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!
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;
Now you can enjoy this traditional treat anytime- campfire or no campfire!
WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE ALWAYS CHANGEABLE IN THE UK!
WE OFFER SOME ADVISE AND TIPS ON MAKING THE BEST OF THE WEATHER.
Beef burgers stacked the Aussie way
For the burger
Spicy Tropical Burgers made the Zip way!
For the burger
Marinated with Indian flavours
For the marinade
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!
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!
Tip: (Experiment with other fillings of your liking such as, Peanut butter, toffee pieces etc.)
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.
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.
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:
Serves: (4-6 glasses)
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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.