Christmas Kitchen Gift Guide

Christmas is a week away. A WEEK!

I’m pretty useless at thinking up legitimate Christmas gifts. I have been warned against buying my little brother and sisters a real cat or dog for Christmas every year since they were born…(one day it will happen)

How could you resist?!

How could you resist?!

I am also pretty terrible at thinking up Christmas gifts for myself. Well, ones that people might actually buy me anyway. I would LOVE one of these (hint, hint). With living on a boat most of year I have limited space and so I am somewhat restricted with what I can ask for. The pony is definitely not happening this year. Damn. Most years kitchen or foodie items are an excellent fall back option, and despite not having my own kitchen to put them it at the moment, that hasn’t stopped me looking. So here’s my list to Santa if I were back in my kitchen in Plymouth. It might help inspire you to buy something a bit unusual for the foodie in your life.

Ninjabread men. . . I think I’ve just got over my allergy to Gingerbread!

Herby Olive Oils. . .I use olive oil in everything and these are extra special when homemade. And I am crap at drizzling, so one of these too.

Homemade liqueurs such as citrusy Limoncello and Arancello, or spicey Scandinavian Aquavit.

Baking moulds that look like teacups, CUTE!!

Making sweets, chocolates and jam is super easy, especially when you’ve got a thermometer which tells you what all the temperatures mean.

I have been trying, in vain, to make sushi for a few years now and without access to a course I have been thinking of getting a kit like this.

And finally, my attempts at bread have been terrible apart from the sourdough I made for Sourdough September. With a bread-maker though, even my kitchen incompetent friend can make a decent loaf in time for breakfast.

(None of these items have been sent to me to recommend or anything like that…if only!)



Sticky Ginger Loaf Cake

When I was at school I claimed to be allergic to gingerbread men…Just gingerbread men, not gluten or ginger or eggs or dairy but the baked good itself. Daft.

Later in life, I attempted to make gingerbread men for a fundraiser for children’s charities in Mongolia. I got relegated to dipping the truffles in chocolate after so many failed attempts I was threatening our budget. I forgot the sugar, I forgot the men (as in I left them on the front line and they all died in the fiery furnace that was ‘Nam, I mean, the oven…dun dun duuuhhhh!!), I added too much baking soda and they turned into gingerbread ‘Michelin’ men. I failed.

So when the OH suggested I make him some gingerbread I was a little nervous. Thank goodness, he actually meant a ginger loaf, like the McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake or the old fashioned English sticky ginger loaf. Phew!! Cake I can do. I will not get dumped for spending our whole week’s food budget on failed men…

Not a gingerbread man...

Not a gingerbread man…

I loaf making loaves…sorry. Here is a recent experiment that turned out to be an awesome loaf, and I regularly make banana bread as it is delicious, and wholesome, for breakfast (elevenses, afternoon tea, supper, midnight snacks…). This one would even make a good Christmas gift in a hamper as the longer you leave it the stickier it gets and it’ll last for ages if its sealed in a tin after opening. That or you could fill the house with the smell of spicey ginger goodness before everyone turns up on Christmas Eve for sherry and mince-pies, it would make a rather nice addition to the mince-pies I think.

Sticky Ginger Loaf Cake

225 g self raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 4 tsp ground ginger, 55g butter, 55g soft brown sugar, 115 ml black treacle, 115 ml golden syrup, 2 eggs beaten and mixed with milk to make 1/2 pint, pinch salt
Sticky, gooey sweetness

Sticky, gooey sweetness

Preheat oven to 180 C and grease then line a 2lb loaf tin. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, over a saucepan of boiling water, melt the butter with the sugar, treacle and golden syrup. Fold the melted mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring well to combine and then fold in the egg and milk mix. Pour into the tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle. Eat warm with spread with butter or drowned in custard.