Christmas cooking essentials at Harveys

Add a magical touch to your Christmas cooking

MariaIt’s never been easier to cook something special for Christmas. Maria, our resident blogger, tells us how. 

Well, I have already talked to you about the range of gifts we have on offer in our gift department, so I thought it was time we gave the important task of Christmas baking and cooking some thought.

cookshop-91I love visiting our Cookshop and every time I go down I’m inspired to invite people round to dinner, so I have an excuse to buy some of the wonderful items on offer.

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This time I went with the intention of looking at how we can make life in the kitchen easier for you throughout the season and boy am I glad I did! One of the first things that caught my eye was the brand new stand mixer by Stellar – it whisks, beats and kneads, a must for anybody intending to do a lot of baking. Talking of which….

Christmas baking

When is the right time to bake Christmas cakes? I have already made mine but my daughter has decided to embark on the ‘Christmas cake challenge’ and is making her cake now. As long as it’s stored properly and she gives it a ‘drink’ at regular intervals it should be fine.

Before starting she visited our Cookshop to purchase the baking essentials and was amazed by the array of items available: wooden mixing spoons, electric mixers, mixing bowls, weighing scales, measuring jugs and cake tins of differing shapes and sizes. There was so much to choose from she almost forgot what she had come in for! And she bought a cake tester to make sure her cake was baked through.

A Christmas cake can take around four and a half hours to bake on a low heat, so I warned her that she needed to wrap her cake tin with brown paper to prevent the cake burning on the outside.

It reminded me of the time my mum was baking a couple of Christmas cakes in her gas oven and she had wrapped newspaper around her cakes, the paper caught fire in the oven and mum went to put the fire out. When she stood up her face was black, she was wearing glasses at the time so when she took her glasses off there were two white patches round her eyes! It still makes me smile when I think about it.

If you have dried fruits left over, (the sell by date is usually a long time away) we stock storage containers to suit any item, including an airtight container to store your Christmas cake.

We can also help you decorate the perfect cake. We stock a selection of Kitchen Craft items from cake decorating turntables and icing smoothers to piping bags, nozzles and plunger cutters.

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blog_cupcakes_2If you find making a Christmas cake a daunting task, we have some beautiful Christmas cakes decorated with dried seasonal fruits and nuts in a lovely presentation tin. Treat yourself or give it as a special Christmas present for a friend or member of your family.

Christmas cupcakes and biscuits always go down a treat and we have cupcake cases, picks and biscuit cutters from the Kitchen Craft Let it Snow collection featuring lovely pale blue and red colours. There are also cake stands and cake plates in the matching theme too.

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We also have an array of baking tins and trays from bun tins (including Christmas tree shapes) to swiss roll tins, cake tins and pie dishes. But before we get to the cakes and Christmas pudding, we have meals to prepare so let’s see what we have to help you….

Slow down on Christmas Eve

There will be lots to do preparing for the main day and the last thing you want to be doing is spend the day cooking, so why not use the slow cooker for your Christmas Eve meal?

They are so easy to use. A quick prep of the meat and vegetables, then put them in the slow cooker, switch it on and leave it for a few hours while you get on with other things. Or if you are extremely organised, have a tot of our Christmas spirit and just relax. We stock Crock Pot slow cookers in two sizes and if you are making a delicious stew we also stock bread makers for delicious bread that will be ready in three hours.

All prepared for Christmas Day

It’s all about the roast on Christmas Day! Whether it’s turkey, goose or beef, we have roasting tins with racks in various sizes, open or covered and they are currently on offer. Or, if you are planning to make a nut roast we also stock loaf tins.

For the perfect roast, we have basters, meat thermometers and timers. We also stock a wide range of kitchen utensils such as forks, carving knives and carving trays in wood and metal sold separately or as a set. Joseph Joseph do a cut and carve board – two boards for the price of one!

We have a selection of chopping boards and knives to help prepare the vegetables as well as a range of Steller, Judge and Tefal pans and steamers that can be also be used on induction hobs. I have a set of Steller draining pans with the glass lids and they are brilliant. You can see what’s going on, they are so easy to drain and best of all are dishwasher proof! We also have thermal gravy jugs – how brilliant is that?

So, our Cookshop is a one-stop shop for all your cooking and baking need over Christmas. Just come in and speak to one of our ladies who will demonstrate any piece of kitchen equipment and help you with your choices. The only thing they won’t be able to do is come home and help you with your cooking and baking, although I might have a word with the management…

Until the next time, when we look at table decorations and entertaining guests. I hope to see you in store and happy baking and cooking.

Maria