The best (kitchen) things about home

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Home Sweet Home - the best things about the kitchen at home

 

We’ve made it back from our northern escapade exploring the highways and byways of some of the North of England. No bones about it though, I am a complete homebody and there is nothing to beat that moment when you first reopen the front door.

Well, apart from when “someone” forgot to put the kitchen bin out before we went away. But that’s a tale of forgetfulness to save up for another day’s brownie point scoring.

For now, I’m enjoying wandering round my own kitchen, marvelling at all the useful bits of kit that I can put my hand to, and the extraneous ones we had whilst away. For a start, there are decent knives with sharp cutting edges, and steel on hand for when they’re not. There are my mugs, ones that hold a decent cup of tea, not half measures.

Here there is a non designer toaster, but it sure as heck does a better job at toasting than the three times the price version. I know, we had one of those before, it was rubbish at toasting and then it blew up. There are dozens of different things for if I feel the urge to knock up a cake or six, which feels quite likely if only because I promised my team back at the day job that I would.

And then there’s the beloved Gaggia. Well actually, I love it that much, missed it so much all the time it was in the repair shop, and knew I’d need good caffeine for all the stuff I was going to be doing, that I took it with us. Look, it’s not as though I was going to France and would need the space to bring back wine. If I’m staying in the UK, then the Gaggia comes too. And didn’t Iappreciate it?

So whilst the cottage we rented had a great kitchen that was one of the best equipped for holiday let that I’ve ever had, there really is no place like home for me. And my home is never, ever having one of these:

 

What’s wrong with an ice tray?

 

Home Sweet Home pic by Diana Parkhouse on Flickr.

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For caffeine cravers and gadget geeks

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I was tweeting the bad news on Sunday that our beloved Gaggia coffee machine had suddenly stopped working. Like between breakfast and elevenses. And I say our beloved, but it’s very clearly been Dr T’s machine, as it is quite temperamental, being Italian.

So the twitter fonts of knowledge pointed me in the direction of some really interesting and useful pieces of information:

1. A great article by Tim Hayward on his pursuit of the perfect espresso,which led to

2. A Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine, which ranks up there as not a bad route to the perfect espresso and

3. It’s featured on a great site, called Has Bean Coffee, which has a great range of gadgets and gizmos for the serious coffee lover.

 

The site is a great resource if you’re searching for gifts for a serious coffee lover, with everything from machines to beans, even home roasting kit, which really is taking it to serious levels! I do like the idea of a bespoke coffee tamper, which fits your particular machine at home, and can be engraved, so a truly one-off gift. There’s also a small but interesting collection of books, just to give them the extra edge on their espresso brewing!

Meanwhile, Dr T says he’s going to strip down the Gaggia and repair it, but says it’s all my fault. I had thought the night before the break down that if the Gaggia ever gave up, then maybe this would be a good choice to replace it. But then it may just be that it sounds a little less temperamental than the Gaggia! But if it comes back to life, then I’ll be investigating some new stuff for him to make the most of it!

Crema in motion shot by Emily Prachthauser on Flickr.

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What gadgets are we hoping Santa has packed on the sleigh?

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Top of the foodies gadget wishlist - Kitchenaid mixer

 

A few days ago, I posted the question on Twitter as to what gadget the foodies were most hoping for for Christmas. To be fair, it was a bit one sided on the results, without any need for a dance off, public vote or judges decision.

Yes, the runaway leader was a KitchenAid Mixer, absolutely hands down. And you can kind of understand it, as this is a fabulous mix of style and substance. Ten speeds, all metal construction, dough hook, whisk beaters, flat beater…is there anything you can’t make in this? I would certainly give one space on the counter top. It could go next to another pride and joy, the KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder. If you’ve got a coffee geek, it’s a good choice for a perfect grind.

In second place came a lot of different choices but all from Joseph Joseph, who I think are great at doing stuff that not only looks good but really does something useful around the kitchen. I’m a big fan of the Chop 2 Pot chopping boards, for the practicality as well as the funky colours. Buying one large and one small board will only set you back around £26 and they will earn their keep every day. For the pastry kings and queens, I’d also take a look at the Adjustable Thickness Rolling Pin, which would take the guesswork out of the pastry rolling.

Ice cream makers came up quite a few times as well. To me, there is never a wrong season for ice cream, and I can understand this gadget desire completely. We had a few debates, but it all seemed to come back to the Gaggia. The only problem seems to be that not many places are carrying it at the moment, with most seeming to suggest it’s out of stock. I think this is all connected to the recent difficulties the British Gaggia agent had, so they may be in very short supply this Christmas. The Magimix would seem to be very similar, and benefits from the inbuilt freezer, which is great for last minute decisions to make a batch! Or for something fun, instant and interactive, try the Ice Cream Ball.

The most unusual one though was a water circulator. Apparently this has nothing to do with fish keeping, which is the first thing that comes up on Google, but the water heater/thermometer needed for sous vide cookery. If you’ve got an aspiring Heston on your hands, I would try Culinary Innovations, who seem to have everything you would need on hand. Be warned, not a cheap gift option, but I’m sure they’re worth it! Funnily enough, neither John Lewis or Lakeland seem to stock the equipment!

And if in doubt, just replace all their wooden spoons! Should you be superstitious, or big on Japanese traditions, then don’t buy knives, as these represent the severing of relationships. Not the ideal message for Christmas time I would say!

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