The Homewares Company Blog

  • The 7 Sandwich Wonders of the World

    LovelySandwich

    In celebration of British Sandwich week, here are seven wonderful sandwiches from around the world. Which ones you go for will depend on your tastes and time constraints, some will take a little more work than others!

    1. Eiffel Tower - France

    FrenchSandwich

    Our first stop is a short hop across the channel to France, for a toweringly great sandwich! Of course, this will need to be made on a traditional French baguette. Not one of those tiny little baguettes that you get in Britain, this has to be one of the huge, long, fresh baguettes that the French are famous for. Preferably purchased in a lovely French bakery and transported to the kitchen in the basket of a bicycle. You will need real butter, French brie, some good, thick slices of tomato and sliced olives. If the baguette is of the recommended size, you will also need someone to share it with. Paris is the city of love after all! And of course, you will need a large carafe of French red wine, preferably a fabulous quality one from the heart of the Loire valley.

    2. Pyramids - Egypt

    ESandwich

    This is one of the more complicated sandwich creations, that will involve a little bit of cutting. Take six rounds of sliced bread and pile them on top of each other. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut them into a pyramid shape. Then deconstruct your pyramid and spread butter between each layer. The bottom layer should contain a falafel burger, preferably the spicy variety. This can easily be made at home by blending up a tin of chickpeas, two tablespoons of plain flour, a small onion, some parsley, cumin and chilli powder to taste. Cook each burger in a little oil until the outside is tastefully burnt. Put a little tomato relish on top of the burger. The next layer should contain Egyptian feta cheese and green fava beans crumbled with some cucumber and dill and mixed with a little olive oil and garlic. The top layer of your sandwich should contain a refreshing yoghurt, mint and cucumber dip, very traditional in Egypt although usually served with pitta bread.

    3. Colosseum - Italy

    ItalianSandwich

    This is another sandwich that needs to be big (are you spotting a theme here?!) and you will need to use four slices of pizza bianca, a traditional Roman bread that is used all over Italy. The bottom filling will be sunblushed tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella. The next filling will have to be provolone cheese, sliced plum tomatoes and deli sliced Genoa salami. Of course, the whole sandwich will need to be toasted, panini style for that true Italian feeling.

    4. Statue of Liberty - America 

    NewYork

    This is a less complicated recipe that New York fans will love. It is quite simply, a New York Deli sandwich with pastrami and cheese. This is best served on rye bread in the traditional style and you will need to follow the New York rule of eating; more is more! So pack in those fillings and serve with as much mustard or ketchup as you like.

    5. Acropolis - Greece 

    GreekSandwich

    A Greek sandwich needs to be made on traditional Greek flatbread. This one is best served as a deconstructed sandwich. Let your guests build their sandwich as they wish from your selection of the finest quality Greek ingredients. Of course, feta cheese and olives both need to put in an appearance in your selection, along with some fresh tomatoes at room temperature, some oregano to flavour it and, if you’re feeling generous, you could offer some beautifully cooked lamb for a really substantial filling.

    6. Petra - Jordan

    JordanSandwich

    The ancient city of Petra is famous for its rock cut architecture, its water system and the rose colour of the stone it is carved out of. In honour of the Rose city, you will need to serve this sandwich with a chilled bottle of rose wine, not too much of a hardship! Your sandwich should be made from pitta bread, filled with hummus, pickled vegetables and the traditional Jordanian moutabal. This is roasted, pureed aubergine with garlic and it goes particularly well with hummus and the pickled vegetables that are so popular throughout Jordan.

    7. Houses of Parliament - England

    EnglishSandwich2

    Last but not least, our journey brings us full circle, back to good old Blighty and London. You will need unsliced, crusty white bread that you cut into nice big doorstop wedges. Spread with real butter as thick as you like. The filling is traditional beef and pickle, which can be complemented with salad such as lettuce and tomatoes if you want to add a bit of something healthy. However, we also like the good old favourite of pickle and thick wedges of Cheddar cheese - you really can't beat it.

    What is your favourite sandwich filling?

  • How to Host a Vegetarian Dinner Party

    vegetarian dinner party

    Having just celebrated National Vegetarian Week , now is the perfect time to take a look at some of the many delicious and tempting recipes for a vegetarian dinner party. Vegetarians used to dread dinner parties as they ended up eating everything except the meat, but nowadays even hardened meat eaters are starting to realise just how quick, healthy and cheap going veggie can be.

    Not convinced? Why not challenge yourself, your family and your friends to putting together a three-course meal based around vegetarian ingredients? You will be astonished at how easy, not to mention tasty, the exercise is.

    STARTER - Goat’s cheese salad

    GoatsCheeseSalad

    Simple to make, this goat’s cheese starter will fool your guests into thinking you spent hours in the kitchen, when they couldn’t be further from the truth. You will need one small goat’s cheese per person (or divide up a larger cheese into individual portions), one bag of baby salad leaves, a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved and a good balsamic dressing.

    Wash your salad leaves in cold running water. One of the best kitchen accessories to help with this task is a salad spinner which dries the leaves in seconds and stops them from wilting.

    Arrange a few salad leaves on your starter plates and top with the tomatoes. Grill the goat’s cheese under a hot grill until they start to melt slightly. Place a goat’s cheese on top of each salad plate and drizzle a little balsamic dressing over before serving.

    MAINS - Risotto Primavera

    Risotto

    Translated as Spring Risotto, this simple and satisfying dish can be enjoyed at any time of the year. If you can’t find asparagus try substituting purple-flowering broccoli stems, although most vegetables work well. Serve the risotto with warm crusty bread and a generous colourful salad and your guests are almost guaranteed to be begging you to part with the recipe!

    To serve 4 people at a vegetarian dinner party you will need:

    4 spring onions chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, 1 small onion, chopped, 350g Arborio rice, Olive oil, 150g broad beans, shelled. 150g peas, shelled or frozen with 250g asparagus, sliced and 150 ml white wine. Around half a pint of hot vegetable stock, a knob of butter, 100g grated Parmesan cheese with parsley to garnish.

    Begin by melting a little oil in a large frying pan. Add the spring onions, onion and garlic and cook over a low heat for about five minutes until softened. Add the rice and stir well to ensure an even coating of oil over the grains. Pour in the wine and stir with a wooden spoon as the liquid is absorbed by the rice.

    Meanwhile keep adding a couple of spoons of hot stock to the rice whilst stirring for around 10 minutes or so. In a separate saucepan or steamer heat the asparagus for about five minutes before adding the beans and peas. Keep adding hot stock to the risotto and stirring it continuously for a further 10 minutes and then drain the vegetables and add them to the rice.

    Add half the grated parmesan and the butter and stir into the risotto. Pile the rice and vegetables onto plates and top with a sprinkling of fresh parmesan and a scattering of chopped parsley.

    DESSERT - Eton Mess

    EatonMess

    Sweet crunchy meringue, ice cream and the indulgence of berries smothered in fresh cream and a swirl of strawberry sauce. Everyone loves an Eton Mess and it’s very easy to make. Try adding fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce, or experiment with other fruit such as blueberries or even pineapples and bananas for a tropical effect.

    For four people you will need:

    Four ready-made meringue nests or shells, four scoops of a good quality vanilla ice cream, a punnet of strawberries, strawberry sauce or liqueur and double cream, whipped.

    One of the few kitchen accessories you will definitely need for this recipe is a good apron, such as the ‘Sorted’ black and yellow version - meringues can get seriously messy as you will discover once you start crushing them!

    Divide the crushed meringues between four dessert glasses and add a scoop of ice cream to each one. Hull and halve the strawberries and divide them between the glasses. Add a generous topping of whipped cream to each glass and top with a drizzle of sauce or liqueur. Enjoy!

    Your guests, family and friends are sure to be absolutely delighted with this easy menu, and what’s the betting that they never even notice the lack of meat? Once you’ve discovered how delicious and filling meat-free recipes can be you might just find yourself choosing the vegetarian option more often.

    Have you hosted a vegetarian dinner party? Share your recipes, tips, advice and experiences below.

    DinnerParty

  • Top 4 Tasty Bread Treats

    BreadTreats

    With this year’s Real Breadmaker Week just behind us, maybe it’s time you took another look at the humble loaf. Far from being just the basis for a quick and easy snack, bread is extremely versatile and can be used in many exciting sweet and savoury treats. Here we take a look at the origins of the modern day loaf and show you some different ways in which you can use it in everyday recipes.

    The history of bread

    Bread has been a staple part of our diet for centuries, with evidence of it being baked by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. There was even a form of bread found during the Stone Ages. In the Middle Ages, being a baker had a significant status within a town and there were rules about who could become one.

    The first types of bread used a range of grains and cereals to create different and edible foods. As we’ve evolved and developed our skills and technology, we’ve learned to make bread into a more palatable form that can be enjoyed in many ways. The process became much quicker during the Industrial Revolution, with the development of new machinery. The Chorleywood Bread Process was introduced in 1961 and this is how the majority of UK bread is produced today. The process makes it possible to manufacture bread using wheat with a lower protein. This is beneficial in the UK as the wheat here doesn’t usually have high levels of protein.

    Today bread is enjoyed all over the world and can be made using a variety of different ingredients and types of grain. As well as the traditional white loaf, you could choose from rye or sourdough bread, as well as loaves flavoured with cheeses, spices and fruits. There really is no end to the versatility of bread, which is why it’s so popular. Even leftover bread can be used to make plenty of other dishes.

    This is our pick of the best:

    Bread and Butter Pudding

    BreadandButterPud

    This is a classic British pudding that was developed from the traditional Bread Pudding recipe. The first evidence of this dish can be found in the 17th century and it began life as a more luxury form of Bread Pudding. As the middle classes became richer, they were able to afford more staple products in their diet, including eggs and milk. This enabled them to create a custard to pour over the bread, which developed into a Bread and Butter Pudding.

    Today the dish is still seen as a good way of using up a range of types of leftover bread. It is created by placing layers of buttered bread in a dish along with raisins or other dried fruits. A custard is made using a mixture of milk, sugar and eggs, which can be flavoured with spices like nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon. The custard mixture is poured over the bread and then baked.

    Summer Pudding

    SummerPudding

    This is another British sweet that has made a come back in the past few years thanks to its popularity with celebrity chefs. The original forms of the pudding were found during the 19th century and it was originally made using raspberries and redcurrants.

    To make a Summer Pudding you layer slices of white bread within a round bowl and then cover with fruit juice and summer fruits, such as raspberries, blackcurrants, strawberries and blackberries. It’s then left overnight so that all the juices soak into the bread. When it’s ready to serve, the pudding is turned upside down on a plate.

    Strata

    Strata

    Strata is an American inspired dish that is often served for brunch and has similarities with the frittata or quiche. The main ingredient in the savoury treat is bread, which is used to produce separate layers. This was first seen at the start of the 20th century, when it was originally made using a white sauce instead of the now traditional eggs.

    A simple Strata can be made by having layers of bread alongside cheese and a mixture of eggs and milk. The dish is then baked in the oven until golden brown. There are many different ways in which you can add your own touch to this dish, by including a variety of vegetables or meat, such as bacon, chicken, ham, mushrooms and spinach.

    Fondue

    Fondue

    The origins of Fondue can be found in France, Switzerland and Italy. It has had many different forms, but the modern day variation was first seen in the 19th Century. It was originally made in the towns, rather than the mountain areas, using cheeses such as Gruyere. It became popular in America in the 1960s and 1970s when people took to holding fondue parties.

    The melted cheese for a fondue is made with either Emmental or Gruyere cheeses, which are added to a mixture of white wine and corn flour. They are melted until it forms a smooth mixture. Any type of bread can be cut into pieces using a sharp knife, such as the Jamie Oliver bread knife, and then dipped into the melted cheese.

    Next time you’ve got some bread to use up, why not try one of these recipes or create your own variation.

  • The Ultimate Wedding Gift Guide

    weddingThemes

    It’s wedding season once again, which means not only fussing about your outfit but also worrying what gift to get the newly married couple. Whereas some couples compile a wedding list, making buying a gift relatively simple, many others opt for the element of surprise.

    In fact, statistics uncovered by a First Direct Survey show that 22 per cent of couples register an official wedding list. One fifth of couples want the guest to choose a gift while 19 per cent decide they would prefer not to receive a gift at all.

    For those people who are attending a wedding with no specified gift list, it can be a difficult process, as many couples tend to live together before they are married. We have compiled a gift guide to help you make your decision.

    GOOD GIFT GUIDE

    WeddingGifts

    The first question to ask is what constitutes a great gift? Consider their individual personalities, hobbies and what you think they would really appreciate.

    Talk to the bride and groom about what they want out of their wedding gifts. This will give you some pointers as to what practical homewares and gifts, if any, they would like. A good idea for acquaintances, family or colleagues is something that combines practicality with a special sentiment, such as a gift that can be used but maybe only for special occasions.

    Think outside of the box and go for an exciting or unusual present, or simply something that will help them remember their big day such as a coffee subscription, wine tasting course or an instant digital camera so they can capture special moments. This then saves you from the dreaded situation of giving a duplicate present!

    Your in-depth knowledge of a close relative or best friend should help get those creative juices flowing. A good tip is to be personal and to go the extra mile, such as picking a gift that references a particular event or time in your life. Photo albums, jewellery or a course for something they have always wanted to learn, are sure to get you extra brownie points.

    If in doubt, giving a gift voucher to use at their favourite restaurant or to buy some much needed home furnishing will always go down well. Food and drink gifts are also a popular wedding gift choice - even a luxury hamper or a great bottle of champagne!

    THE CASH QUESTION

    WeddingCash

    Research shows that 35 per cent of engaged couples ask for cash instead of traditional wedding presents. However, this presents a whole new dilemma - how much do you give?

    People spend an average of £47 on a wedding gift. Under 24-year-olds are the most generous, spending an average of £48, followed by the over 55s, who spend £56, and then 35 to 54-year-olds, who spend around £39. This means that you may want to give a similar amount in the form of cash, although some wedding experts say that you should give more than this if you choose to use money as a gift for someone close to you.

    Anja Winika, site director for wedding planning website The Knot, says the amount you give should be dependent on the relationship you have with the bride. She recommends giving between £45 and £60 to a distant relative, friend or co-worker, between £60 and £75 for an average friend or relations, and at least £60 to £90 for a close friend or relative. You may also want to give a larger gift if you are taking a guest with you to the wedding. Conversely, it is acceptable to give less if you have spent a lot of money already on just attending the wedding.

    Instead of asking for cash or a cheque, come couples nowadays will set up special accounts at stores, such as Selfridges Celebration service, which allows people to pay in money which can then be spent by the couple.

    HANDING OVER YOUR GIFT

    GivingWeddingGift

    Now that the tricky part is over, it’s now left to when you should present your gift to the bride and groom. This very much depends upon the type of wedding it is but, generally, it can be a good idea to give your present to a close friend or relative of the couple, rather than the pair themselves. It is also perfectly acceptable to send your gift or money before the wedding to save having to deal with it on the day. In terms of etiquette, you also have up to a year after the wedding to give your gift, although, in practice, this should be done much sooner than that.

  • Welcome to the brand new The Homewares Company Website

    Hello and welcome to our brand new website! Armed with a sleek, contemporary design and incredible functionality, we are proud to be able to provide our customers with an unprecedented selection of homewares - all on one secure website.

    Think of this as the epicentre of all things homewares, from kitchen tableware and accessories, to kitchen electricals - even gardening and bathroom! We are also home to some of the best brands around, such as the increasingly popular Jamie Oliver cookware range, the handy Water Bobble Jugs and water bottles in addition to Stackers; the makers of inventive jewellery boxes. We are the stockists of both Bobble and Stackers; a feat we are very proud of.

    Some of you will already know us from our Homewares Company Amazon store which has grown tremendously over the past couple of years. Therefore we thought it was only right to have our own website which would allow visitors to browse all our ranges and brands at leisure. We pride ourselves on sourcing only the best, as well as providing a wide and diverse range that caters to all tastes, homes and uses.

    If that means individually handpicking the products ourselves, then that is exactly what we do. Our wide variety of homewares excites colour coordinators, design devotees, gadget geeks and functional fanatics. The clear layout of our website and the easy to follow step-by-step checkout process makes ordering a doddle. Our reliable home delivery service ensures that once you have ordered, you’ll receive your items in no time.

    Here at The Homewares Company, our unbeatable range of homewares, kitchenware and kitchen accessories, to name but a few, has given us a reputable name, one which we endeavour to uphold. The friendly and reliable service keeps our valued customers coming back; your loyalty is much appreciated. So, we dedicate this website to you, and the happier baking and gardening times you will have with our products.

    Be sure to keep an eye out for our great offers, which we regularly update and a whole host of new products which we are continually adding to our growing website. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our great offers too - happy shopping!

  • It’s back…The Great British Bake Off, Series 4.

    tgbbo

    We love this show at the The Homewares Company and guess what we even stock some of the items you see on screen. Take the Cake tin in the top left corner on the title screen, a really nice vintage storage box for cakes and biscuits.

    bakeoff-cast

    Welcome back Paul, Mel Sue and the lovely Mary. We can’t believe this is now in the 4th series and it still works. Paul and Mary are a real baking combo. Who knows what kind of treats we have in stock this season.

    In the picture above we can see the whole team being photographed outside. At The Homewares Company we always like to do a bit of product spotting. A few items we stock include the UTENSILS pot. Which is really nice and fits in with the vintage style. Also spotted at the original Kilner Jars and just by Paul we see some of the original Mason Cash bowls.

    We have a huge selection of these earthenware bowls in fact we might even have the entire collection of this classic.

    We can’t spot the unit they are standing behind but it looks fantastic. As ever the field in the background looks beautiful.

    muffins

    Here we see Paul and Mary sitting down for some tea and english muffins, We love the Hen in the back, guess what it’s storage for eggs and yes you guessed it you can buy it at The Homewares Company. The table cloth looks amazing but we think you might need a big kitchen/dining room to fit the table in. Definitely not in London.

    They have the required GREAT BRITIAN bunting hanging in the background, very patriotic and a lovely vintage butter dish on the table. Were sure the butter is kept at room temperature for a nice and easy spread on the muffins.

    They also have some lovely tea pots on display in the top right. We do keep a selection of these on the site. The most popular we find are the Tea for One pots. Tea pot ontop with a nice big cup underneath.

    paul-hollywood

    Nice softones in the Bakeoff Kitchen. Reminds us of Home Economics at school. In fact if it was this nice we would have paid more attention during apple crumble time.

    bread-book

    peace-bread

    And to finish off….. The winner, Kimberley’s Peace Bread with Garlic and Zaatar, we loved the look of the Iranian rose petals. Someone please invent smellovision quick!!!

6 Item(s)