No, not a Christmas drinks order in early, but just wanted to flag this new to me design company. Port & Lemon are very inspired by all things nautical and sea shore, and I think these are great for any kitchen, whether you’re by the sea or not.
There again, Any Port In A Storm might be appropriate given we’re down on the Gower Coast, and it’s October. You can have these on tea towels, or coaster or place mats, and mix and match to suit the humour or taste of the recipient.
They also have lovely mugs too, so you could definitely pull together a great gift for someone. Wrapping stuff in tea towels makes a good alternative to gift wrap, so gift and wrap in one. Products seems to be focused on UK manufacture as well, so a good local business to support.
I had a few nights in Dublin this week for work, though managed to pack in a good dinner and some good cocktails.
Which is not where I discovered Irish gins. No, that would have been killing time at Dublin airport, for much longer than expected thanks to a delay.
Sadly there were no tasters available, so no idea on where to start on these other than working from the visual appeal. Anyone help me out? Where would you start? I mean, I could go alphabetically but maybe you know different?
I really liked the look of these two in particular:
Now, maybe I’d like the Gunpowder Irish Gin as a starting point, given how much I liked the Yorkshire Gin infused with Yorkshire Tea. But then I’m fonder of Yorkshire Tea than gunpowder tea, but I’m still very fond of gin.
I would pick the Glendalough on looks alone, such a beautiful looking bottle. I also love the story behind the brand, with them having a different gin recipe for each season. This is the summer one, with aromas of green meadows apparently. I’d like the autumn one right now, with a mix of crab apple, blackberry and water mint.
Maybe there’s more to be explored? Given that many places that go onto make whisky start with gin, and the history of whisky in Ireland, then maybe there is a lot more to explore. Just so hard to decide on where to start.
I really liked the premise of this book, Made in the Office, as there are many days when a sandwich at lunch in the office is really not very inspiring. This is all about how to step it up a gear with just a kettle, a toaster and a microwave, which I think most offices can run to.
Now, the breakfasts are lots of versions of porridge, but most of these sound better than the sachet stuff that goes in the microwaves at our office. The thought of trying eggs florentine at work is interesting, but I might give it a go at home first.
I like the sound of the lunches, although some of them sound like they’d have people tutting in the microwave queue as they take a little while. I mean, 6 minutes for quinoa and then another 1 minute, and there’s going to be a bit of eye rolling going on. And cooking salmon in the microwave in the office is a little unsociable I think, but other than that things like a burrito bowl with chicken, feta and sweetcorn sound amazing.
Covering breakfast, light and more substantial lunches as well as some snacks to keep you going, this is a lovely little book. I think it makes a great gift because it’s just a bit different as a theme for a cookbook, but a situation that many of us can relate to. Written by Rachel Maylor and published by Frances Lincoln, this is currently £12.08 on Amazon.
I love pomegranate, both the look of them and the taste, not to mentio the burst of crunch they add to a dish. I also loved seeing them growing wild when we were in Cyprus, like trees with Christmas decorations on them.
In this gift you get a young pomegranate plant in a terracotta plant. I imagine it needs somewhere relatively warm and sheltered once it’s big enough to come out of the pot. You’ll also get a bottle of pomegranate ketchup, to give you that burst of sweet sourness until it bears fruit.
Delivered in a lovely looking wooden crate, at £35 this is not a bad gift for something that will hopefully keep on giving for a number of years. That’s what I call a good gift, for a food lover or anyone else.
I love my tea, as anyone who reads this very often will know. I also really like Bluebird Tea, I’ve written about them quite a lot and I love how they continue to develop their range.
New for this year are these personalised tea tin gifts, so you can really spell out why someone is special to you. The standard tea is their Great British Cuppa, but for another £5 you can make this a gift of something like their Gingerbread Chai, Earl Grey Creme or Honey Bee Beautiful.
You get 30 characters to make a name for your tea, and then 100 characters for your message so can really tell the recipient something special.
When I tell people that I spend quite a lot of time writing about food, quite often I get someone tell me that they really want to start their own food business. Some have a really great idea, some just fancy the idea. Which is definitely not a great place to start from. But if you think you’ve got a good idea, or want to see what it could be like, then these might set you up well for a different future ahead.
This is a great book for inspiring your idea, and girding your loins into action. To be fair, you could read this and enjoy the stories of the great start ups but I think you’ll find it really inspiring to see what these food lovers have achieved. It should also show that it’s not about wafting around your kitchen knocking up a few cakes. Well, not if you want to make a living!
This is another book for inspiration, both with the stories and the photography. These are businesses that are working to produce great food but respecting the planet at the same time. Definitely an inspiring book, almost certainly a very pretty book.
Ok, down to business then. This is a bit more down to it practical advice, from food safety regulations through to how get meetings with grocery store buyers. If that’s the route you want to go. I like that there’s a section on what they wish someone had told them at the start. Always good to learn from others mistakes. And then try not to make them yourself!
We’re onto the more serious end of things now, thinking about how you’re really going to get your product out there and noticed. It’s about how to make sure it’s your product customers and retailers pick up. Tessa Stuart has plenty of expertise in this area so you’re really getting thoughts and ideas from the best. Great place to start.
Now, these are a bit festive looking, but you could make them into Halloween houses, or fairy homes easily with your choice of decorations and colours. You could ring the changes on the flavouring front, from vanilla to something like the speculaas I’ve tried out a couple of times.
For £10.50, I think you could have a lot of fun with these throughout the year.
I love Fenella Smith’s ceramics, particularly the dachsund range. It’s probably as close as I’m going to get to having a dog running round the kitchen for now.
But I also love things that are practical for the kitchen, as most of us aren’t blessed with acres of space. Just because things are practical doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful or, as in this case, cute.
The three are useful sizes, whether you’re measuring or not, at 200ml, 500ml and 1.5 litres, and a good size spout. To be honest, they’re too pretty just to be measuring things, I would want to bring them to the table as well. These are dishwasher and microwave safe, but not suitable to go in the oven.
Gorgeous range, definitely great choices for gifts whether for someone you love, or a little treat for your own kitchen.
The Radical Tea Towel Company is new to me, but I love them! I mean part of me wishes these guys had been around when I was married. I’d have slipped a few of these into the ex FIL’s kitchen, just for the heck of it.
They might have started out just with tea towels, but they now have mugs, oven gloves, even fridge magnets so all sorts of options for all kinds of food lovers or just anyone you need an interesting gift for. I think I might need some new mugs, a bit of quiet subversion over the tea run perhaps.
It’s partly to do with the colours, but mainly to do with the fragrance notes, which are tea, fresh green fig and spicy white pepper. Sounds perfect for a food lover, and works as well in the lounge as in the kitchen.
Of course those who read my blog regularly might have expected me to pick another of their fragrances. Yes, they have a Gin Fizz version too, which I could also be very tempted by.
Definitely a brand worth keeping an eye on if modern, clean line design is your thing.