The Who’s For Dinner Christmas Foodie Gift Guide

As Christmas draws near, I’ve been searching for some of the yummiest treats to add to The Who’s For Dinner Christmas Foodie Gift Guide.

I have made an extra special effort to find unique independent food businesses that you won’t find on the high street (yet). I strongly believe in the importance of supporting small businesses and often find that it is these independent businesses that bring us the most original and unique food products.

I haven’t tried all of these products as yet but have been inspired by their creativity so would love to hear from you if you do get a chance to order from these businesses. They are in no particular order by the, I just love the “12 Days of Christmas“!

Enjoy your Christmas shopping (and eating) fellow foodies!

On the 1st day of Christmas…

Eat some shoes.

unnamed (1) AZRA Chocolates- by SiRAstudio

Shoes made of chocolate from the Azra chocolates, what’s not to love here? I repeat they are shoes made of chocolate! Perfect for that glamourous, chocolate-loving diva in your life. You can buy a single Azra Chocolates luxury shoe from £32.50 online.

On the 2nd day of Christmas…

Keep things Spicy with Speculaas biscuits.

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These are dutch biscuits which traditionally come in the form of windmill shaped biscuits or male or female figurines. Young men used to decorate these figurines and give them to their sweetheart. If she accepted, she loved him back. Show someone some love this Christmas with a jar of spice mix from as little as £9.29.

On the 3rd day of Christmas…

Enjoy Jams fit for royalty.

Radnor Preserves

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Award winning Radnor Preserves are hand-made by Joanna Morgan in her kitchens in New Radnor, Wales. Apparently they are so delicious that they have even graced HM the Queen’s table. Perfect as a Christmas gift – a beautiful box of three cost £15 plus P&P.

On the 4th Day of Christmas…

Send beautifully made biscuits from The Biscuiteers.

Apres Ski Biscuits

Apres Ski BiscuitsThe lovely team at Biscuiteers creates a superb range of biscuits treats and gifts that are perfect for Christmas! They almost look too good to eat!

On the 5th Day of Christmas…

Share mini-kegs of beer.

Mini Kegs

Treat a beer-lover in your family to a pub experience at home by Sonnet 43, which specialises in high quality cask beers. All of Sonnet 43′s gift packs and mini-kegs are available to order online! Prices start at £8.50 for a gift pack and £23 for a mini-keg.

On the 6th Day of Christmas…

Send a jar of cookie mix!IMG_20140821_184614

I actually had the chance to try this cookie mix in a jar from Benedict’s Bakery and it was brilliant! From as little as £5.99 you can send a range of mixes so that your loved one can make their own cookies.

On the 7th Day of Christmas…

Give someone a fresh fruit bouquet.

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These unique and scrumptious fruit bouquets would make the perfect edible gift for a foodie. Fruit Blooms has a wide range of treats available to order directly from their site.

On the 8th Day of Christmas…

Bite into some #BritishBrittle

British Brittle

British Brittle

These moreish sweet treats by The Big Skies Food Co are made from nuts and treacle, I’ve tasted them and they are yummy.  Zoe and Mark  make their gluten free and vegan friendly #BritishBrittle in small batches in their Norfolk kitchen. From as little as £2.85 you can afford to buy every member of the family some brittle for Christmas!

On the 9th Day of Christmas…

Make Italian Cheese

Italian ContentsMozzarella Imagine a tasty, fresh ball of homemade mozzarella drizzled with olive oil and a scattering of torn basil leaves, served with juicy ripe tomatoes and crusty bread or creamy ricotta flavoured with vanilla and served with a passionfruit coulis. The best bit is that you could be eating it in under an hour! This Italian Cheese Kit provides everything you need to make 10 batches of mozzarella just add milk! Buy this kit as a unique Christmas gift for someone you love (or as a gift for yourself today) from Funky Food Gifts at just £18.99 with Free delivery too!

On the 10th day of Christmas…

Eat your candle holders!

candles

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It was love at first sight when I found these gingerbread advent edible candle holders on the Funky Food Gifts site. So if any of my friends and family are reading this you can add them to the long list of fabulous presents that you’re getting me for Christmas!  When you light the candles, the spices of the gingerbread release their fragrances and scent the room. This is actually amazing!

On the 11th day of Christmas…

Make your own saucy gift hamper

Bim's Kitchen Sauces

 You can make your own African inspired gift pack with sauces and relishes from either Bim’s Kitchen (above) or the Naija Cooking Sauces (below). I have had the chance to try them all and have to say that they are delicious.

On the 12th Day of Christmas…

Get spicy and give chillis!

Hot Pot Red & Chilli Jam

Chalfont Chillies make a range of chilli based delicacies have even won several awards! Their Chihuahua logo is based on their pets and reflects this food brand’s fun and quirky side.

Read more

Mesmerising Magic by Oliver B

I was invited to attend a “magical experience” at the Wyld Bar – W Hotel,  with some other lovely bloggers, recently hosted by Oliver B. I know this has nothing to do with food BUT the Godfather (with a Twist) Cocktail I had was yummy soooo…..

I love magic and the mystery behind The Magic Circle. I’m not one of these people who needs to know how a trick is done, not knowing makes it more special to me.

Oliver B has a unique, cheeky and charming style which sets him apart from his counterparts. Having seen many magicians perform and attended events where Magicians entertain guests, I can definitely say that Oliver B is one of the “coolest” magicians I’ve seen. It might have something to do with the fact that that he’s performed for so many celebrities or maybe it’s because he has a secret desire to be a pop star? Whatever the case may be, his charisma made me forget about food for an hour, which is a pretty big deal to me.

Oliver B Magic

My keepsake from one of Oliver B’s card tricks

He treated the group to some close up magic and did  some amazing tricks with cards and mobile phones and mind reading.  There was one trick in particular in which he turned a pack of cards into a block of plastic which was absolutely amazing. I’m not sure how much more to tell you without spoiling the surprises that he has “up his sleeve”.

Here’s a video of Oliver B being magical:

Check out his site: www.oliverbmagic.com and tweet him on @oliverbmagic.

He will be at the Wyld Bar every Tuesday evening for the next few months, through 2015, so check him out before it’s too late! 

A Taste of Masala Chai Winter Warmer

Newby Tea sent me some samples of their award winning Masala Chai blend recently. Using the finest whole leaf Assam black tea, Newby’s silken pyramids combine cardamom, clove, cinnamon, black pepper and ginger to create the essence of Christmas in a cup.

My Lionel Richie Tea pot had to make an appearance.

My Lionel Richie Tea pot had to make an appearance.

I made myself and Mr WFD some lovely Masala Chai using the recipe below:

Masala Chai Winter Warmer – Ingredients (makes one pot)

  • Two Newby Masala Chai Silken Pyramids
  • ½ Orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. of honey
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • Freshly boiled water

It is a delicious spicy tea blend and makes a change from the usual festive drinks like mulled wine or hot chocolate. I would definitely recommend stocking up on a few boxes of this delightful range of teas, it’s perfect for all tea lovers everywhere!

Newby Tea

Newby Tea

The full silken pyramid range, including Rare Assam, Hunan Green, Strawberry & Mango plus Ginger & Lemon can also be found online at www.newbyteas.com

Neat & Dirty Alcoholic Olives from Olives Et Al

When the lovely team at Olives Et Al sent me a jar of their new range of alcohol infused olives to review I was SO excited. These are the world’s first olives aimed at over 18s and since I love olives and enjoy alcohol, so it had to be a winning combination!

Gin infused olives

Gin infused olives

I wanted to try to them immediately but had to wait patiently for them to freeze. The olives I received were preserved in gin and naturally infused with lemon, and have to be served direct from the freezer to get the full impact of flavours. They can be added to cocktails, gin and tonic or simply eaten icy cold. I’m not a fan of gin and tonic cocktails so I decided to have mine as an ice cold snack.

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The olive dish came separately!

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Up close and personal with a Gin infused olive

They deliver a powerfully boozy kick! It’s a taste sensation that I was not expecting. The combination of the lemon, gin and frozen olives was all a bit too much for me. My tastebuds were in a state of confusion from the cold kick from the frozen olives, having never tried frozen olives before, and the alcoholic aftertaste was intense. I’ll admit I was not up to the challenge of eating all of these olives but for  the sake of a fair review I asked my neighbour to try them and she loved them! Actually she ended up eating all of them and was ready to make some cocktails with them too. She’s a gin lover so it was a winner for her. I think if I had tried the vodka flavoured  olives I probably would have enjoyed them more. They are an unusual and fun foodie treat though and I recommend trying them if only to have them as a talking point at your next dinner party or at boozy picnic in the summer.

Visit www.olivesetal.co.uk to order or find out where to buy and let me know what you think of them once you’ve tried them.

10 Reasons To Love Coconut Oil

When the wonderful team at Afro Fit sent me a jar of African Virgin Coconut Oil to try it struck me how versatile this oil is. I only started using it for my skin and hair in 2013 but it has so many health benefits and is used in cooking too, so I decided to do a quick run down of a few of those benefits.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Here are a few reasons why everyone should use Coconut Oil:

  1. Coconut Oil is a real saturated oil, so it’s a healthy type of fat (yes they do exist) that can be used for medium and high heat cooking like frying or baking. I’m a real fan of finding healthier types of oils to use when cooking especially for my shallow-frying. There are plenty of recipes that one can use coconut oil with. Here are just a few from some fellow food bloggers.
  2. Coconut oil is a superb skin moisturiser, I can attest to it keeping my skin soft and supple throughout the seasons.
  3. Coconut oil is a great conditioner and moisturiser for hair, I have afro hair and use it regular to maintain the health of my hair.
  4. Coconut oil is great for your teeth. I have never tried it but according to many health “gurus” coconut oil can whiten and strength teeth and also improve gum health!
  5. Many people attest to the fact that coconut oil improves digestion and even prevents constipation which is all the more reason to use it for cooking.
  6. Coconut oil is like breast milk! Virgin coconut oil happens to have the highest concentration of lauric acid outside of breast milk and thus is said to help support a healthier immune system.
  7. A spoonful of coconut oil makes tea taste even better! This one I have tried and it’s true. It takes some getting used to, but it gives a nice creamy flavour to tea. I wouldn’t recommend making this a daily addition to your tea though, just a once in a while treat.
  8. Coconut oil is basically beauty magic in a jar. From make up remover to face cleanser there are so many beauty uses for this oil.
  9. Coconut oil is good for the brain and scientific studies have shown that it helps with brain activity and may prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  10. Coconut oil is for EVERYBODY – vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers like me! It’s the ideal oil for everyone.

One thing that might initially discourage or even scare some people is that the oil becomes hard in cold temperatures.  If you wish to use it for your hair or skin I would recommend soaking the jar in a wash basin of hot water for a few minutes. Please remember that the above are simply suggestions; if you have any other idea on how to use Coconut oil leave a comment below.

Afro Fit African Virgin Coconut Oil is sourced and processed in Ghana, West Africa, by small-scale local farmers who use traditional methods to make the oil. They are a small business supporting small businesses in Africa and for that I salute them.

Tweet @afrofit_ if you have any questions about coconut oil or order a jar online for £10.

Festivities at The Christmas Foodies Festival

Our Foodie Correspondent, Uchenna Izundu, went along to The Christmas Foodies Festival in November 2014 at The Truman Brewery, Hackney. Read what she had to say about her foodie experience.  Did you attend the foodie festival? What did you think? Leave a comment for us below.

Image by The Foodies Festival

Image by The Christmas Foodies Festival

Cheese Village

Image by The Christmas Foodies Festival

One of the best things about food fairs is the opportunity to sample a diverse range of delectable foods as one whirls from one stall to another. Feeling Spanish? Reach for that chorizo. Have a sweetness weakness? Spend quality time in the cake and bake theatre. All in the good company of die-hard enthusiasts, so many of which are sweating it out in the kitchen because they believe in fresh food and good old personal customer service.

The first Christmas Foodies Festival in Truman Brewery was a bustling three day affair with a drinks theatre, cookery classes, artisan produce, vintage tea, and street food. Christmas carols from impromptu choirs warmed the spirit as attendants entered the white sterile building. For parents with prams or disabled people with wheelchairs, it was a pity that there were no lifts to enable access to the first floor.

Handmade strawberry and vanilla jam from Piddington Jam was an intoxicating, naughty indulgence and the quaint packaging harks back to something of a vintage 50s era and the mischievous child. With all the interest in nutritious breakfasts, award winning Maggi Magoos which offers 100% organic handmade cereals and toppings, had some delicious combinations on offer. Cornflakes with ginger was a refreshing concoction to kick-start a drudgery morning. Mojo Risin’ chilli relishes from Indian influenced restaurateur That Hungry Chef woke me right up from the afternoon slumber.

Unsurprisingly, the drinks theatre was one of the busiest floors in the fair with lots of companies providing samples of wines and brandy. TV wine expert Charles Metcalfe delivered entertaining and accessible lectures, complete with generous pourings of wine, port, and sherry.

Christmas Foodies Festival Image by Uchenna Izundu

Image by Uchenna Izundu

At a mere 25, British Chef of the Year, endearing Adam Handling, gave a cookery class serving up chicken in a rich yellow sauce which drew a hungry swarm at the end. Recalling how he was afraid he would go to hell after boiling 300 lobsters on his first day as a junior chef, Handling showed he has long put that rest with his pointers on easily cutting lobster. Unfortunately the quality of sound in that space made it difficult to pick up everything he was saying.

Christmas Foodies Festival Image by Uchenna Izundu

Image by Uchenna Izundu

An exotic array of palettes were catered for in the street food line up – ranging from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen to Latin inspired cuisine made with the finest British ingredients to produce chorizo burgers and steaks by Up in my Grill. Acclaimed as the healthiest meat in the world with extremely low fat content and very high levels of protein and iron, I just had to taste the ostrich burger made by I Love Ostrich with the gorgeous chilli topping. Chomping that down quick time made me realize just how hungry I was.

All in all, the festival proved to be an interesting experience – feasting around the world in just a few hours.