Archive for November 27, 2015

How To – Ultimate Healthy Xmas Roast Potatoes.

My granny swore by goose fat, which turned out deliciously crispy roast potatoes, the best roasties I remember, but then I was a child and anything that crunched was alright in my books. A lot of chefs still swear by goose fat or beef dripping and chicken fat, but the more health conscious amongst us, you might want to try a healthy alternative. Olive Oil, extra virgin to be precise.

What!!! you can do good roasties in Olive Oil I hear you cry.. well you can and with the right oil you will never go back to animal fat again.

I’m not a professional foodie and I can’t provide restaurant quality food (my brother in law is the professional chef) but I can do roast potatoes and this is my recipe i’m going to share today.

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Ultimate Xmas Roast Potatoes.

The 2 most important things to begin with.

1.) The Olive Oil.

I only use Positively Good For You, Rosemary Infused, Single Estate, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. (Currently on special offer at just £2.60 (plus p+p) saving £3.89Click here to purchase).

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Picked and bottled within hours and infused with fresh rosemary, this is one of the nicest olive oils I have tasted and the rosemary elevates it and makes this the perfect oil for adding flavour elements to otherwise bland potatoes and pastas.

2.) The Potato.

Only the best Maris Piper potatoes work for me, they can get a fantastic crispy outer layer but still remain really light and fluffy inside. They also make absolutely the best mash too.

You can prepare the Potatoes ahead of time and leave in the fridge overnight or even freeze them but make sure they are defrosted before cooking to avoid too much water in the potato.

Peel and quarter the potatoes if large or just peel if medium to small (all depends on how you want them).

Pre-Heat the oven to 190ºc / 170ºc fan.

Take a large saucepan and place the potatoes in and cover with cold water and bring the water to the boil. Let them boil for about 2-3 minutes (you want them just beginning to turn soft), take off the heat and drain with a large colander.

When the potatoes have drained thoroughly, give them a really good shake in the colander to break up the surface a bit (we call this the “ruffle”), place to one side. If you want, you can coat the potatoes with flour and your favourite spices to add a Zing (paprika gives a nice smoky taste). It is important to make sure all the water has drained and the potatoes are dry before the next step. (Oil and water don’t mix and you want the oil to properly coat the potatoes).

Next, take a large and sturdy roasting tray, (this is the secret to a super crispy outer layer) and place over a high heat, pour in the olive oil, the bottle contains 250ml which is enough for a large pan and let the oil heat until just starting to shimmer or sizzle. VERY carefully, place the potatoes in the hot oil and brown for around 5 minutes, make sure to turn the potatoes to get an even coating of oil.

Place the tray in the oven and leave to roast completely undisturbed for 20 minutes. (DO NOT open the oven door, it’s vital the heat in the oven is maintained). After 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and return to the hob on a high heat, this maintains the heat of the oil whilst you turn the potatoes. return to the oven for a further 20 minutes of undisturbed roasting.

After another 20 minutes, remove from the oven and turn again whilst over a high heat on the hob to keep that oil as hot as possible. Return to the oven for a final 20 minutes of roasting.

After the final 20 minutes, remove from the oven and sprinkle over sea salt flakes to season and serve immediately.


roast-potatoes

The best roast potatoes you will eat and because they were cooked in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, they have all the heart healthy benefits it provides.

Imagine that, Roast Potatoes you don’t have to feel guilty about and perfect for the veggie crowd as well.

 

Sorry No Black Friday Here!

At Homecare Essentials, we aim to offer the best prices we can all year round, not just for one day a year and we know our customers are smart enough not to believe the sales hype to get you through the door.

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The above pictures were taken from last years Black Friday Crowds.

So this year, we are joining with ASDA (who, incidentally introduced Black Friday to the UK a couple of years ago, they are owned by US Giant WALMART) and other retailers across the country in ignoring Black Friday altogether.

I do have to wonder, if the retailers who subscribe to Black Friday and can offer their products at a substantial discount for 1 or 2 days in a year, why they can’t or won’t offer their products at the same discount all year round?

hmmmmm something to ponder.

Get ready for those Winter mornings with our range of Carplan Car Care Products.

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It is here, the dreaded first layer of frost on your windscreen. You know what that means, spending an extra 15 – 20 minutes on your morning ritual scraping ice off your screen. I do not know about you, but at that time in the morning standing outside in the freezing cold isn’t my idea of a great way to start the day.

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So it make sense to prepare beforehand by stocking up on winter care products, cutting the time required to make your car road safe in half.

This leaves you more time to attempt to get out of the warm comfort of your bed on those cold mornings (it takes me three attempts).

 

Click links below to buy from our website.

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CarPlan Blue Star De-Icer Aerosol 300ml

The CarPlan De-Icer powerful formula melts ice quickly and effectively from car windows even at low temperatures, leaving a clear finish for increased visibility.

+ Melts ice fast!
+ Spray operates down to -15°C

300ml

 

 

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CarPlan Blue Star De-Icer Aerosol 600ml

The CarPlan De-Icer powerful formula melts ice quickly and effectively from car windows even at low temperatures, leaving a clear finish for increased visibility.

+ Melts ice fast!
+ Spray operates down to -15°C

600ml

 

 

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CarPlan Blue Star De-Icer Spray 500ml

The CarPlan De-Icer powerful formula melts ice quickly and effectively from car windows even at low temperatures, leaving a clear finish for increased visibility.

+ Melts ice fast!
+ Spray operates down to -15°C

500ml

 

Carplan-All-Seasons-Screenwash-1-litre_380

Carplan All Seasons Screenwash 1 litre

All Seasons Screenwash is a concentrated high power windscreen washer additive. It quickly removes dirt, grime and insect deposits from windscreens, leaving a bright streak-free finish.

All Seasons Screenwash also helps prevent the washer bottle contents from freezing.

1 Litre

 

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Carplan All Seasons Screenwash 5 litre

Carplan All Seasons Screenwash Ready to Use has been ready mixed with water for convenience. In use, it quickly removes dirt, grime and insect deposits from windscreens, leaving a bright streak-free finish.

All Seasons Screenwash can also offer winter protection down to -5 °C to help prevent the washer bottle contents from freezing.

5 Litre

 

CarPlan-Ice-Scraper_350
CarPlan Ice Scraper

Compact and durable scraper for effective removal of snow and ice.

Approx 17cm x 10cm

How To Remove Salt Stains from Leather Shoes – Love Your Leather.

The weather is turning inclement, winter is heading toward us at speed (if not already here) and the bane of leather footwear everywhere will soon be grinding the country to a halt once again.

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As picturesque as a snowy town looks, it all too soon becomes this.

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Slush! cars churning up the snow and worse, mixed in with this will be road salt, used to clear the snow and make the pavements walkable again. Problem is, the havoc it wreaks with your footwear.

leathersalty2 Salt stains will effectively ruin a pair of shoes or boots if you don’t attend to them pretty much straight away but if you do happen to forget about them until the next day, don’t worry, we have just the thing to take care of your footwear.

We have teamed up with Fiebing’s, a leather care specialist in the USA who have been producing the best quality leather care products for 120 years.
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Fiebing’s Salt Stain Remover is so easy to use, with a built in applicator that gives you the correct amount every time, the specially formulated liquid draws out the salt and literally dissolves it leaving just the pristine leather.

Just apply the liquid using the built in applicator to the salt stain, wipe away using a clean, soft cloth and then just buff up using your shoe polish of choice.

Stain gone, job done.

The pictures are for illustrative purposes but you get the idea.

So don’t throw away an expensive pair of shoes this winter, buy a bottle of salt stain remover instead.

Available in 18 ml size with applicator (click here to purchase) or as 118 ml in liquid form only (click here to purchase).

Save Time And Effort – How To Clean Woodburner Stove Glass.

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They look great don’t they. Nothing beats a real fire and Woodburning stoves are the only real alternative to a full open coal fireplace and a lot safer too, the fire is fully enclosed and you have a nice glass frontage so you can see the flames.

or can you?

Before too long, your glass can look like this.

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Nothing you can do to stop it, it’s the natural after effect of burning wood. That is wood tar or creosote (yes the same stuff you weatherproof your fences with) and that can be a real pain to remove.

You may have heard that you can remove the creosote by using a scrunched up paper ball and the cold ashes of the previous fire, Not exactly! whilst that will, eventually, fetch the creosote off the glass, it takes a lot of effort and it will also damage the glass over time, you are scouring the surface of the glass which causes micro-scratches and can lead the glass to become cloudy or even opaque. The only way to remove the creosote without damaging the glass and maintaining a pristine look, is to use a specialised glass cleaner.

Here are ours.

First up, our best seller, HG Stove Glass Cleaner.

Next up, we have Tableau Stove Glass Cleaner.

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Also, we have Inspired Log Burner and Hearth Cleaner.

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and finally, we have 4YourHome Woodburner Glass and Stove Cleaner.

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Using any of those four products couldn’t be simpler, just spray, leave and wipe. If it doesn’t quite get it all the first time, just repeat. Simple. No scrubbing required and no nasty after smells, just clean glass that will not obscure the majesty of the flames.

 

As an after thought, Creosote also builds up in the flue and is more concentrated and thicker than what appears on the glass front. If left, it can combust and then you have a whole new set of problems to deal with.

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See our previous Blog for details on how to avoid that.

Leaving Feedback – We Value Your Opinion.

We all like to talk, humans are a social creature, we congregate and surround ourselves with others, we like groups. We also like to share knowledge and experiences, opinions with each other, good or bad.

In the bygone days of yore, pre 1990, if a business wanted to know what it’s customers thought, they would retain a market analyst, their job would be to talk to customers and relate with them directly to gauge customer satisfaction. Retail shops, you would talk to the sales staff behind the counter or the store manager.

Today, around 80% of retail shopping is done online or remotely so almost all business’ that operate online, use a feedback system of one form or another.

We have three. We operate on three platforms, Amazon, Ebay and our own website, customer feedback is very important to us and we do read every feedback left by our customers, how else would we know if we are doing a good job?

With online retailing, feedback is also vital to you the customer. When you have multiple retailers all selling the same product, you need to know who to buy from, do you look for the cheapest? it’s great to save a few pennies but what if they have a low feedback score? pennies over service?.

Personally, when I buy online, I look at feedback first. I would rather pay a tiny bit more and use a company that has a high feedback score, than save a few pennies and use a low scoring company. Why? because a high feedback means they have consumer trust, and that’s worth it’s weight in gold to a retailer. They work as advertised and deliver on their service to me, the customer and I can trust them with my pennies. A high feedback score also shows potential customers, this is a good company to use. A low scoring company might be cheaper but what happens if you don’t get what you paid for? or you don’t get your items at all? this is where feedback becomes vital.

Leaving feedback is a good habit to get in to, especially if the retailer uses Amazon or Ebay to sell through, It not only tells the retailer how your experience with them was, it also lets others know as well.

You may have seen on the BBC’s Website an article regarding feedback and it’s unscrupulous use by companies to garner a false impression of their services. All the feedback you see on our stores is 100% genuine, provided by our customers. Our feedback system is provided by Amazon, Ebay and Feefo, because they are externally monitored and verified, we do not have the facility to “manipulate” feedback to cast a false positive light, Negative feedback is as important to us as good feedback and bad feedback can only be removed if it violates a strict set of policies policed by the aforementioned companies.

The full article can be found by clicking HERE

Feedback is a tool for you to show others what you thought of the companies service.

In all instances, contact with the seller is your first port of call when you have a problem. Just leaving a negative remark without talking to the seller does not help you and may not be picked up on for weeks afterward, remember, if you don’t tell us you have a problem, we don’t know you have a problem.

At Homecare Essentials, we pride ourselves on our feedback from our customers. Over the last few years we have received nearly a quarter of a million feedback responses from customers and all 3 platforms we operate on we have over 97% positive feedback.

We all have room for improvement!

We Remember

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Bring On The Bangers!

No! I’m not talking Demolition Derby, this week is British Sausage Week (Nov 2nd until Nov 8th).

Sausage

Here we celebrate the Great British Banger in all it’s forms and flavours, This year’s theme is Sausages Of Distinction which hopes to highlight the upper class Sausage and elevate the humble banger into new realms of enjoyment.

Now in its 18th year, renowned chef Michel Roux Jnr is leading the way in celebrating the highest quality pork sausages from around the country.

The Michelin starred chef is a true sausage aficionado and is delighted to be involved, he comments: “I have always enjoyed experimenting with classic dishes and ingredients, without compromising on quality – with sausages you can do so much. It’s time to rethink the humble banger and look beyond mash and gravy to give sausages a bit of the Michelin-star treatment!

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Now personally I love just mash and gravy with my bangers, that’s rib sticking comfort food that fills you up and warms you through at this time of year and I can’t be doing with all this “Michelin-star” rubbish, I like my mash to sit on the plate, not be painted on with a pastry brush or pureed until you need to use a straw and don’t forget the gravy, thick and dark and lots of it, not a drizzle around the edge of the plate that serves no purpose other than to look good!!

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Case in point!

 

 

But I digress. Despite all the recent scaremongering from the veggie brigade about cancer, the whole purpose is to celebrate the good old British Sausage and so we will.

*Disclaimer: The opinions offered in this blog are of a grumpy old man and not indicative of Homecare Essentials.

And now, A recipe.

Pork and Leek Sausages with Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice

Cooking time:30mins        Serves:4 people

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus some for cooking the sausages)
  • 8 leek and pork sausages
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 green chilli (finely chopped or sliced)
  • 2cm piece of fresh ginger (grated)
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g (7 oz) frozen peas
Method

Heat about 1 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the sausages until golden and cooked through.

Break the cauliflower up into florets and put into a food processor and whiz until the pieces have broken up and resemble rice.

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large pan and add the turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, chilli, ginger and spring onions. Season well and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining olive oil, the cauliflower rice and 2tbsp water and toss all the ingredients together, cooking for 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower has cooked. Stir in the peas and continue to cook until the rice has heated thoroughly.

Chop the stems off the coriander sprigs and chop finely. Stir into the rice.

Divide the rice among four plates and put two sausages onto each. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve with the mango chutney.

Serving Suggestion

Serve with a good handful of fresh coriander sprigs and Mango Chutney.

 

Top Of The Shop – October

Welcome to our monthly Top 10, our best selling products for October.

 

*cue Led Zeppelin – A Whole lotta Love*

 

Down 1 place to this month’s Nº10 Hotspot Flue Free Chimney Cleaner.

New in at Nº9 Get Off My Garden Cat and Dog Repellent Crystals.

Down 3 places to Nº8 Sticky Stuff Remover Gel Spray.

Another new entry to Nº7 Scotchgard Outdoor Fabric Protector.

A massive drop of 5 places to Nº6 HG Window Cleaner.

Down 2 places, at Nº5 3m Command Adhesive Poster Strips.

New at Nº4 Zero In Clothes Moth Killer.

Up 3 places to Nº3 Inspired Mattress Stain Remover.

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Climbing 2 places to Nº2 One Shot Instant Liquid Drain Cleaner.

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This means we have a new Nº1 Bar Keepers Friend Bundle Pack.

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That’s it for October, as the seasons change, let’s see how the chart looks in the run up to xmas.

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words.

We have commissioned a brilliant, local photographer, Mike Allwood, to take photographs of some of our best selling products in various natural and seasonal surroundings. This is to showcase both the products and also our gorgeous local countryside.

We aim to build up a gallery of the photographs on a month by month basis for your enjoyment. This will be available soon, in the meantime, below is a taster of what is to come and this beautifully shows off our September best seller HG Window Cleaner in front of some local farm outbuildings.

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If you wish to see more of Mike’s fantastic work, click HERE to go directly to his website.