Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dear Santa

Ok so it's officially December which means my xmas decorations are up (minus the tree) and the C word is no longer banned! It also means most of you are likely to be starting or thinking about your Christmas shopping so I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my Christmas wish list, which may provide you with some gift inspiration for your loved ones.

As a child I used to write a letter to Santa every year about what I wanted and post it off to Lapland and then somehow those very presents magically would appear under the tree (I suspect some parental interception was going on!), if only it still worked like that!

Cookery books
For anyone who loves to cook a new cookery book can be a wonderful present. I read mine in bed like novels and regularly pour over them looking for new recipes to try.

A cookbook written to help parents get their kids to eat their greens ... but I'm not a parent so why's it on my list? In her quest to get her kids to eat healthily Jessica Seinfeld (yes wife of Jerry) has come up with the simplest, quickest, easiest tasty recipes possible, without endless lists of complicated ingredients. Just ridiculously easy to follow - good gift for the first time cook or a busy mum.

I'm a lover of Leon, eating their wholesome hearty food regularly for lunch, so I was delighted to be given their first cookbook Leon: Ingredients & Recipeslast year - a total treasure trove of foodie information that I regularly go back to. Well I had a look at this new book in Waterstones and it looks like another total gem - an encylopediea on baking ingredients and techniques as well as including also loads of allergy friendly gluten and dairy free recipes made with healthier sugars such as agave, rather than table sugars and being Leon recipes I know they'll be yummy.

. I was given The Kind DIet last year as a wonderful gift from a client, and ever since then have been regularly cooking and enjoying more vegan food. Having exhausted the recipes in that wonderful tome, the Skinny Bitch cookbook is next on the list for some super healthy recipes.

Cookbooks can be a bit hit and miss, but the better known celebrity chefs usually have a team of assistants to make sure their recipes are up to scratch. This means they can often be relied upon for delicious go to recipes for dinner parties and feeding your friends and family, but whilst impressive these recipes aren't usually that healthy ... hence this book - proper cooking but with a thought to the health factor.

As well as books, health magazines can be great sources of healthy inspiration - giving you some new ideas each month to keep you from getting bored. That's why a subscription to Zest is on my list this year but there are loads of options depending on someone's interests - runner's world, men's fitness, men's health, natural health etc.

Kitchen gadgets
A whisk? Yes seriously that's what I'd like - my current flimsy one isn't standing the test of my baking experiments!! If you have a friend who likes to cook, a good budget present is to identify a small gadget they want and then find them a decent quality version - they'll be delighted and you won't have broken the bank.

At the other end of the scale ... I know I'll have to be very good for Santa to bring me this one:
It cooks, dices, juices, blends, kneads and makes delicious fresh nut butters in seconds. You can even make your own flour with it ... to be fair I'm not sure what this genius devise can't do!

I first saw these chopping boards in the MoMa shop in New York (brilliant source of stylish and clever kitchen gadgets), but now you can get them here. Not only are they hygenic - making sure you don't cross-contaminate between chopping - but they also provide an easy tidy way to store chopping boards (mine are forever propped up behind the taps).

Everyone likes a sweet treat at Christmas and I'm no exception, but for the dairy free avoiding the temptation of all that chocolate around the house isn't easy, which is why Montezuma's vegan chocolates make a great gift for the dairy free. One of the few chocolatiers with a vegan range they also do truffles and a dark chocolate lovers box.

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