Tea is the nations favourite drink, past time, and dare I say ‘addiction’. There literally just isn’t any problem that can’t be solved over a cup of tea.

January is officially tea month – though really every month is tea month. Let’s take a look at the history of tea in Britain, some different types of tea and maybe a tea biscuit recipe or two.

Whilst tea is our nations most consumed drink, by 9am this morning over 61 million cups of tea have already been consumed according to the UK Tea & Infusions Association, it wasn’t originally produced here. In the 17th century a Portuguese princess (Catherine) that had a taste for the leaf didn’t necessarily bring the infamous leaf to England but she did make it the most fashionable beverage to be consumed during the time. For its time, tea was like yellow diamonds are now. Exotic, expensive and some people would actually kill for it (and did).

Cutty Sark - Tea Month - Appliance City

This fascinating infusion leaf was smuggled, stolen and dumped in harbours. There are many important events, places and pieces of history that can be linked with the amber liquid like the East India Company, Tea Clippers (like shown above), the London Tea Auction and the Boston Tea Party.

Image Credit: Southbay Sail

Since it’s beginnings in Britain over 400 years ago tea quickly because not only the fashionable drink for Brits, but one we can’t live without.

Take a step away from your PG Tips or Yorkshire Gold this morning and steep something a bit different. You’ll never know what you’ll end up liking. I’ll start with my own personal favourite, an Indian tea.

Vanilla Chai Tea

Vanilla Chai - Tea Month - Appliance City

Chai tea is a decadent tea with all my favourite tastes of autumn. It’s no surprise that I love winter and autumn and all the smells and flavours that are traditional this time of year. This tea is a beautiful blend of vanilla, nutmeg and cardamom. I drink it iced during the summer with just a touch of milk and a bit of sugar and piping hot made the same way during the winter. It is a great alternative for those who don’t like the taste of coffee. It still has all those warm undertones of a fantastic latte without the bitterness of coffee.

Rooibos Tea

Tea Month - January - Rooibos Tea

Image Credit: Red Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea has been loved for hundreds of years in South Africa. Truthfully it isn’t a tea at all but actually a legume. When brewed it produces a red tea that is slightly sweet and nutty in flavour. When I drink it I happen to add a touch of honey to it. It’s perfect for when I’m feeling under the weather or want a tea that doesn’t have milk in it. Alternatively, you can drink this tea in the summer time over ice with a bit of lemon. But don’t take my word for it, put the kettle on and try it out for yourself.

Oolong Tea

Tea Month - Oolong Tea - Appliance City

Oolong tea is commonly called ‘blue tea’, a combination of the flavours of both black tea and green tea, and is grown in both China and Taiwan. Depending on where your Oolong tea comes from and how it is produced it can have completely different flavours. I like a quote I once read about Oolong tea – it is ‘yoga for the mind in the form of amber gold’ – completely true.  Oolong tea has the beautiful caramel colour you’ll find with black teas but with the floral aromas and flavour notes you find with green tea. If you’re tired of green tea and want to try something a bit different, but still caffeine free, give Oolong a try.

Whilst there are black teas, white teas and green teas there are still herbal teas, floral infusions and all sorts. Give yourself a téducation and sip something a bit different.

Are you a dunker, a dipper or just a tea sipper with a bit of biscuit on the side? To take advantage of Shortbread Day and Tea Month all at once why not serve up some of these Earl Grey Shortbread biscuits with a spot of cream tea?

Earl Grey Pistachio Shortbread

tea month - biscuit recipes - earl grey shortbread - appliance city

There’s nothing better than a warm cup of Earl Grey with a bit of lemon on a frosty morning, except maybe a cup of coffee – but I digress. These Early Grey and Pistachio Shortbread biscuits from K & R Adventures are perfect for that first morning cup of tea. They have just the right amount of crisp, a flavourful nuttiness from the pistachios and that refreshing Earl Grey twist. If your New Year’s Resolution was to try something different everyday – this is a great place to start.


No matter what shape you prefer your pasta, enjoy it today – Spaghetti Day!

How do I celebrate Spaghetti Day at my house? Well, it began Saturday afternoon – preparation that is. It was raining (as it always does this time of year) so I needed a good task that would keep me interested, proactive and up off the sofa. Hey – I’m still trying to keep that New Years resolution. So this past Saturday afternoon I made homemade pasta. Don’t frown or fret! Making your own pasta doesn’t require any special ingredients or even a special machine, though they are handy.

Making Fresh Pasta

Fresh Pasta without a machine - pasta day - appliance city

To kick off your Spaghetti adventure you’re going to need some pasta dough. Pasta dough takes around 15 minutes to prepare and requires time in the fridge to rest.

Ingredients:

  • 35g coarse Semolina
  • 65g plain flour (sifted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • (1) Large Egg
  • (1) Tbsp of high quality olive oil

Directions: 

On your worktop measure out the correct amount of dry ingredients and combine them together by hand. Yes, I said pour it right there on the countertop, just make sure it’s clean. If you’re a neat freak you can use a bowl for this.

Once your dry ingredients are combined, make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Pour your olive oil and crack your egg into the well you’ve made. Using a fork, break up the egg and start mixing it into the surrounding dry ingredients until the flour is too hard to stir. Using your hands combine with the rest of the flour and continue to knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic when poked.

Wrap your dough in cling film and place in the refrigerator for an hour, to give your dough time to rest. Now you can leave your dough in the fridge for 24 hours, I wouldn’t suggest any longer than that because it starts to go off. If you need it to keep longer, I’d suggest freezing it.

You have dough! But how do you get it into those lovely thin noodles for tagliatelle or fettuccini? It’s actually quite simple.

Take your dough and cut it into small pieces.

Flour your surface and roll your first piece of dough out into a square – flour both sides. Now fold your dough square into thirds, folding it over onto itself. The key to keep it from sticking is making sure that the dough is floured properly. Roll your dough out again but this time (it’s folded) and you want to make the square twice as big as it was before you folded it. Now use your dough cutter to cut into thin strips, unfold and voila you have beautiful tagliatelle.

Preparation:

Now either you can dry your pasta for future use or your can eat it straight away.

To eat it straight away, bring a pot of water with a dash of salt to a rolling boil. Drop in your pasta and boil for two minutes. Drain and serve with your desired toppings / gravies / sauces.

To eat it later in the future you’ll need to dry the pasta. I use an old Italian mama trick by hanging my pasta over hangers and then hanging them in the basement. If you aren’t much for the authentic feel – then simply let it dry out by airing it, turning it over as you go. You can also use a food dehydrator for a speedier result. Once dry cook as required when you buy it normally in the box.

 

Now that you have beautiful homemade pasta you need some warm, winter dishes to serve it up it. We may not have had the coldest of winter’s so far but taking this morning in point the temperature is definitely dropping. You’ll love whipping up one of these fine dishes to warm your family through tonight.

Chicken Chorizo Lasagna

pasta recipes - spaghetti day - appliance city

This beautiful lasagna variation from Rock Recipes seriously rocks my world! Made using their own version of fresh pasta, the smoky chorizo is a fine addition to an old favourite. Top with a bit of shaved locatelli and off you go on a lasagna adventure – all homemade – apart from the chorizo of course!

Pesto Courgette Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes and Grilled Chicken

Gluten Free pasta recipes - pasta day - appliance city

We haven’t forgotten about everyone who made New Years resolutions to start those diets, trim those waist lines and eat healthier overall. Eating healthy doesn’t mean not partaking in Pasta Day! There are a few ways that you can ‘fake’ pasta using vegetables and this recipe from Closet Cooking is one of my favourite ways. Using a shredder / peeler shave your courgette into pasta like shapes. It makes for a very close texture to pasta without all the carbs and calories. Alternatively, you could also use something called ‘Spaghetti Squash’. When spaghetti squash is cooked and prepared correctly it looks exactly like its name states – spaghetti!

Creamy Garlic, Herb and Mushroom Spaghetti

pasta recipes - spaghetti day - mushroom creamy pasta - appliance city

This is one of my favourite recipes to make any time of the year. Whilst I do go out for Italian, I much prefer to eat it at home like my grandmother taught me. 99% of the time it comes out tasting better than anything I order in a restaurant anyway and cost 70% less.  So take whatever you have in your pantry – put it all together and make this creamy, delicious, garlicky, mushroomy goodness! Then eat all the pasta (whether you’re using the real stuff or not) because yes….all the pasta.


The end is nigh – no seriously, it’s tonight! Well at least the end of another year and the beginning of a new one.

New Years Eve is the time to get your party on, celebrate everything you’ve been through the last year and ring in the new one. So we’ve brought together our favourite cocktails mixed with some hangover cures we’ll definitely be trying. Plus a few New Year’s resolutions since you know you’ll be seeing ‘New Year New Me’ posts all over social media tomorrow!

So first we start with cocktails because ‘hello’ why not? Whether you rave for rum, are voracious for vodka or tickled with tequila we’ll dish up something for everyone – and so should you!

When deciding what sort of cocktails you’ll be serving at your soiree you have to ask yourself ‘what kind of party am I having?’ This questions is utterly everything when you choose what you’re serving. If you’re doing a frat style party beer and jello shots all the way, but if you’re classing it up then it’s time to bring out those bartender skills and put your cocktails tot he test.

My party this year is a 1920’s style shindig. I’ve decided on martinis and high brow tumbler cocktails. Of course, I’ll have the normal martinis served dirty or dry but I’ll also have a few that deliver quite the kick in the taste buds!

Let us begin with rum!

Pineapple Cinnamon Mojito

New Years Eve - Cocktails and Hangovers - Recipes - Cinnamon Mojito

The answer to how to make a summery mojito a winter drink lies with Tattooed Martha. She brought the flavours of grilled pineapple, cinnamon and mint to a cocktail – introducing the winter mojito! Instead of serving these in tumblers I’ll be serving them up in large wine glasses with a wedge of grilled pineapple on the rim. Whilst the recipe calls for Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, Capitan Morgan’s works too. Enjoy!

Spiced Banana Fosters Rum Cocktail

new years eve - cocktails and hangover cures - banana fosters rum cocktail

No of course this isn’t the image of what my cocktail looks like, but rather what it tastes like. You won’t find this one on the internet, so enjoy my banana flavoured goodness.

This recipe makes one drink and needs to be served in a high ball glass.

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice combine the following:

Ingredients:

  • 2 shots of Bombo Caramel and Banana Rum
  • 50ml heavy cream
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Shake well and strain into your high ball glass. As a garnish I like to slice up fresh banana, roll in brown sugar and vanilla extract and sear in a pan. Stick two slices through with a cocktail skewer and serve on the side of your glass. Voila caramelised bananas on the side of your banana fosters rum cocktail.

This is perfect after a meal, beside a slice of cake or even beside the pool. No matter where you are celebrating make this a must have this NYE!

Image Credit: Saveur

Moving on to the vodka!

Vanilla, Pear and Vodka Cocktail

NYE - Cocktails and Hangover Cures - Recipes - Appliance City

Delicious pear juice is combined with sweet vanilla and vodka in this winter winner from Two Tarts. If you only have the patience, time or money to make one cocktail for your guests (hoping they all like pear) this one is definitely a winner. Three ingredients, a cocktail shaker and five minutes is all you need to dish up four of these beauties. These would also make the perfect brunch cocktail on New Years Day…..that is, if you can face alcohol after NYE 2015!

Espresso Martini

Cocktails and hangover cures - recipes - espresso martini - appliance City

For all my fellow coffee fans, the espresso martini. I found this recipe from Jamie Oliver but do make mine a bit different. I make my espresso martini more of a white chocolate mocha martini with curls of white chocolate and half a measure of Godiva chocolate liqueur. Think of a boozy frappuccino. Perfect for after dinner or as a dessert cocktail.

My take on tequila:

The Poinsetta

Cocktails and hangover cures - NYE 2015 - Recipes - Tequila Cocktails

This will warm you up when it’s getting late and it’s bitterly cold. A tequila twist on something like a punch it’s beautiful. The recipe does involve a bit of preparation but believe me, it’s worth it! Whoever said tequila isn’t the perfect cocktail party drink never had one of these.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

NYE 2015 - cocktails and hangover cures - mexican hot chocolate with tequila - recipes - appliance city

Staying home on NYE in your pyjamas never looked so good. Ok well maybe we aren’t in pyjamas, maybe we’re dressed up as flappers and gangsters  carrying around plastic tommy guns but don’t think for one second we aren’t sipping on this beautiful Mexican Hot Chocolate courtesy of Creative Culinary. Seriously! If you love those chocolates that have a hint of chilli you have found a cocktail to please the palate and tickle the tastebuds.  This will be our post countdown, wind down hot toddy for the evening. That may be well into the morning by the time we crawl our way to bed. If you are out watching the ball drop in NY Times Square or around the London Eye why not whip some of this up, put it in your portable coffee mug and keep warm all night long!

After all these cocktails you just may be feeling a little worse for wear tomorrow. Scouring the World Wide Web I’ve found some purported ‘hangover cures’. Dare to try them out?

Our Top Hangover Cures

1. Sleep

There is no better cure for a hangover than getting plenty of sleep after a heavy night of drinking (or a light night of drinking for us lightweights). Getting plenty of rest will help your body replenish itself for the next day (or the day after that).

2. Hydrate

It is well known that for ever alcoholic drink you consume you should drink an equal amount of water. I mean – who does this? Not me. But what I do is before bed have a full pint glass of water with two ibuprofen then off to sleep I go.  It helps me sleep through the night and wake without that pounding, nausea inducing headache that comes from too many glasses of bubbly.

3. Have a Massive Fry Up!

Ok so I don’t recommend having more than your fair share of calories if watching your weight is one of your New Years Resolutions, but then again if you consumed your weight in alcohol last night then you are well past breaking that resolution. Eating a huge breakfast will get you well on your way to feeling better (plus it’s the oldest trick in the book). If you are watching your weight and all those double vodka diet cokes are what is wasting you away have a healthy breakfast of an omelette, oatmeal or toast (with some sort of nut butter for protein).

4. Get Your Buns to the Gym

Start as you mean to carry on – and that includes New Years morning. Going straight to the gym on New Years Day will not only make you feel better after a heavy night of drinking but it also keeps you from breaking some of those New Year Resolutions before the New Year even begins.

5. Have Another Drink

Ok so maybe this one isn’t the best reflection of how to get over a hangover but instead how to prolong it to the next day. I’m unsure, but my friends swear that having another drink first thing in the morning (they swear by Bloody Mary’s) is a way to cure a hangover. I’m not brave enough to try it but if you are, please let us know how you get on!

New Years Resolutions

So it’s that time of the year again. Time to wait in line for cardio machines at the gym, time to schedule fitness classes well in advance for fear of losing the last spot and picking up salad bits and bobs daily since there is never enough for the whole week at once in the shop. People will be doing their dieting and their fitness regimes for at least January – or the first week of January. What are your New Years Resolutions? Do you plan on getting fit? Going to the gym? Dieting? Going back to school? Learning something new? Share your New Years Resolutions with us!


Bacon definitely deserves a day of it’s own and not just one where we share our favourite recipes but one that celebrates the brilliance of bacon, the popularity of pork and the sensation in the sizzle.

Ok – so I’m a self proclaimed bacon-0-holic. For Christmas dinner at our house, it wasn’t a fresh turkey but chicken breasts stuffed with Stilton and wrapped with bacon then broiled to perfection. It was a Christmas present all it’s own. Now the main wasn’t the only dish that featured bacon, I also made tantalising oven roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. Believe it or not, brussels sprouts disappear at my house like candy – especially if they’re cooked with bacon!

Now I could always give you bacon and cheese omelette recipes or bacon cheeseburger recipes, but why not step outside the box and delight with bacon in the most unusual settings?

Bacon Jam

Bacon Day - Recipes - Appliance City

Yes, you read that correctly, bacon jam. Think of the consistency of Branston’s with the amazing flavour of smoky bacon. Recipe by Photo shared this wonderful concoction on Pinterest and I was entranced. What could be better than a bacon spread? Something that would be equally delicious on toast as well as chicken, eggs or even paired with avocado. There are different versions you can make with things like bourbon and maple syrup so you can have different flavours of bacon jam, it’s awesome! If you’re wanting to start your new year off right, start your day with a slice of fresh baked bread spread with homemade bacon jam. Tasty!

Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Stuffed Chicken

Bacon Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Bacon Wrapped Guacamole Stuffed Chicken

This recipe from Closet Cooking combines two of my favourite things to eat – bacon and guacamole. It should be named Magical Mexican Chicken, because the aroma, taste and sight of this dish will leave quite the impression and you’ll be thinking about it far after your meal is over. I found seasoning my chicken with Mexican spices before wrapping it in bacon added a bit to the flavour of the dish, though it doesn’t need any help in the flavour department. I just love Mexican food! If you are looking for something to serve as appetisers for NYE, look no further! Chicken bites cooked with bacon and topped with guacamole served on a fresh tortilla square would be a massive hit. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have something substantial to put in your stomach before all the alcohol, it might as well be something delicious.

Chicken Bacon Garlic Alfredo Roll Ups

Bacon Day - Recipes - Chicken Alfredo Bacon Rollups

This bacon recipe from The Recipe Critic is almost like a white version of lasagna in an easy to heat up and dish out presentation. This is the perfect answer to Italian night, homestyle Come Dine with Me or even a way to cook up a bunch of meals for one! Use additional pieces of crumbled smoky bacon as a garnish and away you go. Want party perfection? Simple stick a cocktail stick through the middle and serve them on individual plates. Why serve pigs in a blanket when you can serve this instead?

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Bacon Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Ok. Ok. Hear me out. I know that bacon isn’t the be all and end all and doesn’t typically have a place in desserts. Just place your toe firmly over the line of the box and have a taste of these heavenly cinnamon rolls from Inspired Dreamer. Think of soft, sweet, delicious cinnamon rolls with a delicious hint of smoky bacon. They are out of this world, and definitely outside of the box. I chose to use maple cured bacon which gave my bacon a hint of sweetness which only adds to the beautiful taste of the cinnamon roll.

Take a break – a bacon break! Add some bacon to your breakfast, lunch, dinner or heck why not dessert? It isn’t great for your waistline or your arteries so just don’t overdo it!


I never knew there was a day attributed to celebrating maple syrup. When I moved to the UK I could barely find maple syrup and when I could it was extortionate. These days you can get it anywhere, it’s still pretty dear but doesn’t it just taste delicious?

Maple is a flavour that is savoured year round, but is essentially an autumn / winter taste. It’s perfect with pancakes, in muffins or even to dip some crisp bacon in. It’s a magical addition to many dishes and it’s the perfect way to introduce some sweetness without the use of refined sugars. Instead of just topping up your American style pancakes with some maple syrup why not try one of these unique recipes to fit a bit of maple into your day?

Crunchy Maple French Toast with Maple Whiskey Butter

Maple Day - Crunchy Maple French Toast - Recipes - Appliance City

French toast is a lovely way to wake the family up on a cold Sunday morning. The sweet scent mixed with fresh brewed coffee is one from my childhood I’ll never forget. This recipe for Crunchy Maple French Toast from Food 52 is the grown up version of my childhood favourite. The compound whiskey maple butter is easy to make and possibly the best part of this dish.  If you love a dish with texture this one packs a punch with a crunch from cornflakes, which adds another delicious note, the chewiness of the eggy bread and creamy butter. Why not make it for Christmas Eve brunch?

Maple Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

Maple Day - Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes - Recipes - Appliance City

I love juicy chicken with a sticky sweet sauce. This recipe from Better Homes & Gardens combines lovely perfectly cooked chicken with a sweet maple glaze and smooth rustic sweet potatoes. There is just the perfect combination of savoury and sweet in this autumnal dish perfect for cold winter nights.

Maple Ginger Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Maple Day - Maple Ginger Pork Tenderloin - Recipes - Appliance City

This pork tenderloin looks so delicious it’s making my mouth water. Feed Me Phoebe delivers tender pork with a succulent sauce in this dish. If you are looking for a dish to perk up your taste buds this time of year this one will fit the bill. I just may serve it for New Years Eve since it will go perfectly with a bit of fresh bread and a dabble of the beautiful sauce. This dish would make the perfect entree or appetiser for a party. Serve it over a bed of fresh rocket or next to a pile of homemade garlic mash the options are endless and the taste is incredible.

Maple syrup is a nectar of the gods. Good for naturally sweetening dishes, caramelising with a twist and adding a unique flavour you’ll find no where else. Make maple vinaigrettes, maple glazes and maple chutneys. Stock up on maple syrup, I have a feeling after trying these dishes you’re going to need it.


It’s National Pastry Day, what better way to celebrate then trying your hand at making your own puff pastry, whipping up a turnover or serving up a homemade sausage roll? Making pastries used to put me off. There’s just something that seems so complicated with a delicate, light pastry that I didn’t think I could accomplish. I’m never a quitter, so I took to my kitchen with pastry in my heart and whipped up homemade puff pastry and sausage rolls for the office.

Are you a pastry guru? Newbie? Just getting your feet wet? I’ll go from the basics to proper stunners in this flakey, yet delicious blog post.

Homemade Puff Pastry

Pastry Day - 15 Minute Puff Pastry - Recipes - Appliance City

If you have 15 minutes and three ingredients (four if you count cold water) you can make this puff pastry recipe from Dessert for Two. It may not be as simple as rolling out store bought pastry but making my own just feels right, so I like to do it. Plus you can always add spices if you’re doing sausage rolls or a bit of sugar if you want it to be a bit more crisp and caramelised when you’re making turnovers. The biggest thing about making your own puff pastry is knowing exactly what goes in it, no preservatives, no artificial anything.

Let’s start with a pastry based breakfast that isn’t a cinnamon roll, turnover or any type of sweet pastry.

Cheesy Puff Pastry Baked Eggs

Pastry Day - Recipes - Puff Pastry Baked Eggs - Appliance City

I cooked this for tea last night, in preparation for this article. It was a crowd pleaser – Many thanks to Just a Taste for providing such a fab recipe.

I can’t eat at McDonald’s, since being pregnant just the smell of the oil makes me physically sick but boy do I miss their breakfasts. I love egg muffins and no matter how many English muffins with Canadian bacon and poached eggs I make, they never taste the same. I actually like these puff pastry baked eggs MORE than McDonald’s breakfast, woo there I said it. No oil, no butter, no added fats. I chose spring onions instead of chives and served it with cubed potatoes baked with rosemary and garlic. It was amazing. Just another reason why binner rocks.

Strawberry Crossover Puff Pastries

Strawberry Crossover Puff Pastry - Recipe - Pastry Day - Appliance City

Yes, I have gone there and am presenting a beautiful sweet breakfast pastry in the form of these strawberry crossover puff pastries from White on Rice Couple. Filled with tangy berries and sweet cream this would be a joy to wake up to in the morning, or wake your family up with. I can’t wait to make some of these over the Christmas holidays! So incredibly easy, wow your friends with homemade French pastries this holiday season.

Bake your pastry to perfection using CircoTherm technology from Neff.

Ham, Cheese & Spinach Puffs

Ham and Cheese and Spinach puff pastry - recipes - pastry day - Appliance City

Looking for the perfect packup? Perfect savoury breakfast? These ham, cheese and spinach puffs from Eat Well 101 are absolutely delicious. They’re flakey and crispy on the outside, filled with warm, gooey cheese, ham and spinach on the inside. I’m a fan of adding spring onions and finely sliced mushrooms, but then again I love adding vegetables anywhere I can. They are great for make ahead because they are great warm or cold. Need brunch for Christmas Eve or hors d’oeuvres for Christmas day? These are the perfect option for those in between meal times on holidays.

Cranberry Baked Brie Puff Pastry

Pastry Day - Recipes - Cranberry Baked Brie puff pastry - Appliance City

Whilst we’re on the topic of hor d’oeurves we might as well discuss these fantabulous – yes fantastic / fabulous cranberry brie bites from Well Plated. I’m not a massive fan of meat, I’ll eat it, but it’s not the first thing I choose to cook. I love vegetarian dishes that I can serve to everyone, that taste delightful and leave no one left wanting. Appetisers are no exception to the rule. Vegetarian appetisers are typically pleasing to most and who doesn’t love brie? If you don’t, then more for me! These are really easy to make and only require a bit of cranberry, a bit of brie and you can use store bought sheets of puff pastry to make them even easier. So get cooking, Christmas dinner awaits.

As we all know there are more types of pastry than just puff pastry, I’m a fan of short crust pastry for tarts or pies. It is great for anything savoury or sweet and has just the right amount of crunch. Now of course you can buy a short crust pastry pre-made or one of those handy bags made by Aunt Bessie’s but where is the fun in that? Why not make your own. Four ingredients and just a few minutes and voila you’re well on your way.

Homemade Short Crust Pastry

Homemade shortcrust pasty - recipes -

Take a shot at this recipe from Bake Play Smile. You only need cold water, caster sugar, cold butter and plain flour and ten minutes prep time. It may not be as easy as picking up a pre-made one but I can guarantee it will taste so much better.

We all know that short crust pastry can be used in a variety of pies and tarts, here are a few of my favourite recipes that include short crust pastry. Hope you enjoy one this festive season.

White Chocolate and Mascarpone Berry Tarts

pastry day - recipe - white chocolate and berry mascarpone tarts - appliance city

This recipe from Sips and Spoonfuls calls for store bought short crust pastry, now of course you can use that (no judging here!), but why not make your own with 10 spare minutes? The rest of this recipe is quite straight forward and simple. The colours are perfect for Christmas or Valentines day and the flavours are delicate and creamy. I’d love to serve these for afternoon tea during the summer as well as a refreshing change from cakes.

Rich Chocolate Tart with Salt Flakes

Pastry Day - Recipes - Rich Chocolate Tart with Salt flakes - Appliance City

Jamie Oliver recipe has never steered me wrong so this recipe was the perfect choice for a short crust recipe. The rich chocolate is made even sweeter with the addition of chocolate flakes. If you don’t want to turn your oven on or your oven is full of turkey, ham or other Christmas meats, this dessert is a perfect option because it only uses the stove top and sets in the refrigerator.

I know I didn’t talk about choux pastry, one of my favourites for profiterolès or to make lovely bacon and egg filled mini choux buns, but we’ll leave those beautiful pastries for a day of their own.

Have a favourite pastry concoction? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Title Image Credit: Jenny Steffens


After the amazing brownies that were served up at our Range Cooker Event by Chef Alex, here at Appliance City we have a fondness for brownies. When we heard there was a day to celebrate them, well of course we had to take part!

Brownies are like a love child of chocolate cake and cookie dough. Chocolatey, gooey, chewy and we just can’t get enough of them.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Brownies

Brownies - Recipes - Salted Caramel - Appliance City

We may as well start as we mean to carry on. These salted caramel brownies from Homemade Hooplah are absolutely divine. If you are a fan of brownies that aren’t cakey and carmel that makes things deliciously gooey these brownies are perfect. A bit of a twist would be to add some pecans into the mix to have a beautiful crunchy texture pop up every few bites or so. Judging by how fast Chef Alex’s salted caramel brownies disappeared, you may want to make more than one batch.

Nutella Brownies

Brownies - Recipes - Nutella Brownies - Appliance City

You will rarely read that I don’t like something when it comes to food. I’m very open minded and love to try new ingredients and flavours but like marmite, some things you either love or hate. Nutella is one of these ingredients. Whilst I will eat it, it isn’t something I’m fond of. I know, I know hypocrisy!  People love Nutella, whether it is on their toast, a waffle, a donut filled with it or these gorgeous fudgy, Nutella brownies from Buns in My Oven. We have a nut allergy in our house so making these could likely end in a chocolate stained catastrophe, but I can make them at work and fill everyone’s bellies with yummy brownies spreading my own version of holiday cheer.

White Chocolate Brownies

Brownies - Recipes - White Chocolate - Appliance City

Now this is a recipe I can get behind. Anyone a huge fan of milky bars? These white chocolate brownies from Cooks.com are filled with creamy white chocolate and aren’t as bitter as your typical semi sweet chocolate brownie.  If you are looking for something new to serve up at work for someones birthday, bring to a church gathering or as a finger food at a party these treats are delightful. My trick? Add some dried cranberries and some orange peel to the mix. It gives the brownies a beautiful orange and raspberry flavouring that is subtle against the decadent white chocolate.

Banana Blondies

Brownies - Recipes - Banana Blondies - Appliance City

I’ve heard that there may be a shortage of bananas in the years to come, so you might want to snap up this recipe and make them quick! Cookies and Cups delivers a mouthwatering brown butter banana blondie with a brown sugar icing that is to die for. I love when brownies are more chewy than cakey and these definitely fit the bill. Add white chocolate chips or walnuts, maybe a bit of cinnamon or not! The original recipe is perfection – I just love fiddling with recipes to make them my own. Why not try these today?

Irish Cream Brownies

Brownies - Recipes - Irish Cream Brownies - Appliance City

These brownies from Wonky Wonderful are lovely cakey brownies with a Bailey’s flavoured twist. Add Irish Whiskey to brownies? I would have never imagined doing such a thing, but her they are and don’t they look gorgeous. Whilst the recipe is intended for something like St Patricks day why not serve them instead of rum cake at Christmas? I mean, who doesn’t love a good rum cake but after 45 of them through December the thought of an Irish Whiskey brownies is definitely more pleasing.

In spirit of the season, our post on handmade gifts and to celebrate brownie day, I thought that this would be a lovely, festive addition.

Brownie Mix in a Jar

Handmade gifts - recipes - brownie in a jar - appliance city

Of course for this beautiful handmade gift we’d have to make our own metric revisions to the recipe but it’s the perfect gift to give to a family. If you have friends in the neighbourhood and don’t want to buy something for each of them, this is a way to get them to have some family time making memories and brownies together. It’s simple to put together and adding your own flourishes, tags and labels will make them one of a kind.

From blondies to brownies and everything in between, celebrate Brownie day with one of these fantastic recipes!

 


It’s cookie day and there’s no other way than to celebrate with these fantastic recipes. We’re not going for the generic chocolate chip or shortbread cookies, we’re scouring the pages of recipe books and the internet to find unique cookies that will be perfect to serve this holiday season or even to give as yummy Christmas gifts.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies - Cookie Day - Recipes - Appliance City

Now I don’t know about you, but my favourite type of cake is carrot cake. I love it with a homemade cream cheese icing, just scrumptious. This cookie recipe from Amy’s Healthy Baking delivers all those lovely subtle flavours of carrot cake without the tons of calories. I would pair this with a beautiful cream cheese dip made from fat free cream cheese and sugar substitute. Low on calories but not on taste they allow you to satisfy that urge for something sweet without breaking your pre-Christmas diet.

Cowboy Cookies

Cookie Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Cowboy Cookies

The image of these cookies from Averie Cooks makes me want to blow my diet and scoff these up like I haven’t eaten in a week. I mean what is more gorgeous than gooey chocolate chip cookies with coconut, pecans and loads of chocolate? Absolutely nothing. These cookies do have their fair share of ingredients, but when you are left with chewy deliciousness you’ll know it was all worth it. Get baking! You can pack these in lovely tins for Christmas and your family will be asking for them all year.

Caramel Apple Pie Cookies

Cookie Day - Caramel Apple Pie Cookies - Appliance City - Recipes

I love anything made with apples, apple crumble, apple pie, apple sauce, you name it. These cookies from Cincy Shopper are absolutely delicious and look fantastic. Perfect for the holidays when you’d rather not make a full pie, these will curb your apple pie craving in small doses. I can’t promise that they will last longer than apple pie because, let’s be honest, when they taste this good they are bound to disappear fast.

Cinnamon Bun Cookies

Cookie Day - Cinnamon Bun Cookies - Recipes - Appliance City

Christmas morning at my house is usually brightened by the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. There is just something comforting and Christmasy about the smell of cinnamon. I happened across this recipe from Wanna Come With when searching for a new cinnamon roll recipe and immediately fell in love. Now I can give the gift of Christmas aroma and the lovely taste of cinnamon rolls as gifts to my family.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie Day - Recipes - Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies - Appliance City

I love pumpkin and I love oatmeal cookies so why not try a combination of the two? These cookies from Averie Cooks are a chewy delicious fusion of pumpkin, oats and chocolate. They are even perfect if a family member has an egg allergy because they don’t contain eggs. If you’re looking for a cookie that is hearty, soft and seasonal, look no further than these pumpkin delights.

I love making cookies, eating cookies and giving cookies as gifts. What’s perfect about cookie dough is many times you can make the dough ahead by up to three days and cook them on demand. Most cookies only take up to fifteen minutes to completely cook, then you can serve up perfectly chewy, warm cookies with a fresh coffee, tea or cold glass of milk!

 


Ok, so I have to be honest. Before I started working on this blog, I had no clue what fritters even were.

I had to ask my coworkers – what exactly are fritters and why are we celebrating them again? The answers I got were simple “something fried” and “they’re yummy”. So let’s go down this avenue of fritters and feast on some fried delight.

Curried Cauliflower Fritters

Fritter Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Curried Cauliflower Fritters

I love curry and I love cauliflower so my first venture into fritters was this curried cauliflower recipe from Clara Persis. I’m not a huge fan of a strong onion taste so I used this in the place of an onion bhaji. I know they are nothing alike but it gave me a bit of a crunch snack as an alternative. If you use something like fry lite to sauté your fritters you make them as a healthy side dish or snack.

Carrot, Sweet Potato and Feta Fritters

Fritter Day - Recipes - Appliance City - Carrot Sweet Potato and Feta Fritters

These fritters look absolutely fantastic. I’m one of those people that will choose goat’s cheese over chocolate any day, hands down. These fritters from Delicious Magazine made with carrot, sweet potato and feta are delightful and super easy to make. The key to getting them to stick together and not be mushy? Make sure you squeeze all the liquid out of the veggies. My trick for this is to grab a bunch of kitchen towels and load them up with my shredded veggies, then start squeezing. The liquid is immediately soaked up and you’ll get the driest possible veggies. These fritters are a lunch favourite of mine served over a green leafy salad with a yogurt dressing.

Cook your fritters evenly so that you get no uneven burnt edges with an induction range cooker from Appliance City!

Ricotta and Parmesan Fritters

Fritters - Recipes - Appliance City - Lemon Ricotta and Parmesan Fritters

I don’t often use big name chefs when I feature recipes on our blog but this recipe was too good not to share it with the world. Ricotta is a wonderful thing. Whether you are making cannelloni, cannoli or these beautiful fritters from Jamie Oliver you’ll never be left unimpressed with the results. These fritters are perfect for an afternoon snack, appetiser or as a light dinner.  Served over a bed of wild mushrooms, thyme and parsley it’s a beautiful Italian take on the classic fritter.

Jalapeno Cheese Fritters

Fritters - Recipes - Jalapeno Cheese - Appliance City

I’m a massive fan of anything spicy and if it contains jalapenos it is a bonus. These gorgeous jalapeno cheese fritters from Abuelos at Home are the perfect party food or afternoon snack. Try a variation where  you use cream cheese instead of normal cheese and a bit of chilli jam for an alternative taste. Either way they are gorgeous and will be a hit!

Now I didn’t think that fritters could be anything but a savoury snack or light meal, but I was wrong. After scouring the interwebs I actually happened upon a few dessert fritters. Perfect still for a light snack or dessert these fritters are easy to make and just as delicious.

Glazed Apple Fritters

Fritters - Recipes - Glazed Apple Fritters - Appliance City

Ok, so I may be a little bit obsessed with The Kitchn blog. I just see their recipes and have this intense feeling that I must make them. This recipe for glazed apple fritters is no exception. If you love donuts, apple pie or really anything apple related these will be a hit. They smell fabulous when you’re cooking them and taste even better. Beware, I won’t be sharing these ones!

So I started this fritterlicious journey not having a clue what a fritter was. Now I’ve had my frittercation I thoroughly enjoy savoury and sweet fritters and will be trying new recipes for them all the time. I’m not keen on frying so I’m going to give them a shot at baking them next!


Yeah I know, I’m not in the US anymore ToTo, but I can still celebrate giving thanks with my UK family and friends. Whilst Thanksgiving does give it’s heritage to both Canada on it’s Thanksgiving day and American on this Thursday there is nothing stopping us from giving thanks for everything in our lives with our families. What is a better way to spend time with family than making a huge meal together, sitting around the table sharing and making memories.

For me, Thanksgiving is even bigger than Christmas and normally I’m back in America surrounded by my whole family enjoying their company, a massive meal and fellowship with our friends.

This year I’m home in the UK making new traditions by celebrating Thanksgiving at work – watch out guys I’m bringing in Pumpkin Pie – and making all my friends and neighbours fat with my homemade American treats. Why not try a few of these this weekend? Give thanks for your family, you lives and your loved ones.

Bourbon and Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving Recipes - Appliance City

Pecans, you just can’t go wrong with pecans. Pecans cooked with bacon – shut the front door – amazing.  This isn’t just another sweet potato pie or sweet potato casserole, it’s the culmination of candied bacon, pecans, bourbon and sweet potatoes. This casserole is sweet and savoury perfection. If you want to impress dinner guests with something they’ve probably never had before head over to Half Baked Harvest for the recipe.

Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole

Thanksgiving Recipes - Appliance City

This is one of my favourite Thanksgiving day dishes. I really don’t know why I don’t make it the rest of the year, seems a bit sacrilege maybe?! The green bean casserole has been a Thanksgiving staple for as long as I can remember. I do have a few changes from this recipe by Center Cut Cook that I make to my own, but always stick with the basics. French cut green beans, cream of mushroom soup, cheese and french fried onions. As long as you have these things you can’t go wrong. My green bean casserole involves shredded cheddar cheese and fresh mushrooms instead of parmesan. It’s just a personal choice though as I’m not a major fan of parmesan!

Brown Sugared Carrots

Thanksgiving Recipes - Appliance City

If your kids don’t like vegetables this dish may just change their mind. I call them candied carrots, Martha Stewart calls them brown sugared carrots. Regardless of the name, they are absolutely delightful. In fact, they could probably be included in the dessert category. They are tender and sweet and delicious. If you can talk your kid into taking one smidgen of a bite, they will eat the whole plate. I’d even put a bet on it.

 Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Thanksgiving Recipes - Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Why does red velvet anything taste better than normal chocolate? It must be some sort of psychological change that takes place when we see red coloured sweets. We’re like a bull after the matador with red chocolate. The red velvet cheesecake brownies from Sally’s Baking Addiction will definitely have your guests running to the kitchen, and you’ll definitely be fighting them off to keep them from disappearing before dinner!

These are fairly easy to make and include handy metric measurements of most of the ingredients. If you don’t like to add artificial colouring to your foods I can promise they will taste exactly the same way if you don’t add the food colouring. They just won’t have that amazing vibrant red hue.

Pumpkin Cannoli

Thanksgiving Recipes - Pumpkin Cannoli - Appliance City

Cannoli and pumpkin – culinary matrimony. I know, you’re probably thinking ‘Ok Kat, enough with the pumpkin already’ but you’ll have to forgive me and deal with my pumpkin indulgence just a few weeks longer.

This cannoli recipe from Roxana’s Home Baking is pure heaven. Ever since I visited Rome during Easter last year and tasted fresh cannolis at La Cannoleria Siciliana I’ve been jonesing for some homemade ones. This recipe gives you all the delicious notes of pumpkin and spice with the same sweetness and texture of a traditional cannoli. I absolutely love them. They are perfect the Thanksgiving table or giving for homemade Christmas gifts.

Egg Nog

Thanksgiving Recipe - Egg Nog - Appliance City

I couldn’t finish my blog for Thanksgiving off with anything other than a beautiful egg nog recipe. This recipe from Epicurean Mom is cooked and can be made with or without alcohol. Egg nog is one of my favourite treats during the winter, despite the exorbitant amount of calories. Want to make a twist on this? Substitute the one cup of rum for one cup of espresso. Voila! Egg nog lattes. Don’t say I didn’t warn you when I tell you they are extremely addictive.

Bring a little bit of giving thanks into your home. It doesn’t have to be a holiday but just a reason to remember your loved ones, the reasons you are grateful and to tell others you’re grateful for all they do.


When I leave for work in the morning it’s dark; when I leave work to go home it’s dark. It’s the time of year when all of a sudden we’re very tired for no good reason other than it’s always dark. When I do get home from work, cooking dinner seems like a chore rather than something I enjoy. Enter the slow cooker, my best friend during the winter months. I’m a morning person so dropping ingredients into my slow cooker and setting it to low is easy and just part of my routine. Not to mention I absolutely love not having to slave over the stove when I get home from work.

There are more recipes for slow cookers than the odd chilli, chicken soup and stew. There is everything from breakfast casseroles to desserts that you can make all in this one convenient home appliance.

Creamy Banana French Toast

Slow Cooker - Recipes - Banana French Toast - Appliance City

Talk about stepping up your breakfast game. This creamy banana french toast in the slow cooker from Diethood is the breakfast of champions. I happen to love french toast, but do I like everyone eating before me and mine getting cold? Not so much. With this recipe everyone is eating at the same time, enjoying the lovely flavour of this hearty breakfast.

Typically everyone will have the ingredients for this recipe to hand on any day of the week. If you don’t pick up a french stick at the supermarket, feel free to use homemade bread, store bought loaf or even something like cinnamon raisin bread. If you fancy blueberries, peaches or strawberries, go for it! The options are endless.

Sausage Casserole

Slow Cooker - Recipes - Sausage Casserole - Appliance City

Doesn’t this just look delicious. Perfect for breakfast or binner – see what I did there – this make ahead casserole is perfect with a side of fresh baked bread or croissants.  The recipe from Creole Contessa is superb and can easily be eaten for any meal throughout the day. It also reheats really well if you fancy taking it into work for a nice brunch.

The recipe is in Imperial units so simply convert to metric and off you go. Throw everything in the slow cooker, set a timer and walk away and voila food is ready.

Easy Cheesy Barbecue Chicken

Slow Cooker - Recipes - BBQ chicken - Appliance City

I’m not sure I know anyone that doesn’t love Hunter’s BBQ Chicken. It’s definitely one of my favourite comfort foods during the winter or even the summer. What’s great about this recipe from LMLD is that you still get all the flavours you love from a summer hunters chicken, direct from your slow cooker. There’s only minimal prep involved in it, including precooking your bacon. Let it cook whilst you relax then enjoy the easy cleanup from a slow cooker meal.

Crispy Orange Chicken

Slow Cooker - Recipes - Crispy Orange Chicken - Appliance City

My favourite dish to order from my local Chinese is orange chicken. Nothing is better than having a fakeaway at home that is MUCH healthier than ordering a takeaway. This crispy orange chicken recipe from Crockpot Gourmet quickly became one of my favourite midweek meals to come home to. Sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking but I also don’t feel like gaining five pounds either. This was the perfect answer for nights like that.

Whilst the recipe does require a bit more prep than you normally would have with a slow cooker meal it is definitely worth it. If you aren’t interested in the chicken being crispy, skip this step and go straight to the slow cooker. There’s nothing stopping you from trying your own version of this fabulous recipe.

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Slow Cooker - Recipes - Bread Pudding - Appliance City

I have to admit I was never a big fan of bread pudding, at least not until I found this recipe from Betty Crocker. Using a French stick and white chocolate, it is incredibly easy to make. It isn’t something you would make before work and leave it cooking all day long, but it is something you could put in before tea and have it waiting for when you are ready for dessert. A perfect warm dessert for winter nights, try it tonight.


Oh I know, everyday seems like it’s a day for something else, but why shouldn’t we celebrate the things we love? Chocolate, bread, guacamole or pizza, everything deserves to be celebrated in it’s own right.

The great thing about these “food” days is it gives us a chance to look at our favourite foods in a different light. Whether we’re cooking something from scratch, learning how to grow it organically or learning to use the ingredient in something new it’s a growing process. The moral of this story is use these food days to learn something new!

Back to Guacamole! If you have read some of my previous blogs you’ll no doubt know that I am a lover of Mexican food, a purveyor if you may.

Before we can jump straight into guacamole you really need to know how to choose the perfect avocado when you’re shopping at the supermarket. What’s ripe? What isn’t? If you haven’t grown up eating avocados you may not know when an avocado is at it’s peak ripeness, and it isn’t just a case of knocking on it or squeezing it, unfortunately. When it comes to checking the ripeness of an avocado it is all about removing its stem. There are three stages of ripeness that you can see just by looking under the stem:

Green: The avocado is not yet ripe. It may have only 1-2 days left until ripe. The skin on the outside may still be a bright green. These are not ready to eat.

Even coloured Tan: This avocado is perfect. It may only be perfect for 1-2 days so you better eat it quick. The skin will be a darker shade of green but not yet black.

Dark Brown: Don’t even think about eating it. In fact, don’t even peel it! This avocado is overripe. It will be mushy and smell foul on the inside.

Ok, so now  you know when to eat and when to leave it. Now on to the much more important part, making and eating guacamole.

Guacamole isn’t just for nachos. Please, if you think that, place that thought in an “inside the box” category and let’s think outside the box for guacamole. This savoury delight is perfect for so much more.

The Ultimate Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole Recipes - Guacamole Day - Appliance City

That guacamole with those homemade tortilla chips look good enough to eat don’t they? There are so many different recipes for guacamole it’s hard to find the perfect one. To be honest, when I make guacamole at home it might be a little bit different every time depending on the ingredients I have to hand. I found this recipe from Refinery 29 and it ticks all my boxes for a flavourful, delicious guacamole.

Whip some of this green gold up and use it in these fantastic recipes!

Guacamole Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Guacamole Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Recipes - Appliance City

Is there anything that guacamole doesn’t make better? I’m completely unsure. What I do know is that these chicken breasts are a taste explosion. This recipe featured on The Wholesome Dish blog is absolutely fabulous. The only slight change that I made to the recipe was to mix a bit of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika with the panko bread crumbs when breading the chicken. It gives the chicken a more Mexican taste, something I highly enjoy. Juicy chicken stuffed with creamy, delicious guacamole, now that sounds like dinner.

Salmon, Guacamole and Bacon Wraps

Guacamole Day - Guacamole Salmon Wraps - Recipes - Appliance City

Have you been looking for a way to spruce up your lunches? This recipe from Taming of the Spoon may just be the solution to your lunch woes. The perfect combination of delicious salmon, smokey bacon and creamy guacamole it’s one succulent lunch. No fiddling with this recipe for me, nothing to fix when there is nothing broken. A word of caution….if you work in an office you just may want to bring a lunchbox, with an ice block, just in case anyone spies your salmon guacamole wraps and gets a bad case of wandering fingers!

Open Faced Breakfast Sandwich

Open faced breakfast sandwich with guacamole - Recipes - Appliance City

Yes, I have even found a way to fit guacamole into breakfast without just adding a dollop of guacamole to a serving of huevos rancheros. This isn’t a recipe as such, more of an innovation by Cooking Jar. Lightly toasted, seeded bread topped with creamy guacamole, crispy, streaky bacon and a fried egg. Importantly, the egg must still have a runny centre as the combination of the runny yolk and guacamole is pure magic.

Let’s recap this phenomenal Guacamole day – we’ve introduced guacamole into nearly every facet of our food menus. We’ve combined it with runny egg, salmon and bacon and have learned it’s more versatile than mayo. In fact, just use it where you would use mayo, do something different, enjoy guacamole as it was meant to be enjoyed. Every single day.