Monday, December 16, 2013

Gifts for Foodies and Kitchen Junkies

I swear this post isn't a subtle hint for my hubby, but I thought it would be fun to go through the Argos catalog and pick out some awesome gifts that a kitchen junkie or foodie might enjoy for Christmas.

Let's get the expensive stuff out of the way first! What foodie doesn't want a good mixer? Kenwood and Kitchenaid are both known for their fabulous mixers, but Kitchenaid always had the edge on aesthetics. Not anymore! Check out this fabulous Kenwood mixer, I think it looks so slick with the red and stainless combination and if it were in my budget I would totally snap it up.

Now personally I am not a coffee drinker, but himself is and Argos have an amazing range of coffee machines available here for all types of budgets.  Himself being American and quite particular about his coffee thinks the pod machines make terrible coffee and has no idea why they're so popular, but for a country so used to instant coffee I'd say they're quite the upgrade. De'Longhi are well known for their excellent espresso machines and it's nice to see some of them are now very affordable coming in under one hundred quid. Definitely some options there for the coffee lover on your list!

If I had to give up every kitchen gadget I owned save for one, it would be my santuko or chef's knife that I kept. A set of good knives will last a lifetime and is essential for any serious home cook.  Look for a good quality steel, German, Swiss or Japanese are always a good bet and most decent sets will have a very long or even lifetime guarantee. If you like funky coloured ones I hear rave reviews about the new ceramic knives that seem to be flooding the market as well. Again, look for a set that has a decent guarantee.

A few years ago we purchased a soda stream and I have to say it's such a fun gadget. The kids love it and myself and hubby have come up with some interesting cocktail mixers over the years as well. We absolutely love the cranberry raspberry flavour soda stream sells, but other than that we tend to make our own fruit-flavoured simple syrups and use carbonated water from the soda stream. We've had it about 3 years now and have had to replace the canister once a year on average. If your kids like fizzy drinks and you're looking for a healthier and cheaper alternative, this will really pay off! The NY Times recently had a great article on these unique kitchen gadgets.

I keep hearing a lot about slow cookers or crock pots of late. While I have one, I can say I don't use it that much and when I do, I'm usually underwhelmed. I suspect that is because I am at home all day and don't really see the point of over-cooking my food. But if I were still working and came home to a sumptuous smelling house and dinner just ready I don't think I would be complaining about overcooked beef!  If you work outside of the home these can be a brilliant investment and even though I'm not the biggest fan, I would still always want to have one. Being someone who cooks a lot with dried beans, the slow cooker has often saved the day when I realised I forgot to soak the beans overnight. It's also great as an additional appliance to keep things warm on oven-heavy holiday meals. I have been known to make the mash in advance and keep it in the slow cooker to stay warm!

Those are some of my favourites this year. What about you? What could you not live without in your kitchen and what would you love to see under the tree this year?

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