The Top Ten Kitchen Design Trends of 2014

Predicting design trends and seeing which ones actually take off with homeowners are two very different things, but with ¾ of 2014 almost gone, it’s safe to say that these have been the year’s top ten most popular kitchen trends:

kitchen design

Image credit: lwk-home.com

  1. Two-tone

Although clean and uniform colours and textures are still popular, there’s been an increase in the number of homeowners choosing two (or more) tone kitchens.

They create a more tactile and aesthetically interesting design and are particularly suited to older homes where owners want modern fittings that don’t compromise the traditional features of their building.

  1. Slim Countertops

Improved cabinet design has opened the door to some inventive restyling of their countertops and now incredibly slim stone, granite, quartz and stainless steel work surfaces have been incorporated into long-popular minimalist designs for an even more streamlined and refined look.

  1. Natural Materials

The rising popularity of two-tone kitchens has made it easier to blend synthetic and natural materials together to create a tactile yet functional, inviting space.

Items like wooden furniture and work surfaces have been combined with fittings like stainless steel splashbacks for sometime, but this look now extends beyond the fixtures to include the natural features of a kitchen space, including exposed brick walls and ceiling beams.

  1. Technology

This trend is perhaps one that’s set to run and run as manufacturers like Siemens, Neff and Mielecontinue to develop kitchen gadgets and appliances that work at the single touch of a button.

Technologically advanced ovens and sinks are practically staple fittings in a new kitchen now, but inventive designers and homeowners are taking things one step further with Smart Wiring that integrates home entertainment systems into the kitchen and which will soon connect smartphone Apps with their appliances for remote access control.

  1. Hideaways

Hideaways go hand in hand with technology. With simple push-touch controls, extractor fans, mini bars, sink units and extending work surfaces are all cleverly concealed within cabinets and islands to be revealed as and when they’re needed.

This design feature helps homeowners capitalise on all of the space they have available which is particularly useful in smaller properties.

  1. Handle-less

Handle-less kitchen units are another design feature that has been established for a few years and shows no sign of declining in popularity simply because they are so functional and aesthetically satisfying.

  1. Feature Lighting

Ambient, task and LED feature lights around cabinet bases and work surfaces continue to be popular, but oversized pendant lights that make a design statement in themselves have featured in many of the latest kitchen designs.

  1. Shabby Chic

The love-worn look of shabby chic kitchens helps to create a cosy, comfortable and inviting kitchen space and its one trend that’s unlikely to ever fall out of favour with homeowners, especially those who see the kitchen as the warm and comforting hub of their home.

  1. Industrial Chic

At first glance, industrial chic may seem at complete odds with the shabby kind, but the latest mixed material and two-tone design trends mean that homeowners can get the best of both worlds.

From copper and brass accessories and lighting that work well with almost any kitchen design, to the full-blown, heavyweight industrial-style cabinets, splashbacks and worktops made popular in loft apartments and warehouse conversions, industrial chic is a style that homeowners can add as little or as much as they like of.

  1. Personalisation

With modern kitchens being of such high quality, they’re really built to last and with longevity in mind, more design choices are being made available to those who want a really personal space for the long-term.

Décor elements are of course included in that umbrella of personalisation, but more importantly, adjustable counter heights, raised ovens and dishwashers, accessible storage and open shelves are making sure that kitchens last through the changing needs of a homeowner’s lifetime.

For further information on innovative kitchen designs, technologically advanced appliances and quality installations, contact the specialists at LWKKitchens.

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On Trend: Rustic Wood – The Restaurants That Have Nailed It

Rustic wood interior and furniture are becoming an increasingly popular choice in restaurants, cafes and bars. Rustic wood can have an array of effects within a restaurant. Some people rely on its worn appearance to create a traditional or pastoral atmosphere. Others use recycled rustic wood to reflect a dining environment that is both sustainable and organic. So if you are thinking about incorporating rustic wood into your restaurant or eatery,here are some great inspirations.

Vapiano Frankfurt, Hanauer Landstraße

Image via Stefan Funke on Flickr

Grill’d

The popular burger chain Grill’d are recognised for their good food and connection to good causes, but they are also renowned for their rustically inspired interiors. Some notable Grill’d restaurants, such as Eagle Street, Brisbane and Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, both designed by TU Projects have used rustic wood to reinforce their commitment to all things fresh and organic.In Grill’d eateries, rustic wood is used to panel wall surfaces and to frame the counter, chalkboard menus and table tops. Grill’d prides itself on using fresh, organic and high quality produce, and this philosophy is certainly reflected in their elegant use of rustic interior.

 

Vapiano

Vapiano, another popular restaurant chain, offers a range of fresh cuisine that is inspired by traditional Italian recipes. The restaurant brings the outdoors indoors by incorporating living olive trees and herb gardens into their restaurants. The traditional Italian inspiration and organic of their food is reflected in their rustic wooden table tops, bar surfaces, shelving and dining stools.EachVapiano restaurant is typified by its sweeping surfaces of rustic wood, that are further embellished with fresh potted herbs that either hang above or sit in the middle of the table.

 

Isa Restaurant

Isa restaurant located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, USA, designed by architect TaavoSomer, is regarded as one of the USA’s greatest rustic restaurants. The restaurant is almost entirely constructed of rustic wood surfaces, most of which were hand crafted by a team of woodworkers. The restaurant uses a range of aged wood, new wood, firewood, plywood and tree branches. The restaurant also incorporates a roof-top garden and drying herbs which are used in meals and to enhance the restaurant’s rustic appeal. The interior is considered as a delicate balance between rugged and refined.

 

Mercato Restaurant

Mercato is a coastal Italian restaurant located in Shanghai, China. The restaurant, designed by Neri&Hu, uses rustic style wooden panels for flooring, ceiling and the surface and sides of the bar. All of the wooden panels are recycled and are used in addition to exposed metal and glass surfaces in order to create an atmosphere that connects the organic,with elegant modernity.This mix of country and chic is also reflected in their menu, whereby family inspired meals are cooked by renowned chefs to achieve a simplistic yet sophisticated style.

If you want to create a dining atmosphere that is bucolic, organic or eco-friendly, you really can’t go past a little bit of rustic inspiration. So what do you think? What do you love so much about rustic wood interiors?

 

By Grace Patterson

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Tiramisu Meltdown, cake for all seasons

Aside from the all-time favorite Chocolate Mousse and Black Forest cakes of Red Ribbon Bakeshop, our family has a new desire when craving for a cake. Tiramisu Meltdown Cake is the recent family’s preference. This sweet food is great to serve as a dessert or snack during a family get together or family bonding on weekends at home and even on special occasions.

 tiramisu meltdown

 

The cake’s soft foamy texture is made of two layers – choco chiffon and cream cheese filling with a hint of coffee liquor. It tastes heavenly good and the whole round cake will not even last for long when my two sons started devouring on it, lol.

 

If you also have a sweet tooth then Tiramisu Meltdown is the cake for you

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How Fast Food Chains are successfully Adapting their Menus to Local Tastes

From Pizza Hut Thailand’s ‘Tom Yum Kung Pizza’ to McDonald’s ‘McKroket’ in the Netherlands, fast food chains are adapting to local tastes and expanding their share of the market in a big way.

fast food chains

Image via en.wikipedia.org

The Glocalisation of Taste Buds

“A brand will not lose its identity while adapting to the local environment”, remarked a retail analyst in one of India’s leading brokerage firms and those words of wisdom are proving remarkably truthful the world over.

There’s long existed the need on the part of fast food chains to adapt, or perhaps more accurately ‘tweak’, their menus to local tastes as part of a strategy to woo locals toward foods as characteristically Western as hamburgers, French fries and pizza.

Whilst many people in the developing world have long had a taste for Western style fast food, there are many upon whom it’s never made much of an impression and they’re the people fast food chains are trying to woo with their menus.

This has proven a success in many developing world countries though there are some notable exceptions; take McDonald’s efforts in China for example.

After introducing the rice burgers that proved remarkably successful in other Asian countries, McDonalds found that it wasn’t localised cuisine that Chinese diners wanted but rather its classic burgers, like the iconic Big Mac and their forever expanding range of cheeseburgers.

However, they’ve made a few changes here and there, most notably swapping pickles for cucumbers and replacing ketchup with a spicier sauce on its localised version of the Quarter Pounder, known locally as the ‘Big N’ Beefy’, which ties in with its local slogan, ‘Feel the Beef’.

 

Japan – Novelty À Gogo!

If you weren’t aware that the Japanese have long loved novelties, this should become immediately apparent upon taking a look at the menus at McDonald’s Japanese restaurants.

The Teriyaki McBurger which is accompanied with a bag of Seaweed Shaker fries is a notable example of how the world’s most famous fast food chain has tweaked its cuisine to cater for local taste buds, as is the Ebi Filet-O, a shrimp burger for which McDonalds enlisted the assistance of ‘Ebi-chan’ – Japanese model Yuri Ebihara – to help popularise.

 

India – The Need for More Spices and Vegetarian Cuisine

A particularly notable example of how fast food chains have had to adapt their menus to local tastes is exemplified by the leading fast food chains’ expansion into India in the late 1990’s.

Expecting huge demand from locals, most found the locals rather unimpressed with their Western offerings with most turning their noses up at hamburgers and pizza in favour of traditional local foods.

However, years of experimentation with localised flavours finally paid off and most international fast food chains are doing a healthy trade in India. According to the chief executive of Jubilant FoodWorks which franchises Domino’s Pizza, “The consumers evolved, the tastes evolved; the menus and formats followed.”

What’s more, as fast food chains have traditionally proffered meat-heavy menus they’ve had to make some notable changes when expanding into India.

Roughly 50 percent of Indian fast food menus are vegetarian and as the majority of the population are Hindu, there’s naturally no beef to be seen on any Indian menu.

McDonald’s opened a chain of ‘100 percent vegetarian restaurants’ in religious cities like Amritsar and every fast food chain operating in India has a ‘paneer’ burger – paneer is an Indian cheese – and at least one burger that’s 100 percent free of any animal products to cater for religious conservatives.

 

The Middle East – A Rapidly Expanding Market

Despite the opinions of many people throughout the Middle East regarding the US and the West, fast food chains have done a roaring trade throughout the Arab world and for some time now it’s been possible to order pizza delivery in Dubai or wander into a southern fried chicken restaurant in Abu Dhabi.

Whilst Western-style fast food has long been popular in the Middle East, there have also been many menu changes including local-style flatbreads on pizza chains’ menus and even traditional salads like tabouleh.

As disposable incomes rise throughout the developing world fast food chains will continue to adapt their menus to local tastes – bring on the glocalisation of taste buds!

 

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Lumpiang Shanghai

lumpiang shanghai

 

Spring rolls or Lumpiang Shanghai is one of the easiest meal to prepare and cook that is well loved by the whole family. It is commonly served in the family table during weekends, parties or get together with friends. Kids especially picky eaters love it, thus it can be included in the weekly menu for our kid’s school packed lunch.

 

Ingredients:
Lumpia wrapper
Ground pork
Salt
garlic, minced
Pepper, ground
Onion, chopped
Parsley or Kinchay, chopped
Egg, beaten
Palm Oil

 

Procedure:
Mix salt, pepper, chopped onion, kinchay, minced garlic, beaten egg and ground pork. 
Put enough amount of the mixture in lumpia wrappers, then roll it.
I use a little water, damp it on the ends of the roll to let it stick or get pasted to avoid also the roll to loosen up.
Fry the rolls until it turns golden brown and crispy. 

Serve while hot with sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy :)
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Easy Family Meal Ideas For Those On A Budget

family meal ideas

Photo credits – https://flic.kr/p/kaBZU5

 

Many people are feeling the financial pinch these days thanks to the unfairness of the current system. Food banks are busier than ever before. Desperate people, who are shouldering an unfair amount of the burden to repay debts created by others, must ask for  food donations to feed their loved ones. it is a shocking state of affairs that one of the richest countries in the world should allow this to happen.

 

Now people are looking for ways to make meals cheaply and easily. Doing so doesn’t mean that they cannot enjoy good food; they just need to broaden their culinary horizons to produce fine food easily.

 

Here are a couple recipes my old grandmother used to make that have been handed down through generations.

 

Beef Wellington

People either love or hate beef wellington. It is an interesting meal where a fillet of beef is covered with puff pastry and baked. Some say that the meat is not cooked enough, and others judge it as being perfect. Try this recipe for yourself and see what your family think. Here are the ingredients for my simple version.

  • Two pound fillet of beef.
  • One pound of puff pastry
  • Egg White
  • Seasoning
  1. Place the fillet of beef in a roasting tin with a little olive oil and cook in the oven on gas mark seven, two hundred and twenty degrees centigrade for fifteen minutes.
  2. Roll out about one third of the puff pastry and place it on a baking tray.
  3. Place the beef onto the pastry
  4. Roll out the rest of the pastry and place it gently over the beef.
  5. Seal the edges of the pastry and trim it where they join.
  6. Brush the pastry with the egg white and place it back into the oven for a further twenty minutes until the pastry is golden.
  7. Let it stand for five minutes before serving.
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