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 wrote about T2 when I got back from Australia last year, as this was one of the retailers out there that I really fell in love with. Of course, I felt a bit of a fool on discovering they already had stores in the UK, but given they were in Shoreditch and Shepherd’s Bush, then I could understand why I hadn’t stumbled across them.
But last week I did stumble across them, finding a store on Regent Street, which will mean a few detours on my trips into London. But then the website still has plenty of temptation too, to keep me going in the meantime. I mean, there’s the stunningly beautiful Moroccan Tealeidoscope Tea for one, which is just gorgeous:
There’s a whole range of lovely things in this pattern, and a number of different colourways, which I could see definitely making beautiful gifts for a tea lover.
If you’re looking for something a little more minimalist, then this black and white geometric floral design might do the trick. There’s a medium and mini size in this teapot so perfect depending on how big your tea drinking habit is.
So whilst T2 might be new to many of us, back in Australia they’re celebrating 20 years in business, and this is the celebratory tea to do it with. Packed with native Aussie ingredients, Fitzroyaltea is a herbal tisane with a lot of zing to it, including hibiscus and aniseed myrtle. Worth a try, to make a change from your PG Tips habit.
I’ve already written about how much I love the Chelsea Flower Show, and when these popped into my inbox, I just thought they were the perfect thing for this week. I know Biscuiteers are not the cheapest thing to send, but they’ve always been such a popular gift whenever I’ve send them, which makes them great value in my book.
They describe them as their most revered and feared, as the strongest, smelliest and most oozy cheeses. You’ve got Epoisses, which is banned on the Paris Metro. Hummingbark, which I’ve never heard of, is made to the same recipe as Vacherin D’Or and tastes lovely but stinks something dreadful.
Finn with double cream sounds indulgent beyond belief, though strong in both taste and smell, and then finish off the box with Royal Bassett Blue. So, a box of deliciousness but my word, you’re going to want to know the recipient is going to be home when this is delivered. If it’s sat in the sorting office for a few days, especially in the summer, well, everyone is going to know about it!
I obviously haven’t been to Stamford for a while, as Adnams as always on my list of places to stop by. And looking at their ketchup, then they’ve obviously been doing some packaging updates.
Their previous ketchup was lovely in both design and taste, so be happy to give this one a try too. I could also be tempted to push the boat out and have a full trio with the BBQ sauce and the brown sauce (although I’m very devoted to HP). And no doubt the beer chutney should be good, given their pedigree.
Off to check my diary, seeing when I get a trip to Stamford in.
I realised I hadn’t been on the Cox and Cox website in a while, probably because it’s too tempting. And now I’ve been on, I’ve spotted two lovely things that I could definitely see making useful additions to many households.
I’m not mad on bottled water at all, but do love to have jugs of water on the table, and these two pitchers are beautiful. The French style fluted pitcher is quite timeless and elegant, perfect for a more formal table setting perhaps.
If your style is more informal, then the embossed pitchers are lovely. Available in grey, clear or blush (their description, not mine) then they’ll work from now all through the summer and beyond. Yes, of course I’m thinking about Pimms already. And why not? Dreaming of summer sunshine keeps me going!
Well, if you’re Japanese, or in Japan, then the answer is throw them. February 3rd is Setsubun, it’s sort of like a New Year’s Eve, with a ritual to cleanse away the evil of the year, and drive out evil spirits, by throwing beans at them.
The beans are a roasted soy bean, and you either throw them out the door or at the person wearing the Oni mask, whilst shouting Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi! and slamming the door. Roughly translated it means demons out, luck in.
If you want some appropriate snacks, then the Japan Centre has a Setsubun bean snack set, complete with a Shishimai lion dance costume shaped gift bag, so really giving it an authentic feel. The snacks are crispy coated peanuts with a variety of flavours, from wasabi to mayonnaise.
And if you don’t want to just throw your roasted soy beans, then they have some great sounding rice crackers with embedded roasted soy beans in them. Perfect healthy snacking.
It’s certainly not a festival I’d heard of before, but it could be a bit of fun on what otherwise is a pretty non descript February day!
Now, it’s not just about fabulous stationery, although they do that amazingly well. But they have some lovely stuff for the home as well. I’d love any of these in my home, and think they could make amazing gifts.
I love a good cuppa, and I like this cup and saucer a lot, mainly because it’s quite a decent size. I love the colour way and the upbeat quote is a good way to start the day too.
If you want to go large, then this gift pack complete with gorgeous little teapot is also beautiful. I think the styling is lovely, really in line with their Swedish design aesthetic. I’d be thrilled to receive this, can’t imagine many people who would object to it.
If you’re doing the homemade lunch thing for January, then feel even better about it by having a lovely new lunchbox. Cute by name, cute by appearance.
Being good at stationery, then they have some lovely recipe organisers. Some of us do still like the old school of writing out recipes, or pasting cuttings in from magazines. If you want to do the retro thing, then something stylish like this to put them in has to be a great thing.
Maybe they’re the efficient type, or want to be. In which case this lovely meal planner might be a great gift. We are trying to do this so maybe this would be a good starting point.
So, if you’re in Covent Garden soon, drop by the store, as they are beautiful stores. And if not, the online store could prove to be very tempting too. Hoping they do start expanding around the UK. Although my bank manager might feel differently.
December was about getting ready for Christmas, whether the fun, with festive cocktails, or the practical, with funky tea towels for the drying up ahead. Not to mention my usual roundup of options if you had forgotten that Christmas was just around the corner.
Definitely a year of contrasts, and new adventures on several continents, but some great eating with good company, at our own tables and away from home too. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2016. What are your food memories of 2015? Would love to know.
If you’ve got a beer lover to shop for, or a cider lover, or just someone who likes a drink or two, then here’s some choices from me for the Christmas season:
Working from left to right:
Perry’s Farm Pressed Medium Cider – ok, complete hands up moment. I bought this purely because I loved the label. What can I say? I have a thing for barn owls. But this is made using small batch techniques and wild yeast, and traditional apple types. And there are two other types with very nice labels in this range.
Hatherwood Craft Beer Company Winter Warmer – shows that craft beer has really arrived/gone mainstream when Lidl have worked with good people to create their own. This is a spiced dark beer, apparently has a smooth, dark, chocolate character. I am resisting opening this until Christmas, but at £1.49 a go then maybe I could.
The Beer Kitchen Orange Peel Beer – this is an offshoot within Wadworth’s operations, so again a craft type operation within a much bigger brewer. I like it for being a little different but not just for the sake of it. Will work really well at this time of year, with its orange and citrus notes, not to mention some caramel sweetness. Sounds great to me. If you don’t want a whole case direct from the brewery, then I bought mine from Ocado.
Gosnells London Mead – something a bit different, I love the idea of this. Obviously this is an old school drink, but now brought bang up to date by the team at Gosnells. This is crisp and fresh, with the sweetness from the honey. Apparently it goes well with a cheeseboard, would make a nice, light change from port.
Aspall Premier Cru Cyder – love the description of this: full dry with a sophisticated and elegant floral aroma that captures the essence of an orchard. Hmm. But I am sure it’s fantastic, and I love their very precise food matching suggestions. Not just roast pork but roast pork, garlic and sage. It does say it goes well with rogan josh which might be a good thing to make with turkey leftovers.
If you’ve got a serious beer lover to buy for, then check out my review of Beer 52, as the offer code is still live so a bit of a bargain as a great gift for Christmas. We really enjoyed the selection they sent us, and it set us up well for a few weeks.