Thursday, 31 December 2009

Christmas Goodies

Today I had planned to bake some bread, and prepare some food for a small gathering we were planning on having here tonight. Unfortunately, I've been rendered impotent by some kind of stomach bug - I figured food preparation wasn't the best idea. So, here's a post all about the goodies I got for Christmas instead.

Being something of a fan of Nigel Slater, I made it fairly obvious to my fiancé that a copy of this for Christmas would be very much appreciated. It's a rather large tome, but a beautiful one. It is filled with the most stunning photography and contains really useful information on growing vegetables and how to use them in the kitchen as well as some lovely-looking recipes. I've been dipping into it almost every day since I got it and am still not even half-way through! It's going to be particularly useful now we are getting a veg box and I look forward to trying some of the recipes once the Christmas/New Year madness is over! Get yourself a copy!

I also got a copy of The Hairy Biker's Food Tour of Britain, but foolishly left it at my parents' house. Some wonderful recipes in there though, celebrating the rich variety of regional British food. I'll just have to wait a month or two until I get my copy back!

With my book vouchers I purchased a copy of Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley. I have read most of this book already - it is very readable as well as informative. I've known for some time that I don't want to buy supermarket bread anymore because of all the unnecessary ingredients they contain and this book is great for explaining exactly what those ingredients are and the supposed benefits and disadvantages of each one. It also contains plenty of recipes for lots of different types of bread including Sourdough and sweet breads. I'd definitely recommend this for anyone interested in baking their own bread.

Other presents included:

A recipe file - always handy!

Set of different oils. Particularly intrigued by the chilli-infused one!

And, finally, we were given some money with the specific instructions to buy some kitchen equipment we were after, so we also got a pizza/bread stone, a new set of digital scales, a proper chef's knife and sharpening steel and a new set of saucepans, half-price in Debenhams!

These are not the most expensive, nor probably the best saucepans in the world, but they're a darn sight better than what I was working with before and were within our price range. (While I like the look of the hard-anodized pans, I fear that once filled with food, they'll be too heavy for me - even with our old pans, once they had food in, I often had to lift them with two hands! I'm only 5ft tall!) They're from the Maxima Debenhams range and the set of four was £37.50 marked down from £75. I also bought a large stock pot from the same range, so we are now pretty well-equipped! I just need a decent food processor and all will be right with the world!


  1. Your pans look great, I go for non-stick and replace them every 10 years or so, couldn't face stainless steel and cleaning out all the stuff I burn onto the bottom lol! Love your retro recipe file and those books look good. I have to get the Hairy Bikers book, but my book shelves are heaving already, something will have to go!

  2. Sorry to hear that you are ill on the partying day. I love Nigel too and had Tender out from the library recently. I really enjoyed reading about his garden and was really inspired to grow more veg.

    The quiet time after Christmas when I read all my new books is wonderful. I got a few cookbooks, too, and am just soaking in all their wisdom before I start cooking up a storm.

  3. I'm loving the pan set - bargain! I'm so impressed with your plan to bake your bread. I haven't been very [at all] successful in the past, but it seems like a worthwhile skill to perfect. Looking forward to seeing what you bake in 2010.

    Ah, Nigel. :)

    Happy New Year! xx

  4. Oh, and I hope you feel better soon!

  5. Sorry to hear you're not well.

    Andrew Whitely's book is great - his courses are excellent too. Went on a 5 day course he was running at Schumacher College last month and came away truly inspired and with a rye sourdough culture and a wheat one. Haven't actually got around to making any bread yet, but I plan to do so this week.

  6. Thanks all, I am fine now! I went on a 1-day breadmaking course a couple of months ago in Birmingham at Loaf. It was great too and I took loads of bread home!

  7. Charlene, Bread matters and a baking stone, you must have the bread-bug. Bake on! Tom.