Category Archives: kitchenwares

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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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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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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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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cake tins at the ready for Christmas

Traditional christmas cake and slice with holly, snow covered winter greenery, egg nog, gold bauble decorations and foil wrapped chocolate balls over oak background.

Nothing like a good slice of Christmas Cake – try it with cheese!!

CAKE TINS AT THE READY FOR CHRISTMAS

 Once upon a time, it was unthinkable not to have a traditional cake at Christmas. The enormous slab cake, packed with cherries, almonds and all manner of dried fruit, would be doused in brandy, smothered in apricot jam and coated in marzipan before the final layer of white icing was applied. The whole cake took hours to prepare and, if truth be told, it was hardly the most appealing cake in the world. As tastes have changed over the years, the traditional Christmas cake has become less of a festive feature and has been replaced in many households by tastier, more unusual Christmas cakes. In today’s post, we have rounded up a few of the more creative Christmas cake ideas we could find to tempt you into the kitchen this Christmas.

 Get those baking tins ready!

 Before we delve into the world of unique and inspirational Christmas cakes, we need to say a word or two about baking pans. Your kitchen creations will only ever be as good as the tools you use to make them, so make sure you have baking pans in the right size and shape for the cake you intend to make. We stock deep cake pans, loose bottom pans, sandwich pans, mini cake pans and even specially shaped pans.

 One contemporary alternative to traditional Christmas cake is a light sponge cake containing orange and cranberries and topped with white chocolate icing. This still has a festive feel, but without the heaviness of the standard Christmas cake. A homemade panettone is another possibility – if you make it yourself, it is certain to taste nicer than the panettone cakes available in the supermarket. A chocolate cake is guaranteed to go down well with everyone, especially if it is styled into a snowy log and covered with sumptuous chocolate icing. If you have children to entertain in the run-up to Christmas Day, why not get them into the kitchen to help you make a gingerbread house cake?

 Baking tins of all sizes

 If you are not planning a big Christmas get-together but still want to make a special cake for Christmas, why not use one of our mini tins or shaped tins? Our smallest loose bottom pan is just 10cm in diameter and we have plenty of choice if you want to make individual cakes instead of one large cake. We even have heart-shaped pans if you fancy making a romantic Christmas cake!

 Whilst traditional Christmas cake is too much for many, mini Christmas cakes, without the marzipan, could be fun, especially if drizzled with icing and topped with a cherry!

 

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Cookware – Casserole dishes

kitchen utensilCookware – Casserole dishes

With temperatures plummeting, it is time to dig out our winter woollies, light a log fire and tuck into some hearty dinners to keep our spirits up. There is nothing more hearty than a warming casserole and today we showcase our range of traditional and not-so-traditional casserole dishes. If you have never cooked in a casserole dish, read on to find out just how versatile they are. Your new casserole dish will be a firm kitchenware favourite in no time and you will be using it to serve up delicious stews and other dishes to tempt the entire family.

 Cast iron cookware

 We stock a range of heavy-duty cast iron casserole dishes in various sizes, from 2.5 litres up to 5 litres. These dishes are solidly built and specially designed for even heat distribution to give fast and efficient cooking. You can use a cast iron casserole dish in the oven, under the grill, on the hob and even on solid fuel cooker tops, such as AGAs and Rayburns. With their simple but stylish finish, these gorgeous red dishes can be taken straight from the oven to the table to serve the delicious casserole or stew you have created.

 The Harvest range of kitchenwares

 If you are looking for a casserole dish that is microwave safe in addition to oven safe, the Harvest kitchenware range is for you. Made of tough stoneware, these dishes are also dishwasher and freezer safe; however, once you have the casserole bug, it is unlikely that you will want to put this dish in the freezer for long!

 The Harvest range of oven to table kitchenware comes in a rich brown glaze for a warm, traditional look. Inside, the dishes are a gentle stone colour, which contrasts with the outer colour perfectly and gives an authentic rustic appeal.

 Terracotta kitchenwares

 If Mediterranean or North African cooking appeals to you, why not take a look at our range of terracotta casserole dishes? Try a rich Mediterranean bean stew or perhaps osso buco, a succulent dish of veal shanks slow-cooked with vegetables, white wine and broth. Moroccan lamb stew is another great idea to try. In this dish, lamb neck fillets are cooked with sweet potato and tomatoes and seasoned with chillies, cumin, coriander and fennel. Served with couscous, this casserole is a great way to inject a little culinary adventure into mealtimes.

 If this round-up of casserole dishes has inspired you to have a go at creating your own casserole sensations, browse our range of dishes, choose your perfect casserole dish, and cook up something amazing for a tasty winter supper.

 

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Freezing Meals in Enamel Dishes

Home-made shepherds pie in traditional enamel dish.

Freezing Meals in Enamel Dishes

So many of us lead incredibly busy lives, juggling full-time work and a lengthy commute with looking after the children and somehow finding time to keep the house in order and have some semblance of a social life. When something has to give, all too often it can be mealtimes and we turn to convenience foods that are not very healthy or even very tasty. There is a solution, however, which is to prepare your own ‘convenience meals’ and freeze them, giving you a ready supply of pre-cooked meals that just need heating up when you need them. Here we take a look at a few ideas for freezing meals and storing them in enamel dishes.

The best approach to creating some frozen meals is to prepare a large batch and divide it up into several servings; for example, if you cooked a large quantity of mince with onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, you could then season some of it for spaghetti bolognese, add some kidney beans and chilli powder to another portion for chilli, and top the rest with mashed potato for cottage pie. With minimal effort, you have three different meals ready for freezing.

Another great thing about preparing a batch of meals to freeze is that it enables you to use up food that might otherwise be wasted. If you have some eggs you need to use up, for example, why not make a quiche, throwing in any bacon, peppers, onions or mushrooms you also have left over?

Using enamelwares to store your frozen meals

Using enamel pie dishes for pre-cooked cottage pie or lasagne, for example, would give you a stock of meals that taste great and look fantastic. Fish pie is another potato-topped pie that works brilliantly frozen and makes a change from a meat-based meal. The beauty of using enamel dishes for frozen meals is that you can take them out of the freezer, defrost them and simply put them straight into the oven to cook, with no need to transfer the food into another container before reheating. Enamel dishes also look great and you can take the dish straight from the oven to the table, ready to serve.

Our range of enamelwares

We stock a wide range of enamelwares that are suitable for preparing meals in advance and freezing them. Our enamel pie dishes are the obvious choice and come in sizes that suit single portions right through to family-sized dishes. The oblong dishes are ideal for cottage pie, shepherd’s pie and lasagne, whilst the round dishes suit quiches, savoury tarts and pies.

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