Unconventional Uses for Every Day Appliances


With energy prices rising every year and the averageUK household spending £50 - £90 a year on powering appliances they’re not even using, it makes sense to get the most out of our appliances and get our money’s worth!

Firstly – make sure you’ve got energy efficient appliances which are cheaper to run and better for the environment. The range of kitchen and home appliances from LG offers state of the art technology and energy efficient options.

Next up – let’s look at getting the most out of them. Many common, every-day household appliances have rather unconventional uses alongside those they are well-known for. Here we take a look at some of our best-loved appliances, and the unusual ways we can use them.

Dynamic dishwashers:

A dishwasher is a wonderfully useful appliance, and undoubtedly, one that many of us can't live without. However, it's greatly appreciated cleansing prowess is not just limited to dishes; almost anything can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Designed to be gentle with your crockery, but at the same time, effective at removing grease and bacteria, the dishwasher proves to be the perfect cleaning tool for any number of items. Wash toys, toothbrushes, garden tools, clothes and even hub-caps; the list is pretty inexhaustible, so use your imagination! The dishwasher's usefulness can be extended to food, too: if scrubbing potatoes is a pet-peeve, pop them in for a quick wash; and while you are at it, why not throw in a salmon? As strange as it may sound, many people swear that using a dishwasher is the best way to produce a perfectly cooked salmon. This simple recipe explains how.


Freeze your jeans:

The freezer is another appliance that we have become so dependent on; and it also hides a multitude of little-known talents. Surprisingly, candles burn longer, and batteries have an extended life, after being placed in the freezer. Chewing gum is notoriously difficult to get off clothes, but freezing the affected item makes it easier to remove. If you want to sneakily open a sealed envelope, then pop it in the freezer first, and it will open without ripping; you'll also be able to re-seal it, too. Worried about bed-bugs? Then place your pillows or other bed linen into the freezer, as this will kill them off. Perhaps you've bought an expensive pair of jeans, but are concerned about fading when you wash them. If so, your freezer could offer a more gentle approach: place them inside a zipped bag, and leave them for a week; this will kill any lurking bacteria, and eliminate any unpleasant odours, without going through a harsh washing machine cycle. And lastly, a few hours in the freezer can apparently even resurrect a dying computer hard drive, just long enough to extract data before it permanently expires.

Multi-task your microwave:

There's nothing worse than a pongy sponge or dishcloth. However, there is no need to throw them away, as they can be revitalised with a quick blast in the microwave; this will not only remove unpleasant smells, but it will also disinfect the items. Similarly, the microwave is useful in disinfecting chopping boards, even those that have been involved in the preparation of chicken. It is also perfect for preparing beauty treatments, such as hot oil, face masks and wax; and if you feel a headache coming on, heat a gel pack, and soothe away pain in no time.

Give your hair-dryer a blast:

These little gems have untold uses, so don't just limit them to styling your hair. Blast dusty areas that are hard to reach, such as behind sofas or on high shelves, and this will quickly get rid of unsightly dust. If you've ever had problems re-arranging snap-shots in a sticky photo album, then use your hair-dryer (on a warm setting) on the back of the page, and photos will lift off a lot easier. Stickers are the bane of parents' lives; children love them, but have a habit of sticking them in the most inappropriate of places, such as your new dining table. They are frustratingly tricky to remove, but a hot blast of your dryer will get them off in a jiffy. In keeping with the child theme: unless you have wipeclean paint, wax crayons are the enemy. If you discover a vandalised wall, don't panic! Hot air will melt the wax, allowing you to wipe it away simply. Find more stain tips on the Crayola website. If that's not enough, hair-dryers can also be used to remove wrinkles from clothes and shower curtains, and de-mist your steamed up bathroom mirror.

Forgotten fads:

Let's face it; many of us have bought newfangled kitchen appliances, only for them to be shoved to the back of a cupboard gathering dust. Dig out your fondue set and create a tasty broth or Chinese hot-pot. Sizzle some burgers, bake cookies or rustle up a pizza on your neglected waffle iron. There are tons of inspiring ways to use those forgotten appliances, so get creative!
Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
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Chocolate Mallow Crunch Bars


Chocolate Mallow Crunch Bars

A very naughty treat.... but oh so nice! These Chocolate mallow Crunch Bars can be made in a foil tray so it's an ideal traybake to take to your children's Christmas bake sale at school or to serve at a Christmas Party.

No Bake Chocolate Marshmallow Bars
Chocolate
Yield: 16 BarsPin it

Chocolate Mallow Crunch Bars

prep time: 15 minscook time: total time: 15 mins
A no bake chocolate marshmallow crunch bar.

ingredients:

  • 150g Dark Chocolate
  • 150g Milk Chocolate
  • 125g Unsalted butter
  • 3 TBSP Golden Syrup
  • 220g Digestive Biscuits, crushed
  • Crunchie Bars, crushed
  • 3 heaped TBSP Mini Marshmallows
  • 50g For the topping -White Chocolate, melted
  • 50g Milk Chocolate, melted

instructions:

Step 1: Use a foil tray or line a 20 x 30cm tin with baking paper.
Step 2: Break up the chocolate then place in a pan with butter and syrup and melt on a low heat.
Step 3: Crush the biscuits and crunchie bars then add to the mix along with the marshmallows.
Step 4: Press into the tray, chill then drizzle with the melted milk and white chocolate. Cut into squares when ready to eat.


If you like the look of these, why not try my Festive White Chocolate Tiffin!


Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
1 Comments

Banana and Baobab Breakfast Bars


Banana and Baobab Breakfast Bars

On weekday mornings I need a quick and easy breakfast I can eat at my desk. I often turn to flapjack based bars as they tend to keep me full until lunchtime  - my favourites being these Honey and Peanut Butter flapjacks. As I had a couple of black banana's to use and an intriguing packet of Baobab powder (thank you Eden Project) to experiment with I though I would develop a high energy Breakfast Bar, using a flapjack recipe as the base.

Baobab Tree's in Africa are known as the 'tree's of life' because their fruits contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain:
  • Three times more calcium than milk
  • Twice the Vitamin C of oranges
  • Six times more antioxidants than blueberries
Not only do the fruits provide health benefits, but trade of baobab fruit helps to relieve poverty by supporting harvesters and their families. Eden project baobab is sustainably harvested and bought from rural harvester groups in Malawi. Money from every sale of baobab powder (and baobab chocolate bars) at the Eden project goes to Phtyotrade Africa, who help support local harvesters and producers across southern Africa.

These bars turned out really well. The powder gives the flapjacks an extra fruity zing and next time I would be inclined to add some dried apricots to the mix too. The bars provide a high energy, nutritious breakfast for people on the run!

Banana Bars
Breakfast
Yield: 12Pin it

Banana and Baobab Breakfast bars

An oaty breakfast bar made with banana's and baobab powder
prep time: 10 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 30 mins

ingredients:

  • 150g Butter
  • 50g Honey
  • 50g Demerera Sugar
  • Black Banana's, mashed
  • 250g Oats
  • 25g Baobab Powder

instructions

Step 1: Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and preheat oven to 190c.
Step 2: Melt the butter, honey and sugar over a low heat then mix in the other ingredients. Press into tin and bake for 20 mins.
Step 3: Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into bars.



Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
4 Comments

Christmas Menu Planning Ideas


Christmas Meal Planning

Christmas Meal Planning has well and truely started in this house. I love pulling Nigella and Delia off the book shelf to help inspire me and this year I thought I would put together a list of my favourite festive recipes in a blog post. Some of the recipes are my own, some are from external websites and some are from books (I will include book and page number for you). There will be recipe ideas for the 'main event' but also recipes for the run up to the big day including freeze ahead meals, gifts and edible presents, sweet treats, buffets and 2 menu options for Christmas Eve. To be helpful I will also mark any recipes that can be frozen.

If you have any tried and trusted favourites then leave a link in the comments section and I will add it to the blog post.

Christmas Cakes

Sweet Treats
Star Studded Mince Pies (Nigella Christmas p186)

Desserts

Christmas Eve
I love Christmas Eve, in fact I think I prefer it to Christmas Day. I really enjoy the build up and seeing the excitement on my children’s faces in anticipation of Father Christmas coming. Our day goes something like this……..

The kids go downstairs on Christmas Eve morning to find an Elf Hamper has appeared under the tree. The hamper contains new Pj’s, a Christmas DVD (whilst I get on with last minute preparations), Reindeer Food, a miniature bottle of Whisky or Baileys for the big man and a secret key as we don’t have a chimney. They also open their advent calendar and advent stockings.

We go for a long walk in the morning, dropping off any last minute cards and gifts around the village, coming back for a lunch of Chestnut and Bacon Soup with homemade bread rolls. After lunch the kids sit and watch the new DVD then at 4pm its time to walk over to Church for the Christmas Crib Service. All of the children dress up and the newest baby born in the village is Jesus. The service is done by candlelight and is magical. 

Handily the village pub is almost next door to the Church so we pop in for a quick drink with the kids, family and friends then head back to our house for a Christmas Eve meal. This year there will be 9 of us. I tend to alternate what I prepare between the following two menu plans – this year it will be curry which I will make the day before.


Menu 1
Chip Shop Chicken Curry (double quantity (F)) with Rice, Naan Breads, Poppadum’s, Pakora’s and Onion Bhaji’s, Mango Chutney and Raita.
Dessert = Self Saucing Jaffa Pudding (in slow cooker) with Cornish Clotted Cream Ice Cream

Menu 2
Slow Cooker Gammon in Pineapple Juice served with Macaroni Cheese (double quantity (F)) and Buttered Peas

After dinner the kids get in their new PJ’s, we track Santa on the laptop and put out the reindeer food and a drink and mince pie. The kids go off to bed then hubby and I sit down with a glass of wine and watch a bit of telly…..before Santa arrives

Christmas Day Breakfast 
Christmas Morning Muffins (Nigella Christmas p214) (F)

The Main Event
Roast Potatoes
Bacon wrapped Chipolatas
Gingerbread Stuffing (Nigella Christmas p124)
Parsnips with Parmesan (Delia Happy Christmas p193)
Christmas Sprouts (Nigella Christmas p132)
Cranberry Sauce and Bread Sauce

Boxing Day Buffet
Cold Turkey and Ham
Christmas Coleslaw (Delia's Happy Christmas p93)
Selection of Cheeses with Biscuits
Fresh Bread
Dips and Crudites

Drinks 
Poinsettia (Nigella Christmas p3)

Edible Gifts
Christmas Puddini Bonbons (Nigella Christmas p247)
Chilli Jam (Nigella Christmas p241)

Freeze Ahead Meals
Curried Mince and Peas (F)
Lamb and Date Tagine (Nigella Christmas p72) (F)
What festive recipes do you make year after year?
Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
3 Comments

American Style Pancakes with Maple Syrup


Pancakes aren't something I get to make very often for breakfast due to rushing out the door at 7am on a weekday. As it is half term though and with both the kids and I at home I thought I would give them a treat.

I seem to forget how quick and easy Pancakes are to actually make and you could probably make up the batter the night before and leave it to sit in the fridge overnight before cooking the pancakes in the morning.

Pancakes also freeze surprisingly well too. Just cook them and leave to cool before  placing between pieces of baking paper and freezing. When you fancy some pancakes pull them out and warm up in the microwave. I made a double batch and have frozen some for a wet and wintry weekend breakfast!

I tend not to put fruit in mine and instead serve them with sliced banana's on top but a couple of handfuls of blueberries or raspberries in the batter would work well here. Maple syrup is a must and I always like some crispy bacon rashers on mine...but the kids prefer theirs plain.

American pancakes
Breakfast
Breakfast
Yield: 10 pancakesPin it

American Style Pancakes

American style pancake recipe
prep time: 5 minscook time: 10 minstotal time: 15 mins

ingredients:

  • 200g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 TSP Baking Powder
  • 2 TBSP Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 TSP Cinnamon
  • Egg
  • 300ml Milk

instructions

Step 1: Put the flour, baking poweder, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
Step 2: Whisk together the milk and egg then add to the flour and whisk together.
Step 3: Heat a knob of butter in a large frying pan and dollop TBSP of the mixture (you can do 2 at a time) into the pan and cook over a medium heat for 3 minutes until bubbles start appearing on the surface of the pancakes. Flip the pancakes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Step 4: Serve with sliced banana and maple syrup or freeze!



Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
1 Comments

Spiderweb Millionaire's Shortbread for Halloween


Spiderweb Millionaire's Shortbread for Halloween

I saw Ruth make these a few days ago over on her blog The Pink Whisk and thought they would be a good half term Halloween bake for a rainy day....and today has definitely been rainy....and windy!

Millionaires Shortbread used to be a favourite of mine when I was younger and if Mum was making them for a special event or bake sale she would cut off long strips in the baking tin and let my brother and I eat the offcuts...if she didn't get there first!

I used silicone cupcake cases as Ruth suggests as they keep their shape better. Once the chocolate layer has set, just peel off the silicone cases and store in a cool dry place.

For a more in depth photo tutorial on how to make these then please see Ruths blog. Below is the basic recipe and method.

Spider Web Millionaires Shortbread
Halloween
Baking
Yield: 12

Spider Web Millionaires Shortbread

Spiderweb Millionaire's Shortbread for Halloween
prep time: 30 minscook time: 12 minstotal time: 42 mins

ingredients:

  • For the Shortbread:
  • 80g Butter, softened
  • 40g Caster Sugar
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • For the Caramel:
  • 90g Butter
  • 90g Light Muscavado Sugar
  • 315g Condensed Milk
  • For the Chocolate:
  • 200g Milk Chocolate
  • 50g White Chocolate

instructions

Step 1: Preheat oven to 180°c and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with silicone cases.
Step 2: Cream together butter and sugar for the shortbread then stir in the flour until you get a crumbly dough.
Step 3: Press spoonfuls into the silicone cases and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake for 12 minutes then set aside to cool.
Step 4: For the caramel layer place the butter, sugar and condensed milk in a heavy bottomed pan and melt on a lowish heat. When the butter is melted turn up the heat, let the mix come to a low boil and stir continuously on the heat for 5 minutes. Take off the heat then spoon on top of the shortbread. Leave to set.
Step 5: Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl in the microwave and then melt the white chocolate in a separate bowl and spoon into a piping bag with a fine nozzle.
Step 6: Spoon the milk chocolate on top of the caramel layer then pipe three circles of white chocolate on each cake and use a cocktail stick to feather the chocolate to the edge - to make it look like spiderwebs.


Beth Sachs (Jam & Clotted Cream)
0 Comments
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