Posts tagged with "Uncategorized"

  • International Family Meal Inspiration

    International family recipe inspiration

    Tasty treats from around the globe to enjoy while you watch the football

    Though we’re all keeping our fingers crossed to see a victory for England this year, the World Cup is about so much more than just bringing home a trophy.

    This international spectacle brings many countries from across the globe together into one big family, all eagerly cheering on teams from the living room sofa, no matter where you are in the world.

    So to celebrate the big sporting event that the whole world is watching this summer, we’ve gathered four different international recipes for all the family to enjoy while the match is on.

    Flavoursome fajitas

    Fajitas are a fun dish to make as a family as you can let everyone choose their toppings to suit their own tastes. First fry up thin slices of chicken or beef (400g for a family of 4), two colourful peppers and two red onions on the hob along with chopped garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, thyme and a pinch of salt. Then warm fajita wraps in the microwave and serve up alongside the chicken and veggies and bowls of salsa, grated cheese, sour cream and guacamole, to let the whole family build their own fajitas.

    Sushi time

    Sushi is easier than you think to make from home, and there are endless ways to customise the fillings in these mouth-sized morsels to different tastes, from crunchy carrots and cucumber sticks to fresh smoked salmon or tinned tuna.

    To get started, pick up a sushi mat, sushi rice and Nori seaweed sushi papers from your nearest Asian grocery store. Cook 60g rice per person until sticky and chop vegetable fillings into thin batons 1 inch long, adding seasoning as desired. Next, place a sheet of Nori paper onto your rolling matt and spread a thin layer of drained rice over the sheet. Place the fillings in a straight line across the middle of the rice, then use the matt to roll the sheet into a cylinder with the fillings in the centre. Finally, slice the cylinder into one inch pieces of sushi and serve up with soy dipping sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

    Aromatic paella

    Straight from the sunny coasts of Spain, paella offers a delicious combination of smoky chorizo, succulent seafood and heaps of flavourful saffron rice. To cook up this delicious dish at home, start by frying garlic, onions, chopped red pepper and chorizo in olive oil. Next, add diced chicken and 75g rice per person, frying for a few more minutes before adding 1 pint of chicken stock, half a glass of white wine, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the rice is cooked, adding additional stock if the liquid boils off before the rice is ready. Stir in fresh tomatoes and add cooked prawns, fresh mussels and lemon wedges to serve.

    Mouthwatering mezze

    Buffet style meals always work well for a long night in front of the footie – after all, you never know when you might feel peckish again and fancy a second helping! Take inspiration from Moroccan cuisine by oven-roasting a whole chicken seasoned with turmeric, coriander and cinnamon, then serving with fluffy couscous, creamy hummus dip, mixed olives and crunchy falafel.

    Category: Uncategorized

  • 6 Hand-made gift ideas for Mother's Day

    Crafty ideas to give your Mother’s Day gifts the personal touch

    Mother’s Day is approaching fast on Sunday 11th March, are you ready?

    Since December, we’ve been celebrating the role kitchens play in family life, from life-changing events like little ones taking their first steps on the kitchen floor, to everyday kitchen moments like catching up at the dinner table after school.

    So with Mother’s Day coming up, we wanted to share some fun home-made gift ideas families can make together around the kitchen table for their mums. After all, nothing says thank you quite like giving a gift with a personal touch.

    Cosy candles

    If your mum loves cosy nights in then a candle in a teacup could be the perfect gift. Pick up wax pellets and candle wicks from your local craft store and browse vintage shops for a decorative teacup. Next, glue the wick into the bottom of your teacup, melt the wax pellets in the microwave, pour into your teacup and leave to set. You can even choose to add a few drops of food colouring and natural scented oil into the melted wax to match your mum’s favourite colour and scent.

    Strawberry dreams

    Not a natural chef? Don’t worry, you won’t need any culinary flair for this simple yet refined dessert treat. Use a pastry cutter or upturned mug to cut out circular disks from a sheet of ready-roll pastry and bake at 200°C (180°C for fan ovens) for around 8 minutes or until golden brown. Once cool, dollop a dessert-spoon sized serving of custard onto the middle of each tart and decorate with sliced strawberries and a shake of icing sugar.

    Time for a cuppa

    What better way to start Mother’s Day than making mum a breakfast cup of coffee or tea in a hand-painted mug. You can buy ceramic paints in most art and craft shops, and the rest of the design is up to your wildest imagination, from intricate patterns to adorable drawings of your family. Perfect for children of any age to show their mum they care!

    Cactus chic

    Style-loving mums are bound to be wowed by this chic, contemporary cactus plant pot. What’s more, it’s easy to achieve with just common items you’re likely to have around the house, as all you need to do is apply glue to the outside of a regular plantpot then gradually wind garden twine around it in spirals to create this scandi style decorative pot.

    A slice of heaven

    Serve up a slice of heaven by baking your mum a rich, indulgent coffee and walnut cake. Cream together 250g of butter and 250g of sugar, then beat in 100ml of strong coffee and four eggs, before adding 280g of self-raising flour and a pinch of baking powder. Once you’ve made a smooth batter, mix in 100g of chopped walnuts and oven bake at 180°C (160°C fan ovens) for 30 minutes. Decorate your cake with coffee buttercream icing, made by mixing 100g of butter with 200g of icing sugar and a teaspoon of very strong coffee, then sprinkle with a handful of walnuts to complete the look.

    Teatime treat

    Transform plain tea, coffee and sugar tins into a work of art your mum will be proud to display on her kitchen countertop. Choose a pretty sheet of wrapping paper, measure around your coffee canister and cut the sheet to wrap tightly around the tin, with a little glue to keep it in place. Don’t forget to fill with her favourite blend of tea or coffee to finish.

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    Kitchen Heart-warming family kitchen memories

    Highlights from the family kitchen stories you’ve shared with us

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  • Kitchen table entrepreneurs

    Four inspiring entrepreneurs who started a business from the kitchen table

    We know the kitchen is much more than just a room to cook in.

    It’s where family memories are made. From magical moments like spending rainy days with little ones attempting craft projects at the kitchen table, to unwinding with a glass of wine after a busy day at work. And for some people, it’s also the place where dream careers finally become a reality.

    Since we’re celebrating all the incredible moments that take place in kitchens across the UK, here are four stories of inspirational entrepreneurs who started a business from their own kitchens.

    Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen

    Paul Lindley was working for Nickelodeon when his baby daughter’s fussy eating habits helped him spot a gap in the market for a brightly packaged, totally organic and health-conscious baby food brand.

    Paul began testing and refining original recipes from his own kitchen, and after just under two years, he got his big break when Sainsbury’s agreed to trial his product. Today, the company sells its organic baby food in more than 40 countries, with an annual turnover of over 50 million pounds.

    Julie Deane, Cambridge Satchel Co.

    Julie Deane was determined to start a business in order to raise tuition fees to send her daughter to a new school, after finding out she had been targeted by bullies. Her idea to revive retro satchel style bags proved to be a stroke of genius, propelling the company from a solo business run from Julie’s kitchen table to a multi-million-pound enterprise, with celebrity customers including Taylor Swift and Zooey Deschanel.

    Levi Roots, Reggae Reggae

    Levi Roots shot to fame thanks to an appearance on Dragons’ Den, capturing the nation’s attention with his catchy song, charismatic personality and secret sauce recipe. While Reggae Reggae sauce was initially bottled at Levi’s own kitchen table, today it’s a household name stocked in supermarkets and restaurants across the UK, plus there’s even a Reggae Reggae cookbook!

    Stacey Dennis, Love Layla Designs

    Being made redundant may not seem like the start of a brilliant career, but for Stacey Dennis losing her job gave her the opportunity to sit down at her kitchen table and turn her graphic design skills into an international greeting card business. In fact, just two years after launching Love Layla Designs, named after Stacey’s daughter, the company had already achieved a turnover of over one million pounds.

    Have you experienced your own life-changing inspirational moment in the kitchen? Then share it with us here for the chance to win a brand new Magnet Kitchen worth up to £15,000.

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    Family kitchen moments - Katie

    Mega mums celebrate their special family kitchen moments

    Read more about Mega mums celebrate their special family kitchen moments

  • Vienna Graphite

    Interview with Dr Jack Lewis

    Magnet interviews leading neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis

    Why do different sensory stimulants affect people in different ways?

    Everyone’s brain has experienced different things, so as people progress though their life from childhood to adulthood the brain wires itself together according to their experiences. Things that are experienced frequently have a bigger influence than those that are experienced infrequently. Everyone’s batch of emotional sensory experiences are different and it is these that have the most power in forming the way our brain wires up, and therefore responds to things in the outside world. This is why everyone responds differently, because the type of music that evokes memories of my childhood will be very different from the type of music that evokes memories of your childhood.

    It is the same with smells, textures and all of our senses: we have unique experiences of the world and of our sensory experiences.

    By the time we reach adulthood we have experienced different things a different number of times and these memories evoke different sensory experiences from person to person.

    Why does the home evoke such a strong sensory experience?

    The home is the place where so many of our memories are experienced. It is the place where we feel safe and secure, where we drop our guard. In the living room for example, you’ve got lots of strong visual and acoustic stimuli coming out of your TV. Your radio or sound system is a device that allows you to select and thereby develop a taste for different types of programmes and music.

    A lot of our senses are stimulated in the home, it is the place where we kick off our shoes and walk around barefoot, awakening our touch senses. The kitchen is a key room where everything is simultaneously stimulated – especially smell and taste.

    How can you introduce sensory stimulants into the home to improve your wellbeing?

    Well, a lot of the sensory stimulants that improve wellbeing tend to be related to the natural world but our homes tend to insulate us from this world. So to improve your well-being it’s a good idea to do things like introducing aromas into the home, such as fresh flowers in a vase. Some people do it and some don’t, however the smell of nature can be key in improving your mood. Often the best thing you can do is get out of the house altogether and go for a walk around the park or the countryside whenever possible. If you are trying to recreate these natural experiences in the home then flowers are a good option as well as pieces of art or music.

    The one thing about visual art is that quite often you only really notice it for the first few weeks after you have put it up, so you should trick your senses by moving these pieces around or by having a different set of images that you rotate around your home. Doing this is in effect like curating your own art show in order to keep your brain on its toes because you are giving it novel experiences on a more regular basis. Don’t just hang up a painting and leave it there for decades – mix it up to encourage and stimulate your senses.

    Why is the kitchen the perfect place to awaken your senses?

    All of the senses are stimulated simultaneously in the kitchen. You have the sight of food, the smells, the aromas coming in through your nostrils, and the taste when you eat something. Eating food is very much about the tactile experience of feeling the textures in your mouth, this is a huge part of what we almost colloquially call the sense of taste. Strictly speaking taste is just the senses that come in through the tongue, and there’s only 5 or maybe 6, some would argue, possible experiences that come in just though the tongue, so the sense of smell and touch inside the mouth is vastly underrated. I did an experiment the other day on my TV series where we blindfolded people, robbing them of their sense of vision as well as their sense of smell, and then gave them a raw onion to eat (also asking them to use a glove so they couldn’t feel the onion). They thought it was an apple, until we took the peg off their nose. Even when we only robbed them of their sense of vision they still couldn’t tell what it was, which shows the power that vision has in dominating our experience of taste. When you are hungry, you eat, you feel pleasure. Hunger was invented, biologically speaking to encourage us to seek out food to nourish us and give us energy to survive. Eating when we are hungry invariably gives us a sense of pleasure and as the kitchen is the place where we experience this time and time again, we have positive associations with this – hence the parties in the kitchen!

    What’s the one thing everyone should have in their kitchen to stimulate their senses?

    That’s an interesting one, I think a brilliant idea is spices. Spices and herbs. Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to have a spice rack, you don’t always have to use it in your cooking. Leaving the lid off one of the jars from time to time is a great way of evoking your senses through scent, and often these aromas can jolt memories of your childhood.

    Usually when our memories are jolted, they come from periods of life called the reminiscent bump which occurs between the age of 15-30. The sense of smell is linked to this because it’s plugged directly into the limbic system, the emotional memory part of the brain, rather than being re-routed through other brain areas first, as with the other senses. This means that it’s very powerful in evoking memories of childhood before the age of 10, and there’s no other sense that can stimulate it in quite the same way.

    Many would also suggest freshly ground coffee, to actually grind your own beans, so coffee lovers might wish to do that to evoke their sense of smell. There’s something about actually turning the handle of an old fashioned coffee mill, where you can feel the beans crunching and the aromas are always much more powerful when it’s freshly ground, so there you go - two for the price of one!

    Tags: Kitchen, Trends, Uncategorized

  • The art of choosing a kitchen

    Caroline Cook, Freelance editor & stylistAstral Blue“There’s something really special about choosing a kitchen; it’s important to reflect your personality and your lifestyle. Astral Blue is the one for me as it combines my love of urban colour with sleek ordered materials and yet has all the personality to create a family friendly living space.

    Caroline Cook, Freelance editor & stylist

    Astral Blue

    “There’s something really special about choosing a kitchen; it’s important to reflect your personality and your lifestyle. Astral Blue is the one for me as it combines my love of urban colour with sleek ordered materials and yet has all the personality to create a family friendly living space. It seems to effortlessly marry practical day-to-day activity with open-plan living, making it easy to shamelessly merge rustic wooden accessories with crystal chandeliers and get away with breaking any and every style rule.

    “The steel blue high gloss is a gorgeous colour – the finish reminds me of a beautiful motor car but with the warmth of platinum which reflects light and maximises space. I love to combine surprising elements when designing a room, especially colour and material and Astral makes this easy: It looks equally fabulous teamed with stainless steel, white Corian or dark lounge-style walnut. Try designing yours with more than one work surface and add your own element of surprise with open shelving in a bright colour such as red or turquoise. I am going that extra mile by adding a run of four Astral blue wall cupboards in my lounge to create a wall hung media unit, topped with a dark walnut work surface. Or do I go mad and wrap the whole thing in white Corian?”

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  • Bring the outside inside your kitchen

    Creating a kitchen where the inside reflects the beautiful garden space outside is made easier when you use French windows or patio doors.And its bang on trend right now.

    Creating a kitchen where the inside reflects the beautiful garden space outside is made easier when you use French windows or patio doors.

    And its bang on trend right now.

    Not only does it give you new access to your garden on lovely summer days but it also allows floods of natural light into the room – highlighting the best aspects of your culinary space and literally shining a light on some of the kitchen’s most unique features.

    It is crucial that you get the feel of the doors right though - for homes with a traditional country garden it is essential that the kitchen emulates the country feel, for example.

    Soft timber or Shaker designs, such as Magnet’s Charleston Bone, look great when coupled with vivacious rural gardens.

    Likewise, for modern, minimalist gardens - choose a kitchen to match.

    Taking an accent colour from the kitchen and using it as a theme in your French windows also helps to create a unified space.

    You can continue the theme outside in your garden too - a stone or tiled floor with under-floor heating will keep the kitchen warm during winter and keep the room cool during the summer. Use a similar stone floor outside for a stunning, contemporary look.

    Alternatively, choose a wooden floor and use a similar wood for decking outside to create a subtle transition from the kitchen to the garden.

    When choosing a position for the patio doors ensure that there is clear, unobstructed view from the kitchen to the garden.

    Avoid installing islands or units in front of patio doors as these will obstruct movement in and out of the kitchen. However a unit or table close to the patio doors provides the perfect place to serve food from when entertaining outdoors.

    And most importantly, it looks great.

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  • Turn Your Kitchen into an Aromatic Garden

    Imagine that amazing aroma from a selection of fresh herbs growing on your own kitchen window sill – sprigs of mint always at hand, basil leaves when you need them, and that incredible spicy freshness of young coriander leaves - like nature’s very own room freshener.If it is good enough for super-chef Jamie Oliver then it is certainly something we can get on board with.

    Imagine that amazing aroma from a selection of fresh herbs growing on your own kitchen window sill – sprigs of mint always at hand, basil leaves when you need them, and that incredible spicy freshness of young coriander leaves - like nature’s very own room freshener.

    If it is good enough for super-chef Jamie Oliver then it is certainly something we can get on board with.

    For inspiration check out the Living Larder Herb Garden – not only does it look the part on any kitchen window sill, it is perfect for growing herbs on your balcony or patio too. Being at worktop height means that there’s no bending so effort in looking after your herb garden is minimal and garden pests can’t help themselves to your goodies either.

    Or there’s these lovely kitchen herb pots from www.notonthehighstreet.com - which would look laid back and lovely on any kitchen surface.

    The thing is you don’t have to spend a fortune to achieve both the aroma and the look. You can literally use almost anything to house your herb garden – old coffee and tea container, vintage produce tins – pretty much anything that is lying around unused and looks interesting or quirky will provide a great herb home as well as giving your kitchen a quirky new focal point.

    Visitors to the Miele booth at the recent Architectural Digest Home Design Show were treated to a glimpse into the ultimate green kitchen, complete with a centre island-style herb table and lush vertical gardens. Created by New Jersey-based EcoWalls, the green accoutrements not only added flair to the booth, they also demonstrated how planted surfaces can be implemented into an everyday home. The vegetated walls and herb garden also acted as the perfect complement to Miele's newest line of energy-efficient refrigerators, ovens and wine coolers.

    Tell us what you think at Facebook.com/MagnetKitchens or twitter.com/Magnet UK

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