Traditional Jam Jars

traditional jam jars

December is not the usual month for jam making, but it is a great time to make marmalades, pickles and chutneys of all sorts, both to give as gifts and as part of your Christmas cooking spectacular. Nothing cuts through the fatty excess of Christmas dinner leftovers like a sweet and tart chutney or pickle!

If you’re feeling a bit Scrooge-like this year, now is a great time for stocking up on jars for jam and preparing for next year’s seasonal cooking efforts. Either way, Wares of Knutsford has a huge selection of jars for jam to help you.

Decorative and traditional jam jars

The Wares of Knutsford traditional jam jars range starts with the basic, shape suitable for competition use. These are available in sizes from a mini 41ml up to 378ml or 1lb. These all purpose jars are incredibly useful for any kind of home preserving and come with heat sealable lids in a range of colours including gold, silver, black, white, green and red or blue gingham.

However, if you’re planning to give edible gifts you may want to consider something a little more decorative. The Deluxe range jars can also be bought in a number of sizes and are made from heavyweight glass with straight sides, combining functionality with contemporary good looks perfectly. The Fancy Food Jars range is also ideal for edible gift giving or for commercial display, with an interesting detail around the neck for a professional look.

Aside from round jars, the Wares range encompasses a number of hexagonal and octagonal jars again starting at a mini 45ml size and going up to the 385ml Bonne Maman style jar.

Study the jars range carefully to make sure you make the right selection for your purposes and if you’re buying jars to give as gifts, don’t forget to include some fancy labels, ribbons, jar covers and other decorative elements!

Traditional jam jar in bargain packs

The bargain jar packs are some of our most popular items. They offer great value and convenience for enthusiastic amateur preservers or those who are delving into the commercial world. Bargain packs include 192 jars with lids and encompass a huge range of our different jars, from the basic jam jar to special honey jars, mini jars, verrine jars, spice jars, clip top jars, miniature whisky bottles and cosmetics jars.

Particularly impressive is the fact that you are charged the same flat postage rate for a bargain pack (or more than one) of jars as for any other delivery!

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Wholesale Bottles

wholesale bottles

With any luck, small business will enjoy a busy and successful Christmas this year, leaving them seriously in need of replenishing stock come January.If you need to bulk buy bottles, Wares of Knutsford is pleased to offer wholesale prices on its huge range, making our already attractive prices even more affordable.

Conditions for buying wholesale bottles

Whether you are an established business or are simply hoping to take your hobby to a professional level, Wares of Knutsford can supply a massive range of wholesale bottles to showcase your products. You can bulk buy bottles in bargain packs of 192 if you are not yet ready for wholesale quantities, but once you have reached the stage of ordering a pallet or more at a time, don’t hesitate to contact us for a wholesale price list.

Wholesale conditions require a minimum order value of £450, excluding VAT. Delivery will be priced per order and charged by the pallet. You can complete a pallet with any mixture of bottles or jars, which are neatly and safely packed in boxes. When you place an order we will supply a proforma invoice, to be paid in full to secure the dispatch of your order. We aim to achieve delivery within seven days, even for large and complicated orders.

Wholesale bottles range

Wares of Knutsford supplies bottles suitable for drinks, sauces, condiments, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. There are glass bottles in a range of different colours and a wide choice of lids and plastic options with press cap or screw top lids. Basic shapes of wine, beer and water bottles are complemented by a selection of more decorative bottles and sizes range from a miniature 5ml up to demijohn. Spare caps and tops of various kinds are available too, including screw caps, corks, swing stoppers, pouring spouts, droppers and crown caps (plus a capper device).

There are a number of different pack sizes, so you can make up the contents of your pallets exactly according to your needs, and include some miniature bottles to provide samples, if you need to. We have searched far and wide to be able to provide what we believe is the best and most comprehensive range of bottles on the internet, but if you can’t find what you are looking for on the site, please do not hesitate to contact us with your requirements and we will try to track it down for you.

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Red Kitchen Gifts

Kitchenware sale

Judging by the popularity of our red kitchen accessories range, there must be a lot of red kitchens out there! Whether you’re talking about a red kitchen or using it as a contrast colour to accessorise, red kitchenware items are likely to make a welcome gift this Christmas.

Kettles for red kitchen gifts

A kettle must be one of the most used items in any kitchen, and while it can be purely functional, why not make it decorative too? Brighten up someone’s kitchen with a red kettle for Christmas. Wares of Knutsford’s red kitchen gifts range includes two cheerful whistling kettles that neatly straddle the line between modern and traditional, making them a perfect fit in almost any kitchen. Both feature heat resistant handles and flip top spouts. A range of complementary coffee and tea accessories is available.

Tagine red kitchen gifts

Tagines are traditional Arabic cooking vessels featuring a lipped dish as the base, topped by a conical lid. This way of cooking retains moisture for really succulent cooking and looks stunning from oven to table. There are four red tagines to choose from at Wares of Knutsford. The Molten red ceramic range with a two tone, graduated glaze includes 30cm and 13cm miniature sizes, both of which are oven and dishwasher safe.

Alternatively there are two Mason Cash tagines in plain or decorated red, both at 28cm. If a tagine would hit the spot as a gift for a foodie friend, there are a number of other colours including, blue, purple, black and white.

Red kitchen gifts by Metro

If you’re looking for smaller but useful gifts, there are a number of modern red kitchen accessories by Metro that would make great stocking fillers. Along with basic kitchen tools such as tongs, a pizza wheel, garlic press and ice cram scoop, there is a cure waiter’s style half apron, double oven glove, mug tree, useful magnetic timer and a cookbook stand. Any of these would brighten up a kitchen and make neat but affordable gifts. If you want to be strictly practical, the Metro range includes some serious utensils such as a colander, scales and storage tins.

Go retro with a red fondue set

Like any trend, fondues come and go. They are always useful to have around and make for sociable dining if you’ve run out of inspiration for a dinner party menu. The Master Class Cast Iron Enamelled Red Fondue Set can be used for cheese, meat or chocolate and includes six different coloured fondue forks. It even comes neatly gift boxed for easy wrapping.

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Home Brew Gifts for Christmas

Home brew gifts

It’s difficult to support some hobbies – dangerous extreme sports, collecting pet snakes or mud wrestling, for example, can be quite off-putting to some people! If you know someone who indulges in such unpalatable pastimes, Wares of Knutsford can help you to encourage them in a more savoury direction this Christmas, with a selection of home brew gifts to hopefully pique their interest!

Home brew gifts by Kilner

Kilner’s complete kits for homebrew gifts come with everything the amateur or experienced home brewer needs to produce their own, unique tipples. There are complete kits for cider, bitter and lager which include both equipment and ingredients for 40 pints of lager or bitter and 35 pints of cider plus an illustrated instruction manual. The brewer needs only add water plus a little care and attention.

The Complete Starter Kit contains all the equipment for those who already have access to ingredients and can be used for beer or wine making.

The ‘Make Your Own’ kits contain all the ingredients necessary for those who already have their equipment. There are kits available for bitter, lager and cider plus Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Grigio wines.

These kits are an ideal introduction for those who are interested in home brewing and are supplied in a neat box that’s easy to wrap!

Home brew gifts and accessories

If you are buying for someone who has already discovered an interest in home brewing, Wares of Knutsford can supply a wide range of accessories and essential items. All the basics can be found in the ‘Home Brewing’ section of the website, including thermometers, sterilising equipment, trial jars and cappers plus a huge range of bottles and caps. There are traditional brown beer or green and clear wine bottles, plus a variety of more unusual and exotic shapes which make great gifts on their own.

Sloe gin home brewing

Home brewing isn’t just confined to beer or wine. Sloe gin is a gloriously old fashioned drink that’s making a modern comeback, and there is a Sloe Gin Gift Set from Kilner that would make a great Christmas present for someone who would enjoy harvesting the natural fruits of the hedgerow to make a warming winter tipple. The kit is suitable for making any kind of fruit liqueur and includes the necessary equipment plus a recipe card.

If you’re really lucky you might even get to taste the results of your homebrew gifts!

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Sloe Gin Gift Set

sloe gin gift set

Wares of Knutsford would like to propose a sloe gin making kit by Kilner as the answer to some of your more taxing Christmas present buying dilemmas.

Why a sloe gin gift set?

Sloe gin is a very traditional, warming winter drink. Its ruby red colour is obtained by picking sloes after winter’s first frost, so usually towards the end of October or the beginning of November, and bottling them with gin and sugar. The skin of each ripe sloe has to be pricked to allow the juice to be released. According to folklore this should be done by a thorn from the blackthorn bush that hosts the fruits or with a silver fork, never any other metal. The sloes, gin and sugar are allowed to infuse for three months before the liqueur is drained, when the sloes can be discarded.

Good sloe gin has a very distinctive, almond like aroma and flavour, while some spices can be added for a Christmassy twist. A glass of glowing sloe gin is a very old fashioned pleasure that appears to be making a comeback in modern times. It is usually drunk after dinner, as with port, and is served neat or over ice. Believe it or not, there’s a Sloe Gin World Championship competition held in Frant, East Sussex every December, plus annual sloe gin making competitions in Knighton in Powys, at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire and in Dorstone, Herefordshire.

Sloe gin gift set by Kilner

If you know someone who is into home brewing and needs a new project or someone who enjoys trying unusual foods and drinks, a sloe gin gift set by Kilner could be an ideal gift for them this Christmas.

The eight piece set includes all the equipment needed to make sloe gin or a range of other fruit liqueurs. The set includes a two litre, round Kilner glass jar, four 250ml bottles for the sloe gin, a 50cm x 50cm muslin cloth for straining, a plastic funnel and a recipe card. It comes in a neat box for easy gift wrapping too!

The recipient will need some gin and some sugar, while the other essential ingredient – the sloes – can be picked from the hedgerow! If the sloe gin making bug takes hold, spare parts and extra accessories can be bought from the home brewing section of the Wares of Knutsford website.

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Small Gift Bottles

Small gift bottles

Wares of Knutsford offers an amazing range of kitchen and cooking equipment, both traditional and modern. However the company began as a preserving specialist and jars and bottles are still the mainstay of our inventory. The small gift bottles section of the shop is particularly useful at Christmas, for people who are having guests to stay or who are planning to make rather than buy gifts for people. Alternatively these bottles fly out of the shop to be used for favours at weddings and other events.

Small gift bottles for drinks

Our miniature gift bottles range is ideal for home made liqueurs such as sloe or damson gin, quince vodka, cherry brandy, limoncello or chilli vodka! All the bottles in the range hold 100ml or less and the range includes basic and fancy shapes of bottle. A line of these filled with a mixture of colourful liqueurs looks as decorative as it does delicious.

Along with the size and shape of bottle you want to buy, you need to consider what kind of lid you want. There are bottles with black plastic screw tops, corks or even swing tops in the range.

The bottles can be bought in packs of six, 12, 24 or 36, and wholesale prices are available upon request. Before you fill the bottles always remember to sterilise them first and don’t forget to label them clearly!

Small gift bottles for cosmetics and crafting

If you make your own cosmetics products then you have an ideal pool of gifts for people without having to queue up at the shops. When presenting these you can make them look professional in a smart glass bottle. The Wares of Knutsford miniature gift bottles selection includes clear and coloured glass in a choice of blue, green or amber. Coloured glass is traditionally used to protect the contents from being degrading by the light and heat of the sun, but let’s be honest – they look really pretty too! Bottles come in a range of shapes and with all sorts of stops, including dropper bottles.

The small bottle range is ideal for gift size body lotions, cleansers and aromatherapy blends. Make sure you label your gift bottle clearly, describing its contents, any instructions for usage and, if necessary, a use by date. As with bottles for drinks, those being used for cosmetics must be sterilised before you fill them.

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10% off Kitchenwares

Kitchenware sale

Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for Christmas gifts, now is an excellent time to buy at Wares of Knutsford, with a special kitchenware sale of 10% running until 12th December.

Kitchenware sale for Christmas

Christmas preparations inevitably involve a certain amount of cooking. Whether you pride yourself upon your abundant table, Nigella-style, or reluctantly knock out a few mince pies at the last minute, you can make this task easier by using the right tools for the job. Wares of Knutsford’s baking equipment section has all the requisite baking tins, cutters, rolling pins, mixing bowls, pudding basins and other essential kit, and for now the already reasonable prices are 10% cheaper!

If you’re going the whole hog and producing a traditional Christmas cake, there are plenty of cake baking and icing tools for the job, including cake boards, cake lifters, cake testers, icing modelling tools and other specialist kit. Buy now not only to take advantage of Wares of Knutsford’s kitchenware discount, but also because you’re running out of time!

10% off kitchenware sale

Of course the Christmas season is traditionally a time for buying gifts for others rather than treating yourself. If you’re running out of ideas for those awkward to buy for friends and relatives, there are plenty of kitchenware gifts that could please even the hardest soul at Wares of Knustford.

Attractive oil and vinegar sets are always a popular gift – although they can be tricky to wrap! More traditionally British are the quaint Wooden Egg Wardrobe or neat Six Slice Toast Rack. This could form part of a charming breakfast set along with the White Porcelain Butter Dish – and better value than ever with a 10% discount. Modern foodie types will love the Electric Grinding Mill for pepper or salt with integral light, the Porcelain Mustard Pot or the Salt Pig. Fastidious cooks or dinner party hosts will be delighted by old fashioned niceties such as special spoons for mustard, grapefruit, jam, honey or mayonnaise. Other tool for an elegant table include neat stainless steel fish bone removers, fish scalers, fish crackers and seafood forks or a smart oyster knife.

It’s all about knowing your audience – while some of these specialist gifts are aimed at those you know to have some culinary interest, there are also some good all rounders to make your Christmas shopping both easy and affordable.

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Festive Chutney

festive chutney

Love it or hate it, come Boxing Day there are the inevitable Christmas dinner leftovers to be dealt with. After the excesses of the day before, the simplest and most delicious way to achieve this is to offer up some cold cuts with cheese and leftover vegetables, then add some festive chutney and a light, healthy salad. Now’s the time to start thinking about making your Christmas chutney, to allow it to mature not only to bling up your leftovers but also to give as a stocking gift to friends and family.

Apple and tomato festive chutney

The sweet spiciness of this chutney is ideal for cutting through the richness of traditional Christmas foods or to jazz up bland foods.

  • 1kg apples – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 450ml water
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1kg tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 85g sultanas
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 560ml malt vinegar

Bring the water and the apples to the boil in a large saucepan, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring regularly, until the apples are soft. Add a little more water if the level seems low.

Wrap the yellow mustard seeds in a small, clean piece of muslin and tie up with string, then add to the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves then bring back to boil before reducing the heat again and simmering, stirring occasionally, for three hours. The chutney should thicken up nicely in this time. Remove the mustard seed parcel and decant the chutney into clean, sterilised jars. Seal and store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

Caramelised onion festive chutney

This is a sophisticated Christmas chutney, ideal for making use of the onions in season now.

  • 7 red onions
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red pepper – grilled, peeled, de-seeded and diced
  • 1 red chilli – de-seeded and diced
  • 270ml Balsamic vinegar
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 220g soft dark brown sugar
  • 7cm cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • olive oil

Add the onions – all peeled and chopped, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and rosemary to a large pan with some olive oil nd cook gently for about 20 minutes. The onions should be soft, sticky and golden. Stir in the chopped pepper and chilli and cook for another couple of minutes then add the vinegars and sugar. Stir well and leave to simmer until the mixture thickens up. Store as above.

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What’s in season in December?

December produce

Seasonal food in December isn’t just about Christmas dinner – there’s lots to enjoy this month from vegetables such as turnip, leeks and parsnips to clementines, cranberries and pomegranates. It’s also a good time of year for nuts, game and fish.

Wild December produce

It’s not just the shops that are full of colourful abundance at this time of year. There’s plenty of wild December produce, whether you enjoy the traditional country pursuits that allow you to come home with a brace of pheasant or some hare, or more gentle ramblings that result in a handful of chestnuts, wild mushrooms or walnuts.

When picking, go for heavy chestnuts with smooth, shiny shells. The picked nuts will dry out and shrivel slowly but the ageing process can be retarded by storing them in a cool, dark place such as the refrigerator. Chestnuts feature in some delicious recipes but they do have to be peeled first, which can be a pretty tedious process. The easiest way to accomplish it is make a slit in the shells and semi-cook the nuts by boiling for 20 minutes or roasting for a quarter of an hour. After this the shells should open up fairly easily. Underneath there’s a brown membrane which can be a bit fiddly to remove and is best done with the nut still warm.

A rich chestnut puree is the ideal accompaniment to turkey or goose in the wintertime.

  • 1 kg peeled chestnuts
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100ml cr*me fraiche

Add the chestnuts and milk to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the salt, reduce the heat and cook gently for 45 minutes. Drain the saucepan and mash the chestnuts. For a more crunchy consistency use a vegetable mill. Add the creme fraiche, stir and check the consistency. Add a little milk if you prefer a looser texture.

December produce in the shops

Of course you don’t have to forage your own! When you are in the supermarket, keep an eye out for the following seasonal food in December:

Fruit and vegetables

Brussels sprouts, carrot, celeriac, celery, clementines, cauliflower, chicory, cranberries, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, marrow, onions, parsnips, pomegranates, potatoes, quince, red cabbage, salsify, satsumas, shallots, swede, tangerines, truffles, turnips, wild mushrooms.

Meat and fish

Cod, coley, clams, duck, guinea fowl, goose, grouse, haddock, halibut, hake, hare, John Dory, lemon sole, monkfish, mussels, mackerel, oysters, partridge, pheasant, plaice,pollack, rabbit, red mullet, scallops, squid, skate, sea bass, turkey, turbot, venison.

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Blue Jar Mugs with Handles

blue jar mugs

If you’re planning your Christmas present shopping, Wares of Knutsford should be able to help you out. Kilner’s blue jar mugs make great gifts for young and old and have a number of uses.

Blue jar mugs by Kilner

The 500ml blue jam jar glasses by Kilner make an interesting and unusual way to serve drinks from summer cocktails and refreshing iced tea to rich, wintery hot chocolate. The jars are sold in packs of three, six or 12 without lids, but Kilner’s standard flower lids fit the jars perfectly and are also available at Wares of Knutsford.

The chunky blue glass comes in the style of the famous Kilner jars, with an embossed logo on the front and a sturdy handle on the side. The jars are also available in clear glass, pink or green.

Using blue jar mugs

You don’t have to use the blue jam jar glasses for drinking – they make great storage containers for rooms where your bits and pieces have to be on visible display but still neatly and attractively arranged. They also make great little vases for simple posies, particularly for white blooms.

However, with Christmas coming up they are a great way of serving traditional mulled wine on a cold day, as the glass lets you see the garnishes floating in the wine!

Traditional mulled wine

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 bottles good red wine

Separate large pieces of peel from your fruit and add to a large saucepan with the sugar and the juice of the oranges. Add the cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, a good grating of nutmeg, a vanilla pod half and just enough of the wine to cover the mixture. Stir well and simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely, then turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil for about five minutes to make a thick, syrupy consistency. This creates a really rich, spicy flavour base without burning off the alcohol in the rest of the wine.

Reduce the heat, add the remaining wine and the star anise and heat gently for about five minutes.

To serve, ladle into blue jar glasses and garnish with lemon and lime slices, cloves, star anise and cinnamon sticks.

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Kids Stocking Filler Ideas

kids stocking filler

The days when an apple and a satsuma provoked excitement in a child’s Christmas stocking are long gone! While modern children’s main presents are likely to be something electronic and expensive, most are also pleased by a stocking filled with small but entertaining little gifts, however this can take some imagination. Wares of Knutsford has plenty of useful ideas for a kids stocking filler, number one being that you can’t go wrong with sweets!

Sweet treat kids stocking filler ideas

Have you ever met a child who doesn’t like sweets? The parents may be less impressed, muttering darkly about visits to the dentist, but sweeties are a great catch all gift for kids from toddlers even up to the notoriously difficult teenage years. You could just buy a chocolate selection pack or you could make it a bit more personal and creative. Wares of Knutsford sells a cute teddy bear jar to fill with smaller sweets. In 280ml size, it’s ideal for sherbet pips, floral gums, rhubarb and custard, cola cubes and all sorts of other penny sweets. The clear glass teddy bear shaped glass jar is topped by a yellow hat over a screw cap lid, which comes in a choice of five different colours. The teddy bear jars can be bought singly or in packs of six, 12 or 18, so you can bulk buy and sort out all the kids in the family in one fell swoop.

If sweets really are inappropriate, the jars still look great with nuts or other small savoury treats.

Non-sweetie kids stocking filler ideas

If you’re looking for other ideas for children’s stocking fillers, consider some of Wares of Knutsford’s child appropriate cooking and baking equipment. Younger and older children look to experiment with cooking and will enjoy having their own tools to do so. Stocking fillers need not be big nor expensive, so sets of funky shaped cutters for biscuits, pastry, gingerbread or icing are ideal. Wares of Knutsford has cutters in animal shapes, letters and numbers, hearts and stars, and many sizes of round cutters both fluted and plain edged. With an icing tool set children can decorate the fruits of their labours to finish them off however they wish. You can even wrap the ingredients too and give a recipe plus, more importantly, the promise that you can make it together…

Wares also stocks jam making kits for beginners, which is another way to introduce children to cooking.

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Jam Jar Mugs with Straws Gift Set

jar mugs with straws

Christmas is approaching at the speed of light, so if you haven’t yet begun your Xmas shopping, now’s the time to start thinking about what to buy. Wares of Knutsford has a great selection of gifts, with something suitable for even those who are difficult to buy for.

Kilner jar mugs with straws

This great little nine piece set comprises jam jar mugs with straws, flower lids and a recipe booklet. There are two handled mugs in chunky clear glass for a trendy and creative way of serving anything from summer cocktails to hot chocolate. They are accompanied in the set by four straws at 23cm – two back and white striped and two red and white, two flower lids for a decorative look and to help avoid spillages, and a helpful recipe book full of ideas for summer and winter drinking. The set comes neatly boxed for easy wrapping and is ideal for recipients young and old.

If the nine piece set isn’t quite right, the jam jar mugs are also available singly in pink, blue or green for a more feminine and decorative touch. You can then buy some flower lids separately to add to your gift if you want to and some straws in co-ordinating shades.

If you are looking for a more adult gift, Kilner makes complete home brewing kits for cider, bitter, lager and red and white wines.

Extra special hot chocolate for jar mugs with straws

Whether you’re tucked up on the sofa or outside taking in a bit of very fresh air, there’s nothing as welcoming as a sweet, thick hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day. Make yours luxurious and indulgent and serve it in these funky jam jar mugs with straws for a sense of occasion.

  • 1 pint semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tablespoon Horlicks
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 and a half tablespoons icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
  • 50g good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Heat the milk gently, to just below boiling point. In the meantime, grate the chocolate and mix it together with all of the dry ingredients until well combined. Use around five heaped tablespoons of this mixture, whisked into the hot milk. Keep whisking gently for a minute or two to allow the hot chocolate to thicken up a bit before serving in the glass jar mugs, accompanied by a couple of biscuits!

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How to Make Bitter Gift Set

how to make bitter

Whether you’re buying for a complete beginner or someone who has experimented with home brewing before, a bitter making kit from Wares of Knutsford is sure to keep drinkers happy.

Kilner how to make bitter kit

There are two Kilner bitter making kits. The Complete Bitter Set contains everything you need to make a quality brew at home, including fermentation bucket, thermometer, siphon, hydrometer and ingredients. Alternatively there’s a Make Your Own Bitter kit with all the ingredients only, ideal for those who already have the equipment. The 40 pint pack gives the quality of flavour and texture of premium commercial brews thanks to the best quality yeast and malt blends. The result is a unique tasting bitter and probably a new passion for home brewing!

The process of how to make bitter

The Kilner bitter making kit comes with fully illustrated instructions on how to proceed. The first step is the cleaning and sterilisation of all equipment. Next the bag of liquid malt needs to soften in hot water for 15 minutes before being emptied into the fermentation bucket. Stir in three litres of hot water to dissolve the malt completely, then top the bucket up to 23 litres with warm water to reach a final temperature of between 20-25C. Use the stirring spoon provided to make sure the mixture is mixed up well then add the brewer’s yeast and mix well again.

You will need to use the hydrometer and a trial jar to record the brew’s starting gravity before placing the lid onto the fermentation bucket. This is carefully designed to allow the release of gases during the fermentation process so that the bucket doesn’t explode, so make sure the lid does not snap shut. You then simply leave your bucket to ferment in a safe place.

Alternatives to bitter

If you think you know someone who would enjoy home brewing but maybe not bitter, Wares of Knutsford has some other interesting options. Also by Kilner there are complete kits available for making your own lager, cider, plus Pinot Grigio and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

If the recipient of your gift really gets the home brewing bug, make sure they know that spare parts and a wide range of other accessories including bottles and caps are available from Wares of Knutsford! The website has a comprehensive home brewing department full of such essential kit as air locks and bungs, bottle brushes, sterilising equipment, demijohns, swing tops, caps and cappers.

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Colourful Mixing Bowls

mixing bowls

There’s no reason why the most practical items in your kitchen should not also be stylish. With Christmas coming up most people are focused on the presents they need to buy other people, but as arguably the busiest time of the year in the kitchen, maybe you should treat yourself to a colourful mixing bowl or two to help you prepare for the inevitable orgy of cooking that Christmas involves…

Traditional Mason Cash mixing bowls

The traditional Mason Cash mixing bowl has become a design classic and has been in use in British kitchens for over 100 years. Its aesthetic and practical properties blend together perfectly while the design has achieved a timeless elegance. Made from chip resistant earthenware, the weight of the mixing bowl is designed to withstand heavy motion during manual mixing while the pattern is there to give some grip on the bowl as well as look good.

The shallow, wide shape is carefully designed for easy beating of batter as well as kneading dough and can be safely held in one arm. The interior is purposely white as this is the ideal background to check the consistency and colour of cooking mixtures.

The Mason Cash bowls come in nine sizes, from small amounts of batter for single cakes or bulk baking – 12cm, 15cm, 21cm, 24cm, 26cm, 29cm, 32cm, 33cm and 35cm. They can be used in the freezer and dishwasher.

Colourful mixing bowls

Whatever the style or colour scheme of your kitchen, vintage, or modern, Wares of Knutsford has a range of mixing bowls to match and complement it. There’s a simple and elegant trio by Natural Elements in soft mint green with pale cream rim and interior that’s stylish enough to grace the table top as well as the worktop. The three sizes of mixing bowl are supremely practical as they can also be used in the oven and microwave and are dishwasher safe.

Bringing a modern twist to a traditional style mixing bowl are Mason and Cash’s Romantic Hearts versions. They are made of classic earthenware in the traditional Mason Cash style and decorated with an embossed hearts pattern, finished in pale cream, pink or red.

Also by Mason Cash, the Zest range features super colourful mixing bowls. Each is embossed with a fruit pattern and finished in a colour to match – zingy green apples, tangy yellow lemons and juicy red strawberries. All are 29cm in size and are dishwasher and freezer safe.

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Roasting Pans and Trays

roasting pans

It’s that time of year – not only do frosty mornings and cold, dark evenings cause a mad craving for stodgy comfort foods but the imminent arrival of Christmas means roasts are well and truly on the menu in most British households. There’s no single special trick to making a delicious roast the way your mum or nan used to, the key is mostly in the preparation and timing, while good equipment always helps.

Roasting pans of meat

First of all, your roasting pans need to be big enough for air to circulate – not only around your meat but also for any vegetables or other items you want to cook with the meat. Too big, however, and your juices are likely to burn. Some roasting trays come with a rack to suspend the meat upon rather than letting it sit in its own juices but this is a matter of personal preference.

It’s worth going for a good cut of meat as you can never disguise poor quality raw material. More tender meats such as chicken and lean pork, beef and lamb respond better to roasting, whereas tougher meats need a bit of moisture while cooking to soften them up.

You then need to work on keeping the moisture in. You can lard up your meat or soak it in a bucket of brine but most people keep it simple by basting regularly.

There are guides available online for temperature and timing but you can use a meat thermometer if you’re not sure when your meat is done. For a really juicy finish, don’t serve your meat straight away but allow it to rest on a platter for about 15-30 minutes, under a sheet of foil to retain the heat.

Buying roasting pans

You may well remember speckled enamel roasting pans as an element of childhood nostalgia. Enamelled pans are a very versatile option – they’re durable, safe to use with metal utensils, suitable for any kind of hob except induction and are oven, dishwasher, fridge and freezer safe. Wares of Knutsford has three high quality, heavy duty enamel pans that should last you a lifetime of roasting – they even come with a 25 year guarantee!

Alternatively, you can choose from three heavy duty stainless steel roasting trays, with fold down handles for easy lifting and high sides to safely contain braising juices. Softly rounded corners allow easy access with a spoon for stirring when making gravy and sauces. These are also oven, dishwasher, fridge and freezer safe and carry a ten year guarantee.

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Pink Jam Jar Mugs

jam jar mugs

The Kilner range at Wares of Knutsford now includes blue, green and pink jam jar mugs. A fashionable twist on a traditional shape, the handled jars in coloured glass lend an interesting and creative look to anything from cocktails to iced tea or even plain old water – make sure you also supply a colourful straw to drink through!

Buying pink jam jar mugs

The 500ml capacity mugs are sold in packs of three, six or 12 and are hand wash only. Lid are not supplied but as a traditional Kilner jar, you can use your standard flower lids on the mugs too. Remember that Wares of Knutsford uses a flat delivery charge so you can order as much as you like without worrying about the cost of postage and packing.

Wholesale prices are available to business customers, so don’t hesitate to contact us for details.

Decorating with pink jam jar mugs

The new Kilner pink jar mugs are almost too pretty to drink out of, so why not use them for decorating! Exploit the pastel theme by using them to store striped candy canes for Christmas, sticks of rock after summer holidays or lollipops at any time of year. Using such as pretty container is also a great way to disguise the mundanity of some contents – wooden skewers, pencils, make up brushes or even kitchen implements will look strangely elegant and sculptural when packed into the blue, green and pink jar mugs, while remaining easy access for everyday use.

Christmassy pink jam jar mugs

Remember that you don’t have to go with the traditional red, green and gold at Christmas. Icy pastel pink with white and silver looks very modern and fresh when used to decorate the house and table for the festive season. It’s a look that needs confidence and commitment to carry it off so stick to the theme with matching wrapping paper, cards and cake decorations. When it comes to table decorations, you can use your pink jar mugs as ornaments. Put a tea light inside then use pale pink, silver or white ribbon to tie some tiny baubles around the neck in the same colour theme – silver, white and different shades of pink. Place these along the table to cast a warm and flattering glow at dinnertime. Similarly, line the inside of the jar with a small string of tiny, battery operated fairy lights and place on windowsills or in dull corners.

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DIY Christmas Table Decorations

Christmas table decorations

Make your Christmas table decorations unique this year by creating them yourself – not only will you save money but you’ll come up with something far more interesting and individual than the average supermarket decorations bumper pack.

Snowy votive Christmas table decorations

Use your glass jars to make pretty, seasonal homemade Xmas table decorations. Brush decoupage glue (available from craft shops) all around the sides of your jar, then dip into Epsom salts to create the effect of a snow covering. Tie a piece of traditional brown twine around the neck of the jar then use a hot glue gun to attach decorations – a few red berries and green tree fronds, or some lace ribbon with tiny pine cones sprayed with snow. Put a tea light inside and watch the glittery snow effect add a warming glow to your table!

Alternatively use your snowy jar to make a tiny snowman, sticking on a couple of black buttons for eyes, an orange plasticine nose, peppercorn mouth and a few strands of red wool for a scarf – the kids will love it!

Hang doily snowflakes

Paper doilies may look distinctly old fashioned on the table but can make great homemade Christmas decorations! Exploit their similarity to snowflakes by using a small foam roller to coat each side of the doilies with fabric stiffener, available online or from craft shops as a spray. Use enough of the liquid to saturate the paper and leave the doilies overnight to dry, then iron and hang with clear fishing line so they appear to be floating in the air. This looks amazing in front of a window!

Snowy landscape Christmas table decorations

Kids will love these homemade Xmas table decorations, a kind of natural world snow globe that uses upside down glass jars to showcase miniature Christmassy ‘landscapes’. Use tiny polystyrene packing balls or a snow spray to create a good base of ‘snow’ in the lid of your jar – it has to be substantial enough to be visible through the jar once screwed on. Lay the snowy jar lid on a table and create a miniature landscape inside, using tiny tree, pine cone and animal decorations. Pray a little more snow spray and sprinkle a little glitter over the finished product then add the clear glass jar on top. Line along your Xmas table as interesting, alternative centrepieces to flowers or candles.

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Buy Baking Tins and Trays

Baking tins

With summer salads but a distant memory and Halloween out of the way, it’s time to really delve into winter cooking – roasts, pies, stews and sticky puddings are all the kind of comfort food that helps to keep the cold at bay. This Christmas make sure you are prepared for your seasonal recipes with the correct equipment. Wares of Knutsford offers a selection of baking trays to cover all your seasonal needs – spiced biscuits, mince pies, stollen, Yule logs, gingerbread houses and traditional fruit cakes are just the beginning!

Baking tins for Christmas cakes

It’s time to start thinking about your fruit cakes for Christmas. The traditional recipe requires deep, round cake tins, which can be loose based or springform if you like as it can be easier to remove the cake. Either way you’ll need to grease and line the tins properly for the best results, even with a non-stick surface.

To make Yule logs you need flat, rectangular baking trays which must be very well prepared so the cake can be removed intact. Make sure you have a few 12 hole cake tins available so you can make your mince pies in bulk – they freeze well after cooking to save you time later.

Lining round baking tins

To start you will need to grease your baking tins. Then cut your baking parchment long enough to go around the tin and overlap a bit too, and high enough to protrude about three inches above the tin. From the top, fold about an inch of the paper back upon itself and using scissors, cut at an angle up to the fold at half inch intervals all the way along the paper.

Put the paper into the tin with the folded and snipped edge at the bottom and inside of the tin to make a border around the edge. Use the base of the tin as a template to cut a circle of baking parchment and place this in the bottom of the tin, covering the existing paper border.

The same method can be used to line tins for Christmas cakes, but you should double up on your baking paper with a layer around the inside of the tin and another around the outside. This will help the cake to remain soft and moist throughout the long, slow baking. Similarly use two circles on the base and on top of the cake, cutting a small hole in the top to allow steam to escape.

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Stainless Steel Milk Churns

Stainless steel milk churns

Food is served on anything but plates these days – think pulled pork on wooden trays, cocktails in jars and fish served on hot stones. Plates are apparently no longer cool – however they are, in the real world, necessary and practical, which means you have to find other creative ways of serving your food.

Wares of Knutsford has plenty of imaginative serving ideas, not least of which is our stainless steel milk churn.

Stainless steel milk churns for sauces

Our stainless steel milk churns come in two sizes – mini (95ml) and small (140ml). Each is ideal for individual sized servings of sauces of all kinds, plus milk, fruit juice, cream or even condiments. Whether you are trying to achieve the smart restaurant effect at home or simply don’t like to see jars on the table, the mirror polished finish of the stainless steel milk churns will add a neat and sophisticated touch. From the Master Class range by Kitchen Craft, the traditional shape includes twin handles on the sides to make for easy pouring and the churn is dishwasher safe.

Try filling the churns with custard or cream to serve with apple pie or bread and butter pudding, apple sauce for pork or cranberry sauce to accompany the Christmas turkey. Consider adding a set of smart, polished stainless steel serving spoons for a coherent look when serving food at the table.

The churns are also ideal for steaming milk for a luxurious cappucino at Sunday brunch or for serving condiments at a buffet – mayonnaise, piccalilli etc. will look amazing served in these churns even if they are not home made!

Stainless steel milk churns for decoration

If your home is too compact for a dramatic table display or you simply prefer an understated look, try placing individual blooms or miniature posies into a stainless steel milk churn. You don’t have to worry about messy stems being visible below the waterline and even more old fashioned flowers will look modern rather than blowsy. The best effect is achieved by using one large, wide bloom such as a hydrangea with a few leaves to frame it, repeated a few times down the table. Alternatively a couple of sweet peas framed with some ferns looks clean and simple yet very sophisticated.

If you’re planning your Christmas table, these churns will fit beautifully into a silver and white theme – cover some small, architecturally interesting branches with ‘snow’ powder and place in a few churns along the table. Complement with white and silver tableware for an incredibly sophisticated table!

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Making Jam in the Slow Cooker

making jam in the slow cooker

Everyone loves their slow cooker for its hearty, warming stews and convenient casseroles, but did you know that you can also make jam in a slow cooker? In fact it’s a beautifully easy way to make delicious jams.

Making jam in the slow cooker with blackberries and other berries

The same basic method applies to making jam in the slow cooker for all berry jams, whether you use blackberries, raspberries or blueberries, however you may want to adjust the amount of sugar you use according to taste.

To make two jars:

  • 650g blackberries
  • 450g jam sugar
  • Freshly squeezed juice of one and a half lemons

Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on the low setting for about an hour, then stir, replace the lid and continue cooking on low for another hour to allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, turn your cooker to the high setting and leave for another two or three hours. After two hours you can start checking to see if your jam has reached setting point. To do this, place a large drop of the jam onto a saucer that has been well chilled in the freezer. Leave for a minute and then use the tip of your finger to gently push at the drop of jam. If it has formed a slight skin that wrinkles when you push it, the jam has reached its setting point. Otherwise continue to cook on high until you get there.

Once ready, pour your jam into sterilised jars and seal and label while it is still warm.

An alternative way of making jam in the slow cooker

Brighten up your breakfast this winter with a sunny tasting lemon curd on your toast, and making jam in a slow cooker is the ultimate in low maintenance cooking.

  • 125g butter
  • 400g caster sugar
  • Juice and zest of three lemons and one orange
  • 4 eggs, beaten

Melt the butter gently in a saucepan with the sugar, fruit juice and zest, stirring slowly until the sugar dissolves. Pour the mixture into a bowl that’s large enough to fit inside your slow cooker and set aside for ten minutes to cool slightly. Beat in the eggs then make a foil lid on top of the bowl. Place the bowl into your slow cooker pan and pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the bowl, almost like a bain marie. Put the lid on your slow cooker pan and cook on low for about five hours, stirring occasionally, so that the curd thickens. Decant into sterilised jam jars.

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