Winter Guide to Heating

If you’re starting to feel like the doona is the best place to be when you really should be getting up to face the day, then it could be time to look for a heating solution for both those cold mornings, and the wintry nights.

There’s actually a lot of choice when it comes to heating, so here are a few tips:

Split system air conditioning: If you’ve decided to invest in a split system cooling air conditioner and are waiting for the summer to roll around, now might be the time. Reverse Cycle Air conditioners are slightly more in price than cooling only, but they do have the added benefit of heating large areas with the same kind of air reach that they do when pushing cool air around the room. This keeps hot and heated objects away from the floor if you’re worried about accidental collisions with temporary heaters.

Fans: If you have a smaller area and you do want to heat it up quickly, the Dyson Hot And Cool is kind of in a category all its own. It contains no external blades, so children and pets can literally stick their head into the fan with no issues. It also contains a shutoff if the unit ends up on its side. Definitely one to consider for dressing in the cold early morning!

Gas Heaters: If you have Gas connected to your house, investing in a gas heaters will convert your cold open area into a warm sanctuary. Gas heaters can quickly, effectively and efficiently heat large and open-plan areas. This is because Gas heaters are more energy efficient because they provide high heat output in relation to the energy used to generate that heat.

Oil Heaters: If you don’t have gas in your house, then an oil heater for single room heating may be your next best option. Although oil heater do take a while to heat the room, it does keep the room toasty once you get to a selected level. A lot of them have timers so you can have them turn on and off at regular times of the day, and water containers to keep the air from drying out – especially important in sleeping quarters.

Radiant heaters: These heaters are most effective at warming up a person than a room, so you do have to be in fairly close proximity to the radiant heater for it to deliver warmth. The air itself does not heat up, just the area directly in the radiant heaters’ perimeter.

Electric Blankets: We just had to mention these, because (speaking from experience) there is nothing like climbing into a prewarmed bed on an icy night. Electric blankets have expanded from the tie-down models to heated throws, that you can snuggle into while still on the lounge watching TV – or even deliver symptomatic relief for a sick member of the family. Hey, they even look nice with a variety of patterns so you’ll be cosy and trendy at the same time!

There are plenty of heating options available – just come in to see one of our staff at our store locations, have a chat to our online staff or simply browse our website catalogue for our full range.

Have a great weekend! 

A Great Winter Feed with Breville’s All-in-One

As winter starts to really show its arrival with foggy mornings, dew-covered grass and a brisk bite in the wind, many of us would be thinking about warm dinners to fill us up at night. Soups are a great way to huddle in front of the TV or gather around the dinner table, and they can be very easy to prepare.

Soup meals can be a cinch to prepare, and can be as simple or as sophisticated as you’d like – throw in what you have in the kitchen pantry or fridge, or go out and select ingredients to make a specific dish. As with any dish, preparation is the key, and with Breville’s All-in-One, the path to a great tasting soup will be less messy and better textured.

So first, let’s have a quick look at what the All-in-One is all about, and how it can make food preparation easier, more consistent and help produce better cooking results:

We spoke to Breville this week, who kindly provided a simple but tasty soup recipe – the trusty Leek and Potato Soup, which serves a family of four using the ingredient levels provided.

INGREDIENTS:

40g butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 leeks, thinly sliced

750g potatoes, roughly chopped

1 litre chicken stock

Salt and white pepper

Chopped chives, to serve

METHOD:

1. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan, add leeks and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes until softened. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove from heat and allow soup to cool slightly.

2. Place stick mixer into saucepan and blend until soup is smooth. Season to taste.

3. Serve soup topped with fresh chopped chives.

If the soup becomes too thick when cooking or blending add a little extra stock or water. And that’s it, a nice simple meal that you could add some hot bread or toast to for dipping.

But don’t just take our word for it, world-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal has also tried out the All-In-One, and is keen to show you how well the blender performs:

So there you have it – a simple but tasty soup recipe, a great product to help you prepare the dish, and the thumbs up from a famous chef. For more information on the BSB530 from Breville featured here, just click here to see more and even order online.

Have a great weekend, and enjoy your hot soup!

3 Tasty Recipes to Spice Up the Colder Months

When the temperature drops, it’s time to heat things up in the kitchen and warm your cockles, the old fashioned way – with some spicy comfort cooking. Here are three of our favourite simple recipes from around the globe that are sure to keep you warm this winter.

Spicy Tomato Soup

Serves 4 Ingredients 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil 1 brown onion, chopped 2 large garlic cloves, crushed 1 Habanero chilli chopped* 1 tsp ground coriander 1 tsp ground cumin 1 tbs tomato paste 2 x 400g cans crushed tomatoes 1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed 500ml salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock Method Preheat your oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-low heat before adding the onion, then cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently until the onion is soft. Add the chilli, spices, garlic and tomato paste, and stir for a further minute until ingredients are evenly combined. Add tomatoes, lentils and stock to the pan and raise heat to high to bring the mixture to the boil. Then reduce heat to low before partially covering and simmering for 20 minutes. Allow to cool to before pureeing the in batches until smooth. If the soup is too thick for your taste, gradually add another half cup of water. Once the desired consistency has been achieved, return to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper – freshly ground it best. Warm through by stirring over a medium heat. Serving Suggestion: ladle soup among serving bowls and swirl in a spoonful of yoghurt or sour cream to serve. *Note, the Habanero is one of the hottest varieties of chillis available. To reduce the heat, remove the seed or opt for a milder chilli such as the birdseye or jalepeno.

Chorizo and Bean Casserole

Serves 6 Ingredients 3 chorizo sausages, sliced 1 tbs vegetable oil 1 large brown onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, peel and crushed 1 1/2 tsp Mexican chilli powder 1 x 800g can diced tomatoes 2 x 400g cans red kidney beans, rinsed, drained 700g red sweet potato, peeled, diced into 1.5cm chunks 1 large eggplant, diced into 1.5cm pieces Method Preheat oil in a large saucepan before adding the sausages and onion. Cook for 3 minutes stirring frequently until the onion is golden and the sausages begin to brown. Stir in the garlic and chilli powder, and cook until aromatic. Add tomatoes, kidney beans, sweet potato and eggplant. Stir until the mixture is evenly combined before increasing heat to bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender. Serving suggestion: Serve with the crusty bread rolls.

Spicy Meatballs with Spaghetti

Serves 4 Ingredients 500g lean beef mince 1 large red chilli, finely chopped (and seeded for less heat, if desired) 1/4 cup quality dry breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 small brown onion, chopped finely 2 garlic cloves, crushed 400g can chopped Roma tomatoes 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 cup water Pinch of sugar 400g spaghetti or pasta of your choice Method Combine beef mince, breadcrumbs and chilli into a bowl, seasoning with salt. Mix together by hands until the mixture is well combined. Roll12 even-sized balls from the mixture. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente before draining well. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning frequently, for about 5 minutes until evenly browned. Remove meatballs and set aside. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel or wet sponge. Add the remainder of your oil to frypan. Cook onion and garlic until the onion softens then add the tomatoes, oregano, and water. Bring sauce to the boil before adding the meatballs and reducing heat. Simmer partially covered for 10 minutes, turning meatballs occasionally until cooked through. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and sugar before serving with spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

3 Warming Winter Recipes for Your Slow Cooker

Tender, rich comfort food are a staple for the cooler months, but with the hectic pace of modern society, who has time to be slaving away over a stove for hours? That’s why slow cookers are a must have for any kitchen. Just pop your ingredients in before going to sleep, or before leaving for work in the morning and return 8 hours later to a hearty, homely meal. Here are some great winter recipes to try in your slow cooker this winter.

Chunky Lamb Stew

Ingredients

1.4 kg lamb shoulder, de-boned, and cut into 4 cm cubes 450g pound potatoes, diced into large chunks 4 large carrots, diced into large pieces 1 medium-sized brown onion halved and thinly sliced 1 cup celery, sliced diagonally 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 Bouquet garni 1 can tomato pieces ½ cup water 450 g green beans, sliced 225 g fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon plain flour

Method

Add lamb, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, salt, pepper, bouquet garni, tomato and water into a large slow cooker, then mix.

Cover and cook on Low 8 – 10 hours.

Remove bouquet garni.

Add green beans, mushrooms, and a mixture sour cream and flour to the cooker and stir.

Cover again and cook for a further 30 – 60 minutes on high.

Serving suggestion: Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve with crusty fresh bread

Slow-cooked Chilli con Carne

Ingredients

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil 2 medium-sized brown onions, diced 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely 1.2kg of lean beef mince 1 tbs ground cumin 2 tsp paprika 1 tsp cayenne pepper 1 can of chopped tomatoes 1 can of rid kidney beans, drained and rinsed ½ cup of beef stock 2 bay leaves Salt and Pepper to season

Method

Heat oil in a large fry pan and add onions and garlic, cooking until soft.

Add mince to the fry pan and cook until brown and loose.

Stir spices through and cook until fragrant.

Transfer mixture to the slow cooker, adding the tomatoes, beans and bay leaves. Cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours.

Remove bay leaves and season to taste.

Serving suggestion: serve with tortillas or tacos, adding your favourite filings such as guacamole, salsa, sour cream and cheese.

Osso Bucco

Ingredients

30g plain flour Salt and pepper 6 thick slices veal shanks 30g butter 2 tbs olive oil 2 brown onions, roughly chopped 2 big carrots, peeled and chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced 300ml chicken stock 1x400g can diced tomatoes 2 tsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano 1 bay leaf

Method

Season flour and coat the meat thoroughly. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frypan and seal the meat over a medium heat until it begins to brown.

Place the vegetables in the bottom of the slow cooker then place the browned meat on top.

Pour the tinned tomatoes and stock over the meat.

Add the bay leaf and fresh oregano. If using dried oregano wait until 1 hour before the end of cooking time.

Cook for 8 hours on Low setting or for 4 hours on High then 2 hours on low.