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Why You Should Buy A Rice Cooker

One of the most versatile kitchen appliances you can but is actually the humble rice cooker. Also known as a slow cooker, these devices – despite their name – are actually capable of producing a huge array of dishes ranging from rice (naturally) to soups, stews and even steamed puddings.

If you purchase a machine such as the Zojirushi NP-HBC10 Induction Heating model, there are a number of recipes that you can make with this sort of appliance. The fact of the matter is that we often purchase a rice cooker with the intention of making white and/or brown rice.

But this is only just scratching the surface of what these machines can do. There are lots of other rice cooker recipes that you can try to make as well. A top of the range Zojirushi product is one of the best units that you can purchase but even if you choose a cheaper model, you should still be able to make some great tasting mixed rice dishes.

The main thing that you have to consider is that if you want to create some all in one dishes in your rice cooker then almost the most important factor is to replace the water that you cook the rice in with stock. There are lots of different flavorings that you could add. A chicken or fish stock is a versatile and popular option. Of course, if you are a vegetarian, you can of course do well with a vegetable based stock. This is something that you can make with a stock cube but for that home made feel you might want to make your own.

Once you have the stock ready, all that you then have to worry about is what else you want to add to your rice. Bits of chicken, tinned fish and all kinds of vegetables work really well. You can follow a recipe if you are not so sure what to do or you can just try out a few different things yourself. To begin with, checking out the available recipes is a good idea to get a range of serving suggestions. But once you know what you are doing, you can literally just add whatever you have in the fridge.

Of course, this is only one of many ways to cook delicious dishes using a rice cooker. For example, you can also steam fish – yes believe it or not, thats true – or create amazing soups or stews. In fact, the only limit really is your imagination. One question I often get asked is how to cook lentils in a rice cooker? Well, the answer is a, firstly,  of course you can and secondly that its actually very simple. But, rather than me tell you, I recommend that you click on the link I’ve just provided to get the whole low down. That means that vegetarians can enjoy lentil bakes or tasty filling soups without worrying about the long cooking times that are normally associated with dishes such as these.

So, if you are looking for a cheap and versatile addition to your kitchen equipment then you need to seriously consider buying a rice cooker. I hoep you agree.


Got furniture shopping in mind? Get some real bargains after the holidays, right through March!

For most of us, new furniture is a major, long term investment. If your favourite armchair, or the living room sofa has seen better days, you might be thinking of going furniture shopping, but your budget doesn’t agree! In better economic times, you and your spouse might have decided to give each other that new sofa or armchair as a holiday gift. These days, that may no longer be an option. Why? Too much money, of course. So here’s a way to go furniture shopping and get the very best price.

Most economists predicted another bad holiday shopping season for retailers, across the board. This makes it likely that you’ll see some deeply discounted prices, particularly on some of the bigger ticket items, including furniture. However, if you exercise some patience, you can pick up some fabulous bargains after the holidays. You probably don’t need to worry too much about finding just what you’re looking for, due to much reduced inventory.

One of the best times to go furniture shopping is right after the New Year. Hungry retailers are going to reduce those drop dead prices even further, hoping to entice savvy shoppers – like you. If you’ve got your eye on a piece of furniture that’s on sale at 50% off during the holiday season, don’t be surprised if it’s sitting there after New Year’s, priced at 60% off. Let’s say you’re looking for a new sofa which retails for £1500. At 50% off, it’s yours for £750. At 60% off, you pay just £600. That kind of deal brings a smile to anyone’s face. You get a quality sofa without busting the budget. Just think, for that extra £150 savings, you can probably find a lovely new lamp for the end table. If you stick with the sofa alone, it’s certain you can put that £150 to good use elsewhere! There are plently of stores to visit for a bargain, including a local sofa shop in Aberdeen.

Now, another great time to go furniture shopping is during the month of March. This means you’ll find some great deals, this can be the absolute perfect time to go furniture shopping. You might have thought that there was no way to get that new furniture, but, as you can see, there are some great opportunities in the world of furniture shopping coming right up!


Adding a sideboard to finish off your dining room

The next time you head to the furniture store for anything, try this – go to the section that displays dining room furniture packages and take a look at how hard shoppers labour over getting the exact the right dining set to go into their homes. Well, while a certain amount of care and attention really are called for, you don’t want to burn out picking that one thing. There are other things in the dining room that are just as important – like the dining room sideboard, for instance.

It’s easy to overlook how important the dining room sideboard is. It’s easy to think when the family gathers around for special occasions, that it’s the table that’s the star of the show. While it is, the star does need a supporting cast. The dining room sideboard is an Oscar winner here in a supporting role.

What do you use a dining room sideboard for? Well, ask yourself this: Where do you put all that food that makes any feast complete? You are going to put it on the sideboard, is the answer.

No average-sized family dining table has enough room for all the drinks before dinner, the beverages, the appetizers, the food and the desert. You need spillover space. And that’s what the dining room sideboard is.

There are two ways to pick a dining room sideboard. You could either get something that matches the table and chairs, or you could go with something that stands apart – as an accent piece. You don’t even have to stop at using something that’s a lighter shade of wood. You could easily use something that’s a totally different style in a totally different kind of wood.

When the sideboard isn’t in use, you can use it as display space for a single piece of sculpture or something. A vase of flowers or something that looks dramatic.

A dining room sideboard of course, isn’t it just a table. It doesn’t just offer you just one surface to put things on. It gives you ample storage area in the form of coverage shelves below. You’ll have glass-fronted cupboards, drawers and so on. All the dishes and special cutlery that you need to throw a party or to entertain people, you can display and store in this space. It’s your one-stop computer equipment shop.

There is no rule that says that you can only bring one sideboard into a dining room. If you can make it work, more than one would be fine.


Tips for Lamps and Home Lighting

Whether you’re redecorating your home or moving into an entirely new one, deciding on the appropriate lighting for your home is a hugely important consideration. Given that effective lighting can make or break a plan of interior decoration, it needs to be approached properly. With this in mind, this article aims to consider just some of the important considerations one needs to bear in mind when it comes to lighting and lamps in the home.

Think of each room being decorated as like a set in a theatre show – the look of the room should illustrate the sort of activity that takes place in that setting. And in all of these, it is less important to follow whatever the trend is than to ensure that the setting is the way you want it to be.

Any room will need a particular sort of general overall light, either from overhead hanging fittings in the middle of a ceiling or flood lights and spot lamps, or even light which is bounced off the ceiling. Unless you are planning decor for a new build, of course, it is best to just go with what the existing fittings are.

One way to provide indirect light with a good dispersion is to use something called a ‘torchier’. This is like a floor lamp, except that it shines light towards the roof of the room. In cases where the existing room does not offer overhead light, or which have a dark colour scheme which needs a lot of illumination, having a torchier will help in these sort of situations.

It is also important to consider the specific task that lightning needs to achieve in the particular room. For example, a desk or piano or a wall with pictures on it will all require a specific special lamp.

Think about not only what the lamp is for, but what it will look like, both when in use and when turned off. As you would expect, a lamp will be a focal point for a room when on, so they need to look ‘correct’ in the setting they are placed in. Colour and finish will all affect this.

With hundreds of types of lamp to choose from, it is useful to consider the size you require. Larger table lamps are usually over 70 cm (27 inches) tall, and this includes the lampshade. These should be used on low tables for general illumination. Wattage for this sort of lamp should be up to 250 watts. Click here for a great selection of lamps for every room.

Medium lamps are between 50 – 70 cm (20-27 inches) in height. They can be placed on higher tables or book shelves and should be lit with a 150 watt bulb.

Small lamps are between 40 and 50 cm (15 and 20 inches) and use bulbs from 75 to 100 watts maximum, and are the sort of lamp you would use on a bedside table or wherever available space is tight.

If all of the above seems daunting, and your budget can run to it, then find a home designer or lighting designer to give you some suggestions.

And then, with the lighting itself decided, there is then the equally complex task of picking your lampshades! Here again, it is important to pick your style according to the mood you wish to convey in the room.