The Breville Automatic Tea Maker & Kettle Review

Breville-one-touch-tea-makerI have fallen in love – with my new Breville Automatic tea maker.

Paula and I went out to our favourite tea store ‘Adore’ in Federation Square. We had run out of our favourite herbal teas –  French Earl Grey Tea and Evening Mist, both very nice blends with a floral hint.

On the counter was this great looking The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
priced at $299.00. I kept being drawn to the tea maker, just as intended by the shop owner of course. I could certainly see a use for this item in my household.

We finished making our tea purchases and headed to the cafe nearby for a milkshake and to discuss whether or not we should buy the tea maker, keeping in mind we would have to buy two, one for each household.  Paula went online and found the same item at David Jones, a local department store, for $249.99. So we  headed off to DJ’s.

The Breville Tea Maker can also be found for $249.99 on Amazon.

We couldn’t wait to get home to try it out. And we were not disappointed.

Getting Started

As with any new appliance – read the directions first. There is a quick start guide included and we simply followed the instructions on that.

So we set the power base onto a flat surface then performed a cleaning cycle with just plain water – no tea.

You do not add the tea basket for this initial clean.

Fill the jug with water up to the 1500ml mark, replace the lid and insert the power cord into the power.

The tea maker has a short power cord that I find ideal as I don’t have to wind up long lengths of cord which has to be tucked out of the way.  The cord also has a unique assist plug, which has a convenient finger hole which makes it easy to remove from the power socket.  If you require a longer cord, these are available from Breville.

The LCD lights on the power base will light up.

  • Press the up arrow to select 100°C (212°F)
  • Press the ‘Hot Water’ button to start.

Once the first lot of water has boiled simply discard it and your tea maker is now ready for use.

Making the tea

Okay, so far so good. Now for the next step – Making the tea.

At this point we hadn’t added the basket but once you start making tea you simply lift the basket out of the glass carafe, by the sides.

Pop off the basket lid and add tea leaves.  There is a plastic measuring spoon included and as I like very weak tea I only add a ½ a teaspoon. But you can make your teas as weak or as strong as you like.

Fill the jug with the amount of water you need. It’s generally only Paula and I having a cuppa so I fill the jug to the 750ml water line, 1200ml is the max recommended fill line.

Slip the tea basket onto the post in the jug and pop on the jug lid.

Now simply select the tea type which helps your tea maker to determine the brew temperature.

Select the tea strength – there are 4 modes:

  • Strong
  • Medium
  • Mild
  • Custom

Whichever one you choose determines the brew time.

Now press the ‘Tea/Cancel’ button to start the tea making process.

Now this is the really groovy part. Once the water reaches the correct temperature, the tea basket will automatically lower down into the water. Then as soon as the brew time has elapsed the tea basket will automatically rise out of the water and the machine will beep to let you know that your tea is ready.

Then you simply pour and enjoy.

How simple is that?

There is also a Keep Warm button the will keep the brewed tea or the heated water warm for up to 60 mins. Ideal if you are doing something you want to finish before sitting down to have your cup of tea. And because the tea basket isn’t sitting in the brew, it wont become bitter as with a normal teapot.

Do we think it is a worthwhile purchase – yes we do.

So what do you get in the box

  • One Power Base
  • One short Power Cord
  • One German Made Schott stain resistant glass kettle
  • One jug lid with stainless steel scale filter
  • One tea scoop
  • One stainless steel tea basket and lid

The Power Base

The power base has all the function controls to make the perfect cup of tea.

  • Auto Start
  • Keep warm
  • basket

Tea Type Selection Button for the following tea types

  • Green
  • Black
  • White
  • Herbal
  • Oolong
  • Custom

There are buttons that allow you to override both  the preset brew temperatures and the preset brew times.

The back-lit LCD displays both the brew temperature and brew time.

The Tea Strength Button has preset times for:

  • Strong
  • Medium
  • Mild
  • Custom

There is a Hot Water/Cancel button

  • This allows you to use the tea maker as a variable temperature kettle.

The Tea/Cancel

  • This button activates the tea brewing cycle

You can purchase this great appliance from Amazon and take advantage of their Free super Saver Shipping.

Need to see it in action?  Here are a couple of videos to help you see how great this appliance is.


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Welcome to the Wonderful World of Home Canning!

All American Pressure Canner 21 qtI recently purchased an All American Pressure Canner Cooker and all I can say is what a fantastic piece of kitchen equipment it is. It’s not my first pressure canner but it is certainly the best I have ever owned.

So I thought that it might be a nice idea to give you some ideas so that you can see how easy it is to home can and how it will save you money.

Canning is both a treasured American tradition and an excellent way to share your best homemade goodies with family and loved ones. Home canned vegetables are at least as good as store bought ones, and even better when you have grown them yourself or bought them fresh from a local farmer. Canned foods have a substantial advantage over frozen in that they require no expensive equipment to keep them—just a shelf in a cool, dark, dry place.

If you are a first-time canner you might feel frustrated while you’re getting the hang of it, but after a little experience you’ll find yourself doing it with confidence and skill. You will find few sights more pleasing than the rows of sauces, jams, vegetables, and other foodstuffs that you’ve produced!

Firstly – A Little History

Early in the Napoleonic Wars at the beginning of the 19th century, the French government offered a large cash prize to anyone who could invent an affordable way to preserve large amounts of food. In 1809, Nicolas Appert rose to the challenge after noticing that food cooking inside a properly sealed jar didn’t spoil. As a professional confectioner and brewer, he devised a way to seal food inside glass jars with near-perfect consistency.

Home canning emerged as an industry with the Mason jar, patented in 1858. Ever since then it’s been an American folkway to home can pickles, preserves, and other delicious foodstuffs for stocking pantries and sharing gardens with friends and neighbors.

Getting Started

Good planning is the secret to satisfying canning. Be prepared with all the utensils, ingredients, and information you’ll need before starting. Begin with more than enough time, so you don’t run the risk of cutting corners on processing times should any step go long.

Norpro Home Canning KitUse the following equipment, making sure that everything is clean:

  • Jars (Most processing times specify using pint or quart jars. Both are available with either a wide or regular mouth. Wide mouths are easier to fill, but cost slightly more than regular jars. Test all jars by running your finger around the lip. If there are any cracks or flaws, the jars are not up to canning standards and will not seal.)
  • Two part jar lids—a screwband and a one-use lid (Screwbands can be stored in a dry place and used again next year. Don’t reuse the domed lids, however, as the rubber inside is only good for one sealing.)
  • An inexpensive jar lifter for removing hot jars from a pressure canner
  • Hot pads
  • Canning funnel
  • Knives
  • Cutting boards
  • Kettle
  • Colander
  • For boiling water bath canning, a deep kettle with a lid and rack
  • A teapot for adding hot water as necessary
  • If pressure canning, a pressure canner and rack

Preparing Food and Jars for Canning

  1. Clean the food. If needed, cut it into uniform pieces. For raw-pack processing, set prepared food aside. For hot-pack processing, place food in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Simmer 2 to 5 minutes.
  2. Sterilize clean jars by filling them with hot (not boiling) water and lowering them onto a rack in a water-filled pot. Make sure there’s at least one inch of water above the rims. Bring water to a boil and keep it there for ten minutes. Keep jars consistently hot throughout the process.
  3. Remove a jar, empty it, and fill it immediately with food. If using raw-pack method, pack it tightly. If using the hot pack method, fill the warm jar loosely.
  4. Add very hot water, syrup, or juice, according to the recipe, until it covers the food. Allow proper headroom.
  5. Remove air bubbles by inserting a non-metallic utensil and firmly pressing the food.
  6. Carefully wipe the jar rim with a clean towel to allow for a good seal.
  7. Apply the lid and secure it with the screw-ring.
  8. Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5 until all jars are filled. Reserve water used to sterilize the jars for the canning process.

Boiling Water Bath Canning

A boiling water bath is the cheapest and easiest method of canning for preserving high-acid foods. These include all fruits, all pickles, and those vegetables to which vinegar has been added, raising the acidity to a sufficient level. Warning: DO NOT use boiling water bath canning for other vegetables—they absolutely must be pressure canned. That said, here’s how to water bath can your high-acid foods:

  1. Lower your packed and prepared jars into simmering water with a jar lifter. The jars should stand on a rack placed at the bottom of the pot. Note that cold jars should be put into water that is warm but not yet hot; they will crack if exposed to a sudden change in temperature.
  2. Add enough water to cover the jars by 2 or 3 inches. Put on the pot lid, bring the water to a roiling boil, and then begin counting the processing time.
  3. When the recommended time is up, remove the pot from the heat and take out the jars with a lifter. Old jars should be treated with extra care, so leave them in the water until the boil has stopped. Be careful not to knock your jars together—they break easily when hot! Don’t cover the cooling jars.
  4. Leave the jars to sit until they have cooled thoroughly, then test the seal. Do this by pressing hard on the center of each lid. If the lid does not move downward or give, your seal is complete. (Any unsealed goods can be refrigerated and eaten within a day or two.)
  5. Store the jars in a cool, dry, dark place for no more than a year.

Canning Safety

Never taste even a bit of canned food that you suspect may be spoiled. Examine jars carefully to detect signs of spoilage, which may include:

  • Mold on the outside of the jar
  • Food leakage
  • Mold inside the lid
  • Darkly discolored food
  • Food that appears shriveled, spongy, slimy, or cloudy
  • Liquid that seems to bubble
  • An off odor
  • Contents that shoot out of the jar when opened

If you think that any of your unopened food has spoiled, detoxify the food and the jars before disposing of them. Do this by placing the unopened jar in a pot of boiling water for 30 minutes. If the jar has been opened, empty the contents into a saucepan, thin them with water, and boil for 30 minutes. Boil the empty jar in water separately, then recycle—do not reuse!

Finally, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water immediately after handling any spoiled food or contaminated item.

Additional Tips for Successful Canning

  • Add butter to jelly, jam, and preserves to prevent foam from forming during the cooking process. If you leave the butter out, skim off the foam before ladling the cooked food into jars.
  • Measure all the sugar into a bowl before beginning the recipe. Many canning recipes call for a large volume of sugar to be added when a mixture is already boiling; measuring ahead simplifies this step and prevents mistakes.
  • Use a ruler to measure volume. Some recipes call for a mixture to be reduced by a certain amount. To ascertain this easily, insert a clean, wood ruler into the pan before cooking and measure how far up the mixture comes. Then cook as directed until it has reduced by the percentage specified. For example, if uncooked mixture measures 4 inches in pan and recipe says to reduce by half, cook it down to 2 inches.
  • Do not double the recipes. If you want to make more, cook successive batches.

Recipes

We suggest starting your home canning adventure with some basic fruit preserves—they’re some of the easiest, least technical, and most popular canned goods. Your early success will inspire you to keep learning!

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 5 cups crushed ripe strawberries
  • 4 cups sugar

Directions

Place strawberries and sugar in a heavy saucepan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes 3 ½ cups.

Options: Add ¼ cup of lemon juice or your favorite liqueur, 2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest, or ¼ cup minced mint or tarragon.

Apple Jelly

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 pounds cooking apples (about 12 medium)
  • 6 cups sugar

Directions

Cut lemons in two and slice thinly, removing pits.

Soak in water overnight.

Cook over moderate heat until peel is tender, about ten minutes. Peel and core apples, then cut into thin slices.

Combine apples, sugar, and lemons with their liquid. Bring to a boil while stirring. Reduce heat and cook until thick, about thirty minutes.

Ladle into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes 4 16-ounce jars.

Grape Jelly

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds grapes
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 3 ounces of liquid pectin

Directions

Sort, wash, and stem ripe grapes. Crush them in a pot or kettle, add ½ cup of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes. Turn into a damp jelly bag and drain well; do not squeeze.

Hold the juice overnight in a cool place, then strain through 2 thicknesses of damp cheesecloth to remove the crystals that form.

Measure four cups of juice into a large kettle, add the sugar and mix well.

Bring quickly to a full boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the pouch of pectin, bring again to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minute.

Remove from heat, quickly skim off the foam, and pour the jelly into hot ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch of headroom. Cap with a screwband lid.

Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath, then cool upright and naturally.

Orange Spice Marmalade

Ingredients

  • 8 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • Water as needed
  • 9 cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

Cut lemons and oranges in half lengthwise, then into thin slices, removing pits as you go. Measure and add 1 ½ cups water for each cup of fruit. Soak overnight.

In the morning, bring fruit, spices, sugar, and water to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Ladle marmalade into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Makes about 6 cups.


We invite you to read our review on the All American Pressure Canner/Cooker

VillaWare Petite Belgian Waffle Iron – Makes Great Belgian Waffles

belgian-waffle-iron

The Petite Belgian Waffle Iron is no longer available.

 

Looking for a waffle iron that makes waffles that are just the right size for the kids well the VillaWare  Petite Belgian Waffle Iron could just be the machine for you. But there is no reason mom and dad can’t have their share as well, you just might need to consume a few more.

The waffles cook very quickly in fact you can make  three 3 1/2 inch Belgian waffles  in less than three minutes.41p088366tl_aa280_.jpg

We all love waffles and know just how great they are for breakfast or as a sweet dessert with a topping of whipped cream and/or ice-cream and fruit.

There are seven temperature settings and two browning levels so that you can get the result that you like. And when your waffles are cooked the is a chime that lets you know they are done.

The durable non stick grids are simple and  easy-to-clean.It is recommended that you handwash only.

The VillaWare UNO Petite Belgian Waffle Maker creates three 3.5-inch round waffles that are just the right size for kids, smaller appetites, or for desserts. These miniature waffles have deep pockets for holding syrup or luscious toppings, like fresh fruit.

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Where Can I Read the reviews?
Amazon.com

REVIEW: Braun Multiquick Professional Hand Blender – MR5550CA

Braun Professional Multiquick Hand Blender Review - MR5550CABraun have done well with this hand blender. With its powerful 400 watt motor and five blending speeds this handy blender provides greater control and increased power for better results all round.

However, it’s important to remember at the outset that the Braun Multiquick Professional Hand Blender and not a food processor so this does provide some limitations on what it can do with it. For instance, you will have to chop up some foods into smaller pieces before using it.

This blender is really for working on those smaller chops like whipping cream, making baby food and purees, whisking egg whites, making drinks or chopping small lots of herbs or vegetables. For anything more stick with a food processor.

What’s Included

  • hand blender
  • chopper – for chopping meats, vegetables, cheeses, onions, herbs, nuts etc.
  • metal whisk – for whipping cream, beating egg whites and mixing instant puddings etc.
  • covered beaker
  • wall holder

What We Like

  • Apart from the main gear box, all other parts are dishwasher safe. If you have to hand wash then be careful as the blades are mighty sharp.
  • It has a powerful 400 watt motor.
  • As well as the five blending speeds it also includes a Turbo button that allows you to automatically move up to the top speed blending speed.
  • It comes with anti-splash head which prevents foods from splattering around your kitchen.

Want to Read More Reviews?

You can read more reviews for the Braun Multiquick Professional Hand Blender at Amazon

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?

We found the best price at Amazon

REVIEW: Cuisinart DCC-1200 12 Cup Brew Central Coffeemaker

Cuisinart 12 Cup Brew Central Coffee MakerThis Cuisinart DCC-1200 12-Cup Brew Central Coffeemaker is another in a long line of Cuisinart products that has received rave reviews from consumers on the internet.

With its brushed stainless steel exterior  and value for money features it matches good looks with functionality.

This is a 12 cup coffee maker and uses the same brewing system as found in commercial coffee makers.

This is a solid coffee maker that has some great little features including a warming plating with adjustable temperature control, a 1-4 cup option to provide maximum flavor and a programmable function so you can have your coffee ready for you as soon as you get up in the morning.

What We Like

  • The coffee maker is programmable so you can have a cup of coffee ready and waiting for you when you wake up in the morning.
  • It comes with a three year warranty.
  • You can program the coffee maker to turn off the warming plate up to four hours in advance.
  • The coffee maker stops brewing as soon as you remove the carafe from the warming plate so you can grab a quick cup before it finishes brewing.
  • You don’t need to use paper filters in this machine – it comes with a Gold Tone filter.
  • The coffee maker lets you now when it needs de-calcification with an indicator light.
  • The machine lets you know that the brew is ready with five beeps.
  • The heating plate is scratch resistant and has a nonstick coating.
  • The LCD display shows the time of day and auto on and off times.
  • The warming plates temperature is adjustable.

Want to Read More Reviews?

You can read more reviews for the Cuisinart 12 Cup Brew Central Coffee Maker at Amazon

WHERE CAN I GET THE BEST PRICE?

We found the best price at Amazon