Posts tagged with "Advice"

  • Kitchen styled 5 ways

    Essential kitchen aftercare tips

    How to keep your kitchen looking brand new for longer

    When you’ve dedicated time and money towards getting the kitchen of your dreams, you want to know that ‘new kitchen’ feeling will last for years to come.

    Choosing a quality kitchen from reputable experts is the first step towards ensuring your kitchen stands up to the pressures of everyday life, but there are also a few extra steps you can take to keep your kitchen in pristine condition for longer.

    Cabinet care

    Since your kitchen cabinets are the most prominent part of your new kitchen, the way they look will have a huge impact on the overall feel of the room, so it’s worth taking a little time to keep them in top condition. For both gloss and matt cabinets, it’s best to regularly clean cabinet exteriors with a mild solution of kitchen detergent diluted in water, then dry immediately afterward to prevent staining and warping. In case of accidental scratches and scrapes, Magnet also offers wax filler kits perfectly matched to the colour of your Magnet kitchen, so you can easily cover any chips and cracks to restore the smooth finish of your cabinets.

    A lighter touch

    There’s nothing more frustrating than a kitchen drawer that doesn’t quite close properly, but dusting drawer runners frequently can help to prevent clogged dirt that can keep drawers from closing smoothly. Similarly, avoid slamming doors to keep hinges in good working order for longer, or opt for kitchen cabinets with a soft-close mechanism if you live with teens or children who are prone to shutting doors a little too roughly!

    Splashes and spills

    Accidents happen, so all kitchen worktops are designed to withstand minor spills and splashes, but as a general rule it’s always best to wipe up liquids as quickly as possible to prevent them from soaking in and staining worktops. More porous materials also need a little extra care to ensure they remain waterproof, from oiling wooden worktops three to four times a year to re-sealing granite worktops once every five years.

    Trustworthy tech

    Often appliance failures are down to improper use of the technology, like overloading washing machines or accidentally blocking microwave vents, so take the time to read the instruction manual; it’s worth it to avoid the stress of repairs in the long run.

    Regular cleaning is also important to extend the life of your appliances and save you from having to deal with the cost of replacement parts. Pay particular attention to removing lint from the tumble dryer after every wash, since a build-up can pose a fire risk.

    Sparkle and shine

    If you live in a hard water area, the build-up of limescale around your sink can cause it to look stained, particularly if it comes into contact with strong-coloured food and drink leftovers like red wine and tomato sauce. Natural acids like lemon juice are a great way to combat this common issue to return the sparkling sheen to your sink – simply leave to soak then scrub with the rough side of a sponge.

    Category: Advice

  • Maximise space in a small kitchen

    Clever tips & tricks to make a compact kitchen feel more spacious

    Three quarters of people in Europe now live in urban areas, and while city life brings entertainment and excitement right to your doorstep, it can also mean having to compromise on space when choosing a home.

    Thankfully, that doesn’t mean your kitchen has to feel cramped and cluttered, as there are some clever space-saving hacks and styling secrets you can take advantage of to make even the smallest room seem more spacious.

    Keep it Light

    The materials and colour tones you choose for your kitchen cabinets will have a huge impact on the overall look of the room, so stick to cabinets in lighter shades to make a small kitchen feel open and airy. If you’d love to experiment with darker shades like bold midnight blue, consider a two-tone colour scheme and restrict darker colours to lower level cabinets to prevent the room feeling confined.

    Be Flexible

    When space is at a premium, flexible storage solutions are a real life-saver as they can easily be accessed when you need them then concealed away when you want more room to move around the kitchen. Look for ingenious inventions like pull-out worktops, pop-up plug sockets and fold-down tables to give your kitchen added workspace and functionality without restricting space.

    Create an Illusion

    You can’t actually make more space, but including a mirrored splashback is a great way to create the illusion of a larger room, which will give the kitchen a more open, calming feel. Strategic lighting like spotlights under your top-level cabinets or pendant lighting above a kitchen island will also help to brighten dark corners and show off the space to its full potential.

    Stay Organised

    With less worktop space available in a small kitchen, it’s all too easy for the room to look busy and messy if you keep a lot of ingredients and cooking gadgets in view on the countertop. Instead, invest in storage spaces with organisational features like cutlery trays, drawer dividers and pull-out larders, so you can keep the clutter hidden but still find everything you need in a matter of seconds.

    Hang in there

    Kitchen splashbacks represent an often under-utilised opportunity, so if storage space is lacking in your compact kitchen, why not make yours work harder for you by installing a magnetic knife strip or hanging hooks to store your utensils, pots and pans within easy reach?

    Category: Advice

  • Dunham Midnight kitchen

    How to take the ultimate kitchen pic for Instagram

    4 simple steps to take your home décor pics to the next level

    Instagram has become the go-to destination for finding a daily dose of décor inspiration, but what does it take to capture beautiful kitchen photos like your favourite homeware bloggers and interior designers?

    To help you take your home decor photos to the next level, we’ve collated our top tips for perfecting your Instagram kitchen pics.

    Light it up

    The wrong lighting can make even the most gorgeous kitchen look dull and dingy, so the time of day you take your photo can have a huge impact on the end result. As a general rule, lighting in the morning tends to give the best result, but this will depend on the direction your kitchen windows face, as west-facing windows may not see much light until the evening. Avoid taking photos directly facing a window too, as the camera may focus too strongly on the light source and cause the rest of the room to look darker.

    Beyond natural light, you can also use strategically placed spotlights to enhance the look of the room and add vibrancy to concealed corners. For example, turning on under cabinet lighting or spotlights above a kitchen island is a great way to highlight certain areas of the room.

    Know your angles

    Have you ever tried to take a photo of your kitchen only to find that it looks much smaller on camera than it is in real life? Clever angles are the key to making rooms look more spacious, as a photo taken head-on can make the room look flat and compact, whereas a slightly diagonal angle adds depth, as Wrights Wood Cottage have shown below. As a quick tip, standing on a chair in the corner of the room and taking the photo from an elevated angle will help to capture the full width of the room and make it appear more palatial.

    Mirror mirror

    Since kitchens are full of shiny objects like metal kettles and sleek gloss kitchen cabinets, it’s all too easy to accidentally capture unwanted reflections in your kitchen snaps. So if you don’t want to see the mess your toddler has just made of the living room or your own hand holding your phone in shot, take the photo from a diagonal angle and keep a close eye on reflective surfaces.

    A personal touch

    One you’ve mastered the technical elements, the only thing left to do to bring your kitchen pics to life is to add your own sense of personal style. After all, it’s the little decorative touches that make a new kitchen feel like home. From vases of flowers on kitchen islands or cookery books displayed on open shelving to a feature wall to add a bold pop of colour or pretty prints on the wall, there’s an endless choice of ways to let your own décor style shine in the kitchen.

    Ready to put these tips to the test?

    We recently launched a new monthly #MyMagnetKitchen photo contest as a chance for you to share your favourite snaps of your new Magnet kitchen, and perhaps even win an amazing prize.

    Upload your Magnet kitchen pic here to enter this month’s competition, and you can even get a second chance to win if you also share your pic on Instagram or Twitter with the #MyMagnetKitchen hashtag.

    Category: Advice

  • Picnic month recipe inspiration

    Picnic recipe inspiration

    Prepare-ahead recipe ideas for your next family picnic

    July is officially National Picnic Month, and since we’re currently experiencing the hottest July for 400 years, it’s the perfect time to take your family meals out of the kitchen and into the beautiful British countryside.

    Before you step outdoors though, here are five portable recipes to whip up in the kitchen ready for the perfect picnic.

    Veggie delights

    Find a new use for empty jam jars with these colourful vegetarian jar salads. Cook 60g of rice or couscous per person then spoon into the bottom of the jar once cooled. Meanwhile, cut one block of halloumi into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and grill for 5-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Layer chopped tomatoes and peppers, lettuce leaves, sliced onion and avocado on top of your grains then top with the halloumi and a few teaspoons of vinaigrette dressing to keep your veggies fresh for your picnic.

    Super sarnies

    Take your sandwich game to the next level with this super-tasty stuffed loaf. Take a fresh loaf of crusty bread then slice off the top and remove some of the soft centre. Spread the inside of your loaf with butter and tomato chutney then build up layers of ham, sliced cheese, lettuce and pepperoni. Top with sliced pickles and chutney then replace the top of the loaf and gently press down to seal. Slice into quarters but do not separate the slices, then wrap the whole loaf in cling film to take with you inside your cool bag.

    Pasta perfection

    Don’t want to spend a long time prepping for your picnic? Then this simple yet delicious pesto pasta salad is your new best friend. Boil 75g farfalle pasta bows per person for 10-12 minutes, drain and leave to cool. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the pesto by blitzing together 60g pine nuts, 50g parmesan, 160ml olive oil, a pinch of salt, 1 garlic clove and 1 bunch fresh basil in the blender. Once the pasta has cooled, mix in the pesto along with chopped cherry tomatoes then pack up in a Tupperware ready for your picnic.

    Cookie break

    It wouldn’t be a proper picnic without a little sweet treat to finish off your fun family outing. Cream together 150g butter with 150g brown sugar then one egg and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, beating together until creamy and lump-free. Stir in 225g sieved plain flour, ½ a teaspoon of baking powder and the zest of one orange, then divide cookie dough into 24 equal balls. Flatten each ball onto a lined baking sheet and decorate with chocolate buttons and pecans, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 190 degrees, sprinkling with a little extra orange zest once cooled.

    Fruity refresher

    Swap sugary soft drinks for a natural alternative by preparing personalised jam jar drinks to enjoy on your picnic. Half fill each jar with your favourite selection of chopped fruit, cucumber slices and fresh mint then fill the rest with ice and top up with water. Screw on the jar lid and pack in your coolbag for the most refreshing picnic drink you’ve ever tasted!

    Category: Advice

  • Make Magnet part of the family

    Messy little pups

    How to keep the kitchen clean when you live with dogs

    The results are in…

    We recently asked our Twitter followers to tell us their favourite pet, and with 58% of the vote it’s official that dogs take the top spot.

    But as anyone who’s ever lived with a pup will tell you, energetic dogs can’t help but leave a little mess and mischief in their wake, which is not exactly what you want in the kitchen. So to help you live in harmony with your pawsome pet, we’ve put together this handy guide to keeping the kitchen clean and clutter free when you live with dogs.

    Everything it its place

    From a hygiene perspective, it’s a good idea to reserve one cupboard solely for pet supplies to keep them separate from ingredients and kitchenware involved in preparing food. If your dog is prone to exploring, make sure to include locks on lower food cupboards and keep any dangerous ingredients or cleaning products out of reach to avoid potential hazards, not to mention mess!

    While food and water bowls need to be easily accessible, they can easily lead to trip hazards and irritating puddles if messy eaters knock them out of place. To avoid this, place a tray underneath food bowls to catch overspill, and consider including an open shelf at one end of your kitchen cabinet where bowls can be cleverly concealed yet remain within reach.

    Muddy monsters

    It’s amazing how quickly muddy paws can turn a clean white kitchen into a disaster zone! Contain the mess post-walkies by placing an old towel and bowl of water next to the door before you go out, ready to clean off mucky paws before entering the house on your return. Of course it’s not always possible to completely avoid muddy paws from entering the house, so make sure to choose flooring and cabinets that are easy to wipe clean, and avoid decorating with rugs that stain easily or aren’t suitable for the washing machine.

    Paws not claws

    The last thing you want when you invest in a beautiful brand new kitchen is to see ugly scratch marks on your pristine cabinet doors, so choose hard-wearing materials that can stand up to the tests of a persistent pooch and have your pup’s nails trimmed frequently. Dogs have a tendency to scratch at doors and furnishings when they want attention or to be let into a room, but resist responding when they do so to avoid reinforcing destructive behaviour.

    Scent-sational

    Accidents happen, so to keep your kitchen a sanitary environment, clean up the mess quickly with anti-bacterial cleaner and spritz with lemon water solution afterwards to prevent smells from lingering. Likewise, toys, bedding and pet bowls should be washed frequently to keep them smelling fresh, while sprinkling baking soda over rugs before hoovering is a great way to lift out lingering pet odour.

    Furry friends

    While we love cuddling up to our pups and stroking their soft fur, unfortunately dog hair isn’t quite so pleasant when it’s shed all over your kitchen! Floor sweepers with replaceable static dust sheets are a great investment as they quickly pick up fur from hard floors and prevent it from blocking up the hoover. Similarly, rubber rakes are brilliant for removing loose hair from deep-pile doormats and a lint roller is a useful tool for upholstery if your dogs regularly jump up onto seat cushions round the kitchen table. Finally, even if your dog can’t reach the kitchen worktops, always wipe down surfaces with antibacterial cleaner before preparing food as pet hair can easily drift into places you wouldn’t expect it.

    Category: Advice

  • Studio White

    How to maintain kitchen appliances

    Aftercare tips to keep appliances working perfectly for years to come

    When you’ve finally got the kitchen of your dreams, the last thing you want is for broken-down appliances to cause a disaster.

    After all, nothing disrupts the flow of family life more than the washing machine suddenly flooding the kitchen floor or finding out the weekly shop has gone bad because the fridge has stopped working. Worse still, damage to both the appliance and the surrounding kitchen area can be costly and time consuming to put right.

    So what can you do to prevent a potential kitchen catastrophe?

    Choosing high-quality appliances from reputable electricals brands is crucial, but equally there are a number of simple upkeep steps you can take to ensure appliances remain in perfect working condition for years to come.

    Fridges & freezers

    Allowing dust and dirt to collect around the condenser coils of your fridge can cause it to run inefficiently and even break down altogether. To prevent this, every 3-6 months you should lift away the protective grill that covers the coils, usually at the back of the fridge, and gently dust or vacuum away collected debris.

    You should also regularly clean the rubber seals around the edges of fridge and freezer doors. This is because residue build up can cause the door to stick, leading to tears in the seal when you try to open it and preventing the fridge from cooling properly.

    Microwaves

    Clogged up vents can cause a microwave to overheat or even explode, so it’s vital to frequently clean your microwave before dried-on stains become a potential hazard. One clever tip is to heat a mug of lemon juice and water for several minutes in the microwave, or until the liquid has evaporated, as this will help to cut through grease so you can easily wipe away dirt.

    Dishwashers

    The most important way to keep a dishwasher healthy for longer is to always rinse off food debris before loading dishes into the machine, as crumbs can easily jam up moving parts and cause bacteria to build up. You should also remove and rinse the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher every so often and run the machine on a cycle with a cup of cleaning solution or vinegar every 3-6 months to fight calcium build up.

    Ovens

    While you may be tempted to line the bottom of the oven with a sheet of foil to catch drips and make cleaning easier, this can actually restrict airflow and cause the heating element to not work effectively. Most ovens should be cleaned once every 3-6 months to keep them in good working order, but never use spray-on cleaner in a self-cleaning oven, which uses pyrolytic cleaning technology to turn greasy residue into ash that can be easily wiped away.

    Washing machines

    If you’re installing a new washing machine, and once every five years afterwards, you should replace the hose that connects the machine to the water supply to stop blockages leading to costly leaks. If you’re away for an extended period of time, like a holiday, it’s also a good idea to shut off water supply to the washing machine completely to prevent damage if anything does go wrong. When using the machine day to day, avoid overloading the drum to prevent the motor from burning out, and close doors gently to avoid damaging the seal.

    Tumble dryers

    It’s easy to forget to clean the lint trap after every load of washing you put into the tumble dryer, but doing so can make all the difference since lint is highly flammable and allowing it to build up can pose a serious fire risk. For the same reason, you should also check the machine’s lint pipe for potential blockages once every six months.

    As an added incentive, removing lint frequently allows your machine to work more efficiently since ventilation and heating isn’t obstructed, so it will save you money on your energy bill too.

    Hobs

    Gas hob not lighting? This is often caused by food spillages blocking the igniter, so try turning off the unit at the plug and cleaning the igniter carefully with a toothbrush to dislodge any trapped dirt.

    Category: Advice

  • Summer spice mixes & seasonings

    5 home-made spice mixes & seasonings to bring your summer recipes to life

    As the seasons change, so do our eating habits. While warming soups and casseroles are firm favourites for winter, summer paves the way for light salads, barbecued taste-sensations and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

    So to help you bring out the full flavour of summer’s seasonal ingredients, here are five delicious home-made spice mixes and seasonings to give your cooking a new lease of life.

    Salsa rhythms

    Put a tropical twist on your next meal with this refreshing pineapple salsa recipe. This dish makes the perfect garnish for grilled fish and is also great sprinkled onto crunchy nacho chips or spooned into Mexican chicken fajitas with a dollop of sour cream for a fruity twist.

    Ingredients

    1 fresh pineapple, core and skin removed, or 400g tin of pineapple slices, finely diced

    1 red onion, finely diced

    Juice of 1 fresh lime

    1 bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped

    1 medium-heat jalapeno chilli, finely chopped

    Pinch of salt

    Turn up the heat

    Bring a hint of the exotic into your weekdays with this Moroccan-inspired spice blend. Rub into lamb chops before grilling for a mouth-watering Middle-Eastern adventure, sprinkle onto fluffy cous cous or stir into hummus to create a subtly-spiced accompaniment to tasty fried falafel.

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon coriander

    1 teaspoon cumin

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon turmeric

    1 teaspoon salt

    ½ teaspoon black pepper

    ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    ½ teaspoon ginger

    ½ teaspoon allspice

    ¼ teaspoon cloves

    Sensational salads

    Make dull, lifeless salads a thing of the past with this classic French vinaigrette dressing. Once mixed, you can keep this go-to salad saver in the fridge for up to a fortnight, so why not make up a bigger batch in a squirty sauce bottle so it’s always on hand to perk up healthy dinners.

    Ingredients

    75ml extra-virgin olive oil

    25ml balsamic vinegar

    1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

    ½ teaspoon brown sugar

    Pinch of salt

    Pinch of black pepper

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    Barbecue season

    Want to be crowned king or queen of the grill this barbecue season? Then whip up a batch of this sweet and smoky dry-rub recipe. Try sprinkling a few teaspoons into your home-made burger mix, mixing into oil to drizzle over vegetable kebabs or adding to natural yoghurt and marinating meat overnight for succulent barbecued ribs or chicken wings.

    Ingredients

    1 teaspoon smoked paprika

    1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    1 teaspoon brown sugar

    1 teaspoon black pepper

    1 teaspoon chilli flakes

    1 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon onion granules

    1 teaspoon cumin

    1 teaspoon oregano

    Pasta perfection

    You’ll be amazed at how much better home-made pesto tastes compared to shop-bought alternatives. Simply whizz all the ingredients together in a blender to prepare and you’re ready to use your delicious creation to drizzle over fresh-cooked pasta, enhance the flavour of oven-roasted vegetables or spread onto toasted ciabatta with a generous helping of melted mozzarella.

    Ingredients

    100g fresh basil

    50g parmesan cheese (or vegetarian substitute)

    2 cloves garlic

    50 pine nuts

    140ml extra virgin olive oil

    Category: Advice

  • Time-saving food preparation hacks

    Four prepare-in-advance recipes to liven up your weekday meals

    We’ve all been there.

    After a weekend of indulgent restaurant meals or snacking by the TV, you promise yourself that this is going to be the week you start eating healthily and begin cooking adventurous recipes for the family from scratch using fresh ingredients. Then Monday rolls around and once again you find yourself reverting back to ready meals, simple sandwiches and boring breakfast cereals just to save time during the working week.

    We’re here to change that.

    With these clever kitchen hacks, you can prepare in advance so it’s quick and easy to whip up delicious yet nutritious breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for all the family throughout the week, no matter how busy your schedule.

    Breakfast of champions

    Start the day off right, without having to get up early to prepare breakfast. These overnight oats can be prepared the night before so you can get a few extra precious minutes of sleep in the morning. They’re the perfect source of slow-release energy so you stay full until lunch, plus the combination of smooth natural yoghurt, mellow banana, crunchy hazelnuts and sweet maple syrup creates a tasty breakfast you’ll definitely want to wake up to!

    Ingredients

    40g porridge oats

    100ml natural yoghurt

    20g hazelnuts

    1 ripe banana

    1 tbsp maple syrup

    Super salads

    Salad leaves like spinach and kale are packed full of nutrients and offer a fantastic low-calorie alternative to shop bought sandwiches, but they can become dull and repetitive if you’re eating the same standard mix day after day. On the other hand, if you choose to add dressing at home in the morning, your salad can often become soggy and wilted by lunchtime. Avoid this common dilemma by preparing this zesty Thai-inspired salad dressing in the blender at the weekend and bringing to work in serving-sized containers, ready to drizzle over fresh salad leaves.

    Ingredients

    25ml light soy sauce

    25ml rice wine vinegar

    50ml sesame oil

    25ml lime juice

    ¼ onion, roughly chopped

    10g piece of fresh ginger

    1 clove garlic

    1 lemongrass stalk, chopped

    4 tsp turmeric

    1 green chilli

    1 ½ tsp tamarind paste

    Snack attack

    Guilty of ruining your best intentions by giving in to the temptation of unhealthy processed chocolate bars or cakes between meals? Then you’ll love these 6 ingredient snack bars, which are oh-so simple to mix up in the blender, require no cooking and are full of naturally sweet, vitamin-filled fruits and filling, protein-rich nuts. Oh, and did we mention they taste incredible?

    Ingredients

    170g dates

    Juice & zest of 1 orange

    1 apple

    2 tbsp cocoa powder

    225g almonds

    2 tbsp maple syrup

    Spice up your life

    Cooking a curry from scratch brings out the flavour of the herbs and spices in a way ready meals will never capture, but with so many ingredients to prepare, it’s not surprising we often reach for microwave alternatives for weekday dinners. Thankfully though, there is another way.

    Blitz the ingredients together in the blender when you have time to spare, then spoon into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer. Now, when you fancy a curry midweek, all you have to do is add one cube to the pan along with your choice of meat or vegetables, then once heated, stir in coconut milk, chopped tomatoes or yoghurt to create a rich, aromatic sauce.

    Ingredients

    ½ onion, roughly chopped

    2 green chillies

    100ml sunflower or vegetable oil

    3 cloves garlic

    1 ripe tomato

    1 tbsp cumin

    Bunch of fresh coriander

    20g piece of fresh ginger

    Category: Advice

  • Newbury Grey

    4 ways to style a grey kitchen

    Personalise your grey kitchen with these inspirational décor tips

    The grey kitchens trend is here to stay, so how can you adapt this season’s most popular cabinet shade to match your personal taste?

    It’s no surprise that grey is fast becoming the kitchen colour of choice in homes across the globe. Versatile enough to complement a huge variety of hues, materials and décor styles, yet striking enough to make a statement, grey offers the perfect balance between the contemporary and the classic.

    So if you’re considering grey’s soothing hues for your next kitchen renovation, we’ve compiled a list of four very different decoration approaches to make this stand-out shade your own.

    Plant power

    Fresh bursts of green foliage create the perfect contrast with kitchen cabinets in neutral grey tones, not to mention that certain common pot plants like Aloe Vera can even help to purify the air in your kitchen by neutralising the chemicals found in cleaning products. Place verdant green house plants and herbs on open shelves or windowsills, matching with solid wood worktops and wooden furnishings to complete the natural look.

    Bold is beautiful

    Conjure up a sense of drama by pairing kitchen cabinets in grey hues with dark granite worktops. Add matt black light fixtures and brushed chrome appliances to create a minimalist look fit for a Michelin starred chef, and complete the transformation with the latest innovative kitchen technology, from smart storage solutions to cutting edge gadgets.

    Copper chic

    Combine two of 2018’s biggest kitchen trends by mixing grey kitchen cabinets with chic copper finishing touches, from statement copper handles and light fixtures to copper-plated cookware. This luxurious look is best suited to framed slab style kitchens like the Newbury Grey, and works particularly well when combined with luxurious marble-effect worktops.

    Colourful contrast

    Prefer a brighter kitchen? Grey cabinets make the perfect backdrop for bright pops of colour, from fresh yellow and bold red to calming pale blues or refined forest green. Opt for a coloured feature wall or kitchen splashback for a truly head-turning look, or go for the subtle approach by choosing several accessories and soft furnishings in a consistent shade.

    Which of these looks would you love for your new kitchen? Share your choice with us on social media.

    Category: Advice

  • 5 food prep tips for the perfect barbecue

    Take your BBQ to the next level with these simple food prep secrets

    Want to be named the undisputed king or queen of the grill this National BBQ Week?

    Then we’ll let you in on a secret: the perfect barbecue is all in the preparation. Even before you step outside into the sunshine, there are techniques you can use in the kitchen to make sure you get juicy, flavoursome results, instead of the usual burnt bangers!

    Read on to discover our five top BBQ preparation tips for summer.

    Mouth-watering marinade

    Supercharge the flavour of your barbecued ribs or chicken wings with a mouth-watering marinade. Add a few tablespoons each of honey and olive oil to a large jar then mix in a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon each of paprika, cumin and oregano and two chopped garlic cloves. Add your meat to the jar, close the lid and shake for an even coating, then store in the fridge overnight to let the flavours marinate before lighting up the barbecue. For an extra tip, spritz the meat with apple juice while grilling to keep it moist and perfectly caramelised.

    The stick trick

    It’s not all about the meat! Make your BBQ veggie friendly with gloriously colourful vegetable kebabs. Soak the wooden sticks in water for 30 minutes before making the skewers to ensure they don’t burn on the barbecue and help the vegetables slide on smoother. Then drizzle with olive oil and your choice of herbs and spices before cooking on the barbecue.

    Beautiful burgers

    The trick to juicy burgers is to use mince with an 80:20 fat ratio, as this will prevent the meat becoming too dry. Work with cold mince straight out of the fridge and use gentle pressure to form meat into a ball then press into a flat burger, as pressing the meat too tightly together can also lead to dry burgers. A helpful secret to stop burgers sticking to the grill is to rub half an onion over the wire rack before lighting the coals. Finally, why not pre-prepare toppings like grated cheese, sliced tomatoes, pickles, chillies and sauces then place each topping in a different section of a muffin tin, for a mess-free build-your-own burger station that all the family will love.

    Perfect potatoes

    Baked potatoes are another great vegetarian-friendly barbecue option, but they can be time-consuming to cook on coals alone. Speed up the process by pre-cooking in the microwave or oven until almost done, ready to stick on the barbecue wrapped in foil to crisp up the skin while keeping the inside fluffy and light. For an even more tempting treat, stuff your pre-cooked potato with grated cheese and baked beans before foil-wrapping, leaving you with a deliciously gooey centre.

    Fish of the day

    Create a taste-sensation by taking a whole salmon or trout and stuffing the insides with garlic cloves, sprigs of parsley, cracked black pepper and lemon wedges. That way, the flavours will infuse into the fish as it cooks. To keep the fish moist, some chefs recommend wrapping inside several layers of newspaper and soaking in water, as this will stop steam from escaping and seal all the juices inside the fish.

    What are you cooking up for National Barbecue Week? Share your tempting BBQ food photos & secret recipes with us on Facebook or Twitter.

    Category: Advice

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