Too busy to write about built-in ovens


I’m writing this between doing about a million other things because men can multi-task and I can exaggerate.

But enough about me, lets’s talk (quickly) about built-in ovens.  Firstly there are 3 types;

1. The built-under double oven– A relatively rare beast these days this type of oven consists of two ovens, each quite a bit less than the size of a single oven.  Upside to this oven is that you get two ovens and it doesn’t need any cabinet to house it in.  It just sits between two adjacent pieces of furniture (in a fitted kitchen) and the worktop which covers it makes it look built-in.  The biggest downside is the fact that each of the two ovens is not all that big so that some of your bigger pots or your largest animals won’t fit inside them.

2. Built-in double oven   – Very popular in the UK but hardly seen at all on the continent.  Roughly consists of a 3/4 size oven and a 1/2 size oven (which is bigger than the built-under double oven).  This is usually fitted at eye level but make sure your kitchen supplier considers where your eyes are if you want it at the best height for you.  Check also what each of the ovens is capable of in this type of oven. The smaller oven will often not have the same features as the larger one.

3. The built-in single – You can put this oven anywhere.  Well, it’s better in a kitchen but you know what I mean!  At eye level or under the worktop, you’ll get up to 67 litres worth of space and your oven will have lots of different functions or not that many depending on what you want or the salesman decides you don’t want.  Actually I could write a whole blog on single ovens but I’m too busy. I told you that already.  If you call me I’ll explain all about ovens but just two things to say right now.  Firstly, think about how easy your oven will be to clean.  Some ovens have great features which help with the cleaning or make it virtually effortless.  Others don’t. Secondly look at the Neff ovens with the slide and hide doors.  Though it does add about £100 to the price of the equivalent oven with a normal door, it’s so clever and so useful especially in a smaller kitchen.

Right, can’t stay.





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Kitchen Design Disasters

Construction, Design, Uncategorized

There are lots of different ways your kitchen can be designed badly so, in a spirit of helpfulness and fun, here are my top ten tips for ensuring terrible design.

  •  Choose a designer who is very young and preferably someone who hasn’t ever been in a kitchen to do the design. I call this the B&Q Option.
  • Go to Howden’s for your kitchen design.  This is very simple.  Just get your builder, a man who is used to plumbing and bricklaying, to use his trade account to get another man with a thorough knowledge of cement to design your kitchen.  What could be better to ensure a design nightmare?
  • Plan to have your dishwasher right in a corner thereby ensuring access from only one side of it.  This disaster works better if you have wall cabinets in the same corner because you won’t be able to put anything away when you’re emptying the machine.
  • You want your oven at eye-level? Right, well make sure you don’t check with the designer as to exactly how high it will be. A height that’s ok for a six foot bloke doesn’t always work so well if the cook is five feet tall.
  • Following on from Rule 4, if you’re planning a microwave above the oven, you really do need to not check about the height of anything.  Any checking might mean averting a planning disaster and that’s not the point of this blog
  • Plan your hob to be right up against the side of a wall or next to a fridge.  Lack of sufficient space both sides of the hob is a double disaster.  Full marks to anyone achieving that.
  • Plan to have the tall cabinets in your kitchen at maximum height but the wall cabinets less than standard height.  What you end up with are wall cabinets which are almost useless unless you’re seven feet tall.  It’s a very amusing design disaster unless you’re the person who has to live with it, I suppose.
  • Ensure your designer forgets to include something you wanted in your new kitchen.  This is easily achieved if you can find a designer who doesn’t listen to you, who simply forgets or who doesn’t ask you the right questions in the first place.  You’ll have so much other stuff to think about (especially if you’re doing other renovations), it won’t be your fault if the kitchen comes without that extra small fridge you really wanted.
  • Choose a floor covering in exactly the same colour and finish as your new doors.  This disaster works best with a wood effect door. The overall effect will be over-powering and hilarious for your friends.
  • Lastly, a general rule for terrible design is to get your design done very quickly and decide on it instantly.  Maybe you could get someone ’round to sell… I mean design and sell you a kitchen on the same night.  This is often an excellent idea especially if there is an offer for 90% off a very high unspecified amount which happens to end the night the salesman visits.

I hope this list is helpful.  Please let me know if you have any more suggestions for design disasters.  There are loads more of them out there just waiting to be incurred by the unsuspecting buyer…..

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Witch Hobble ? …. (Which Hob?)

Appliances, Uncategorized

Witch hobble is also known as the Cranberry Bush but this is where the botanical element of my blog ends for the time being.

Which type of hob to buy is a question everyone needs to answer when buying a new kitchen so here is a quick layman’s guide to the main types of hob to consider.

GAS – This is the type of hob which uses burning gas to heat your pans. ‘No way?’,  I hear you say.  A lot of people feel most comfortable with gas because it’s simple to understand and  simple to control but gas hobs are a bit awkward to clean – there are all those fiddly parts. They tend to be cheaper than the other types of hobs.

CERAMIC – A hob which works with an electric element which heats the glass which heats the pan which heats the contents of the pan.  It looks just like a piece of glass so is very easy to keep clean.  It’s very easy to control because the levels of heat (usually from 1 to 9) are simple to control.  Getting a pan to simmer is simple – for example, if level 5 is too high, select 4 etc.  Ceramic hobs are quick to heat up and very reliable.

INDUCTION – A system which works with an electric element which heats the pan which heats the contents of the pan.  Spot the difference!  It has all the same qualities as the ceramic hob but in addition, is quite a lot quicker and is safer because the hob will not work if there is no pan on it.  It’s a common misapprehension to think that your pans won’t work with an induction hob.  Aluminium ones won’t but the vast majority of pans will.  Test which of your pans will work by using a fridge magnet.  If it ‘sticks’ to your pan, the pan will work. Simple!

CHAPATIS/ROTI – This isn’t a type of hob but cooks of this staple Asian food are often deterred from buying anything other than a gas hob because of what can be called ‘The Roti Problem’.  Well, I can make chapatis using a ceramic hob so you can too!  Of course, because hobs are available in domino shapes, you can have a ceramic or induction hob AND a gas hob in the same space you could just a 4 burner/zone one.

Now, about that cranberry bush……


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Yesterday’s fish curry…

Curry, Recipe, Uncategorized

This absolutely  superb recipe is from Rick Stein’s brilliant ‘India’ book.  It’s reproduced without permission but I’m a big fan of the balding, Cornish restaurateur and I’m giving him a name-check here so he should be grateful…

Anyway, on to the recipe.  Do not be put off by a relatively long list of ingredients.  None of them are that difficult to find – really.  (If you want, call me and I’ll supply any of the more exotic ones or tell you where to get them).

You’ll need;

60ml vegetable oil, 500g of salmon cut into large chunks, 1 onion, 1 tbs grated ginger, 10 cloves of garlic -crushed or sliced (yes 10), 8 fresh curry leaves, 1 tbs curry powder, ½tsp turmeric, 1 tbs coriander, ½ tsp ground fenugreek, 1 tbs rice or plain flour, 2 tomatoes -sliced, 1 tsp tamarind concentrate in 550ml water, 1½ tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 1tsp coconut oil warmed to its liquid state – to finish


Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened.  Add the ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry for 2 minutes.  Stir in the chilli powder all the ground spices, the flour and a splash of  water and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in everything you have left except for the salmon and coconut oil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the salmon and cook for 5 minutes. Drizzle with coconut oil and serve…. tomorrow.

Rick says that, like a lot of curries, this one tastes even better the next day.  Unfortunately, I’m completely incapable of waiting ’til tomorrow to eat a curry so that particular test I will leave to you, my good reader.

One other thing to say (about this curry); I’ve never made it with the coconut oil finishing flourish.

And finally, apropos of curries, I’m going to name-check  I love their monthly spicebox service.  It’s fab and the quality of their spices is very high.

And, really finally, the picture of the curry was taken by me from Rick’s book but was originally taken by James Murphy  Next time I make this curry I’ll photograph it ‘live’ and you’ll see why it’s a good idea to use a professional photographer if you want a decent shot of something.

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Refresh or replace?

Construction, Design, Floors, Uncategorized

Do you need a new kitchen? Or do you just want a new kitchen?

Either’s good with me of course, because I sell kitchens. But it’s always worth thinking before you rip out a perfectly good kitchen and begin again about whether it really is the units and tops you want rid of, or whether just replacing appliances, or redecorating the walls, would give a pretty good kitchen a new lease of life.

Your floor, too, could make a huge difference. And once you replace the lighting with new, low energy eco or LED downlighters, the place will feel different anyway.

Of course, once you’ve relit, repainted and replaced appliances, you’re going to be even more annoyed by the old units and worktops.

So you’d better give me a ring anyway. 07973 313983.


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