The versatility of milk bottles

The versatility of milk bottles 

Various flavors of milk in bottles with chocolate and strawberries isolated on white

For most people in the UK, the days of the daily milk delivery to our homes is long gone and the familiar clink of the glass milk bottles out in the street as the milkman trundles up the road in his electric float is a distant memory for all but a lucky few. Whilst it is rare nowadays to be able to find milk in glass bottles for sale in the shops, the good news is that empty glass milk bottles are still available to buy and we stock quite a range of different shapes and sizes. Whether you want to rustle up a yummy drink to serve in a milk bottle or to use these bottles in a creative craft project, check out our range to find the perfect bottle for you.

Shakes and smoothies in milk bottles

Glass milk bottles are ideal for serving nutritious and delicious smoothies. Try an invigorating blend of banana, spinach leaves, apple juice and the juice of a lime, all blended together to create a vitamin-packed superfood smoothie that is the perfect start to the day. Another great smoothie idea is banana, fresh milk, top-quality honey and chopped almonds. Blended together and chilled in the fridge, this makes an awesome breakfast smoothie that is filling and delicious.

Whilst a smoothie is a great way to start the day and ensure you get all the vitamins and nutrients you need, sometimes something a little sweeter is the order of the day, which is where homemade milkshakes come in. These are excellent for children’s birthday parties and look fabulous served in old-fashioned milk bottles with colourful straws. Chocolate and banana milkshakes always go down well; alternatively, for something a little different, try blending some raspberries or blackberries with the milk for a wholesome, colourful shake that tastes sublime.

Creative ideas for milk bottles

Milk bottle creativity does not have to be confined to the kitchen; in addition, there are plenty of craft ideas you can try using these bottles. Try painting the outside of the bottles with chalk paint in pastel shades to create cute little vases that work brilliantly in groups of three; alternatively, tie old-fashioned twine around the necks of the bottles and hang them from hooks on the wall. With a single dried rose in each bottle, they will blend vase and wall art for a stunning effect.

If you love the vintage look of glass milk bottles and have some creative ideas of your own, why not share them with us on social media?

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Recipes for Kilner jars

Recipes for Kilner jars Kilner photo food in jars

Trusted the world over as the king of home preserving jars, the iconic Kilner jar has been used for making jams, pickles and preserves for decades. Whilst it is true that this is the season for making all sorts of jams and chutneys, there is so much more that you can do with a Kilner jar. In today’s blog post we highlight a few tempting recipe ideas that look amazing when prepared in one of these screw top preserving jars.

Savoury recipe ideas for Kilner jars

We have talked in previous posts about how great these jars are for layered salads. These are quick and easy to prepare and are great for an on-the-go lunch or sophisticated picnic, keeping all the ingredients separate whilst looking fabulous through the glass jar. Salads are not the only option, however, and today we thought we would showcase a few ideas for some savoury treats that work brilliantly in a Kilner jar.

Macaroni cheese is a firm favourite comfort food for many people and works brilliantly in a jar. Prepare your macaroni and cheese sauce in the usual way, then combine and spoon into the jars. Top with breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and chopped walnuts, then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

We admit that we were a little sceptical when we read about making mini pizzas in a jar, but it really works. Layer your mozzarella, tomato sauce and additional ingredients in the jar before adding a knob of pizza dough on the very top. Stand your pizza-filled jars in a deep tray filled with water, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or so.

Puddings in Kilner jars

With a couple of ideas for main courses under our belts, it is time to think about dessert. One of the easiest Kilner jar dessert ideas is Eton mess. Whip double cream until it is thick and creamy, then add chopped strawberries and crushed meringues. Spoon into jars and chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Chocolate banana pudding is another mouth-watering dessert that will have your dinner guests begging for second helpings. Layer crushed chocolate cookies in the jars, followed by whipped cream or creme fraiche, then bananas and a spoonful of good-quality honey. Repeat until the jar is full, ending with a layer of cream. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs and chill in the fridge.

Have you tried any Kilner jar recipes of your own? We would love to see your ideas, so be sure to share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Chutney jars for red onion chutney

Chutney jars for red onion chutney 

Onion jam in jar, goat's cheese and fresh bread

If you have already had a go at making chutney and your shelves are filled with plum chutney, green tomato chutney and courgette chutney, now might be the time to try a different kind to broaden your preserving horizons. Red onion chutney is quick and easy to make and goes brilliantly with cheese and crackers and ploughman’s lunches, and tastes heavenly on bacon sandwiches and burgers. It also makes a fantastic edible gift. With Christmas coming up, rustling up a batch to give as gifts to friends and family is a great idea.

Chutney looks better in chutney jars!

As with all preserves, you can make red onion chutney in any jars you have to hand; however, chutney really does look best when presented in specially shaped jars. Chutney jars tend to be slimmer and taller than conventional jam jars and we have a wide range to choose from in our online store.

The recipe we are sharing with you today will make one large jar of chutney, but you can always scale the quantities up if you would like to make a bigger batch.

A recipe for red onion chutney

Ingredients

4 large red onions
175ml red wine
50ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp light brown sugar

Method

– Chop the onions into fairly small pieces. Add to a pan with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.

– Add all the other ingredients, along with a pinch of ground black pepper, and simmer gently for a further 15 minutes, still with the saucepan lid on.

– Remove the lid and turn up the heat, cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the chutney is sticky and thickened.

– Pour into warm, sterilised jars and seal. Once the chutney is cool, label the jars and store in a cool, dry cupboard.

More recipe ideas for chutney jars

If today’s recipe has whetted your appetite for chutney and you would like to make some more, why not give some more unusual ideas a try? Blueberry chutney is a delight, while fig chutney has a rich and distinctive taste. If you love Indian or Asian food, spiced carrot and ginger chutney might appeal, or even a coconut chutney or a tangy aubergine chutney. Chutney is so versatile that you can usually find an inspiring recipe to fit any fruit or vegetables you have available. Grab some jars and have a go at making chutney today.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

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.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Homemade pasta sauce in Kilner Jars

Homemade pasta sauce in Kilner Jars

Composition of ingredients for the preparation of tomato sauce in the Italian manner

From lasagne, spaghetti bolognese and pasta bakes to shepherd’s pies, chilli and even soups, a good pasta sauce is a versatile staple that adds a special something to so many dishes. Whilst it is simple enough to rustle up on an ad-hoc basis, many of us resort to a shop-bought jar of pasta sauce all too often, as we think we do not have the time, or the ingredients to hand, to prepare a fresh pasta sauce. In fact, homemade pasta sauce is quick and simple to make. If you prepare a large batch in one go and store it in large screw top jars, you will always have some to hand and can wave goodbye to inferior sauces from the supermarket.

Kilner jars are perfect for pasta sauce

If you are making a large batch of pasta sauce, you need to ensure you have enough screw top jars ready for the project. Our 500ml Kilner screw top jars are perfect for this project; alternatively, if you have a large family, you may prefer to use the one-litre jars.

Ingredients

4kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
A handful of fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, thyme), finely chopped 60ml lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Method

– Wash and sterilise the jars in advance.

– Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil. Once boiling, simmer for 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.

– Use a blender to puree the tomato mixture, then sieve it to get rid of the peel and seeds. Put the mixture back in the pan, add the herbs and seasoning, and bring to the boil again. Simmer for about 45 minutes until the sauce reaches the consistency you would like.

– Stir in the lemon juice and pour into your sterilised jars. Seal the jars tightly and place them in a boiling water bath for at least 30 minutes. Once cooled, label the jars and store in a cool, dark place.

Kilner jars

If you have more jars available and would like to make some more pour-on sauces to store in the pantry for future use, why not consider a Thai sweet chilli sauce or your own versions of some favourite stir-fry sauces, such as a sweet and sour stir fry sauce, a teriyaki sauce or a szechuan stir fry sauce? These can all be stored in screw top jars so they are to hand whenever you need them.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Jars of chilli jam!

Jars of chilli jam!

Tomato and chili sauce, jam, confiture in a glass jar on a grey stone background.

If you are looking for some fresh inspiration for your home preserves projects this autumn, now might be the time to try your hand at chilli jam. Whilst it is called a jam, it is not really the kind of thing you would spread on toast or put in the middle of a Victoria sandwich; instead, it is a really delicious jelly that is perfect with cold meats and cheeses. It also makes a delicious and eye-catching gift. Today, we thought we would share our recipe for chilli jam with you and hope you fall in love with it as much as we have.

Small jars are best

As this is a jelly that is used a little like a relish, you do not need large jars. Small glass jam jars are much better, as a little goes a long way when it comes to chilli jam. Our small hexagonal or square jam jars are ideal for the job. Let’s take a look at the recipe.

Chilli jam recipe

Ingredients

140g fresh red chilli peppers
160g red peppers
1kg jam sugar
580ml cider vinegar

Method

– Cut the chilli peppers into quarters and remove the seeds and tops. Chop these in a food processor until they are very fine, then add the red peppers and chop again.

– Pour the vinegar into a pan and add the jam sugar. Dissolve the sugar over a low heat, then add the chilli and pepper mixture. Bring the pan to the boil and keep it on a rolling boil for 10 minutes.

– Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. After about 45 minutes, the mixture should have become more jelly-like and is ready to spoon into sterilised jars. There should be small flecks of pepper visible in the jelly. Seal the jars and label when completely cool.

More chilli ideas for small jars

If you still have some glass jam jars sitting empty and want to make more chilli jam, you can always use normal sugar and source the required pectin by adding three whole cooking apples, pierced across their skins, during the boil stage. You can also make a green chilli version by using green chilli peppers and green peppers, which creates a really vibrant jelly.

For a richer chilli jam, use tomatoes, red onions, red chilli peppers, star anise, ginger and brown sugar, along with white wine vinegar or cider vinegar.

Whatever recipe you decide to try, be sure to share your experience with us on Facebook or Twitter. We really love hearing about your preserving projects!

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Craft Ideas for Large Jam Jars

Craft Ideas for Large Jam Jars

Custom and eco candle holders with jars and paper labels printed for a Christmas dinner

For some reason, people who enjoy home preserves or spending time in the kitchen rustling up delicious dinners or home-baked cakes also seem to enjoy craft activities. With craft allowing us to express our creativity, it is another way of relaxing and doing something enjoyable – with a tangible item at the end to feel satisfied with. As luck would have it for the home preserves enthusiast, glass jars make a great base for lots of craft projects and today we take a look at some inspiring ideas for jam jar projects to tackle at home.

Large jam jars make great craft projects

Whilst there is undoubtedly a craft project perfect for every conceivable size of jar, we are concentrating today on larger jars. One of our favourite ideas for glass jars is candle holders. Whether you want to create a candle holder for a single tealight or a much larger pillar candle, a glass jar will work brilliantly. In its simplest form, all you need to do is pop the candle in the jar and position it somewhere safe, then light the candle and enjoy the atmosphere it creates. If you want a little more creativity in the project, try painting a design on the outside of the jar. Abstract swirls work well; alternatively, if you have a talent for painting, why not paint a silhouette scene of a forest glade, with a deer passing through the trees and the moon shining down from above? With Christmas just around the corner, some candle holder jars like these could make excellent gifts.

More craft ideas for large jam jars

Another fun idea for Christmas is to make seasonal ornaments with larger jars. Collect some fir cones and pine sprigs and glue them in position on the inside of the jar lid, then break up some polystyrene foam into individual beads to use as snow. Place the foam beads in the jar and carefully screw on the lid, taking care not to knock the items you have glued in place. Stand the jar upside down and you have your very own snow scene.

If you enjoy having plants and flowers in your home, you might like the idea of growing hyacinths in glass jars. Take a glass jar and add some sand or grit at the bottom, followed by a little soil. Position the hyacinth bulb on top, gently pressing it down to secure it in place. Its roots will push down into the soil, giving a fascinating insight through the glass into what goes on beneath the surface when a plant grows.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Preserving ideas for plums

Preserving ideas for plums- using jam jars

A delicious homemade jam made of freshly harvested organic plums

If you have a plum tree in your garden, you are no doubt enjoying plenty of plum puddings with custard, stocking your freezer with plums, and giving away bags of plums to anyone who shows a passing interest. If you have two or more plum trees, you are possibly wondering what on earth you are going to do with them all, as plum trees can produce a huge amount of fruit and sometime even cause branches of the tree to break off under the sheer weight. Whether you have your own plum trees or you have snagged a seasonal bargain at the greengrocers, read on for some great ideas for how to preserve your plums.

Preserved plums in large jam jars

One of the tastiest and most decadent things to do with all those plums is to preserve them whole. Choose large glass jars for this project and preserve your plums in red wine, port, or even brandy. If you want a spiced preserving syrup, add cinnamon and star anise – along with plenty of sugar, of course. For a tangier taste, try pickling your plums in cider vinegar, adding allspice, cloves, powdered ginger and cinnamon to the mix along with the sugar.

Quirky plum jam ideas

Traditional plum jam is a staple in many homes and it always delivers on taste and the feel-good factor. If you are ready to take your plum jam to another level, how about chocolate plum jam? You do not actually add chocolate to the recipe, just cocoa powder, but it will give a rich, sumptuous chocolate flavour to your jam that will have friends clamouring for your secret recipe!

Another unusual idea for jazzing up your plum jam is to add rum and raisins for a plum, rum and raisin jam. The seasonal flavours in this recipe make it the ideal jam to give as a Christmas gift to friends and family.

More plums? You will need more jam jars

If you have frozen, pickled and preserved a mountain of plums and you still have lots to use up, you will need more glass jars. Check out our range to see what takes your fancy and then hunt online for more plum preserves recipes. Right now, you might feel that you never want to see another plum; however, in a month or two – when the weather is cold and the days are short – those delicious plum jams and jars of preserved plums will offer a delicious dollop of comfort food that will cheer you up through the winter months.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Ideas for Homemade Yoghurts

Ideas for Homemade Yoghurts in Kilner Jars

Healthy kiwi, banana, coconut parfaits in mason jars on a rustic wood background

Do you find yourself at the yoghurt counter in the supermarket, wincing at the cost of all the yoghurts you buy and fretting about all that single-use plastic that your family’s yoghurt habit demands? If so, it might be worth considering an alternative – making your very own homemade yoghurts. It’s simple and fuss-free, and you can experiment with whatever flavours you like, all at very low cost and without all of that throwaway plastic. In today’s blog post, we guide you through the process of making yoghurt at home, and show you how clip top jars are ideal for storing your homemade creations.

Making Yoghurt in Kilner Jars

Before you get started on your yoghurt making, it’s important to ensure you have the right jars for the project. Clip top jars are perfect, as they’re easy to sterilise and they fit neatly in the fridge. You can choose to put your yoghurt in a larger jar, or pour it into smaller, portion sized jars, if you prefer.

Let’s Fill Those Kilner Jars!

Making yoghurt couldn’t be simpler. Here’s our foolproof recipe:

Ingredients

1.2 litres whole milk
3 tablespoons live yoghurt

Method

Successful yoghurt making relies on perfectly sterilised equipment, so make sure you take time to sterilise your pan, thermometer, bowls, spoon and your clip top jars. You’ll also need a container to act as an incubator for your yoghurt, such as a thermos flask, a slow cooker, or a lidded pan placed on a hot water bottle. Make sure your incubator is also sterilised.

Fill a large bowl with ice, and set aside.

Pour the milk into a large saucepan, and heat the milk until it reaches 80°C (180F), but don’t let it boil. Stir gently during this time, to prevent a skin forming.

Remove from the heat and place the pan in the ice bath you prepared, stirring from time to time. Let the milk cool down to 45°C (110F). Take a cup of warm milk from the pan and place in a small bowl, then add the live yoghurt to it, stirring it gently to mix it well. Once mixed, add this mixture back to the pan of milk, and stir to combine fully.

Pour the mixture into your incubator container. If you’re using a slow cooker, heat it beforehand, but then turn it off when you pour in the mixture. Leave it for at least 5 hours to incubate, and then decant into your clip top jars and store in the fridge. Add fruits, nuts, honey or jam to flavour the yoghurt when serving.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Ideas for Lunch on the Go

Ideas for Lunch on the Go using Glass Jars

food

If you go out to work every day, the chances are that over time you’ve tried just about every sandwich shop and takeaway outlet within a one mile radius of your office or workplace. That means you’ve probably tried all manner of sandwiches, wraps, paninis and other lunchtime treats, as you try desperately hard not to get bored of the same old thing every day. If you’re fed up of dull old sandwiches from your local haunt and you’ve had enough of paying a small fortune each week for your lunch, it’s time to look again at taking a packed lunch.

Packed lunches these days don’t have to involve a Tupperware box with a limp ham sandwich and an apple, as things have got a whole lot more creative recently. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some fresh and mouthwatering ideas for lunch on the go.

Salads in Glass Jars

Homemade salad in glass jar with quinoa and vegetables. Healthy food, diet, detox, clean eating and vegetarian concept with copy space.

Using screw top jars to store fresh salads for your lunch is a brilliant idea. Each day, you can mix things up a little and take a new and exciting lunch to work, using whatever ingredients you have to hand. With your screw top jars at the ready, lunch need never be boring again, and you can even choose a healthier option by avoiding bread and processed meats.

The key to creating a delicious salad in a jar is to think in terms of layers. Throw all of your ingredients in willy-nilly and you will undoubtedly end up with a soggy and unappetising mess. Layer the ingredients carefully, though, and your salad will still be perfectly fresh and crunchy when it’s time to eat it.

The first layer to add should be your dressing of choice. Then add crunchy vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, celery and carrots. After this layer, add ingredients that you’d like not to get soaked in dressing, but that won’t go mushy if they do get a little dressing on them. These ingredients might include mushrooms, courgettes, sweetcorn, kidney beans and lentils. Next up are the more delicate ingredients, such as boiled egg or feta cheese, followed by something like rice, couscous or pasta. The very last layer should be any leaf vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, microgreens or alfalfa.

Choosing Suitable Glass Jars

Screw top jars are perfect for this kind of salad in a jar lunch, as they will keep everything safe and sound inside the jar, with no leaks or spills. Check out our range of Kilner jars and Mason jars, to find the perfect size for your packed lunch.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

How to store food in glass jars

How to store food in glass jars

Collection of grain products, lentils, peas, soybeans and red beans in storage jars over on kitchen rural table. Vegetarian products.

Not a week goes by without the media telling us about how much plastic there is in the world, most of which seems to be heading straight to landfill and ultimately polluting our rivers and seas. If you are conscious of your own plastic consumption and would like to reduce the amount you use, why not make the decision to switch to glass jars for storing food at home? In today’s blog post, we take a look at the best jars to use for general-purpose food storage.

Ditch those plastic jars – swap them for glass jars!

If your fridge and larder are full of plastic jars with lids of every colour and you would like to switch to a more sustainable alternative, glass jars are the answer. Start by storing leftover food in clip top jars, ready to take to work for lunch the next day. If you despair at the number of yoghurt pots your family gets through every week, why not try making your own natural yoghurt, storing it in individual glass jars ready to serve at breakfast or to take to work with you? Once you’ve got the hang of making your own yoghurt, you will be thinking up exciting new flavours in no time at all and will see your plastic use plummet at the same time.

Another great eco-friendly tip is to keep a close eye on all your fresh produce. If it appears that anything might go off before you get a chance to use it, make something with it and store it in a glass jar. Turn tomatoes into chutney, cauliflower into piccalilli, and use up your mushrooms by pickling them with garlic and herbs. The same goes for fruit – you can easily preserve apples, lemons, oranges and pineapples; in fact, you can preserve pretty much any fruit.

Plastic jars still have their uses

Whilst switching to glass jars is a great idea, plastic jars with lids still have their uses, especially in situations in which breakages are likely. If you want to make yoghurts, granola or potted salads for your children to take to school as a packed lunch, for example, plastic jars might be a better option than glass ones. If you are heading to the beach for an end-of-summer picnic, plastic containers may well be better suited, as the chances are high that at least one will be dropped as you make your way over that shingle beach!

If you have some great storage tips using glass jars, be sure to let us know via Twitter or Facebook and we will share the best suggestions.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

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?

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

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.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

English wines – buy your wine bottles!

English wines – buy your wine bottles! 

Corkscrew and bottle of wine on the board

For years, English wines had a very dubious reputation for being overly-sweet and rather unpleasant and unsophisticated. In recent years, however, the English wine industry has very much come of age, with English wines holding their own as a premium product in many markets. In today’s blog post, we take a look at how English wine has grown up, how the industry is developing, and what the best new vineyards are producing.

3.5 million wine bottles a year

It is easy to assume that production of English wines does not amount to very much, as the industry – much like the English themselves – is rather shy and retiring when it comes to overt self-promotion. The producers have evidently been letting their wines do the talking; according to Decanter magazine, there are now over 450 active vineyards in the UK, producing 3.5 million bottles a year. This is an awful lot of glass bottles filled with the fruits of English vines, English dedication and expertise. Decanter estimates that the industry was worth around £100m in 2015, which is certainly not small fry.

Technically, the English climate means that vineyards are possible throughout the country; however, the milder temperatures of the south-east of the country mean that wine production is heavily clustered across Kent and Sussex. When renowned champagne brand Taittinger buys a vineyard in England, it is fair to say that the English wine sector must be doing something right!

What are the best English wines hitting the shelves right now? Boot Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir from Kent-based firm Gusbourne is an award-winning red that holds many top-notch French labels to account; on the white wine front, Denbies’ Noble Harvest has caught the eye of Waitrose, which stocks it alongside a number of superb English whites. Sparkling wine is where it all began for English winemakers and they do not come better than the superlative fizz produced by Hampshire-based vineyard Jenkyn Place. Again, these are available from Waitrose or direct from the producer.

Fill your own wine bottles

If all this talk of English wine has got you thinking, why not have a go at making your own wine? You could try some classic fruit wine recipes, such as plum wine, elderflower wine or peach wine; alternatively, if you have a grape vine growing in a greenhouse or polytunnel, you could even give it a go with your very own grapes. All you need is a supply of suitable glass bottles, some basic fermenting kit, and a lot of enthusiasm.

Have you sampled some spectacular English wines? Share your recommendations with us via Twitter or Facebook.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Creating a terrarium using a glass jar

Creating a terrarium using a glass jar 

Amazing jar with piece of forest as new life concept

The word ‘terrarium’ conjures up images of giant glass globes sitting unloved in the corner of many a 1970s living room; however, terrariums have made something of a comeback and are proving quite a hit with people of all ages who want to bring a little greenery and gardening into their busy lives. Today’s terrariums do not have to be huge monstrosities cluttering up your space; instead, you can get creative with all sorts of jars and a wide range of plants to make your own unique micro-garden. Read on to learn how to build your own terrarium.

First, pick a large glass jar

It does not really matter what size or shape of glass jar you decide to use for your terrarium, so long as it has an opening at the top that is big enough for you to put in the various components and plants and to position them carefully. If you have the space, a big one-gallon pickle jar would look amazing used as a terrarium; alternatively, if you only have a small windowsill or shelf, you could easily use a smaller jar.

Next, fill that large glass jar

The first thing to put in your new terrarium is something to act as a drainage layer. This could be aquarium gravel from your local pet store, or you could find tiny grit and pebbles in the garden. Next, pour a layer of sand onto the gravel and add a good-quality compost. Take time building up these layers neatly, as you will be able to see them in the finished terrarium. The gravel, sand and compost layers should take up no more than one-third of the jar’s height.

Make a small hole in the compost for your first plant. Carefully lift the plant from its pot and lower it into position, gently firming up the soil around the stem. Less is very definitely more when it comes to terrariums, so don’t be tempted to put too many plants in. It can be fun to create a small scene; for example, you could use tiny toy people or animals or make a miniature park bench.

Once you have added everything, give the terrarium a light mist with a water spray and place in indirect light. A windowsill in full sunshine may well be too much, so think carefully where to put it. Mist gently every day and prune your plants occasionally, if required.

If you have a go at this project, be sure to let us know via Facebook or Twitter.

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Storage in the Home – Plastic Jars

Plastic sweet jar taylor davisStorage in the Home – Plastic Jars

How many times recently have you wondered where you last put something or pondered how your kitchen always seems to be so cluttered? It’s a common situation to find yourself in, and with the school summer holidays in full swing, the clutter is probably reaching crisis levels! When the domestic chaos gets too much, we all tend to have a burst of activity and tidy everything away out of sight. But are we really tidying and getting organised, or are we simply working on the basis of ‘out of sight, out of mind’? In today’s blog post, we take a look at how to set up a proper organisational system for your kitchen and elsewhere in the house, that will keep you on the straight and narrow when it comes to getting everything sorted.

 Plastic Jars for Kitchen Storage

 The key to reliable organisation in the kitchen is to put a system in place. If your larder or pantry is in a mess, take everything out and organise items into distinct groups. Batch canned food together, for example, and put all your home baking ingredients together too. Where items are often stored in the cupboard in packs, like sugar, flour and raisins, for example, it’s a good idea to use a set of plastic jars with lids, to keep everything neat and tidy. Colour coordinated lids are a great idea too, so you can easily see at a glance what type of food is stored in each jar. So, you might choose blue lids for baking ingredients, red lids for dried pasta and rice, and green lids for everything else. Be sure to label all of your jars, so that you know what’s in them - after all, you don’t want to mix up plain and self-raising flour in your next cake baking session!

 Plastic Jars for Storage Elsewhere

 By using plastic jars with lids in other rooms, it’s easy to get a grip on the domestic clutter. Kids will be encouraged to keep their room or play area tidy, if you ask them to put all of their colouring pens, Lego, or toy cars in plastic jars with lids. If you have a craft or sewing room, jars are perfect for storing sewing threads, needles, craft embellishments and all of those other fiddly bits and bobs that just seem to get everywhere. Again, a colour coded approach will make it easy to go straight to the item you’re looking for each time.

 If you’ve used jars for home storage, be sure to show us on Facebook or Twitter, as we’d love to see your ideas!

 

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

IDEAS FOR LUNCH ON THE GO IN GLASS JARS

Ideas for lunch on the go in glass jars

 If you go out to work every day, the chances are that over time you’ve tried just about every sandwich shop and takeaway outlet within a one mile radius of your office or workplace. That means you’ve probably tried all manner of sandwiches, wraps, paninis and other lunchtime treats, as you try desperately hard not to get bored of the same old thing every day. If you’re fed up of dull old sandwiches from your local haunt and you’ve had enough of paying a small fortune each week for your lunch, it’s time to look again at taking a packed lunch.

 Packed lunches these days don’t have to involve a Tupperware box with a limp ham sandwich and an apple, as things have got a whole lot more creative recently. In today’s blog post, we take a look at some fresh and mouthwatering ideas for lunch on the go.

 Salads in Glass Jars

food

Salad in a glass jam jar

 Using screw top jars to store fresh salads for your lunch is a brilliant idea. Each day, you can mix things up a little and take a new and exciting lunch to work, using whatever ingredients you have to hand. With your screw top jars at the ready, lunch need never be boring again, and you can even choose a healthier option by avoiding bread and processed meats.

 The key to creating a delicious salad in a jar is to think in terms of layers. Throw all of your ingredients in willy-nilly and you will undoubtedly end up with a soggy and unappetising mess. Layer the ingredients carefully, though, and your salad will still be perfectly fresh and crunchy when it’s time to eat it.

 The first layer to add should be your dressing of choice. Then add crunchy vegetables like onions, peppers, tomatoes, celery and carrots. After this layer, add ingredients that you’d like not to get soaked in dressing, but that won’t go mushy if they do get a little dressing on them. These ingredients might include mushrooms, courgettes, sweetcorn, kidney beans and lentils. Next up are the more delicate ingredients, such as boiled egg or feta cheese, followed by something like rice, couscous or pasta. The very last layer should be any leaf vegetables such as lettuce or spinach, microgreens or alfalfa.

 Choosing Suitable Glass Jars

 Screw top jars are perfect for this kind of salad in a jar lunch, as they will keep everything safe and sound inside the jar, with no leaks or spills. Check out our range of Kilner jars and Mason jars, to find the perfect size for your packed lunch.

 

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

The History of Whisky – miniature bottles

Miniature Spirits/Liquour Bottle Mock-Up

The history of whisky

 Whilst the process of distillation dates back to around 2000BC, when it was used by the ancient Mesopotamians to make perfumes, producing alcohol through distillation is a far more recent innovation. The Romans stuck mainly to producing wine and it was not until the 12th or 13th centuries that Italian monks began to produce alcohol from distilled wine. By the 15th century, the manufacture of distilled alcohol had spread throughout the monasteries of Europe, where it was used predominantly for medicinal purposes. Eventually, grains were used instead of grapes, creating aqua vitae, or uisge beatha in Gaelic.

 The first documentary evidence of whisky production is from 1494, when 500 bottles were produced, by order of the king. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1541, monks found themselves needing to earn a living. Whisky production moved from the preserve of the monasteries to ordinary locations, with whisky becoming available to the masses.

 In 1725, the English malt tax was imposed, causing the price of whisky to rise dramatically and forcing many Scottish distilleries to operate illicitly, often at night, giving rise to whisky’s nickname of ‘moonshine’. In 1823, the UK’s Excise Act finally allowed Scottish whisky producers to operate legally on payment of a fee.

 Until the 1880s, French brandy was the main distilled alcoholic drink in many countries; however, a devastating vine pest called phylloxera savaged France’s grape harvests, allowing whisky to become dominant.

 From jeroboams to miniature whisky bottles

 As the production of whisky developed over the years, more and more bottle sizes were made available. Whilst a standard whisky bottle is 700ml in the EU, and 750ml in the US, whisky is available in sizes ranging from miniature bottles of 50ml through to jeroboams, which are 3,000ml – the equivalent of four standard bottles. Needless to say, jeroboams are mainly purchased for special occasions or to add to a whisky collection.

 Modern uses for miniature whisky bottles

 Whisky miniatures, along with other spirits such as brandy and rum, were incredibly popular in the 1970s and are still available today. One very popular use for miniature bottles is as wedding favours, with wedding couples choosing to buy their own bottles and decant their favourite whisky into these miniatures to give as a gift to each wedding guest. This is popular across the board, but especially so for weddings where either the bride or groom is Scottish or where the wedding is taking place in Scotland. The long Scottish association with whisky and whisky-making is clearly alive and well today, hundreds of years after the very first whiskies were created.

 

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Homemade face creams for cosmetic jars.

Homemade face creams for cosmetic jars.

 Retinoids, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid – the cosmetics industry seems to create a new term each week for the ingredients contained in face creams. These scientific-sounding terms convince us of the benefits of using these creams and switching from our favourite brand; however, take a closer look at the ingredients listed on a jar of moisturiser and you may find quite an alarming number of chemicals, some of which are linked to quite serious potential health issues. There is little wonder that more and more people are thinking twice about the moisturisers and creams they use on their faces and are looking at making their own, natural alternatives.

 Fill your own cosmetic jars

 If you would like to try making your own natural face creams, the first thing you will need is suitable jars. From our simple 15ml clear glass cosmetic jars to the elegant and sophisticated 50ml Laurence frosted luxury jars, we are sure to have something suitable for your cosmetic creations. Whether you want to start with just a small amount of face cream to try out a recipe or you want to prepare a larger amount to last a reasonable time, we have plenty of jars to choose from.

 Face cream recipes for your cosmetic jars

 Whilst the theories expounded by the cosmetic giants are generally true, such as antioxidants helping to slow down the signs of ageing, the chemicals that companies use in their products can be quite surprising. Some of the best antioxidants can be found in simple, natural products; for example, coconut oil is an excellent antioxidant and has been proved to outperform commercial preparations. Try this simple recipe for a natural and effective face cream that will give noticeable results in super-fast time.

 Ingredients:

 60ml almond oil

2 tbsp virgin coconut oil

2 tbsp beeswax

2 tbsp shea butter

1 tsp vitamin E oil

essential oils (if required)

 Method

 Place all the ingredients in a glass jug, then stand the jug in a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until all the ingredients have melted completely. Pour into glass cosmetic jars and allow to cool; the cream should become firm. Once cool, put lids on the jars and store in a cool, dark cupboard. Use twice daily after cleansing.

 

fresh as spring flowers

fresh as spring flowers

If you have made your own face cream, or any other cosmetics for that matter, we would love to hear from you. Just send us the details, with a photo if possible, to our Twitter or Facebook accounts, and we will be sure to share them with our customers.

 

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest

Ideas for Yoghurt Pots

Healthy breakfast with Fresh greek yogurt, muesli and berries

Healthy breakfast with Fresh greek yogurt, muesli and berries

Using yoghurt pots in the home.

 Do you find yourself at the yoghurt counter in the supermarket, wincing at the cost of all the yoghurts you buy and fretting about all that single-use plastic that your family’s yoghurt habit demands? If so, it might be worth considering an alternative – making your very own homemade yoghurts. It’s simple and fuss-free, and you can experiment with whatever flavours you like, all at very low cost and without all of that throwaway plastic. In today’s blog post, we guide you through the process of making yoghurt at home, and show you how clip top jars are ideal for storing your homemade creations.

 Making Yoghurt in Kilner Jars

 Before you get started on your yoghurt making, it’s important to ensure you have the right jars for the project. Clip top jars are perfect, as they’re easy to sterilise and they fit neatly in the fridge. You can choose to put your yoghurt in a larger jar, or pour it into smaller, portion sized jars, if you prefer.

 Let’s Fill Those Kilner Jars!

 Making yoghurt couldn’t be simpler. Here’s our foolproof recipe:

 Ingredients

 1.2 litres whole milk

3 tablespoons live yoghurt

 Method

 Successful yoghurt making relies on perfectly sterilised equipment, so make sure you take time to sterilise your pan, thermometer, bowls, spoon and your clip top jars. You’ll also need a container to act as an incubator for your yoghurt, such as a thermos flask, a slow cooker, or a lidded pan placed on a hot water bottle. Make sure your incubator is also sterilised.

 Fill a large bowl with ice, and set aside.

Pour the milk into a large saucepan, and heat the milk until it reaches 80°C (180F), but don’t let it boil. Stir gently during this time, to prevent a skin forming.

 Remove from the heat and place the pan in the ice bath you prepared, stirring from time to time. Let the milk cool down to 45°C (110F). Take a cup of warm milk from the pan and place in a small bowl, then add the live yoghurt to it, stirring it gently to mix it well. Once mixed, add this mixture back to the pan of milk, and stir to combine fully.

 Pour the mixture into your incubator container. If you’re using a slow cooker, heat it beforehand, but then turn it off when you pour in the mixture. Leave it for at least 5 hours to incubate, and then decant into your clip top jars and store in the fridge. Add fruits, nuts, honey or jam to flavour the yoghurt when serving.

 

Share and Enjoy

Pinterest