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  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 white onion
  • 2 large carrots, chopped and diced
  • 3 sticks of celery, chopped and diced
  • 1 can of whole peeled unflavoured tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parley (dried or freshly chopped will do)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (for the kick!)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (for the other kick!)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 litres of beef broth
  • Fresh crusty bread and more butter to serve

Set your hob to a medium heat, and in a large pot melt the butter and add in the onion, carrot and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent (not golden brown). 
Add in the tomatoes and their juice and stir in the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Toss in the paprika, salt and ground pepper and pour in the beef broth.
Give all the ingredients a good mix, and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and leave it to simmer for 30 minutes. By this time, your vegetables will be tender and well blended.

Serve with buttered crusty bread and enjoy!

There's no doubt that we need the likes of Detol, Milton and Cif in the house to kill harmful bacteria and wipe away germs, but when it comes to cleaning the kitchen, where possible, we like to keep the amount of chemicals we use to a minimum. Lemons are naturally acidic which makes them a great degreaser and means they can cut through tough stains. They also act as a gentle replacement for bleach which can brighten white cloths and surfaces. So when life gives you lemons, use them to clean your kitchen!

1. Scour the sink.

Surprisingly enough, the place where you wash many of your pots, pans and plates is often the dirtiest part of the kitchen. Grab some lemon juice and sugar and mix together until it's got the consistency of toothpaste.  Rub it on to your sink and leave for a few minutes before wiping away with warm water and a brillo-pad. The lemon and sugar mix is suitable to use on brass, copper and stainless steel sinks and fixtures.

2. Lift away limescale.

Because lime is often added to our tap water to soften it and kill micro-organisms, limescale often forms around our sinks, fixtures, and taps, as well as inside our kettles, washing machines and dishwashers. To remove visible limescale, sponge on some lemon juice and let it soak. Let the juice's natural acidity get to work for a few minutes and scrub away. Likewise, you can boil your kettle with some lemon rind in it to remove tough limescale from the element. 

3. Clean the dishwasher.

Dishwashers are wonderful. If you have one, then long gone are the days of scrubbing your plates, cups, knives and forks after every meal, but if you fail to rinse them  properly before they go in for their hot scrub, the remnants of your dinner can end up stuck to the dishwasher walls. Thankfully, lemons cut through dried in food and a rub of some lemon juice and a damp cloth can remove almost anything from a chrome surface. Just be sure to wipe away any reside with a dry cloth afterwards.

 

4. And the oven.

This is one job that so many people hate! But really, it's not as bad as you might think once you get the right mix of ingredients to lift the dirt. Mix one part lemon juice and one part warm water and add enough baking soda to make a paste. Slather this on to the grease inside your oven, on the hob, or around the hood of your extractor and leave it to work its magic for 15 minutes. Scrub away with a brillo-pad and rinse with warm water.

 

5. Freshen the waste disposal unit.

Throwing away your vegetable peels, fruit cores and left over organic waste can cause your waste disposal sink to stink! After you've juiced a lemon and used it for one of the other tricks we've mentioned here, toss the rind in the disposal shoot, grind it up and let its aroma get to work.

 

6. Deodourise the house.

Fill a small saucepan with water and add some lemon slices or lemon rind. Throw in a teaspoon of cloves and some rosemary if you can get your hands on it (you might have some growing in your garden) and let it all come to the boil. It instantly kills the smells of garlic, onions, fish and it can even help rid the smell of stale smoke!

7. Wash the windows.

Let's face it, windows are magnets for hand prints, paw prints and God knows what else lands on them to make them look so filthy. A mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, with 100mls of white vinegar in 1 one litre of warm water will not just wash away any greasy marks, but will leave them streak free and ready to shine too.

8. Treat your wooden chopping boards.

Wooden kitchen-wares look gorgeous. We have a particular love for solid olive wood in Evoke, but chopping onions, garlic and even fresh herbs on them can leave odours in the wood fibres. After you've chopped your veg and wiped away the cut-offs, rub down the wood with a slice of lemon; it will lift away fresh stains and deodourise it as it cleans. Make sure you wipe any excess juice from the wood before you store it away.

For more kitchen tips, tricks, recipes and most importantly, design and remodelling ideas make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Porridge is one of those foods that so many people want to eat - it's packed full of goodness and supposedly delicious - but they just haven't a clue how to get it right. Well, we've been porridge eaters for years and after making many a bad bowl, we've learned a few tricks on how to get it just right. (Goldilocks, how are ya?!). 

Flahavan's is always our porridge of choice. It's made from 100% natural wholegrain Irish oats; no added funny stuff, and when it's made well, it's so tasty! It's also a great staple to add some fancy toppings to; fruit, nuts, honey, syrup, yoghurt, cream; the list goes on. 

to make perfect porridge,

you need:

1/2 cup of Flahavan's oats. 

3/4 cup of water

3/4 cup of milk 

A pinch of salt

 

  1. Preparation is key, so if possible, soak your oats the night before. Just pop them in a bowl with the water. 
  2. The following morning, pour your soaked oats and the water into a saucepan and add your milk and the pinch of salt.
  3. Bring it to the boil and once it bubbles, reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. It's that simple. 

If using a saucepan on the hob is too much hassle, you can make it in the microwave. We still recommend that you soak the oats the night before, and make sure you have a big deep bowl so the porridge doesn't overflow when it’s cooking.

  1. Add the milk and the pinch of salt to the soaked oats.
  2. Pop it in the microwave on full power for 2 minutes.
  3. Give it a stir and let it stand for a minute before popping it back in for another 50-60 seconds.
  4. Grab and spoon and enjoy on its own or add some of the toppings below to jazz it up.

Porridge is so good for you. The oats are packed full of fibre and slow-digesting, complex-carbohydtrates, which means they release their natural sugars slowly, keeping you energised and feeling full for longer. However, eating the same thing every day can get boring, so here are 5 ways to boost your breakfast with lots of taste, textures and tones more goodness!

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Banana, greek yoghurt, chopped hazelnuts and honey.

There’s something about this combination of toppings that’s gorgeously indulgent. The creaminess of the youghurt and the stickiness of the honey with the textures and flavours of the almonds and banana.

Once the porridge is cooked, chop up half a banana, dollop on a tablespoon of yoghurt and a tablespoon of chopped almonds, drizzle honey over the top and serve.

 

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Strawberries, Banana and honey.

This is the fresh fruit lovers porridge. Gorgeous in the height of summer when Irish strawberries are at their prime, halve 4-6 strawberries and slice half a banana. All it all in on top of the porridge and drizzle with honey. Perfect.

 

BLUEBERRIES AND RASPBERRIES.

Stir 4-5 raspberries and blueberries into the porridge and swirl it altogether so the fruit breaks down and the colours and flavours begin to come through the mix.

Top it off, with another spoonful of blueberries and serve. The sweetness of the blueberries and the tartness of the raspberries work so well with the creamy porridge.

CHOPPED APPLE, BROWN SUGAR, CINNAMON AND TOASTED OATS.

This is like having apple crumble for breakfast. It's got all the flavours and textures of the traditional dessert, but without the same amount of sugar or fats. 

Chop the core out of the apple, leave the skin on and dice it into small cubes. Add this to the porridge, along with a teaspoon of brown sugar and a good sprinkle of cinnamon and give it all a good mix.

Top it off with toasted oats and serve. It is divine!

 

Cream and chocolate chips.

The is the ultimate in indulgent breakfasts. Simple add a big dollop of cream and a tablespoon of chocolate chips to the porridge and stir it in. The cream just adds to the thickness of porridge and the chocolate chips begin to melt. We only have this when we really fancy a treat!

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Summertime often calls for lighter meals that are quick and easy to whip up. This chorizo and spinach pasta dish takes no more than 15-20 minutes to prepare and with bundles fresh ingredients combined with the strong flavours of the chorizo, this is a definite crowd-pleaser! 

You'll need:

  • 1 and a half cups of penne pasta (fresh, if you can get your hands on it)
  • Olive oil
  • 80-100gm dry cured chorizo sausage
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach
  • 1 small onion, sliced or diced
  • A handful of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Handful of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Chopped fresh oregano (or a teaspoon of dried oregano)
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Big pinch of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Method:

In a big frying pan or skillet, heat some olive oil and add in either crumbled or sliced chorizo, the chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms and all of the seasonings; garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook the ingredients on medium heat until the chorizo is heated through and the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, cook your fresh pasta as per the package instructions (usually in boiling water for 2-3 minutes) and strain once cooked. 

Then, add the spinach to your frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. 

Plate your pasta, and top it with the chorizo and vegetable mix. Sprinkle it with the grated parmesan cheese and serve.

There’s nothing like eggs and rashers for breakfast. We tend to save them for a late breakfast on Saturday mornings, but so often stick to the old reliable you-can’t-go-wrong rasher and egg sandwich. For a change however, inspired by various food bloggers and pinners we’ve seen on Pinterest, we decided to take our favourite food combo and try something new. These Baked Egg Pepper Cups are so easy to make; they taste delicious; they’re packed with nutrients; and let’s face it, they look great! You’re guests will be seriously impressed!

 

You’ll need:

4 Bell Peppers (red or yellow peppers work best for this recipe)

4 eggs

Rock or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls of spinach (raw or wilted)

4 rashers, grilled and chopped into small pieces

Chopped herbs to garnish.

Method

1.   Preheat oven to 180°c.

2.   Slice the top off of each pepper and remove all pips and seeds.

3.   Put your peppers on baking tray and add some spinach and a chopped rasher into each one. Crack an egg in top of each pepper and season with your salt and ground pepper.

4.   Pop them in the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes until the whites are firm and the yolks are still a little runny (leave for another 3 minutes if you’d rather a hard egg).

5.   Garnish with some chopped fresh herbs of your choice and serve.

Nutritional info per pepper cup: 155 calories, 5.2g carbs, 12.7g protein, 1.5g fibre, 3g saturated fat. 

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There's something so simple about a fresh, homemade scone. Whether served alone with butter or slathered with jam, strawberries or cream, there are few people whose mouths don't water at the sight of them. 

Fresh scones are so easy to make and can be whipped up in less that 30 minutes, often with ingredients you'll already have in your kitchen. This recipe makes 10-12 scones.

You'll need:

  • 500g plain flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 85 g butter
  • eggs, lightly beaten
  • 230 ml milk
  • 1  eggs, beaten to glaze

1. Preheat the oven to 230C for a conventional oven, 210C for a fan assisted oven, or gas mark 8. 

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar together into a bowl. Do this about three times to make sure the baking powder is mixed in well. It’s worth the effort as it really adds to the fluffiness and lightness of the mixture.

3. Make sure the butter is reasonably soft, and cut it up into small pieces. Rub the butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

4. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs and milk. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold the wet ingredients into the 'breadcrumbs'. This will give it a sticky texture and the mixture will be a little hard to manage (sticking to the bowl, the spoon and your hands if you touch it!), but continue to fold all the ingredients in together until you get a smooth consistency. Putting in the extra elbow-grease to smoothen the mixture is so worth it because it ensures the scones will stay light and fluffy. Otherwise, they may turn out very doughy.  

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5. Once smooth, turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a thickness of about 2cm and cut into rounds with a 5cm cutter. If the mixture is too sticky then simply use floury hands to roll into little balls which you can flatten slightly once they're on the baking tray.

6. Place the rounds are on a baking tray. Liberally brush with either beaten egg (just make sure it doesn't run down the sides of your scones and this will hinder the cooking) or, if you prefer, you can just use milk to glaze the tops. 

7. Bake for about 10-15 minutes until golden-brown and well risen. If you like your scones sweet, then take them out after 7-8 minutes, glaze again, and sprinkle each scone with sugar. 

8. Once cooked, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

9. Finally, enjoy! Our favourite way is to serve these light, fluffy scones with some real butter, a generous helping of whipped cream, and fresh strawberries. So simple, so delicious! 

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If you're considering a new kitchen, it's hard to know what sort of storage you need for your belongings. Like any of us, you probably have more stuff in your kitchen than you actually need: those plates from Meadow's & Byrne that were on sale 5 years ago that you never really used, or those wine glasses that are so fragile they're not practical, or those cook books you only opened once? Toss them.

After you've decided on the colour scheme of your kitchen: the doors, the counter tops, the backsplash... it's time to de-clutter your existing kitchen!

We like the KonMari method of decluttering (yes, there's actually a method!) where you rid your kitchen of all unnecessary items over a number of days. Categorise the items in your kitchen, and sort out one category per day until you get through it all.

You will need a certain level of ruthlessness. Hold up each item and ask yourself 2 things:

  1. Do I regularly use this?

  2. Does it hold real sentimental value?

We don't suggest you throw out your 'only for special occasions' linen tablecloth that your granmother gave you as a wedding present, but that patterned polyester cloth you bought in Dunnes in 1999 can probably go.

Here's how we suggest you categorise your kitchen.

  1. Plates, bowls and dishes

  2. Mugs, cups, glasses and stemware

  3. Cutlery and kitchen utensils

  4. Pots and pans

  5. Clean out the cupboards (the 4 year old tub of cornstarch, the never opened box of jasmine tea)

  6. Empty the fridge

  7. Go through your freezer

  8. Electricals (old sandwich toaster, the unused blender, the leaking kettle)

  9. Kitchen towels, napkins and other table linens

  10. Placemats and table accessories

  11. Tupperware and food-storage containers

  12. Paper cups and napkins, and plastic cutlery.

  13. Miscellaneous items in the bottom drawer (toothpicks, blu-tack, wine corks, and those keys that once belonged to an old bike lock)

  14. Plastic shopping bags (you don't need 23 of them!)

  15. Old and empty cleaning products sprays and sponge

  16. Cookbooks

A few minutes a day for 16 days and you'll have a clutter free kitchen ready to remodel! 

Prep time - 20 minutes

Baking time - 22 minutes

Makes - 12 cupcakes

 

Ingredients

125 grams of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 grams of cocoa powder
60 grams of unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
150 grams of caster sugar

1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
120 ml of buttermilk
1 tablespoon red food colouring
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Icing:
230 grams of cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 grams of icing sugar
160 ml of double cream

The Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (for a standard oven), or 170 degrees C (for a fan assisted oven).

Pop the paper cases into your muffin tin.

In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt.

In another bowl, using an electric or hand mixer, beat the butter and caster sugar until they are light and fluffy – this should take about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat again until it’s thoroughly mixed with the butter and sugar. Then add the vanilla essence and beat again. 

In another bowl or measuring cup, add the buttermilk and red food colouring. Then using your electric or hand mixer on low speed/power, add in one third of the dry ingredients and one third of the red buttermilk to the butter and sugar mixture, and repeat twice more until all the dry ingredients and red buttermilk are added and mixed thoroughly.

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In a cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda. This will begin to fizz. As soon as it does, stir it quickly and fold it into the cake mix. Then straight away, divide the cake mix between your 12 paper cases.  

Pop them in the oven to bake for 18-22 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when you stick a skewer into the centre of the cakes and it comes out clean.

Once baked, cool the cakes (leaving the paper cases on) on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.

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Cream Cheese Icing

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add in the vanilla essence and caster sugar and beat again until smooth. If you’re using an electric mixer, change the mixer head from the cake batter beater, to the whisk, and gradually add the double cream. Whip the mixture until it becomes thick and no longer runny. Add more sugar or cream if needed to get the consistency right.

Let the cakes cool completely before icing them. You can pipe the icing for a polished, professional finish, but we rather spread it with a knife or spatula and sweep the icing into a peak.

We won’t lie, there is a whole lot of washing up to be done after you make these cakes, but we promise it is totally worth it!

Enjoy as dessert after a romantic meal or gorge on them with friends. They're the perfect sweet treat for either occasion!

According to reports, the average child will receive €80 worth of Easter eggs this weekend and eat 8,000 calories! While the Rolo eggs, Lindt bunnies and Terry’s chocolate oranges are so tasty, there’s nothing quite like whipping up your own Easter treats.

These little bird’s nests give so much bang for their buck. All you need is;

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of butter for greasing your muffin tin, or 12 paper cases.

100g Cornflakes

100g good quality milk or dark chocolate

2 tablespoons golden syrup

36 mini eggs

Instructions

1. Grease the wells of your muffin tin with the butter or line them with your paper cases.

2. Break up your chocolate into chunks and pop them in a large bowl with the golden syrup (make sure it’s microwave-proof). Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir, repeat the process again and again until the chocolate is melted smooth (3x30 second intervals worked for us).

3. Stir a spoonful of corkflakes into the chocolate, coat them evenly and make sure they don’t get crushed in the process. Continue adding in the cornflakes spoonful by spoonful until they are all coated well with the chocolate.  

4. Working quickly so the chocolate doesn't begin to set, add the mixture into the muffin tin or into each paper case and make a well in the centre of each (we just indented the top or each using the back of a spoon).

5. Once each nest is made, put the tray of nests in the fridge for an hour or until they harden.

6. Once hardened, gently remove the nests from the muffin tin or their paper cases, pop 3 mini eggs into each nest and serve! 

*images via thecurvycarrot.com

Granite and marble are often the go to choice for a high-end countertop, but Quartz is passing out the former in popularity, and with good reason.

Durability

  • Granite and marble are beautiful but fragile! Quartz however, is naturally stain repellent and impervious to acidic foods.
  • It's also resistant to scratches and chips which means they don't succumb to normal wear and tear.
  • Quartz doesn't require sealing, as opposed to granite and marble which (to keep them in best nick!) require sealing every 12 months.

Style

  • The biggest reason for quartz's popularity is most likely due to the advances in the technology used to fabricate the stone. 
  • Patterns have become less uniform and more organic in appearance and thus more like natural stone. 
  • There's also a huge range of colours to choose from, so whatever style of kitchen you go for: modern, contemporary, traditional or otherwise, you'll find something to suit your decor.

Call in to our showroom, just off the Six Cross Roads, Waterford an browse our selction of Quartz counter-tops. 

source: popsugar. images: cuckoo 4 design and megan brooke

We are excited to be helping out with this year's 'Blaas for Kids' run by WLR in aid of Focus Ireland. This is the fifth year of 'Blaas for Kids' but our first year to help out with the initiative that raises funds for children in Waterford who are at risk of homelessness. 

WLR's Big Breakfast Blaa presenters Oliver Carroll and Mary O’Neill recently announced a target of €15,000. This will be raised primarily through the sale of filled blaas to Waterford based international companies, local businesses, clubs, schools and organisations all over the county. Each filled blaa costs €5 with every penny of the money going directly to the charity. They're also calling on WLR listeners to make donations to support Focus Ireland’s vital work.

The event is happening on the morning of Friday April 22nd, when the WLR Street Team and volunteers from Focus Ireland will set up in Evoke German Kitchens to prepare thousands of blaas, and use our showroom as a base from which to deliver the blaas. We guess they chose us because we're well placed just off the Six Cross Roads Roundabout to hit the ring-road to the west of the county or head inbound through Kilbarry into the City. 

We are proud to be involved in the project, even through the small gesture of offering our showroom for use on the morning, because Focus Ireland has been delivering homeless services in Waterford for 16 years. The charity provides a comprehensive programme of services and housing for families, young people and children who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Waterford City and County and anything we can do to help out is worthwhile. Focus Ireland also provides housing and support for over 250 households, through advice and information and an education programme. They believe education and play are essential to the well-being of children and also as a pathway out of homelessness for future generations. The charity also provides crèche facilities and after-school care facilities for children to have a safe, engaging and fun place to play and learn. 

The charity's National Fundraising Initiatives Manager is Waterford native,  Rebecca Reynolds. When speaking to WLR, she said “Funds raised from 'Blaas for Kids' will help Focus Ireland to continue to provide facilities and programmes to help children in homeless services Waterford. We are delighted to work with WLR this year. Last year in Waterford 20 families presented to our services requiring accommodation every month. 1 in 3 people now experiencing homelessness is a child, which is a shocking reminder of just how serious the homeless crisis has become. The impact this has on children is devastating with long lasting psychological and emotional affects.”

So we are calling on all of our customers, suppliers, supporting and associate businesses and our friends to help us help children in Waterford who are either at risk of homelessness or already homeless. Do a quick head count in your office or work place and see how many people would like a blaa for breakfast on Friday 22nd of April. Then give the (we love this!) Blaa hotline a call on 051-872248 to pre-order your delivery of freshly made blaas from the brilliant Walsh’s Bakehouse.

Give what you can and you can make a big difference!

Donations can be made online at www.wlrfm.com, and for more about Focus Ireland, visit www.focusireland.ie

We're heading to the National Ploughing Championships today with WLRfm's Deise AM and The Lunchbox, which will be live from Ratheniska Co. Laois from 10am-3pm. 

We'll be on site telling you all about our lovely German kitchens and we'll be giving you a chance to win some brilliant prizes too - If you like our Facebook page, you're in the draw to win an A+ energy rated Neff integrated dishwasher, and whether you're at the Ploughing Championships or you're listening in Waterford, you have the chance to win a huge hamper from Evoke with:

  • A Breville 3-in-1 hand blender with a mini chopper, a balloon whisk and a beaker which is perfect for juicing, making homemade sauces, soups and baby foods, as well as chopping nuts and veg, whisking eggs and cream and crushing ice.
  • A Quooker hot water flask.
  • A Quooker tea box with a selection of traditional and flavoured teas.
  • A range of locally produced artisan foods.
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So hopefully we'll catch you at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska Co. Laois!

For more on the appliances we stock, click here