Assorted vegtables and meal ingredients

As the days get warmer, we want fresher, lighter recipes. Winter warmers are on their way out, and the spring months bring the promise of fresh produce, outdoor dining and plenty of sweet treats to keep the whole family happy.

Read on for three recipe ideas that include our favourite spring food trends - great no matter how much you plan on using your oven!


The last supper

When spring arrives and the weather begins to get warmer, many families swap out comforting roast dinners in favour of fun barbecues and outdoor dining.

However, spring does also include Easter - a great opportunity to give the roast a send-off before you switch to more summery dinners. Roast lamb is a favourite in the spring; give it a fresh new flavour by incorporating Mediterranean ingredients, which are perfect for warmer weather.

We really love this Greek roast lamb recipe for an Easter Sunday roast. Instead of roast potatoes, new potatoes add a fresh flavour that will convert any sceptic. It's a firm family favourite that's perfect for spring celebrations, with seasonal veg and a twist on a classic favourite.


Hot off the press

If you're not a fan of hot cross buns...well, we implore you to reconsider. Are you aware that you can now get several different flavours of hot cross bun? If the traditional cinnamon and raisins aren't your thing, chocolate chip versions have begun to appear in supermarkets, and these may well convert you. Even if you're a die-hard traditionalist, it's good to try these new twists on the timeless Easter treat. We've been eyeing up these chocolate orange ones from Waitrose.

If you feel like trying out some seasonal baking, why not try making your own hot cross buns? It's the perfect way to use your oven and practice for The Great British Bake Off.


Mint to be

Always a controversial ice-cream flavour (perhaps its association with toothpaste has tainted public opinion?), mint has many uses beyond choc-chip. Mint leaves have a milder flavour that leans more savoury and is a far cry from your dentist's favourite mouthwash. If you've ever had a mojito, you'll know it's a lightly refreshing taste that still has a little earthy hit.

What's great about mint is how well it pairs with other seasonal favourites. Think lamb with mint sauce, or green veggies with mint; these are classic combinations that are miles away from ice cream. Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines rely on this herb, and we reckon spring is the perfect time to try tabbouleh. Serve warm as a fresh side dish to meat, or add feta cheese for a great lunch on the go. It's also a no-cook classic - perfect if your oven is out of use. Keep your eye out for mint in other recipes; you'll be surprised how versatile it can be.

If your oven needs to be repaired before the spring festivities can begin, visit the Cooker Spare Parts homepage and browse our huge range of high-quality cooker spares.

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When it comes to cooking up a storm in the kitchen, it’s hard to understate the culinary importance of the humble oven.

A key piece of kit for a variety of purposes – be it baking a batch of cookies, roasting a Christmas turkey or crisping up a few potato smilies – the kitchen oven is virtually irreplaceable.

That being said, knowing which oven is right for you can be equally important and choosing one type over another can have a dramatic effect on the way you cook.

To help you get to grips with what’s what, here’s a head-to-head overview of the two primary oven types: fan oven vs conventional oven.


fan oven vs conventional oven, is a fan oven better


What is the difference between a fan oven and a conventional oven?

At its most basic, the difference between a fan oven and a conventional oven is simple and almost self-explanatory.

Also known as convection ovens, fan-assisted ovens are – as the name suggests – equipped with a fan inside which forces hot air to circulate around the oven.

Conversely, a conventional oven simply heats up the inside to the desired temperature, cooking the food by blanketing it in a layer of heat.


Is a fan oven better than a conventional oven?

Circulated air transfers heat faster than still air, making fan ovens more energy efficient. Not only will this reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also reduce the size of your bills as well.

That being said, fan ovens aren’t perfect. Overfilling your fan oven can impact the way air circulated and lead to an uneven cook, while the fan can also make cooking times inaccurate.

Moreover, it’s important to note that, due to the way it circulates the heat and the necessary exhaust system, fan-assisted ovens remove the moisture within the oven as you cook.

While this moisture removal can be great for crisping up a pasta bake or firming up a lasagne, it can be adversely effective when baking items like cakes and bread.

However, some fan-assisted ovens feature a baking setting that lends itself better for bake purposes. This option uses a lower fan speed to more accurately mimic the traditional method.

Conversely, such fan-assisted ovens often also come equipped with a roast setting that utilises a faster fan speed to actively remove the moisture for a crispier surface finish.


The Verdict: fan oven vs conventional oven

Like most kitchen appliances, there are pros and cons to each option and ultimately the preference can be simply down to taste.

Meanwhile, the cooking purpose can also have a heavy influence on which route you take, with both options providing food for thought in terms of cooking quality.

For example, a baking connoisseur may lean more towards the conventional option for its moisture maintaining qualities, while a typical 9-5er might prefer the efficiency of a fan-assisted oven.

In terms of speed and all-round oven use for a variety of cooking purposes, the fan-assisted option is a great Jack of all trades solution; however, if you

For the true best of both worlds, it’s well worth finding a fan-oven that includes conventional settings as well for complete freedom to cook a variety of dishes to the highest standard.


For more advice on the fan oven vs conventional oven quandary, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 02920 452 510 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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With energy efficiency becoming a more prevalent concern across the UK, it’s fair to say that environmental health is an increasingly important part of 21st century life.

Luckily, there are a whole host of things we can do to save energy in the home. Best of all, not only will this save energy, it’ll also save you money on your energy bills at the same time!

So, prepare to become a culinary conservationist, as we run down our top tips on how to save energy while cooking.


energy efficient cooking, how to save energy while cooking


Energy-Efficient Cooking Choices

The way you run your kitchen can have a dramatic impact on the amount of energy you use. Keep your kitchen running hot without burning money by following these helpful energy-saving culinary tips.


Be Efficient

When it comes to cooking efficiently, not all appliances are created equally. Fan-assisted ovens allow the heat to circulate more evenly around the oven, allowing you to cook at a lower temperature which ultimately uses less energy.

Meanwhile, when it comes to heating or reheating your food, the microwave is almost always the better option. Not only is it considerably quicker, its modest size within allows it to focus the heat on the specific item you are cooking.

Knowing your way around the kitchen can also help increase energy efficiency. Certain pan types are better conductors than others, e.g. copper-bottom pans heat up quicker than stainless steel.

Meanwhile, investing in items like a stackable double-steamer will allow you to cook twice as much using a single hob, as opposed to sharing them out on separate burners.


Size Matters

When using the hob, be sure to use the right size pan for your ingredients. Heating a large pan for the purpose of frying a single 4oz steak will waste energy unnecessarily, so be sure to use the right size tool for the task at hand.

Similarly, an oversized pan on an undersized burner will take longer to heat up to the correct temperature, so it’s equally as important to use the correct hob for your pan of choice as well.

A flat-bottom pan is also a better choice for electric hobs as they allow the entirety of the base to be in contact with the heat source, causing it to heat up more evenly and therefore more efficiently.


Switch Off

While certain items in the kitchen are required to be on 24/7 (such as fridges and freezers), there’s no need to keep other large appliance on standby. Items like the dishwasher or washing machine can easily be switched off when not in use without any issues or repercussions.

Meanwhile, you can even turn off your microwave and electric oven off at the plug to save energy. While it can be annoying having to reset the digital clock, over time, this habit can make a notable difference.


How to Save Energy While Cooking

While the last section highlighted a number of great ways to save energy in the kitchen through the equipment you choose and the choices you make prior to cooking, what about saving energy while you cook?

Well, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out these energy-efficient cooking tips you can try the next time you make a meal.


Boiling Point

If you need to boil water, use the kettle instead of the hob, if possible. Electric kettles are typically very efficient and will boil the water considerably quicker, therefore saving energy in the process.

If you need to boil pasta or vegetables on the hob, you can then simply transfer the water from A to B as necessary. Once transferred, always use a lid as this will use less energy to maintain/increase heat if required.

Meanwhile, don’t put more water in than you actually need as this will naturally extend the boiling time and use more energy as a result. If you’re only going to make a single cuppa, there’s no need to fill it to the top.


An Early Finish

A fully-working oven is great for retaining heat. As such, you can actually switch off your oven in advance of it’s scheduled cooking time expiring, saving energy in the process.

Provided the door remains closed, a good oven will retain its optimal temperature for some time after the oven is switched off, allowing you switch it off five or (in some cases) even ten minutes before your timer reaches zero.

Similarly, electric hobs also retain their heat for a while after they have been switched off. If you’re boiling up a storm on the electric hob, why not switch off the burner a couple of minutes early to save some energy.


Behind Closed Doors

A sure-fire way to cool down your oven instantly is to open the door dooring cooking. This is a bad habit for many and one that also has a notable impact on the rate of cooking.

Every time you open the oven door, the temperature can drop dramatically, as much as 25 degrees in a single go. From there, it will naturally need to use more energy to once again reach the temp you want.

To avoid the need to open and re-open your oven continuously to check on the progress of your meal, keep your oven glass clean. This will allow you to peer in to check your food without requiring you to open the door.

Conversely, it’s also important to be hot off the mark when it comes to putting your food in at the start as well. Pre-heating your oven only to return long after it’s reached the chosen temp is not energy efficient.

As such, keep an eye on your oven while it pre-heats so you can load your food as soon as it has reached your desired temp.



Remember, a dodgy oven can also use notably more energy than a healthy one operating at full capacity. Keep your oven firing on all cylinders with our range of replacement cooker parts. Call now for more info or click the button below.

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For some, cooking is the ultimate way to relax, combining creativity and productivity for a mutually beneficial outcome of exquisite eating.

That being said, that’s not always the case. Not everyone likes to cook and the thought of prepping another meal at the end of long day can be like being sentenced to 100 lines at the end of school.

Worse still, this aversion to cooking can lead to an over-reliance on fast food and takeaways – a hobby that not only hits you in the pocket but also hits you in the waistband too.

If cooking isn’t your forte, fear not because help is at hand. Join us as we explore how to make cooking easier in your home.


how to make cooking easier


Making Cooking Easier

Sadly, outside of ordering in food from elsewhere, there aren’t many ways around cooking in the home if you want to eat a decent meal. However, there are a few easy methods to help soften the blow. Here are a few of the best ways to make cooking easier in your home.


Oven Cooking

While baking and grilling can require a little closer attention, as a rule, there aren’t many cooking methods easier than oven cooking.

Even the notoriously simple stir-fry is trumped by oven cooking in terms of ease. Unlike stir-frying, you don’t even need to be involved or even present while the cooking takes place.

The “set and forget” model of cooking without looking allows you to simply prep your dish and leave it to heat while you get on with other things.

…just don’t forget to return once the time expires!


Think Edible Bulk

Cooking your meals in bulk is perhaps the easiest way to eat for the week (or at least for a few days) without having to once again go through the daily rigmarole of meal prep.

Batch cooking is the ultimate kitchen hack for avoiding cooking throughout the week. Simply make enough to cover a number of meals and separate the results into portioned containers.

Tupperware and old takeaway boxes are perfect for portion provision and can even be labelled if you really want to organise yourself. Simply place these in the fridge to be eaten in the next couple of days or, alternatively, place in the freezer to be eaten at a later date.


Tools of the Trade

Ever tried juicing an orange with your bare hands? Or peeling a potato with a blunt knife? The results can be frustrating at best and fall short worse than Evel Knievel on an off-day.

As such, having your kitchen pre-stocked with the correct tools for the task at hand is a wise move. Items such as pots and pans are an absolute must, while sharp knives and a chopping board can be just as vital.

From there additional items, like wooden spoons, vegetable peelers and even a good blender can be inherently useful to have around too (a fact you’ll soon realise when you need them and their absent).

For more instrument inspiration, check out our blog on must-have oven accessories for an idea of culinary essentials that may be missing from your kitchen.


Wash & Go

One of the very worst parts of cooking is undoubtedly the veritable conveyor belt of washing up that it creates as a result.

A great way to avoid the cataclysmic post-meal shock of the almighty tower of dishes you’ve just made is to get a head-start on the growing stockpile.

For those with a dishwasher, make sure your dishwasher is empty before you start cooking and simply add to the load as you go.

For those without, variably dipping into a sink full of soapy water can help you wash as you go. Items like dishes, chopping boards and cutlery are easy to get on with while the oven is heating up or you’re waiting for water to boil.

Think of it as damage limitation, softening the blow by reducing the number of dishes that remain when you're finally finished cooking.


For more tips on how to make cooking easier, why not check out our blog on Oven Cooking Tips? For anything else, drop us a line on 02920 452 510 or get in touch online using the button below.

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Oven cooking is great for a wide variety of purposes, from cake baking to casserole making and everything in between.

However, like most kitchen appliances, there are a few curious culinary foibles that can greatly influence the end result.

To help you achieve oven-baked brilliance in a single bound, we’ve laid out a few handy cooking tricks below.

Read on to ensure your cooking remains red hot without feeling the burn.


home cooking tips


Shut It

While it may be tempting to regularly check on your cooking throughout its oven residency, try to refrain from repeatedly opening the oven door.

Every time you open the oven, heat escapes the oven and the temperature within it can drop by 25 degrees or more, depending on the amount of time the door remains open.

As a result, this means the oven has to once again heat up to reach the desired temp, ultimately having a knock-on effect on the overall cooking duration.

Meanwhile, certain dishes benefit from a steady/constant cooking temperature – such as cakes, bread and meats – so fluctuations can actively impact the quality of the end-result.

To avoid relying on opening your oven to check on your dish as it cooks, use the oven window to check on its progression.

If your oven window is too dirty to visibly allow such observations, check out our handy blog on cleaning oven glass for complete transparency.


Pretty Vacant

While it may seem like a necessary evil at times, overcrowding your oven is a sure-fire way to negatively affect the quality of your cooking. As such, it’s advisable to try and steer clear of this method wherever possible.

Try to leave a couple of inches of space around pans and dishes to allow ample air circulation. This will help to ensure an even bake all around and avoid overcooking/burning one side.

Naturally, overcrowding can be virtually unavoidable if you’re cooking a large dinner for a cast of many, such as holidays and family occasions. If you are faced with catering for an army of hungry mouths, try to schedule your cooking and cook in batches.

Alternatively, it may be worth considering other means of cooking where possible to help free up space. This can be particularly handy when it comes to cooking vegetables, e.g. using the hob for boiling or even the microwave for steaming.


Another Level

Did you know that oven rack placement can have a big impact on the way your food cooks? It’s true! In fact, knowing which rack position to use for your corresponding dish can dramatically influence the way it cooks.

As a rule of thumb, the bottom rack is perfect for dishes that cook from the bottom up and require intense hear for a short period of time, making it perfect for items such as pizza.

Meanwhile, the middle is the go-to for anything that requires an even heat all around, making it ideal for anything from lasagne to pasta bakes.

Finally, the top rack provides greater heat from above, with most ovens featuring a grill for such purposes. The top position allows your dish to brown over the surface, which can be great for crusting a pie.


Feel the Heat

Ovens can often feature hotspots where the heat is more intense than elsewhere. Conversely, they can also naturally feature areas where the oven is cooler as a result.

If you happen to identify an area of your oven that cooks faster than others, naturally be wary of this when you're placing your foodstuffs. If positioning is unavoidable, rotating your dishes throughout can be a good way to remedy this.

To help identify hot spots and areas of greater heat, cover a baking sheet with shredded coconut and bake. This should give you a clearly visible indication of any areas that provide a more intense heat.



For more home cooking tips and oven hacks, why not check out our blog? Alternatively, drop us a line on 02920 452 510 today or click the link below to get in touch online now.

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