Christmas is a great time of year, isn’t it? I know I shouldn’t say this, but…I just love opening my presents and finding that ‘Santa’ has delivered just what I was looking for. It’s around this time of year when I begin dropping hints to all my family members, whether those hints involve a new cookbook, kitchen gizmo, or whatever.
If your loved ones are not so forthcoming with suggestions, or if you would prefer to surprise them, here’s a list of 10 suggestions guaranteed to make any foodie more than happy!
1. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. I got mine a couple of years ago as a Christmas present from my wife – red, as pictured – and just couldn’t do without it. It’s great for saving time when making cakes, but really comes into its own when kneading some of the stickier dough mixes such as brioche, where I’d probably fail miserably without it. What’s more, it makes perfect home made ice-cream when combined with the ice cream maker attachment…
2. Microplane Box Grater. If you’ve never used a Microplane, you probably think you’re happy with your normal grater – but think again. A Microplane makes grating easier than you ever thought possible and makes light work of grating nutmeg, citrus zest, parmesan, and more. This box version combines different grating sizes along with a super sharp slicer.
I just knew I had to have one of these after seeing them on Masterchef UK all through last summer. Within a couple of days I’d grated pretty much everything in the kitchen including my fingers!
3. Wusthof Santoku Knife. A good Chef’s knife is worth every penny in the kitchen and makes preparing food a joy rather than a chore.
I decided to take the plunge into buying a professional knife last Christmas and initially had my eye on this knife, before asking on Twitter, Facebook and the like for opinions. Recommendations for the Wusthof Santoku were plentiful, and I’m glad to have chosen this; no more having to find a serrated knife for chopping tomatoes, this knife glides right through them and much more besides.
4. Nigella Christmas Cookbook. This book came out a couple of years back and is destined to be brought out at the start of December each year. I always find that I cook more from Nigella’s books than from any others, and for good reason: her recipes are just so approachable and well written. A great little purchase!
5. Nordicware Holiday Tree Bundt Pan. As seen in previously mentioned cookbook, it is impossible to see a cake baked into the shape of a Christmas Tree without wanting to do it yourself (or maybe that’s just me). I bought one, baked in it, and blogged about it last year, and will be doing so again soon.
6. Soehnle Retro Digital Kitchen Scale. Retro is cool and so are these scales. Despite their look they are capable of weighing up to 5kg with a 1g precision, and has a digital as well as analogue gauge on the front.
7. Oven Thermometer. You may think you don’t need one of these, but after months of sunken cakes and the likes I decided to get one to see if my oven really was telling me the correct temperature; it wasn’t. My oven reads about 15 degrees lower than the set point (apparently a common problem), and this little oven thermometer is what lets me know. Since getting it, my baking has took off!
8. Pizza Baking Stone. A what? Have you ever noticed that pizzas from good quality restaurants have beautifully blistered bases, and your home made ones are doughy and soggy? That’s what a baking stone is for; get the oven piping hot, put your dough onto the hot stone, and it’ll come out just perfect.
9. Emile Henry Tagine. A tagine is the name of the peculiar shaped clay pot that gives its name to the dishes cooked within it (such as my Beef Tagine recipe). Not only do they look great when brought to the table in front of guests, they enable you to cook the most delicious meals imaginable.
10. A Slice of Cherry Pie cookbook. Last but by no means least…This cookbook is the first from Julia Parsons, a respected UK food blogger and our co-host of the monthly food blogging event “In The Bag”. It’s a refreshing read away from the usual celebrity cookbooks that line the shelves at Christmas and would make a welcome addition to any bookshelf (check out my review).