Gasper: Silicone saucepan mat

gasper pot cushion

I spotted this unusual kitchenware product a while back, bookmarked it and then completely forgot about it until today!

It’s called Gasper and it’s a silicone mat worktop protector for hot saucepans. Designed by Taiwanese designer Chih-Ching Yang. Without a saucepan on top it’s spooky appearance reminds you of Casper The Friendly Ghost, but when you place a hot pan on top it expands to act as a worktop protector. Simple, but clever!

As a design project it’s a novel idea for a practical kitchen utensil. Silicone is an ideal material of course, it’s ultra-flexible, easy to clean and can withstand temperatures up to 230c. You’ll see silicone used in a wide variety of kitchen products including pastry mats and oven gloves.

Kanye West: Cutlery snob

Kanye WestAmerican music and fashion mogul Kanye West is rather particular when it comes to his choice of crockery and cutlery.

Reports suggest that Mr West (pictured) refuses to eat off “cheap” plates and cutlery. Apparently his favourite Hermes plates cost around £700 each and he also insists on gold cutlery worth £4,500.

A source told The Sun: “Kanye is very particular about his plates and cutlery. Everything is the best quality.”

But despite a complete dinner set setting him back several thousands Mr West isn’t likely to notice. He is currently on tour with fellow superstar Jay-Z and tour earnings are expected to top £30m.

I wonder how much he spends on mugs for tea and coffee?

Growing Your Own? One in six of us are

courgettesAccording to a recent study one in six adults has started growing their own food within the past four years, with the majority saying that they do so to save money.

According to a poll for the City of London, 31% of British adults now grow their own food, while 64% of those interested in growing their own say they would do it to save money.

The City of London is launching a £2million grants programme to promote the use of green spaces and encourage people to grow their own food through volunteering and community involvement.

In our home town local volunteers encourage planting of veg in local green spaces, window boxes and raised beds. The Incredible Edible Hoylake scheme encourages locals to help themselves to fresh produce that can be picked from veg boxes in places such as the local train station.

I’m carefully nurturing some tomato and courgette seeds at the moment …the little fellas will be ready to plant out soon. In our back garden there’s a little rosemary plant that we’ve started pick to add a little something to roast spuds. Add a couple of sprigs of rosemary along with a few garlic cloves to your roasting tin of Maris Pipers and you’re good to go!

The most useless gadget: A fondue set

fondue setA recent consumer research project suggests we spend £900m a year on household gadgets that we rarely use. Top of the charts is the fondue set (pictured) which apparently costs an average of £41.65 but is used just once, or never, by 56% of people who own one.

Other kitchen gadgets listed in the PriceRunner research report include:

  • soda drinks maker (the Sodastream ones do look good though)
  • melon baller
  • ice cream maker

On the flip side, an espresso maker sees a lot of action in many kitchen and offers value for money as does a garlic press. Despite costing around £400 the Apple iPad is also good value for me money because the device is used so often.

We’ve got a chocolate fondue set in the back of a kitchen cupboard that we’ve never even opened! It was gift that was well received but our good intentions have proved to be just that.

How about you? What kitchen gadgets and utensils do you have that are just lurking at the back of a drawer or cupboard?

Recipe: Flapjacks

flapjacksHere’s a tray that we prepared earlier! Flapjacks are almost part of our staple diet as everyone loves them and they’re pretty darn easy to make. Ideal as lunchbox treats or in my case a post-run sugar boost!

I find that a large mixing bowl works best to work in the oats with a wooden spoon. Any old rectangular baking tray will suffice – or heck, treat yourself to one of our lovely non-stick ones.

The flapjack recipe below is quite flexible in that you can swap margarine for butter if you like yours rich and rather than 50/50 white and brown sugar try just brown.

Keep the flapjacks in an airtight container for a couple of days and they become lovely and sticky with a crisp top. Very moreish. Awesome 🙂

Recipe: Flapjacks
Recipe Type: Cake
Author: CutleryDrawer
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 24
The classic oats, syrup and sugar treat. These flapjacks are easy to make and can be made with the cheapest oats that you can buy from the shops. When kept for a couple of days the flapjacks become deliciously gooey. How many servings you get depends entirely on how big you like them!
Ingredients
  • 225g margarine or butter
  • 2 tbsps golden syrup
  • 460g oats
  • 112g white sugar
  • 113g soft brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Put the butter and syrup into a saucepan and melt gently over a low heat.
  2. Put the oats in a large mixing bowl and mix in the sugar.
  3. Pour the melted butter and syrup over the oats, mixing well with a wooden spoon until evenly coated.
  4. Put the mixture in your (30x20cm approx) baking tray and flatten well with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven; 180c/350f for about 30-35 mins until golden brown on top.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for just a couple of minutes and then mark into squares. Run a knife around the edge of the baking tray too.
  7. Leave until nearly cold before removing from the tray otherwise they’ll break up when you try and remove them. Store in an airtight container.

 

Recipe: Chocolate Biscuit Cake

chocolate biscuit cake

Chocolate Biscuit Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: CutleryDrawer
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 16
An easy treat to make with children. Always a big hit with friends and family. Cut into squares and enjoy! It’s quite rich especially when made just with plain chocolate.
Ingredients
  • 8oz Digestives or rich tea biscuits
  • 4oz Butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 level tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp syrup
  • 6oz Plain Chocolate or ½ milk choc/½ plain
Instructions
  1. Place biscuits in a thick plastic bag and break up into small pieces with a rolling pin. Place in a bowl.
  2. Put butter, sugar,coca powder and syrup in a pan and melt over a low heat.
  3. Add to biscuit crumbs and mix.
  4. Press the mixture into a 8inch square tin/container.
  5. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of water.
  6. Cover the biscuit mixture and mark it with a fork.
  7. Refrigerate until cold and set.
  8. Cut to whatever size squares you fancy with a warm knife to slice through the hard chocolate. Store in an airtight tin. Or in the fridge.

Les Planchas: Serving / chopping boards

serving chopping boards

I do like these serving come chopping boards by French product designer Véronique Maire. Her collection of four boards has been produced for the the French Collective y’a pas le feu au lac and was displayed at last month’s French Design exhibition. The wooden boards have slight gradients allowing them to be used as serving boards with a retaining edge or as traditional chopping boards.

Pictured above are three of the four chopping boards with the complete set described as:

The Mini which, for example, allows you to place a glass as well as some peanuts.
The Simple, a real chopping board for the kitchen.
The Double which will allow to display two types of amuse-gueule.
The Triple “Y” for a homogeneous distribution of your varieties of amuse-gueule.

Nope, I didn’t know that amuse-gueule means a single, bite-sized hors d’oeuvre either.

Feel free to browse our store for other wooden chopping boards.