Nowadays people can go about the task of cooking in lots of different ways. Even if you live out in the country and are not connected to mains gas, the ability to buy portable gas bottles still allows you this method of cooking if you prefer it.
Beyond the choice of gas or electricity, whether you choose a traditional cooker, a built-in oven and separate hob or a range-type cooker is a matter of taste and practicality. Most worktop styles lend themselves to many types of kitchen ddcor, depending on the style of surrounding cabinetry and other furnishings and fittings.
While your worktops are amongst the most dominating and eye-catching areas in the kitchen, the stove tends to be the focal point of the kitchen, much as the fireplace is in the living room.
Sleek, modern stoves can include either induction or ceramic hobs. Both have different properties but look very similar. Ceramic hobs can be used with all types of cooking pots and pans. They get hot when the zones are switched on and stay hot until they’ve had time to cool naturally. Induction hobs are different in that they don’t have hot spots. This is because no heat is generated until the pan comes into contact with the surface. For this reason you need pans that are specially made for use with induction hobs. Induction and ceramic hobs look extremely stylish with granite worktops, but also add a dash of sophistication to more modest laminate work surfaces.
The main thing to remember with glass-topped hobs is that they scratch easily and need prompt cleaning in the event of spills. You should use only gentle cream cleansers and soft cloths.
Other cooking options include gas hobs, some of which have inbuilt wok stands and gas rings, making them especially useful for those who like a good stir-fry. Range-style gas cookers are very popular if you have the space for one. Giving a larger than normal cooking area with extra rings, they eliminate the need to juggle pots around the cooker on those occasions when more elaborate meals are prepared.
Whichever style of hob or stove top you’re looking for, we have the perfect work surface to complement it. Take a browse around the site to see our fantastic range.
A brand new kitchen with gleaming worktops and shiny stainless steel or pristine ceramic basins looks beautiful. But let’s not forget that the kitchen is first and foremost a work room. And every work room needs its tools.
Some of them, though, are just too wacky for words. We thought we’d take a look at some of the craziest appliances on the market.
Do you like soldiers with your boiled eggs? How about a rocking gadget that presses ridges into your slice of bread before you toast it? The ridges shape the bread into preformed soldiers that can then be torn off the slice without the need for a knife. It’s certainly crazy, but we think it’s also kind of cool.
How about a template to help you keep control of portion size? Despite hearing so much these days about how we’re all getting bigger, this is one gadget we don’t expect to be terribly popular. The plastic template sits on your dinner plate and has three separate holes into which you measure out your veg. It all seems a bit clinical, even for those who’re trying not to overindulge.
If you enjoy the odd Chinese takeaway, or cooking Chinese food at home and eating with chopsticks, might you find a pair of Forkchops handy? This nifty little gadget comprises a knife and fork with specially shaped handles that double as chopsticks when you turn them around and use them upside down. As their website cleverly says, they allow you to ‘eat in any language’.
While Forkchops may be handy, one eating gadget we don’t think is likely to catch on is the finger plate. This crazy little plate has a ring on the underside that slips onto an index finger. The idea is that you can then balance food on the finger plate and hold a drink at the same time.
We’ve all got gadgets we bought on a whim then stuck in the drawer. Some are great, others are not so great. If you can resist the novelty factor, though, a good kitchen knife, a sturdy, well-made worktop and a clean chopping board are all you need for most kitchen and cooking prep jobs.
Kitchens in glossy magazines may look like wonderful places, filled with the best-quality fittings and accessories and in spaces large enough to fit the average house.
As dream kitchens, they’re out of reach of most ordinary buyers, but that doesn’t mean that just because you don’t have an acre of space to fill with luxury fitments you can’t have a kitchen that makes you proud. In many cases, careful shopping can result in creating a kitchen with just the same wow factor, but at a fraction of the cost.
An expensive country kitchen is a thing of beauty. Featuring natural wood and soft neutral colours, country kitchens are cosy and inviting, exuding an aura of timeless family life and comforting home-cooked food.
Laminate work surfaces can achieve the same look at a much lower upfront cost than work surfaces of solid wood. Laminate works well with young families where hygiene is a factor. The material is easy to clean and hard-wearing, standing up well to everyday wear and tear. It’s also available in a range of colours, from gentle oak and the palest of maples right through to the rich tones of walnut. The technology used to produce realistic laminates means a faithful representation of wood grain, so it’s practically indistinguishable from the more expensive solid wood.
When natural-looking laminates are coupled with neutral-coloured cabinet doors, the effect of the country style is almost perfect. Choose cabinets with shaker style handles for a clean simplicity that completes the look. Add brass or copper pans, hung artfully from walls or ceiling, if space allows and if you can’t go that far a simple posy of wild flowers in a jug on the windowsill will give a country fresh feeling to the area.
Remember to claim your free laminate samples if you’re thinking of replacing your work surfaces and are not sure which colour would look best in your new kitchen. Having samples allows you to observe the colour right where it will be installed so you’re far more likely to find your perfect colour and style.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to give kitchen worktops a new lease of life, assuming you’re not ready to replace them, is to renew the silicon seals. These are often the first areas to start showing their age, looking ragged and tired over time.
Renewing the silicon seals isn’t hard. Given a little time and effort it is the sort of quick DIY job most people should be able to accomplish.
The first step is to get rid of the old sealant. Cut away as much as you can using a sharp knife and being careful not to damage the nearby surfaces. Sometimes old sealant will tear off in strips, other times it can be more resistant. Products are available to help with the removal if you’re having trouble. Once the old stuff is off, the next step is to replace it with new sealant. This can be a bit messy, so make sure you have plenty of paper towels handy.
Use a good-quality sealant as this will have better mould and stain-resistant properties. A mistake that’s often made is to cut too much off the end of the tip, which results in the sealant squeezing out too quickly. Not only does this make the job trickier, it’s also wasteful. Cut the nozzle at a 30 to 45 degree angle. A pair of scissors will do the job.
Before you apply the sealant, make sure the surfaces are dry, smooth and dust-free. Release the pressure off the gun before you start, so that the sealant doesn’t squeeze out until you’re ready. Aim the nozzle into the gap, then squeeze the trigger so the pressure rod applies gentle pressure to the sealant inside the tube.
Run a bead of sealant along the gap between the work surface and the wall, trying to keep it as evenly sized as possible. When you’ve gone the entire length of the gap, use a wet finger to gently smooth the sealant into position and wipe away any excess with a paper towel.
Leave the sealant alone to dry and set for a few hours, or overnight, before letting anything come into contact with it.