It’s that time of year again – Britain is in the midst of a baking frenzy. We’re all making anything from melt-in-the-mouth shortbread to delicious, freshly baked bread (and everything in-between). But, the age-old question still stands; are you a sweet or savoury person?
Ever wondered what’s so special about Japanese Wagyu beef? We’ve looked into how it got to Wales, what makes it taste so delicious, and how you can cook it yourself. Click the titles below to skip straight to them.
Ifor Humphreys’ Happy Cows
Ifor Humphreys is like most farmers; he gets up with the sun every morning, drives a tractor, and milks his cows. However, that’s where most of the similarities end. For the last seven years, Ifor has been breeding Japanese Wagyu cattle.
The term Wagyu literally means ‘Japanese beef’,and, up until the 1970’s, the cattle were only found in Japan. Ever since then, the beefs’ renown has been growing, and is now widely regarded as the best tasting beef in the world – with the price tag to match.
Watch the video below to find out how the Wagyu cattle made their way to a little village in Wales. You can even find out if they prefer drinking dark or light beer!
Wagyu Beef – A Tender Temptation
Wagyu beef is the most expensive beef you can find. In Japan, production is strictly monitored to ensure that only the best beef is produced, and prices can be as high as £500 per kilo. In Britain, the prices are a bit lower, but can still set you back £200 per kilo.
The high level of intramuscular fat gives the beef its heavily marbled look. This is spread through the entire piece, compared to thicker ribbons found on most steaks, giving each bite the perfect ratio of fat to meat.
Also, the fat has an extremely low melting point. Kobe beef, the most famous strain of Wagyu beef, has a melting point as low as 18°C. This means that it quite literally melts in your mouth.
It’s hard to describe how Wagyu beef tastes, but you can tell that there’s something special about it. The signature fat gives the beef a deep richness, delicately balanced with mellow flavours – you just know that it’s not your everyday piece of beef.
Three Delectable Beef Recipes
If all this talk of delicious food has made you hungry, why not try one of the recipes below? All three taste amazing, with or without Wagyu beef.
If you’re after a light, refreshing dessert to round off dinner, take a look at this Lime and Coconut Meringue Pie. This variation on a classic is bound to impress friends and family alike.
You can find the full recipe below and a helpful video to guide you through the baking process. You can also download a recipe card from NEFF.
A recent report found that only 41.9% of UK households have a dishwasher in their home – compared to 69% and 63% in Germany and France. What do our friends on the Continent know that we don’t? Well, perhaps it’s that you can use a dishwasher for more than just washing dishes.
Find out what else you can clean – and cook – in a dishwasher below.
We all know that dishwashers are great at cleaning dishes – the clue is in the name – but they can also be used to clean some more unusual items.
What if I told you research found that computer keyboards are home to more germs and bacteria than a toilet seat? What if I then told you that you can clean your keyboard in the dishwasher? Would you do it?
Putting your keyboard in the dishwasher and running a rinse only cycle will leave it as clean as when you first got it out of the box. However, there’s a lot of debate online about the risks and rewards of this method. Some say it works a treat; others say it can damage the circuitry.
If you decide to take the plunge, make sure you leave the keyboard to dry completely before plugging it back in. This could take a few days.
Nail Clippers, Tweezers & More
If there are a lot of bacteria on a keyboard we don’t even want to imagine what can be found on nail clippers, especially the fold out part that’s used to get under your nails. These, as well as tweezers, non-electrical razors, plastic hairbrushes and combs can all be cleaned and sanitised in the dishwasher.
Wellies, Sandals and Flip Flops
Rather than having them banging around inside your washing machine, pop your rubber or plastic footwear in the dishwasher to give it a good clean.
Children take their toys with them everywhere and they quickly become very grubby. Youngsters also love to put toys in their mouths, so it makes sense to keep these items as clean as possible.
Some plastic toys can be cleaned and sanitised in the dishwasher, but be sure they can take the high temperatures. Toys with removable parts should be placed in a mesh bag to stop any parts going missing.
Having a big family get-together? Or perhaps you’ve just got back from the farmers market with a lot of fruit and veg? Save yourself some time and use less water by popping your produce in the dishwasher and running a rinse cycle to remove any dirt. This is great for root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and parsnips, celery, and some firm fruits with a thick skin, like apples.
Other items that can be cleaned in a dishwasher include sports clothes, pet toys and bowls, fridge and freezer shelves and cleaning cloths, sponges and dusters.
Reaching temperatures of around 75°C means your dishwasher isn’t just for washing things – you can cook too. The high temperature allows you to slow cook or steam your food, and if you have a vacuum pack machine, you can treat yourself to a bit of sous-vide cooking. You can even cook a meal at the same time as cleaning your dirty dishes, so this is a really environmentally friendly method too.
Take a look at this dishwasher cookbook for lots more ideas.
One of the easiest things to cook in the dishwasher are eggs. Simply pop your eggs into an air-tight jar with some water, put the lid on tightly, and place in the dishwasher.
You can then fill your dishwasher with dirty dishes as usual, put in the dishwasher tablet and select the intensive cycle. Once the cycle is complete, take out the jars and you have perfectly boiled eggs.
Cooking a lasagne in the dishwasher isn’t that practical, but it’s worth it just to prove it’s possible. Imagine the conversation when you serve this as your dinner party centrepiece. It requires a bit more effort than just putting food in jars though, and you also need some aluminium tape.
The guys over at MythBusters can show you this better than we ever could, so why not check it out for yourselves.
This isn’t quite cooking, but it’s is a lot more practical than cooking a lasagne. You can prove bagel dough in a dishwasher by leaving it in there for 10-15 minutes after a high temperature cycle – the warmth and humidity speeds up the process. Just make sure the cycle has finished before you put the dough in, else you’ll end up with soggy bagels.
OK, so maybe being able to cook a lasagne isn’t the only reason dishwashers are so popular in Germany and France. It’s probably because more people in Europe know that the latest models are incredibly energy efficient and don’t have to take up much space.
View our range to find out more.
*Euronics accepts no responsibility for items damaged or discoloured through dishwasher cleaning, or damage done to the dishwasher itself. Please ensure that items are dishwasher safe before washing them.
If there’s one thing that’s sure to impress in the kitchen, it’s knowing those little tips and tricks that most people don’t. A lot of people juice lemons the wrong way or don’t know how to tell if an egg is old. After reading this article, you’ll know all this and more!
We’ve put together a list of 31 genius cooking ideas to help you cook smarter – saving you time and giving you less waste in the kitchen.
Eggs absorb air through their shells as they age. That means you can tell how fresh they are by putting them in a glass of water. New eggs sink to the bottom, but old ones float.
This is perfect if you need a really fresh egg for poaching.
Core iceberg lettuce by slamming it root-side-down on a table or chopping board. This loosens the core so you can just pull it out.
There’s no need to use a knife to de-stalk or hull strawberries. Poke a drinking straw all the way through the strawberry from the opposite end, pushing the stalk out from underneath. You might need to twist the straw back and forth a little, but this is super simple and safe.
Chop your onions without the waterworks by putting a slice of bread in your mouth. By leaving the bread sticking out of your mouth slightly, it will absorb the irritable gas before it reaches your eyes.
Too much moisture is bad for your salad leaves. Put a piece of paper towel on top of a sealed container of greens, or at the bottom of your salad drawer, and things will stay fresh for longer. Just remember to keep everything clean and change the paper regularly.
Drying salad leaves thoroughly before storing is also a good idea.
Reheating pasta in the microwave? Form it into a doughnut shape – this means it will heat more evenly.
Talking of pasta, you can cook it in minutes if you soak it first. Leave it in a sealed container, fully covered in water for a couple of hours or overnight. Then drop it into boiling water as normal to finish the cooking process.
Love working with garlic, but fed up of your hands smelling? If you have a stainless steel sink, try running your hands over it. It might seem crazy, but the molecules in the garlic juice bond with the steel, removing them from your hands. Clever stuff.
If you don’t have a stainless steel sink, you can buy stainless steel garlic “soap” that does the same thing. It also works with onion and fish odours.
Grate frozen butter into your pastry dough, biscuit or scone mix to integrate it easier into the mixture. You’ll need to work fast though! This is also good if you want to spread butter evenly over potatoes or vegetables.
Peel potatoes after they’re cooked, for better flavour and easy peeling. Wash them thoroughly, then boil as normal with the skin on. When they’re cooked, plunge the potato into icy water for a few seconds. The skin will come off very easily – just use your hands.
There’s an easier way to peel oranges, too. First, cut both ends off (just the skin, don’t cut through the flesh). Then slice through the remaining skin vertically on one side and ‘unroll’ the segments.
Chill wine with frozen grapes instead of ice – this means your glass of white stays chilled, without getting watered down.
Have a jar you can’t get into? Wrap an elastic band around the lid, or use rubber gloves for extra grip.
If you’ve got a fragment of shell in your eggs, use one of the half shells to retrieve it (instead of a spoon or utensil). The two pieces of shell are attracted to each other, making it easier to scoop up.
If your mushrooms are in a plastic bag or container, wrap them in a paper towel to stop them getting slimy. Or just store them in a paper bag instead.
Get more juice out of oranges, lemons and limes by placing your palm firmly on top and rolling them around on your worktop before juicing. The pressure helps release the juice.
You should also cut them lengthways.
If you’re slicing a fruit with a tough outer skin, quarter it, then cut it into pieces with the skin still on. You can then remove the pieces by cutting around the edge. This works for all sorts of things, such as melons and avocados, but be careful not to cut yourself.
Similarly, you can skin kiwi fruits by cutting the ends off and scooping out the inside with a spoon, rather than peeling it with a knife.
If you’re cutting slices out of a round cake like a Victoria sponge, take them from the middle. This might sound mad, but it means you can push the remaining pieces of cake back together afterwards, stopping it drying out so much.
If your chopping board slides around on the worktop, try putting a silicone mat, damp tea towel or a damp piece of kitchen towel underneath.
Barbequing or grilling fish? You can stop it sticking to the grill rack and add a lovely citrus flavour by sitting it on slices of lemon.
Lemon is also useful for keeping red cabbage, well… red. Add a little to the water when boiling.
If you need to leave the room but you’re worried about a pan of pasta or potatoes boiling over – sit a wooden spoon on top of the pot. This breaks the bubbles as they come up and avoids any mess.
Alternatively, put a little oil in. This sits on top of the water and helps prevent frothing.
Having trouble getting the stones out of your cherries? Dig them out with a clean paperclip – you don’t even need to unbend it! Alternatively, place the cherry on the opening of a small bottle and push the pit out with a drinking straw. If the bottle’s the right size, the cherry will stay where it is, but the stone will fall through.
Hard boiled eggs are easier to peel than you think. Put one in a glass of water, cover the end with your hand and give it a good, hard shake.
Stop brown sugar hardening by keeping it in the freezer. Or if it’s already hard, seal it in a container with a slice of fresh bread. Don’t leave the bread in there too long though.
Having trouble getting your cling film to wrap around your food rather than itself? Keeping it in the fridge makes it much easier to unwrap and use.
Also, by placing a few drops of water around the bowl or container you are covering, it will cling to the sides with no trouble at all.
Drop a raisin or two into champagne that’s gone a little flat to restore its bubbliness. It really does work! This is because the ridges on the raisin allow bubbles to form, so it should work with soft drinks too.
The rinds of hard cheeses like parmesan can be used to add flavour to soups and stews. Just pop them into the pot for 20 minutes or so while cooking.
If you don’t want your bananas to ripen all at once, remove a few from the bunch and separate them at the top. The separate ones will ripen more slowly.
What if I was to tell you that you’ve been peeling bananas wrong your whole life? Simply give the ‘bottom’, or what’s now the top, of your banana a pinch and it will split, allowing for easy peeling. This tip comes from the animal kingdom as it is often the preferred opening method for monkeys.