Archive | November, 2012

My Skint Person’s Christmas Gift Guide!

30 Nov

Okay, here’s the scenario. You’re skint. You’re a student or out of work or generally just have nothing but moths in your wallet. Someone beloved to you is a foodie. Aside from actual FOOD, what the hell do you get them for Christmas?! You can’t afford a KitchenAid, and they appear to already own every gadget ever invented!

Well, never fear! I am here to guide you through the chaotic high street to find the perfect present. Or at least close enough!

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Let’s start off with the Jme Mini Terracotta Pot with paste set – £7.50 from John Lewis.

According to their website –  “These terracotta pots have been designed exclusively for Jme by Russell Pinch. Use is as a simple pinch pot for salt or pepper, in the oven to make a baked egg or mini pudding or swirl the paste into yoghurt or mayo to make a tasty dip”

Great! So once their done eating their yummy paste on some ciabatta or zesting up some meat, they have a lovely little pot to keep for other stuff!

You can either order one individually, or go here if you don’t mind letting John Lewis pick for you. (You can find links to the individual ones from there, don’t worry! I’m not an idiot. Most of the time.)

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If you’ve got a BIT more cash than you thought, we’ve got the Paxton and Whitfield Cheese Dome – £20 also from John Lewis.

I got something similar for my brother and his wife last year, but it didn’t have the fancy dome or sexy little chutneys with it, and he uses it all the time! (By all the time, I mean when he’s having a ‘do’)

I think this is a great little gift that looks really fancy and professional. The little drawer with the knives definitely ties it all together.

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You like the idea of the cheeseboard, but £20 is a bit above and beyond budget.

So how about this cute Heart Shaped Cheeseboard from Wilkinson’s ‘Little Birds’ range? It’s got a little laser etched heart design in the corner (and is heart shaped…) so perhaps a little girly for the special bloke in your life. But for only £4, maybe he can look at it as an expression of your love?

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Wilkos have also got this cute red and white polka dot Pie Maker set, also from the ‘Little Birds’ range, for £10.

Actually, Wilkinson’s Little Birds range is generally great for little bits and bobs. They’ve got heart shaped ramekins, a mezzaluna (which I really wanted to include in this post, but they don’t have it on their website. Bugger!) and all sorts of stuff. I highly recommend it for the budget conscious.

BHS (as usual) have an enormous array of foodie gems this Christmas. Seriously. They have so much stuff, I really struggled to pick just 2. (Have a look at it all here.) But here they my picks –

ketchup

For the Americana fan in your life, they’ve got this super cute Heinz Tomato Ketchup napkin dispenser for £8, which comes with 30 ‘I ❤ Ketchup’ printed napkins. It’s also refillable (duh).

oils

If your budget can stretch to it, they’ve also got this Oil & Vinegar duo with pourers for £20. If anyone would like to buy me this for Christmas, I’d be more than willing to humbly accept. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!

M&S’s selection was a bit pants, so I’m not even going to bother trying to pick stuff for you out of a rubbish selection. You suck Mr Marks and Mr Spencer!

Okay, new scenario. You get a call from a long lost friend/relative who says they’re on their way to your house with a gift! (And no doubt to drink all your wine/eat all your Quality Street) You haven’t got time to run into town and grab them something, the only option is the supermarket! So here’s my pick of decent supermarket foodie prezzies.

First up is Tesco…

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This metal Tala RetroCook’s Measure for £7.94 would also satisfy any retrophile as well. Two in one! Kapow!

 

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Forgot your wallet in the rush? Only got what’s in your pockets? Wallace Mug (of Wallace and Gromit fame) with special W&G teabag for £5. Bish bash bosh!

Next up is ASDA…

pestle

Who does’t need a Pestle & Mortar? And I think this one looks considerably more expensive than it is….£3! THREE POUNDS! *Runs off to ASDA to get one…*

mulledwine

Is Christmas really Christmas without mulled wine? Probably not. This set comes with the lovely red jug, wooden spoon, infuser ball and spice mix, for £10. Okay, it’s not the cheapest present they’ve got over at Baby Walmart, but it’s pretty. And once you give it to your unexpected guest, you can ‘suggest’ you use it immediately. But of course, it’s only a ‘suggestion’…ahem.

And Sainsburys…well, let’s not talk about Sainsburys. Their selection was rubbish. RUBBISH. So I’m not including them. You need to up your game sirs!

Anyway, that’s my selection from the high street. My Christmas shopping is nearly done. If you haven’t started yet, I suggest you hurry up!

Borough Market

28 Nov

Last weekend, myself and my boyfriend Matt took a little trip down to Borough Market as I wanted to get some really special chutneys and preserves for my Brother and his wife for Christmas. So here’s what I got and what I thought!

Our first stop was England Preserves, where I picked up some Red Onion Marmalade and Pear, Date and Ale Chutney. Both been done a million times over, but generally done very well by England Preserves. Especially the Red Onion Marmalade, which I didn’t find too sweet, which can often be the case. Also worth a mention is their Red Currant, Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam. So unusual! In a good way of course. Cute packaging as well!

See where England Preserves are and what day they’re at the market here.

Next up we have Gujarati Rasoi from which I got some Apple Chutney. Now, I’m not a fan of Indian spices (my brother definitely is), but this apple chutney was lovely. Not too sweet or sour, and would be great if you wanted something a little different on your cheese board. Or just a break from traditional mango with your curry!

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Check out when and where you can find them at Borough Market here.

Now, over to Fitz Fine Foods. Wow, what a selection! From Truffle Sea Salt to Foie Gras, there was so much to see and try. Although having come to Borough Market specifically for preserves and condiments, I thought I’d better stick to my mission.

I settled on sampling their selection of mustards, and what a selection there was! After trying most of them, I decided on a jar of Wild Celery Mustard, and a couple of jars of Cassis Mustard (one for me!). The celery is really interesting; hot but really flavourful. You can definitely taste the celery! The cassis is a lot more mild and sweet, which I suppose is as to be expected with mustard made with blackcurrant liqueur!

A special mention has to be made for their Wow Wow Mustard; which, as the name suggests, literally made me go ‘WOW’. That stuff is HOT! (Well, to me it was. You will learn over the course of this blog that I am a major wimp when it comes to heat.) Lovely flavour though, and not sharp like an English Mustard can be.

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Location and times here.

Onwards and upwards to Temptings. Now, my only problem with Temptings, despite their wide selection of goods and generally friendly manor, was that it wasn’t easy to sample their stuff. Whilst taking a look at their stall, Mrs. Sandhu (well, I presume it was her), was seeing to another customer and preparing samples for them. I would have been perfectly happy to sample their wares myself, but just wasn’t able to. I can understand the dedication to customer service, with preparing samples for and seeing to each customer individually, but at 2:30pm on a Saturday afternoon when it’s an absolute zoo at the market, perhaps this wasn’t the most customer friendly approach?

Either way, I ended up buying a little jar of their Mint & Tomato Chutney, but I can’t let you know what it was like as I didn’t get to taste it!

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Temptings doesn’t have a website, but you can check out their bio and times/location here.

Now, this next stall, I have to say, was my absolute favourite of the day. Westcountry Preserves was an absolute delight, not only for their fantastic jams and chutneys, but for their customer service, friendliness, and reasonable prices!

I’m assuming the man I spoke to was David Trehane, and if so, he was an absolute pleasure! I asked him questions, and he gave me proper answers! (What would you recommend for Christmas? What spices are in this? If I eat this, will I need to call the fire brigade?) Funnily enough, I did end up trying something rather spicy, and he immediately passed me a cracker laden with blueberry jam “to take the heat away”. How incredibly kind! The guy is a gem.

I ended up getting 4 different jars from him – Special Real Ale Chutney, Cranberry Sauce with Port (for Christmas day turkey!), Hot Garlic Pickle, and last, but most importantly, Tipsy Strawberry Extra Jam with Champagne. Which, I can honestly say is THE BEST strawberry jam I have EVER tasted in my life. EVER. It’s absolute heaven. And I’m not even a strawberry jam sort of gal (definitely a raspberry person).

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The biggest jars of the day and the most reasonably priced. I’d recommend making the trip to Borough Market just to visit Westcountry Preserves!

No website unfortunately, but check out the bio and times/location here.

A special Mention has to go to Pate Moi, who’s mushroom pate was absolutely delicious, but unfortunately doesn’t have a particularly long shelf life. I’d definitely recommend it for entertaining! Or, you know, just yourself!

Times/location here.

ImageI also got this rather fetching shopping bag for a fiver. Good ‘ent it? 🙂

Terrific Trimmings

25 Nov

Christmas is fast approaching, and for those people who’ve been nominated (either by a vote or default) to cook the Christmas Day dinner, it can be an insanely stressful part of the day’s celebrations. What time does everything need to be in and out of the oven? There’s not enough rings on the hob! The gravy boat has gone AWOL!

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Well, I can’t help you with any of that stuff, but if you notoriously forget the small touches (or are just lazy) may I suggest the ‘Terrific Trimmings Box’ from Abel & Cole. Aside from the meat, potatoes and veg, it’s got you covered. Tiptree Wild Cranberry sauce, Copas Free Range Goose Fat, Organic Smoked Streaky Bacon, Organic Chipolatas, Pegoty Hedge Fresh Poultry Gravy and Classic Stuffing with Walnuts and Apricots, all for £18.50 and delivered to your door for only 99p! For the disorganised cook, it could just be the difference between triumph and well…

Terrific Trimmings box – £18.50 plus delivery from Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole

KERB

21 Nov

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If you haven’t heard of KERB yet, where have to been? And you say you’re into food…

Basically, for those of you who don’t know, KERB is a food collective, made up of (currently) around 46 street food trucks and vendors, and growing by the minute. These aren’t lay-by shacks serving up any old greasy slop to weary lorry drivers. Oh no my friend. These guys are the people who are passionate about their street food; who want to bring you fresh and exciting things for lunch (or dinner. Or maybe even breakfast) from all corners of the globe. Something different. Something inspiring. You catch my drift.

From Indian street food from Horn Ok Please, to organic Fro-Yo from Daisy Green via Pizza Pilgrims and their Piaggio Ape come pizza oven, with a dollop of Original Fry Up Material which serves up…well, you can guess from the name. If I sat here and listed every single vendor, it would take me like an hour, and I’ve put at link at the bottom of this post so you can go look yourself!

Their current permanent pitches are at King’s Cross, formerly occupied by eat.st, with between 4 and 7 different traders daily; and brand new from the 15th Nov at the Gherkin with 6 traders every Thursday. Both run between 11am and 2:30pm.

Having an event? KERB can organise a trader to come, pitch up and serve your guests something much more exciting than a soggy old buffet. They can suggest who will suit you best based on budget, cuisine and location, so you don’t have to trawl through everyone’s profiles and websites. (People who are getting married soon…take note!)

If you have a crystal ball and envisage that you’re going to be very very hungry tomorrow from 5:30pm-10:30pm, KERB are hosting ‘KERB Your Enfoodiasm’ at West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA. 16 traders, wine, beer, and a ‘banging’ sound system. Have a look here to see which trucks are going to be there – KERB Your Enfoodiasm

Also, if you’re so inclined, the also have a Facebook page for the event – KERB Your Enfoodiasm Facebook 

Other links –

KERB Homepage

List of Traders

Blog

Twitter

Cheap Kitchen and Cookware!

19 Nov

I’ve got a great board over on my Pinterest which features loads of cheap stuff to furnish any first flat or student kitchen!

Cheap Kitchen and Cookware!

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Ikea Casserole Dish

19 Nov

Ikea Casserole Dish

I got this casserole dish from Ikea about a month ago and it’s fantastic!

It’s cast iron, suitable on ALL hobs, oven safe and it’s only £24!

Can’t afford a Le Creuset? Never fear! Ikea to the rescue!

Orla Kiely Kitchenware

19 Nov

This Orla Kiely kitchenware is so sweet! Completely and utterly out of my price range, but the pattern is so retro. I love it! I found this set on berryred.co.uk

Storage Jar – £20

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Teapot – £55

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Butter dish – £28

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