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CREATE THEPERFECT PLAYLISTREAD MORE

After some top quality research around the Zip office and factory, we have created our very own top 10 seasonal and fire tracks that help us get into the mood. Do you have any more favourites to add? Here at Zip, we would love to hear your suggestions. Please share on our Facebook wall, tweet or email us to see your favourite fire songs added to our playlist!

DiscFire Songs
DiscSpring Tracks
DiscSummer Tracks
DiscAutumn Tracks
DiscWinter Tracks
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FLUFFY HISTORYREAD MORE

A fluffy history of the much loved marshmallow

With the season of cosy fires around the corner, now is a great time to enjoy the fun of a toasted marshmallow!

Along with the warmth and ambience of a real fire, nothing reminds us more of our childhood than warming ourselves in front of the fire and indulging in the sheer pleasure of sticky, melting marshmallows! Some countries put hot marshmallows with chocolate between two crackers, a delicious snack called a “S’mores”. In the US, they even have National S’mores day, August 10th! And whilst they are simple and easy to toast over a cosy fire, have you ever wondered just how and where they came about?

We understand that marshmallow candy originated in ancient Egypt, when it was used as a medicinal product. It was a honey candy, flavoured and thickened with sap from the Marsh-Mallow plant. This plant grew on salt marshes and near large bodies of water. According to Viable Herbal Solutions “Nineteenth century doctors extracted juice from the roots of the Marsh Mallow plant, cooked it with egg whites and sugar, whipped it into a foamy meringue, left it to cool and harden and used to soothe children’s sore throats.”

This method was used until the mid-1800’s, when it was hailed as a French invention into its more modern form of a marshmallow confection.A cross between a medicinal lozenge and a bonbon. Unfortunately, without the need for the gooey root juice the confection’s healing properties as a cough suppressant and wound healer, this usage became lost in time.

At the same time,confectioners wanted to find a new, faster way of making marshmallows. The mallow root was replaced by more stable gelatine. Today’s marshmallows are now a sweet confection and are a mixture of corn syrup or sugar, gelatine, gum arabic and flavouring.

Marshmallows gained in popularity and by the 1920s, they inspired edible novelties—such as Moon Pies—as well as other products to satisfy the sweet tooth, namely the incredible, spreadable Marshmallow Fluff. Some marshmallow companies even created whimsical countertop toasters to give their powder-white sweets, that much-desired golden brown hue.

In 1948, Alex Doumak, a marshmallow manufacturer, began experimenting with different methods of making marshmallow and revolutionised marshmallow production by inventing the “extrusion process”. Marshmallows were now made by piping the fluffy mixture through long tubes and cutting its tubular shape into equal pieces.

Today, we now enjoy these delicious confections as white and pink lumps of gorgeousness, thanks to the ancient Egyptians and some ingenious inventions along the way.

If this has given you a craving for something sweet, why not make a cosy warm fire this evening and satisfy your sweet tooth with some toasted marshmallows?

Another way to enjoy the humble marshmallow is by making S’mores.Particularly popular in America, this past-time involves the following;

  • Roasting a marshmallow over an open fire
  • Placing a cube of chocolate (traditionally the American brand ‘Hershey’s’ but the UK equivalent would be Cadburys) on a biscuit or ‘cracker’ as our friends in the US would say! (Again,it’s traditional to use the American brand ‘Graham crackers’ but the UK equivalent would be a good old fashioned rich tea biscuit).
  • Finally, pop yourtoastedmarshmallow on the cube ofchocolateand top with another biscuit- the perfect treat for the whole family around the campfire!

Now you can enjoy this traditional treat anytime- campfire or no campfire!

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WEATHER

WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE ALWAYS CHANGEABLE IN THE UK!
WE OFFER SOME ADVISE AND TIPS ON MAKING THE BEST OF THE WEATHER.

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RECIPESWinter warmers and BBQ favoritesREAD MORE

Aussie BurgersGrilled Lamb SkewersBannock SticksCampfire ConesGrilled Bananas with Rum Honey RecipeGrilled Halibut with Coriander ButterMulled Wine o’ ClockOld Grandma Carols Cottage PieSpiced Hot WhiskeySpicy and Sweet Marinated Chicken WingsWarm Winter Soup Winter Fruit Salad

Aussie Burgers

Recipe - Aussie Burgers

Beef burgers stacked the Aussie way

  • with cheese, bacon, pineapple, beetroot, tomato and lettuce

Ingredients

For the burger

  •  1½kg minced beef
  • 2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A handful of parsley
  • 75ml tomato ketchup
  • 50ml oyster sauce
  • 2 egg yolks

 For Serving

  •  6 smoked back bacon rashers
  • 6 slices of fresh pineapple
  • 6 slices good melting cheese, such as cheddar
  • 6 burger baps, split in half
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 12 slices pickled beetroot
  • 1 lettuce, separated into leaves

Method

  1. Mix ingredients and knead well. Separate and shape the burgers
  2. #FireItUp and cook burgers
  3. BBQ bacon and pineapple. Top the burgers with bacon & add cheese to melt.
  4. Build the burgers and enjoy!

Grilled Lamb Skewers

Recipe - Grilled Lamb Skewers

Marinated with Indian flavours

Ingredients

  • 900g boned leg of lamb cut into 2cm cubes

For the marinade

  • 85g plain yogurt
  • 25g ginger
  • 5 fat garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp red chili powder, or to taste
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 rounded tsp garam masala
  • 1 rounded tsp ground cumin

Method

  1. Blend all the marinade ingredients until smooth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Marinade overnight
  4. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for 10 mins
  5. #FireItUp and wait until coals are white hot.
  6. Thread 4-5 pieces onto skewers and cook until cooked right through

Bannock Sticks

Receipe - Bannock Sticks

This is a classic and globally traditional recipe for families to cook around the camp fire. It is easy to make and even more fun to cook. It only takes about 5 minutes to make the dough, while the fire is getting going. Before you know it you could be eating this tasty outdoor treat!

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 cups flour
  • 1 – 2 table spoons of baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 – 3 table spoons of oil, butter or lard
  • 2/3 cup warm water

Method

  • Put everything but the water in a bowl and mix with your fingers until crumbly.
  • Slowly add water and mix until dough feels soft. It may seem that you don’t have enough water, but keep working the dough till it holds together. Don’t add more water!
  • Knead it so it stays together.
  • Take a small handful and wrap around the end of a green stick, like a marshmallow roast.
  • Cook over coals for about 10 – 12 minutes, rotating to cook evenly. Eat as is, or add a bit of jam or honey.

Campfire Cones

Receipe - Campfire Cones

Sitting out by the campfire evokes memories that we all cherish. Somehow, food always tastes so much better when both cooked and eaten outdoors. Why not try creating your very own bespoke campfire cones. We tried them this summer and we could not get enough of them. You can decide to be as healthy or as naughty as you like!

Ingredients

  • Marshmallows
  • Waffle Cones
  • Chocolate chips
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Aluminium Foil

Tip: (Experiment with other fillings of your liking such as, Peanut butter, toffee pieces etc.)

Method

  • Chop the bananas and strawberries into chunks.
  • Fill cone with marshmallows, chocolate chips, chopped bananas and chopped strawberries.
  • Wrap the cone, with the ingredient inside, with the aluminium foil.
  • Place wrapped cone over hot coals for 8-10 minutes.

Grilled Bananas with Rum Honey Recipe

Receipe - Grilled Bananas

This works well not just under the grill but if you fancy doing this on your barbecue then just wrap the bananas individually in aluminium foil before placing on the barbecue for a yummy desert.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium to firm unpeeled bananas
  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice-cream

Method

  • Combine the rum, honey and cinnamon into a small bowl and set it to one side.
  • Cut the bananas in half lengthwise, leaving the peel still on.
  • Place the bananas cut side down on the grill, cover and grill on a medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • After the 3 minutes turn and brush with the rum and honey mixture.
  • Cover and grill 5-6 minutes longer or until tender.
  • Peel bananas, serving immediately with ice cream.

Grilled Halibut with Coriander Butter

Receipe - Grilled Halibut

It makes a nice change to try cooking fish on the barbecue. It is light and healthy and if accompanied by a lovely salad it is a good low calorie meal to enjoy outside with family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 4 (175g) fillets of halibut
  • 1 lime or lemon, cut into quarters
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 50g chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 50g butter – unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Measure four generous lengths of Aluminium foil out and place on work surface.
  • Place on each one a fresh halibut fillet.
  • Squeeze the juice from the lemon quarters over fish fillets, then season them with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Dribble the olive oil over the top of each fillet and add the equivalent of a clove of garlic to each serving.
  • Add the butter, remaining lime juice and coriander. Then carefully wrap each fillet into a parcel and remember to close up both ends to stop the juices running out.
  • Barbecue the fish fillets for about 5 minutes on each side until the fish can be flaked with a fork.

Serves 4

Mulled Wine o’ Clock

Receipe - Mulled Wine

Who says mulled wine is just for Christmas, ‘wine not’ (if you’ll pardon the pun) have a glass now.

A traditional Mulled wine recipe:

Ingredients

  • One bottle (750ml) of red wine Suggested: (Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Merlot)
  • One peeled and sliced orange (keep peel to add zest to taste into cooking pot)
  • ¼ cup of brandy
  • 8-10 cloves
  • 1/3 cup of honey or sugar
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1tsp fresh ginger or ground (allspice can be substituted)

Method

  • Combine all the ingredients into a large cooking pot or slow cooker.
  • Gentle warm the ingredients on a low to medium heat (avoid boiling), for 20 – 25 minutes (stirring occasionally).

Serves: (4-6 glasses)

Old Grandma Carols Cottage Pie

Receipe - Cottage Pie

This is an old family favorite passed down from generation to generation. It’s simple to make and is just the thing to eat after a long day at work. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 500g minced beef
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 peeled and chopped onion
  • 2 peeled and diced carrots
  • 250g sliced mushrooms
  • 2 level tbsp plain flour
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tin of Baked beans
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 450g mashed potato

Method

  • Heat the oil in a sauté pan or large frying pan, add the onion and carrots and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften.
  • Add the beef to the pan and cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring to break up the meat, until it browns. Once the meat is crumbly, stir occasionally to prevent it sticking and burning,
  • Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle over the flour and stir for 3-4 minutes to cook the flour. The flour will absorb the fat that comes out of the meat and thickens the sauce.
  • Add the can of tomatoes, sprinkle in the stock cube and bring to the boil, stirring continually, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until it thickens slightly. Stir the Worcestershire sauce into mince.
  • Finally add the can of baked beans and stir in well.
  • Spoon into a dish and level the surface.
  • Beat the potato to soften it and spread over the mince. Score the surface with a fork and put butter on top.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for about 20-30 minutes at 200C or until the pie is golden and the filling is bubbling. Serve straight from the oven.

Spiced Hot Whiskey

Receipe - Spiced Hot Whiskey

There is nothing like a warm fire and a whisky to heat the parts that have been frozen by the winter cold. This quick recipe is strictly for adults… both young and old. Once you have a glass of this in your hand, just sit back in front of the fire and enjoy getting warmed inside and out!

Ingredients

  • Whiskey
  • Lemon
  • Cloves
  • Honey

Method

  • Boil some hot water, and pour some whiskey into a cup.
  • Take a slice of lemon and poke cloves all around it.
  • Put the slice of lemon with cloves into the cup with some honey.
  • Finally pour the hot water over it all, and enjoy.

Spicy and Sweet Marinated Chicken Wings

Receipe - Chicken Wings

Bring out the carnivore in you for your next barbecue, by trying our favourite recipe for chicken wings. They are so good that they won’t last long.

Ingredients

  • 5 kg fresh chicken wings
  • 55 ml balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh garlic
  • 55 ml soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon each salt, paprika and cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Cut the chicken wings into three sections; discard wing tip sections.
  2. Melt the butter and combine the southern hot sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, celery seeds and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half the volume.
  3. Pour the sauce into a large flat dish and evenly coat the chicken wings.
  4. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours to let the marinade infuse the meat.
  5. When ready place on your barbecue and cook. Don’t forget to check that the chicken is cooked all the way to the bone before serving.

Warm Winter Soup

Receipe - Winter Soup

Warm yourself up with our easy to make winter soup recipe. We’ve honed this recipe over many years and we just love to eat it when sitting by the fire. In no time you can be enjoying a warm healthy meal.

Ingredients

2 small-medium sweet potatoes (chopped without skin)
• 500g chopped pumpkin or butternut squash
• 1 onion
• 1 tomato
• 1 celery stalk
• 1 garlic clove
• 100g chopped spinach
• 1 tsp light cream cheese per person (optional)
• 1 tsp olive oil
• 1 tsp salt

Method

  • Chop/dice the onion, tomato and garlic, while heating the oil in a pan.
  • Lightly fry the onions and garlic until clear, then add the tomato, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
  • Once the tomato is half-cooked, add the sweet potato and butternut squash and stir. Leave for five minutes.
  • Fill the pot halfway with hot water. Add the chopped celery, salt and spinach. Leave for 30 minutes or until the desired consistency.
  • Add a teaspoon of light cream cheese into each serving.
  • Serve soup and enjoy!

Winter Fruit Salad

Receipe - Fruit Salad

As summer fades into a distant memory, why not embrace the most of the fruit to be found in your kitchen cupboards. This recipe is healthy and will help your digestive transit! It would work well for breakfast as it would a desert.

Ingredients

  • 600g ready-to-eat dried fruits (such as apples, blueberries, prunes, pears, apricots, cranberries)
  • 3 tablespoons of clear honey
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 Earl Grey tea bag
  • 1 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • Crème Fraiche,  Mascarpone or Greek yogurt for the top

Method

  1. Tip the fruits and 700ml cold water into a large saucepan.
  2. Add the honey and vanilla, scraping the seeds from the pod into the pan. Bring to the boil.
  3. Stir well, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tea bag. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  5. Discard the tea bag and vanilla pod, tip the fruits and liquid into a non-metallic bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Stir, then leave to cool.
  6. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
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THE LIFE OF A SWEEP

Do you ever sit in front of your fire and wonder how did those little boys ever got up and down the chimneys, to clean them?

In Victorian times, is was the Master Sweep’s responsibility for cleaning the chimneys. He took on orphans, parish boys, sometimes parish girls to be apprentices and trained them to climb and clean the chimneys. On rare occasions when times were extremely tough some children were sold into the trade by their families.

The conditions for these children were harsh and often cruel. They would sleep in cellars on bags of soot and seldom washed. Years of accumulated soot and grime produced cancer of the testicles and casualties were frequent with the children, chocking or suffocating to death through dust inhalation or getting stock in the chimneys while attempting to clean them.

READ MORE

Do you ever sit in front of your fire and wonder how did those little boys ever got up and down the chimneys to clean them?

In Victorian times, it was the Master Sweep’s responsibility for cleaning the chimneys. He took on orphans, parish boys, sometimes parish girls to be apprentices and trained them to climb and clean the chimneys. On rare occasions when times were extremely tough some children were sold into the trade by their families.

The conditions for these children were harsh and often cruel. They would sleep in cellars on bags of soot and seldom washed. Years of accumulated soot and grime produced frequent casualties with the children, choking or suffocating to death through dust inhalation, or getting stock in the chimneys while attempting to clean them.

It was one such occurrence that led to a change in the UK law. In February 1875, 12 year old George Brewster was sent up Fulbourn Hospital chimney by his master. He got stuck and the entire wall had to be pulled down to get him out. Although he was still alive when rescued, he sadly died after. Lord Shaftesbury seized on the incident to drive awareness of the living and working conditions of these small child sweeps and in 1875 drove through a new act to protect them in the Houses of Parliament. The new Act required chimney sweeps to be authorised by the police to carry on their business. This Act provided the legal means to enforce previous legislation that was often ignored.

Today chimney sweeps professions are entrusted with chimney maintenance such as removal of flammable creosote and the diagnosis and repair of hazards. They are often able to install wood or multi fuel stoves and repair chimney stacks. They no longer use children to go up the chimneys and prefer the use of closed vacuums and of course the trusted brush.

Remember that some household insurance policies are not valid if the chimney has not been regularly cleaned by a sweep. If you are in between calling the sweep out for your annual brush up then why not try Zip’s Soot reducer. It is an ideal treatment for preventing the build-up on soot and creosote in chimneys as well as improving flue efficiency. Just add one or two sachets a week to your open fire, stove, or solid fuel fire.

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HOUSEKEEPERS TOP FIREPLACE TIPSREAD MORE

Along the way, we have accumulated a number of top tips, either from personal use or sent in by our loyal Zip™ customers. In the spirit of sharing, here is a few that we thought we would pass on to you.

Good job for sliced white bread

After a few fires have been lit during the winter season or candles lit on the mantel piece, they tend to leave a black/brown sooty residue on the wall behind.

We have found that using modern cleaning products sometimes, stain or beach out the wall or wallpaper behind. Our top tip is to clean this soot away with soft, fresh cheap sliced white bread. Simply dab at the soot, being gentle, do not wipe as this will just cause smearing and you will more than likely end up with bread crumbs everywhere. Don’t forget that Zip™ have a great Soot Reducer product to avoid this problem all together.

Ease the breathing

For those with respiratory problems such as Asthma or Bronchitis, having a fire in a room can dry the air, causing or triggering difficult breathing.Having a bowl of water in the room when the fire is lit, moistens the air, meaning it’ll be less dry and help ease breathing. The same tip applies for central heating.

Citrus Zing

To enjoy a fresh fragrance in your room, why not try and put some orange peels on top of your wood burning stove or mantelpiece? As it dries out, a delicious citrus fragrance will fill the room. This makes a nice change from modern chemical air fresheners.

Keep out animals from your chimney

Animals, insects and birds often get stuck in chimneys. This can cause great deal of distress for them. If the animal dies while stuck in your chimney it will not only block and reduce the efficiency but will cause smoke, ash and debris down into your home. Not to mention the terrible smell.

A flue cap on the top of your chimney should not only stop animals and birds entering but also help inclement weather affecting your chimney.

Don’t just trash your ash

Some ash can be used as a lawn and garden fertilizer to provide soil nutrients and reduce acidity. It can be used on compost piles to maintain neutral acidity levels. Some people use ash to provide traction on icy driveways and sidewalks. Excess wood ash can be taken to council disposal sites.

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