Category Archives: Kitchenwares and Baking Equipment

Vintage kitchenwares

Vintage kitchenwares

A woman in apron with rolling pin in hand in the kitchen.

The vintage look has been around for quite a while and shows no signs of falling out of favour any time soon. From wedding themes to home decor, vintage-inspired fashion and accessories are here to stay. There is no reason why you can’t indulge your love of all things vintage in the kitchen, as we hope to prove to you today.

Metal food covers – vintage appeal and practical

Back in the days when mothers would bake religiously every week, there would always be a good cake available ready for friends and neighbours to drop in for a cuppa and a slice. Before the days of plastic cake storage boxes, a metal mesh food cover would be used. This looks just the same today as it did in the good old days, giving you an instant touch of vintage whenever you use one. Metal mesh food covers are not just for covering cakes, of course, and can be used to keep flies, dust and debris off all kinds of dishes, especially if you are eating outside.

It’s not just metal food covers

Here at Wares, we understand that there are some pieces of kitchen kit that you just can’t improve on with modern materials and technology. Enamel plates are just one example of this – they are perfect for taking on picnics and eating outdoors, and they are so hardwearing and durable. In addition to enamel plates, we stock enamel dishes for pies and enamel mugs for camping trips.

Other kitchen accessories with a vintage look include mixing bowls and pudding bowls. The Mason Cash range of mixing bowls looks just like it did in our grandmother’s day, although a few new coloured designs have been introduced recently to bring the Mason Cash line right into the 21st century. The colours might be different, but these mixing bowls still have the same basic design and proportions and will last a lifetime.

As for pudding bowls, who remembers some great steamed puddings from their childhood? Treacle sponge pudding, spotted dick and chocolate sponge pudding with chocolate custard – all were devoured with simple pleasure whenever they were served. Again, Mason Cash is the name to look out for. The company has stayed true to the original designs of these kitchen classics, doing little over the years except increase the range of different sizes.

If all this talk of vintage kitchenwares has inspired you to go a little vintage in the kitchen, why not dig out a copy of Mrs Beeton’s recipe book and have a go at some old-fashioned recipes?

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Key baking equipment for new cooks

Key baking equipment for new cooks

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

If TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, MasterChef or Nadiya’s British Food Adventure have inspired you to get into the kitchen and start baking for the first time, you may be wondering where to start. If your kitchen cupboards contain little or no specific baking tools or equipment, fear not, as in today’s post we will guide you through the essential items you need to start baking cakes, pastries, puddings and pies.

Essential baking accessories

One of the most important items for any cook to acquire is a good-sized mixing bowl. You will be using your mixing bowl for everything from crumbles to cake mixture and pastry to puddings, so be sure to get a reasonably large bowl to cope with all sorts of baking projects. Ideally, you should get at least two bowls, of different sizes, as some recipes call for two or more mixtures to be made at the same time.

Once you have decided on your mixing bowl, the next step is to source your tools. You will need a good wooden spoon; alternatively, you can opt for a silicone version that has the advantage of being easy to keep clean and able to withstand high temperatures. Also consider a good rolling pin, a pastry brush, a set of weighing scales, and some measuring spoons. You might be tempted to skip the measuring spoons; however, this is a false economy. When a recipe asks for one tablespoon of an ingredient, this is a very specific amount and using a spoon from your everyday cutlery set, or just guessing based on a dessert spoon, is unlikely to give you the correct measurement.

Now that you have most of the basic equipment for making a cake, pudding or pie, you need to consider what you will cook the item in. Choose a selection of different sizes and shapes of baking tins, including some loose-bottomed or spring form tins to help you get your cake out of the tin easily. Loaf tins are great if you want to make fruit loaf, carrot cake or banana bread, while flan tins are needed if you fancy something elaborate such as a tarte aux pommes or a lemon meringue pie.

Additional baking accessories

As with any hobby, there is always another piece of equipment or a fancy gadget that takes your eye, or something that can make your baking life easier; however, if you invest in some mixing bowls, baking tins and the tools we have outlined above, you should be well on the way to setting up your baking toolkit.

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Green bean ideas

Green bean ideas

green string beans and knife closeup on wooden board

Summer is in full swing and it seems that we can barely harvest the produce of our vegetable plots and allotments fast enough. It is the time of year when we wonder whether our tomatoes will ripen before the end of summer, what we are going to do with all our courgettes, and whether we can come up with some new and tasty ways to cook our green beans. We can’t answer all these questions in a single blog post, so today we will tackle just one. Green beans are a delicious staple of many a vegetable patch and they are in season right now, just waiting to be used in all sorts of tasty dishes.

If you remember your mum cooking green beans when you were a child, you probably recall them being boiled or steamed to within an inch of their lives. This was the way everyone cooked vegetables back then; today, we have become altogether more cosmopolitan and adventurous, even with something as simple as a dish of green beans. Try blanching them for a couple of minutes in boiling water, then transferring them to a hot pan with a splash of olive oil, a knob of butter, some crushed garlic, the grated zest of a lemon, and a few chilli flakes. Suddenly, a plain dish of beans has been transformed into something altogether more exciting.

Kitchen utensils for perfect veg preparation

Part of the joy of cooking comes with taking time to prepare things carefully. Even a humble serving of beans can be elevated to something special with a tasty recipe and some careful preparation. If you would like to be able to prepare vegetables like the professional chefs, check out our kitchen accessories range for the perfect tools. Our rotary bean slicer, for example, will give you perfectly French-cut sliced beans of a uniform size.

More kitchen utensils to make life easy

We have plenty of other kitchen accessories to help you prepare and cook your food more elegantly. From professional grade knives to specialist graters, madeleines and hachoirs, we have everything you need to do a professional job. When you have the right tools to hand, cooking seems so much more fun and enjoyable – and the results speak for themselves.

There are plenty of fruits that are in season; of course, we also have tools to handle them. From apple corers and peelers to berry pickers and cherry pitters, we have the right tools for every job. Why not check out our range of kitchen accessories and gadgets today?

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Baking equipment for an easy cake recipe

Baking equipment for an easy cake recipe 

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

Do you religiously watch TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, Saturday Kitchen and the recent Nadiya’s British Food Adventure, but cry off actually getting into the kitchen to do some cooking of your own because you simply do not have enough time? Whilst the creative masterpieces that feature on shows such as these may well take hours to produce, the good news is that there are plenty of awesome recipes out there that take almost no time at all to prepare or to cook. With preparation times of just a few minutes and cooking times of around 30 minutes, there are cakes to be baked by even the most time-pressed individuals. Read on to learn some quick and easy ideas for your next kitchen adventure.

Get your baking equipment ready

There is nothing worse than getting all fired up to bake a cake and then finding that your cake tins have seen better days or that you do not have the right size or shape of tin for the recipe you have chosen. A few key pieces of baking equipment, such as cake tins in various sizes, a pastry brush, some cutters and a decent mixing bowl, will set you up for all sorts of baking challenges.

That’s the baking equipment sorted, let’s get on with the baking… 

Marble cake - Homemade sweet dessert

There are plenty of cake recipes that you can pull together in around an hour, including both prep time and cooking. Muffins and cupcakes are great examples, and you can experiment with microwave cakes for a quick result. For today’s post, we have chosen a classic marble cake that will take an hour in total.

Ingredients

230g unsalted butter, softened
230g caster sugar
230g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
4 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp red food colouring or 2 tbsp cocoa (depending on whether you want colourful or chocolate!)

Method

– Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin. Place all the ingredients, except the colouring or cocoa, into a bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.

– Split the mixture into two bowls. Add the red food colouring or the cocoa to one of the bowls and mix thoroughly. Put alternate spoonfuls from each bowl into the cake tin until all the mixture is used up. Drag a skewer through the mixture to create the swirling, marbled effect.

– Bake the cake for 45 minutes until a skewer pushed into the cake comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.

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Strainers for jam

Strainers for jam

Strawberry jam cooking encore of sugar.

When it comes to jams and jellies, we all have our own personal favourites, both in terms of flavour and consistency. Some like a traditional strawberry jam with big chunks of fruit, while others prefer a raspberry jam full of seeds or a blackcurrant jam that is perfectly smooth and almost translucent. No matter what fruit you use to make your jam or jelly, it is possible to get a different texture simply by straining the fruit. In today’s post, we take a look at the pros and cons of straining and at the various ways in which you can strain your fruit mixture.

Using a strainer for jam making

Most people decide to strain a jam because they want it to be totally smooth and free of bits of fruit. Whether a super smooth jam is technically a jelly is a question for the purists among us, but there is no denying that this type of preserve makes a very nice change sometimes. Certain fruits, such as blackcurrants and redcurrants, suit this approach much better, while some people prefer to strain fruits that are full of seeds, such as raspberries, so that there are no ‘pips’ in the finished product.

Over in our online store, we have several different options for straining jam. The good, old-fashioned way, as practised by our mothers and grandmothers, is either muslin or cheesecloth. These are both 100 per cent cotton and serve exactly the same purpose when it comes to straining jam.

The tricky part of straining jam is suspending the straining cloth over a bowl or pan for long enough to allow all the juices to flow through. Luckily, there is no need to stand around holding the cloth yourself or to rig up some kind of precarious contraption to try to hang the cloth over the bowl, as we offer three different types of straining kit to make life simple. The first is a straining bag, which has straps that are attached to a hook at the top. This makes it easy to hook the bag up, perhaps on a wall cupboard door handle, to allow the contents of the bag to drip through into a bowl below. The other two kits both work on a different principle – a frame that clips onto the bowl or saucepan and holds the straining bag in place.

Other jam making equipment

In addition to straining equipment, we offer a number of other jam making extras, such as jar lifting tongs, thermometers, funnels and jam spoons.

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Recipe for summer pudding

Recipe for summer pudding Summer fruit pudding

It is easy to think that puddings are exclusively for winter time, cheering us up on cold, damp days with some sweet comfort food. Whilst puddings are indeed a great winter treat, the classic English summer pudding is, as its name suggests, just made for eating during the summer months. In today’s blog, we provide a tempting recipe for summer pudding to delight your taste buds and use up any summer fruit gluts and sliced bread at the same time.

Pudding basins at the ready

Aside from the ingredients, there is one key piece of equipment needed for this recipe: a classic one-litre pudding basin. Our Mason Cash 17cm pudding basin is the perfect size for this recipe.

Ingredients

8 slices sliced white bread, with the crusts removed 500g raspberries 250g redcurrants 100g blackcurrants 175g caster sugar

Method

Remove the stalks from the redcurrants and blackcurrants by sliding the tines of a fork along the stalks, letting the fruit fall into a dish. Also remove any stalks from the raspberries, then wash all the fruit.

Place the fruit, along with the sugar, in a pan and heat gently – just long enough for the sugar to dissolve. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

Cut one piece of bread to fit the base of the pudding basin and position further slices all around the sides of the bowl. Place each piece slightly overlapping on the previous piece, pressing down firmly to seal the seams. Press the bottom edge of the side pieces down onto the piece at the bottom of the basin. If there are any gaps, fill these with small pieces of bread. The objective is to ensure that the fruit juices cannot escape.

Set aside one cupful of fruit and juice and pour in the rest. Cover the pudding with the remaining bread and place a saucer on top of the pudding. The saucer – or small plate – should fit snugly inside the rim of the basin. Put the bowl in the fridge overnight with something heavy placed on top of the saucer.

When you are ready to serve, go around the edge of the pudding with a knife to loosen it. Turn the pudding onto a serving dish and spoon the remaining fruit and juices over it.

More ideas for pudding basins

If summer pudding is not your thing, why not try a jam sponge pudding or a ginger pudding? Both are lighter than a sticky toffee pudding or a spotted dick pudding, so they are great for summer.

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Recipe for a baking tin

Recipe for a baking tin 

We thought we would take a look at our range of baking tools in today’s blog post, particularly the various types of baking pans, tins and trays that we stock. If you are a keen amateur baking enthusiast, you will no doubt already know just how important the right tin is for your baking project, so read on to find out what we have to offer. We will also cover a great recipe to cook in a baking tin.

Cooking with baking tins 

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

There are so many different baking pans available, but we had to choose just one to feature today -the 12-hole deep baking pan. Here is a recipe for mini pork pies, which are great for summer picnics.

Ingredients

25g butter
600g pack shortcrust pastry
100g dried breadcrumbs
6 pork sausages
180g bacon lardons
1 egg, beaten
½ tsp mace
½ tsp sage
½ tsp ground black pepper
flour for dusting

Method

Heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 6. Place a thin strip of greaseproof paper across the centre of each hole in the muffin tin to help lift the pies out after cooking. Cut 12 10cm circles from the pastry and place in the baking pan, over the greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, sausage meat (removing the skins), bacon, mace, pepper and sage. When all combined, divide the mixture equally into the pies.

For the pie lids, cut 12 7cm circles and brush with beaten egg before pressing down on the top of each pie. Brush the tops with beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Lift out of the tray using the paper strips and allow to cool. Serve with homemade chutney or piccalilli.

Our range of baking tins

The 12-hole deep baking pan is just one of the many baking tools we offer on our site. We stock quite an assortment of multi-hole baking pans, including mini muffin pans, brownie pans, madeleine and eclair pans, and good old-fashioned Yorkshire pudding pans. This is just the multi-hole pans! In other baking tools categories, we offer loaf pans, quiche and tart tins, loose base and spring form cake pans, sandwich pans, and all manner of unusually-shaped pans for special cakes and bakes. If you are feeling romantic, we even have a heart-shaped pan!

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Pie Dish Recipe

Cottage pie in a rustic baking dish

Cottage pie in a rustic baking dish

Recipe for a pie dish

 Who doesn’t love a good pie? Whether it is a rich meat pie bursting with delicious gravy or a tempting fruit pie just asking to be smothered in custard, pies are part of the British way of life. Hearty and filling, they are a little slice of heaven on a plate and it is no wonder we turn to pie recipes when the weather is chilly – they warm us up, cheer us up and fill us up. Pies are not just for winter, however, and there are plenty of lighter pie recipes around if you need to satisfy your pie craving during spring or summer. In today’s post, we feature a simple recipe for a mouthwatering fish pie that is perfect all year round.

 Pie dish choices

 Before we start, let’s talk about your choice of dish. Both Mason Cash and Falcon have been making classic pie dishes for decades, with little changing in terms of their iconic styles. Whether you choose a classic ceramic dish from Mason Cash or one of Falcon’s instantly-recognisable enamel pie dishes, you are sure to love your dish. Both styles are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, meaning there is a dish to suit however many people you are cooking for.

 Our pie dish recipe:

 Ingredients

500g white fish fillets, skinned

500g smoked haddock fillets, skinned

750ml milk

1 onion, chopped

4 eggs

125g butter

75g plain flour

1kg potatoes, cut into chunks

75g grated cheese

5 cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp grated nutmeg

3 sprigs parsley, chopped

salt and pepper

 Method

 Place the fish in a shallow pan with 600ml of the milk, the onion, cloves and bay leaves. Bring the milk almost to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, lift out the fish, and flake into the pie dish. Let the milk cool in a jug.

 Hard boil the eggs, then peel and chop into quarters before placing on top of the fish. Scatter the parsley over the top.

 Melt most of the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Gradually stir in the cooled milk. Return to the heat and stir until it forms a smooth sauce. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, and pour over the fish.

 Heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, then mash with the milk and butter that was left over. Cover the pie with the potato mash, then top with the grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden.

 

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Baking pan recipes

Baking pan recipes 

Chocolate brownie on the baking tray with blueberry , knife in the hand , chocolate , forks and old vintage plates on the wooden table top view

There is something deeply satisfying about baking your own cakes, whether simple cupcakes, traditional cakes such as Victoria sandwich or Madeira, or flamboyant and exotic affairs such Black Forest gateau or Sachertorte. As we have mentioned before, whilst the success of your baking endeavours is partly down to baking skills and good ingredients, it also helps to have the right baking equipment for your project. In today’s post, we take a look at a few of our baking pans and offer a recipe for a delicious alternative to a Madeira cake.

Our range of baking pans

We stock a huge range of baking pans to suit all types of baking projects, from individual cake tins to loose base cake pans and spring form tins. Loose base and spring form tins make life easy when it comes to getting the cake out of the pan, as the base and the sides come apart after baking to allow the cake to be lifted from the tin. Whilst most people tend to choose a round cake tin for larger cakes, we also stock square sandwich pans and shaped tins for something a little more unusual.

An idea for those baking pans 

pound cake

This recipe is for a traditional French cake called Quatre Quart, which is a little like a Madeira cake. It is quick and easy to make and is a great cake to rustle up if you know that friends or family are going to drop in for coffee.

Ingredients

200g salted butter
200g self raising flour
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

– Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3. Grease a 10” cake tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
– Using an electric whisk, cream together the butter, caster sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
– Separate the eggs, then beat the yolks and whisk the whites until they form stiff peaks.
– Add the egg yolks and flour little by little into the butter and sugar mixture until all are combined well.
– Fold in the egg whites and mix gently.
– Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the cake is golden and no raw mixture remains on a skewer when pushed into the cake.
– Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool on a wire tray.

We hope this recipe and a peek at some of our baking equipment has inspired you to bake a cake this weekend. If you do make a Quatre Quart cake, be sure to let us know on Facebook or Twitter how it turns out!

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Baking Equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Baking Equipment at Wares of Knutsford

 It is pretty much impossible not to notice how popular home baking has become in recent years. From the rise of the humble cupcake to the unstoppable Mary Berry and similar celebrity cooks, baking has become the nation’s favourite pastime. Whether you like creating simple flapjacks or muffins or prefer to challenge yourself with exotic quiches and elaborate cakes, such as the famous croquembouche that has challenged so many competitors on The Great British Bake Off, baking is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby that can be taken up by anyone, with minimal equipment needed and no formal training necessary.

 Extending our range of baking equipment

 Regular Wares customers will be delighted to hear that we are planning a major expansion of our baking tools and equipment this year. Whilst we already offer a comprehensive range of mixing bowls, pie dishes, cake tins and assorted baking tools, expect to see this range develop significantly. Whilst we can’t reveal too many details at this stage, we are confident that you will be delighted to see some big brand names and some really useful and clever gadgets to make your baking endeavours easier and more exciting.

 Lots more baking equipment

Cookware next to brown eggs on black background. Horizontal shoot.

 One of the areas we plan to expand is our cake decorating range of equipment and accessories. If you love to ice your baking creations and enjoy piping intricate decorations, you will be pleased to hear that this range will soon be much bigger and more comprehensive. With so many tools and accessories available on one website, you will be spoilt for choice and the world will really be your oyster – in terms of cake baking, anyway!

 For us, it seems like a natural move to expand our baking range, as preserving and baking go together so well. Many of our home preserving customers tell us how much they also enjoy baking, so we hope our decision to increase our baking range will inspire and delight you.

 If you are keen on home preserving but have not yet been bitten by the baking bug, why not give it a try? After all, if you are wondering what to do with all the jam you have made, baking might be the answer! Why not bake a traditional Victoria sandwich, or perhaps some jam tarts? Bakewell tarts also contain jam, and mince pies made with homemade mincemeat are simply divine. Once you start to hunt them out, you will find plenty of baking recipes to make use of your jams and preserves.

 Check back soon for more details of our expanded baking range.

 

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Baking Accessories

Ideas for Baking Accessories

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

 We recently wrote about how more and more people are taking up home baking, either as a hobby or as part of a wider effort to cut down on shop-bought, over-processed food and eat more mindfully. The success of TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef have undoubtedly played a huge part in raising the profile of home cooking, spurring on a new generation of enthusiastic cooks. In a previous post, we walked through the most important piece of equipment – the mixing bowl. Today, we take a look at some other pieces of kit that will help you to become a master baker in your own kitchen.

 Top baking accessories

 One thing that new bakers often tend to fret about is pastry. We are happy enough making a Victoria sandwich or some cupcakes; however, when it comes to making a pie or tart, we come over all anxious – Mary Berry’s warnings of ‘soggy bottoms’ have obviously made a big impression! If you start with the right tin, you will minimise the chances of things going wrong.

 Tarts and quiches should be cooked in a non-stick tart tin with a loose bottom to help you get the pastry out without damage. To ensure the pastry base cooks evenly and stays flat, use ceramic baking beans during the initial stage of baking before you add your tart or quiche filling.

 If you are making a pie, there is always the chance of the pie crust lifting or ‘bubbling’. You can also end up with a soggy top, in addition to a soggy bottom, if steam cannot get out of your pie whilst cooking. A ceramic pie funnel is just the job here – placed in the middle of the pie, with the top poking through the crust, it will let all the steam out and leave you with perfectly crisp pastry.

 Fun baking accessories

 If part of the appeal of home baking is the chance to do something creative with your children, pastry cutters are essential. Children love making their own cookies and gingerbread families and they will be clamouring to help if you introduce some pastry cutter shapes – choose from alphabet letters, animals, gingerbread people, hearts, stars and more. For added entertainment with the children, use food colouring to make your cookies and biscuits bright and colourful.

 We have touched on just a few baking accessories in this article, but there are many more that can help you to achieve great results. Check out our full range today to see what might inspire your next creation.

 

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Mixing bowls for baking

Mixing bowls for baking 

Making a cake, top down view of mixing bowl, flour, eggs, sieve, cocoa powder, butter, sugar.

If you are thinking of taking up home baking, perhaps the most vital piece of equipment you will need is a good mixing bowl. Whilst you might be able to do without some other bits of kit, such as pastry cutters or baking beans, you will not get far without a mixing bowl. In today’s post, we check out our range of mixing bowls and look at the history of the grand-daddy of mixing bowl manufacturers, Mason Cash.

Mixing bowls from Mason Cash

Mason Cash started out way back in 1800, making kitchenwares from glazed earthenware. Variously known as cane ware, yellow ware or barge ware, these items were well known and much loved throughout the 19th century; however, it was not until Tom Cash acquired the company in 1901 that the company became known as Mason Cash and the iconic mixing bowl range was developed.

Mixing bowls in many sizes

The Mason Cash range includes bowls in a huge variety of sizes, from the smallest 12cm bowl right through to the huge 35cm bowl. The smaller sizes of bowl are perfect for storing ingredients prior to mixing; in addition, they are great for beating eggs. The 29cm bowl is a fantastic size for cake and pudding mixes, while the largest 35cm bowl is ideal if you want to make a large batch of dough for baking several loaves of bread. The bowls are made from chip-resistant earthenware, with the patterned exterior helping you to grip the bowl effectively.

Whilst the bowls we all recognise are the traditional brown-coloured ones, Mason Cash has also produced a range in other colours, including red, white, blue, apple green, pink and lemon. These make great gifts for a keen cook and really brighten up the kitchen.

More from Mason Cash

Whilst the firm has a long mixing bowl heritage, Mason Cash pie dishes are perhaps almost as well known and well loved; again, the range is huge and these iconic cane dishes come in oval, rectangular and round shapes and in a variety of sizes. This cane bakeware is known for its strength and durability and Mason Cash pie dishes will give years of service, as will any Mason Cash mixing bowl.

If you plan to get into home baking in a big way, we recommend exploring our mixing bowl and pie dish ranges to get you off to a cracking start. Whether it is sumptuous cakes or hearty savoury pies that take your fancy, setting yourself up with the right equipment will stand you in good stead for enjoying your new hobby.

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Baking Pans

Baking pans 

Sponge cakes with chocolate center and muffins

Home baking has surged in popularity recently, with people tiring of bland, shop-bought cakes and pastries and turning instead to the simple pleasures of making their own. Knowing exactly what is in the food you produce is a great feeling, while being able to experiment with new recipes and flavours gives cooks a real sense of achievement; therefore, it is no surprise to us here at Wares of Knutsford that baking is really taking off again. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro when it comes to baking cakes, you will need an assortment of baking tins, trays and pans to accommodate all the different types of cakes and bakes that you are likely to produce. In today’s post, we walk through a few of the most useful pans and trays to give you a good selection for your cake making creations.

Loose base and spring form baking pans

With many types of cakes, one of the most difficult parts of the entire process is getting the cake safely out of the tin in one piece. No matter how well you line or grease the pan, it can still be quite tricky to get the cake out. Loose base pans and spring form baking tins help with this problem, offering a means of gently removing the cake without resorting to poking it with a knife or some such method. With loose base pans, the bottom of the pan is separate from the rim – once the cake is cooked, you can push up on the base from the bottom to lift the cake out of the pan. With spring form pans, the outer rim has a spring clasp that can be opened after baking to release the rim and slide the cake off the base.

Deep baking pans

Traditional fruit cakes and celebration cakes, such as wedding cakes and birthday cakes, often call for a deep baking tin. We have an extensive range of deep baking tins, ranging in size from 10cm to 25cm diameter; we also have lots of square tins. If a traditional fruit-based celebration cake is not your thing, why not try a deep chocolate cake or a light Madeira cake instead?

Baking sheets and trays

If you want to make brownies and cookies in addition to larger cakes, you will also need some flat baking trays. Most cookie and biscuit recipes produce around 15-20 pieces, so make sure you buy two or three baking sheets to have enough room for them all in the oven. Baking sheets are also perfect for making sausage rolls, apple puffs and other individual bakes.

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Recipe for Cumberland Pie in Pie Dishes

A recipe for cumberland pie

traditional cottage piein dishtraditional cottage pie in dish

Snowdrops might already have raised their dainty heads in our gardens and the nights are getting lighter, but we are still a long way from the sunny days of spring. When it seems that the weather will never get much warmer, there is nothing better than a hearty pie for supper to warm the spirits and reassure us that winter is not all bad. In today’s post, we tackle a favourite pie of ours that is easy to make and inexpensive, yet still tasty enough to impress friends and family alike. If you have never made a cumberland pie before, you will soon be converted to its joys.

Pie dishes to the rescue

Before we start the recipe, we need to talk about pie dishes! A substantial pie calls for a substantial pie dish, and our Mason Cash pie dishes are just the ticket. Solid, reliable and big enough to serve the whole family, these dishes will give years of dutiful service. Why not check out the full range of Mason Cash pie dishes before you get stuck into the recipe?

Filling those pie dishes

This recipe is simple to prepare but slow to cook, so let’s take a look:

Ingredients

2 celery sticks, diced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

800g diced braising beef

4 bay leaves

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2tbsp tomato puree

30g strong cheddar

30g parmesan cheese

800g potato, sliced thickly

1 beef stock cube

1tbsp butter

1tbsp vegetable oil

Method

1. Heat oven to gas mark 3/160°C. Soften the onion, celery and carrot in a casserole dish with the oil and butter, then add the bay leaves and thyme. Crumble in the stock cube, then add the tomato puree and Worcestershire sauce.

2. Stir in 500ml hot water, then add the beef, and let the mixture simmer. Cook in the oven, with the lid on the dish, for 2½ hours. Remove the casserole lid and cook for another 30 minutes until the meat is falling apart and the sauce is thick.

3. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes until they are almost done.

4. Transfer the contents of the casserole dish to a pie dish and layer on the potato slices, mixing in the two cheeses as you position the layers.

5. Turn the oven up to gas mark 6/200°C and cook for 30-40 minutes until the topping is crispy and golden. Serve with broccoli or peas.

We have certainly made our own mouths water with this recipe and hope we have also inspired you.

 

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Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Baking equipment at Wares of Knutsford

Old kitchen in Wales

Whilst most of us probably grew up watching our mother of grandmother making cakes, pies and pastries on a regular basis, baking fell out of favour in the early 80s. Perhaps we felt we didn’t have enough time, or we simply fell in love with the convenience of shop-bought cakes. Whatever the reasons behind the decline, it is fair to say that this trend has been well and truly reversed and the nation has again started to bake in earnest. We suspect a certain Mrs Berry and Mr Hollywood have something to do with this, of course, as The Great British Bake Off has become something of an institution in recent years. If you have been inspired to bake a cake or two, you will need a few key pieces of equipment to get started.

Baking equipment essentials

The main items of equipment you need to start making your own cakes and pies are weighing scales, a measuring jug and a mixing bowl. There are other items that will help your baking endeavours, of course, but these are the most important items to choose first.

We have a range of stylish weighing scales, including vintage-inspired enamelled or chrome-plated scales and traditional balance scales that hark back to our grandmother’s kitchen. If you prefer a contemporary look, we have some ultra-modern ‘add and weigh’ scales that let you add all the ingredients together by setting the dial to zero after each item is put in.

When it comes to mixing bowls, Mason Cash is the name to look for. This firm has been manufacturing traditional mixing bowls for over 200 years and its bowls will stand you in good stead for many years to come. Choose a traditional stone-coloured bowl or go for one of the newer styles in a vibrant green, yellow or red.

A good measuring jug should be next on your shopping list; after all, you won’t get the best results if you don’t follow your recipes accurately. Jugs are available in a range of sizes up to a capacity of two pints.

Baking extras

Once you have sourced your baking equipment essentials, it is time to check out the optional extras. A good range of baking pans, pie dishes and pudding basins will have you ready for any baking challenge. If you fancy trying your hand at making biscuits, some shaped pastry cutters will set you in the right direction. These are also a great way to have fun in the kitchen with your children, who will love cutting out fun shapes such as animals, letters and gingerbread people.

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Inspiring Ideas for Pie Dishes

Ideas for Pie Dishes

 This winter has been nowhere near as miserable as last year; however, on wet and windy days and with the nights still dark before we arrive home from work, we all need some seriously warming comfort food from time to time. Pies are the quintessential wintertime treat – filling and hearty, simple and delicious. As 23 January is National Pie Day, we thought we would take a look at some mouth-watering pie recipes and showcase a few of our classic pie dishes in which to serve these tasty delights.

 Delicious ideas to fill those pie dishes

 Some pies are obvious choices for hearty winter-warmer suppers, such as beef and ale pie or traditional shepherd’s pie. If you want to do something a little more unusual, why not buy some diced game from your local butcher and make a rich, indulgent hot game pie filled with pheasant and venison alongside winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips and swede?

 If you are looking for a pie that is a little lighter, a chicken and mushroom pie usually goes down well, as does a chicken, ham and leek pie. Vegetarians will love a broccoli, spinach and cream cheese pie topped with mashed potato, or perhaps a leek and potato pie with added feta cheese and a crusty pie topping.

 No post about pies would be complete without at least a mention of sweet pies. If you have a hankering for an appetising dessert pie, look no further! The good old-fashioned apple pie is the nation’s favourite, of course, but sometimes we all fancy cooking something a little different. Try rhubarb and custard pie for a sweet treat that will have everyone queuing up for more. Mix rhubarb and a smooth egg custard together and pour into a pastry base, then cover with a pastry top for a pie like no other.

 Enamel or ceramic pie dishes?

 

Home-made shepherds pie in traditional enamel dish.

Home-made shepherds pie in traditional enamel dish.

We stock a wide range of pie dishes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The two main brands are Falcon, which produces those iconic white enamel dishes with a blue rim, and Mason Cash, maker of the traditional brown pie dish. It is really up to you as to whether you choose to use an enamel or ceramic pie dish; however, if you are thinking of making a pie to heat up later in the microwave, an enamel pie dish would not be suitable and a Mason Cash dish would be the right choice.

 

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Baking Tools – The Lattice Pastry Cutter

various kitchen utensils on wooden table

Baking Tools – lattice pastry cutter

 Anyone who enjoys home baking, and cooking in general, will have a treasured collection of kitchen tools and gadgets they could not do without. From palette knives to cookie cutters and citrus reamers to spatulas, we all have our favourite items that we consider old friends. One kitchen gadget that is often overlooked, however, is the nifty lattice pastry cutter – a gadget so clever that it can make you look fabulously talented in the pastry department!

 Is there a lattice pastry cutter in your baking tools collection?

 We have all seen images of beautiful lattice-topped creations in cookery books and on social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. If you have admired these gorgeous bakes but assumed they are beyond your culinary capabilities, it is time to get yourself a pastry cutter.

 Lattice pastry cutters take the hard work out of creating beautiful, consistent lattice tops for your pies and pastries. All you do is roll out your pastry with a rolling pin, press the cutter into the pastry, and roll it along firmly. Lift up the pastry and lay it gently on top of your pie, helping the lattice holes to open up a little. Trim off the edges, and hey presto – you have a professional-looking lattice pie.

 Lattice tops work brilliantly on fruit pies, whether you love apple pie, cherry pie or something altogether more exotic, such as blueberries and cream. For savoury pies, try pheasant and hare lattice pie, or go vegetarian with a butternut squash and ricotta cheese lattice pie; in fact, you can convert any traditional pie into a fancy lattice pie if you want to impress your dinner guests or try something different.

 More essential baking tools

 Pastry cutters are not the only hidden gems in the kitchen gadget drawer. A browse through the tools and gadgets section in our online store will have you wondering how you ever managed without certain clever little items. A traditional rotary whisk is one example – how many times have you had to get out the big electric whisk just to do a quick task? With an old-fashioned rotary whisk, you can complete the job quickly and efficiently and with much less washing up to do. You also get far better control of the whisking process, meaning that you don’t end up overworking your mixture.

 It is easy to think that certain baking techniques are too complicated or time-consuming to try; however, we hope that our pastry cutters example has demonstrated that clever tools make light work of many tasks.

 

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Baking Equipment

35_cm_mixing_bowl__09522.1351714728.1280.1280[1]Baking Equipment

 We are fond of a bit of nostalgia here at Wares of Knutsford, and what could bring back happy childhood memories more easily than the humble mixing bowl? Many of us can recall standing on a small step in the kitchen, by our mother’s side, waiting patiently for permission to ‘lick the spoon’ after she had made a cake or pudding. Health and safety recommendations have no doubt changed since those days, and we do not generally encourage anyone to eat raw mixture ingredients; nonetheless, these mixing bowl memories are fondly treasured.

The Mixing Bowl

 It may be tempting to think of baking as old-fashioned; however, nothing could be further from the truth, thanks in large part to TV shows such as The Great British Bake Off and MasterChef. Baking is as popular today as it has ever been, and your mixing bowl is perhaps the single most important piece of baking equipment in the kitchen.

 The company behind the traditional pale brown mixing bowls is still going strong; today, it produces bowls in a variety of sizes. Mason Cash has even extended its mixing bowl range in recent years to include different colours and patterns on the outside. The bowls are just as tough and hardwearing as they ever were, of course, and they will give you years of baking service.

 More baking equipment from Mason Cash

 In addition to mixing bowls, Mason Cash has, over the years, extended its kitchenwares range quite substantially. Traditional pudding basins are ever popular and are available in a range of sizes. Just looking at the white pudding basins has made us all nostalgic again – this time for hearty puddings such as spotted dick, treacle suet pudding, summer fruit pudding and, of course, chocolate sponge pudding with chocolate custard!

 Mason Cash’s range of traditional cane baking dishes has also grown over the years. These iconic dishes are perfect for both sweet and savoury dishes, such as lamb cobbler, cottage pie and fruit crumble.

 One completely new line for Mason Cash is its range of terracotta dishes. From open casserole dishes to an authentic clay tagine, this range is ideal for anyone looking to explore some Mediterranean cooking. The range even includes a terracotta baking stone, which is perfect for achieving restaurant-quality pizzas. The range has been really well received by cooks and is definitely something to explore.

 If we have inspired you to do some baking, check out our range of mixing bowls and other baking equipment to see whether you feel as nostalgic about baking as we do!

 

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Modern baking tools

Modern baking tools

Woman preparing dough from recipe on her tablet

Unless you have been living in Australia for the past few years, you can’t fail to have watched at least some episodes of The Great British Bake Off. This has done more than any other TV show to get the British public interested in baking. With the popularity of baking at an all-time high, we thought we would look at a few of our best modern baking tools to inspire you to get into the kitchen and start baking.

Basic baking tools

No self-respecting cook should be without a solid and reliable mixing bowl. Whilst the traditional stone-coloured bowls from Mason Cash are as popular as ever, the company has moved with the times and introduced some very stylish new colours. Available in pink, red, yellow, green and cream, these gorgeous bowls bring the mixing bowl right back up to date.

Another trend that is impossible not to have noticed is cupcakes. What used to be the simple fairy cake has been reborn as the indulgent and oh-so-delicious cupcake, and we all want to have a go at making our own unique cupcake creations. No cupcake is complete without flamboyant decoration and there are all sorts of gadgets and accessories to help you become a cupcake superstar. From simple cupcake and cookie decorating kits to clever fondant stamp sets for creating decorative motifs to adorn your creations, baking equipment has never been so much fun!

Clever baking tools

In addition to smart and contemporary versions of traditional baking equipment, there are plenty of modern gadgets available to help you in your baking endeavours. If you think that kitchen scales could not be improved upon, think again! The smart ‘add and weigh’ kitchen scales have a special feature that allows you to zero the weight after each ingredient is added to the weighing bowl, meaning that you can add all the ingredients at once. Another nifty gadget for home bakers is the cake tester. If you can never find a skewer and usually end up poking a knife into your cakes to see whether they are cooked, this is the gadget for you. It is a long, thin skewer with a large, round plastic disc at one end; simply push the pointed end into the cake to find out whether it is ready. The disc at the other end, labelled ‘cake tester’, means it is always easy to find in the utensils drawer.

With so many people now keen on home baking, it is clear to see that the kitchenwares market is not standing still. From icing tools to pastry cutters, there is always something new to discover.

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Wooden kitchen accessories

Chef with a spoon shows a chef holding an over-sized wooden spoon that is taller than he is. This is part of a series of chefs with over-sized utensils or equipment. The chef is wearing the official chef hat and uniform. The wallpaper behind the chef is covered with large vegetables, such as carrots, squash, eggplant, and pumpkin.

Shop for your wooden kitchen accessories at Wares of Knutsford.

Wooden kitchen accessories

 For lots of keen cooks and foodie enthusiasts, browsing the kitchenwares department of an online store or bricks-and-mortar shop is as enjoyable as it is for a child to explore a toy shop or gaze in awe at the enticing rows of jars in a sweet shop; in fact, kitchenwares can be the ultimate pocket-money treat for adults. The vintage look has been on trend for quite a time now and shows no sign of lessening in popularity. It is easy to indulge your passion for kitchenwares whilst working that vintage look, as there are so many traditional kitchenwares available. In today’s post, we take a nostalgic look back at a few wooden kitchen accessories.

 Traditional wooden kitchen accessories

 For the ultimate vintage look, wooden accessories are hard to beat. Back in the days before plastics entered our daily lives, wooden utensils were simply what everyone used, from the humblest farmhouse to the grandest country house kitchen. There is something timelessly stylish about wooden utensils such as meat tenderisers, honey dipping sticks and everyone’s favourite – the classic wooden spoon. We suspect there is hardly a child in the country who has not at some stage in their lives enjoyed ‘licking the wooden spoon’ whilst their mother was baking!

 Some of the other traditional kitchenwares that seem to work best in wood include bread bins and cutlery trays. Today’s plastic cutlery trays always seem just a little too small to fit everything in, whereas a good old-fashioned wooden cutlery tray has plenty of room to store a full set of knives, forks and spoons in all sizes. A wooden bread bin also looks the part in a traditional kitchen, especially one with a roll-up lid. Just like the wooden spoon, this kind of bread bin makes us all nostalgic for the kitchens of our mothers and grandmothers.

 Contemporary wooden kitchen accessories

 If the traditional look is not really your style and you prefer a more contemporary look, wood still has plenty to offer in the kitchen. Wooden knife blocks in exotic woods such as acacia look so stylish placed on a glamorous granite counter top. Chopping boards are also often available in these more unusual woods and can be stylishly shaped to reinvent a humble kitchen accessory into something bang up to date. Add a splash of chic Italian styling and even the traditional rolling pin can be made over into a fashion statement! No matter what kitchen item you need, it is almost guaranteed that there is a contemporary version that will sit perfectly in the modern kitchen.

 

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