DIY Christmas gifts

Posted in: Uncategorized

In the wake of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here are some DIY foodie gifts you can do from the kitchen, mostly. From homemade Almond, orange & cranberry granola in a super stylish Skandi jar to spicy nuts in a kitsch sugar shaker. Show your love with design led DIY that lasts beyond the Quality Street bucket. And with treats that won’t have you sweating out all of January in the gym.Noel-bull

 

Cranberry & lemon amoretti are a great Christmas failsafe: Festive fare, deliciously indulgent, yet healthy (high protein, low carb, no refined sugar) and so easy an ape could be trusted to make them. You can’t go wrong with Spicy nuts for a New Year’s eve boozy or juicy pairing and Cacao nut energy balls are great for those determined to avoid sugar overload.

Christmas-Gather-&-Gather-bags

Cox-&-Cox

I recently designed the above sweetie bags for Gather & Gather’s extensive cafes and restaurants, but Cox & Cox do an exhaustive supply of ribbons and wrapping to inspire the least creative and most time pressed among us. Something as simple as a ribbon tied jam jar, cellophane or greaseproof looks great and is super easy.

If wrapping paper wrestling’s not your thing, however, or if you need something that really tap dances, here’s my pick of the best buys to house and gift your wholesomely seductive recipes:

 

Sugar-shaker-&-storage-jar

Two containers to fill the fussiest of friends or hosts with glee. Ideal for Spicy nuts or Almond, orange & cranberry granola – the perfect boxing day breakfast.

Airtight and stackable stoneware jars, available in various colours from £32, Skandium.
Rocket St George sugar shaker, £7.50.

 

Skandium-salt-&-spice-grinder

Dr-Pepper

These have to be hands down the most covetable salt and spice grinders I’ve set eyes on. Made for my famous Sesame & rosemary spice.

2 pack grinder £45, Skandium. Sergeant Pepper grinder (£15) and oven gloves (£22), Rocket St George.

 

The recipes I’ve picked are my cupboard staples, tested and reviewed by friends, cafes and yogis to the point I deem them worthy of festive feasting and giving. In fact, I’m spending Christmas in the sun (sorry, no gloating or smugness intended) and have been primed that all of the above are to form part of our Cape Town kitchen menu. I’ll share more tips for Christmas indulgence that won’t bust a bikini here, including next week’s, Spiced orange & cranberry granola.

Recipes from this post

Cranberry & lemon amoretti
Spicy nuts
Choco nut energy balls
Sesame & rosemary spice
Almond, orange & cranberry granola

For more ideas my past posts still stand: The gift guide top 5 and Please santa…

 

The Gift Guide Top 5

It’s that time of year again; we’ve hit December and already passed the busiest online shopping day of the year apparently. Well versed in the art of shopping, I thought it only fitting I share my failsafe food inspired gift guide, hopefully taking some trauma out of your Santa duties.

Christmas-gift-tags

 

The coolest cookie cutters

Sunnyside-Eggs

I have a sneeking suspicion the sunshine eggs could be a bit of a faff; maybe one to delegate to your sous chef / spouse / kids. You can always thank them with some Made with Love cookies.

Sunyside eggs £7.95 from Rocket St George and Made with Love cookie stamp £6.00 from Anthropologie.

 

4th Wave Coffee at home

V60-Coffee-Machine

One morning spent researching cafes and sampling espressos with Gather & Gather in house coffee guru, Paul Hallit and I came home with the above (essential) haul. We’re now entering the 4th wave in coffee apparently: Beyond independent cafes and single origin beans, it’s also about the science behind the perfect cup. Anyone who appreciates coffee will thank you for this kit, or simply some decent beans.

V60 coffee makers for single (01) and double cup (02) filter: From £35. You can also buy the V60 on its own to sit directly on your cup: From £20. Multiple options available from Brewed by Hand or Coffee Hit.

Union-&-All-Press-Coffee

Union Hand Roasted for a wide range of single origin beans (best for V60 brewing) as found in Gail’s Artisan Bakery, Harris & Hoole and Gather & Gather. Coffee from Shoreditch roaster All Press is also hard to beat.

 

Seggiano stars

Seggiano-Christmas-gifts

Seggiano. God of taste: flavour and design. Everything from panettone to olive oil, chocolate clementines to raw honey. Packaged so beautifully, wrapping paper wrestling is a thing of the past.

Available from Wholefoods or independent delis. Olive oil: £11.50. Honey: £8.50. Foraged tree: Free from Clapham Common.

 

Compulsory cookbooks

The-Flavour-Thesaurus-&-Ottolenghi,-Jerusalem

Momofuko-Milk-Bar-Cookbook

Two years in and these are still my failsafe classics. For the creative cook keen to go off piste: The masterpiece that is The Flavour Thesaurus. Jerusalem, the latest kitchen handbook by My Favourite Places Godfather, Yotam Ottolenghi is a must that no self respecting food lover should be without.

And for the adventurous: Milk of New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar fame, as recommended by uber chef and Gather & Gather colleague, Dan Rampat. Momofuku means Lucky Peach. Sold!

£10+ from Amazon

 

Spa scents

Diptyque-&-Jo-Malone

Because, as much as I love to cook, there are few kitchen smells I want to curl up on the sofa with. And let’s face it, smelling of Eau de Honey Roast Ham outside the kitchen is  offensive. End of.

Diptyque Baies and Jo Malone Grapefruit are clean classics guaranteed to win over the fussiest of recipients. At £40 neither candle comes cheap but the quality is second to none: dripping in perfume oils = stronger and longer lasting spa scents. RK Ridings does a huge selection of similar diffusers and candles at 1/3 of the price.

Space NK stock most of Diptyque’s range. Their online and customer service is super efficient and given their giant selection of Christmas gift ideas, this is a no brainer for filling your Santa sleigh. Jo Malone and RK Ridings stock direct.

 

Christmas mugs

Gold-trim-mugs,-Christmas

ANTA-TARTAN.mugs

ANTA-TARTAN

When all else fails, opt for a mug. 19 carat gold rim mug with horse design (obviously) and coffee cups you can bake in. Genius. In the spirit of giving, I’ve tested festive Orange, almond & chocolate cake in said super mugs.

Designer tartanry brand ANTA also do a range of throws and cushions as cozy as a Christmas jumper. Sign up for Tartan Tuesday (2 for 1 offers) and their Advent Calendar of daily discounts in the run up to Christmas.

Horse mug £20 from Rocket St George; Tartan cups £22 from ANTA.

 

Some more failsafe gift ideas

Best cookery courses: Ginger Pig butchery classRick Stein Seafood SchoolBread Ahead bakery school.

For Little Miss Fussy: Big rocks are in! Try Bex Rox or Aurelie Bidermann. The Outnet also has a wide range of heavily discounted designer jewellery (and clothes).

For kids: Cox & Cox have an inexhaustible selection of games and trinkets for kids of all ages.

For The Friend Who Has Everything: Diageo Brand Store offers a 6 ltr bottle of Ciroc vodka for £250. You can even have your own bespoke swing for a mere fifteen hundred quid.

 

Please Santa…

Posted in: Reviews, Uncategorized

For those of you struck by the realisation that your pathological fear of Oxford street 4 days before Christmas, will do little to fill the gaping hole in your party season sleigh, turn to food. Because even those who have everything need to eat. Given my unfailing dedication to shopping and troffing, not to mention my ‘discerning taste’, I’m sharing my top 3 failsafes. For, if Little Miss Fussy is happy, then surely we’re onto a winner…

Seggiano Honey & Olive oil. Wholesome Seduction

Seggiano. God of taste: flavour and design. Everything from panettone to olive oil; chocolate clementines to honey, packaged so beautifully, wrapping paper wrestling is a thing of the past. Note: Seggiano’s acacia honey is a Storehouse seducer my cupboard is rarely without.

Available from Wholefoods or independent delis. Olive oil: £11.50. Honey: £8.50. Foraged tree: Free from Clapham Common.

 

ChristmasCoolies.WholesomeSeduction

Homemade. With bows on. Wrap brownies, truffles or cookies in greaseproof paper and Christmas ribbon for a Yuletide gift Kirsty Allsopp would be proud of. Add festive spice to chocolate recipes with some chilli or cardamom. Or stuff dates with almonds and dip in chocolate. Aunt Dorris will be overjoyed.

Noel ribbon £8 from Cox & Cox

 

FlavourThesaurus&Ottolenghi, Jerusalem

And last but in no ways least, the masterpiece that is The Flavour Thesaurus, our post from October last year. A staple and I’m sure, a classic no cook or food lover would sniff at. I’ve also added Our Favourite Places Godfather, Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest kitchen handbook that’s equally dedicated to coffee table style.

£10+ from Amazon

 

For those looking for a more extravagant gift, rumour has it Selfridges (and potentially the net…) is doing a Whisky Advent Calendar for a mere 150 quid. Drink your way through the doors to find a sample 50 year old Malt – full size bottle retailing at £350. Because what better Santa induction is there than getting smashed at breakfast…

Ho ho ho…. Merry Christmas everyone!