After some in-depth research around the Zip™ offices and factory, we have created our very own top 10 seasonal and fireside music tracks that help us get into the fire lighting mood. What are some of your favorites? We at Zip™ would love to hear your suggestions. Share on our Facebook wall, tweet or email us to see your favorite fireside songs added to our playlist!
With cozy fire season around the corner, now is a great time to enjoy the fun of roasting marshmallows!
What better childhood memory is there than warming up by the fire and indulging in the sheer joy of sticky, gooey roasted marshmallows! Most of us know and love s'mores, that irresistible snack of roasted marshmallows sandwiched between two graham crackers and a hunk of chocolate. Did you know we even have a National S’mores Day on August 10th? And while it's easy to toast marshmallows over a crackling fire, have you ever wondered just how and where marshmallows came to be?
Marshmallow candy originated in ancient Egypt, where it was used as a medicinal product. It was a honey candy, flavored and thickened with sap from the marshmallow plant. This plant grew on salt marshes and near large bodies of water. According to Viable Herbal Solutions, “Nineteenth century doctors extracted juice from the roots of the marshmallow plant, cooked it with egg whites and sugar, whipped it into a foamy meringue, left it to cool and harden, and used it to soothe children’s sore throats.”
This method was used until the mid-1800's, when the French invented its more modern form of a marshmallow confection – a cross between a medicinal lozenge and a bonbon. Unfortunately, once the healing properties of the gooey marshmallow root juice were no longer needed, its use as an ingredient was lost to history.
At the same time, confectioners wanted to find a new, faster way to make marshmallows. The marshmallow root was replaced by more stable gelatin. Today’s marshmallows are now a sweet confection and are a mixture of corn syrup or sugar, gelatin, gum arabic, and flavorings.
Marshmallows gained in popularity, and by the 1920's they inspired edible novelties such as Moon Pies – as well as other products to satisfy the sweet tooth, namely the incredible, spreadable Marshmallow Fluff. Some marshmallow companies even created whimsical countertop toasters to give their powder-white sweets that beautiful golden brown hue.
In 1948, marshmallow manufacturer Alex Doumak began experimenting with different methods of making marshmallows and revolutionized marshmallow production with the “extrusion process”. Using this process, marshmallows were made by piping the fluffy mixture through long tubes and cutting its tubular shape into equal pieces.
Today we enjoy these delicious confections as white and pink puffs of deliciousness, all thanks to the ancient Egyptians and some ingenious inventions along the way.
If this makes you crave something sweet, why not make a cozy warm fire this evening and satisfy your inner kid's sweet tooth with some toasted marshmallows?
Elevate the humble marshmallow by making S’mores. It's easy! Just:
Now you can enjoy this traditional treat anytime – campfire or no campfire! Click here to find out more
Planning a camping trip or grill out? Stay prepared!
Get all warm and cosy when the nights are drawing in with this hearty pumpkin soup.
50g pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 onions, cut into wedges
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large potato, sliced
1 litre water
2 or 3 cubes chicken stock, crumbled
250ml double cream
1 1/4 tablespoons ground nutmeg, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste
A summer sandwich spectacular!
For the chicken
For the sauce
A delicious sweet and sour take on the traditional grilled sausage
For the sauce
There’s nothing like a juicy, delicious burger to make your Grill.
Here’s our favorite recipe for the ultimate one!
For the hamburger
For the burger sauce
Making s’mores is a longstanding past time enjoyed all over the Country, here is our guide to making this delicious campfire treat!
For a simple and convenient way to enjoy s’mores anytime click here to view our S’morezy Roasting Log.
Over the Campfire
We have perfected this warming soup recipe over the years, and there is simply no better place to enjoy this wholesome healthy meal then in front of your cozy open fire on a cold winter day. Comfort food at its best - we hope you enjoy!
Serves 2 big bowls.
There is nothing like a warm fire and a whisky in the wintertime to thaw those frozen hands and feet. This quick recipe is for adults only… both young and old. Sit back in front of the fire with a glass of this spiced whiskey and let it warm you inside and out!
This works great under the broiler, but if you prefer trying this on your grill, just wrap the bananas individually in aluminum foil before placing on the grill for a yummy desert.
The perfect hearty treat to warm you up on those chilly winter nights. A delicious meal to enjoy on a Sunday in front of the roaring fire.
Tender marinated chicken to make your grill feast a real show stopper!
Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to make a sticky sauce.
Place the chicken wings in a single layer in a wide, shallow, non-reactive dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover with plastic cling wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.
Heat your grill or griddle pan until hot. Cook the wings for 15–20 minutes, turning often, until dark and the juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a skewer. If cooking on a griddle, finish the wings in the oven at 350 F for 10 – 15 minutes to ensure they’re cooked through.
After a long winter’s day, warm up in front of your fire with this decadent chocolate fudge treat!
Prep: 20min › Cook:40min › Ready in:1hr
Comforting and indulgent, a delicious sweet treat for those days when you need warming up!
Prep:20min › Cook:1hr › Ready in:1hr 20min
The chimney sweep has been around for hundreds of years, and is still an important and crucial profession. The early Romans first made the switch from a single fire in the center of a room to an isolated fireplace to heat buildings and cook indoors, but it was not until 16th century England that the trend of fireplaces and chimneys really caught on.
Do you ever sit in front of your fire and wonder how did those little boys ever got up and down the chimneys to clean them?
In Victorian times, it was the Master Sweep’s responsibility for cleaning the chimneys. He took on orphans, parish boys, sometimes parish girls to be apprentices and trained them to climb and clean the chimneys. On rare occasions when times were extremely tough some children were sold into the trade by their families.
The conditions for these children were harsh and often cruel. They would sleep in cellars on bags of soot and seldom bathed. Casualties were frequent: years of accumulated soot and grime produced cancers and lung problems, choking or suffocating to death through dust inhalation, or getting stuck in the chimneys while attempting to clean them.
One incident in particular led to a change in UK law. In February 1875, 12-year-old George Brewster was sent up Fulbourn Hospital chimney by his master. He got stuck and the entire wall had to be pulled down to get him out. Although he was still alive when rescued, he sadly died shortly after. Lord Shaftesbury seized on the incident to raise awareness of the living and working conditions of these small child sweeps, and in 1875 drove through a new act to protect them in the Houses of Parliament. The new Act required chimney sweeps to be authorized by the police to carry out their business. This Act provided the legal means to enforce previous legislation that was often ignored.
The history of chimney sweeping in the USA is not so different from the United Kingdom. The American homeowner would often sweep their own chimney; however, climbing boys were used for longer flues, and as in the UK, coercion and persuasion were used by burning straw and sticking pins in the feet and buttocks.
The nature of housing was very different from England. Early settler houses were built closer together and constructed of wood, meaning that when one caught fire, the devastation quickly spread between buildings. As a result of this problem, the authorities regulated the design of flues and fire marshals and inspectors were appointed early on.
Over the years we have collected lots of tips, either from our own personal experience or sent in by our loyal Zip™ customers. Here are a few that we thought would be especially helpful to you.
Winter fires or candles on the mantelpiece tend to leave a black or brown sooty residue on the walls.
We find that modern cleaning products sometimes stain or bleach walls or wallpaper. Our top tip is to clean this soot away with soft, fresh sliced white bread. Just gently dab the soot. Do not wipe, as this will cause smearing and leave bread crumbs everywhere. Don’t forget that Zip™ has a great Soot Reducer product to avoid this problem in the first place!
For those with respiratory problems such as asthma or bronchitis, an indoor fire can dry out the air, causing or triggering breathing difficulties. Keep a bowl of water in the room when the fire is lit to humidify the air and help ease breathing. This tip also applies to central heating.
To enjoy a fresh fragrance in your room, put some orange peels on top of your wood burning stove or mantelpiece. The peels give off a delicious citrus fragrance as they dry. You can pitch those modern chemical air fresheners!
Animals, insects, and birds often get stuck in chimneys. This can cause the animal a great deal of distress. If the animal dies while stuck in your chimney, it will block the chimney, reducing efficiency, and will also cause smoke, ash, and debris to spread into your home. Not to mention the terrible smell...
A flue cap on top of your chimney should keep animals and birds from getting in, and it also helps protect your chimney from inclement weather.
Some ash can be used as a lawn and garden fertilizer to provide soil nutrients and reduce acidity. It can be used on compost piles to maintain neutral acidity levels. Some people use ash to provide traction on icy driveways and sidewalks. Excess wood ash can also be taken to public disposal sites.
There’s nothing worse than turning your meat and finding that your delicious steak sticks to the grill. A top tip for making your grill non-stick is to cut an onion in half and rub across the grill for a quick and easy solution to a mess-free barbeque!
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