Category Archives: Our Kitchen

Pizza is the Best Winter Warmer

Pizza is the Best Winter Warmer

What is the thing that warms you up most in the winter? Is it the world’s best infrared heater that you bought from the shop the other week? Could it be getting cuddles from the one you love?

Well it might be all of these things but for me the thing that warms me up the most and helps me to get through those bleak winter months is pizza. I know that this might sound silly when you think about it logically why would pizza not help you out in this situation?

What’s that? I’m still not persuading you? Well sit back and relax because I am going to tell you all about why pizza is the only thing you need in the winter months.

The taste

I shouldn’t even need to explain this one. Everyone knows that pizza tastes nicer than anything else. It is warm and it is delicious and that is all that needs to be said on the issue.

The flavor combinations

Pizza is probably the most versatile food on the face of the earth. You can top it with basically anything you want and it will still taste nice. There is pepperoni, salami, ham, pineapple and bacon but to name a few. Then there are the different types of cheese you can have. My personal preference is for the classic mozzarella but you can also use cheddar, Swiss or anything else you can get you hands on.

Next up are the bases. I know I am in the minority but I like my pizzas to be formed on a barbecue base. I think it really adds to the whole sensation of a pizza but I know I am alone here. Most people like the original tomato base and there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong as long as you smother it in cheese! I’ll leave you with the thought of a stuffed crust pizza floating around in your thoughts.

The social elements

I don’t know about you but the only time I really eat pizza is when I am with my friends. Someone normally pipes up wanting to get one and within a couple of minutes the call has been placed and a delicious pizza is on its way to you. For this reason having a pizza is normally associated with good times and having another one will normally bring back good memories of the other times you have shared with your pals.

They can make you a better chef

If you are brave enough to make a pizza on your own instead of ordering one in then you will know just how easy they are to make. You have to create the base which is the only really difficult part. Once you have done this you are then free to experiment however you wish to. You can pick whatever ingredient you like and flavour it exactly to your own tastes.

If you want to try a pickle and pepperoni pizza then you can do just that. The more time you spend in the kitchen creating pizza ideas and the executing them the quicker you will become a pizza pro and never have to order one in again. Think of all of the money you can save by doing this. When you add this to the fact that cooking is extremely fun then you are looking at a very good way to spend an evening or two each week!

The conclusion

I hope I have brought you round to my way of thinking. Pizza is life and life is pizza. When things start to get cold each year you can keep all of your heaters and jackets and just chuck me a pizza from an infrared oven. If you are feeling extra generous then make mine a meat feast with a barbecue base please…

How to Run Your Commercial Kitchen Better

As a restaurant owner or manager, you have the tough task of making sure the kitchen runs efficiently. This task can be tough, but it is necessary because in the kitchen you know that every little detail counts. While there might never be more than 24 hours a day, there are ways that you can use to run your kitchen more efficiently.

Here are a few ways to run the kitchen better;

Listen to Feedback

Normally, we usually believe that we have the key to running kitchens in the perfect way, which is a wrong notion. A true leader takes time to listen to the staff and make changes as necessary. The employees are the ones in direct contact with the customers and will give you the feedback that you need to make the right decisions.

Try talking to each member of the staff and find out the various ways to make the kitchen much more efficient. Instead of being controlling, try to give a listening ear to the employees.

In addition to employee feedback, you need to listen to what the customers tell you. They know what they want, and the ability to supply this is one of the ways to make sure you get more sales.

Have Everything You Need

To make sure you give your customers what they want, it is vital that you have everything you need to prepare the right dishes.

This means that you need to procure the right equipment, the right ingredients and make sure the environment is suitable for cooking.

One thing that makes it hard to achieve the perfect dishes consistently is a poor waste disposal system. Waste disposal is a huge issue when it comes to commercial restaurants. This is why you need to take time and install the perfect waste disposal system in the restaurant. Check out this one to understand what you need for the restaurant.

Have an Efficient Inventory System

You need to make sure that you have an efficient way to run the inventory in your restaurant. Nothing is worse than noticing that you do not have the right ingredient for a dish when you are half-way into the preparation.

You can avoid this embarrassment by running a good inventory system that allows you to know when to restock. It is also ideal that you do not waste your food, so you need to review the orders regularly so that you know what ingredients you are not using so you stop ordering them.

Do not be Ignorant of New Technology

Every kind of business is on the lookout for new ways to do things, and with technology, this is now easy. Whether it is a state of the art point of sale system or a new device, you need to find a way to make technology your friend.

To get the technology that you need, take time to understand what you can do better in the kitchen to make it easy for you to prepare meals and serve them. A quick search on Google can expose so many technologies to improve your kitchen, and they are not as expensive as you think.

Technology makes it possible for you to cook better and faster. You do not have to depend on the old-fashioned cooking strategies each day; take time to use the right kind of technologies to make things easier for you.

Have Specific Workstations

A big issue with commercial kitchens is the high level of bottlenecks that happen in the kitchen. To alleviate this, make sure that you have well-delineated workspaces for different duties. Have separate workstations, with each workstation assigned a supervisor and an employee. You can have a separate area for inventory so that the food stays safe and the staff get enough time to handle the tasks.

If you have many staff, it is better to allow them to work in shifts. When the workflow is handled perfectly, you do not have to keep on repeating orders or keep the customer waiting for their food.

The Bottom line

Make sure you have your commercial restaurant running efficiently by making sure the kitchen is effectively handled. Take time to listen to feedback from both the employees and the customers so that you do not make your customers wait for their meals for hours on end.

Types of Espresso Makers According to Automation

Types of Espresso Makers According to Automation

Automation is the future. In the present technological age, every product is designed to reduce human effort and edge towards automation. Espresso coffee machines are not an exception.

The major difference in all kinds of espresso machines out there is how easy they’re to use. Based on automation, here are the four main kinds of espresso machines on the market. And if you’re getting an espresso machine for commercial purposes, it’s important that you examine all the parts of the espresso maker carefully.

Manual espresso maker

Manual espresso makers are perfect for people who don’t mind doing some work on their espresso. This extra work can pay dividends though as a manual espresso machine lets you control all aspects of making an espresso shot so you can potentially get the perfect shot.

Manual espresso machines are usually attractive and functional at the same time. They are expensive, but for the true connoisseurs who don’t mind putting in some work, they can make a great espresso shot.


  • This kind of espresso maker produces high-quality, tasty espresso
  • You have greater control over the espresso-making process
  • It’s an attractive kitchen appliance for your countertop
  • This espresso machine is known to be long-lasting

Super automatic espresso machine

As the name implies, super automatic espresso machines are extremely easy to use.

The idea behind a super automatic espresso machine is to make the work of making an espresso shot as simple as adding ground coffee and pressing some button. It’s fast and easy without any mess to tidy up. That’s it.

This kind of espresso maker is ideal for those who don’t want to put in any work and aren’t too bothered by the specifics of the taste, but instead simply want a shot fast. If you take lots of espresso all day, this could be the machine for you.

These espresso machines, especially top rated super automatic espresso machines, are usually more costly than other espresso machines, but you can still buy some smaller versions in the $200 range. They also come with plenty of features, including control panels, temperature controls, programmable system, LED display, simple to use buttons, and pre-brewing and pre-grinding features.


  • It’s the easiest espresso machine to use
  • It comes with plenty of special features, including programmable settings and built-in grinders
  • It’s basically an “all-in-one” machine with a lot of special features

Semi-automatic espresso maker

Semi-automatic espresso makers come with electric pumps, which make them that much simpler to use than manual espresso machines. Like manual espresso machines, they give you some level of control (but not quite the same control in manual machines) and the simplicity of use seen in different kinds of automatic models. Semi-automatic espresso makers are now the most popular machines on the market.


  • This kind of espresso maker is simper to use than a manual one
  • It can make quality and yummy shots of espresso
  • There are lots of affordable models from reputable brands

Fully automatic espresso machine

Apart from the electric pump, a fully automatic espresso machine also automates the quantity and delivery of water in the process of making espresso shots. Therefore, they’re even simpler to use than their semi-automatic counterparts, but they remove one more aspect of control from your hands—which may be a problem if you’re very specific about how you want your espresso made.

As with semi-automatic versions, this kind of espresso machine has a wide price range. Some models can go for $200 while others go for several thousand dollars. Whether you’re in your office or at home, a fully automatic espresso machine is the best for preparing your shots of espresso.

The Rice Cooker: A Blessing to Your Family

The Rice Cooker - A Blessing to Your Family

A rice cooker, just as the name suggests, is a cooking appliance dedicated to the preparation of rice. If you enjoy a plate of rice on a daily basis, then the rice cooker will be beneficial to you. Let us look at various aspects of this cooker and what to expect when you buy one.

How Does it Work?

This appliance cooks rice by heating a plate located at the bottom of the pan. As the pot of the cooker sits on the bottom of the hot plate, it heats up via conduction. Turning on the cooker after placing in the ingredients heats up the water to a boil, cooking the rice in the process. The pot will remain at this temperature until all the water evaporates. Once the last drop of water evaporates, the inbuilt sensors detect this and switch the cooker off.

These cookers come with various features to make the procedure fast and effortless. One of the best features of the appliance is the inbuilt timer. Using a microprocessor unit, the cooker monitors the change in temperature and decides on how long it will take to cook the rice. The microprocessor will then adjust the amount of heat that reaches the heating plate. Advanced models allow you to keep the cooked rice warm for hours, while others make use of an advanced timer which cooks the food at a set time, even when you aren’t around.

Do You Need a Rice Cooker?

Yes, you do. Here are the golden reasons why you need to have it on your next shopping list.

Enjoy High-Quality Rice

The best rice cooker uses fuzzy logic technology to make better rice for you and the family. The technology monitors how the rice is cooking and makes fine adjustments in cooking time and water temperature. When compared to the traditional way of cooking rice, the results are better and will always be consistent. The process might take a little bit more time, but the excellent flavor, texture, and quality are worth the wait.

Access to a Wide Range of Settings

Apart from the innovative fuzzy logic technology, modern rice cookers offer you a wide variety of settings to pick from depending on what you plan to cook. You get to choose from brown rice, white rice, mixed rice, risotto and sushi rice. Every setting is meant to prepare a selected rice variety to the best quality with the whole process being pre-programmed.

It Saves You Time

You save a lot of time when using the rice cooker. For one, after you set up the rice in the pan, you don’t have to stick around and supervise the cooking. All that is left to do is to get out the rice and serve it while still hot.

No need to worry about burning the food even though you are not around to check on the food. In-built timers make the whole process easy and effortless.

Some Are Multipurpose in Use

You choose the capacity of the cooker depending on what you need. To make a perfect choice, make sure you understand how much rice your family consumes in one go. Get a cooker that prepares the proper amount of rice for the family. This is convenient, especially since some cookers can keep the food warm for more than 2 hours.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are preparing brown or white rice, having a rice cooker is the best way to do it. However, make sure the type of cooker you choose gives you a wide number of options so that you get a chance to experiment with new recipes. The cooker should also have the right capacity to suit the needs of your family.

Signs That Your Sewer Line or Drain Pipes Are Clogged

Professional Plumber

Although being one of the most vital components of any residential plumbing, many people don’t know much about the sewer line, other than the fact that it transports waste products from the home into the public drainage system. Usually, this component rarely receives much attention until a problem occurs and the effects start to get felt within the home.

The effects of a broken or faulty sewer line are numerous, including backing up of raw sewage into your home leading to unhygienic living conditions and the risk of illnesses. It also leads to a considerable mess in your home that you will spend time cleaning. However, before the issue reaches such levels, the sewer line would have shown various signs that it is clogged up. The moment you notice these signs you need to call in an expert tradie company like these guys to diagnose the issue and handle it. Let us look at these signs.

Changes in Water Flow

A clean and flawless sewer line will encourage quick flow of waste from the appliances and fixtures in the house. For instance, water should flow from your bathtub quickly once you remove the valve. If you notice changes in the flow of wastewater from these appliances, it is a sign that something is wrong with the drain pipe. Usually, the issue arises from a clog that is inhibiting wastewater flowing past the blockage. If the flow is inhibited in only one fixture, then the clog might be in the drain pipe leading away from that particular fixture. On the other hand, if the issue affects multiple fixtures in different parts of the house, then the clog might be in the main sewer line.

Strange Behavior from Your Appliances

When the sewer drain starts backing up, it shows up in your appliances and fixtures that are connected to your plumbing system. For instance, after the washing machine or dishwasher finishes a task with the water draining out of it, another drain might percolate from a separate appliance or fixture in the house. The sound will seem as if water is draining from this appliance or fixture as well.

A closer look might reveal water has spilled out of the basement drain or has backed up through the drain in your shower or bathtub.

Water in your sink should drain away fast and smoothly under normal circumstances. When your drain is clogged, you will notice strange behavior from other plumbing fixtures when you turn on a faucet. To confirm this, turn on the faucet on your kitchen sink and let the water run for some time. Go and observe what happens to your toilet bowl. If the drain is clogged, you will notice water entering the toilet bowl from the tank or air bubbles rising from the bowl. Bubbles occur when air that is trapped in the pipes due to the blockage gets displaced and is pushed up through the plumbing system. This is a sign that the sewer line is clogged.

The Toilet Doesn’t Flush Normally

Normally, when you flush the toilet the wastewater ought to drain off to get replaced with clean water from the tank. Clogged sewer drains change the direction of the wastewater. Since it doesn’t have anywhere to go, the wastewater in your toilet will back up and come back through the lowest level of the plumbing system, which can be the drain in your bathtub or shower, or in the basement.

Foul Smells

This is a dead giveaway of a blocked sewer and the most unpleasant symptoms of all. If something has blocked your drain and it begins to decompose, you will certainly smell it. The foul smell might come first before any visual signs occur. Therefore if you start catching a whiff of raw sewage then don’t just sit back and wait to see what happens next.

The Remedy: Call in a Professional Plumber

When you notice these warning signs, you need to call in a plumber fast. The priority will be to find the exact spot where the clog is and remove it. Your plumbing system’s structure is like a tree, with the stem representing the main sewer line and the branches representing the drain pipes from different fixtures. It needs experience and expertise to find out the exact location of the clog in this network of pipes, reason why a professional plumber is vital to this process.

Tips for Using a Kitchen Knife

If you are just getting started working in the kitchen, there is something that you need to know. When you are dealing with kitchen knives, they are dangerous and can harm you. OK, so chances are you already knew that! However, you never want to take for granted how easy it is to make a mistake when using them. If you think you are too cool for recommendations, then maybe you will come back after the knife is laughing at you. For those of you who are looking to take extra precautions when using kitchen knives, here are some tips for you.

Have Common Sense

Having common sense when dealing with a sharp object that can inflict pain on you may be the best thing that you can do. To give you a further idea, here are some tips that should be common sense. Always, cut away from your hand and keep your fingers away from the blade. This way, if the knife slips your hand is not there waiting to be sliced. Absolutely never play with knives because remember, if there sharp enough to cut through a T-bone steak then they are tough enough to cut through your flesh. Finally, always use a cutting board. Never, under any circumstance, should you hold a food item over the sink and cut it. Just remember, if it seems like a stupid idea then it probably is!

Always Keep Your Knives Sharpened

It seems very odd to say this, but the safest way to use a knife is when it’s properly sharpened. If a knife is very dull and hasn’t been sharpened in a while, it has a greater chance of injuring you than a full sharpened one does. It’s funny because that seems completely backward. You would think that if a knife was dull, the blade itself would have less of a chance of causing injury. While if they both touched your skin the dull blade would cause less injury, that’s not the point. When you are using a dull blade, it’s more likely to slip than cut. This is where the brunt of the problem with dull knives comes from because once it slips, it is out of your control for where it goes. With a sharp knife, they are going to cut with ease and eliminate the chance of slippage.

Use a Large, Sturdy Cutting Board

Interestingly enough, a huge safety measure when using a knife is the type of cutting board you are using with it. For starters, you are going to want a sturdy cutting board. The one thing you want to prevent is your cutting board from slipping. If you have a heavy duty one, this is not an issue. However, if you have a cheap one that’s plastic you may want to place a damp rag underneath to prevent it from slipping. Also, you may want to use a larger cutting board. If you notice you don’t have a lot of room to cut your foods, it can increase the chance of an accident.

Don’t Leave Them Lying Around

This is a huge one if you have children running around in your kitchen. Clearly, children don’t know the dangers of a sharp kitchen knife. Just imagine what could happen if they pick it up thinking it’s something to play with? The best thing to do is always put them away in a safe location. One where there is no chance of your children accidently grabbing them. Even after you are done using them, it’s wise to wash, dry, and store them away immediately. If you are feeling a little lazy, then you can just place them with the blade down in a dish drainer.

Curl Your Fingers When Chopping

In specific, when you are chopping vegetables it’s wise for you to curl your fingers. To further explain, make sure to hold the food with your fingertips so your knuckles are the only body part exposed to the knife. This way, in the case of an accident, your fingertips don’t get sliced off. With them curled, the worst thing you will do is ding a knuckle. At the end of the day, a dinged knuckle is not nearly as painful as a chopped finger.

There you go, you are that much closer to being a wiz with kitchen knives. If you don’t have any good kitchen knives, now your goal is to find some. The great news is at Cut It Fine, you will find all of the necessary information you need.

Too many kids, too little time!

Before we were married, my husband used to joke with me that we were going to raise a football team – eleven babies. Little did I know that, while we wouldn’t quite make the numbers for a football team, we’d have no problem fielding our own hockey team – with three sets of twins, we suddenly had our hands very full!

Having a large family with kids at various stages in their development presents all kinds of challenges that are difficult to relate to for most people from smaller families. If you struggle getting one or two kids ready and off to school in the morning, how would you cope with six?

One of the first things that you need to do is to enlist the kids’ help with any task that they can safely do with little supervision. This means things like teaching them to wash and get dressed as early as possible. I have been amazed to see kids as old as eight who are still being dressed by their parents. There’s no way that could happen in our house. In fact, these days the kids will get themselves up on time, shower, get dressed, make and eat their own breakfasts, clean their teeth and get themselves off to school all by themselves. There are various ways to motivate them to do this, but the most effective that we have found is by using collective responsibility. As we need to encourage the older ones to be role models for the younger ones and to get them all to help each other out when necessary we’ll reward the whole group for the good behaviour of one child and also punish the whole group for the misdemeanour of one. This way the children police their own behaviour and only egg each other on to do things they know will bring rewards. Whereas a parent will usually have to break up a squabble between two children in most houses, in our house they are broken up quickly by their siblings.

Nevertheless, there are still very many household jobs which children can’t and shouldn’t do. As I mentioned earlier, they can make their own breakfast – usually cereal and fruit but occasionally a toasted waffle and a warm drink. They’re not quite old enough to be dealing with the oven or pan of boiling oil yet, however. In fact, I myself only tend to use the oven and the hobs on a Sunday when I cook up a traditional family dinner. During the week I save time by chopping vegetables and preparing meat and seasonings which will cook throughout the day in the slow cooker. Once your ingredients are in and you’ve switched it on – that’s pretty much dinner sorted. It’s still healthy and delicious, tender food, just prepared in a few minutes and cooked by itself throughout the day.

When it comes to washing, the children sort their own washing into two baskets – one for lights and one for coloureds. When the baskets are full I’ll put the washer on overnight (that’s when our water rates are cheaper). Of course, there is too much for just one load so the washer is usually on three or four nights a week. The kids will get a reward for hanging out the washing if they get to it before I do. Ironing takes quite some time but I don’t think my children are quite ready to do it for themselves, although this is definitely a skill I will teach them when they are ready. More rewards are available if the kids fold their own clothes and put them away.

I suppose when it comes to hobbies and extra-curricular activities, we are quite lucky that we have three sets of twins. It means that there are always at least two of our children taking part in any one activity, thus reducing any transport or conflicting schedule issues. Organisations like the cub scouts and brownies are great as they not only have their usual meetings and activities but they have their own sports teams and trips with transport covered. Our two oldest are looking forward to joining the Sea Cadets next year which will hopefully be great for building their skill sets, resilience, maturity and self-discipline.

Things like homework are done as a group at a set time. Invariably, the older two have more to do and find it more difficult. Things like this, plus the other responsibilities they have to shoulder make it important to that you show your appreciation for their efforts. This can be done with rewards but I think the best way is to reward responsibility with a degree of independence. For example, our eldest have more freedom than their siblings when it comes to choosing what they do with their free time.

It takes a lot of discipline at first but you really have to think of your parental responsibilities also including being a general manager of the household and the team. Look to responsibly delegate what you can in order to maximise the effective use of your available time. Your reward will be a close-knit and loving, large family.

Taste Tests

There is no doubt that nowadays food and drinks have a lot of hidden sugar in them. If they don’t have sugar in them, they have to put something else in to take its place.

A lot of people do not know this and the lower calorie, lower fat variations of food and drink could be as bad for you as the higher sugar, additive laden versions.  Education is the key to knowing exactly what you should be ingesting and how to keep your body at maximum efficiency and optimum health.

The best way to ensure what is going into your drinks and food is to make your own.  A juicer is a great place to start and there is an amazing website called: will help you to get started.

My Job

My official title is a taste tester but I do not taste the food myself. I go out and test certain food and drink on the public.

How I usually do it is going into a town or city centre and give away free samples.  The food and drink is not marked up in anyway, I give the samples away to members of the public in return for some feedback in the way of carefully constructed questions. 

The Public

Getting the public to try the samples, no matter what they are, is really not a hard sell. We all love receiving something for nothing and we are always inundated with people wanting to try out our samples.

The samples can be anything, soft drinks and juices, candy, any type of food and it doesn’t stop there, I have tasted deodorants, toothpastes, it really could be anything.

The Challenge 

The challenge for this particular test was, can you tell the difference between low sugar and high sugar juices and soda and low fat and high fat puddings. Can you really tell the difference?  Testing the public without telling them the specifics was a perfect way to get real results.

The Testing 

The fun bit is the tests themselves.  I always really enjoy going out and speaking to the public and asking them to taste things when they don’t really know what it is is always fun.  A bit of humor and charm is always the way to go. 

The Results

The results are used in a variety of ways and extrapolated by experts. The findings can be used for marketing, helping companies to work out what consumers want.  The medical world, doctors and nutritionists usually use our findings for research papers ie: studies have shown that…and sometimes they the results are used to improve and enhance.  We do not judge, the company I work for is independent, we just carry out the tests.  What they are used for is up to our clients.


Over the course of the 10 years I have worked for the company on average, 70% of people cannot tell the difference between full fat and low fat and high sugar and low sugar.  I guess over the years our taste buds have become uneducated and sadly, this gives way to manufacturers trading on that ignorance and giving us things that taste good, but are not necessarily good for us.


It has never been my intention to vilify manufacturers because the ignorance is our own and it is our responsibility to educate ourselves.  We are so used to things tasting artificial products that we now cannot tell the difference between the real flavour of say, an orange and the manufactured flavour of orange. Manufacturers are there to sell a product, so the more educated they are about what we know, what we like etc. the better they can tailor those products to us and ultimately, the more they sell. I collect the findings, collate them and hand them to my boss who then reports up the chain.

I like meeting the public and I enjoy my job and I use the knowledge to educate my friends and family and in some small way help to change their worlds for the better.

Top 5 – Stand Mixers

If you are in the market for a stand mixer, chances are you will do some research on the internet.  You will need to use a site you can trust for this. I have always found the best way to guarantee this, is to look at reviews and use your common sense, don’t rush into it, take your time and always make sure if you buy online you use a site that has a secure payment page, always look for a padlock on the top right of the page, next to the web address, if there isn’t a padlock or the padlock isn’t locked, do not use it.

In order to help you with your choice, here is a top 5 of the best stand mixers on the market today.

Number 1 

Premium Brand – Oster 250 Watt Hand/Stand Mixer (Black and Grey)

  • 6 speed settings
  • Power boost switch for turbo speed
  • Convenient one touch beater eject lever
  • Detachable head from the stand
  • Durable full size beaters and dough hooks
  • 5 year warranty

This stand mixer costs a little more but is totally worth it. It mixes well, has a power boost with a turbo speed and the bowl is easily removable as the head tilts. This is a reliable and powerful machine, suitable for someone who would use a mixer regularly.

Number 2

Long Warranty – Phillips HR1565/50 Hand Mixer (White)

  • Stand mixer, cord storage clip
  • Dough hooks
  • Turbo function
  • 400 W power
  • 10 year warranty
  • 3 L rotating bowl

Phillips stand by their brand (as usual) and provide a 10 year warranty with this mixer. It has everything you would expect from a mid range machine. It has a medium sized bowl; this may be a problem if you have a large family. The motor is quite powerful and the attachments mix well, this machine is a good all rounder.

Number 3 

Sturdy – Panasonic MK-GB1 3 Litre, 200 Watt Stand Mixer

  • 3 litre rotating bowl/detachable as hand mixer
  • 5 speed selection
  • 200 watt motor/hands free mixing
  • Egg beater and dough hook
  • 1 Year warranty

The Panasonic is a sturdy machine. The bowl is made of reinforced plastic and the machine fixes to your kitchen counter top, so it doesn’t move around when you mix. It comes with 8 attachments and has a one year warranty that will give you piece of mind if anything goes wrong.

Number 4

 Powerful – Sage by Heston, 250 Watt 6 Speed Stand Mixer (White/Grey)

  • 8 speed settings
  • Power boost switch for turbo speed
  • Convenient one touch beater eject lever
  • Detachable head from the stand
  • Durable full size beaters and dough hooks

This machine was designed by the world famous chef, Heston Blumenthal. It is beautifully designed and looks great. It has 8 speed settings, so would suit most mixing needs. It is powerful and large, so would suit a larger sized family. 

Number 5 

Budget – Hamilton Beach 63326 6 Speed, Stand Mixer by Hamilton Beach

  • 6 speed
  • Detachable head
  • 13 attachments

This is the cheapest of the top 5. It has 13 attachments; this machine is not for heavy use but would be more suited to once or twice per week. It is powerful enough to mix most things and has six speeds.  It has a 2.5 litre capacity bowl, so would be suitable for a family of 2, 3 at a push.


There is a size, attachment, powerful, large, small machine out there to suit every need and every budget. Just ensure before you buy, you work out what your requirements are and go to a trusted, safe website.

Safety Concerns When Using a Toaster Oven

When using a toaster oven, most people never encounter any problems. An important thing to keep in mind is that a toaster oven is essentially a small oven, and it will get hot!

The fact that your toaster oven is an electrical appliance means that you need to be careful of electrocution and burns. Always use a modern appliance, click here to see the best toaster in 2016.

Therefore, it is important to touch on some basic safety measures that should be taken whilst using a toaster oven to protect yourself, others, and your home.

Instruction Manual

You would think that reading the instruction manual is common sense, but many of us don’t want to be bothered and feel that we are smart enough to figure things out on our own. This may be true, and most toaster ovens are pretty straight forward and easy to figure out, but please remember, instruction manuals can provide a wealth of information and are usually very helpful in learning how to use the toaster oven in a safe and practical way.

You should always read the instruction manual for any new appliance you purchase. This will not only ensure that you are taking proper precautions, but also ensure you get the most out of your toaster oven.

Leave Some Room 

The lower end models that have less insulation have a tendency to get hot, therefore it is very important you leave enough room around the toaster oven, a general rule of thumb is to leave about 8 inches around the appliance, but refer to the manual for the manufacturer recommendations. This will allow for adequate air circulation and also help prevent any possible wall discoloration.

A simple way to avoid fires or accidents is to ensure you place the toaster oven away from flammable materials such as drapes, curtains or fabrics. You should also place the toaster oven on a solid and stable surface, not on a table cloth.  You should also make sure that all food particles and are clear from the area, and that the oven is clean and ready for use.

Plug & Cord Safety 

To protect yourself from electric shock, do not immerse the toaster oven, power cord or plug, in any kind of liquid.  Also, it is advisable to buy a toaster oven that comes with a 3 prong plug that has a grounding wire.  In the event of an electrical short circuit, grounding will reduce the risk of electrical shock.

Caution When Handling 

You may think this sounds obvious, but any cooking appliance generates heat. Therefore, caution must be taken when placing/removing food or handling the oven. The interior and exterior will become hot during and after cooking, so be sure to be careful when handling. Always allow the appliance to completely cool before moving or storing.

An easy way to avoid burns is to ensure you always wear oven mitts. It is recommended that these should be worn even when changing settings or touching the dials.

Lots of the food we buy today comes in a huge amount of packaging. Be sure that you have removed all flammable materials, like cardboard and plastic, before you place the item in the oven. If using ceramic or glass pans or dishes, make sure they are oven safe to avoid cracking.

If you are using dishes that have a lid, always ensure that it is in a safe working order. Some dishes can create an incredible amount of pressure and this can increase the risk of spillage and cracking.

Never insert metal utensils into the oven, not only can you damage the heating elements, you are putting yourself at risk of an electric shock.


The most obvious thing before cleaning is to ensure the machine is off and the plug is out of the socket.

Only use soft cleaning cloths. Metal scourers can leave small metal deposits, and they also scratch the surface. Clean the oven on a regular basis, ensuring all food deposits and crumbs are removed.