Author: PaulS

Future Garden Trends and Outdoor Cooking on Show at SOLEX

Kettler displays 2019 garden furniture at Solex 2018.

The annual trade show for garden furniture and outdoor living took place at the NEC this July. SOLEX is the best place for industry buyers to see what Kettler will be offering in 2019.

New Garden Furniture Trends

So, what can you look forward to? The Palma range will continue to impress with a new table design set to fire up the garden furniture market.

Our wicker range will expand, with a new family going into garden centres across the UK.

We have new furniture blends, mixing two materials to make one modern set. Our RHS range is set to grow after the success of the wooden garden furniture and Harlow Carr wicker sets (pictured above).

Our new accessories will help you unwind outdoors. We are dipping our toe in new territory, continuing to innovate and improve the garden experience.

The Future of Outdoor Cooking

We introduced the BBQ accessories from the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal range to buyers. The accessories will improve your cooking prowess and inspire your BBQ recipe repertoire.

Chefs from Heston’s Fat Duck Group visited the show for the first time ever and cooked delicious tasters for our guests. They cooked prawns on the Furnace gas BBQ and chicken souvlaki (pictured above) on the spit of the HUB charcoal BBQ.  Not only that, but our customers had a special, private look at the ultimate outdoor cooking machine.

4,000 years in the making, the future of outdoor cooking is coming to the UK…

 

Were You Prepared for the Heatwave?

SOLEX is always a great time for Kettler to not only look forward to the new year’s garden trends, but also reflect on the past year. We saw people flock to their garden furniture when the summer heatwave hit this year. We are proud to help you be ready to relax in these high temperatures on high-quality luxury garden furniture.


Benefits of Gardening & Outdoor Living

How gardening can help you feel good

While a bit of weeding and pruning might not seem like the most energetic of activities, studies show that gardening goes beyond providing a good workout, as it can also be therapeutic and reduce anxiety as well as physical pain.

Research has shown that prolonged light exercise, such as gardening, can burn more calories than a gym session, in spite of feeling much easier to do. This physical exercise, in combination with spending time outdoors being creative and productive, can also improve mood and self-esteem. Amazingly, images and recordings of natural environments alone have been proven to reduce feelings of pain and even improve healing times in hospital wards.

The therapeutic value of gardening is becoming more and more recognised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, which promoted the positive impact of horticulture and green spaces at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, with two Chelsea gardens pledged to NHS patients.

Garden tweaks to improve wellbeing

Aside from green-fingered tasks, there a few tweaks that can make your outdoor space reach its full wellbeing potential:

  • Create space to sit in
    It’s really important to find a place in your garden to enjoy its beauty and serenity. You can choose garden furniture to reflect your taste, making it an elegant and useful part of your living space. Whether it’s with al-fresco meals at a dining set, basking in the glorious sun on a lounger or enjoying some tranquillity with a good book on an outdoor sofa, take the time to relax in your outdoor space.
  • Grow from seed
    Grow plants from seed either on your own or as a fun way to get children to experience the joys of gardening. The enjoyment you get is timeless, and people of all ages will not grow tired of seeing their seedlings germinate and then grow on in the garden.
  • Try your hand at growing fruit and veg
    There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than nurturing tasty fruit and vegetables to put on the kitchen table. Buying vegetable seeds and planting them with your children is an affordable and easy activity for the school holidays and teaches them how food is grown.
  • Fill your garden with plants that welcome wildlife
    By growing flora that attracts bees and butterflies, your garden will become a hive of activity. Plants from the Lamiaceae family, including lavender, rosemary and sage are best as they’re also low maintenance and easy to keep.

For more useful advice, have a look at these handy tips on creating a feel-good garden from RHS award-winning designer Matt Keightley.

The health benefits

Whether you have a lifetime of gardening experience or are just getting started, we’ve created a handy visual guide. From the physical health benefits to improved mental wellbeing, our guide covers the benefits of outdoor living across all age groups.

The benefits of outdoor living don’t stop there either. Having created a beautiful garden, it can be enjoyed in many different ways, from enjoying a morning coffee on a comfy garden chair to hosting BBQs for friends and family.


Winning Gold at the British Triathlon National Championships

Mireille Cook winning Gold at the British Triathlon National Championships.

The triathlon season is now underway with races and competitions taking place across the nation. The sport attracts people of all ages who want to test their endurance in three different disciplines – swimming, cycling and running.

2018 British Triathlon Championships

Last summer we sponsored Mireille Cook, a 42-year-old working mother of 2 and a triathlete. She had a successful year, winning bronze in the Triathlon World Championships. She became European Champion for Standard Distance Triathlon as well as England Sprint Distance Champion in her age group.

This year she hopes to build on the success of the previous summer. On June 10th she entered the Women’s (ages 40-44) British Age-Group Standard Distance Championship race at the British Triathlon National Championships in Leeds. She gave a fantastic performance and won Gold!

Mireille Cook receiving her Gold medal at the British Triathlon National Championships.370 ladies participated in the triathlon over several age groups.  Mireille was the fastest lady on the 36km cycle section in her age group and was the 5th lady overall.

Mireille said of her win, “I am thrilled to be National Champion. I hadn’t competed in a National championship before so I didn’t know what to expect and I know in the UK the field is very competitive. I had been training hard throughout Spring but it was worth it!

Mireille trained for triathlon competition over the Winter and Spring months using her Kettler Racer S Indoor Training Bike. She used her indoor bike for interval training to improve her performance and fitness, ready for the new season. You can read our post on her training for the triathlon season.

Mireille Cook training at home on her Kettler Racer S Indoor Training Bike.

The Half Iron Triathlon and Beyond

Her next big event is in early September at the Triathlon England National Championship for Half Iron Distance. The distance of a half iron triathlon is a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile cycle and a 13.11-mile run (the distance of a half marathon). Mireille is used to running Olympic distance races but a half iron triathlon is a much bigger and therefore more challenging undertaking.

Furthermore, she has qualified for the 2019 European Triathlon Championships in Holland and the 2019 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. With a busy 12 months ahead, we will report back on how Mireille’s training, how she performed and what will come next.

We wish her good luck and look forward to hearing about her experiences in the coming months.


Enjoy the Sunshine with a Portable BBQ

A portable BBQ is ideal for an impromptu outdoor meal. They allow you to easily enjoy an al fresco meal in the privacy of your garden or socialise at the nearby park. Wherever you use it a portable BBQ is the perfect sunshine accessory.

How to Select the Best Portable BBQ

A portable BBQ should include everything you need for outdoor cooking. The perfect mini BBQ would include a space to store and prepare food as well as a lid for securely closing the BBQ during transit.

Portable BBQs come in different styles and sizes. Although many lack the added extras of a larger BBQ, portable models make up for it in design. Some can be placed safely on any surfaces, such as table tops, for added convenience.

It is important to clean the ash out of a portable charcoal BBQ after use. Selecting one with a removable charcoal tray will make this much easier. After you’ve finished the BBQ, douse the hot coals with water to make sure they are cool, wrap them in tin foil, and bin them. However, portable gas BBQs are more convenient with less mess. Just like using a cooker at home, simply turn the gas on and you’re ready to cook.

Camping and Caravanning BBQs

A small camping BBQ brings people together in the great outdoors. Pack your portable BBQ and cook a meal for the family with ease. You can cook an authentic meal over charcoal next to your tent or caravan.

Check the campsite guidelines for rules on cooking on a BBQ. Don’t put the fire too close to your caravan or tent and consider the direction of the wind when placing your BBQ. DO NOT light your BBQ inside your tent – it can not only cause a fire, but it may also create a build-up of carbon dioxide.

BBQ in the City

Got limited space? A portable BBQ can easily be placed on your balcony or set up in a local park to enjoy an urban al fresco meal. Outdoor living is in, regardless of when and where; put the cider on ice and mix the gin cocktails for the perfect summer party.

Invite your friends and head to the park to heat up the portable grill. Parks in the summer have a great atmosphere, filled with plenty of sun-worshippers out to have fun. Beware of people around you – the smell of a good barbecue may cause jealousy. But do make sure you check local guidelines about using a BBQ in a local park before heading out.

BBQ on the Beach

Recreate an Australian BBQ by cooking on the beach. Raised portable BBQs are the best style for beaches as cooking on the sand or pebbles creates lasting heat that can burn other people’s feet once you’ve left. After you have finished cooking, make sure to cover the hot stones or sand.

Disposable vs Portable BBQs

The disposable BBQs at petrol stations are cheap, cheerful, and will work for cooking a bacon sandwich. Although to enjoy the perfect outdoor meal, you’ll need something more substantial.

A disposable BBQ is more likely to char as the food sits close to the fire. Dripping fat will increase the risk of flare-ups which can result in the food looking black instead of brown. You may also find that food sticks to the grill. Disposable BBQs can also burn the grass underneath them and aren’t currently environmentally friendly.

Portable BBQs are easier to use, light, and often include a larger cooking area as well as heat resistant handles. In addition, portable BBQs are more environmentally friendly and some have a very stylish appearance.

Quick and Easy Meals on a Portable Barbecue

Heston’s Cheeseburger

Enjoy a classic burger with Heston Blumenthal’s own recipe cooked on a CUBE BBQ. Melt cheese slices onto beef burgers and serve up with a delicious sauce, vegetables, and brioche burger bun.

Romaine Lettuce Vegetable Wedge

Cook a vegetarian or vegan BBQ meal with the Romaine lettuce vegetable wedge. This delicious, healthy side includes peppers and mushroom as well as a tasty dressing.

Open Face Steak Sandwich

Serve a delicious steak on top of a pain de campagne. Finish with a mustard vinaigrette and blue cheese. Easy to prepare and simple to cook, it is the perfect summer lunchtime meal.


Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Tour the UK

Everdure by Heston UK Tour with free live deonstrations.

If you’re keen to learn more about the future of BBQs and have a love of exciting and unique food, you won’t want to miss our UK tour of FREE live BBQ demonstrations of the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal range.

From Dorset to Cumbria, the talented team behind the UK’s newest innovation in both gas and charcoal BBQs will be touring UK garden centres and department stores providing live cooking demonstrations.

In addition to all of the sumptuous food, there will be exclusive offers, cooking tips and insights into how to get the best from your BBQ and, of course, the finest recipes to sample – such as Chicken chipotle, delicious breakfast muffins and mouth-watering steak with coffee rub.

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal represents the very best in outdoor cooking and comes with the seal of approval from the three-star Michelin chef, who used his 20 years of professional experience in helping design the BBQs.

With the first event starting on May 12th at Beetham Nurseries, Cumbria, to the last demonstration at Brigg Garden Centre in Lincoln on June 1st, the full list of venues, dates and times can be found below.

Whether you’re a newbie to the world of outdoor cooking or a veteran with seasoning, there is no need to book, just turn up and enjoy the flexibility of these state-of-the-art BBQs, as they cook everything from all-day breakfasts to sweet desserts, including Heston’s own unique cuisine!

Those looking to get a head start on the pop-ups can watch BBQ cooking videos here, featuring the impressive BBQs at work and cooking tips (we don’t advise doing so if you’re hungry).


Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ Experience

Steak and bread cooking on a Fusion charcoal BBQ at the Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ experience.

Garden Centres and Department stores from across the UK received an invitation to Bray in Maidenhead to enjoy a hands-on cooking experience with an Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ range. Hosted in the garden of The Crown, Heston’s very own gastropub, the event included chefs from the award-winning Fat Duck Team.

An Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Fusion charcoal BBQ on display at our BBQ experience.

A Hands-On BBQ Experience

The Everdure by Heston Blumenthal range was on full show over the two-day event. Heston’s usual, unique cuisine was cooked on gas and charcoal barbeques. From all-day breakfasts to sweet desserts, guests were taught how to harness these impressive outdoor cooking machines with tasty results.

Staff from John Lewis, Notcutts and other garden centres attended the event. Despite the cold and wet British weather, the enthusiasm on the day showed our passion for a good old-fashioned BBQ.

Unique BBQ Recipes

The event included four cooking stations, each with their own recipe and BBQ. Steak with blue cheese and watercress on toast was cooked on a Fusion charcoal BBQ. Guests cooked an apple tart and full English breakfast on the Force and Furnace gas BBQs.

A Fat Duck chef teaching staff how to cook a full English breakfast on a Furnace gas BBQ.

While we learnt, a suckling pig cooked throughout the day on the built-in rotisserie system of a HUB charcoal BBQ. We then closed the event with pulled pork sliders, with a brioche bun, specially made BBQ sauce and coleslaw. See the full recipe here.

Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Ambassadors

A Fat Duck chef teaching an audience how an Everdure by Heston Blumenthal HUB BBQ works.

Our aim for the event was to show our customers just what you can achieve on our unique BBQs. Look out for our new Everdure “Ambassadors”, ready to inform you of what delicious food they made at our event.

We would like to thank all who attended our BBQ experience. Also, a big thank you to the chefs from the Fat Duck team. They arranged the delicious recipes and imparted their extensive knowledge. We hope this will inspire the whole of the UK to go out and master the heat on their BBQ.


We are LOFAssured

Palma Mini Set in rattan from KETTLER's Casual Dining range in a conservatory

Kettler is now officially LOFAssured.

LOFA is the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association, and we are a member. They give us advice and services to ensure our products are compliant with official regulations so we can create the best furniture for the end consumer.

Fire Safety

The LOFAssured scheme is an audit process which all LOFA members must pass. The scheme ensures we adhere to best business practices. The LOFAssured label means we do everything in our power to comply with the Flammability Regulations. We perform ample due diligence during the manufacturing process, therefore, ensuring our products come readymade for your home.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988 set levels of fire resistance for domestic upholstered furniture, furnishings and other products containing upholstery. It is illegal for furniture not to comply with these regulations.

What is covered?

  • All filling material in upholstered furniture must meet the specified ignition requirement.
  • Upholstery composites must be Cigarette Resistant.
  • Covers/Outer Material must be Match Resistant.
  • Every item of furniture must have a permanent label.
  • A display label must be present at the point of sale.

Safe Garden Furniture

The initiative ensures all cushions comply with Trading Standards as well as FIRA’s (Furniture Industry Research Association) fire safety regulations. With the LOFAssured tag on our garden furniture, you can take comfort in the knowledge that our cushions are up to standard.


A Guide to Training for a Triathlon

Mireille at the Newbury Triathlon 2014.

Last year Kettler sponsored Triathlon athlete Mireille Cook. Mireille competes for Great Britain on an international level. Last summer she won the bronze medal in her age group at the Triathlon World Championships. Her journey from beginner to competitor took two years.

Here is her guide to training for a triathlon:

First Triathlon Experience

I have always been sporty, having played hockey since I was a teenager. But I was always a jack of all trades, master of none! Hockey gave me a great base fitness for running, which is probably my strongest part of triathlon now. The main drive for doing sport though is that I am massively competitive (mainly against myself) and exercise is how I relax.

In the Summer of 2014, (always up for a new challenge!) I decided to take part in a local Sprint Distance Triathlon in my hometown of Newbury. After a few of my friends had done one I was intrigued to try a triathlon. I had no real swim experience but knew that I probably had enough basic fitness to manage the bike and run sections.

I did no training for it and had no proper triathlon kit back then so cobbled together some bits and pieces to be able to do the race. I did the 600m Lido swim in some cycling shorts and a sports bra, then stuck on a t-shirt for the 20k cycle and 5k run. Without a proper road bike, I used my Mountain bike (decidedly non-aerodynamic!) for the bike section.

I absolutely LOVED the event – it was fun, informal, friendly and I really enjoyed the challenge of changing from 1 discipline to another. I don’t know where I finished but it certainly was nowhere near the Podium!

Why triathlon?

Triathlon was something I was aware of, but it wasn’t until friends recommended it that I decided to get involved. There is so much variety with triathlon it is easy to enjoy. Nor do you have to be amazing at 1 particular sport, which was great for me as I was more of an all-rounder.

Triathlon: Beginner to Competitor

The great thing about Triathlon is that anyone can do them, especially the shorter distance events. You just need to be able to swim (any stroke), own a pair of trainers and a bike!  This meant I could take up competing straight away. After the Newbury Triathlon in 2014, I decided I would like to be more competitive. I realised I would need to get better in all 3 disciplines – especially swimming.

I started training properly in the Spring of 2015, which basically consisted of lots of short sessions at the pool, reading/youtube research on swimming and a few lessons. At that point, I started to really enjoy swimming so I joined a club. It all went on from there! Before I knew it, I was fitting in a couple of swim sessions, run sessions and bike rides a week. I just had to learn the art of waking at 6am and getting it done before the family awoke!

 

The triathlon diet

One of the main advantages of training for triathlon is that you generally have a licence to eat as much as you like! It’s definitely a motivator! The only change to my diet is that I make sure I drink lots of water and eat plenty of protein. The hardest thing is that during the race season I tend not to drink much and I do miss being able to enjoy a glass or 2 of wine!

Do you take a break during Christmas?

OH yes! I definitely take a break around Christmas! I think it’s important not to train hard all the time and have a bit of downtime. There is no real routine around Christmas so I just tend to pop out for the odd run to blow away the cobwebs and if the weather is bad I use my Kettler Racer S Indoor training bike, which is perfect for working out whilst watching a movie!


Pulled Pork Slider

Pulled pork burgers cooked from an Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ recipe with decorative gherkins.

Outdoor cooking is more than just a taste experience. The Everdure by Heston Blumenthal pulled pork slider utilises the rotisserie of the HUB or Fusion for a visual experience to make mouths water.

Preparation time: 24h
Cooking time: 4h+
Serves: 4+

Ingredients

For the Suckling Pig:
1.8Kg Suckling Pig
3 Kg Rock Salt

For the BBQ Sauce:
15g Groundnut or grapeseed oil
3 Cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 Banana shallot, peeled and finely chopped
¼ tsp Ground ginger
¼ tsp Powdered allspice
¼ tsp Mustard powder
¼ tsp Cayenne pepper
¼ tsp Smoked paprika
210g Tomato passata
100g Cider vinegar
120g Demerara sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Golden syrup
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Black pepper

Method

  1. Dry the skin of the pig. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the skin in a cross hatch direction. Using the salt, massage the skin of the pig ensuring that it is covered in salt.
  2. Place some of the salt on the bottom of a large container. Place the pig on top and sprinkle the remainder of the salt on top to cover. Allow to stand for 2 hours.
  3. After the time has elapsed, remove the pig from the salt and scrub off the excess salt. Dry the skin with kitchen towels and place in the fridge overnight.
  4. Set up the bbq by filling the tray with charcoal and igniting it. In the meantime, rub vegetable oil on the surface of the pig. Place the pig on the middle setting of the rotisserie function and allow to rotate for 1 hour.
  5. Move the rotisserie to its highest setting and continue to rotate for approximately 3 to 3.5 hours while topping up the charcoal as necessary, making sure the heat is evenly distributed.
  6. For the BBQ sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and sweat until soft (approximately 7 minutes).
  7. Put in the dry spices, and continue to cook for 2 minutes, stirring to incorporate them. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a blender and blitz for 30 seconds until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and allow to cool. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
  9. Lower the pig on the rotisserie back to the middle setting for the last 30 min of cooking.
  10. Mix with BBQ sauce and serve the pulled pork slider in the Brioche buns.

Honey and Red Wine Vinegar Rotisserie Leg of Lamb

Heston's own Honey and Red Wine Vinegar Rotisserie Leg of Lamb and vegetables cooked from an Everdure by Hetson Blumenthal BBQ recipe.

Cook Heston’s own Honey and Red Wine Vinegar Rotisserie Leg of Lamb on your Everdure by Heston Blumenthal BBQ. Serve with charred vegetables for the complete barbeque taste.

Ingredients

For the Lamb:
3g        Star anise
4g        Fennel seeds
20g      Parsley leaves
10g      Tarragon leaves
10g      Garlic cloves, peeled
3g        Fennel pollen
50g     Olive oil
10g      Salt
1          Boned leg of lamb

For the Garnish:
2          Bulbs of fennel
12        Purple baby carrots
100g    Unsalted butter
50g      Honey
2 Litres water with 10g salt

Method

  1. For the lamb, toast star anise and fennel seeds in a pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and using a pestle and mortar grind to a fine powder.
  2. In a blender add the parsley & tarragon leaves, garlic cloves, star anise and fennel seed powder, plus the fennel pollen. Blitz on low speed while slowly adding the olive oil. Continue to mix until smooth. Season with salt.
  3. Place the leg of lamb on a chopping board and open so that it is flat against the board. Rub the marinade on all sides of the leg. Place in a container and cover. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.
  4. Remove from the fridge and roll the leg back to form a log. Using butcher’s twine, tie the leg together. Place the rod from the spit through the middle of the leg and fasten using the Cliplock Forks.
  5. Place the charcoal in the tray of the HUB barbeque, following the instructions in the user manual for ignition.  Press the ignition button on the front of the barbeque. Place the rod back on the rotisserie poles at height level 3, and press the rotisserie button also on the front of the barbeque.
  6. Continue to add coals throughout the three to four hour cooking time. Baste the leg of lamb with the honey.
  7. Using a thermometer probe as well as an infrared thermometer gun, check that the temperature reaches approximately 60°C on the outside of the meat while reaching 56°C on the core. This will be achieved by moving the charcoal around during the cooking process.
  8. Once the temperature has been reached, remove the leg of lamb from the rotisserie and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest on a cooling rack over a tray for 30 minutes.
  9. During this time the lamb will continue to cook reaching a final temperature of approximately 60°C.
  10. For the Garnish, slice fennel top to bottom about 1cm thick and cut the carrots in half lengthways. Reserve the fennel to be cooked on the barbeque.
  11. For the carrots, place them in a medium pan with butter and cover. Place over medium heat and cook until the carrots are cooked but firmed to the touch.
  12. While the leg of lamb is resting, place the carrots and fennel on the grill of the HUB and cook until charred and cooked. Glaze the carrots with some of the cooking butter.
  13. To serve, place the vegetables on a serving platter and place the slices of the leg of lamb on top.