This has been through Kickstarter funding, and is due to start shipping from April next year, for $299 plus shipping. The capsules are $20 for 12, and include Cosmopolitan, Margarita and a Zest Martini. So, it’s not cheap, but we’re thinking of getting one as a team, and disguising it as a coffee machine.
So, not one for your Christmas list this year, but keep an eye out for it arriving properly next year.
Here we are, August Bank Holiday weekend, which means it’s time for the Notting Hill Carnival. It’s not something I’ve ever been to, even when I lived in London, but could be a great excuse for some sunshine flavours to offset whatever damp, dismal weather might be in store for us.
Caribbean Food Made Easy – Levi Roots is just one of those characters that I just really like, as he just seems one of those genuine people who has made the most of every opportunity thrown at him. And he just brings such joy to his cooking and the way he talks about it. Probably a great book for starting an exploration of the food of the area in an accessible way.
Caribbean Modern: Recipes From the Rum Islands – having grown up in Leicester, London and Trinidad it’s no wonder that Shivi’s recipes are a wonderful melting pot of influences. Not to mention very tasty influences. Coconut Chicken Rundown sounds like a perfect bad weather anti-dote.
Creole Kitchen – the flavours and tastes of the French Caribbean, I think this could be one for me. I mean, coconut slaw could well replace regular slaw, and who doesn’t want pineapple fritters and flambé bananas? And then there’s the rum laced punch recipes. My kind of cookbook!
Caribbean Vegan – definitely one to spice up your cooking, vegan or otherwise. And this takes flavours well beyond just pineapple and coconut, so delicious flavours from the islands, all the taste but without meat, egg or dairy.
Jerk from Jamaica – if you’re planning an end of summer barbecue, then maybe spice it up with Jamaican style barbecue. This cookbook gives you the main dishes but also great sides, drinks and desserts as well, so you can make the complete deal.
So, let’s keep our fingers crossed for some sunny weather, for the carnival and for the rest of us to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend.
I think it’s fair to say I don’t write about beer very often on here, or at least not beer I’ve been tasting. I think the last beer tasting I did was with the ones from Tickety Brew, although that worked out pretty well.
That said, the arrival of the box caused excitement in the village, the postman told me they’d all had a taste. I did point out the box said “to be opened by addressee only”.
Beer52 was set up by James Brown (not the godfather of soul, much younger. And alive), after what sounds like one hell of a great road trip. Great start to a story, and it was a long trip from Edinburgh to Faro, which must be why this looks like lots of thought have gone into it.
If you receive a box, or send it to someone else as a very generous gift, then all the details will fascinate, surprise, delight…all of those things and that’s before you get to the beers. There’s the detailed pouring instructions on the box:
There’s all the guides in the box, from a welcome to the club, to a glossy book of a road trip around Britain that’ll have you wanting to tick more beers off (good to see Tickety Brew in here!), and then the tasting notes in tabloid format almost.
Oh yes, and there were the actual bottles! I would say you could access all of this whether beer geek or beer novice like me.
There was great variety in the box of 8, and something for every kind of taste. I love that the tasting notes also included a recipe, and some great articles too.
If you have a beer lover that you need a gift for, or just someone difficult to buy for, then this could be brilliant idea. You can buy one, or even a generous six months worth of monthly deliveries, and options for more or less. A one off case is £24 for 8 beers, and they obviously get cheaper per box the longer you commit to.
The team have given me an exclusive code for £10 off your first box, with the code FOODIE, making it just £14 for 8 beers, with free delivery. You’ll also get the free road trip book and a bottle opener. Well, it would be a shame to get all that beer and then find you couldn’t find the opener!
Love this as an idea, as it’s a small business supporting other small businesses, so definitely worth a look.
It was bread week on the Bake Off, and I think the memory of the flour moth invasion is about gone. And I’m thinking that coming into autumn then there’ll need to be more bread baking, which means interesting flour testing.
Flour made from these more ancient, less intensely grown grains are often easier for some people to digest, so these may suit some. Might also appeal to history geeks, with things like the Anglo Saxon Blend of light rye or the Medieval Peasant’s Blend. Definitely need to try this one! Although somewhat different as includes peas and broadbeans in the mix.
Definitely a site worth checking out for all your bread baking needs from ingredients to baking tins.
It’s five years since I wrote the original post, and it was funny to look back on what was on the list then, and what I’d take off now and put on now. I mean, the breadmaker moved out a few years ago, and I’ve never missed it. Whereas the Kenwood Chef arrived three years ago, and I’m never giving that up.
No, KitchenAid, not even if you send me one!
There’s a Magimix food processor in the house now, replacing the one that was here five years ago. I don’t use it so much but it does come in useful from time to time. I did upgrade my scales to digital ones, and have a fabulous pestle and mortar since those days.
In fact I would say there are two gadgets now on the list that weren’t on it then that absolutely earn their place. First off would be my slow cooker, which I love and use on a regular basis, and for more than just stews. Pinterest is an endless source of ideas on that front.
My spiraliser is a relatively new piece of kit, but for something that seemed a bit gimmicky I’m really enjoying using it, on a regular basis. Now whether it’ll still be there in five years time is anyone’s guess.
But I guarantee the slow cooker still will be!
What new to you gadgets have become indispensable in your kitchen?
But the challenge starts now, as got into a bit of a twitter conversation with Kandula Tea, as it turns out they like gin as well as tea. So we thought we might compare starting points, to see how many we had each clocked up already.
Can’t wait to get started and then see how many I’ve got left to go at!
I really wish I was back in Edinburgh, as MGG and I had an amazing time there last year. As well as incredible shows, from dance to circus, drama to Zombie science, we managed to fit in some great eating, food shopping and space for one or two kitchen mementos.
If you’re going to be there for any amount of time, then you might want to check out a few of these, or just need something to ponder on as you eat and dash between shows.
Whilst this was a Christmas post, in Buy Them Experiences Not Things I talk about the great food walking tour that we did. Definitely recommend this for getting to taste some great food and discover some places a little more off the beaten track.
Got the Sunday night back to school/work blues? Here’s a lesson that cheers a day up: head to 45 Gin School and brew your own bottle of gin. I promise, chemistry was never this much fun.
Let me start by saying that I think this is one of the best gift ideas I’ve come across in quite a while, and I think whether gin lover, food lover, science geek or just fun lover, this is a great thing to go and do.
You don’t expect tales of great gin, or a great few hours, to start with “we headed for a farm on the outskirts of Loughborough”. But this one does. The gin school happens at the home of Burleigh’s Gin, and it is on a farm. But once inside, you are transported away to the world of craft distilling. Possibly helped by a Tom Collins. Or two.
Jamie Baxter is the master distiller, and your guide. I love people who are enthusiastic about stuff, any stuff, and Jamie knows his stuff about gin and is most definitely enthusiastic. I could have listened to him for ages, the only person I know who has made an EU directive sound interesting.
You’ll get to know about the distilling process, the bottling process, the botanicals…everything you could ever wish to know, and then you get the history. All of which is fascinating, and then you get down to distilling your own bottle of gin.
Selecting your own botanicals is a little daunting (apart from juniper, which you will have heard several times for Jamie needs to be the dominant flavour for it be classified as gin), but Jamie is great at offering advice. There were gin and tonics flowing by this stage, and plenty of conversation between all of my fellow first time distillers.
We were all thrilled to go through the whole process, of watching our gin drip into beakers, blending it with water, measuring its strength…the whole lot was really exciting. Writing your name on your own bottle of gin was really exhilarating, and I just really enjoyed the whole evening.
In fact the only downside was waiting the suggested few days to try the gin! I waited 5, and it was a treat. Of course, everyone was biased, everyone thought theirs was marvellous, but why not? Can you imagine the bragging rights you get each time you get your own gin out to make a drink or two? This really is the gift that keeps on giving.
You can buy an experience voucher, at £90 for one, or £110 for one plus one spectator. You get the tour, something to drink, and your full size bottle of gin. The bragging rights are thrown in for free.
Ok, I know this week’s Bake Off was about biscuits, but I’ve got cakes on my mind as it’s my turn to take cakes in for the team. If I had time then I’d be baking, but sadly it’s only going to be thinking about baking this week. These books would be fabulous inspiration if there was time:
Naked Cakes – how beautiful does this cover look? And I love this as a reaction to things like over-decorated cupcakes. This one is very much about the flavours, with things like Coconut Angel Cake with Raspberries or Chocolate Fig Cake. I think this one is going on my Christmas list.
Jamie’s Food Tube: The Cake Book – as you’d expect from Jamie, these are modern twists, and plenty of flavours involved. I like that these are seasonal recipes, so something to go at any time of the year.
Cakes in a Mug – ok, there have been a few nights that cakes in a mug have featured here when there’s been no other sweet stuff to hand. This sounds like it might be a dangerous book to have on hand!
Surprise Cakes – sounds like the best kind of cake to me! I’ve never really tried anything like this except an ombré cake so wouldn’t mind giving a go.
Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book – well, can’t really beat going a bit old school with the queen of the bakes, now can you? Funnily enough I don’t own any of Mary’s books, so maybe this is a good one to start with.
Whatever time you get to bake, hope you enjoy it and the results!
I find Bertrand’s story fascinating, as he is so connected to his local area, and yet he opened his first restaurants in Japan, and many of the recipes include Japanese ingredients. I mean, there’s a recipe for Crêpe Suzette, but with a yuzu sauce. I also love, that in a very Breton way, each recipe comes with a cider recommendation.
I tried to make the Black Pudding Galette with Apples and Celtic Sauce. Sounds just up my street, betraying my northern routes with a love of black pudding.
Sadly, ran into an issue almost straight away. The recipe for the Celtic Sauce has 1 bottle of semi-dry cider, and 1 bottle of sweet. Except no definition of a bottle. Bottles of cider in France seem to be like bottles of wine so a full 700ml, whereas here they might be 330 or 500. Which makes quite a bit of difference.
Anyway, I prepped up all the apples and two 500ml bottles of cider, and reduced for the hour specified. Then another.
To be honest, after four hours, I gave up. It’s a nice tasting sauce but it sure as heck doesn’t make a drizzle for a dish.
The rest was fairly simple, caramelise apples and fry off some black pudding. And then I cheated a bit and reheated a galette that I’d brought back from Brittany. Which I think is what everyone there does, just buys them in the supermarket. His recipe is simple enough though, so would think you’d get good results. My version didn’t quite look like the original, but it tasted good!
It’s a bit of a specialist book, but the photography is beautiful both of the food and of the local landscape around Mont St Michel and St Malo. Published by Jacqui Small, this is currently £20 at Waterstones. Not cheap, but cheaper than a trip to St Malo and finding the cafe yourself.