Tag Archive: tips

  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. Growing Your Own – Why Everyone Should Try It

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    Accessing fresh fruit and vegetables has never been easier; by popping out to your local supermarket, you can buy almost everything the year round. We are no longer required to move with the seasons and to select ingredients according to the time of year.

    A consequence of this highly consistent availability is a huge increase in food mileage – the distance your food travels from field to shelf. In a society becoming increasingly aware of its carbon footprint, it makes sense to try and reduce our reliance on imported produce and to utilise the space we have in our own gardens.

    Why do it?

    The aim is not to start a farm, live off the land and become fully self sufficient. Even if we can reduce the amount of produce being imported, just slightly, it would be start in decreasing the amount of fossil fuels used in the transport of food. This especially applies over the summer months when most of what we buy in the supermarkets can be grown here without specialist equipment. In addition to this, there are plenty of reasons to start home growing, aside from the environmental factors.

    There are few pleasures that can be likened to the sense of achievement one feels when you have grown a tangible, edible thing from a seed the size of a grain of sand. The hours spent planting, watering, pruning and weeding can also prove highly therapeutic. The time provides a chance to get out in the fresh air, away from computer screens and beeping gadgets, to de-stress and re-calibrate your mind. This is before you consider the money you can save and quality of the food you can produce as a result of your efforts.

    Growing Your Own Cucumber

    First cucumber of the 2017 season (variety Telepathy).

    Some varieties can produce high yields with very little input (courgettes being the classic example). If properly positioned, fed and watered you can also expect a great return from tomatoes, chillies, cucumbers and peppers. Perhaps the easiest things to grow in our climate are potatoes. You can plant them in the ground (be careful as they can easily spread) or just about any deep container, build up the soil around the growing stems and leave them be. They will thrive in our climate and can be planted from late winter and harvested right through to mid autumn. Find out more about growing potatoes here.

    Anyone Can Do It

    It is a common misconception that you need a huge garden and a greenhouse to grow your own fruit and veg. It’s true that these things certainly won’t hurt but they are by no means essential. Whether you have a 50-acre estate or a sunny windowsill at your disposal there is nothing stopping you from getting stuck in.

    If you are low on space, growing things in containers is a great place to start with many fruits and vegetables growing perfectly well in pots or grow-bags (more info here). You can also buy small portable greenhouses for things like tomatoes and cucumbers that benefit from warmer temperatures than we can typically expect in the UK.

    Even with no outside space at all you can grow the likes of salad greens, herbs and chillies on a windowsill. There are a huge number of products available for you to create a kitchen garden actually inside your kitchen, some of which remove the need for sunshine (find out more here).

    Growing Your Own2

    Now is the Time to Get Started

    March is typically considered the start of the growing season and is a perfect time to get cracking. It is still a bit cold to plant some things outside but you can start sowing indoors. Once seeds germinate you can think about transferring seedlings outside when temperatures increase in late April or May. You will find specific instructions on when and where to sow on the back of seed packets.

    What are you waiting for?

    Get In Touch

    If you grow your own, we would love to hear from you. Email or tweet us and let us know what you love about it, if you have any tips and tricks, or if you just want to share some photos of your produce.

  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. 7 Things We Love About Our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply

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    Last December we were delighted to launch our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply range. We have now had a couple of months to live with them and see how the pans perform in the real world. The team here at ProWare have had a discussion about what they like most about them and this is what we came up with, we hope you agree!

    Efficiency

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Hob

    A totally flat base ensures excellent hob contact

    These pans are designed with a perfectly flat base to ensure maximum contact with flat hobs and reduce ambient heat loss. This means they are very responsive to changes in heat, quickly achieving a rolling boil or settling down to a simmer. The Tri-Ply construction allows them to perform at their best on all hob tops (find out more here).

    2 Versatility

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Frying Pans Non-Stick

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 26cm with and without non-stick

    When developing the Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 14cm Milk Pan and 26cm Frying Pan, we decided to offer the choice of non-stick or not (read more about the benefits of each here). Each has its pros and cons. Consequently, each perform some tasks better than others. If you’re going to use you frying pan for fried eggs and crepes, go for non-stick. Conversely, if you intend to make lots of sauces using a metal whisk, a 14cm saucepan without non-stick would be preferable. Another bonus is that the entire range is oven safe!

    3 Durability

    Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Durability

    Our stainless steel rivets are secured with 200 tonnes of pressure

    When we develop a new product, the approach we take when deciding on a specification level is to ask ourselves ‘what would we want in our own kitchen?’ With a wall thickness of 2.5mm and cast stainless steel handles, these pans both look and feel extremely robust. In addition, our handles are secured using stainless steel rivets pressed with 200 tonnes of pressure. Most manufacturers use more cost effective aluminium rivets however, these are softer than stainless steel and can deform if repeatedly banged causing handles to loosen. We offer a lifetime guarantee on every element of the cookware with the exception of the non-stick coating.

    4 Aesthetics

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Hanging

    Hanging loops mean these pans don’t have to be confined to the cupboard

    We have established that there is more to these pans than just a pretty base (get it?…anyone?), but we couldn’t talk about our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply without acknowledging just what handsome devils they are. Classic yet contemporary design combined with the non-tarnishing properties of stainless steel means these pans will come out of the dishwasher looking almost as good as the day you bought them for years to come.

    5 Thoughtful Design

    SSTP Nested 2

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply saucepans efficiently nest

    We have incorporated several design aspects in to these pans to make them not only beautiful but dynamically functional. A steep arch in the handle makes the items easier to handle; it keeps the handle away from the heat source; and, allows the pans to nest efficiently in cupboards or drawers. An eyelet where the handle meets the pan body disperses heat to ensure handles don’t get too hot and a hanging loop enables the pans to be elegantly displayed in your kitchen. We also know that larger pans can be very heavy when full. That’s why we have added helper handles to the 18cm and 20cm saucepans, and the 24cm sauté pan.

    6 Induction Compatible

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Induction

    Cooking on induction is now possible with ProWare

    This is the first complete range we have produced that can be used on an induction hob. The popularity of induction is increasing rapidly due to its wide appeal as a clean, efficient method of cooking.

    7 Roast to Perfection

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Roasting Pan

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Roasting Pan

    In February 2018 we launched something entirely new for us. The latest member of the Stainless Steel Tri-Ply family, our 35cm Roasting Pan has the same three-layer construction as the rest of the range meaning it will work on an induction hob too. This stunning piece makes oven-to-table dishes that much more appealing and it is built to last so will see you through decades of roast potatoes!

    We would love to hear from you!

    If you think we have missed anything or have any feedback about our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply (or any of our other products), please get in touch.

  6. Non-Stick vs. Stainless Steel – The Test

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    The Test

    To compare the results achieved from stainless steel alongside non-stick we have devised simple experiment. Heck sausages are a favourite among ProWare staff. Not only are they a lunchtime saviour for us at The GoodFood Show, their range of meat and vegetarian sausages truly has something for everyone. In recent times, they have also ventured out in burgers, veggie balls and even sauerkraut.

    It is with great pride that I can announce that Heck’s Chicken Italia sausages will serve as yardstick in this highly scientific endevour!

    The sausages were cooked as follows;

    Proware Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 26cm Non-Stick Frying Pan
    Hob – 30 minutes, medium/low heat

    ProWare Stainless Steel 26cm Frying Pan
    Hob – 5 minutes, medium/high heat
    Oven – 25 minutes at 180°C

    NB – Both of our Stainless Steel Tri-Ply frying pans are oven safe, however, the non-stick pan is only safe up to 200C, we therefore decided to exploit the advantage of the former for the purpose of this test and used the non-stick pan on the hob only.

    Proware Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Frying Pan Oven

    The Results

    The end results did show a difference between the two pans but in all fairness it was perhaps not as obvious as we had anticipated. The sausages in the stainless steel pan certainly did brown better which gave them a better caramelised flavour; and should you be making bangers and mash, you could have made a stonking onion gravy with the sticky juices left in pan. It would also be within the realms of possibility to add some Yorkshire pudding batter, sling it in the oven and make a toad in the hole.

    In the face of this, the non-stick pan performed admirably and held its own. Whereas the final result may not have been quite as good, for those wanting a speedy clean up and to use less oil, this would be the pan to choose.

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply Frying Pans Results

  7. Non-Stick vs. Stainless Steel – Which is Better?

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    It has been over 60 years since non-stick cookware was first introduced, and since then its popularity has continued to be widespread and significant. You would likely be hard-pressed to find a household in the UK that doesn’t have at least one non-stick pan. The promise of pancakes gliding effortlessly on to your plate; the prospect of never again being stood at the kitchen sink chiselling burnt food off your favourite frying pan. The appeal was, and still is, obvious. There are some strong arguments, however, in favour of the more traditional stainless steel pans that beg the question – which is better, non-stick or not?

    Whatever your feelings are toward non-stick pans, it is difficult to deny their virtues in the realm of frying eggs and making pancakes. The ease with which you can produce perfect fried eggs with nothing but a drop of oil and a delicate touch make them (in our view) worth having, if just for this task alone. Also, cleaning non-stick pans is often a breeze. If you get a decent one sometimes just a wipe with a paper towel does the trick.

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 26cm Non-Stick Frying Pan

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 24cm Non-Stick Frying Pan

    Unfortunately, they do have their limitations. The main one, which every keen cook will race to share, is that when using a non-stick pan, you cannot achieve that lovely golden colour when searing meat or caramelising. For this purpose, stainless steel pans are invaluable. Another area in which stainless steel reigns supreme is the making of gravy and pan sauces, an essential part of some dishes. All the juices that are released during cooking stick to the pan, allowing you to deglaze with the desired liquid.

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 26cm Frying Pan

    ProWare Stainless Steel Tri-Ply 24cm Frying Pan

    Aside from culinary matters, there are also some very practical reasons why stainless steel pans are favourable. Firstly, they are generally considered to be far more durable than their non-stick counterparts due to non-stick coatings often being easily damaged and requiring careful handling (find out more about looking after your non-stick here). To ensure the longevity of our pans we use Teflon Platinum Plus, a market leading, ceramic reinforced coating that we test rigorously (check out the video below). In addition, non-stick pans can’t be preheated in the way a stainless steel one can. This is due to good non-sticks being made up of multiple layers and when a pan is heated while empty the heat has nowhere to be transferred to which can lead to the layers deteriorating.

    Many people are deterred from cooking with stainless steel because they think everything will immediately stick, burn and it will all end in a charred, greasy disaster. What they don’t know is that it will only take a bit of confidence, some practice and the right pan for it to become a walk in the park.

    A great place to start is buying a quality pan. Pans that are very thin (some basic ones are as thin as 0.4mm), are likely to develop hot-spots and will not heat evenly. It is this which leads to food being burnt in one place and underdone in another. Our ProWare 24cm Stainless Steel Frying Pan has a three-layer construction – two layers of stainless steel sandwiching a core of aluminium. The overall thickness of the pan is 3mm, resulting in a wonderful robust feel and an ability to heat very evenly. It also means, like the rest of the range, this pan is oven safe.

    Once you have your pan, the easiest way to ensure effortless, stick free cooking is to season the pan (it is worth noting that this is not essential if you are willing to use oil a bit more liberally). Seasoning will produce a thin layer on the surface of the pan which will allow you to cook without the addition of more oil, and most importantly, without your food sticking. This is how you do it:

    Seasoning Stainless Steel

    1. Ensure your pan is thoroughly clean and over a medium heat, allow the pan to heat up for 2-3 minutes.
    2. Add a tablespoon of oil (rapeseed works very well) and swirl around the pan to evenly coat the inside.
    3. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke. Once smoking, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
    4. Pour out the oil and wipe the inside of the pan with paper towel.
    5. Your pan is now seasoned and ready to use.

    Another useful tip when it comes to cooking with stainless steel is take your time! Do not rush and resist the temptation to constantly move your food around the pan. For example, when cooking meat, if the pan is properly preheated and the oil is hot when the steak is added you need not move it again until it is time to turn it. The meat will seal beautifully and you will be able to lift it from the pan easily, if you try to move it too soon you run the risk of tearing the flesh.

    ProWare Copper Tri-Ply 24cm Frying Pan

    The Verdict

    A conclusion we can draw in the argument of stainless steel versus non-stick, is that they both have their merits and drawbacks but it really depends on what you intend to use it for. For the more ardent cooks amongst you, we would actually recommend having one of each. Use your non-stick for things like eggs, crepes and delicate fish; and the stainless steel for just about everything else.