Snowman Christmas Biscuits

These Christmas biscuits are beautifully buttery, sweet and perfect for the holiday season! The cookies themselves are really easy and quick to make and the topping can be anything you want it to be, so a really great Christmas holiday activity to do with your children or grandchildren. We went for little snowmen and they have gone down a treat in the showroom!

This recipe makes 15-20 depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

For the biscuits

7oz Self raising flour

3½ oz Soft brown sugar

4oz Salted butter

1 large free range egg

1 tsp Vanilla paste

For the decoration

1 block of ready to roll fondant icing

Food colouring of your choice (to dye half of the fondant icing)

Icing pens

Silver edible balls

Edible glitter (optional!)

Method

Pre heat the oven 180C

Mix together the flour and sugar then begin to rub in the butter with your fingertips until fine breadcrumbs are formed.

Add in the egg and vanilla paste to the breadcrumb mix until a soft dough is formed (don’t worry if it feels a little sticky)

On a well floured surface begin to roll your sweet dough with a rolling pin. Use a cookie cutter of your choice to cut into desired biscuit shapes! Place the biscuits on a well greased baking tray and pop into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. They will feel a little soft when first taken out of the oven but they will harden.

Cool on a wire rack. Begin to decorate when they are completely cool.

Roll out the white fondant icing and cut with the same sized cookie cutter as your biscuits, brush the back of each circle with a little warm water and place onto each biscuit.

Dye the other half of the fondant icing (We went with light blue) and cut to the same size as the white fondant icing. Then cut each circle in half to create the snowman’s hat! Brush the back of each hat with warm water and stick on top of the white circle.

Using the icing pens, pipe on eyes, a mouth and a nose which you can stick the edible balls to. Add any additional decoration such as hat detail and then brush with edible glitter for an extra special touch! Allow to set.

Happy Christmas x

Merry Christmas from all of us at IDEAS!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

We would like to thank you each and every one of you for your continued support and custom in 2018, it has been such an amazing year for us here at IDEAS with many exciting projects completed for so many wonderful customers and plenty in the pipeline for 2019.

We will back on Wednesday 3rd January 2019, ready to design and fit lots of new kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms for you all and of course all done with a little cake on the side by Helen.

By choosing us to design your dream spaces you are helping to keep your local highstreet alive and a dream afloat and for that we cannot thank you all enough.

Christmas wishes,

Helen, Paul, Hope, Matt and Ady x

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Mince Pies with a Twist

The epitome of Christmas time, the humble mince pie! But they aren’t always everyone’s cup of tea, due to their sometimes overpowering filling. Helen of IDEAS has come up with a recipe that takes the edge of the often overfilled mince pie. Beautiful mincemeat, encased in homemade butter pastry with a sponge top to balance the pie. Perfect with a cup of tea after a festive day of fun!

For the pastry: (You could also buy a block of shortcrust pastry)

4oz Butter

8oz Plain Flour

6oz Soft Brown Sugar

A pinch of salt

A tiny bit of water!

For the cake topping:

6oz Butter

6oz Soft brown sugar

8oz Plain Flour

3 Eggs

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp of milk

1tsp Vanilla paste

For the mincemeat filling:

1 jar of good quality mincemeat

2oz Butter

A good glug of maple syrup

Method

To make the pastry rub together butter, sugar, flour and salt until fine breadcrumbs are formed. Slowly add in water to bind the mixture together until a ‘ball’ is formed. Leave the pastry to rest whilst the filling is made.

For the mincemeat mix, combine all the mincemeat filling ingredients into a pan and put over a medium head until butter has fully melted and the mixture has started to turn silky. Take of the heat and allow to cool.

Set the oven to 160°

To make the sponge topping, cream the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy. Using a spatula gently fold in one at a time the eggs with a spoonful of flour and the baking powder until all are mixed in. The mix may feel a little thick at this point so add in a little of the milk at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Grease 2 x 12 case cupcake tins.

Roll out the pastry until around 1cm thick and using a round 9/10cm cookie cutter make 24 cookie rounds. Pop each pastry round into the tin and spoon a teaspoon of the mincemeat mixture into each pastry case (leaving enough room on top for the sponge!) Top each mincepie with a teaspoon of cake mixture.

Pop each tin into the preheated oven for 20mins or until the cake mixture is looking golden brown and springs back when touched.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or a glass of mulled wine!

A Kitchen Makeover

Having purchased their first home together Hope (who works for IDEAS) & Adam knew there was lot to do to renovate their dated 1930s house into a home fit for modern living.

“We are really lucky that our garden is south facing, which is where our kitchen and dining room are, so we really wanted to maximise the feeling of space in these rooms as we originally had a tiny galley kitchen and quite a dark feeling dining room”, explains Hope. The first thing they did was rip out the existing 1950’s kitchen and knock through the wall that separated the kitchen/dining room.

The original back door and window to the kitchen were blocked up to make way for a run of tall housings to maximise the feeling of a much larger space in what is still essentially a galley kitchen. They chose the Remo handless door in cashmere with a Marble white quartz worktop and large central peninsular to organically combine both the spaces. On the opposite walls to the kitchen in the dining room two of the walls are painted in a deep, rich navy blue which gives such a cosy and inviting feeling to a room which otherwise could feel quite clinical. “I had a lot of people comment that I was making a mistake with the blue, but I felt with an off white gloss kitchen, in a south facing room it was needed otherwise we were in danger of having a room which would feel cold”.

After the months of renovating it is so lovely to have all our friends and family over for dinner parties and BBQ’s, it is such a brilliant entertaining space and we could not be happier with how the kitchen works for us!

 THE KITCHEN BEFORE

THE KITCHEN BEFORE

 THE KITCHEN AFTER

THE KITCHEN AFTER

 THE DINING ROOM BEFORE

THE DINING ROOM BEFORE

 THE DINING ROOM AFTER

THE DINING ROOM AFTER

The Quooker Boiling Water Tap

The Quooker flex tap is one of the IDEAS’ teams favorite kitchen products, an innovative and clever tap which saves money, water and makes a cup of tea in record time! The flex is the newest addition to the Quooker range combining a boiling water tap with a flexible pull out hose for easy cleaning around the sink. Once you start using the Quooker tap it is hard to imagine a kitchen without one, it eliminates the need for a kettle, therefore freeing up valuable workspace as well as having the option to provide you with filtered tap water.

Features

Did you know that the Quooker Taps are the only boiling water taps on the market that deliver your water at 100°C.There is a tap on the worktop and a tank underneath your sink to deliver you that perfect cup of tea everytime! You can choose to either have a separate Quooker tap next to your usual mixer tap or the Quooker flex/fusion which is single tap for hot, cold and boiling water. There is also the option to have a filtered water tank installed alongside your boiling water tank.

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Efficiency

If you are worried that the Quooker tap may be wasteful, think again! The high-vacuum insulation ensures that the Quookers standby usage is just 3 pence per day.  For an even more efficient tap choose a COMBI tank, an economical way to produce both hot and boiling water.

Safety

One of the questions about the Quooker is “Is it safe?”, the answer in short is extremely! Gone of the days of worrying about dropping the kettle, spilling it or scalding yourself with steam. The Quooker is fitted with a ‘push and twist’ child proof handle and insulated casing insuring it never feels hot to touch. The way the water is dispensed means the flow is more of a spray than a solid jet, giving you plenty of time to get your hands out of the way if the worst was to happen.

No kitchen is complete without its Quooker.

Pop into IDEAS Nottingham today to see how it works.

The Bake Off Series - Lemon Drizzle

This week the lovely ladies from our kitchen door retailer Second Nature traveled to our showroom to see Helen in action and baking one of our favorites Lemon drizzle cake! We had a lovely chat all things baking, kitchens and interior trends along with lots of tea a few slices of cake! Follow the recipe below to make your very own.

Ingredients for the cake

9oz Salted Butter

9oz Soft Brown Sugar

12oz Plain Flour

4 Eggs

2 ½ Tsp Bake Powder

3 Tbsp Milk

The rind of 2 Lemons & a little juice

Pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Lemon Curd (You could buy this also!)

• 100g (4oz) butter

•  225g (8oz) granulated sugar

•  3 standard eggs and 1 extra egg yolk

•  Juice and grated rind of 3 lemons

Ingredients For the Icing

6oz Icing Sugar

Lemon juice from 2 lemon

Lemon rind to decorate

A little water if it is too thick

Method

Step 1

Preheat your oven at 160°c/325°f, Gas No 3.

Prepare 2 20cm/8inch round cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Cream your butter with the sugar, lemon rind and a pinch of salt for 3 to 4 minutes, until appearance is light a fluffy. 

 Step 2

One at a time, beat in the eggs, adding a tbsp of flour, lemon juice and milk with each. Sieve together the rest of the flour and the baking powder, then gently fold this into the egg mixture with a large metal spoon. 

 Step 3

Split your prepared mixture in to the two cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake in the centre of the oven for 1 ½ to 1 ¾ hours.

Step 4

While the cakes are baking, it’s now time to make the lemon curd filling.

Start by melting butter over a pan of simmering water. Next, beat together the eggs and extra yolk, then combine with the sugar, lemon rind and juice.

Step 5

Add the mixture to the melted butter and cook gently (not allowing to boil) until the curd thickens enough to cover the back of a spoon. Don’t allow to overheat as this could make the mixture curdle.

Pour into a storage container and allow to cool as your cakes bake.

 Step 6

Once you’re satisfied the cakes are baked, take out of the oven and leave them in the tin for 5 minutes. Then, turn the cakes out on to a wire cooling rack.

 While they are warm, mix together the juice of ½ a lemon and a little icing sugar, and drizzle this over both cakes to keep them moist.

 Allow to go cold, then peel off the greaseproof paper.

Step 7

Spread a desired level of lemon curd on to the top of one of your cakes, then place the other cake on top, forming a sandwich.

 Next, whip up some icing using icing sugar and lemon juice to taste.

 Pour over the top of your cake, allowing to trail the outside. As a finishing touch, decorate with lemon rind.

ENJOY!

It's all about the Pantry

In the last year or so the we have had more and more requests for built in pantry or larder units on our customers kitchen Wishlist’s and we love them! They add another layer of interest to a kitchen and can include beautiful details both inside and out. They can either be built into an existing tall housing bank that includes your ovens/fridges etc or as a stand a lone centre piece in your kitchen space. Traditionally a pantry unit will accommodate beautiful solid oak side store units, which are useful for things such as spices/preserves or cereals and then inside a series of drawers and shelving units to house any other household food essentials. However, we are frequently being asked to re-think the traditional pantry to house a drinks station to include an integrated coffee machine, hot water tap or how about a cocktail pantry?! We have a few key considerations to think about if you are planning a built-in pantry:

· What appliances do you use in your kitchen the most that you would like to hide such as toasters, kettles etc, these can all be popped away in a cleverly designed pantry

· Would you make use of a spice racks and drawers?

· Solid worktop or wood inside? If you are wanting to use your pantry as a drinks station you will most probably need to have a solid worktop such as Quartz, if it is purely for food you will be fine with wood shelving, inserts and worktop

· Will you want little hands to be able to help themselves to snacks or will you want everything out of reach?

· Is there any integrated appliances you would love to have within the pantry, a microwave? Coffee machine? Hot water tap & small sink?

Our Trip To The PWS HQ

Last week Helen, Paul and Hope visited one of our kitchen door distributors PWS at their headquarters in Durham, to check out lots of beautiful new kitchen ranges as well as some old favorites. We also got to take a sneak peak of their brand new state of the art paint factory where many of your kitchens would of been sprayed!

PWS have a natural flair for thinking outside the box when it comes to design and the way they display their collection, it is really inspiring to see and gives us plenty of ideas for our own showroom displays. All in all we had a fantastic time and learnt so much about all the new ranges, we are feeling inspired and ready to tell you all about how we can help you design your ideal kitchen.