Get your pinny on and oven mitts at the ready...it's World Baking Day this Sunday 19th May! Here at drinkstuff we love nothing more than baking (and eating) cake so we’re all for a whole day dedicated to it! World Baking Day is all about getting people involved and stepping out of your comfort zone. The challenge is to pick one of the 100 recipes on offer that you’ve never baked before, which have been ranked from easy peasy level 1 to nerve racking level 100!
Whether you’re more inclined to unwrap a Mr Kipling than cook up a Mary Berry recipe, World Baking Day offers a recipe for everyone! From Banana Muffins to The Ultimate Challenge Cream Puff Cake we’re positive you’ll find a recipe you’ll love baking.
To help get you started we’ve compiled a list of essential baking equipment every kitchen needs!
-Once you’ve decided on a recipe and bought all your ingredients you’re going to need to measure them out. Our range of Kitchen Scales, Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons offer a quick and easy way to prepare your ingredients.
-If you fancy taking your baking up to the next level then check out our specialist baking equipment which includes the Mastrad Macaron Set, Dinner Party Croqembouche Set, Pie Pops Kit or Cookie Press.
-Finally, make sure you present in style with our range of Cake Stands and Cupcake Stands. Our favourite stands to make your cakes look great include the LSA Dine Tiered Cake Stand, Ferris Wheel Cupcake Holder, Sweetly Does It Spiral Cupcake Tree and the LSA Vienna Cake Dome and Stand.
In need of some recipe inspiration? Then look no further!
Sweet Wine Cake
Time: 1hr 10mins
2 cups of sugar
1 cup (237ml) of "mavrodafni" wine (or "port" wine)
1 cup (237ml) of milk
500 gr self raising flour or plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of ground cloves
1. Grease one medium size cake tin/form and sprinkle with flour.
2. Blend the eggs with the sugar until you get a white mix. Lower the speed of the mixer and add the margarine, the wine and the milk.
3. Finally add the flour, the cinnamon and the cloves gradually.
4. Pour the cake batter into the tin/form and bake it in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Bake Time: 15mins
For the cupcakes:
185g self raising flour
15g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
2-4 tsp red food colour
For the icing:
125g full fat cream cheese
175g sieved icing sugar
1 tsp of lemon juice
Red food colour
For the cake:
1. Cream the margarine and the sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the margarine and sugar in 5-6 stages.
3. Sieve in the flour and cocoa adding the food colouring.
4. Divide the mixture between 12 muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C.
Note: the final result of the cupcakes will depend greatly on the quality of the food colouring. Buy the best quality food colouring you can get (preferably a gel colour).
For the frosting :
1. Cream the margarine/butter in a stand mixer or hand mixer and beat until soft.
2. Add the cream cheese in 2 or three stages followed by the icing sugar again in 2 or 3 stages.
3. Add the lemon juice and beat for a few minutes.
4. Leave to stand in a cool place for at least an hour.
5. Take half of the frosting and add 1/2 tsp red food colour.
In a piping bag fitted with a star tube, place the red frosting down one side of the piping bag and half the remaining frosting down the other half of the bag. Pipe swirls on each cupcake. Freeze-dried strawberries and a touch of edible glitter is a great way to finish off your cupcakes.
Established for over 45 years, Nevilles is a family owned and managed business that has grown to be one of the leading suppliers of tableware and light catering equipment to retailers in the UK and Eire. Working closely with Nevilles over the years we have expanded our Genware and Royal Genware ranges on drinkstuff.com to provide our customers with a wide range of crockery, tableware and catering equipment at great value prices.
Nevilles is proud of its dedicated team of staff, ensuring each new staff member completes a comprehensive induction taking them through all facets of the business. Nevilles recognises the significance of delivering not only quality, fit for purpose products but also a unique, personal customer service experience, ensuring their customer service team are aiming for continuous improvement and to consistently go the extra mile for our customers.
They currently operate at an impressive next day delivery success rate of 97.3% (2012) with over 2,000 products ready for same day despatch from their 70,000 square feet site, ensuring drinkstuff.com is always well stocked and prepared to meet our own customers’ needs.
Just last month Nevilles won the award for Best Supplier within the Catering and Tableware category at the Socius Awards Dinner, held at The Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. William Archer, Marketing Manager at Nevilles is proud of their success, “This achievement demonstrates our continuous development of range, service, and proposition and to help our customers to grow their business.”
Eating and drinking out is still big business in the UK, and here at drinkstuff.com the demand for great value, professional quality tableware and catering equipment is high. The Genware range of professional catering products which includes items such as cutlery, barware, kitchenware and cookware has proved to be a popular choice for many bars, restaurants, cafés, hotels, canteens and catering businesses.
Royal Genware Fine China is the preferred choice for many hotels, restaurants and gastropubs, and boasts the following features:
- Contemporary shapes
- Pure white colour
- Fully vitrified for excellent durability
- Edge chip resistance
- Conforms to BS4034
- Oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe
A great value alternative for many pubs,restaurants, cafés and canteens is the Royal Genware entry range of fully vitrified porcelain, offering the following features:
- Extensive collection
- Fully vitrified for excellent durability
- Edge chip resistance
- Conforms to BS4034
- Oven, microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe
In more recent years Nevilles has expanded their range to include creative tableware, such as wooden serving boards, and new brands such as the Securit range of chalk boards and accessories. In celebration of our partnership with Nevilles, we are able to offer an exclusive discount on a selection of new products which includes:
Hopefully 2013 and beyond will see a continuous growth between Nevilles and drinkstuff.com, both companies aiming to provide consistently high quality customer service and great value products.
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It’s a problem many of us have faced during our lifetime – you’re out socialising down the pub with friends and it’s your turn to buy the round of beer. However, while you may be skilled enough to carry 3 or even 4 pints of beer in one go, when it comes to carrying more than 4 pints out comes the dreaded tray! It’s very rare to make it back to your table without the tray being knocked and your beloved beer being spilt, which is why James May and Simmy from James May’s Man Lab have found a solution.
They have come up with a prototype carrying device which relies on atmospheric pressure – a rubber disc seals the beer glass, while a pressure gauge allows it to be carried or hooked to a carrier. This allows you to carry a whole round of beer back to your table without spilling a drop however busy the bar is. Genius!
If you thought adding a swirl to your freshly brewed latte shows your artistic flair then think again. Mike Breach, known as Baristart has taken the art of making coffee to a whole new level by creating detailed art in latte foam using just a bamboo skewer. It all began while working in New York City at a lonely hotel barista station, and he used 'latte art' to pass the time.
Breach is completely self-taught and claims to be inspired by Wonka and Warhol. From Jesus to Michael Jackson, his work features portraits of famous faces, including celebrities, film characters, animals and various other subjects. Since going viral on instagram, Bartistart now has many followers on his tumblr, facebook and twitter pages, and fans include Chelsea Clinton. So if you're in New York and fancy a unique hot beverage head to the Breslin at the Ace Hotel, and be sure to appreciate the work of a great artist before you take a sip.
Fancy creating your own work of art? See our great range of tea and coffee accessories we stock! You can create a great latte with the Latte Glasses from Arcoroc or the Royal Genware Bowl Cups & Saucers. Or try your hand at the classic Irish Coffee with our Irish Coffee Glasses Gift Set or the classic Irish Coffee Glasses by bar@drinkstuff. If you're struggling to create art in your coffee you can always use Coffee Stencils as featured in the Irish Coffee Serving Set to get a professional finish! We'd love you to post your images on our facebook page!
International glass pioneers Arc International continue to go from strength to strength, constantly changing the industry landscape with new designs and techniques to improve their products which are adored by consumers and professionals alike.
This month we take a long look at Arc and the new range of their products which we are constantly adding to at drinkstuff.com.
Arc International have a rich history, dating back to 1825 when the company was founded in northern France and owes its continued success to the Durrand family who acquired the company in 1916 and introduced several pioneering techniques including the mass-production of stemmed crystal glasses, opal and decorative glassware and the creation of super-tough Kwarx® glass. Arc International has grown to include several brands including bar and catering favourites Arcoroc and the world famous Pyrex brand and employs 11,841 people throughout the world across 6 continents.
Created in 1958; Arcoroc Professional is an arm of Arc International which specialises in durable designer products for the hospitality trade, not only for bars but also quality glassware and tableware for catering use too. Arcoroc produce a wide range include the super-tough Princesa Glassware, Granity Tumblers as well as our newly featured Malea glasses.
Arcoroc are also responsible for changing the design of the modern pint glass with the creation of the Ultimate Pint Glass , a uniquely-tempered smash-resistant glass which can withstand a large amount of force before breaking, and should it ever break it simply disintegrates into harmless chips like a car window would, reducing the opportunity for the glass to be used as a weapon.
A relatively new division of Arc International created in 1997, the Chef & Sommelier range specialises in high-end glassware, cutlery and crockery for the Hotel and Restaurant sector. The Chef and Sommelier range includes the popular Cabernet series of wine glasses, the newly featured Oenologue Expert range and the Open Up line of specialist wine and tasting glasses which are popular with Sommeliers across the world.
With an eye firmly on the future, Arc will continue to dominate the tableware and glassware industry for years to come as they continue to expand into growing markets. Look out for more ranges from Arc as we continue to add to our lines here at drinkstuff.com.
With St Valentine’s Day soon upon us, no doubt many of you love-struck couples will be reaching for the Champagne or Prosecco to accompany that special meal and help your wooing along with an added touch of class and elegance.
Before making that impulse purchase there is a whole etiquette to sparkling wine and in particular Champagne serving to consider which is often overlooked, even in the service industry. A fine sparkling wine is a delicate drink to befit the care and balance in the way it is served.
First and foremost, store your wine laid flat in a cool and dry place before chilling. Continued contact with the bottle’s cork will stop it drying out and shrinking, allowing air to enter the wine and spoil it. Heat exposure will interfere with the taste and carbonation of the wine, continued heat exposure will ruin it completely. A storage temperature between 7°c and 13°c is recommended. Do not chill your wine until a few hours before serving, storing sparkling wine in a fridge for a prolonged period will sap the flavour. Obviously not everyone has the luxury of a wine cellar, but at the very least a Wine Rack is the best way to store your wine (as long as your wine racks not in the airing cupboard!).
Allow your wine plenty of time to chill before serving. It doesn’t need to be served freezing cold; a serving temperature of between 5°c and 7°c is perfect. A regular bottle of Champagne should be consumed within 2 years of purchase. A Vintage Champagne has a slightly longer lifespan at 3-5 years, never store a bottle of Champagne for more than 10 years; it will be no good by that time!
Your glassware is very important and is dependent on the variety of wine you are serving. A common wine glass is not designed to hold a sparkling wine and keep it carbonated. Champagne Flutes and Champagne Saucers (or Coupes) feature designs and nucleation techniques to allow the carbonation process to continue long after the wine is served.
Champagne glasses should be spotlessly clean before serving, smears and residue will affect the wine’s carbonation process and lead to flat wine. Clean each glass thoroughly before use and wipe dry with a clean towel. To help maintain the temperature of the wine once it’s served, you can store your glasses in a refrigerator to keep them chilled.
Flute or Coupe?
A lot of the time the choice of a Flute or Coupe is a personal one. Champagne Coupes were once regarded as the fashionable way to serve sparkling wine back in the early-mid 1900s this trend has become more and more popular over the years, especially for venues serving Champagne Fountains. There is a science behind the shape of your glass; Coupes have a larger surface area which effects the aeration of the wine and are better suited to sweeter wines and Champagnes that will maintain their body when exposed to air.
1: Arcoroc Cabernet Coupe Glass 300ml
2: LSA Wine Collection Champagne Saucer 300ml
3: Dartington Glitz Champagne Saucer 300ml
4: Urban Bar Retro Engraved Champagne Coupe 220ml
5: LSA Savoy Champagne Saucer 250ml
Champagne Flutes on the other hand are shaped to maintain the flavour of the wine while maximising the carbonation. The Flute is designed to be held by the stem to stop your hand cupping the bowl and warming the contents. Flutes are perfectly suited to strong flavoured vintage wines and Champagnes which are better appreciated with the minimum of aeration.
1: Arcoroc Grands Cepages Champagne Flute 240ml
2: Durobor Royal Champagne Flute 160ml
3: Riedel Vinum Cuvee Prestige Champagne Flute 230ml
4: Vera Wang Love Knot Champagne Flutes 120ml
5: Waterford Crystal Siren Champagne Flute 180ml
6: Royal Doulton Celebration Champagne Flute 160ml
7: Arc Domino Champagne Flute 170ml
8: LSA Yana Champagne Flute 160ml
Keeping it Cool
Keeping your wine refrigerated while it’s open is a great way of keeping your bubbly cool but it’s a little impractical when you are dining or entertaining as you’ll find yourself backwards and forwards to the fridge all too regularly. Thank heavens for Champagne buckets! Champagne buckets, as the name might suggest, are specifically designed to chill Champagne (and other Sparkling wines too!), they are larger than normal wine buckets to allow more ice, keeping your wine cooler for longer. Although considered a luxury item, there’s no substitute, you can serve your champagne from a mop bucket but be prepared for a lonely Valentine’s night!
1: LSA Bar Glass Champagne Bucket
2: Hammered Effect Stainless Steel Champagne Bucket
3: Pulltex Acrylic Champagne Bucket Blue
4: Bar@drinkstuff Stainless Steel Champagne Bucket
5: Elia Straight Wine Cooler
Champagne, Cava, Prosecco or Asti?
When deciding on a sparkling wine or Champagne; choose your wine carefully, stronger tasting wines are best as palate cleansers and aperitifs or digestifs . The lighter wines are perfectly suited to accompany flavoured dishes and some sparkling wines are best suited as an accompaniment to desserts. Read the wine label, and if you’re lucky enough to have a local wine shop that allows tasting of sparkling wines and Champagnes; try before you buy.
I must admit, Christmas this year has crept up on me. The previous year’s promises of getting ready early this time have truly flown out of the window (this happens every year though). “It barely seems as if Halloween was yesterday, Christmas is ages away yet” but these honeyed words to myself are only my pathetic attempt at brushing the onrushing Christmas festivities under the carpet. Christmas is nearer than I think, less than 4 weeks away in fact, am I prepared? Am I hell!
Thankfully the saving grace in this day and age is the internet. Gifts can be researched and purchased in a matter of minutes and delivered within a few days and if you shop wisely, you can save yourself a lot of money and drinkstuff.com is a perfect example, a treasure trove of gifts from the quirky to the reassuringly useful. It makes a much less stressful (and let’s face it; warmer) alternative to the dreaded Supermarket, the veritable 24 hour bazaar of last minute treats filled with frantic shoppers and stressed-out mums in full-on festive frenzy mode. Besides I doubt Mum would be happy to unwrap a box of Mr Kiplings and a bag of onions on the big day.
Of course, there’s the other preparation, Christmas logistics. Where are you going for your festive fayre? Who’s coming over? Will Aunty Sue and her special dietary requirements or your Cousin David and his rag-tag feral children throw all your carefully laid plans to ruin? Probably; but at least you can be prepared in other areas to make the passing of Christmas day easier.
Getting the perfect Christmas table
By this I don’t mean going off to a branded furniture superstore and shelling out on some flat-packed coated chip-board (although if you don’t have a table you might want to consider it), I am of course talking about setting up and decorating your festive dining table.
Obviously good quality tableware is a good place to start and with a bewildering choice of patterns, shapes and styles to choose from it’s hard to settle on something for such a big occasion. To help; drinkstuff.com offer a wide selection of tableware ideas from crockery and creative tableware ranges which will hopefully give you some inspiration.
Matching ranges create a harmonious and eye-catching display without the clashing of mismatched patterns and shapes (unless that was the look you were going for? After all: “Vintage” is all the rage these days), personally as a former chef all my crockery is white, that way the food does all the work without competing against the plate for attention and there’s no chance of having mismatched crockery as everything’s the same colour, but then I am playing it a little too safe, some patterned crockery works very well depending on how you present your food.
If you're looking to jazz up your table, little touches like Napkins, Napkin Rings, Place Mats, Glassware and quality Cutlery make the difference between an average table and an amazing table. There are truckloads of Christmas centrepiece ideas online from the austere to the magnificent. I’ve compiled a selection of the best and most inspiring ideas here.
Raise your glass
I briefly mentioned Glassware earlier, I can’t reiterate enough that quality glassware makes all the difference, as well as having the right glass for the drink. Countless times have I raided the cupboard for glasses for a toast, resulting in the moment being soured as guests cheer with Champagne cantered in a “Keep Calm and Drink Tea” mug, not a scenario I’d want to repeat! Especially on Christmas Day!
If you're looking for Glassware, drinkstuff.com is most certainly your friend. There’s an astounding range of glasses in all shapes, sizes and colours to suit any occasion and budget from Champagne Flutes, Wine Glasses, Tumblers, Hiballs and more. For Christmas there are beautiful hand crafted ranges from LSA, especially their Moya, Polka and Bar lines which include some wonderful boxed glassware items that really are something special, even worthy of being gifts themselves.
Also take a peek at restaurant favourites; Durobor who produce a wide range of sturdy glassware in various shapes and sizes with some very contemporary lines available including their top selling Alternato and Cancun glasses. Don’t miss other wonderful ranges from Libbey, Arcoroc and Artis to name but a few, who offer some amazing quality glassware. Have a browse through the full selection of glassware lines here for some inspiration.
When it comes to Christmas drinks, your creativity is your only limit. Whether it’s a simple glass of Champagne, a round of festive cocktails or some speciality hot mochas, there’s plenty of ideas compiled online here.
So with the advanced preparation and general online procrastination all done you can now relax. The heat has been taken off you with the Christmas prep. Of course there’s still the food shop and the organising to do, but that’s the easy bit!
Last week Barman’s and drinkstuff joined in the world’s biggest coffee morning, in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support. Every day last week the warehouse canteen was inundated with cakes and fancy treats, all on sale to raise money for this worthwhile cause.
This also sparked an in-house competition to discover who was the Star Baker here at drinkstuff?! Judging was tough as the standards were very high and quite a few people raised their game to bring in creations worthy of a top patisserie!
Through our efforts at the office we have managed to raise £131 so far, which all goes towards helping to improve the lives of people affected by cancer across the UK.
Here’s a selection of our entries from last week:
Competition was hot for the Drinkstuff Master Baker Award. It ended up getting split 3 ways with Sales’ Tony and Paul and their white chocolate fudge cheesecake and cherry bakewell taking equal points with Customer Support’s Charlie and her blueberry and lemon cupcakes.
Well done to everybody that took the time to make cakes and to all who donated and ate cake! Now for the great Drinkstuff Diet!
Revision done, exams nailed, results day has been safely navigated, your university place has been secured, you’ve successfully survived the clearing process, sorted your loans, found your digs and begged your parents / friends to lug your stuff halfway across the country to your new home for the next 3 years. What next? Well once you’re all settled in it’s party time!
Fresher’s week is often the defining week of your university life. You’ll meet hundreds of new people, attend numerous parties and freshers fairs, wake up in strange houses with stranger people, see cool new bands and sign up for loads of stuff you’ll never use or need and that’s just the first day!
It’s easy to get caught up in the week-long party that is Freshers Week but the most important thing to do is relax. This week will see you introduced to lots of new people, you’ll have course inductions, tutor introductions and mountains of paperwork to sign. But don’t let it daunt you. This week is merely to get you settled in before the real work starts so make the most of it!
No doubt you will at some point venture out to join the numerous parties that are laid on over the week. Make sure you keep your wits about you and drink responsibly. Drinking isn’t about getting so drunk you don’t recognise your own reflection! It’s about having fun and socialising. Always keep an eye on your drink; spiking is not unheard of and getting rushed to A&E is the last thing you want on your first week, never leave your drink unattended, don’t accept drinks from strangers and take a pocket full of anti-spike drink stoppers with you when you go out to keep your bottle safe.
Whether you’re going out or staying in, it’s always good to be prepared. Do you have a few friends round? Make sure that cocktail shaker is in easy reach and have a few drinking games at hand to keep the party entertaining. A pack of cards is the most basic game accessory you will need and will provide hours of fun but if you’re feeling adventurous; a round of shot roulette or a beer pong table will make your parties the talk of the town.
Having access to a cocktail book and shaker will open up a whole new world of possibilities to liven up a party. Fish bowls and shot glasses are an essential for the social enthusiast who wants to throw a party with a twist and don’t forget disposable glasses , it will save you having to wash up every glass in the house (or have a mountain of washing-up that sits festering on the side for several weeks!).
Those of you that are fans of American teen comedies will be familiar with those red solo cups that pop up regularly in party scenes. These cups are a great party-piece that are designed for holding beer, cocktails and spirits but also make great beer pong or slap cup containers. For a giggle, introduce your friends to fuzzy duck, for the educated drinker we stock the glass chess shot set and for the gamblers amongst you there’s the shot shot roulette. All are fantastic accessories for throwing an entertaining and unique party.
1: American Red Party Cups 2: Ultimate Beer Bong Funnel 3: Anti-Spike Drink Stoppers 4: bar@drinkstuff Home Cocktail Set 5: Chillquiet Mini-Fridge 6: Beer Pong 7: Plastic Cocktail Fish Bowl 8: Neon Shot Glasses
No room is complete without a mini fridge to keep your essential milk and beer supply chilled and out of the reach of light-fingered housemates and roomies! Make sure you have plenty of glassware, plates and bowls and stock up on your food essentials and missing furniture. If you’re planning a party have a look at our student deals as well as our student starter set which contains everything you need to get your party started.
If you’ve just moved into halls, keep your door open, have your stereo on with your favourite band playing and make sure you have the kettle on and a few mugs of tea ready to hand out as this is your chance to get to make new friends and you never know who’ll be coming past your dorm so be ready to meet interesting and varied people who will be the centre of your social life for the next 3 years.
Last but not least, relax and enjoy your first week, you won’t get another one! Party hard, make friends, enjoy the independence but most importantly; drink responsibly. But in case you don’t, have your new address written down and at hand and don’t lose sight of your friends or your house keys and phone!
If you love beer, sausages, yodelling and lederhosen, then it’s that time of year again! September 22nd sees the start of Germany’s (and possibly the World’s) most famous Beer Festival: Oktoberfest.
Every year over 6 million people flock to Munich to join in the annual Oktoberfest, the world’s largest fair and most renowned beer festival. Oktoberfest has a rich history, dating back to the wedding celebrations of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Bavaria in 1810 and have remained an important event ever since.
The modern Oktoberfest is a grand event with people from all corners of the globe attending and consuming over 7 million litres of beer in 16 days! The fair also boasts a funfair, live music from various cultures and genres and a huge selection of stalls and tents serving traditional Bavarian Fayre such as Schweinebraken (Roast Pork), Hendl (Roast Chicken), Pretzels and of course the international favourite: Bratwursts, so you’ll never go hungry.
All of the beer at Oktoberfest is brewed within Munich city limits and must be at least 6% vol to qualify, so be prepared! Oktoberfest beer is not to be taken lightly; you don’t want to turn into a "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpse")
It’s also customary to see the locals (and quite a few visitors too!) dressed traditionally in Lederhosen or Dirndls (for the ladies) and quaffing large quantities of beer from Steins. You might even get to experience the ’Beer Boot’ which makes a Yard of Ale seem like a walk in the park!
If you’re thinking of attending; plan ahead. Needless to say Munich gets very busy this time of year, despite being a European hub centre. Flights around the festival date can become unavailable very quickly and hotels few and far between due to the massive influx of international visitors. For bookings and more information on Oktoberfest go to: www.Oktoberfest.de/en
If you can’t make it to Oktoberfest in Munich then you can easily host your own version at home. Just stock-up on Steins, cook up some sausages, pour yourself a Lowenbrau and if you’re feeling daring; dust off the Beer Boot and dance the night away!