Christmas was always an exciting time when I was growing up in the sixties. It was the only time I would receive presents, with my birthday on the 23rd December gift givers would always say that they spent a bit more on my Christmas present. At the time I believed them, not now though. Mum and Dad would always buy presents that we could all play with, like Ker-Plunk, Buckaroo and my favourite, Mouse trap. Christmas was always the time for playing cards, with Newmarket being the most popular for us kids, while the grown-ups would play Kitty Nap and 3 card Brag for pennies. The festive season was also defined by the food we had in the house, food that was never eaten at any other time of year. Tangerines (no mandarins and clementines then), nuts, candied figs and dates were only eaten at Christmas. As a treat Mum would bring out a tin of chocolate biscuits on Christmas Eve, and Dad always had a box of Black Magic chocolates, if us kids wanted sweets we were allowed to have some of the foil wrapped chocolate coins off the tree. Christmas breakfast would consist of chocolate bars from the selection boxes we received as presents. One of my most lasting memories was visiting Nana and Grandad on Christmas morning where Grandad would give us children a good slug of whiskey in our tea, I’ve always wondered if that was just a Suffolk thing.
In the sixties the classic drink at Christmas was the iconic Snowball, my Mum loved them, but only over the festive period.
Juice of ½ lime
Pour lemonade and lime juice into an ice filled tumbler. Then add Advocaat and stir. To be authentic, spear a Maraschino cherry with a cocktail stick and balance on the glass.
Even though us hardened pit masters have been cooking outside throughout the winter, the coming week-end offers some spring like weather for the seasonal BBQ’ers. Now is the time to hone your grilling skills for the coming year. Learn how to make and control a charcoal fire and add wood chips for extra flavour. Perfect the two heat system – direct heat for burgers,sausages,steaks and for searing and colouring meat; indirect heat for larger and thicker cuts of meat. Make your own burgers and kebabs, use chicken thighs instead of drumsticks, make you own rubs and sauces. The more you practise basic grilling skills the more you will be confident and relaxed cooking for your family and friends. I am always happy to pass on tips and skills gained from over 40 years of BBQing, just pop in the shop or phone me. Two tips that I can pass on to make your BBQ gathering go smoothly are, firstly, buy a temperature probe, a cheap one will do, this will take the guesswork out of cooking meat, especially chicken ( at least 75C ), and will negate the need for you to use the kitchen oven (this is frowned upon in BBQ circles!). Secondly, if somebody asks for a ‘well-done’ steak, ask them politely, but firmly, to leave!
Wednesday 21st November:
2 or 3 plump pheasants
1oz butter for sauce – plus extra butter for browning pheasants.
Six shallots, sliced
8oz chipolata sausages
12oz unsmoked bacon, chopped
2-3 glasses of red wine
8fl oz stock
12oz button mushrooms
1 bouquet garni
Brown pheasants in hot butter in a large casserole. Remove pheasants and brown shallots, bacon and sausages. Remove sausages and add pheasants, wine and bouquet garni, cover and simmer for 30-40 mins.
Add quartered mushrooms and return browned sausages and cook for a further 7 mins.
Remove pheasants, carve and set the meat aside. Remove sausages and reserve with pheasant meat. Remove and discard bouquet garni.
Knead 2oz butter and 1oz flour into a paste.
Add stock to the casserole, then simmer and whisk in butter paste. Re-boil to thicken and return the carved pheasant meat and sausages.
Perfect served with creamy mashed potato and seasonal vegetables.
Sunday 28th October.
This is the most fantastic and easy Christmas Cake recipe ever, tried and tested over many years. Given to me by a very dear Australian friend, way back in the ’70’s. I’m afraid it’s all in imperial measurements, and I really didn’t want to risk converting to metric in case it didn’t work!
Helen’s Christmas Cake
Before you start, soak the fruit overnight in brandy (about half a cup)
2lb mixed dried fruit (it’s best to mix your own from raisins, sultanas and currants)
2oz ground almonds
3oz glace cherries
4oz mixed peel
1/2 lb self raising flour
1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb dark brown sugar (Muscovado if possible)
1 tablespoon of black treacle
Grated rind of one lemon
Grated rind of one orange
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
A few drops of vanilla essence
Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, then add all the other ingredients.
Line a cake tin very well with 3 or even 4 layers of newspaper on the outside and then greaseproof paper on the inside. Cook for 3-4 hours.
350 degrees for one hour, then turn down to 300 deg.
Lamb Shanks and Apricots
6 lamb shanks
1 onion, finely shopped
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp paprika
115g ground almonds
3 large strips of orange rind
225g dried apricots
115g dried prunes (pitted)
Melt the butter in a large casserole. Brown the lamb shanks
all over, three at a time, then transfer to a plate. Stir the onion and spices
into the pan juices and cook for 5 minutes to release their aroma, and soften
the onion. Add ½ tsp salt and plenty of pepper, then stir in the ground
Return the lamb to the pan with the orange rind and cover
with 1.2 litres water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat to very low. Cover
the surface with a sheet of crumpled baking parchment, then the lid (this will
prevent too much liquid escaping during the cooking process).
Simmer for 1 hour, then add the apricots, prunes and raisins,
stirring them into the liquid. Cover and simmer for another hour.
Ideally serve with couscous.
We often make these Cheese Sables in the shop on the ESSE cooker when we are demonstrating. They are so easy to make, and extremely impressive! There are only three ingredients, all equal quantities, so it’s really simple to double or triple the quantities for a crowd. Don’t forget to brush with beaten egg before baking, as this is crucial to success!
500g Plain Flour
500g Finely Grated Cheddar
Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour and as soon as
the pieces are well coated with flour, rub in with fingertips until resembling
Add the grated cheese and press the mixture
together to form a dough. Knead gently until
silky smooth and then chill in the fridge for about half an hour.
Carefully roll out the pastry into a fairly
thin oblong. Remember to flour the
rolling pin and table, as this mixture tends to stick!
Cut into 2″ wide strips and then into
Brush with beaten egg.
Place sables on a baking sheet and bake for
about 10 minutes at 375 degrees until golden brown.
This is fish soup with a delicate touch, the pools of melted butter are an essential indulgence!
900g undyed smoked haddock
1 onion, finely sliced
450g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
225g leeks, finely sliced
300ml single cream
1 large egg yolk
2tbs chopped fresh parsley
Salt and ground black pepper
Put the haddock, skin side up, in a shallow pan and cover with the onion
slices, milk and water. Bring to just below boiling, turn down the heat and
poach gently for about 10 minutes until cooked.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water for 10-15
minutes, or until tender, then drain and mash. When the fish is cooked, strain the cooking liquid into a
pan and reserve. Flake the fish and set aside.
Whisk the mashed potato into the reserved fish liquid, stir
in the leeks, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the leeks are
tender. Whisk the cream and egg yolk together and stir into the
Reheat gently, without boiling, until slightly thickened.
Gently stir in the reserved flaked fish, taste and adjust the seasoning if
necessary, and heat through. Stir the chopped parsley into the soup and serve piping hot,
dotted with knobs of butter that will melt and run over the surface of the
This creamless soup combines one of our favourite overlooked vegetables with pears and shallots to create a light starter that’s delicate and complex-tasting.
For the soup:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup coarsely chopped shallots
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, coarsely chopped ripe pear
- 4 cups coarsely chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 3 cups water
For the garnish:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 medium shallots, thinly sliced
For the soup:
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter until foaming. Add olive oil, shallots, and pear, season well with salt and ground white pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add celery and thyme, season with more salt and pepper, and sweat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the celery has just started to soften, about 12 minutes.
- Add stock and water, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer until celery is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Using a blender, purée soup in batches until smooth. Return soup to the stove to reheat. Season well with salt and pepper.
For the garnish (optional):
- Heat olive oil in a small frying pan until bubbling.
- Add half of the shallots and fry until golden. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, season with salt, and repeat with remaining shallots.
- Serve soup topped with fried shallots.
Is it wrong to get excited about dishcloths? No, definitely not when they are Swedish dishcloths from Iris Hantverk!
We have stocked these household cloths for many years, but have only just got around to putting them on the website. We use these at home all the time, and have a loyal following of customers who come into the shop to pick them up from time to time. I have to say, that occasionally they have been mistaken for pairs of socks in our shop display!
There are no less than TEN vibrant colours to choose from. They’re hardwearing, washable, really absorbent and have a good ‘wipe’ to them – for want of a better word! The best dishcloth you will ever buy – and made from all natural materials. Woven in Sweden from 55% linen and 45% cotton.
It’s been quite a good week here at The Kitchen Range and
Cookshop. We’ve been having some SEO work done – and consequently, we have
several new visitors – so a very warm welcome to all the newcomers.
We had a good session in the shop yesterday, cooking a delicious
vegetable tart, which was very well received by all those who called in for a
taster. Our Saturday cook-in sessions are becoming very popular as a regular
For all those new visitors, we’d love to know what you think
of the website and if you’ve not found what you’re looking for, then please let
us know, as we are constantly continuing to develop our range and naturally
enough, we want to be stocking things that you’re all looking for!
Drop an email to email@example.com
with your thoughts and suggestions.
We have just ordered a lovely range of barbecue rubs,
shakers, chilli seasonings, marinades, sauces, bread mixes and marshmallows –
all courtesy of ‘Not Just BBQ’ which we’re very excited about. They should be
with us some time towards the end of this week, and the moment they’re here, we’ll
add them to the website.
We should also have some of the Pip Studio promotional bags
in stock in the next couple of weeks – back by popular demand. We might even send
some out as freebies with a few orders. We’ve also (for the time being at least) made ALL orders within the UK free shipping, as an added incentive. Overseas orders are more than welcome, but just drop us an email first so that we can calculate shipping.
As I type this, Chris is cranking up the Weber Spirit, ready
for some home made burgers – if I can catch a picture before they are devoured,
I’ll add it here later!
Best wishes, and welcome again to all those visiting for the
Sunday 15th April
Updated: December 2019
We have just started stocking these three fantastic products. Tried and tested by us, we just had to share.
We don’t sell these from the website, because the cost to ship is just too expensive compared to the price of the product, but please call in for supplies.
Ignite Firelighters are the natural choice for your fire or stove.
Made from renewable, untreated wood shavings dipped in wax they are easy to use and it only takes one firelighter to get your fire or stove going.
Suitable for all stoves, open fires, campfires, pizza ovens, firepits and chimineas
Easy to light
Clean and convenient
Made in the UK
50 per pack
Hotties Heatlogs are manufactured in the UK from renewable clean wood residues.
Easy and clean to handle, easy to stack/store
Suitable for all stoves, log burners, firepits and chimineas
Reliable flame with assured warmth: once you use them, you’ll always want to use them
Easy to light, burn well, throw off great heat, safe (no expansion during burning)
Low ash residue (0.5-0.7%), no soot, keep stoves, cassette fires and chimneys clean
Low moisture content – normally less than 5% (average wood log moisture content is between 25 and 50%)
No spitting or sparking
Great used alone or mixed with regular fuel type
Log dimensions: 70mm x 200mm length
Sunday 17th September:
We are adding to our stocks of Microplane with some seriously lovely new products, and have just made a start on uploading.
But as always, uploading has taken a bit of a back seat while we are busy, busy, busy in the shop selling Weber BBQs and the fantastic Traeger grills. We still have hundreds of products to add, but needs must and dodging between customers in the shop and spending time online becomes difficult sometimes! Please do email us, or even give us a call on 01728 723757 for any enquiries.
Update: 24th June:
We’ve been so busy in our ‘real’ shop that the uploading of products has stalled a bit. Weber and Traeger grills are proving to be really popular, as are all the accessories. We’ll pull out all the stops and make a big effort this coming week to upload more of our hundreds of products, so that our online customers can experience all that we have in the real shop. We’ve been tweaking a few things behind the scenes though, and have just updated the cookshop menu.
Update: 15th April:
Happy Easter everyone! Still plugging away at uploading products. Have just reached the 100 mark…phew! Bear with us though, as we literally have hundreds more to upload as yet.
Update: 20th March:
Welcome everyone to our exciting re-launched website. We now have an e-commerce section and are busy beavering away uploading products – but bear with us, as it’s going to take some time. There’ll also be quite a lot of tweaking going on over the next few days while we settle into our new home here.Chris has started a BBQ tips section which he will be adding to. He has over 30 years of barbecue expertise and welcomes comments and questions. Just get in touch via the ‘contact us’ link at the top of the page if you need any help.
The UK’s oldest stove and range cooker manufacturer, ESSE, has been granted yet another patent for its industry-leading technology; this time for the innovative ‘surround heat’ system used on the company’s electric range cooker models.
Lancashire-based ESSE continues to develop ever more pioneering and energy-efficient models; pushing the boundaries of modern cooking and living, even after 163 years.
ESSE’s electric cookers benefit from elements that ‘wrap around’ each oven for completely even temperatures. These surround elements have been recognised as completely unique and granted ‘patented’ status to illustrate this ingenuity.
What does this mean for customers?
Sales Director Mark Blewitt explains: “ESSE range cookers have always been known for their fuel economy and even temperatures. We wanted to make sure that there was absolutely no compromise on ESSE’s reputation for perfect performance.
“Our surround heat system means that the elements in our electric ovens offer the same radiant heat as our solid fuel, oil, wood-burning and gas models. Temperatures are consistent throughout the space, which means you don’t need to turn dishes or swap shelves during cooking, and you can even place dishes directly on the base of the oven to cook.
“The additional benefits of ESSE’s electric models include the fact that they are fully controllable, they offer fast heat up times, simple installation (just plug in and cook), a full-width grill, dual hotplate and versatile ovens, as well as low running costs.
“Since 1854, ESSE models – both stoves and cookers – have continuously evolved to suit the needs of the modern British home. Carefully considered details mean that our products offer a host of benefits; these may be relatively small details, like easy-shut doors on our range cookers, but they make all the difference when you lift a hot dish out and you can nudge the door closed with your knee!
“We are proud to have achieved yet another patent on our coveted range cookers. It goes to show we’re not content to rest on our laurels, even after more than a century and a half of Great British manufacturing.”
The NEW electric 990 EL has a huge dual hotplate (cast iron and induction), a full-width grill, two independently-controlled ovens and a warming oven which is perfect for slow cooking melt-in-the-mouth casseroles and more. This model also includes a beautifully cast adjustable vent to maintain more or less moisture in the oven, depending what your recipe requires.