By Linda Parker
As the Easter festival gets closer, we all tend to forget it’s real meaning and focus on the chocolates and eggs … my resolution this year (rather than a New Year’s resolution, it’s an Easter resolution) is not to forget what it’s really about. But, at the same time I want to make sure everyone has a lovely holiday lunch to look forward to, as well as an Easter egg hunt and some cupcake treats to finish off the day.
If you’re not making your own Easter treats, I recommend a visit to Waitrose, (www.waitrose.com) Dobbies (www.dobbies.com ) and Tesco (www.tesco.com) for a choice selection of chocolate treats. We loved the beautifully decorated Chick Bar Sponge cake, £15, and couldn’t resist the matching Chick and Flower cupcakes, £1.20 each – a perfect take-home gift for visitors over the holiday. For more formal Easter gifts, the milk and white chocolate decorated eggs from Dobbies looked fabulous, and avoid that garish cartoon and brand-name look that we’ve decided we all need to swerve this year.
As I’m still in the ‘planning’ stages of the new kitchen (well to be absolutely precise I need to find a house first…), I’m getting tempted by all sorts of outrageous ideas. Current favourites are the eye-popping Colour Edition from Gorenje, here’s the washing machine and tumble dryer. At least I suppose that they could be kept confined to the utility room, so you don’t actually have to look at these zany colours all day long. The Colour Edition washing machine is A+++ rated, the tumble dryer is A++ rated, shown in Juicy Orange, other colours include Raspberry Pink, Baby Blue, Fiery Red and Lime Green. Visit www.gorenje.co.uk for full range details.
One idea I am totally sold on is to have bespoke glass splash backs, in beautiful, speckled, colours. Steve Robinson and his team are the producers of these amazing pieces, which are all hand-made to order. These are some of the new Earth options, using glass enamels to create vibrant, glowing colours and different textured effects. Don’t limit their use to the kitchen though, they are often specified for use in bathrooms too. If you find yourself in Pembrokeshire, make an appointment to visit the Studio and Gallery in St Davids. www.steverobinsonglass.com Shown here,the Earth range in Ore (yellow), Clay (browns), Lapis (blues) and Jade (green-yellow).
Perhaps my desire for colour in the kitchen can be met by a few cheery accessories, such as these coasters from www.ziggiziggi.com… These Pop Art Peas are cheeky and vibrant, and would be great for outdoor dining as well – roll on glasses of Pimm’s and Campari and sodas when the sun comes out for a reasonable length of time!
Back to the serious cooking now … I’m keeping herbs fresh and wholesome with these Herb Saver Pods by Prepara. They’re study enough to sit on the windowsill without wobbling over, measure 29cm high, have a big hinged door so you can pick and save easily, and there’s a pouring/filling spout for refreshing the water. £12.99 each, and one of those useful little gifts that would be welcomed by any home chef. Buy from www.phakitchenessentials.co.uk , stockists include www.whiskcooking.co.uk
I’ve enthused about saucepans many times already, but the new range Tate range by Stellar really does make me wonder (yet again!) why no-one has thought of this before. These saucepans (double-handled casseroles also available) have flat glass lids with hollowed out handles that sit in place on the pan itself, and the lip/flat lid means the pan can be drained easily, without danger of tilted lids spinning out of control. The Tate range comes in a wide range of sizes, in 18/10 stainless steel with a thermic base suitable for all hobs including induction. From £40 for a 1.2 litre saucepan and lid to £70 for a 4.5 litre casserole and lid. Available from www.onestopcookshop.co.uk
Heading to the finish line on a colourful flourish, the new Silverstone Bakeware by Meyer does not only come in a cheerful bright Chilli Red or Ocean Blue (is it shallow to be thrilled with colourful bakeware!) it performs superbly too. My cakes, Yorkshire puds and biscuits sometimes leave a little bit to be desired in the stick-ability arena, sometimes things that shouldn’t stick in a million years will stick in my kitchen.
However, so far, I haven’t manage to defeat the non-stickiness of this range. Full marks to Silverstone, their Hybrid Ceramic Bakeware is oven safe up to 240 deg C, and is priced from £8. It wasn’t defeated by my slow roasted leg of lamb, even nearly five hours of slow-roasting cleaned up beautifully, and it feels well-balanced and sturdy too. Look up the range at www.meyeruk.com
And finally. I had the honour of being invited to a lovely event held by Rangemaster… In celebration of their one millionth range cooker rolling off the production line! Who could image that there are even that many range cookers in existence! The team made it a hugely special occasion and we were all terribly impressed by the lovely gold finish. Check out the Rangemaster collection here, I’ve been trying out one of their models at my brother’s house this weekend, and I have to say the results were fabulous …
Next month… working up to outdoor cooking and dining!