Monday, 1 December 2014

2014 Christmas Gifts For Foodies - Part 2

Since I wrote Christmas Gift For Foodies - Part 1 I've actually been spurred into beginning my own Christmas shopping. Still a fair bit to go but lists have been written and purchases have been made. If you're on the lookout for the perfect gift for the foodie in your life, or even better something to add to your own wish list, I've got some great suggestions to share with you in part two of my Christmas gifts for foodies guide...



Pretty much every foodie hopes to get a Cookbook in their Christmas stocking and I'm no exception. The theme for the Aberdeen's Pinnies & Petticoats Cake Club January meet is to bake something from a book received at Christmas. I reckon if I don't get any from Santa I'll be OK to choose something from one of the review copies from Ebury Press. I'll definitely be making room on my already groaning cookbook shelf for these four.


First up the two vegetarian offerings - Madhur Jaffrey, Curry Easy Vegetarian and Yotam Ottolengi, Plenty More. Vegetarian dishes are at the heart of Indian cooking and Madhur Jaffrey is the queen of curries. Disappointingly there aren't photos for all of the dishes but there are excellent recipes with detailed instructions and plenty of background reading and authors notes. Ottolenghi's much awaited follow up to Plenty instantly appealed to me with its stunning photography, quirky graphics and recipes ordered by technique. The chapters include - tossed, blanched, grilled, mashed, cracked, baked and sweetened. A beautiful coffee table book but with plenty of substance. The ingredients lists are long and global but in the most part can now be found on supermarket shelves. Even the most hardened carnivore would surely be tempted by Taleggio and Spinach Roulade, Mushroom and Tarragon Pithivier or Bread & Pumpkin Fondue.
Rick Stein's Fish & Shellfish provides the definitive guide to cooking seafood with over 120 recipes. The first 100 pages are dedicated to the techniques required to prepare and cook fish and shellfish with step by step photos and instructions based on the methods taught at his Padstow seafood school . Following on from that come recipes which have been perfected over the last 40 years all accompanied with beautiful photography. I've bookmarked the panko topped Newlyn Fish Pie, Rice with Monkfish, saffron and red peppers and Stir Fried Salt & pepper Squid with red chilli and spring onion. This is the essential bible for any fish lover's bookshelf. Do however note that it is a revised, updated and re-designed edition of his classic book Seafood.
I've already done a full review of and shared a couple of recipes from Slow Cooked by Miss South and can only reiterate that it is a must have for anyone who has a slow cooker and would like to get more adventurous. This will definitely provide you with inspiration in over 200 thrifty and delicious recipes.

I've got a Christmas Dinner Apron from Victoria Eggs which comes down from the loft each December. It lists a medley of all the festive food favourites and can double up as a Christmas food shopping list. They've also designed fab bespoke ones for my local award winning Fish & Chip Shop, The Bay at Stonehaven.
I was invited to choose a couple of items from their range of playful designs which proudly salute all that makes Britain British. Its not just lip service that's being paid, absolutely everything is manufactured in the UK. I opted for two tea towels that match in fantastically well with my new kitchen. Airfix and Baking Delights both in Teal. I reckon they would look fantastic hanging on the wall as artwork. However there actually is that very option with Airfix wallpaper. A sample is on its way to me as I reckon it might just be perfect for my dining area.
I went practical with my choices of everyday tea towels but I was also very tempted by Christmas Delights which comes in mugs, tea towels, aprons and oven mitts. The Cockney Rhyming Slang range also caught my eye and all corners of the UK are covered with Scottish Dinner, Welsh Dinner and English Dinner typographic prints. 

Its no secret that I'm a dedicated fan of Mothers Ruin. I've already got three tipples from Edinburgh Gin in my collection. Elderflower, Raspberry and Spiced Orange. However there are now two new additions to the range. Rhubarb & Ginger and a limited edition Christmas Gin. I wasted no time in trying out the Rhubarb & Ginger. Its a gin based liqueur that tasted like Rhubarb & Custard boiled sweets with a warming afterglow of ginger. I tried it both on the rocks and mixed with Prosecco. The 20cl bottle disappeared alarmingly quickly.
There have only been 600 bottles produced of Edinburgh's Christmas Gin and alas I've not tried it but here's the blurb. Our wise distillers have bestowed this jolly tipple with frankincense and myrrh to add a fragrant aroma, adding a finishing note of nutmeg for genuine yuletide warmth. Heady with rich spices and sweet orange, our cracking Christmas Gin has an almost honeyed, thicker mouth-feel thanks to the miraculous addition of myrrh – all qualities which make it the perfect winter warmer.
Available exclusively at John Lewis is an Edinburgh Gin Cocktail Kit with allows anyone to assume the role of master mixologist, providing unique recipes to cater to all tastes, from classic to contemporary. The kit contains a cocktail shaker, a strainer, a mixer, a 20cl size bottles of Edinburgh Gin and Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur plus the all important cocktail recipe book.
I'm a big fan of the innovative fishbox scheme from Inverness based Coast & Glen. You can learn a wee bit more about them on my Fish Box Online Food Subscription blog post but suffice to say they are Scottish, seasonal, sustainable, fantastically fresh and deliver UK wide. They've recently launched a gift box option. What better way to Fish someone a Merry Christmas? (sorry!)
I received a £50 box which contained scallops, monkfish, plaice, red gurnard and samphire. The recipient won't need to sign for it, just specify a safe place for it to be left if they're not around. My box arrived well packaged with no sign of any leaks or smells. The insulated pack contains a polystyrene box in which the fish are packed with frozen gel packs. All are vacuum packed and have come straight from the boat so are suitable for home freezing. 
My mini masterchef is always very excited at the arrival of a fishbox and has already tackled oysters and a live lobster from a previous one. He wasted no time in getting to work on the scallops. I think a shucking knife may now be on his Christmas list. 
They looked and tasted absolutely amazing. Bed of spinach and samphire, black pudding, scallops seasoned with fennel, chilli and orange salt cooked in and drizzled with lemon infused rapseed oil. The remaining contents of our fishbox are now in the freezer for another day. The gift that keeps on giving. 

The early bird catches the Beer, Gin and Food with discounted weekend tickets available for the North Hop 2015 event until 31st December 2014. Grab them while you can for £30 as they'll be £40 come January 1st. Michelle Russell, festival organiser, said: “Following on from the success of this year’s event, I am delighted to announce that North Hop is returning to Inverness next year. 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, showcasing and promoting Scotland’s natural larder, which is the perfect fit for the event as it actively promotes a large variety of quality Scottish produce.
For a taster of what to expect form the event take a look at the video clip highlights from 2014. North Hop 2015 will be bigger and better, with an increase in both the amount of craft beers on offer and number and range of street food vendors. Expect a selection of over 50 beers and ciders, creative cocktails, artisan gins, street food, live homegrown music and much more. All done the Highland way.

Disclosure : Thanks to Ebury Press, Victoria Eggs, Edinburgh Gin and Coast & Glen for providing the above products to review. All views expressed are my own.
If you're a brand who'd like to have your product featured in one of my Christmas Gifts for Foodies posts, please do get in touch claire@foodiequine.co.uk

2 comments :

  1. That fish box looks amazing and your little chef looks like a total star, getting stuck in. He's obviously had excellent foodie training.. The gins sound ace. I must find some raspberry to try! Thanks for linking to #festivefoodfriday.

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  2. What a great round up! Love the sound of the fish box, might have to add that to my Xmas wishlist :-) #festivefood

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