I have mostly been a good girl this year. I say mostly as have been a bit grumpy at times. Eaten far too many cakes and moaned lots about the consequences. I perhaps have been guilty of sloth on more than one occasion but I have really tried to keep up some semblance of an exercise regimen as best I could, so enthusiastically that I punched my own nose in combat last week. I have generally been nice to most people though poor B deserves a medal for putting up with me sometimes. Och I know it’s a bit late in the day Santa and I know I am far from perfect but surely you have some helpers on the ground who can dash around and do the do with these fantastic foodie treats.
BLANQUET DE LIMOUX – around £10 per bottle
Let me tell you a funny story. A few years ago we were holidaying in France and had the good fortune to visit a restaurant in the gorgeous town of Limoux. It was called Maison de la Blanquet and was awash with the famous sparkling wine of the region Blanquet de Limoux. It was pink, it was fizzy and it was lovely. We purchased a couple of bottles from the shop below the restaurant and headed back to our Carcassonne base. I was surprised to find that this was not on sale in the local large supermarket Mono Prix and convinced myself that this was some rare brand of fizz that could only be found in one tiny corner of France. What a find! So I cradled one of our bottles all the way back to Scotland to gift to my best mate – what a rare and wonderful present. Whilst doing the weekly shop a few days later and still feeling rather pleased with myself I spotted the lesser spotted Maison de la Blanquet – IN TESCO. I did feel a little bit silly BUT the silver living to that cloud is that is simples to get my hands of his lovely fizzy wonder. It may be easily available but I would still love Santa to bring me a whole case for my pleasure.
When I was younger Le Creuset was the watch word in quality cook wear and crockery. It was a status symbol and as such was aspirational to a novice cook whose entire cooking collection hailed from Ikea.
Le Creuset has been making their premium quality cast iron cook wear since 1925 in northern France. Each piece is hand crafted and made from an individual sand mould which makes each piece unique – it is basically art! The big bonus is that you can put it in the hob AND the oven. Despite my enthusiasm as a cook such fandangled products seem to have eluded me.
I have no idea where the reassuringly heavy and long-lasting Le Creuset brand sits today but for me it still feels more than a little special. For some reason however I still do not own a single item. C’mon Santa I think I have been good enough now to deserve this.
Firstly I would like the casserole dish (22cm) in teal which you can get your helpers to dash to John Lewis for – £108. Secondly I would love the adorable soup bowls also in teal and also from John Lewis (£33 for two). Given my enthusiasm for soup I think I am worth it.
RICE COOKER – £28.99
I am monumentally bad at making rice. I have been known to claim that we are having special sticky rice with our chilli. Nobody is fooled though they are very good at smiling politely. I have resorted to putting my cooked rice in the microwave to try to dry it out (limited success) and also to making rice using Uncle Ben’s boil in the bag and hiding the packets. I think it is time Santa that this cook was gifted a rice cooker.
I recently had a stonking gjrls lunch at my mate Kate’s house. The lovely Miss Kate made kedgeree and the rice was restaurant perfect. And how did she achieve this feat? A rice cooker of course. I want one – no actually I need one Santa. This is a must. I don’t need anything fancy either. This fabulous little TEFAL CoolTouch rice cooker in black is from Currys and is only £28.99. Pretty please.
Both available from all good book stores
Okay Okay so I have enough cookbooks to open my own shop but its food porn and I am an addict. I may even make something from these books.
First on my list this year is an oldie – Jamie’s Ministry of Food. As you know I love a bit of Jamie – ooo err Mrs. My mate Cat is a brilliant cook as she tells me and I quote “we just can’t get past Jamie’s Ministry of Food – its brilliant” Having eaten her wonderful food many times I am willing to trust her on this one. I also had a wee flick through whilst at her house and I did agree that my cookbook collection is incomplete without one.
Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour is the second cook book on my list. The Observer Food Monthly Cook Book of the year winner 2014 is way up there on my foodie wish list. I adore food from this region but I am not sure if I can explain how good this book is better than Mr Raymond Blanc. Over to you Raymond:
“A lovingly-written homage to the enchanting dishes of the Middle East. Sabrina Ghayour takes the reader on her magic carpet to the ancient and beautiful lands of rose-scented sherbets…and to a table of abundant feasts, and of honeyed and spiced delights. What a fantastic treasure trove of good food! Within these pages, the cook will find recipes for tagines, soups, stews, salads and plenty of sweet treats. Through the pages of Persiana, Sabrina delivers the Eastern promise in its delicious, gastronomic form. If you want to eat like an Arabian Knight, then start here…but be sure to stock up on cinnamon, cumin and coriander… “(Raymond Blanc)
If Santa doesn’t bring me this then perhaps bring me a book voucher and I will buy it myself in the New Year.
VINTAGE KITCHEN DOUBLE OVEN GLOVE FROM NOT ON THE HIGH STREET £12.50
I am currently taking things out of my oven using a tea towel and I have the burns to prove it. I know these fancy expensive oven gloves that look like chunky cream mittens are fab for protecting you but lets face it, they aren’t half as pretty as this. The warm pinks, reds and teals this double glove will brighten up my kitchen no end.
This is made by a company called Ulster Weavers and having looked through their range I would also like Santa to pop the matching tea towels in his sack (£6.50 each)
I am in a constant battle with myself over chocolate and other sugary treats. The problem boils down to a basic lack of self-control when it comes to sugar. I am either trying to give up, or cut down and generally feeling guilty for failing 100% of the time. I actually challenged myself last week to have one day without anything sweet. I couldn’t do it. I found it easier to give up smoking! But Santa, despite my extreme love/hate relationship with sugar I would love some extra special chocolate in my stocking this year as it is Christmas which is an official amnesty on sugar consumption. I would like:
Artisan du Chocolat’s salted caramels – £14.99
OK they may be £14.99 but as far as salted caramels go these are the business. The original and the best. “The balance of flavours – sweet, saline and mineral – and of textures – crunchy, liquid and velvety is what makes this famous creation so special”. Am salivating!
Neideregger Chocolate Marzipan – around £4
B recently returned from a lads trip to Hamburg and brought back a box of this. The marzipan comes from Lubeck which is rather famous for it and boy is it special. The chocolate is perfect and the marzipan is not too sweet and light as light can be. This feathery almond delight bears no resemblance to the stuff we roll out for our battenburg cake. Only problem is that it is so light that you can eat a whole box in one sitting without much problem. I refer you to paragraph one in this section.
BREVILLE DAISY SANDWICH MAKER – £24.43
OK this is not exactly pushing the boundaries in terms of aspirational desires but there you go, I am a simple girl at heart. I have had about five toastie machines in my time. I go through phases of really needing to have regular toasties in my life, pick up a cheap one and then when the fad fades I ditch it. Maybe its just the winter weather but I have a yearning for toasties again and I love the cow design on this model. Its fun and frivolous much like the toastie itself.
All my fingers and toes crossed Santa
Love from Hazel xxx
PS Will leave you a generous nip of single malt Santa