For Father’s Day back in June, my gorgeous girls bought me a 1 cup coffee plunger. Quite a simple present, and certainly not the most expensive, but it has been one of the best presents I have received in years.
Now, I am no coffee snob, but I do like coffee. However I would never bother to go to the effort of all those different machines – I am quite happy with a bit of (quality) instant. I know, I know… But having my new present has pushed me to us it, and I now look forward to a better quality coffee every morning. Continue reading →
I do love to see small business programmes on TV – Dragons Den is probably the most famous. But tonight I have just seen another episode of Give It A Year, hosted by Karen Brady.
In this ITV programme Karen Brady meets new entrepreneurs who have an idea for a business, and have started on their journey to hopefully becoming a success. They discuss where they are, and what they want to achieve over the next 12 months, before she returns a year later to see how they progressed.
It’s fast action, as with 2 companies in a 30 minute show, it lacks the advice and in depth details that I feel it could give. But it does show what small companies need to go through, so you may find it interesting.
In tonight’s episode Karen met with Barry Freeder, a young man who had invented the Couch Coaster. He came up with the idea whilst watching Match of the Day with a beer in his hand. With his coffee table over the other side of the room, he felt there must have been a way to hold his beer bottle and so invented Couch Coaster (with a prototype starting from a pizza box!).
As you can see, the Couch Coaster is a long silicon product that drapes over the arm of your sofa. In the middle of the product is a holder for your cup, can or bottle, either hot or cold.
By choosing this holder you don’t need to position a coffee table nearby, or leave your drink on the floor where it is likely to be knocked over by pets, children, swinging doors or a forgetful yourself!
Available in 5 colours – brown, cream, grey (pictured), red and black – all designed to complement your sofa of choice. It has a slot for cup handles when drinking tea or coffee, but also comes with an adapter which you can insert to keep cans and bottle snug and spill free.
The buyers on Amazon that left reviews are very complimentary about the product – so many people giving it 5 stars. One person was even close to buying their 7th CouchCoaster – but only because their dog kept chewing them up! But seriously, I have rarely seen a product with almost all positive comments.
If your husband has a horrible knack of keep spilling their drinks, why not copy one of the buyers who bought one for their husband as a joke. He loved it! And has been spill free ever since.
If you have been looking for something to stop drinks spilling, this could be just what you need.
You love barbecues. Eating outside in the sunshine, with a glass of your favourite drink, and tasting food perfectly cooked with that special barbecue taste. But what is even better? When your loved one is the person who likes to do the cooking.
So what can you do to make him or her say to you when you get home after a hard day’s work, “Hey, why don’t I barbecue for us tonight?” No wondering what to prepare for yet another night at home, your partner has got it covered. All you have to do is get into some casual clothes and relax. How can you make that happen? Buy some gifts that will encourage them!! Continue reading →
We are well into summer now, and the weather forecasters are predicting a heatwave over the next few weeks. Which means that it is officially barbecue weather! The smell of meat cooking will be filling back gardens throughout the land. And so, we bring you the best in barbecues, starting with our selection of gas barbecues.
Click on the images to read more from Amazon, or scroll down for our own summary of each one.
CosmoGrill 6+1 Deluxe Gas Burner
4.5 / 5
Outback Omega 250 Gas Babecue
4.5 / 5
Marco Phillippe Gas Barbecue
4.5 / 5
FirePlus 4+1 Gas Burner
4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Everest 3 Burner
4 / 5
Of course, not everyone wants to be cooking on gas, some would prefer the more traditional charcoal barbecue for a more authentic flavour.
Weber Compact 47cm
4.5 / 5
Landmann Stainless Steel Pedestal
4.5 / 5
Azuma Black Steel Barrel BBQ
4.5 / 5
tepro Toronto Grill Barbecue
4.5 / 5
Fire Mountain Deluxe Trolley Barbecue
4.5 / 5
Which should I choose – gas or charcoal barbecue?
There are both positives and negatives to both types of barbecues, so when choosing which to buy, a lot comes down to personal preferences.
Positives and negatives of gas barbecues
Tend to be pricier than charcoal barbecues, although you can get some cheaper models that compare
Easier to clean – a big positive
Can get smoky flavour with the use of wood chips in a smoker box
More parts that could break
Positives and negatives of charcoal barbecues
Generally cheaper than gas barbecues, although top of the range models can be expensive
Longer to light and get to cooking heat
More difficult to clean – and who likes that job?
Always a smoky flavour
You get to be manly and play with fire, although tougher to control temperature and can get very hot!
What to do before cooking
First of all, light your barbecues. gas barbecues need at least 10 minutes to heat up before cooking; charcoal barbecues need at least 20 minutes (and often much more!). After this time ensure that your grill plate is clean (you did clean it after the last use, didn’t you?). Brush it with a wire brush or use aluminium foil scrunched into a ball. The heat will have loosened any leftover grease but be careful and don’t burn yourself before you have even started cooking.
Once your gas barbecue is hot enough, or your charcoal has turned to white ash, then you can start to think about cooking.
What to cook on your barbecue
Sausages and burgers are the most obvious item with children around. Chicken drumsticks, lamb chops and steak are all popular with most people. But you can be creative and cook vegetables too – corn on the cob, vegetable kebabs, and jacket potatoes are all possible. And of course, don;t forget a nice salmon steak for those that like their fish.
Try not to turn your food too often. It’s tempting also to push down on the meat to help it get closer to the heat – all you will be doing will be squeezing the juices onto the flames below, and that juiciness can never be recovered.
If you want the aroma and taste of herbs, throw a few onto your charcoal or if using gas soak some in water and cook your meat directly on top.
Here’s Jamie Oliver with a masterclass on vegetable cooking on barbecues:
The CosmoGrill from FirePlus has 6 stainless steel burners that can be individually ignited. If you are hosting a large party this will give you the capacity to cope with demand, however if it is just a romantic meal for 2 then you don;t need to use all the burners.
It has a side burner to keep food warm, as it’s not always possible to cook all you need at once.
It’s thermometer will help keep the heat at a temperature that’s right for what you are cooking, giving you more control and less chance of burning your food. It has a double layered hood to keep heat in, and 4 castor wheels for easy manouverability.
Most people found this easy to put together but suggest better with 2 of you. They also suggest that if moving to be careful and again. maybe 2 people would be a wise option.
It is a 47 cm kettle barbecue, which are popular amongst many people. It has a fixed grill height, and although it does not come with a cover we would recommend one if it is going to sit outside in a typical British summer. Very sturdy and easy to assemble.
The Toronto Grill from Tepro is one of teh more expensive charcoal barbecues you can find, but it has a lot of added benefits.
Made from cast iron, it has a crank which lowers or raises the tray holding the coals so that you can get the perfect cooking temperature.
Close the lid and you will get an even temperature all round for perfect cooking. It also has a thermometer built into the lid so you can keep an eye on the temperature whilst the lid is down. The side shelf is perfect for holding sauces and marinades close by.
Made from strong black powder-coated steel, the Fire Mountain Deluxe Charcoal Barbecue has 2 adjustable grills over 3 heights. It also has two side shelves and storage underneath.
The adjustable grills prove perfect for cooking different types of food at the same time, although the back grill could be used as a warming grill.
So there you go – 5 gas and 5 charcoal barbecues to choose from. So whichever is your favourite style of cooking on barbecues, why not take a look and choose one now. We have had a great summer so far, and it sounds like the next few weeks are going to make cooking outside even more tempting.
You may remember back just before Christmas , Britain’s favourite presenter Phillip Schofield, gave us a three part guide to buying presents for our loved ones. Well last night he was back with another show in a similar fashion, called How To Spend It Well: House And Garden.
In the show he looked at what products we should be buying this summer with the help of his wife Steph and some more celebrity friends, as well as members of the British public. In true Phillip Schofield style it was a fun show, and gave us just the right amount of information to make the best decisions.Continue reading →
It’s just 3 weeks now to Fathers Day – for those who can’t remember it’s Sunday June 17th – and so now is the perfect time to think of what gift you are going to get for the first special man in your life.
Obviously a lot depends on what your father likes to do, what his interests are, but here’s a run down of 10 great gift ideas you can use for Fathers Day.