It is the simple things in life that we take for granted. Like knowing that your electric kettle, once boiled, will switch off. It is something that many of us have probably never thought about, or paid any attention to, but it makes a substantial difference to our lives. How many times have you filled the kettle, switched it on, gone off and done something else and completely forgotten about it only to come back later to a kettle that needs reboiling? At least once a day for me. My morning routine is to fill the kettle, switch it on, get into the shower and then come back to the kitchen and make coffee.
If you have ever accidentally let a pan boil dry, or have had a faulty kettle you will know just how much steam, and then condensation, a small amount of water will produce. All hail the automatic electric kettle and its ability to switch itself off.
Things were not always so simple, the first electric kettles would carry on boiling until you switched them off (I remember my parents’ “emergency” kettle – a classic, and ancient, Russell Hobbs model inherited from an aged relative – used for a few days when the regular kettle broke) did not have an auto shut off, you had to watch it until it boiled, and then switch it off. Given how often we use kettles, not just for hot drinks, but for boiling water for cooking vegetables or pasta, to help clear the drains, even for washing when the boiler breaks down, the automatic switch off is an essential function.
I was recently asked by Russell Hobbs to a party to celebrate 60 years of the automatic electric kettle, and to have a peek at their newest models.
The iconic metal K2 kettle (second from the left behind the flowers) immediately bought back so many memories. My parents had a K2 in their kitchen for years when I was growing up and for half my adult life, I had taken a K2 to university with me, where it made many pots of coffee, mugs of tea, cup-a-soups (and possibly the occasional pot noodle). I’d made life long friends when bonding with drinks made in a K2 kettle.
Tim Wright, European Vice President, gave us a short history of the company – Engineers Bill Russell & Peter Hobbs, after serving in the Army, worked for rival small appliance companies, in 1952 they formed their own company and invented the first automatic electric kettle in 1952, the K1, which was followed in 1960 but the iconic K2. As well as kettles they sold coffee percolators and moved on to other small domestic appliances.
Of course a birthday party needs some cocktails to go with it and we were treated to 3 cocktails, appropriately inspired by tea and coffee, and named after Russell Hobbs kettles, past and present.
- The “Legacy” cocktail – vodka, Kahlua, coffee and Aztec chocolate bitters
- The “K1 Classic” – gin, lime juice, cucumber and tea infused dill syrup (and my favourite)
- The Russell Hobbs’ Diamond – vodka, green tea, peach and basil
To go with the cocktails were canapes and sweet treats(including meringues and a macaron tower) enjoyed whilst listening to the dulcet tones of a trio singing 1950’s & 1960’s classics whilst enjoying the splendid view across the Thames of St Paul’s Cathedral as early evening turned to night.
Want to know more? Read Sarah’s account of the evening here and get her recipe for green tea and miso noodles.
I have a breakfast set set from the Legacy collection, including a kettle, coffee machine and toaster to be won by one Fuss Free Flavours reader – you can pick your choice of red, black or cream.
We’ve recently being trying out the new Legacy toaster: –
This toaster would look superb on any kitchen counter. The gleaming, silver body is elegantly curved giving it a modern twist on an art deco design. Four slots and its claim to toast 48% faster, means this small appliance is perfect for a busy household who like to give their toaster a daily workout. Its wider slots mean you can easily toast a thicker slice of bread or a bagel without setting off your smoke alarm and it also has a defrost button for toasting straight from the freezer.
Win Russell Hobbs Legacy Breakfast Collection – Toaster, Kettle & Coffee Maker RRP £135
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Event coverage and post sponsored by Russell Hobbs. All opinions my own.