Following on from my Christmas Gift Guide for Foodies - Stocking Fillers under £10, today I'm sharing a selection of kitchen gadgets that you might want to gift to the foodie in your life or add to your own letter to Santa. These have all been tried and tested by me and have the Foodie Quine seal of approval. Thanks to all the brands and PR's who provided the products below for review. As always, all views expressed are my own.
RRP £89.99 – Black, White & Red
A SodaStream is a real blast for the past for me. Back in the 80's we had the Betamax version which was the long since defunct Thorn Cascade. The SodaStream brand has however stood the test of time. It was such a treat to be able to make your own fizzy drinks at home. Back in the day the bottles were much smaller individually sized ones and in an effort to curtail consumption my Mum charged us 20p for each one we made. Today the SodaStream Source is the flagship model in the SodaStream range. It has an attractive, space-saving design featuring an LED interface to identify when your water is fully carbonated. The focus now is as a sparkling water maker and the flavouring syrups are secondary. The bottle size is 1 litre and it has an intuitive snap-lock allowing you to create sparkling water quickly and effortlessly. For me its a great way of aspiring towards the recommended 8 glasses of water a day. Fear not the flavours are still available and the gas cylinder can make up to 60 litres of sparkling water/fizzy soda. The perfect gift for sparkling water lovers, keen entertainers and friends and family who fancy shaking up their water intake.
I've been really impressed with the performance of the New SuperFast Thermapen 4 Cooks Thermometer. As the UK’s number one selling food thermometer it's an essential piece of kit for any home cook. High-tech, yet fast, accurate and easy to use over the range of -49.9 to 299.9 °C. The true temperature of a product can be tested in just three seconds. The temperature display automatically rotates through 360 degrees so you can see it at any angle. There's also a handy backlight which turns on automatically. Great for when the light is poor or for outdoor use at BBQ's. If you need a boost of light just cover the sensor with your finger. There's a motion-sensing sleep mode which automatically turns the Thermapen 4 on or off when you pick it up or put it down. It will stay on all the time you are using it, but the sleep mode will save battery life which comes in at 3000 hours in normal use. Close the probe when you’re finished and the Thermapen 4 turns off for storage. Available in ten vibrant colours, there's sure to be one to match every kitchen. As essential piece of kit for cooking your turkey this Christmas.
The Codlo is a nifty wee gadget which enables you to cook sous vide in your slow cooker by using it as a water bath and regulating the temperature. Much less expensive that a stand alone sous vide and no problem of finding somewhere to store yet another bulky kitchen appliance. A sensor on the Codlo is submerged into the water in your Slow Cooker (or rice cooker), you set the temperature and time and you're ready to go. By controlling the power to the cooker by switching it on and off as needed, Codlo will ensure your cooker maintains the precise temperature needed for sous-vide cooking. I've had great results using it to produce soft boiled eggs with the most perfectly textured gooey consistency and melt in the mouth duck breasts. A great gift idea for the foodie who fancies themselves as a bit of a Masterchef.
Special Offer - £14 (usually £22.60)
My kids get through a lot of yoghurt and I use a fair bit of it in my own cooking so I was keen to try out the Hansels Yoghurt Maker system. It's a very simple process and in addition to the yoghurt maker and flavour sachets all that is required is water. Mix, shake and leave overnight - or for 8-10 hours. No electricity required. It really is simple and foolproof. Freshly homemade yoghurt has great health benefits as it contains more active live cultures that what you'd buy in the shops and as such is great for helping the digestive system break down food. The Hansells Yoghurt Maker Starter Kit contains mixing tubs and six sachets of yoghurt and is currently on special offer.
The EasyPull manual food processor from Zyliss is a hand-pulled, electric-free compact food processor which provides an easy way to chop, mix and blend food with a patented Swiss designed twin-blade system. It has become an absolute mainstay of my kitchen armoury. Great for when you don't want to go to the bother of hauling out a full sized electric food processor and its subsequent cleaning for just a small job. The bowl and blades of the EasyPull can go in the dishwasher but you mustn't submerge the lid in order to protect the internal mechanism so it requires a quick rinse under the tap. There are also 'arms' above and below the blades which ensure all the food is chopped and you don't constantly have to keep scraping down the sides. I've used it for veggies, nuts, breadcrumbs, herbs and to create salsa, guacamole and hummus. However for me it is the most perfect for chopping onions without tears. For this alone I love and wholeheartedly recommend it.
Judge Deep Pie Maker
I must admit that I was a wee bit sceptical about this one. A pie maker seemed a bit gimmicky, but after just one use I was completely smitten. The most amazing deep filled pies cooked in only 15 minutes. The possibilities are endless and of course you can use ready made pastry - I do! Cut out your pastry with the supplied cutter, pop it into the non stick hole, fill to the brim with your chosen (pre-cooked) contents then top with the second circle of pastry. Closing the machine seals the lid then simply switch on and cook for around 15 minutes. Not a soggy bottom to be seen. The pies are easy to remove and the machine is quick to clean and comes with a 2 year electrical guarantee. We've had great success so far with macaroni pies and chicken curry pies. I reckon this would make a great gift for a student, one step up form a cheese toastie maker. I'll guarantee that anyone who likes to Say Aye Tae A Pie will love it.
Tefal ActiFry Express
The Tefal ActiFry range provides a unique solution to cooking healthier homemade meals with little to no added fat, as you can cook chips with only one spoonful of oil or frozen chips with no oil at all. Until I tried it for myself I thought an ActiFry was purely for chips however I was delighted to be proved wrong. With a 1.5 litre capacity its talents don’t end there, as you can also cook curries stir-frys, casseroles, desserts and more. A patented hot air system and unique stirring paddle means there's no need to shake or stir during cooking so you can leave it untouched until it's time to enjoy. Although I've used it for Chicken Tikka Masala I've really not experimented as much as I could have and do tend to forget about using it for anything other than wedges or chips. My new year's resolution should be to experiment with it more. A perfect gift for those who love their chips or anyone looking to head into 2016 with a healthy approach to cooking.