Pudding steamer spotlight: Baking Trays, Dishes, Tins, Sheets & Pans

Baking Trays, Dishes, Tins, Sheets & Pans

Can I purchase baking dishes at Spotlight?

Yes, you can. At Spotlight, we have just about all of the baking trays that any chef could possibly desire. From a huge roaster that would be ideal for slow cooking a melt in your mouth rack of BBQ ribs to a Loaf Pan which will hold your freshly baked bread as it rises in the oven. At Spotlight, we have so many types, sizes and shapes of baking dishes to choose from in our fabulous selection, and all available now at Spotlight’s fabulously low prices.

Which baking dish would be the right choice for me?

Well, that is down to personal preference really and what you plan on cooking. At Spotlight, we have all the baking dishes and trays that you could ever want, and each of them will assist you in cooking fine cuisine suitable for any top restaurant. If you are not sure which one of our fabulous baking dishes is right for you, one of the most important things to consider in relation to your desired dish is the material itself. Check out our breakdown below for further information.

Glass: Glass is presentable and a great way to cook things like casseroles, sheet cakes or lasagne although it does take slightly longer to heat up than metal. Glass dishes are particularly good for baking foods such as cakes as they will maintain an even heat for longer. So whether you are making cottage pie or sausage casserole, you are sure to find the right baking dish in this selection.

Terracotta: Terracotta is ideal for long slow cooking over low heat, and it can be suitable for cooking a range of different delights. Terracotta distributes heat evenly and can be used to serve right from the stove and straight onto the table. Finally, these baking dishes are particularly good for making bread or pizza, as the nature of the material will help to create the perfect crispy crust.

Metal: Metal trays heat up and cool down quickly making it great for cooking food that you expect to be firm and crisped up perfectly. They are great for baking cookies or biscuits, bread or pies, or even for roasting meat for the family dinner. You should always use metal trays in direct high-cooking situations, as this can cause glass to shatter. Metal is considered to be slightly more versatile, and we have a wide selection of metal baking dishes available.

Silicone: Silicone baking dishes have grown in increasing popularity in recent years, they tend to heat quickly and evenly. With no need for any non-stick sprays or oils, they can also be a healthier option. You will easily be able to pop out those delicious muffins, still warm from the oven, with less mess and breakage. Plus they are dishwasher safe, just pop them in the machine, and they will be ready to use again.

Do you have any tips for cleaning baking dishes?

Cleaning baking dishes can be a bit of a chore, particularly when there are stubborn leftovers burnt-on. Soak the tray in hot water and use good-quality dishwashing detergent. If you are still struggling to remove the food, bicarbonate of soda works as an excellent all-natural way of cleaning dishes. Check the care information on each product to see whether the item is dishwasher safe. If the baking dish that you have chosen is non-stick, do not use metal wool or brushes as this can affect the non-stick layer on the pan and reduce its performance. If you are using terracotta, due its porous nature, it is not recommend that you use soaps or detergent. You should soak your pot in hot water regularly as the will evaporate slowly from the dish during the cooking process.

Oven-Steamed Figgy Pudding

Easier than steaming on the stovetop, this version is also lower in fat than traditional puddings, but still very moist. This recipe is adapted from Richard Sax’s Classic Home Desserts cookbook. Serve with our Brandied Hard Sauce or whipped cream.

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Cal/Serv: 400

Yields: 12

Cook Time: 0 hours 45 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 45 mins

Figgy Pudding:

2 package dried Calimyrna figs

1 3/4 c.


1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. sugar

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1/2 c. margarine or butter

1 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs

1 tbsp. grated orange peel

Marzipan fruit and greens

Brandied Hard Sauce:

1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 c. margarine or butter

2 tbsp. brandy

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

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  1. Figgy Pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 1/2-quart metal steamed-pudding mold or fluted tube pan.
  2. With kitchen shears, cut stems from figs; cut figs into small pieces. In 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, cook figs and milk, covered, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (mixture may look curdled). Be careful not to let mixture boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat eggs 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; add margarine or butter, bread crumbs, orange peel, and warm fig mixture. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until just blended.
  5. Spoon fig mixture into mold, smoothing top. Cover with sheet of greased foil, greased-side down. (If your mold has a lid, grease the inside and do not use foil.) Place the mold in a deep roasting pan and place on oven rack. Pour hot tap water into roasting pan to come 2 inches up side of mold.
  6. Bake pudding 2 hours or until firm and it pulls away from side of mold. Remove pudding from water bath; remove foil and cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto serving plate; remove mold. Garnish with marzipan fruit and greens. Serve warm.
  7. Brandied Hard Sauce: In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat confectioners’ sugar, margarine or butter, brandy, and vanilla extract until creamy. Refrigerate if not serving right away. Makes about 1 cup.

    Nutrition information given is for one serving pudding without Hard Sauce.

    Each tablespoon Hard Sauce: About 105 calories, 0 g protein, 11 g carbohydrate, 6 g total fat (1 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium.

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Equipment Spotlight: Steam Kettle | The NAFEM Show

Whether you’re overseeing a restaurant, a university kitchen, or a correctional facility’s foodservice operation, one thing is for certain: time is money.

And for fast-paced kitchens with high-volume food operations, steam kettles can be a godsend. With an exterior cooking chamber that uses superheated pressurized steam, these kettles make it easy to cook large quantities of foods without scorching.

What are steam kettles?

Steam kettles or steam jacketed kettles are self-contained versions of the large stockpot used for range top cooking. Chefs that frequently cook foods like sauces, pastas, puddings, stews, jams, jellies, soups, rice, eggs, (and even delicate foods like chocolates) – can get a lot of bang for their buck with a steam jacketed kettle.

Why choose a steam kettle?

Because steam kettles heat indirectly by blasting the exterior of the kettle cooking chamber with superheated pressurized steam, cream- and milk-based recipes and delicate foods like chocolate are not as easily scorched.

Not only that, but compared to other tools like stock pots, steam jacketed kettles use 35 percent less energy than stock pots on an open burner, and can boost a kitchen’s output in a number of ways:

  • High-energy steam cooks foods faster.
  • Steam kettles have a larger heat surface area than stock pots, and heat food from all sides.
  • There are no hot spots.
  • Provides uniform cooking with less chance of scorch.
  • Shifts easily from simmer to boil with precision temperature controls.

Additionally, steam kettles can help reduce food wasted due to overcooking and burning, easily reheat meals without overcooking them, simmer foods for long periods of time without overcooking, and can simplify recipes and recipe development.

Choosing a steam jacketed kettle

Steam jacketed kettles come in two distinct varieties: a 2/3 jacket and full jacket. The type of steam kettle that will best serve you depends on the size of your operation, how often you cook, and the foods you cook most frequently.

  • 2/3 jacket: Typically, kettles that tilt have a 2/3 jacket with a spout, making it easy to pour the contents of the kettle.
  • Full jacket:
    Full steam jacketed kettles are typically limited to large stationary kettles, which do not usually have spouts.


Whether you’re running a small or large-scale foodservice operation, steam kettles come in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate a full spectrum of demands. When it comes to choosing the size and volume of the ideal steam kettle for your operations, there are two things to take into consideration:

  • The size of the food batches you are cooking
  • How frequently you plan to use your steam kettle

If you’re cooking large amounts of food frequently, opting for a larger stationary model will provide you with the volume, speed and quality you need.

If you’re cooking smaller amounts of food (or large amounts of food less frequently), it pays to opt for a smaller countertop steam kettle and cook several batches, which will help you save money on equipment and provide a better-quality end result.

Stationary or tilting?

The primary difference between the variety of steam jacketed kettles is the way they are emptied. Though there are both stationary and tilting kettles that have large capacities, all small kettles and countertop kettles are tilting.

Tilting kettles: A tilting steam jacketed kettle can be easier to empty, especially with smaller volumes of food. With tilting models, the entire kettle body tilts forward for both the dispensing of food and liquids, as well as easier cleaning.

Stationary kettles: Stationary kettles have a sanitary draw-off valve for the draining of liquids from the kettle. These types of steam jacketed kettles are often used with very large volumes of food, as they can be easier to clean and some operators prefer the easy-to-control flow that the spout of stationary steam jacketed kettles offer.

Tip: If your kitchen regularly cooks recipes that feature chunky food products like stews that may clog the spouts, it may be more efficient to opt for tilting kettles.

Overall, there are a variety of steam kettle types that offer a number of different features to help you fine-tune your cooking operations – not to mention they can save you a lot of time and energy!

Categories: Business and industry, College and university, Correctional facilities, Education (K-12), Healthcare

Ingredient Spotlight: How Fats are Used in Baking

I’m highlighting common baking ingredients in an attempt to learn more about the science of baking and the role each ingredient plays in the bigger picture. See more on my Baking Essentials page. A quick disclaimer: I’m just a gal with a library card and a desire to learn. If you have any insights you’d like to share, please leave a comment!

The next ingredient I want to talk about is butter, which is perhaps my most favorite. Who doesn’t love butter? But while doing some reading I realized that it probably would be better to take a step back and talk about all fats used in baking– butter, shortening, oils, and lard. Let’s jump in!

What are fats?

I’m going to get a little bit nerdy for a moment and talk about fatty acids. A fatty acid is a long carbon chain that interacts with hydrogen atoms differently and can be saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated based on this relationship. Three of these fatty acid chains together form a triglyceride.

Why is this important? Because different types of triclygerides behave differently in baking. Triglycerides high in saturated fat tend to come from animals and are solid at room temperature, like butter or lard. Triglycerides high in unsaturated fats usually come from plants and are liquid at room temperature, like vegetable oil.

Vegetable shortening is solid at room temperature because it goes through a process called hydrogenation where hydrogen is forced to bond with the carbon chain in a way that mimics a saturated fatty acid. You’ve surely heard the term “trans fat”, and that refers to the synthetic compound that results from fatty acids that go through this process.

How and why fats are used in baking

Fats have four main purposes in baking:

  • They tenderize the product by coating and weakening the gluten bonds within the structure.
  • Even though they contain little or no moisture, they provide the illusion of wetness. Fats don’t evaporate or become absorbed with heat like water does.
  • They enable browning.
  • They help move heat through the product, perpetuating the baking process.


Now that we’ve got a bit more of an understanding of what fats do, let’s talk about the different kinds we use.


Butter in the US contains approximately 80% butterfat, in Europe it’s roughly 85%. Water makes up most of the rest and its presence can be both a good and bad thing. It turns to steam during baking which assists in leavening, but it also adds additional moisture that can affect the overall structure. Water can also cause the butter to go rancid, so salt can be added as a preservative.

Butter is used for its superior flavor over other fats. We can all tell the difference between a homemade cookie baked with butter and one from the grocery bakery made with shortening, right? Butter also has a melting point just below body temperature (90-95 degrees F) and so it melts nicely in the mouth. Butter has a narrow plasticity, however, and is best when at room temperature (65-70 degrees F). I usually let it sit out on the counter 30 minutes before I need to use it and it’s just right.

Butter is used in baked goods in three typical ways. It can be cut into the dry ingredients, as with biscuits and pie crust. It can be creamed with sugars in things like cakes and cookies. And it can also be melted and combined with other ingredients. One interesting thing to note about butter is that it is the same whether weighed or measured by volume. One liquid ounce of butter is the same as one ounce of butter.


Shortening was invented in the early 1900s and got its name because fats shorten the gluten bonds by lubricating them and weakening the structure. Shortening is useful in baking because it remains plastic at a much wider temperature and contain emulsifiers that help batters come together faster. It’s also 100% fat, unlike butter. These reasons, as well as the fact that it does not need to be refrigerated and is much cheaper than butter, are why it has been so popular.

It’s fallen out of favor in recent years partly because hydrogenated fats are believed to be worse for you than other natural fats. Shortening also doesn’t have a great flavor, and because it has a higher melting point it doesn’t have a pleasant mouth feel (think of the coating in the back of your throat after you’ve had a piece of store-bought frosted cake).

Margarine is similar to shortening in that it’s made from hydrogenated vegetable oil, but it has had milk products (usually skim milk) added as well so that it’s a more suitable butter substitute. While shortening does have a place in baking, margarine is a product I never use.


Oil is completely fat, it contains no proteins, solids, water, or air. It doesn’t have the capability of trapping air bubbles, so the creaming method doesn’t work. And because there is no water, oil doesn’t produce steam and help with leavening. But oil does create very moist baked goods because oils are naturally liquid at room temperature. Some of most moist cakes I’ve had have been baked with vegetable oil.

Examples of vegetable oils include soybean, peanut, cottonseed, corn, canola, etc. Each have slightly different properties, but I use basic canola or a canola blended oil for baking.


Up until about 100 years ago lard, which is fat from a pig, was perhaps the most popular fat used in the kitchen. In baking it’s used much like butter. Although the invention of shortening made lard an outcast, its slowly making its way back into kitchens and recipes.


Butter should be stored in the refrigerator, but if keeping for more than a few weeks, tightly wrap it and place in the freezer. It will stay good there for up to 6 months.

Shortening and oil can also go rancid if exposed to light and air. Cover and store in cool, dark place and try to use them within a few months of purchase.

A lot of people try to make recipes healthier by substituting the fats with something else. Applesauce, for example, is a common substitute in baked goods like cakes and cookies. Feel free to try substitutes like this, and best of luck to you. But since I generally don’t do substitutions, I don’t have enough experience to advise you on them.

I’m a butter gal all the way, I don’t usually use anything else. And now I know more than I ever wanted to know about  what it’s doing in my baked goods.

Any questions? Leave comment and I’ll do my best to find an answer!

Seed Spotlight: Unusual Cuts AKA 1001 Ways to Make Stock

In the Seed Spotlight Series we highlight different varieties of delicious local food that’s currently in season, featuring information on their storage, nutritional benefits, preservation methods, and recipes.

In 2019, we resolve to #fightfoodwaste. One important part of that is using as much of the vegetable, fruit, or animal as possible. Did you know that households in high income countries trim products up to 33 percent by weight during household preparation? We waste a third of each piece of food, and that’s just from our prep habits! So, this Seed Spotlight is a little different. I’ll be highlighting some fairly innocuous veggies, but discussing the less used parts of them.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are the most overlooked, and often most nutritious part of root veggies (and other plants). Radishes, beets, carrots, broccoli- most any edible vegetable has edible and nutritious leaves. These leaves tend to be high in Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Fiber, and even Protein. Beet greens have an incredible 125% daily recommended value of Vitamin A!

When you bring your beets and carrots home, don’t store them with their greens still attached. The tops take moisture away from the vegetables, and will make them go soft faster. Storing roots & greens correctly means they’ll both last longer. Cut off the tops from the vegetables and store them separately. The leaves don’t last more than a couple days so plan to use them soon. Until you are ready to cook them, wrap a damp paper towel around them and store in a plastic storage bag in the fridge. Ideally, use them within a day. The nutrients in cut greens begin to pale after a while.

Leafy greens can be eaten raw, although some people find them bitter. To help with this, you can quickly blanch them before using them in other ways. Just dip them in boiling water and then dunk them into an ice bath or drop them in a colander and run cold water over them.

Leafy greens make fun additions to salads, work well in sautes, and can be added to juices and smoothies. They can be substituted in for other herbs and greens with similar tastes (parsley or cilantro for carrot tops, chard for beet greens, cabbage for broccoli leaves, and mustards for radish greens). They even make fantastic pesto- just swap the basil for your green of the moment to experiment with different types. If you’re overwhelmed with greens and can’t use them all, just stick them in a ziploc in your freezer and hold on to them until you make stock.

Peels and Skins

 After you thoroughly wash your produce, do you peel it?  Peels contain high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For instance, a boiled potato with skin can contain up to 175% more vitamin C, 115% more potassium, 111% more folate and 110% more magnesium and phosphorus than a peeled one. In fact, up to 31% of the total amount of fiber in a vegetable can be found in its skin. What’s more, antioxidant levels can be up to 328 times higher in fruit peels than in pulp. 

Firstly, consider if you could leave a little skin on the produce when you eat it. But if eating skins with the produce is just not going to work for you or your family, consider saving them for later. You can also save peels that are inedible, like onion skins, garlic, and hard winter squash. My favorite way to save peels (and sometimes cores) is to keep a gallon Ziploc in my freezer and add the scraps of whatever I’m cooking into the bag once I’m done prepping each meal. Once the bag is full, I make stock. If you’re an omnivore, you can also toss in bones, scraps, and skin from meat based meals.

Making stock is easy peasy. Just fill up a large pot (a dutch oven will work, or a tall straight sided pot) with your vegetable scraps, toss in whatever herbs you have handy, fill with water, put a lid on it, turn it on, and let it do its thing. Let it come to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer. I usually let mine go for a few hours-  until the peels are cooked through, the water has turned to a heartier, cloudy color, and it smells like a good soup base. Then strain it. I place a large bowl under a colander and dump it all in. Beware of the steam that will come off! Also, don’t forget that bowl under the colander. I have, and let me tell you- it’s heartbreaking to watch your stock run down the drain. Let the stock cool in small containers in the refrigerator if possible, or put it straight into the freezer if you aren’t using it within the next two or three days.

You can also make your stock in your crock pot if you can’t watch the stove for a few hours. I often use my veggie scraps in bone broth- cooking them down with water in the crock pot for 24 to 48 hours. You can stretch your groceries a little further and get more nutrients out of them with a hearty, end of the week soup. I’ll often save scraps all week, and then make “Stone Soup,” with a little bit of whatever is left from the week. It’s especially great at this time of year.

If you’re concerned about pesticides and peels: use your best judgement. I try to stick with IPM, pesticide free, organic practices, or Cetified Organic scraps for stock. I also wash my produce well before I use it. A recent review reports that around 41% of pesticide residues found on fruits was removed by washing with water. You could also stay away from the “dirty dozen” or stick to the “clean fifteen.” 

Stems and Stalks

Stems and stalks are also a great addition to your stock or bone broth. Chopped stems also work well as a stir fry or saute base, chopped up in soup, or run through the juicer. Chard and beet stems are extra fun- you can add them to rice while cooking and get pink rice! Many stems also make excellent pickles. Leafy stems can be used in pesto (beets, carrots, radish, or chard to name a few). Asparagus or mushroom stems make a fantastic soup base (for these, I make a stock, blend the solids, and strain them so it’s extra flavorful but there’s no unpleasant over-chewiness). Broccoli or cauliflower stems can be sliced into matchsticks and make into a slaw. Non-woody herb stems can be made into sauce or put into salsa (like cilantro or parsley).

Don’t miss out on the fiber, nutrients, and minerals that are packed into stems. These babies are the central nervous system of a plant- they are filled to the brim with useful building blocks for your body.

Wilted, Wrinkled, and Past Its Prime

If a veggie slipped past your watchful eye and made a home in that forgotten corner of your refrigerator- don’t be afraid of it. Unless it looks too scary. Use your judgement and compost it if it’s too far gone!

If it just looks like it spent a few decades at the pool covered in tanning oil, there’s use left in it. I know I sound like a broken record, but put it in your stock or bone broth. Trim any questionable spots first. For roots, you can always peel it, boil it, and make a mash (works well with turnips, potatoes, carrots, etc). Certain vegetables (celery, radishes, salad turnips, carrots) that are plump with water at their prime and that you’d like to eat fresh can be revived if they are just a bit wilty. Peel off the wrinkly skin, slice them like usual, put them in a  bowl or cup, and fill that container with cold water. Set them in the fridge for about 10 minutes and check back on them- they should be back to a close approximation of their former glory.

Bones, Fat, and Organ Meat

Bones themselves are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.  The connective tissues binding joints together, and the bones themselves also contain collagen, which  imparts lots of amino acids.

Organ meat, or “offal” is often overlooked, as most meat production is geared toward muscles. However, they are particularly rich in B-vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and folate. They are also rich in minerals, including iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc, and important fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K. However, pregnant women should be careful of their intake and most of us should be fairly moderate, lest we invite gout.

So how to use these unusual pieces? You guessed it- stock and broth are great ways to use up all of these pieces. 

Many traditional cuisines use fat in a variety of ways: Italians use it to wrap fegatelli, Cypriots use it for sheftalia, the English use it for faggots, the French for pâtés and crepinettes. Lard can also be used in baking, perhaps most notably in biscuits. Chicken skin and fat can be used to make schmaltz to be used in spreads or making matzo balls. A quick google will give you a plethora of handy ideas if you’re feeling adventurous.

Organ meat is used around the world for spreads, dips, and sauces. Gravy and pate are more common in the US, but world wide there is a huge variety of organ recipes. Many paleo dieters swear by roasting some organs, like tongue or heart. Some folks make meatballs, or substitute part of the meat in a chili or soup with a finely chopped organ medley. 

Everything Else

So then there’s everything else… Get creative! Cube stale bread and make your own breadcrumbs for stuffing, make croutons, find a bread pudding recipe you like, fall in love with strata and all it’s variations, learn how to make panzanella. Use parmesan heels to make a killer sauce, warm your soul up with a deeply flavorful parmesan and mushroom stew, give your beans new life by cooking them with cheese crust.

And if you find a particularly awesome way to use your odd cuts, your cast off parts, let me know! We’re always looking for fun new ways to be creative in the kitchen and waste a little less food.

If you’re looking for more inspiration: Food52 has an impressively thorough repertoire of fantastic recipes for odds and ends and unusual cuts.


Christmas Pudding in a Cloth – Tradition and Taste Collide

A Christmas pudding is the perfect finale to any Xmas festive meal. My Mum Rita’s rich Christmas pudding in a cloth is part of an ongoing tradition in our family, dating back to her great grandmother Cameron from Scotland.

In our house it was always baked on Stir Up Sunday, the Sunday before the season of Advent, which begins in the church in November each year.

A special and very rich treat, Christmas Pud as it is more affectionately known, is made from sweet dried fruits, fragrant spices, a generous dash of best brandy and a token surprise or two.

Down the centuries the fruits and ingredients were designed to total 13; 1 for Jesus + 12 more representing his apostles.

It is great to involve your immediate family in its making. Whether you are religious or not it is a good thing to do with children no matter how old they are.

They can join in by take turns to stir the mixture for luck. One way first and then back the other way, which was symbolic of east and west where the sun rises and sets.

In the early days of building churches in England they faced east, because that’s was where the holy city of Jerusalem was and the star that announced the arrival of the baby Jesus rose in the east to guide the way.

Silver tokens or silver money were an addition (any objects added must be made of silver of the pudding will spoil) and associated with ‘luck’.

You can investigate but I am sure you will find, you can buy a ‘horde’ of silver threepences and sixpences from an antique coin dealer. Each Xmas Day you can trade them back from your family with a 2 dollar piece when they are found.

That way you will be able to re-use them year after year.

Think about it as an investment in family joy. Hunting for them in the pudding on Xmas day is an important part of the fun and festivities.

Why put the pudding in a cloth? Why not just a good pudding basin?

Well to my mind it’s far more appealing, with its rustic charm and tradition some of which need safeguarding, despite it getting harder to achieve.

Prior to cooking the pudding you flour the wet cloth well before you add the mixture and tie it up.

The flour also forms a unique skin, or crust around the pudding that helps leftovers to continue to mature and taste better with age.

Hanging the pudding from stir up Sunday to Christmas Day when it is boiled again prior to serving, ensures that tradition and taste collide. But it must be hung in a cool place, like a pantry or cellar if you have one.

In an Australian climate this can often prove difficult, especially for people in the city or if you do not have a wine cellar under the ground. Keeping it in the fridge then is the best option.

Take it out on Christmas Eve so it has time to come back to room temperature on Christmas Day before you boil it again and serve. The extra secret is to purchase the very best quality ingredients you can. The addition of quality liquor definitely aids your pudding success.

Top it with some Holly and serve with brandy butter and cream or ice cream.

Carolyn’s version of Rita’s Christmas Pudding – photo Carolyn McDowall

Rita’s Xmas Pudding


2.00 kg Best Mixed Fruit traditional currants, sultanas, and raisins : additions to those can be apricots, figs, prunes, pears, some glacé pineapple or glacé cherries. The secret is to purchase the best quality available and that you can afford and chop them yourself by hand

After Soaking in 1 Cup of Best Brandy for a week or more + Add

1.5 cups brown sugar firmly packed
250g softened Butter
6 large eggs
1 cup freshly made breadcrumbs (not pkt)
2 cups plain flour (heaped)
1/4 tsp each of salt, nutmeg and mixed spice
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda dissolved in 1/2 cup cold, strong Tea
Good dash of Parisian Essence


Drench all the Fruits in your best Brandy (1 cup) and cover and put in a cool place to marinate for a few days or weeks, stirring every other day, before making the pudding

Put a big Boiler of water onto boil and place a china plate on the bottom (this prevents the pudding from sticking). It also helps you to hear that the pudding stays ‘on the boil’, which is important in the cooking process.

Cream Butter and Sugar: add eggs, flour, spices, breadcrumbs and fold into fruit with cold tea.

Add sterling silver coins or tokens. If you do make sure you tell everyone they are there when they dig in to eat it.

Prepare for Boiling:

Gather up the four corners of the calico cloth and dip the centre of cloth into boiling water. Generously flour the ‘wet’ calico cloth with Plain flour (this forms the famous pudding skin).

Drape the wet and floured cloth over a china or stainless steel big bowl and pile the moist mixture into the centre and flour the top of it before you again gather up the corners of the calico tautly and tie the pudding off very very tightly with real ‘string’ (not twine it will break). Wrap the string doubled around and around a number of times tying knots as you go making sure at the end you leave a large ‘handle’ of string tied at the top to lift it up and to hang it from.

Lower gently into half a very large boiler of boiling water. Add extra water to ensure the pudding is completely covered and place the lid on the boiler.

Keep checking and add more boiling water from a kettle kept at the ready, if required throughout the cooking process. (In the days when it was cooked in the washing Copper this step wasn’t necessary). It needs 4 hours to cook on the day it is made.

Then boil again for a further 2 hours on the day it is served.

Lift out into a bowl if possible and carefully remove the string and open the calico out. Place a large plate that has been rinsed in cold water on the top and invert it. The moisture will help you jiggle the pudding into the centre of the plate.

Wipe off the excess moisture and decorate the pudding with holly and serve with Brandy butter and clotted cream or the best rich vanilla ice cream.

You can flame the pudding with some extra warmed brandy and carry it to the table ‘on fire’. Certainly adds to the drama.


Carolyn McDowall, Editor in Chief, The Culture Concept Circle, 2011 – 2013-2016

PS Hemmed pudding cloths can be purchased in some specialist kitchen ware stores. These days they all seem to be 60 x 60 square rather than 100 x 100, which is the size preferable for this quantity of mixture.

I divide the mixture and make two puddings that fit into the smaller cloths. One for the day and one for ‘afters’, usually eaten at Easter time, if it lasts that long. Or one to keep and one to give to someone you love.

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord*

*Collect for ‘Stir Up Sunday’ an informal term in Anglican churches, The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and later (a translation of the Roman Missal’s collect “Excita, quæsumus”):

Spotlight on… low-GI – BBC Good Food

The glycaemic index (GI) was originally designed for people with diabetes to help keep their blood sugar levels under control. But whether you are diabetic or not the GI is a useful tool for all of us when we are planning healthy meals and making food choices.

Glucose is the primary source of energy required by every cell in the body. The GI ranks carbohydrate foods based on the rate at which they are broken down into glucose. When glucose levels in the blood start to rise, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin which promotes the take up of glucose by the cells and as a consequence brings blood sugar levels back into a more manageable range.

How does it work?

The GI is a measure of the rate at which our bodies break down the carbs in our food to energy, in the form of glucose. The speed at which this digestion occurs, and the amount it raises glucose levels in the blood is measured by a score on the GI scale. Glucose, is the reference point for all other foods and carries a score of 100. Foods with low GI ratings such as lentils, beans, wholegrains, nuts and seeds release their energy more slowly and help prevent sugar highs.What makes a food low rather than high GI depends on the proportion of a type of starch, amylose, to another, amylopectin. Foods with a greater proportion of amylose such as lentils have lower GIs than those with more amylopectin, like potatoes, which have a high GI.

If you typically eat a lot of high GI foods such as white bread, processed breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits you will have a lot of readily available energy in your blood, and your body will use this energy rather than turning to your fat stores.

How low-GI foods can speed up fat burning…

A sharp increase in glucose in the blood triggers the pancreas to release a rush of the hormone insulin, which removes any excess glucose. Insulin removes the surplus glucose from the blood and lowers the speed at which the body burns fat. A large surge in insulin, caused by eating high-GI foods, will start reactions in the body that leave you feeling lethargic, hungry and craving more sugar.Eating low-GI carbohydrate foods causes a steady rise in the level of glucose in the blood, which in turn leads to a small and gentle rise in insulin. Small increases in insulin keep you feeling full and energised for hours after eating and also encourage the body to burn fat.

Foods with a GI of 70 or more are typically called ‘high-GI foods’ as they trigger a rapid rise in blood sugar. Foods with a GI of 55-69 are ‘medium-GI foods’ as they trigger a moderate increase. Foods with a GI below 55 are ‘low-GI foods’ because they have a minor impact on blood sugar.

Basic principles

  • Low-GI foods provide natural, slowly released energy.
  • Generally, the less processed a carbohydrate, the more likely it is to have a low-GI score.
  • Foods that are white, including processed foods made with white flour and white sugar, tend to have a high-GI.
  • High fibre foods take longer to digest and therefore produce a slower rise in blood sugar levels. Fibre also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, which helps prevent overeating. Most vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits are rich in fibre when you eat them whole.

How GI scores vary

Don’t be mistaken – a food’s GI is not fixed. It will vary depending on a number of things – how the food has been prepared, whether it has been cooked, how hydrated it is and in the case of fresh produce like fruit, how ripe it is. An average serving of raw carrot, for example, has a GI of 16 but once peeled, diced and boiled this rises to 49. Also…

Your glycaemic response to a food depends on the other foods you eat with it

What you choose to eat with your carb-rich food will also impact the overall GI of your meal, so by combining a high GI food like potatoes with some protein like chicken will mean you lower the overall GI of your meal. When a meal includes proteins and fat the impact of the carbohydrate foods will be minimized. This is because by combining foods in a single meal the overall impact is to slow down the rate at which your body releases sugar from any single ingredient.

Make it low GI

Follow these tips to keep meals and snacks low GI:

  • Choose brown (wholegrain) versions of foods like bread, pasta, rice and crackers.
  • Always combine protein like fish, chicken and dairy foods with carbs like bread, potatoes and pasta – for example when snacking combine a handful of nuts (protein) with a piece of fruit (carbs).
  • Use new potatoes instead of old and boil in their skins rather than mashing, baking or chipping.
  • Thicken sauces using a little tahini or nut butter rather than high GI cornflour.
  • Choose amylose-rich basmati rice instead of other varieties of white rice.
  • Avoid ‘instant’ or ‘easy cook’ foods which tend to be more highly processed.
  • Snack on unsalted nuts, seeds or oatcakes rather than sweet treats and biscuits.

What are the health benefits of eating this way?

A positive side effect is that you may lose weight following a low GI eating regime that’s because these sorts of foods tend to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Although it’s worth remembering that low GI does not mean low fat, so you may need to watch the fat content of your meals.A low GI eating plan can also be helpful if you’re worried about your risk of type II diabetes and heart disease that’s because a low GI diet improves blood sugar and insulin control and helps manage cholesterol levels. The effect of stabilising blood sugar levels should also mean you feel improvements in energy, mood and concentration levels.

Recipe ideas

Think bowls of steamed greens and pulses, ratatouille or veggie soups. And for dessert, as tropical fruits have a moderately high-GI score, try citrus, stone fruits and apples, pears, berries and rhubarb:

Italian butter beans
Braised chicken & beans
Moroccan chickpea soup
Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup

Grapefruit, orange & apricot salad
Spring greens with lemon dressing
Easy ratatouille with poached eggs 

More low-GI breakfast ideas…
More low-GI lunch ideas…
More low-GI dinner ideas…
More low-GI snack ideas…

Search for GI scores of different foods.

This article was last reviewed on 25 January 2019 by Nutritionist (MBANT) Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

Jo Lewin is a registered nutritionist (RNutr) with the Association for Nutrition with a specialism in public health. Follow her on Twitter @nutri_jo.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

How a steamer works: device and principle of operation

Cooking has stepped forward, and if some time ago it was believed that steamed dishes have no taste, and therefore are necessary, rather, as a dietary tool for people with diseases or children and pregnant women, now a lot has changed. Food from a double boiler can be both tasty and healthy at the same time, you just need to follow the recipe in detail and be patient. In order to understand how a steamer works, it is necessary to study its structure and principles of operation.

Steamer design and operating principle

The main component of the apparatus is housing , equipped with a container for water and a block for control. When we turn on the steamer in the electrical network, the temperature of the water poured into the tank rises to the boiling point, and the evaporation process begins. The steam rises up and through special openings goes into the compartments (baskets) for food. A special element in the form of a ring, with which the heating element is completed, accelerates the movement of steam and significantly saves electricity.

The liquid level indicator, located on the steamer body, signals the need to add liquid. In some cases, in addition to the light signal, there is also a sound signal that tells us that the water has run out.

A significant role in the operation of the device is assigned to pallets provided in the kit. With the help of them, condensate is collected, and the risk of liquid entering the generator is eliminated.

The number of pallets should be directly proportional to the number of bowls, if there are three bowls and one pallet, then the smells will mix with each other, and therefore, most likely, you will not be able to cook several products in a double boiler at the same time.

Bowls or steamer baskets, placed over the trays, are made, as a rule, from plastic different versions, less often from stainless steel. The advantages of plastic are its resistance to impacts; among the disadvantages is the possibility of staining the material with prolonged use in the preparation of products with a high content of natural dye (for example, beets). There are options for steamers with containers made of materials that are resistant to coloring pigments.

The standard diagram of the device can be modified by including the following containers in the kit:

  • grate for boiling eggs;
  • additional trays to collect condensate;
  • containers designed for particularly free-flowing and liquid products;
  • a probe device through which readiness can be monitored;
  • cookbook with recipes.

The power of the steamer determines the efficiency of its operation, if it is 2000 W or more, then the food will cook much faster, however, the amount of energy consumed will increase significantly.

Steamers containing 2-3 bowls in their structure, as a rule, have a power of 900-1000 W, this indicator is quite enough for high-quality food processing with minimal energy consumption.

As already noted above, the principle of operation of the device is reduced by to the formation of steam from hot water. Naturally, cooking requires no additional use of oil or fat. The steam penetrates deeply into the food placed in the bowl, so that they do not need to be turned over during cooking.The question arises, where does the steam go after that? Part of it comes out through the holes, and part of it settles on the walls of the device in the form of condensation. After a certain period of time, condensation will drain along the walls onto specially designed trays.

Thanks to the possibility of steam spreading through the openings of the baskets over the entire area, all food is cooked evenly.

It is very good if the grates are removable , this will allow you to cook voluminous dishes, for example, large pieces of meat or fish.

The set includes a container for rice, it has no holes, so rice groats can be cooked simultaneously with other dishes. If you love rice, and you have a large family, then you should take a closer look at models with non-standard sizes of such bowls, since the standard volume is 1 liter. The bowl can be used not only for cooking cereals, but also for stewing cabbage rolls, making soups, puddings and other dishes.

Control options

Steamers can be operated in two ways – mechanical or electronic:

  1. Mechanical .In this case, the time required to cook a particular dish is set manually by turning the knob to the required number of divisions. The mechanical type of control is very simple and simple, in addition, the steamer turns on very quickly and its operation does not depend on complex settings and adjustments.
  2. Electronic . Assumes control through a panel of buttons and a special electronic scoreboard. Such steamers are very convenient to use, they allow you to set a timer with a delay of several hours, that is, you can schedule cooking for the evening, and put the food in bowls during the day.There is also the option of keeping pre-cooked food warm through the heating function. These are perhaps the main functions of electronic options, which can be extremely convenient. A rather complicated launching process can be considered a relative disadvantage of the device. If in a mechanical steamer it is enough just to turn the knob, then in an electronic one you need a whole combination of keys and even attention to the indicator to turn it on.

Thus, if you do not need the functions of delaying the start and maintaining the temperature of the dish, and you use the device itself often and with pleasure, it may make sense not to chase bells and whistles, but to purchase a steamer with a mechanical control method.

Steam basket

The volume of the steam basket ranges from 1.5 to 3 liters, and of a separate bowl for cooking rice and other dishes – from 0.5 to 2 liters. Baskets can be the same size or different. In the first case, there is a possibility of free movement of dishes between levels during cooking, in the second case, there is no such possibility.

Most often, steamer baskets make transparent . Initially, it was assumed that thanks to this property, it would be possible to observe the cooking process, which ideally, of course, is convenient, but in practice, under the influence of steam, the plastic fogs up so much that it is almost impossible to see something.In addition to plastic, glass or stainless steel can be used as a material. The main advantage of metal is the ability to maintain a high temperature of cooked dishes for a longer period.

Steamer operation: operating rules

In order for the steamer to work properly, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The device must be installed on a level surface with materials resistant to high temperatures. The nearest furniture should be located no closer than 20 cm to the sides, and 1 meter in height.This is due to the fact that the steam that will be generated during work can damage the furniture if it is in the immediate vicinity.
  2. Do not move the device while the process is running: hot water may spill.
  3. No need to cover the top of the steamer.
  4. Be attentive and careful when working with the device, do not leave near small children in order to avoid unexpected injuries.
  5. It is undesirable to use tap water, buy filtered or bottled.

Care rules

Before using the steamer, do not forget:

  • Remove packaging and styrofoam residues;
  • Wash all components thoroughly with soapy water and wipe them off.

The steamer should be cleaned regularly to extend its life and increase efficiency.

Do not forget to disconnect the device from the mains. All components, with the exception of the base itself, can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.The bottom of the baskets is easier to clean with a brush. The base is not washed, but only wiped with a damp cloth. Avoid using hard abrasive powders throughout the entire procedure.

After several uses, the heating element of the steamer may become scaled . How quickly this happens depends on the hardness of the water used, but, as a rule, it happens after 8-10 starts. We carry out the purification as follows. Pour up to 2 glasses of acetic acid (5%) into a container for liquid, dilute it with water to the maximum, the heating element must be completely closed.Then we install the pallet and 1 basket and turn on the steamer. We wait 10-15 minutes and assess whether the remains of the scale are preserved. If they are saved, then we repeat the procedure. After the end of the process, drain the vinegar and thoroughly rinse all the components. We ventilate the room.


The steamer is a very convenient device that allows you to quickly prepare healthy and tasty dishes. Having studied the process and principles of its work, having familiarized yourself with the components, you can create your own rules that you will follow in the process of your culinary feats.Try to keep the device clean and strictly follow the recommendations for its use, without neglecting safety precautions.

Healthy steamed food is not a luxury or purely dietary food for people with chronic diseases, it is a prerequisite for modern cooking. Try to use the steamer more often, train your body to eat the right food, and very soon you will learn to appreciate the natural taste of food without the need for significant processing.

Street floodlight “Lamper”, LED, white light, 10 W – GigMarket


Street floodlight “Lamper”, LED, white light, 10 W

LED floodlight – a lighting device widely used in the modern world, as for point and local lighting, not only for advertising and industrial purposes, but in household use to illuminate the facades of buildings, country houses, paths, parking lots, streets and courtyards. It has an increased degree of protection against dust and moisture (IP65), which allows it to be used both indoors and outdoors.
Service life (up to 50,000 hours), low power consumption and high luminous efficiency are the main advantages of LED floodlights.
This model has a power of 10 watts.


90601 Ceiling 9016 Wall mount 909161 Wall mount 909161 Wall mount LED
Type Spotlight
Base type LED
Power supply From 220V mains
Number of
lamps, pcs
lamps, W
Lamp material Aluminum
9016 black
Switch type
Lamp color black
Country of origin China
Year of manufacture 2018
Part number 601-301
Package size (Length
x Width x Height) 12 x 12 x 3
Package weight, g 540
Name Street lamp “Lamper”, LED, white light, 10 W

Information on technical characteristics, delivery set , country of manufacture and appearance of the product is for reference only and is based on paragraph Latest information available at the time of publication

Electric Steamer, CBTX, 2 bowls, brown, 1.2L – GigMarket


Electric steamer, CBTX, 2 bowls, brown, 1.2L

Electric rice cooker. This mini-type does not take up space, is suitable for students, employees, and is convenient for placement and transportation. Super energy saving, only 200W working time, about 40 minutes cooking time, low power is more suitable for school dormitories. Beautiful and generous, boiling and steaming, sleek design. Food grade lightweight pure stainless steel, thermal conductivity coefficient, uniform heating, safe and non-stick.One button mechanical switch, according to the instructions for the amount of water to heat the stove after the automatic shutdown of the water, safer.

Protection systems


steel steel Color 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9016 9060 Features 9098 Watt
Bowl volume, l 1.2
Bowl lining Stainless steel
Body material 90604 Brown
Multi-cook Time setting
Control Manual
Functionality Steamer
Brand CBTX
Dimensions, mm 25.5 cm x 19.5 cm x 25.5
Smartphone control No
Cooking programs Cooking
Shipping weight, g 2540
Type Rice cooker
Name Electric steamer, CBTX, 1 bowl.2l

Information on technical characteristics, delivery set, country of manufacture and appearance of the goods is for reference only and is based on the latest information available at the time of publication

90,000 Steam cookers: discount coupons and working promotional codes – June, 2021 Discount store Yandex.Market (formerly I take!) 5 months back Braun FS 3000 steamer at a great price 4 193₽ 5 270₽ by promo code


A steamer with a power of 850 W, is equipped with a timer, the “Fast steam” mode is provided and there is a sound signal of the end of work.The set includes 2 bowls and a container for the preparation of coloring products. An excellent steamer on Yandex.Market (ex …

Discount store M.Video 8 months back Braun FS5100 BK steamer just for today with a good soda

The perfect device for quick and easy cooking of healthy steam at a great price.Today, you can buy this steamer at a discount in Mvideo.Number of tiers 2Volume of the bowl 3.1lVolume of the water tank 2 lRice container 2 r …

Discount shop Eldorado 8 months back Steamer Tefal Convenient Series VC145130 5 192₽ 6 490₽ by promo code


A good steamer for quick preparation of healthy and dietary food.Power 900 W, simple mechanical control. There is a timer for 60 minutes, which turns off the device in automatic mode. 2 tiers, bowl volume 6 l, tank for …

Discount Citylink store 10 months back Steamer BRAUN FS3000 4 333₽ 4 790₽ by promo code


Another good price from Citylink.Power 850 W, total volume of steam baskets 6.2 l, 2 tiers, shutdown in case of lack of water, water level indicator.

Discount shops Auchan 1 year ago Functional steamer Tefal VC1301

The 650 Watt great value steamer is designed for quick and healthy steam cooking and is ideal for healthy, dieting, young children and the elderly.Model …

Discount shop Eldorado 1 year ago Steamer Marta MT-1909, Nutritional Care 1 032₽ 1 290₽ by promo code


Taking care of your food with a steamer for so little money.The steamer has mechanical control for choosing the optimal cooking mode, 2 tiers, volume 5 liters.

Discount shop Eldorado 1 year ago Steamer Tefal VC100630 Ultra Compact II 3 352₽ 4 190₽ by promo code


I found you an excellent steamer at the lowest price on Yandex.

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