Making the Perfect Barbecue

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Mmm… there’s nothing quite like a delicious garden barbecue with the family. The company is great of course, but the food is even better: steaks, toasty burger buns, vegetable shish kabobs, and to those of us who are creative with our dessert – grilled plantains (try it – it’s delicious!).

But what makes a perfect barbeque? Oh, let me count the ways.

The Grill

We start with the basics – a bad grill means a bad barbeque. If you want to eat well, the very first step is to ensure that you acquire a great garden-grill that will perfectly heat and cook the food. Whether you opt for an electric or a charcoal-based grill, make sure you also have any necessary items for proper cooking, like tongs, sausage holders, and so on. Also ensure that the grill is cleaned and prepped for cooking.

Quality Food & Recipes

When it comes to BBQ steak, in our family, we invest. We prefer to get good quality, grade-A meat  which tastes better. We spice it up perfectly, leave it marinating overnight, and barbecue it for lunch. My husband is in charge of grilling, so he’s now the expert at ensuring it’s perfectly cooked inside and out.

The Company

There’s just something about having family and friends over outside during a barbecue that naturally creates a light-hearted, enjoyable environment. Having people you love come over to enjoy the barbecue with you is one of those lasting memories. Make sure to photograph your time together!

The Comfort

Comfort is a necessary and often forgotten aspect in a barbecue. Whether it’s placing furniture for sitting or a table with plates, glasses and utensils, it’s important to ensure that everyone has a place to sit and eat comfortably. Nothing ruins the environment like having to stand around awkwardly.

The Weather

Combine great, warm weather with sweet, cold drinks in the garden and you have the perfect atmosphere for a barbecue. If it’s too cold, windy or even too hot or humid, guests will have difficulty enjoying themselves. However, when you match the barbecue date with that absolutely perfect weather, it makes the experience all the better.

The décor

Personally, I like to add a touch of my own decoration to the barbecue. I feel that having a few extra decoration items or putting some thought into the look & feel can add positivity to the get-together. When we have night barbecues, I like to place twinkling Christmas lights around the sitting area. During the day, I focus more on colors, like matching the tablecloths and glasses and plates.

Enjoy your barbecue!

Top Budget Family Cafes in Edinburgh

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Food in the capital of Scotland is both high on quantity and quality. Edinburgh is a great place to explore if you are a lover of great food. While there may be no independent cuisine of the city, (except beer and fried stuff), there is an abundance of restaurants, bars, cafes and family friendly hotels in Edinburgh, where you can get food form a global cuisine. When it comes to Scotland food, according to Wikitravel, Scots have a penchant for food, which has given birth to certain gastronomic delight, including deep fried hamburgers, deep fried pizzas, deep fried haggis, deep fried black pudding and even deep fried Mars bars. Such unique dishes can only be found in Scotland. Another popular dish of the UK, fish and chips, has turned into a Scottish delight and is best enjoyed with some beer. However, Edinburgh is not all fried stuff and alcohol; there are various family restaurants and family friendly hotels in Edinburgh. Moreover, there are even disabled friendly hotels in Edinburgh that are great places to stay if you are travelling with an elderly person. Here’s a look at the top budget family cafes where you can have a good wholesome meal.

Union of Genius

This colourful little takeaway cafe presents a warm and welcoming environment and serves traditional comfort food. This place is especially popular for its various styles of soups. With an emphasis on local favours and ingredients, the cafe has over 80 tried and tested recipes that they prepare from scratch each day. Among the most sold flavours are Ghanaian chicken and peanut curry, Moroccan harira, Coronation chicken and black tea. This place attracts the young and old alike, since there are flavours that will please the taste buds of any individual. Tourists travelling with an elderly should check out the disabled friendly hotels in Edinburgh, such as Piries Hotel, that are designed for the convenience of the disabled and the elderly, while also offering easy connectivity all across the city.

Manna House Bakery & Cafe

Located a short walk from Abbey Mount, this bakery-cafe is a small, homely space, with a few painted tables and chairs and a gallery of original art. This cafe is renowned all over the city for its big, polished flavours of bakery products at reasonable prices. The centrepiece at this cafe is undoubtedly the glittering counter of cakes. Available in several mouth watering flavours, the apple crumble slices and even the finely wrought patisserie are a must watch for every pastry lover. Once you have had enough of desserts, you can even look to other bakery products, such as grand bacon and cheese croissants, smoked mackerel, posh sandwiches, porchetta in honey, soups and salads. All of these are served with Manna’s very own tasty rustic breads that feel solid in the hand but light in the mouth. There are no alcoholic beverages served here, which may seem a little surprising in Scotland, but there are ample pubs and bars in close proximity to this bakery and cafe if you do need a drink to wash everything down.

Delicious Christmas Day Dessert Ideas

Aside from the religious aspect, there are several things that immediately come to mind whenever someone says “Christmas.” Decorations, presents, and family are just a few of them. But then there’s food and drink. If you can’t pig out at Christmas, when can you? It’s not long until the holidays, so it’s time to start thinking about all the lovely things you want to eat. There’s so much to choose from, with Christmas dinner to think about, Boxing Day, New Year’s, and all the snacks in between. Not forgetting what you’re going to do with the leftovers! One of the best parts of Christmas Day is the dessert. There’s never any room for it after dinner, but later on everyone’s ready to tuck into a piece of pudding or cake. If you’re not sure whether to stick with a traditional pudding this year or make something else, try these ideas for size.

Traditional Christmas Pudding

If you’ve never made a Christmas pudding before, perhaps this year could be your year. Traditionally made using suet and dried fruit, this flavourful pudding is a classic for a reason. To make a beautiful pudding, find a recipe that calls for you to steam it. It will take a long time, however – Delia Smith’s recipe calls for eight hours. This isn’t one to do last minute; you can do it in advance and store it in a cool place until it’s ready to heat up on Christmas Day.

Chocolate Yule Log

Another Christmas classic, the yule log or Buche de Noel, is a great alternative for anyone who doesn’t like Christmas pudding. It’s a good option for children and people often choose to do a pudding and a chocolate log. Use the best dark chocolate you can find to make an extra special cake. Be careful when you’re rolling your log that you don’t crack the sponge – but if you do, just cover it with chocolate ganache or plenty of icing sugar.

Panettone

This Italian classic is great fun to try if you’ve never made it. If you don’t fancy it for dessert, it makes a great breakfast when everyone’s opening their presents. Cherries, sultanas, and currants make this sweet bread a deliciously fruity affair. You could also try the Germanic stollen, a similar bread that often contains marzipan covered in sugar.

Christmas Trifle

Everyone loves a trifle, and there are so many ways you could make one. Kids and grownups alike love the combination of jelly, fruit, and cream. And if there aren’t any kids around, you can make your trifle indulgently boozy. Try a black forest trifle, with chocolate and cherries or use leftover Christmas pudding or cake to form the base of your trifle. For a boozy trifle, you can’t go amiss with bananas and Baileys – just replace the Baileys with toffee sauce for kids.

Remember that there’s no need to stick to just one dessert. Who says you can’t have several? After all, there’s Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day to cater for.

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Planning A Dinner Party? Here Are Some Tips To Make Your Life Easier

If you like nothing more than spending an evening with your friends engaging in good conversation and eating quality food, you’ve come to the right place. Often, people find that planning their dinner parties involves a lot of work, and so we thought it might be wise to publish a post that contains some advice. While we can’t arrange the party for you, we can help by listing a number of different things you might like to consider. Remember, people will be talking about you for months if there are any major issues.

With all that in mind, you should take a few moments to read through all the points made below. Hopefully, they should make your life much easier. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not only the food you need to worry about. There are a number of other elements that require your attention. While we can’t cover everything in this short post, we’ll do our best to go over the basics.

Sending invitations

Planning a dinner party is not like arranging birthday celebrations for your child. You need to send out invitations that ask your guests to RSVP. That is important because you’ll have trouble selecting your menu if you don’t know who you’re cooking for. Some of the friends will be unable to attend, and others may wish to bring guests of their own. If you want to make your invitations special, you should consider producing them at home. However, if you’re in a rush, there are plenty of good websites online that you could use.

Selecting your menu

Your menu will play a big role in other people’s perception of your dinner party, and so it’s vital that you get things right. For that reason, you should consider asking your guests if they have special dietary requirements on the invitations you send out. Some of them may be vegetarian, and others may be lactose intolerant. Once you have that information, choosing the best dishes to prepare should be much easier.

Arranging entertainment

Depending on the amount of people you’re expecting at your party, you should arrange entertainment accordingly. Some people like to book musicians and such, but that’s only viable if you have a lot of people coming. It’s probably more sensible for you to buy or make some party games. People love that sort of thing when the drinks are flowing.

Buying decorations

You’ll want to make your home look fantastic ahead of your dinner party. Considering that, you should spend a lot of time selecting the perfect decorations for your table. If this is a particularly special occasion, you might even like to invest in some customised party balloons. You can get them from the likes of www.balloonsgalore.co.uk. There are lots of websites that provide this service, and so you just need to find a reliable one with good reviews.

Now you’ve got all the basics covered, we’re quietly confident your night will go off without a hitch. As with anything in life, preparation is key.

We look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow for more interesting and useful articles!

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Fancy Organising A Barbeque This Weekend? Here’s Are Some Great Tips To Ensure Your Family Love It

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Everyone loves a good barbecue, and if you haven’t seen a lot of your family members for a while, this could be the perfect opportunity to give them a call and get them round for a few hours. Eating outside is a brilliant way to socialise with anyone if the truth is told, and it always allows you all to enjoy the sunshine and have a quick beer. With all this in mind, I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks today in the hope of helping the occasion go off without a hitch. Don’t get me wrong, there’s very little you can do to mess this up, as everyone expects you to burn the food anyway, but you might need some help when it comes to planning the event, or building your own barbecue.

Last year, I spent around two months eating BBQ food thanks to investing in a top of the range gas model. However, as I soon found out, the newer devices simply don’t char your sausages in the same way coal and fire lighters do, and so this year I’m going back to basics. Considering this, take a few minutes to scan through all the information below, and you should come away with some great ideas that are guaranteed to make your day exciting and enjoyable for all the family.

Setting The Date

While you might want to make the arrangements a week or so in advance, this isn’t the best plan as weather can change quickly. So, it’s best to call all your potential guests and let them know you’re planning to hold a barbecue at some point over the weekend. Then, if it starts raining on Saturday, you can simply hold it the following day. Some rain or bad weather might be okay, but you want your guests to eat in the sunshine if possible.

Building Your Own Barbecue

This is really easy, and all you’ll need is some bricks, and some welding equipment from www.lincolnelectric.com or another major supplier. Basically, you want to lay the bricks in a right angled horse-shoe formation, and then place a steel plate at the back before welding your grills in place. Some people like to keep the grills mobile, but this will be too risky unless you have time to cement the bricks into place and create a really strong structure.

Selecting The Perfect Food

These days, lots of people refuse to eat meat, and so you’ll definitely want to have a vegetarian option on standby in case any of your guests take this stance. Other than that, you want to head out to your local butchers to get some of his best sausages, and then purchase some Dexter beef to make your own burgers. While this breed is slightly more expensive than you might normally buy, the difference will be noticed by all your guests immediately.

Once you’ve sorted all this stuff, there’ll be nothing left to do but get a couple of cans out, play football with the kids, and wait for the food to start cooking.

Have an amazing day! I only wish I was free to attend.

See you next time!

 

 

Quiz time!

For your chance to win a £40 Amazon voucher can you answer the following question? Please leave your answer in the comments below.

Question: Add baking powder to your cake and it rises. What is in baking powder that makes this happen?

  • yeast
  • baking soda plus cornstarch
  • baking soda, an acid, and cornstarch

The competition closes on the 9th of February.

Good luck!

 

A Guide to Buying a Brand New Refrigerator

You can get a wide range of refrigerators that have various features depending on your needs. To buy a fridge that’s perfect for you, you should consider your own unique home situation and weigh up the pros and cons of the features that could make your life easier. Here are some tips that you may find useful when buying a new refrigerator:

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What Style Refrigerator Would You Like?

  • If you aren’t too bothered about the kind of fridge you choose and would like a basic but economical option, a top freezer refrigerator could be the best choice for you. They don’t have that many features, however; you might find them cheaper than a lot of other options.
  • Similarly you can get a bottom freezer refrigerator if you’d like the shelves to be easier to reach and see.  You can find this style of fridge with French doors, although these can be fairly expensive.
  • If you don’t have much space in your kitchen, a narrow side by side refrigerator can save you space. Be careful though, as the shelves may be too narrow to hold wider items that you may need in your freezer.
  • A built in fridge can give a chic, smooth look. You can get them with door panels that match the rest of your kitchen cabinets too, so you don’t have to sacrifice on style! They’re good if you’d like a small fridge and you don’t mind spending a little extra to get a fridge that looks the part.
  • Undercounter commercial refrigerators are a good choice for a commercial kitchen. You can get any size and style you like, from light to heavy duty.

Do You Need an Icemaker or Water Dispenser?

If you would like an icemaker or water dispenser, the fridge will need to be hooked up to your plumbing system, meaning you may not be able to have it in the location you originally wanted it. You might even be able to find a fridge that includes a filter system, but you’ll need to buy replacement filters every so often, so make sure you know where you can get them and how much they’ll cost you.

Consider the Space You Have

Make sure you consider the space you have for your fridge, and just how much food you’ll be able to keep in there. As much as 35% of the freezer space could be unusable, so make sure you’re aware of the storage capacity.

What Interior Features Would You Like?

There are many interior features your refrigerator could include:

  • Adjustable shelves and door bins are a good feature to have. If storage flexibility is important to you, then you need to have them!
  • Drawers can help you to keep your fridge organised. Not only that, but some drawers can have their own temperature setting, so you can keep meat, veg, and other food fresh!

Now you’ve worked out what you want from your refrigerator, you can read reviews online to get an idea of how certain models will work for you!

Top Tips for Organising a Kids Birthday Party

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Organising a kids birthday party can be a pretty complicated task, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. However in spite of this, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you’re able to deliver a kids birthday party that’s set to impress all that attend, with both the kids and the grown ups leaving satisfied!

Get Some Great food

One of the most important aspects of organising a kids birthday party, is to ensure that you’ve got the right food at hand. You’re probably not looking to have some luxurious menu items on offer, since this is a kids birthday party after all. However in any case, you’ll still want to have some food that is going to keep the little party goers satisfied. Think about keeping it simple, going with some of the proven finger food options that kids love.

Before you go ahead with ordering the food for a birthday party, double check to see if there are any kids attending who have special dietary requirements, such as a nut allergy, or vegetarian restrictions.

Keep Them Entertained

Kids are notorious for their ability to become easily bored. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve got something planned when it comes to keeping the kids entertained. There are many options for this, as you could think about using some specialist entertainers who only deal with kids parties. Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave, you could just do things yourself, and take a look on the web to see what you can do in order to keep the kids happy when it comes to entertainment at the party. If you’ve seen some great ideas for what you can do to keep the kids entertained, but need to source the items needed, consider using websites such as Little Cherry to give you a helping hand.

Seek out Help

If you’re looking to do everything without any help, you could be making things harder than they need to be. You don’t need to do this however, and there is every chance that you could source some outside help to make the task of hosting a kids birthday party that much easier. In fact, you could always consider asking some of the other parents if they’re able to provide you with the help you might need. They might be able to help you with serving up the food for example, and maybe even the cleanup after the party has ended.

Get the Contact Details of Other Parents

When it comes to hosting a birthday party for kids, it is important that you take the time to get the contact details of the parents of all children attending. This will give you the peace of mind needed, so you know you can easily reach the parents of the children attending, should there be an emergency, or unexpected circumstance.

Party Time

As you can see, organising a birthday party for children is not as hard as you might have once thought. As long as you get the basics right, such as the food and the entertainment, there should be no worries of flopping when it comes to having a great party. Even if there are issues whilst the party takes place, you should be able to take everything in your stride, as you have some help on hand, and know how to get in touch with the other parents should there be the need to do so.