children also stand to benefit from cooking at home with a link emerging between regularly eating home-cooked food as a family and healthier, happier kids who are less likely to use alcohol, drugs or cigarettes later in life[2].

    ProWare The Virtues of Home Cooking

    Our recipe for pan-roasted bream with fennel is a simple but impressive dinner.

    They may be quick, convenient and (let’s be frank) tasty but takeaways have their issues. Perhaps the most significant of these is expense. Ordering a meal for two from your local Chinese, Indian or pizzeria is unlikely to leave you much change out of £20. There are also several health concerns surrounding takeaway food, with it being generally much less nutritious than home cooked food. It is also typically higher in energy, fat and salt. This disparity is amplified further by reduced likelihood of exercising portion control when eating out or ordering in.

    How to Get Back in the Habit

    If you find yourself tempted by takeaways but are struggling to motivate yourself, we have put together some great tips to not only help get back to cooking but to enjoy it as well!

    Get Your Kitchen Sorted

    You are far more likely to want to cook at home if your kitchen is a nice place to be. Keep it clean, organise it in a way that works for you and (if you aren’t blessed with a dishwasher) don’t leave the washing until tomorrow, it will put you off going back in.

    Keep it Simple

    Home cooking doesn’t have to be complex or elaborate, leave that to the professionals. The simple things are often the quickest and most delicious. Cook what you like to eat but don’t be afraid to try something new.

    Stay Stocked

    You are more likely to give a recipe a whirl if you already have most, if not all, the ingredients already in. Make sure you always have stock of those ingredients you find yourself using regularly. If it is something with a long shelf life and you have the space, consider buying in bulk as you can often save quite a few quid. Find out some of our favourite cupboard staples here.

    Plan Ahead

    Write. A. List. Decide what you are going to make on each day in advance and write a shopping list accordingly. Remember to take stock of what you already have in to make sure you are using things up before buying more. If you stick to your plan you will find yourself not only spending less on impulse buys but also throwing less away at the end of the week.

    One-Pot Wonders

    Sometimes it isn’t the cooking that has you reaching for a takeaway menu, it’s the thought of washing up. A great way to keep clean-up to a minimum is going for a one pot recipe. Don’t think this just mean things like soups and stews. Instead think pasta, risotto or even a pilaf. Find loads of great one-pot recipes here.

    Make Extra

    Things like chilli, casseroles and curry are easy to make in batches. Cook more than you need and freeze leftovers for an other day. It is much easier to get in and just do a bit of rice than it is to start from scratch everyday.

    Slow Down

    If you can, invest in a slow cooker. You can get one large enough to feed the whole family and have left overs for around £20 (find out more here). Honestly, you will use it all the time. Just throw everything in before leaving the house and by the time you get home dinner will be ready. The internet is full of great recipes if you’re unsure about what to make. Slow cookers are also excellent for cooking joints of meat. Simply plonk a joint of beef on a bed of onions and carrots, add 750ml of water and cook on low for about 8 hours. An absolute fail-safe Sunday roast (be sure to use the cooking juices to make a top notch gravy).

    Home Cooking Rhubarb Crumble

    It is always nice to get back to the classics like rhubarb crumble.

    Get in Touch

    If you have any comments, tips or questions we would love to hear from you! You can contact us here. Alternatively you can tweet us or email us at info@proware-kitchen.co.uk

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

     

  6. 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.