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.

 

Courgette, prawn & chilli fritters

Posted in: DF, S, SF, WF

Fritters are an easy and healthy alternative to bread, and just as versatile. In this version, the chilli bite is contrasted by cooling mint and clean coriander; hard to beat for breakfast or supper when topped with bacon, avocado and a poached egg. Or you can make minis with a dip for everyone to dig into as a starter or canapé. Try Broad bean & cashew dip or hung yoghurt (labneh) & basil pesto.

fritters,-bacon-&-egg

Makes: 12 fritters. Feeds: 4

INGREDIENTS

150g chickpea flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric (for gut health)
black pepper
2 limes, juice of
½ red Kashmiri chilli, chopped
8 spring onions, chopped
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 dsp mint, chopped
1 courgette, grated
200g peeled, raw tiger prawns, chopped ½ inch thick
1 tbsp coconut oil. Or your choice of oil.

METHOD

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In stages, add 100ml water and the lime juice and stir until you get a thick batter, removing any lumps.

Add the spices, chilli, spring onions and herbs, followed by the courgette and prawns.

making-fritters

Dollop coconut oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat. When very hot, add your mix (1 heaped dsp per fritter) and flatten to 2cm thick.

Cook for 2 – 3 mins on one side and 1 on the reverse. Or until your fritters are a reddish brown. Coconut oil gives a lovely crispness, and countless health benefits in the process!

Serve hot topped with avocado & cottage cheese or a poached egg.

Pitt Cue Co. Chipotle Ketchup

It would appear the latter’s surprisingly good with Pitt Cue Co’s chipotle ketchup and bacon. An accidental combination (I may have been nursing a hangover) and potentially menu carnage but I like it. Impressive given I don’t do ketchup. The recipe’s widely available on the net, or I’ve included a tweaked version made with agave instead of sugar.

Make the most of seductive courgette’s health benefits while in season. See also skinny Courgette & lemon drizzle cake.

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!