With just a week to go before Xmas descends on our heads, here are a few last minute gift ideas for food peeps in your life:
Cheap & Cheerful
From the guys that brought you ice-cube bone triceratops and the babushka measuring cups we loved lat year, get all stealth with their new range of cookie cutters. Not 'gingerbread men', but 'ninjabread men' (geddit?), $15.95 from here.
Check out the whole range here.
Slow cooking can be hard on a stovetop, especially in your home kitchen. These handy mats are great to place on your cook top to help you control a low, even heat so you can get that slow braise perfect, every time. $24.95, get it here.
There are a couple of seriously handy iPhone apps for food lovers, including a brand new one by Australian food royalty, Margaret Fulton. Containing over 60 of her famous recipes and a heap of handy tips, it's a snip at $8.99. If you're stuck for which restaurant to make a booking at, The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011 app contains all you need to know to make your dining dilemmas a thing of the past, $9.99.
Hookturn coffee cups
For the caffeine fiend in your life, to them, and the environment a favour by buying them a reusable coffee cup. Looks like the real deal, but it's made out of heat-resistant silicone, so you don't singe your fingers, plus it keeps your cuppa joe piping hot. Starts at $10.95 here.
More books than you can poke a spatula at come out at this time of the year, so it's a bit of a no brainer gift idea if you're really stuck. The lovely folks at Phaidon pointed me in the direction of two interesting reads:
For beginners: What To Cook And How To Cook It, by Jane Hornby. Aside from looking awesome, it's a 'fear not' how-to guide for beginners who want to stop burning water and learn how to master the basics with ease. It's broken down into chapters that cover the everyday, to entertaining and dinner party pleasers.
Another one I'm putting on the wishlist is Heston's Fantastical Feasts. A documentation of Heston Blumenthal's quest to master mythical, magical and fanciful food from literature, history and beyond, this isn't just a recipe book, it's a window into the crazy mind behind some of the world's most imaginative chefs.
Other great ideas: Cooking classes at Sydney Seafood School are a hands-on way to indulge masterchef aspirations. You may even find your class taught by a celebrity chef, too. Click here for the full schedule, starting at $85. Fratelli Fresh do some great classes, showcasing simple, pleasing Italian food, too. Check it out.
Exy but Sexy
Tojiro knife sets
If someone you know fancies themselves a bit of a pro in the kitchen, Tojiro is pretty much one of the best knife brands out there. Their Flash series of professional knives can be seen in some of the best kitchens in the world, but their gift sets for at-home use, while still expensive, are a knee-weakening gift for kitchen afficiandos. Not for cutting cans. Gift sets start around $190.
If you didn't realise it the International Year of the Macaron, then you've been living under a rock this past 52 weeks. Thanks to Laudrée, Pierre Hermé and our own Homme, Adriano Zumbo, this pastel-hued sweet treat is regarded as le patisserie item du jour. Boucheron have created a range of jewel-encrusted versions with tiny bites taken out of them - and for the cashed-up friend of a foodie, this is a pretty awesome place to grab kudos. Starting at around $6, 500, this one's so sweet, it might give you a toothache.
It can slice, dice, make sorbet in 2 minutes, leap tall buildings in a single bound - The Thermomix has become a commercial kitchen staple, but more and more households are giving a half-dozen other appliances the flick in deference to this one, extremely handy kitchen tool. Its ability to mix while heating and cooling, blend, steam and chop, makes it a seriously handy addition to your kitchen stadium. Find out more, here. Costs $1939 plus shipping.