New In – Square Quadro Jars

Quadro Jar

At Wares of Knutsford we are delighted to introduce a new product, 380ml square jars which are ideal for all sorts of preserving and other kitchen use.

380ml Quadro Jar

The Quadro square jars are made of high quality, heavyweight clear glass and come with vinegar proof and heat sealable lids. Lids can be specified in a choice of seven colours: gold, silver, black, white, green and blue or red gingham. They can be bought in packs of six, 12 and 24.

The tall, slim and square shape makes the jars very easy and practical to store while the 380ml size is large enough to keep you well stocked with homemade jam, pickles, sun dried tomatoes and all sorts of other preserves. The jars also have a timeless look, meaning they fit in well with any style of kitchen, but we think they look particularly good in a rustic, country kitchen.

Quadro Jar Gifts

These jars look great given as gifts, and this is one of our favourite ideas for how to fill them.

Fill each Quadro jar up to about halfway with a good quality cocoa mix, then lay three mint chocolate squares on top. Top up the jars with mini marshmallows. Cut out a circle from some pink cotton fabric, a little larger than the neck of the jar, place it over the jar then carefully screw the lid on so that the fabric forms a sort of decorative skirt around the top of the bottle. Stick a pretty, pink and white label on to each jar towards the bottom. You can make this a very adult gift by using some red twine to tie a miniature bottle of Kahlua to the neck of each jar, or make it look pretty for children by spray painting a small animal shape and glueing it to the lid of the jar.

You don’t have to fill the jar with cocoa mix – all sorts of other ingredients go together to make a lovely gift – you could fill the jars with a chocolate brownie mix, with a fruit and herbs mixture to scent a room and even to make a toilet deodoriser look pretty! Simply half fill a jar with bicarbonate of soda, add a few drops of lavender essential oil and stir well. Keep the jar in the bathroom close to the toilet and sprinkle the mixture into the bowl whenever you want to freshen up your bathroom.

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Free Seasonal British Produce Calendar

British produce calendar

Wares of Knutsford is proud to champion British produce and promote seasonal eating as the healthiest, cheapest and most sustainable way of living. To that end, we have created a free guide to seasonal produce, available on our website.

Free British produce calendar!

The seasonal British produce calendar is free to download from our website here: http://www.waresofknutsford.co.uk/free-british-produce-seasonal-calendar/. Whether you are buying other products at the time or not, simply add the calendar to your basket and complete the checkout process – you won’t be charged. You will receive your calendar via an email with a link to your downloadable calendar. The calendar is colourful and easy to use and can help you to work out not only what’s best to buy at any point in the year, but also to plan your preserving adventures according to the availability of seasonal produce.

Why eat seasonably

Eating seasonably just makes the most sense. When foods are at their most plentiful the commercial logic of supply and demand ensures they are at their cheapest. Freshly picked foods are also the most delicious, nutritious and healthy – for the environment as well as our bodies. Food which has only had to travel locally has had less time and processing to divest it of taste and nutritional value, while buying fresh, local produce also helps local business to survive and thrive. Foods which have had to be imported have simply built up airmiles, which is bad for your conscience and their flavour, while those which have been artificially grown out of season in the UK require vast resources for inferior results.

Seasonal British produce calendar for August

This month, for example, is the best time of year to enjoy berries of all sorts – blue, black, straw and raspberries are all flourishing in the British summer, along with hybrid berries such as loganberries, tayberries and boysenberries. Early apples are making an appearance and can’t be stored so you should eat them now, along with juicy plums and currants both red and black. Make jam to use up a glut but don’t neglect the opportunity to eat fruit while it is fresh, succulent and juicy. Beans of the French, broad and runner varieties are bursting with flavour and aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes are perfect for making ratatouille right now. Carrots are sweet and crunchy while you can liven up salads with fresh broccoli, fennel, sweetcorn and squash, while wild mushrooms on toast makes a stunning weekend breakfast.

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What to grow in August – Allotment Guide

what to grow in July

Heavy gardening tasks may not seem that appealing when the sun is beating down but there’s still work to be done in the allotment. Fortunately it’s largely harvesting the crops sown earlier, but you should also make an effort to keep on top of weeding in the August allotment, and of course there’s watering.

What to grow in August: vegetables

As your climbing beans reach the summit of their canes, keep pinching the growing tips out to encourage even growth along the length of the plant.

Onions, garlic and shallots should be ready to harvest, but a few days before you pull them you should loosen the soil around the base. When the weather promises a dry spell, pull the bulbs, lay them on the soil and allow to dry for as long as you can.

Keep pinching out your tomatoes and feeding them with fertiliser upon watering. You’ll probably need to tie the vines up as the fruits grow heavier. Cucumbers and peppers may also need some support.

Potatoes and brassicas should still be earthed up regularly to protect the tubers and support stems.

If you’re hoping for some Hallowe’en jack o’ lanterns, give your pumpkins (and other squash) a feed with a high potash fertiliser once a week. As the squash grow, place a brick or a tile underneath them to stop the bottoms rotting on the soil.

What to grow in August: fruit

The August allotment is all about berries. If you pegged down your strawberry runners earlier in the season they should be ready to be transplanted now. They like a sunny position in well fertilised soil, with regular watering. Stretching out a sheet of plastic on the bed will conserve moisture and warmth in the soil.

Once you’ve finished picking currants and gooseberries you’ll need to give the bushes a summer pruning, a process which should be repeated in winter. Also any raspberry canes which fruited this year should be cut to the ground by now. Any newly growing canes can be tied in to help them produce for next year. The same applies to new, strong blackberry and hybrid berry canes. This year’s fruiting canes will need to be cut to the ground in autumn.

If your fruit trees – apples, plums, pears – are producing heavily you may need to prop up branched which bowing down with the weight. Some early apples may even be ready to harvest now – if they are ripe, they’ll come away easily when you twist the stalk gently. They can’t be stored so you should eat them straightaway.

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The Best Bottles for Homemade drinks

wine bottles

Summer is a very sociable time, with picnics, barbecues and outdoor gatherings giving home brewers the chance to show off their skills to guests. Make sure your home brew, whether it’s beer, wine, cider or even cordial looks inviting, tasty and even professional by finding the right bottle to present and serve from.

Traditional beer and wine bottles

Here at Wares of Knutsford we love to see our customers being creative with our products and finding new ways to use them, but we also appreciate the value of tradition. Beer and wine bottles come in certain shapes, sizes and colours by tradition – even if the true origins of that protocol have been lost to history. In theory amber and green bottles were used to preserve the contents in the best possible condition, preventing too much degrading UV light from passing through the glass.

Similarly the traditional wine bottle shape was developed as part of the production process. Modern beer and wine production is very different but many people still prefer the discipline of serving their home brew in the traditional style bottles. Wares of Knutsford can supply conventional 330ml and 500ml beer bottles in clear and amber glass, plus 750ml wine bottles in green glass, Bordeaux green and clear glass.

There is a useful, separate department on the website for corks, bottle tops and other bottling accessories.

Decorative juice, cordial and wine bottles

Home brew doesn’t just apply to wine and beer, as many people are making refreshing and delicious cordials plus liqueurs and even spirits. Serve your sloe gin in a traditional sloe gin clip top bottle. However probably the widest and most attractive bottle selection is for cordials, water and juices. Choose from screw top or clip top bottles in a wide variety of shapes – some plain, some more decorative. A set of modern, brightly coloured clip top glass bottles in 500ml and 1000ml sizes adds interest to the soft drinks selection at any event, or you could go for traditional elegance with a Lockyle decanter, a clear glass carafe or faceted swing top bottles. Delicately pastel coloured or deep, jewel toned cordials are shown off to their best advantage in clear glass, while there are even traditional milk bottles which are ideal for children’s parties and events.

Most bottles are available singly or in different pack sizes for extra economy, and all purchases benefit from a fixed delivery rate, allowing you to buy as much as you want without worrying about the cost of postage.

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Sale Corner

special offers

Here at Wares of Knutsford we love a bargain! While we pride ourselves upon value for money with all of our products, we believe in special offers and discounts to help our customers out or to promote a range of products which we’re particularly enthusiastic about. This month there are discounts available on some great items.

This month’s special offers – crafter starter packs.

Our crafters’ starter packs contain bottle selections suitable for all sorts of crafting and culinary uses. The packs represent a great deal compared to buying bottles separately. If you don’t need all 18 of the bottles, you might consider getting together with friends to split the cost while still taking advantage of the lower price.

Crafter starter pack 1 contains 18 small bottles – 6 x 50ml miniature whisky bottles, 6 x 30ml tiny bottles and 6 x 60ml Frantorini bottles. This has been a popular selection with our customers, and the variety uses to which the bottles have been put is spectacular. Crafter starter pack 2 also contains 8 bottles, but in more decorative form and with cork stoppers. The selection includes 6 x 100ml Ravello bottles, 6 x 50ml Gladstone bottles and 6 x 40ml Esmeralda bottles. One of our customers let us know that her nine year old used these bottles for her Harry Potter themed party, labelled and filled with potions. What a brilliant way to set the scene!

Special offers this month on Natural Elements stoneware

This month we have a casserole dish, medium bowl and large rectangular roaster by Natural Elements with 20% off. The items are in fresh apple green with cream detailing which would work in a rustic or modern classic style kitchen and are oven, microwave and dishwasher safe. The attractive stoneware is ideal from oven to table for cooking and elegant serving.

This month we are also discounting a set of six x 450ml Mason drinking jars. The heavyweight glass drinks container is a funky and modern way to present cocktails and soft drinks. The jars come open topped but lids can be bought separately. The sale spotlight also falls upon a a useful large plastic sweet jar in2470ml size, great for storage in the kitchen or elsewhere around the house. The jars come with red plastic screw tops and can be bought singly.

Don’t forget to check the sale corner regularly for new discounts and special offers, as the department is updated regularly!

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Stylish Afternoon Tea

traditional teapot

Afternoon tea is a very stylish affair these days. Choose a theme to turn the occasion into a dramatic event.

The traditional teapot and other accessories

While finger sandwiches and little cakes are undeniably the main draw of a tea party, the point of the whole shebang is of course the tea. Make sure you offer guests really good tea. For this you’ll need a traditional teapot, a strainer and some proper cups and saucers – definitely not mugs! The key is in the quality – look for loose leaved tea in the classic Earl Grey, but make sure you have alternative options for those who aren’t really into tea. Think herbal and fruit teas in exotic flavours. If the party is a celebratory event, some champagne is in order, as long as you serve it in good champagne flutes!

The traditional teapot theme with Alice in Wonderland

An ideal theme is a ‘mad hatter’s tea party’. Invite your guests to ‘tumble down the rabbit hole’ on invitations styled as playing cards, and set your scene with the teapot and cups, then accessorise with little bottles labelled ‘drink me’, and add some ‘eat me’ tags to little cakes displayed on a classic cake tier.

How far you go to create a surreal atmosphere is up to you – you can hide riddles in napkins, set up bunting and decorations picturing kings and queens, carousels, birdcages and zebras, and you can set up a ticking clock in the corner. You can even hide a fluffy dormouse in a teapot! There’s so much material to choose from with Alice in Wonderland that it’s really easy to build the theme into something quite spectacular.

Go East

Try afternoon tea with a Japanese theme. You’ll need to buy a few inexpensive accessories – bamboo mats,chopsticks, paper lanterns and perhaps a pretty kimono! – and focus on the ritual of the tea itself, using a fragrant selection of leaves. Arrange the seating as cushions on the floor around a low table, and offer a selection of exotic finger food.

Great Gatsby

This elegant vintage theme should be accompanied by period dress. It requires the most elegant serveware, a selection of cocktails and a dramatic chandelier over the table. If you really want to entertain, hire a butler to welcome your guests.

Souk and spices

Mint tea is the drink of choice in Morocco, served in coloured glasses and accompanied by sweet and spicy Arabic delicacies such as Maghreb pastries. Patterned carpet on the floor, twinkling candles, a fragrant hookah, leather slippers and colourful serving ware set the scene.

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Packaging for perfect gifts

gift wrapping

Some people are happy to make a gift of limp, petrol station flowers or a cheap bottle of plonk. Others, however, put considerable thought into finding the perfect gift, one that the recipient will genuinely enjoy and value. By the same methodology, it doesn’t make sense to hand over this precious gift in a plastic carrier bag… Fortunately Wares of Knutsford has a smart new packaging department, designed to solve the problem of gift packaging awkward shapes.

Bottle and jar gift wrapping

Have you ever tried – and succeeded – neatly wrapping jars in traditional, paper gift wrapping? It’s no easy task and the results are mixed at best. However, for this reason and in response to customer demand, you can now find at Wares of Knutsford a selection of gift packaging designed to hold jars and small bottles, in the form of specially shaped gift boxes and bags, accompanied by co-ordinating gift packaging accessories. The boxes come in two and three jars sizes and in natural and green colours. The boxes arrive flat and are easy to assemble, with an integrated carrying handle and display windows to present the contents.

Bags are also made to fit two or three jars or bottles of different sizes. They are made of environmentally friendly natural hessian, with clear plastic display windows for the contents.

The boxes and bags can be dressed up or left simple, but in either case are the perfect way to present awkward shaped gifts in the form of jars or bottles.

Additional gift wrapping materials

If you are presenting a really awkward shape, we also offer a selection of sturdy cardboard trays in square or rectangle shapes and in various sizes. Trays come in natural, green and red card and arrive flat for easy assembly at home.

The card trays can be packed out with a selection of fine cut shredded paper, available in brown, red, green or vanilla cream colours. This cushions the contents of the tray and looks pretty as background.

To dress up your trays and gift packaging, in the same department you can find various ribbons, including jute ribbon in green and cream colours to match our boxes, bags and card trays.

If you are planning to give home made – or even shop bought – produce in bottles, jars and odd shaped packets as gifts, this is simply the easiest and neatest way to wrap and present them.

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Your kitchen and Kilner

Kilner

Kilner has been making glass jars and bottles since the 1840s and is a well known brand in the British traditional kitchen.

The Kilner range at Wares of Knutsford

Like the little black dress, the Kilner jar never goes out of style. As useful in a modern environment as in the traditional kitchen, over time customers simply find more and more interesting uses for their jars. Wares of Knusford stocks a variety of Kilner products, including basic screw top preserving jars. These heavy duty glass jars come in 250ml, 500ml and 1000ml sizes with a heat sealable, gold coloured metal disc and band screw top. We also stock modern versions of traditional items, such as clip top jars in 500ml and 1000ml sizes in pink, blue or green glass. There are five clear glass knobstopper style storage jars in 650ml, 1000ml, 1500ml, 2000m and 2350ml sizes, available individually or as a set, and swing top bottles in 250ml and 1000ml sizes, in green, blue or pink glass. Handled drinking jars in clear and coloured glass look great at summer events such as BBQs and picnics, while Kilner products are the mainstay of our hoe brewing department.

Home brewing is made easy with Kilner’s complete sets, containing all the equipment and ingredients you need to make your own, high quality lager, cider, bitter and red or white wine. There’s also a comprehensive range of accessories, including beer bottles, and a starter kit containing all the equipment you need.

Last but not least, take a look at the Kilner Maslin pan, pan rack and fruit press, for professional results from home preserving.

Kilner jars in the modern kitchen

Here at Wares of Knutsford we are constantly amused, impressed and entertained at the creative uses to which our customers have put their Kilner jars. Apart from preserving and storage, they have almost endless uses.

Recently one clever customer used the pretty, pastel coloured clip top jars to make a particularly girly gift for her teenage daughter and friends, in the form of a sleepover pamper kit. The jars each contained a sachet of face mask, a hairband, miniature bottles of hand and foot lotion, a nail file, a sachet of hot chocolate powder, a scented tea light and a little bottle of nail polish, each in different colours. Each jar was decorated with with a ribbon and a home made, personalised tag. Can you beat that?

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What’s in Season: Plums

plums

The rich, dark toned plums are what usually come to mind when you think of this fruit, but there are many other varieties in sweet and tart flavours and in colours ranging from the traditional jewel toned purple and red varieties through to yellows and pale greens.

Like cherries, apricots, sloes and nectarines, the plum belongs to the same botanical family as roses. Strictly greengages and damsons are varieties of plum.

Picking plums

A plum is ready to be picked when it is smooth, plump and full coloured. When ripe it will give under gentle pressure and will be deliciously scented. When picking plums to buy, firmer fruits will soften as they ripen, but they are better for cooking when still a little firm.

You can leave the skin on or remove it for extra sweetness. Treat a plum as you would a tomato for skinning, by dipping them for ten seconds in boiling water. Plums respond well to stewing, poaching and roasting as well as being baked in cakes.

There’s so much you can do with this fruit. Venerable food writer Elizabeth David isn’t a huge fan of plums, finding them rather dull, so prove her wrong by going for a more exotic and interesting recipe!

Peppery plums with almond ice cream

  • 300ml whole milk
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • Almond extract
  • 9 ripe plums, halved and stoned
  • Large teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons demerara sugar
  • 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Tablespoon toasted, flaked almonds

Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan with the caster sugar and ground almonds, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for two-three minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then pour the mixture through a fine sieve, pushing the almonds with a wooden spoon to extract every last bit of flavour. Whisk the almond milk and condensed milk together with a couple of drops of almond extract, then put the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn for 15-20 minutes before freezing. You can make the almond ice cream up to ten days in advance.

Lay the plums, cut side up, on a baking tray and sprinkle with the demerara sugar and crushed peppercorns, then drizzle over the maple syrup. Pre-heat the grill and put the plums under for 6-10 minutes until they are tender.

Serve the plums hot, topped with the syrup from the baking tray, a scoop or two of almond ice cream and a garnish of flaked, toasted almonds.

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Pick your own fruit and veg

fruit picking

Are the summer holidays starting to pall already? With the news that British tourists are charged more than locals at restaurants and attractions abroad, chaos at Calais and a survey showing that 50% of parents have already spent half of the summer holiday entertainment budget by 1 August, many are already looking forward to September’s return to school.

If you are running out of ideas by now, how about a day vegetable and fruit picking? It’s affordable, wholesome and great fun. Fruit and vegetable picking is also a relatively cheap way to come home with the freshest fruit and veg – and the kids will be far more likely to eat it after picking it themselves!

There are pick your own fruit and veg locations all around the UK, so go online to find your local farm. Here are some of our favourites:

Kenyon Hall Farm fruit picking

35 acres of pick your own grounds in Warrington, at Kenyon Hall you can find strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, broad beans, blackcurrants, gooseberries, herbs, onions, sweetcorn, pumpkins, asparagus, sugar snap peas and much, much more, depending upon the season. There’s also a farm shop and cafe plus lots of events for both children and adults. http://www.kenyonhall.co.uk/

Leapers Rock Orchard fruit picking

Specialising in soft fruit, plums and apples, Carnforth’s Leapers Rock Orchard is having a bumper summer so check availability before planning your trip. You will find strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, cherries, plums, greengages, apples, pears, apricots, damsons, French beans and broad beans according to season. http://leapersrockorchard.com/

Claremont Farm

Merseyside’s Claremont Farm has pick your own strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, black and redcurrants and gooseberries. You can also buy honey from the farm’s own hives, take a tractor ride, do a bit of fishing or enjoy a course at the cookery school. http://www.claremontfarm.co.uk/

Hill Farm

Not far from the A1 at Peterborough is Hill Farm, with pick your own gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries, black and redcurrants, blackberries, plums, sweetcorn, pumpkins and squash seasonally. The farm also hosts a playground, a caravan site and a variety home grown, pre-picked crops including honey from their own bees. http://www.hillfarmpyo.co.uk/

Sopley Farm

There are about 20 different kinds of fruits and vegetables found at the New Forest’s Sopley Farm including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, plums, blackcurrants, tayberries, redcurrants, runner beans, broad beans, pumpkins and gooseberries plus a farm shop with ready picked home grown produce and camping and fishing facilities. http://www.dantanners.co.uk/sopley-farm.htm

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Gift certificate

gift certificate

There was a time when gift certificates were considered a lazy gift idea, saving the giver from putting any real thought into finding the perfect gift. That premise has been turned on its head these days – we’re all such savvy consumers now that people know what they want, and the risk of getting the wrong thing is great. Furthermore we all abhor the clutter of unwanted gifts that we feel it would be wrong to throw away but would really prefer not to have to have around. As a result, gift certificates start to look like one of the most thoughtful gift ideas, removing the margin of error and allowing the recipient to have what they really, really want.

A gift certificate from Wares of Knutsford

We have tried to make the process of buying a gift certificate as streamlined and easy as possible. You can purchase one from our website by entering the recipient’s details, your details and a personal message. You enter the amount of the certificate, between €1 – €1,411, and can specify a them from a selection including birthday, Christmas, boy and girl. The certificate will be emailed to the recipient once your order has been processed.

Spending a gift certificate

Whether the recipient is familiar with the Wares of Knutsford website already or is a first time visitor, we like to think we have a spectacular selection of gift ideas. Our mainstay is the kitchen, with a special remit for preserving products, however we have expanded our scope to include a variety of other household items so that all sorts of hobbies and interests are catered for. Amateur and professional cooks are sure to find a cool new gadget for their kitchen, while there is also something for home brewers, cosmetics makers and aromatherapy practitioners. Outdoorsy types will find a great range of enamelware to complement their camping equipment, while Downton Abbey fans will be able to get hold of some of the cute retro style accessories used by Mrs Patmore and Daisy in the Vintage and Household departments!

Even if you’re not convinced by the virtues of gift certificates, or maybe if you’re looking for gift ideas for someone who doesn’t have internet access, we still thinks Wares of Knutsford has a great selection of affordable gifts to choose from, with quick delivery for those occasions when you’ve left it a bit late!

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The Last BBQ of Summer

BBQ tips

It’s depressing to realise that summer is drawing to a close, already. One feels that there simply haven’t been enough late nights under the stars, days out at the beach or barbecues. So if you have to say goodbye to summer, do in style, by throwing the perfect BBQ.

Hosting BBQ tips

Barbecues are such as relaxed way to dine and socialise. It’s not hard to create an ambience outside, with the aid of soft summer evening air and starlight, and your main task is to provide plenty of good food and drink. You still need to set a table, but it’s better to go for a casual setting, leaving the delicate serveware and silverware for more formal occasions. The perfect BBQ requires a bit more than a pile of charred meat, so make sure there are some fresh salads on offer, with an oil and vinegar set available so guests can dress the salad according to taste. You can buy a set with matching salt and pepper pots or mix and match. There should also be a plentiful supply of condiments. Decanting these into smart jars looks pretty and elegant, while specially designed pickle forks, mayonnaise and mustard spoons keep things neat. Fish bone removers and fish scalers could be helpful for guests, as could a set of stainless steel holders for corn on the cob, depending upon your menu. It’s al about making life easy!

Cooking BBQ tips

Equip the barbecue chef with a decent apron and a set of oven gloves, and if you have any doubts about his or her cooking skills, get a thermometer into the meat – the last thing you want is to give your guests food poisoning to see out their last summer days!

Forget buying anaemic frozen burgers from the shops – it’s so easy to make your own with our mincer and burger maker for the most succulent, juicy gourmet patties. You can get creative and add flavour with all sorts of herbs and spices, with Stilton cheese, olives, or you can start with a base of lamb, turkey or tuna instead of beef. It’s a great way to turn a traditional BBQ food into something a bit more upmarket.

For the last of our BBQ tips, make and cook your home made kebabs with our metal skewers to help get some heat to the inside, but make sure you use those oven gloves to handle them!

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Ideas for Summer Wedding Favours

wedding favours

We’re a romantic bunch here at Wares of Knutsford, so we absolutely love summer wedding season. We have even created a special department in our online shop to help brides and grooms come up with wedding favour ideas!

Make your own wedding favours

There are multiple advantages to making your own wedding favours, including keeping the costs down and creating some really personal and original wedding favour ideas. We love to know what you’re all doing with our products and were delighted to realise that lots of our customers were using our small bottle and jars to make wedding favours, so we put all of the best options together in one section of the website.

Favours are one of the most challenging parts of the wedding planning process. They need to fit the colour scheme and theme of the wedding, fit neatly and decoratively onto tables, and ideally to be something your guests would actually be pleased to receive! There are lots of wedding favour ideas online if you’re drawing a blank, but our staff are also happy to talk through some ideas with you, so don’t hesitate to contact us on 0845 6121273.

Ideas for wedding favours

If you have a particular skill it would be great to employ it in making your favours. For example, talented cooks could make some jam or chutney for guests to take home in a creative flavour which matches the them of the event. Home brewers could give out little bottles of wine, whisky or other tipple. If you like to make your own cosmetics you could provide every guests with a little jar of relaxing bath salts or body lotion. You can also make cute little jars for child guests, full of marbles, beads, lego pieces or other small toys.

However you fill the jars, make sure you also pay attention to labelling. You need to identify the contents and provide any usage instructions, but you also need to make note of your special day, maybe with a photo label or by printing your names, the date and the location. If you are extremely organised, you could even make sure each favour is personalised to each guest.

As time consuming as this sounds, it is at least economical and far more individual than buying in pre-made favours, which can also be lacking in soul. Your special day should reflect your lives and personalities, and wedding favours are just one of the small details that add up to make your perfect big day.

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Nesting Jars

nesting jars

At Wares of Knutsford we’re extremely proud of the range and variety of our selection of jars and bottles. One of our more unusual items is a set of three glass nesting jars, which we think make a really pretty and practical storage solution.

228ml Trittico Nesting Jars

This set of three jars nests together to form a neat circle. Each jars is 228ml in size and ideal or storing and displaying jams, chutneys, pickles, sauces and jellies. They come with vinegar proof screw top lids in a choice of silver, gold, white, black or green and are as pretty as they are practical. The jars make great gifts either on their own or pre-filled with home made produce.

What’s lovely about this particular set of nesting jars is the way they are shaped to fit together perfectly, forming an attractive and practical single piece, whether on open shelves in your kitchen or on the breakfast table.

Using glass nesting jars outside the kitchen

The jar nest does a great job of keeping similar items organised separately but together, so they are east to find and store. As well as kitchen goods, the Trittico jar nest works really well in a bathroom, keeping face or body products together to streamline your routine.

Similarly you can use them to organise children’s smaller toys such as pieces of lego, beads and marbles, dolls’ accessories, jewellery and all of the little bits of brightly coloured plastic that children collect. Clear glass allows you to see clearly what’s inside each jar and the flat bottomed shape keeps the set stable.

Jar sets at Wares of Knutsford

If the jar nest is not quite what you are looking for but you need a set of jars which work together to store different products, there are a number of other models in a variety of shapes and sizes which perform the same function. The 0.5 and 1 litre storage jar sets with coloured lids, for example, look great in a modern kitchen and make stylish storage for dried goods when lined up together or stacked on top of each other. Grouping jars together in a row creates just as much impact as a nest of jars, and you can order the exact sizes and styles to suit your needs. Our range of jars includes both traditional and modern options, such as classic clip top jars and angled sweet jars.

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Everything you need to know: Raspberry Facts

raspberry facts

The season dictates that now is the time to celebrate the raspberry: succulent, brilliant and so versatile. It’s the most fabulous ingredient in endless cakes, the base for delicious smoothies, a summer cordial staple and the gardener’s joy.

Do you know these raspberry facts?

The raspberry is part of the Rubus botanical family, which includes roses and blackberries. You will be impressed to discover that raspberries are even more vitamin C rich than oranges, contain loads of fibre, are high in folic acid and all for very few calories. There’s also a useful amount of vitamin A, calcium and potassium in every raspberry, making each jewel toned berry a miniature nutritional powerhouse. Furthermore, tea made of raspberry leaves is commonly drunk by pregnant women to prepare the body for the trials of labour.

They may be associated with warmer weather, but in fact raspberries are abundant in Scotland. The ‘Raspberry Special’ steam train used to travel from Scotland to London in the late Fifties, bringing the fruit to residents of the capital.

While we are used to the famous deep pinky purple berries, in fact raspberries come in some 200 different species, including gold and black coloured varieties, each with 100-120 seeds. Golden raspberries are said to be the sweetest and tastiest. Raspberries have also been a donor to many famous berry hybrids. Cross raspberries with blackberries and you get loganberries. Put those three together to make boysenberries.

Even more unusual raspberry facts!

Raspberries symbolise kindness in some forms of Christian art. Red raspberry juice represents blood, which comes from the heart, which is the source of kindness. Houses in the Philippines can sometimes be seen with a raspberry cane hung up outside to deter evil spirits from entering, while horses in Germany used to have a raspberry cane tied to their body, used as a calming measure.

Today is a great day for experimenting with a raspberry recipe, but remember that unlike other fruit, raspberries don’t continue to ripen once picked. Only pick or buy raspberries which are already ripe, because there’s no way to soften them up later on.

Nutty raspberry muesli

This healthy raspberry recipe is a great way to start the day.

To serve six:

225g jumbo porridge oats
125ml apple juice
225ml plain Greek yoghurt
3 tablespoons honey
2 dessert apples, grated
250g fresh raspberries
50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped and lightly toasted

Soak the oats in the apple juice and 300ml water in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, mix the oats with the yoghurt, honey and grated apples. Serve topped with the raspberries and hazelnuts.

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Pack Your Picnics and Escape

picnics

Could there be anything more tempting on a day like today than getting away from it all with a basket of goodies, enjoying the summer in the great outdoors? The summer picnic is a great British tradition, but forget soggy sandwiches and melted chocolate bars – you can make the most fantastic, sumptuous summer picnics that will feel like a luxury feast with very little effort.

Drinks for picnics

In this kind of heat you’re looking for something refreshing and easy to transport. Wares of Knutsford’s swing top bottles make it easy to store and transport cordials, punches and summer lemonades. They are practical and stylish, adding a touch of elegance to outdoor eating.

Raspberry cordial

  • 500g raspberries
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Add all three ingredients to a large pan and heat gently, mashing the fruit until the mixture is syrupy and smooth. Push through a sieve to remove seeds and return to a clean saucepan. Scrape the pulp and seeds left behind in the sieve into a jug with 300ml of water, stir and pass through the sieve one more time, adding the liquid to the pan with the original mixture.

Stir well and bring to the boil for one minute. Pour the cordial into clean, sterilised swing top bottles and seal while still warm. Store in a cool, dark place for up to a few months and keep in the fridge once opened. Serve with still or sparkling water over plenty of ice.

Food for picnics

Grain based salads are the way to go for freshness and for health. They can be stored in lidded plastic boxes or in clip top jars if you are trying to set an upmarket style summer picnic.

Quinoa is the trendy grain of the moment and maintains its texture well under pressure. Fry some quinoa and onions lightly and gradually some chicken or vegetable stock. Stir in some broad beans, lemon juice, fresh tarragon and grated pecorino or, for really full flavour, some cherry tomatoes halves, chopped red peppers and red onion, then splash in some white wine vinegar and chopped, fresh basil.

Alternatively there’s the ever reliable couscous, easily flavoured with some feta cheese, avocado, red onion, cucumber, lime juice, olive oil and chopped fresh coriander. Add sweetness and crunch with a topping of pomegranate seeds.

Most grains soak up the juices from roast vegetables gratefully, so make sure you always have some tomatoes, red peppers and onions and some garlic available to add to grains to make an instant picnic favourite.

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What’s in Season: Apricots

apricots

Among the myriad delights of summer fruits is the apricot, so incredibly sensual with soft and fragrant flesh covered by a delicate velvet skin, and colours ranging from delicate primrose yellow through to the bold orange of a blazing sunset.

Apricots in Britain

Apricots really belong in warmer climates. Summer fruits come from the hotter parts of Europe while South Africa and Chile also have a short apricot season in winter. Here in the UK you can buy apricots from May to September.

When buying apricots, go for brighter colours and leave the very pale fruits to ripen up a bit. The flesh should feel firm but not hard and should give a little under gentle pressure. Go for smooth skinned fruit without wrinkles or blemishes. If not completely ripe yet, leave apricots out at room temperature, but ripe fruits should be stored in the fridge to avoid spoiling too quickly.

Of course you could also try picking apricots rather than buying them. Britain has a number of delightful ‘pick your own’ farms where you can enjoy picking apricots and a number of other home grown fruits and vegetables. It’s an extremely enjoyable and wholesome day out for adults and kids alike!

Using apricots

You can eat apricots raw, including the skin but not the central stone, or you can make jam. However the sweet but tangy flesh of an apricot lends itself to desserts beautifully, preventing sugary flavours from being too cloying. Chunks of apricot also add amazing depth and interest to salads, particularly with chicken or ham. While you can make a delicious apricot crumble or add chunks to sweet breads, go for an open tart for a fresher, lighter option. When baking you’ll find that apricot and almond is a popular combination, because the two flavours go together so well.

Apricot and almond tart

  • 370g pack puff pastry
  • 900g fresh, ripe apricots, halved and stoned
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 220C. Lightly dampen a baking sheet and then roll out the puff pastry on top. Scatter the ground almonds over the pastry sheet then lay out the apricot halves, nestled close together. Cover the pastry sheet right to the edge.

Dust the icing sugar over the top and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes, allowing the sugar to caramelise a little. Serve hot or cold, drizzled cream or maple syrup – or both!

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Ice Lolly Maker

ice lolly maker

If there is one product you need for your kitchen at the moment, it’s an ice lolly maker. Simply the easiest and most delicious way to keep your cool when the heat is on, you can make ice lollies with the most spectacular array of flavours and hardly any mess in your kitchen!

Wares of Knutsford’s ice lolly maker range

You can buy two different kinds of ice lolly maker at Wares of Knutsford. The first is a set of four in green and yellow dishwasher safe plastic. A particularly clever feature of this product is the sipper base, which avoids mess by catching the drops of juice which melt from the bottom of the lolly. The moulds can be fixed together and are flat based for stability in the freezer.

Alternatively you can go for a complete set of eight separate plastic moulds with an accompanying rack to stand them safely while freezing. This set is handwash only and comes with 16 traditional wooden lolly sticks.

As you’re likely to get through quite a few lollies this summer, we can also supply you with replacement wooden lolly sticks, in a pack of 24 sticks of 15cm.

Recipes for your ice lolly maker

Ice lolly makers aren’t just for coloured water – you can make ice lollies out of yoghurt too and fill them with lumps of fruit or other goodies. Ice lollies are an easy way to keep treats ready at all times – there’s no need for any preparation, just take them out of the freezer and enjoy!

Frozen berry cheesecake pops

  • 100g gingernut biscuits, mashed into fine crumbs
    405g light condensed milk can
  • 500g fresh mixed red berries – try raspberries, redcurrants, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrants
  • 500g natural Greek yoghurt

Mix the ginger nut crumbs with two tablespoons of condensed milk and mix well so that the crubs form clumps. Add a dollop of the crumb mixture to the bottom of each ice lolly mould and use a wooden spoon to press down.

Add half the berries to a food processor with the rest of the condensed milk and the yoghurt and blend until smooth. Roughly chop the remaining berries and add to a large bowl with the smooth yoghurt mixture, stirring well to combine. Pour the fruit and yoghurt mixture into the ice lolly moulds, leaving a small gap at the top to allow for some expansion in freezing. Push a lolly stick into each and freeze for a minimum of four hours before serving.

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Box of Jam Jars

box of jam jars

There’s no great mystery about it: economies of scale mean that buying in bulk is a cheaper way to shop, on a unit by unit basis. The more of any item you buy, the cheaper it gets. At Wares of Knutsford we like to help our customers buy in the most efficient and economical way they can, so we are particularly proud of our bargain pack bulk buy jam jars. Our flat rate postage also applies to our bargain buys to keep your purchase even more economical.

Buying a box of jam jars for home preserving

Our bargain packs are ideal for those who want to bulk buy a box of jam jars because they have a lot of preserving to do or for commercial purposes. Each pack contains 192 jars with lids, with a huge variety of sizes and styles available. You can buy bargain packs of 30ml or 41ml miniature jam jars, ideal for giving away samples, up to 378ml standard size jam jars, in standard jam jar shape or more decorative Bonne Maman style, hexagonal and square shapes and with a choice of lid colours.

Keen preservers will also be happy to find chutney jars and verrine jars, which are ideal for pates and pastes, miniature whisky bottles and spice jars in our bargain pack department. You can also find special honey jars at bulk buy prices.

As well as screw tops, there are clip top jars included among our bulk buy bargains, plus cosmetics jars in clear and amber glass.

Sharing a box of jam jars with friends

192 jars means an awful lot of preserving so it should last you a good while, or you could club together with friends to make great savings on buying separately. All of our jars are good value but out bulk buy packs are easily the most economical way of making sure you can fulfil your full preserving potential.

Our bargain packs are also great for small businesses. Wholesale prices are available for trade customers and those who want to buy in pallet quantities, so please contact our friendly and helpful staff for conditions.

Once you have chosen your jars, don’t forget to pop along to our labels department so you can make sure everyone knows what the contents are, and business customers may want to consider visiting our new packaging category, with boxes and bags specially designed for presenting jars.

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Afternoon Tea Cake Tier

cake tier

If you’re struggling for ideas for a summer party or gathering apart from the obvious barbecue, have you thought about offering afternoon tea? It’s delicious, trendy and really easy as most of it can be made in advance. Afternoon tea also offers great decorating opportunities – you can set a gorgeous scene at the venue without spending too much money.

Using a cake tier to present food

One thing that all afternoon teas have in common is elegant presentation. Sandwiches immediately become more upmarket when cut into fingers and served on a cake stand. Ideally you will make some scones (and serve them with jam and clotted cream) and some delicate little cakes and a good Victoria sponge, and all of these things become more interesting when cleverly and prettily displayed on tiers of glass or white ceramic.

Decorating

You will need to start with a base of a tablecloth and some real napkins, plus a selection of small plates, cake forks and of course, a teapot and cups and saucers. Bunting, pom poms, balloons and other decorations can be added to your taste. Fresh flowers will look amazing and you should also give some attention to your own appearance – smart and pretty is appropriate rather than all out glamour. It really depends how much you want to set the scene.

The menu

Afternoon tea sandwiches aren’t hearty doorstoppers of corned beef and pickle. They are typically dainty with fillings such as cucumber, smoked salmon and cream cheese, egg mayonnaise and cress or prawn mayonnaise. If you are worried about your guests going hungry you could consider also some miniature quiches and Scotch eggs, but really apart from sandwiches an afternoon tea is all about the sweet stuff. Scones with strawberries and cream are non-negotiable and you will need some miniature cakes – Battenburg, Bakewell tarts and miniature Victoria sponges are ideal.

Tea is another essential component but if it’s warm you should probably offer some cold drinks too – homemade lemonade and elderflower cordial would fit the theme perfectly.

Wares of Knutsford’s cake tier range

You can choose from a variety of cake tier at Wares of Knutsford, including wire, glass and ceramic versions. Some are domed to keep the contents fresh and some are two or even three tiered for extra capacity. The ceramic two tier cake stand features dishwasher safe stoneware plates connected by a polished, chrome plated handle. It comes in a gift box and is ideal for presenting small food items of any kind. For a larger cake, create some dramatic effect with a footed stand.

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