Tag Archives: gifts

Our Christmas Gifts 2013

Happy New Year! We hope everyone has had a good start to 2014. We’re back at home now after a brilliant holiday with Fats’ family, lots of films, lots of slobbing in front of the fire, a few walks and LOTS of food! We were also extremely lucky and got some fantastic gifts, most of which were food oriented so we thought we would share them with you! It was also Bird’s birthday over the festive period so a couple of these gifts were for that too.

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1. Italian Cheese Kit – this looks like so much fun! Apparently you can make lots of different types of soft cheese with it and it makes 6kg (!!!) of cheese. Looks like any ambitions to lose weight in 2014 are off.

2. Chocolate selection – you can’t go wrong with this… 6 mini bars of chocolate – some milk, some dark, with varied flavours. We plan to use some in cooking/baking and some we’ll probably just scoff!

3. Green & Blacks Sea Salt Milk Chocolate – we love this stuff, it’s beautiful, creamy milk chocolate with little flakes of sea salt. We might bake a bit with it but again, this will probably get nibbled while watching our new David Attenborough DVD.

4. Mini copper pan – pretty much THE CUTEST pan imaginable this was a gift from Fats to Bird, she wants a collection of them one day so this is the first one. It will be perfect for making sauces in, hopefully it will feature in a blog post in the not too distant future.

5. Australian ground coffee and a subscription for 3 months of a coffee club delivery – this is a great gift, we love coffee so the prospect of a different coffee every month is very exciting! We’ll let you know which ones we get and what we think of them.

6. Mason Cash Bread Baking set – a gift from Bird to Fats, this is a terracotta mixing and proving bowl with a lid that doubles as a bakestone and promises to give a great crust because it helps draw moisture away. We’re especially excited to try making focaccia on this.

7. Sloe gin – Bird has been a bit hooked on sloe gin since her grandparents let her try some of their homemade stuff as a teenager. We’ll get a couple of cocktails out of this and feel classy for an evening!

8. Le Creuset Espresso mug – isn’t this adorable? Someone obviously read our gift guide as Bird unwrapped this little beauty on Christmas morning. We’ve heard rumours that Bird’s dad got two of these for his birthday (Happy Birthday for yesterday Daddy Bird!) so we might have to buy Fats one so he doesn’t feel left out.

9. Le Creuset Petite Casserole – this was a birthday present from Fats’ family to Bird along with a continuation of the Olive Magazine subscription that they got her two years ago. It’s absolutely gorgeous, you could make a meal for one or a brunch for two and it would be great for melting cheese in…

10. Handcrafted mug – Fats finally has his own mug! He’s been borrowing Bird’s flowery number up until now but he finally has his own, very manly, chunky mug.

11. Apron – Bird finally has her own apron! This is a short apron (perfect for shorties) with a beautiful chilli print and huge pockets at the bottom.

12. Tapas bowls – this picture really doesn’t do these justice, three gorgeous little bowls which are crying out for a dollop of hummus and some dolmades…

13. Mr Vikki’s Chilli Jam – chillies? Jam? Sold. Apparently this is also great in stir frys so we look forward to trying that out. Made locally to Fats’ parents in Carlisle!

14. Mary Berry Recipe for Life – another birthday present for Bird. Mary Berry is an absolute star, this will definitely be an interesting read and it might have some recipes in there too!

15. Niki Segnet Flavour Thesaurus – another one from our gift guide here, we’ve only had a brief flick through so far but it looks fantastic, perfect for us as there aren’t that many recipes, just hundreds of brilliant flavour combinations which are sure to provide inspiration for more recipes of our own invention.

16. and 17. Cordon Bleu Cookery Book and Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery – these weren’t Christmas gifts but were kindly given to us by Fats’ grandparents, look out for some vintage cooking on the blog!

18. Rachel Khoo Little Paris Kitchen – Bird loves Rachel Khoo, her life in Paris seems like a dream, so we can’t wait to try out lots of these updated French classics.

19. Bordeaux Quay pastry course – this wonderful gift was a present from Fats to Bird for her birthday, in 2 weeks we are off to Bordeaux Quay (one of the best restaurants in Bristol in our opinion) which runs lots of different cookery courses. We’re learning to make several different pastries, both savoury and sweet, we can’t wait! Pastry is something we’ve only really dipped our toes in (not literally…) so hopefully this will help us gain some confidence and insider knowledge.

Before Christmas, we celebrated Bristmas – Bristol Christmas! Bird’s parents dropped off a little hamper and we had another few presents to unwrap before we made our way up north. Bristmas is a tradition we definitely want to continue!

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1. and 2.  75 Simple Middle Eastern Recipes and 101 Global Dishes – presents from Bird’s friend who knows her very well! We always loved Middle Eastern flavours but fell even more in love after our holiday to Marrakech so we’re looking forward to trying out lots of these recipes which won’t require a trip back to Morocco to source the ingredients! The 101 Global Dishes looks like it’s full of inspiration too and as it’s produced by BBC/Olive we’re sure they will be foolproof.

3. Moroccan Spiced Chutney – we’ve obviously been banging on about Marrakech a lot! This will probably be lovely with salads, cheese and meats but hopefully we can find some different inspiration in our Middle Eastern recipe book too.

4. Pomegranate Molasses – another Middle Eastern staple, we can’t wait for the weather to improve so we can start having more salads that we can dress with this.

5. White Truffle Oil – a little bottle of indulgence, it suggests using on risotto, pasta and eggs and that is exactly what we intend to do!

6. Lindt Lindor – ’nuff said really. These are a favourite and probably won’t hang around for long!

7. Heston Chocolate Box – sadly we weren’t Golden Ticket winners but we are still the proud owners of a delicious box of typically inventive chocolates with flavours such as Thyme & Rosemary and Earl Grey.

8. Pepper Mill – our current pepper grinder is completely useless and we’re pepper fiends so Bird’s parents got us a replacement, we can season away to our hearts content without swearing at the pepper mill!

9. Confit Duck – gorgeous French confit duck with Toulouse sausages, we’ll save this for when we’re feeling lazy and in need of a treat.

10. Balsamic Vinegar – a timely gift as our last bottle just has a few drops left in it, Belazu is a fantastic brand too so we’re sure this will be delicious.

11. Fats & Bird Merlot! – you may have seen this on our Instagram but it’s our very own wine!!! Well… nearly. It’s a merlot made by Fat Bird which Bird’s dad painstakingly drew an “&” and an “s” onto! It had us fooled for a good few minutes and once we’ve drunk it we’ll definitely be saving the bottle.

12. Steamer – a new steamer to replace our old one which lost it’s lid in the depths of Bird’s student houses, this one is a considerable step up anyway with deep steamer inserts and a base and lid which can be put into the oven up to 180°C.

That’s our haul, we are so lucky to have such generous friends and family and we are looking forward to sharing these with you in more depth throughout 2014!

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Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide

We didn’t write this post too early as we didn’t want to make things too easy for our families, but here is a round-up of gifts which we think would make a fellow foodie very happy! Some of the items we’ve linked to are out of stock now on the websites but there’s still plenty of time to nip to the shops to pick up a last-minute present. This post is intended to inspire, and we hope it helps bring some joy to a foodie you love. They range from stocking fillers to big gifts and hopefully there’s a little something in here for everyone.

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Under £10:

Spices – these are the perfect stocking filler, you can pick a couple up for about a fiver and they will make perfect little presents for a foodie to unwrap. We got some saffron last year which we’ve been having fun playing with – you can go for your favourite ingredient (like our current chipotle chilli obsession) or buy something that they wouldn’t treat themselves to! Rose petals would make an ideal gift for a keen baker or anyone who loves Middle Eastern/North African flavours, Chipotle chillis would be perfect for all of the heat lovers out there (Waitrose has a fantastic range of dried chilli varieties if you’re after something hard to come by!) and saffron always feels special. This brand of harissa is gorgeous, the rose really comes through but isn’t overpowering and it has a brilliantly balanced heat.

Cute apron – go for a classic navy and white (and look like our very own Fats!), a shabby chic style for a girly girl or an Edward Monkton for all round brilliance.

Nice bottle of wine – you can’t really go wrong with this, as long as you know they like wine! We can’t think of any wine drinker who wouldn’t like to receive a nice bottle. You don’t have to spend a fortune, there are plenty of lovely wines out there for under a tenner.

£10-£30:

Cute measuring cup set – any other Brits out there get thoroughly baffled by American recipes in cups? Be baffled no longer with a set of measuring cups, these ones are particularly cute or check out Anthropologie if you want to spend a bit more.

Cookbook – we are going to be putting together a little post on our favourite cookbooks that we own so we won’t blather on too much but they make a great gift that will be treasured for years (you know it’s a good’un when you turn the pages and they’re splattered with sauce and cake batter!). We don’t own either of these and have our beady little eyes on them.

Coffee/tea set/accessories – how about putting together your own hamper, we especially love Twinings, Pukka, Clipper and Illy, all of which can be picked up in supermarkets/local deli’s.

Cheeseboard with knives – know a cheese fiend? (Everyone should!). A beautiful cheeseboard with a set of knives would make a great gift. Go classic with a wooden set or grab a slate for the more modern of your loved ones! We’ve seen these sets in loads of supermarkets, hopefully there are still a few up for grabs.

Fancy olive oil/vinegar/dips – these make a great gift for any foodie, especially one with a love of Mediterranean food. Fats’ brother got us a lovely set of sauces/dips last year which we’re still using now! These ones are sadly sold out but hopefully it will spark some ideas.

Baking stone – we’re pretty desperate for one of these, having got into our bread baking in a fairly big way. This Jamie Oliver one would be a great gift but if you’ve got a bit more cash to splash check out this beauty from Anthropologie.

Over £30:

Coffee/tea club subscription – we know that Whittard do one but check out your local coffee/tea specialists as there are lots of small companies that are starting to provide this service and what could be nicer than a package of joy-in-a-mug being dropped through your door every month?

Bottle of whisky/fave drink – a bit of a predictable one but very appreciated nonetheless! Or if the person you’re buying for has a favourite drink maybe give them an expensive brand to try? Or how about a fancy liqueur for the budding cocktail artist that they would never normally treat themselves to? Bird has her eye on some sloe gin this year, although it probably wouldn’t compete with the stuff her grandparents used to make!

 Cookery course – this could be a brilliant present, and there is course out there to suit any type of foodie! Artisan bread making, wild food foraging, butchery, cocktail making, tea blending… the choice is endless!

Restaurant vouchers – Bird’s parents got us vouchers for The Olive Shed last Christmas and we finally got round to going in November. It was brilliant! There is something so indulgent about going out for a fab meal without having to worry about picking up the bill at the end! Choose your favourite restaurant for someone to try or just have a search for restaurants in their area that you think they would love.

Le Creuset – pretty much anything by Le Creuset will make you the best gift-giver this Christmas. You could go small – Bird is in love with their espresso mugs, go for some of the beautiful ombre colours in Rose and Coastal Blue for a girly vibe or stick to strong, traditional colour such as Volcanic, Satin Black and Teal for a cooler, more modern feel. For those wanting to splash out then you can’t go wrong with a classic casserole dish, a brilliantly heavy griddle pan or some roasting dishes. Just in case anyone is thinking of treating us with Le Creuset ever, all of our current gear is in Volcanic so we’d love it in that colour *nudge nudge*.

Gorgeous knives – we have completely fallen in love with these knives, the bands of copper are not only beautiful but you know this would cut like a dream. For those on more of a budget we have some James Martin knives which have served us extremely well. And for sharpening you can’t do better than a whetstone or an oilstone, we have one which was found in Bird’s garden shed (really!) but they’re available online from loads of places and nothing will sharpen your knives better.

Hamper of luxury ingredients – there are so many of these about but this one tops our lust list this year!

Hopefully that’s given you a few ideas for any last minute panics and if we’re too late for you then we’re sorry, hopefully we can get our act together better next year!