Tuesday, November 24, 2009

'Jim's Kitchen' new cookery book

We are very privileged to have been chosen to sell the new cookery book from popular Portlaoise chef, Jim Tynan. His book, Jim's Kitchen, is filled with delicious recipes, many from his restaurant in Portlaoise. Most of the recipes are simple and wholesome and Jim's philosophy for using quality, local and seasonal ingredients shines through.
In April 1982 Jim opened his first premises in Portlaoise. His business has grown over the years and The Kitchen and Foodhall is now a popular cafe/restaurant and a must-see for anyone visiting Portlaoise. His popularity was confirmed in 2007 when he won Laois Person of the year.
We were delighted to host a Christmas Cake demonstration by Jim in our store last Wednesday night and we were astonished that over 120 people showed up to see him demonstrate simple techniques for making, baking and icing Christmas cakes. (His christmas cake recipes are in the book) It was a very enjoyable night for all and hopefully we will be hosting other demonstrations in the near future.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We love all things retro at The Kitchen Dresser and we know our customers love the retro/vintage look too. So we are very excited to have got in these retro metal signs from €4.95, 'Home Sweet Home' Blackboards , €14.95 (hang in the kitchen for those essential family reminders) and these homely 'Home Sweet Home' Mugs - a bargain at only €3.95 each.

Also new in we have these really cute and colourful paper chain kits and paper bunting. A real blast from the past and great fun for the kids. At only €6.95 they are sure to be a big hit at your next party or celebration

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Offers from Le Creuset

For a limited time (while our current stocks last) you get get this set of 4 petite casseroles worth €49.95 FREE with any cast iron casserole purchase. These little beauties are perfect for making an impression while entertaining ansd can be used to serve individual portions of casseroles, pies, curries, crumbles....Just use your imagination!

We also have a 1/2 price offer on 2 Le Creuset stoneware dishes - a 29cm rectangular dish (which is ideal for lasagne) is now only €17.00 and a 21cm round dish (ideal for gratins) is now only €13.50. Both dishes are suitable for oven, microwave and grill and are dishwasher safe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September Competition

This months competition prize is a fantastic Imperia Pasta Machine Set worth €119.95 and the winning name will be drawn on October 1st so get your entry in today.
Just answer this simple question:
In what Irish town will you find the Kitchen Dresser Store?
Send your answer to competition@kitchendresser.ie
before September 30th.
The set consists of an Imperia SP150 double cutter pasta machine, a spaghetti maker attachment, a star shaped ravioli mould tray and a wooden rolling pin as well as an illustrated colour care and use booklet. The two double cutter attachments included in this gift boxed set are suitable for spaghetti, tagliatelle, fettucine and lasagne.
Pasta is so simple to make - the basic proportions are 100g flour to each large egg. For 4 hungry people you will 600g plain flour (or if you can get fine italian Tipo '00' flour all the better!) and 6 large (preferably) free-range eggs. Whizz them together in a food processor until they look like crumbs, then tip onto a lightly floured surface and pull together into a ball. Then knead for a few minutes to develop the gluten until nice and smooth. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for 1/2 hour. Follow the instructions given with the Imperia Pasta machine for delicious lasagne, spaghetti, tagliatelle or whatever your preference is.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Get Kitted for College!

Its that time of year again when we send off our fledglings to college, to fend for themselves and start to make their own way in the world.
At The Kitchen Dresser we have great value for any student starting off in a new flat/apartment/house/digs! We have an offer of a Horwoods 5 piece stainless steel saucepan set (rrp €99.95) at only €54.95 and a 14 piece knife block set at only €29.95. There is a choice of cutlery sets clearing at HALF PRICE and a set of 6 stacking mugs at only €4.50. There's also a Tefal Delfina electric kettle on offer at €21.95.
Starting college is such a busy time so enjoy the convenience of shopping from home. Delivery charge is only €8.00 per order (FREE DELIVERY if you spend over €50.00)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

July Competition Winner

Congratulations to P Deasy from Cork who won our July Competition by correctly answering that the Kitchen Dresser strapline states "Great Cooks need Great Tools".
She wins €100 to spend at The Kitchen Dresser http://www.kitchendresser.ie/

Friday, July 3, 2009

Win €100 voucher to spend at The Kitchen Dresser

Enter our July competition at The Kitchen Dresser and win €100 voucher to spend on the website! The winning name will be drawn on August 1st and notified by email. You can enter here - pass it on to all your friends!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Special Offer Grillit from Le Creuset

For the month of July we are delighted to offer this Le Creuset 20cm Square Grillit at a great price of €42.00 - a fantastic €18.00 off the recommended retail price.
This grillit is ideal for cooking for one or two people and is available in 4 colours: Volcanic Orange, Cerise Red, Black and Almond Cream. Try out this fantastic Summer Recipe from Le Creuset:
Grilled Steak with Melted Cheese

Use this recipe for any good quality steak, grilled as your family prefers it. The cheese topping suggested here is a blue cheese, but your favourite cheese can also be used. This recipe can be cooked on any ribbed grill that fits under your cooker grill.

  • a little corn oil, for greasing

  • 4 fillet or sirloin steaks, each 2.5 cm (1-inch) thick

  • 225 g (8 ounces) blue cheese, such as roquefort, dolcelatte, or gorgonzola

  • a little coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the grill over medium heat on the hob. Lightly grease the surface of the grill when it is hot.
Dry the surface of the steaks with paper towels, then season well.
Grill the steaks for 21⁄2-3 minutes on each side for rare steaks; 4-5 minutes on each side for medium; 5-6 minutes on each side for well done. Meanwhile, heat the cooker grill on high.
As soon as the steaks are cooked, crumble the blue cheese over the top and immediately transfer the grill to the cooker grill. Cook just until the cheese begins to melt; it will continue melting as it is served.
Take the sizzle to the table by serving the steaks straight from the grill. Place a thick, heatproof mat under the grill because it will be very hot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Great Irish Bake for Temple Street Children's Hospital

I'm very proud of my daughter Kelly who organised a 'Great Irish Bake' cake sale in the store this weekend in aid of Temple Street Children's Hospital. Many of the staff in the store and friends and family contributed baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, fruit cakes and slices and she raised just shy of €500 for the hospital. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the cake sale and supported us by buying the produce. The table was cleared by 4pm!
If you want to organise your own 'Great Irish Bake' fundraiser for Temple Street Children's Hospital check here for details.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer Barbecue Time

We've had a taste of the summer and we loved it! Barbecues were dusted off all over the country and the smell of smoke filled the balmy evening air. The weather is still holding up and we are delighted to have these barbecook charcoal barbecues on special offer. I know there is a lot to be said for the convenience and speed of a gas barbecue but you cannot deny the difference in taste when you use a proper charcoal barbecue. Barbecook barbecues promise to be safer and easier to light thanks to their patented Quickstart and Quickstop systems. Both these barbecues are suitable for cooking for up to 10 people so invite all your family and friends for a Summer get-together!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'Ice Cream' cupcakes

My daughter loves to bake cupcakes, and when she was invited to her friend's 21st birthday party recently she had the urge to bake something nice for the girls at the pre-party get-together. She had seen a picture of these 'ice cream' cupcakes and decided to give them a go.

She baked cupcakes in flat based wafer ice cream cups. When they were cool she piped pink tinted buttercream over the tops and added jumbo sprinkles and half a flake so they looked just like ice cream cones! Needless to say...they didn't last very long!

Wafer Ice Cream Cups
Basic cupcake recipe
200g Icing Sugar
100g Butter - room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food colouring
Jumbo sprinkles
Chocolate Flakes

Place the ice cream cups into a muffin tin and 3/4 fill each with cake batter. Bake at 140deg for approx 35 mins until risen and firm to touch. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Cream together the butter and icing sugar in a mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and pink colouring and beat well. Place the buttercream icing into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and swirl the icing like an ice cream cone to cover the sponge on the top of the ice cream cup. Place jumbo sprinkles into the icing and insert 1/2 a chocolate flake.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Joseph Joseph

We are delighted to have instore (and online) a new range of funky kitchenware from Joseph Joseph. These bright and original kitchen items are designed by twin brothers Anthony and Richard Joseph. The cleverness of their designs may been seen in their easy-store kitchenware and they have very clever fold-flat colanders and graters, and stacking bowls and measuring cup sets.

The Index chopping board set is their best selling item and it is easy to see why. It looks so stylish in a kitchen and yet it is compact and functional. The chop2pot is a design classic and along with the originality of the Smasher and the Twisk, we can see these being very popular with our customers. View our Joseph Joseph range here

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Le Creuset Tagine

If you are a fan of morrocan cuisine you will love the Le Creuset Tagine. This has been recently redesigned giving a deeper base increasing the capacity to 2 litres and a shorter funnel to make it easier to store and fit into an oven.
The base of this cooking dish is made from cast iron with a flat bottom. It can be used on any heat source, or on it's own as a baking dish in the oven. The "coolie" style lid is made from earthenware so it still offers the same cooking features as the original. Steam is re-condensed into water droplets on it's cool walls and falls back into the ingredients keeping it moist. Suitable for slow cooking of meat and vegetables with small amounts of liquid, this tagine is also freezer and dishwasher safe. Suitable for all hobs: Ceramic, halogen, induction, gas, oil/wood
We are pleased to offer this tagine at a special price of only €119.95 (the normal rrp is €146) Available in cerise only we expect this tagine will sell out quickly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New Cake Decorating and Baking Supplies

There is great excitement in the shop this week with the arrival of the latest order from Wilton. New shaped cake pans, sugarcraft accessories, icing colours and all manner of baking and decorating equipment has been appearing from the stores. Of particular interest to most are the gorgeous paper baking cases - even the plainest bun looks special in these.
Starting at only €2.95 they wont break the bank and they might brighten someone's day!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Half Price Anolon Offer

In these recessionary times we are encouraged to do more home cooking and baking. Therefore we are delighted to have this amazing offer of HALF PRICE Meyer Anolon Cookware, Bakeware, Tools, Gadgets and Knives! Offer runs from Thursday 26th March to Sunday 5th April (or as long as the stock lasts!) so hurry and put in your order today.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Banana Loaf

There is nothing appetising about entering the kitchen to the look and smell of blackened bananas! They are however an essential ingredient for a Banana Loaf. They need to be at the point of collapsing ripeness so that the merest hint of pressure from a fork delivers a pile of fragrant mush. This loaf is the ideal way to use up bananas that are otherwise destined for the compost bin. The addition of walnuts or pecan nuts to the loaf are an optional but heavenly combination.

Recipe: Banana Loaf
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice or Ground Cinnamon
  • 100g Castor Sugar
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 75g Softened Butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 75g Chopped Pecan Nuts or Walnuts
  • 4 Medium Bananas
  • Few Whole Pecans/Walnuts to decorate
  • Icing Sugar

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food mixer. Add the sugar, spice, egg, vanilla extract and soft butter then beat together at a slow speed until well mixed. Add in the nuts and the mashed bananas and mix again to combine. Pour mixture into a lined 2lb Loaf Tin (for handiness use a parchment liner) and top with a few whole pecans or walnuts. Place in the oven and bake for about 50 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack then dust with sifted icing sugar when cooled.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cupcakes or Buns?

I read so much on the web and in magazines about cupcakes. We always called them buns! Is there a difference? Is it that a bun is plain and a cupcake has a fancy icing? Or is Cupcake the american name for buns?
Sometimes the simplest things are the tastiest and they dont come much simpler than these buns. I usually throw in a batch of buns when the oven is hot as they only take 20mins from start to finish. Then you can leave them plain dusted with icing sugar, or decorate them with glacé icing, buttercream or fresh cream as below.

Basic Bun recipe

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 225g castor sugar
  • 225g soft margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

Place all the above ingredients into a food mixer (or large bowl and use a hand mixer) and mix until smooth. If the mixture seems a little thick you can add a few drops of milk.
Line a bun tray with paper liners and place a spoonful of the mixture into each case (roughly half filling each case). There will be enough mixture to fill 2x12 hole bun trays or you can bake them one immediately after the other. Bake at 175C for about 12-15 mins until light golden and set. Then remove from the bun trays and cool on a wire cake rack.
Decorating: Once cool you can simply dust the buns with icing sugar or decorate anyway you please. As a special treat I like to make butterfly buns with fresh cream.

Butterly buns
Take a small sharp knife and cut the top off each bun, angling the knife downwards to cut a hollow. Keep the piece you have cut off. Place a small blob of raspberry jam in the hollow and then top with some whipped sweetened cream (you can pipe it if you want it to look fancy). Take the top that you cut off and cut it in half then place the two halves into the cream like butterfly wings. Dust with icing sugar to finish.

Equipment List

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I am very new to this blogging lark so please excuse any mistakes! I am passionate about cooking, the preparation of wonderful food, the books, the magazines, the TV shows and the equipment and tools required to produce these feasts. I opened a Kitchen Shop - The Kitchen Dresser - in 1999 and then entered the digital world with the Kitchen Dresser website shortly afterwards. I try to road test everything we sell, the gadgets, cookware, bakeware as much as I can so I can stand by what we sell.

With this blog I would like to share with you how I use these marvellous accoutrements that will transform us aspiring Nigella’s, Jamie’s, Gordan’s, et al into michelin-starred chefs in our own homes! I will share my own experiences, recipes and tips and I really hope to get some back in return.

My Daily Bread

Some time ago I made the decision that I was going to try not buying any more bread. (the plastic wrapped sort anyway) I was sick and tired of finding mouldy bread in the pantry - even though it was only a day or two old and should have been fresh. What makes modern bread go mouldy so quickly, even before it has time to stale? I wonder is the bread being wrapped in plastic whilst still warm and this is causing the mould. At least if bread goes stale you can use it for bread crumbs or bread and butter pudding, but mouldy bread is useless!

Anyhow I decided I was going to look after the family’s health and produce beautiful, additive-free fresh bread from my own kitchen. Leading a very busy life I needed a method of making bread that would be quick and convenient. Easier said than done as it turned out and it took many months of trial and error before I could produce a decent loaf.

I don’t have the patience for all that kneading. I never give it long enough to produce the ’silky smooth’ texture that you should have - "smooth as a baby’s bum" - I had to look at other more convenient/mechanical ways to produce my dough.

So I bought myself a bread machine. This produces decent tasting loaves and is very convenient and ‘hands free’ but I prefer to make the medium sized loaves rather than large as I don't like the shape of the large - too tall and difficult to slice. It has a really handy delay timer function so I can throw the ingredients into the machine in the morning and have freshly baked bread waiting when I get home from work. This delay timer is great for a basic white bread but it doesn't work for any of the more complicated recipes particularly if they contain milk or eggs. I have discovered that this machine is also very convenient for just mixing and proving the dough (a process that takes 1.5 hours exactly) and then I can shape the dough however I want, give it a half hour 2nd rise in a warm place, and bake in the conventional oven. Lovely bread with very little manual effort from me.

At the weekends I like to experiment with more hands-on methods, making the dough by hand or in the Kitchenaid, but I'll leave that to another post. The 'half bread machine' method above is the one I use for our regular daily bread. It is handy to throw the ingredients into the bread machine and leave it to work whilst I get on with other things. When finished mixing and proving, I punch the dough to let out the air and shape it into loaves or rolls and leave to rise again for about 1/2 hour, dust with flour or brush over with egg wash and a sprinkling of sesame seeds or poppy seeds then bake in a pre-heated oven.

Tip: I often make bread in the evenings and place in the fridge just after the final shaping stage. The bread rises very slowly overnight and the next morning I take it out (gently! not to knock the air out) to come to room temperature whilst I heat the oven and then bake as usual. This is particularly useful if you want fresh rolls for lunch. Warning: If you are rising the bread overnight do not slash the top of the bread before baking or the bread will collapse. I have done it several times!

Basic white bread recipe

This is the 'every day' white bread that I make using the 'half machine' method above

  • 300ml warm water
  • 1 sachet yeast
  • 450g Strong White Flour
  • heaped teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil/sunflower oil/soft butter
Use the bread machine's manufacturers directions for dough only. (Usually takes 1 1/2 hours) Remove from the machine, place onto a lightly dusted board and shape as you wish. Leave to prove in a warm place for about another 1/2 to 3/4 hour and then bake in a preheated oven 190C until browned and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a rack and then enjoy!