So following on from fab pressies for foodies, this time it’s the turn of the cook in your life. Don’t immediately discount cookery books as the safe option, there are some fabulous cookbooks out there at this time of year.
The wonderful Eric Lanlard, Master Pâtissier and all-round creative genius has brought out a gorgeous book, perfect for any chocolate lover: Chocolat: Seductive Recipes for Bakes, Desserts, Truffles and Other Treats is stuffed full of every chocolate recipe you could ever want, plus it looks stunning. The perfect gift.
The Great British Vegetable Cookbook by Sybil Kapoor is full of really inventive vegetable recipes – both as accompaniments to main meals and as delicious meals in their own right. It’s wonderfully inspirational when you’re planning meals and would make a lovely gift for a veggie or meat eater.
Another of my favourite books of the year is A Good Egg: a year of recipes from an urban hen-keeper - by Genevieve Taylor. Perfect for anyone who yearns for the simple things – cooking simple, delicious dinners made with produce from your garden and eggs from hens pecking in the yard. It reminds me of classic Nigella books as it’s a lovely read as well as having some really gorgeous recipes. A bedside book, I’d call it. Inspirational.
I must admit I did once get very cross with Mr English for buying me a breadmaker for Christmas. It was when we’d first got together and I thought it was the most unromantic gift I’d ever received. Now, of course, I’d be delighted with a gorgeous appliance and I’ve got my eye on this very pretty pearly Breville Aurora toaster to go with my glossy cream kitchen units.
Next up is cheeeeese! No Christmas is complete without cheese and this one is really special (and extensively tested by me. You’re welcome). The Denhay Dorset Drum of cheddar is a real showstopper and packs a bit of punch, flavour wise. Denhay have now decided to focus all their attention on their bacon, so this is the last time you’ll be able to buy it. Snap one up online (from £25 + p&p) .
For something really special, how about a bottle of English Knightor Brut NV sparkling wine from Cornish winery Knightor. We gave it a try and it really is the perfect festive fizz – light, fruity (peachy?) and with lovely, almost creamy bubbles. You can buy it online, priced £27 from www.knightor.com. Gorgeous.
Experiences make really interesting gifts too. Why not treat your favourite chef/chefette to a course at Padstow Seafood School. They have a fab range of courses starting at £95 for a half day course. Gift cards are available and can be posted direct with a personalised message (they have no expiry date). Check out rickstein.com/seafood-school for details.
And for little stocking fillers? Check out Monin’s gorgeous gingerbread syrup (yummy in coffee, but equally good poured over pancakes or even as an ingredient in cakes), or why not wrap up a couple of Very Lazy’s little pots – the Smoked Chopped Garlic, Smoked Chopped Chillies (our favourite – amazing on pizzas) and Fire-Roasted Sliced Chillies are really interesting and useful – what more could you ask for?!