Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Simple Pumpkin Soup for Halloween

With Halloween just around the corner and pumpkins appearing in supermarkets around the country, I think it's time we delved into the annual phenomenon that is pumpkin soup.

Call me old fashioned, but I always appreciated pumpkins a little more when they were made into soup, rather than a scary face on the windowsill. Those who can do both with the one pumpkin are to be highly commended for being both inventive and resourceful!

Anyway, onto the pumpkin soup itself and this is probably one of the easiest recipes you will ever have to follow so there's no excuse for not giving it a go over the next week or so. 

First let's start with the ingredients:
750g of diced pumpkin
250g diced potato
2 medium onions, diced
3 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
3.5 cups of water
250ml of thickened cream
Salt & Pepper

For your prep work all you really require is a good quality kitchen knife and a chopping board to save your worktops.

Next, we move onto the method behind the soup:
  1. Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan, except the cream. (Don't you just love it when this happens, it makes cooking so much easier!)
  2. Simmer the contents of the pan until the vegetables have become tender.
  3. Take your pan off the heat.
  4. Blend the soup until smooth, using this Kenwood hand held blender will get the job done fine.
  5. Add the cream at this stage but be sure not to boil the soup again after adding the cream.
  6. Season accordingly.
It's as simple as that! 

This soup normally serves about six. If you have friends and family coming over for a Halloween party why not give it a go and really get in the spirit!


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Choosing The Right Polycarbonate Tableware

Polycarbonate or plastic tableware can be found in use in many different environments ranging from schools and nursing homes or for barbecues at home and picnics during the Summer.

The main advantage of polycarbonate tableware is its ability to resist breaking when dropped, making it ideal for the aforementioned areas where the risk of dropping is much greater due to it being used by young children or the elderly.

When choosing the right plastic tableware there are a few aspects to consider to ensure that all your requirements can be met and you know what you are getting.

Choose the right plastic, there are many available!

There is a huge range of polycarbonate tableware available on the market today and finding the right type of 'plastic' to suit your requirements can be difficult.  A good place to start is to identify your needs and establish what your day to day use of your polycarbonate tableware will consist of.
  • Is your plastic plates and glasses truly break-resistant?  Will they survive many falls and tumbles?
  • Will your polycarbonate tableware warp in the microwave?
  • Can your plastic tableware be washed in the dishwasher?
  • Is your plastic plates and bowls scratch resistant?
Knowing how different plastics perform is probably the most important piece of research you will carry out before making your decision and choosing your range of polycarbonate tableware!

A popular  range of plastic tableware which aims to provide a solution to most of the above points is the range from Harfield Plastic Tableware.

Harfield plastic tableware is a virtually unbreakable range of polycarbonate tableware which will not chip, splinter or shatter.  It is also constructed from a non-porous plastic making it exceptionally hygienic as food bacteria cannot absorb into the tableware.

The above features, as well as the fact that it is lightweight and durable, makes Harfield polycarbonate tableware the ideal solution for environments with young children or the elderly such as school canteens, nursing homes or hospitals.  The pattern or colour will not fade over time and the plastic is recyclable.

If you follow these simple guidelines, Harfield plastic tableware will last you a lifetime!

Care and Maintenance of Harfield Polycarbonate Tableware

  • Do not exceed temperatures of 85°C
  • Never place the tableware near or on direct heat
  • Do not use scouring pads or other abrasive materials to wash the tableware
  • Safe for use in microwaves when reheating food but NOT for cooking
  • All tableware can be sterilised or autoclaved

Cleaning Instructions for Harfield Polycarbonate Tableware

  • Harfield tableware can be washed in hot soapy water and rinsed with most hand detergents being suitable.
  • Do not use bactericidal detergents when the tableware is to be put in a sterilising sink as this may cause stress cracking of the tableware.
  • Harfield tableware can be washed in most dishwashers.  Temperatures in the dishwasher should be 60-60°C for the wash and 75-80°C for rinsing.
  • Suitable to be cleaned in sterilising sinks.
You can view our full range of plastic tableware online and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any more questions about choosing your own plastic tableware.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Victoria Surprise Cake Recipe

Victoria Surprise Cake Recipe


Butter, Flour, Two large eggs, 1tsp Baking powder, 4 Drops of vanilla essence, 110g of caster sugar, 110g of butter, 110g of self raising flour, chocolate.
Filling: Strawberries & Creme Fraiche
Equipment: Victoria Surprise Cake Set, Greaseproof paper discs (14cm dia).


Before Use
Wash pans and bases in warm soapy water, rinse and dry.

  1. Line the centre of the base with 14cm (5.5") discs of greaseproof paper.  Butter and flour the pans and the bases.
  2. Mix together two large eggs, 1tsp of baking powder, 4 drops of vanilla essence, 110g each of caster sugar, butter and self raising flour. Spread the mix evenly across the pan and bake at 180°C for 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out.
  4. For the filling, spread creme fraiche into both sponged, then overfill one with freshly cut strawberries.
  5. Flip the other sponge over and onto the filled half and gently but firmly press them together.
  6. Ice with melted chocolate and chill before serving.
After Use
Hand wash only, not suitable for dishwashers.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Product Focus: Colour Coded Chopping Boards

Colour coded chopping boards have become a regular sight in most professional kitchens due to ongoing changes with Food Safety guidelines and legislation.

Our colour coded chopping boards are designed with food safety in mind, each food group having a designated colour which helps to prevent cross contamination and potential food poisoning. The most widely recognised colour coded system is as follows:

Red - Raw Meat
Yellow - Cooked Meat
Blue - Fish
Green - Salads and Veg
Brown - Root Veg
White - Dairy Products

Using a colour coded system such as the one outlined above is one of many steps which can be taken in your kitchen to improve the level of hygiene during food preparation.

Chopping boards are not the only items to follow a colour coded system in the kitchen.  Chefs knives and cleaning cloths have also been designed in accordance with this colour coding theory, helping to reduce cross contamination even further.

Take a quick look through our chopping boards, kitchen knives and cleaning cloths to kit out your kitchen with the latest colour coding equipment and make sure your kitchen meets the latest Food Safety Agency regulations and guidelines.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Choosing The Right Crockery For Your Restaurant

Choosing which range of crockery to use in your restaurant or hotel can be a daunting task given the variety of patterns, shapes and sizes of crockery available on the market today.  It is important to choose a pattern of crockery which will suitably reflect the style and atmosphere you are trying to create in your restaurant.  However, there are a few other points to consider which are just as important, if not more so, than how your crockery will look on the table.

How durable is your crockery?

Crockery being used in a commercial restaurant or hotel will be used constantly on a daily basis, being served to numerous tables and enduring many dishwasher cycles in its lifetime.

When choosing your crockery ensure that the range you choose is durable enough to withstand life in your kitchen, dining area and dishwasher.  Some of the cheaper ranges of crockery may seem like good value at the time of purchase but if this range is more susceptible to chipping or scratch marks you could find yourself having to restock some of your crockery sooner than expected.  Sometimes spending a little extra on your crockery initially can save you more money in the long run!

What size of crockery suits best?

You should ask yourself this question while bearing a few things in mind.  Firstly, what are your portion sizes going to look like on your new range of crockery?  Should you consider smaller or larger plates for serving your dishes?

Secondly, from a practical point of view when storing your crockery in your kitchen or storeroom, will this range of crockery fit on your shelves easily and allow you to store enough for future use?  You should also check that any new range of crockery will fit in your dishwasher if this is how you intend to wash it this way.

How versatile is your crockery?

Your new range of crockery may be used to serve multiple dishes from across your menu - potentially serving pizza, steak, pasta dishes as well as desserts and side dishes!  

When choosing a new range of crockery you should try to visualize how each dish would potentially look on the new range. We have many patterns of crockery on display in our showroom, it is sometimes best to call in and have a look at what we have available before making your decision!

Finally, choosing the right pattern of crockery!

When you have established what you want from your crockery the next step is normally choosing which pattern best reflects your style of dining or what you are trying to achieve in your restaurant.  New trends and patterns of crockery are emerging all the time and choosing the best pattern of crockery for your restaurant should not be a hastily made decision.

We have a large display of catering crockery and restaurant tableware in our Belfast showroom which is a great starting point for customers choosing a new range of crockery.  Seeing the crockery on the table before committing to buy gives you a much clearer idea of the pattern and sizes of the plates, etc. rather than only seeing the crockery in a catalogue before buying!

If you are beginning a new catering venture or re-vamping your current range of crockery please contact us or call into our showroom and we can help you find the best crockery for your catering establishment.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Cleaning Black Iron Cookware

Most black iron pans and cookware are protected by a clear, non-toxic oil which needs to be removed before the pan can be used properly.

The first step is to season your cookware with oil, this will form a natural film on the base of your pan. This natural film will improve and form over time and with regular use your pans will become practically non stick. With continued and regular use of these pans at a high temperature the oil and food being cooked will add to the layers, meaning your pan will actually get better with increased usage. At these higher cooking temperatures these layers formed pose absolutely no risk to those who will then consume food being cooked in these pans.

If your black iron pots or pans are not used for a period of time, they can occasionly go rusty. This however is no means the end of these pans lifespan! We recommend that you clean you pan thoroughly and make sure that you remove any rust with a scouring pad. After all the rust has been cleaned, re-season your pans and the process begins once more.

With regards cleaning your black iron pans after cooking, the cleaning process is actually quite simple but it is important that it is adhered to to ensure the longevity and improved cooking performance of your pans in the future. We recommend that you clean your pan in hot water using a small amound of washing up liquid. After washing you should hand dry your black iron cookware immediately ensuring that any dampness is sufficiently dried. You should then coat your pan with some oil, leaving it ready to be used again.

PLEASE NOTE - Under no circumstances should black iron cookware ever be cleaned in a dishwasher. This can cause irrepairable damage to the pans and may actually destroy the pans.

It is recommended that after each time you use any piece of black iron cookware that it is wiped clean with paper towels. This will help to ensure that the pan is completely dry which helps to prevent rusting forming on the pan. As discussed above, if rusting should form on the pan you will be required to thoroughly scour the pan, removing all traces of rust, and re-season. Over time and constant use, your pan should reform its protective layer and you should notice a vast improvement in the performance of your pan over a period of time.

You should never use a dry pan under any cirucmstances, always ensure that your pan has been seasoned and that oil has been added before cooking.

Providing you follow our simple set of instructions your black iron cookware should last you for many years to come!

Happy cooking!