We love a good curry here at the Ferret homestead (even to the point of contemplating a pheasant korma for our Christmas meal this year) and it would seem we’re in good company: a new survey conducted by MU and Mumsnet has found that 57% of children are partial to a curry whilst 66% even enjoy the spicy dish from below the age of three, with the biggest fans being in the Midlands, Scotland, and North East. In some ways this doesn’t surprise me, as I was a lover of Bombay mix when I was not even two years old. Long live the spice! (Oh, and PS: we’ll be in London this March, so if you have an Indian restaurant in the capital that you love, let us know.)
Getting kids in the kitchen this Christmas
If you need a few tiny minions to help you in the run-up to your Christmas meal, children’s cookery school Splat Cooking could help you to train your little ones thanks to their Christmas cooking workshops. With courses taking place in Princes Risborough and Silverstone, adults can even join in the fun too, with courses ranging from gingerbread chalet workshops to edible Christmas presents. I’m glad to see them making one of my seasonal gift favourites: lavender cookies, which I make with cooking lavender and lavender syrup. Happy tasting!
Sweets for the sweet
I already wrote about Swizzels Matlow’s Halloween collection of candies (even though they refused to send me some on account of my living in the land of the surly – boo hiss!), and now that Christmas is nearly here they’ve pulled out all the stops yet again, putting their most iconic brands into 750g tins. Their Sweet Shop Favourites tin (£5) is fab for the whole family, and exclusive to Tesco is the Superstars tin (also £5). Their 324g Selection Pack is even more affordable at £3 and includes such classics as Love Hearts, Drumstick lollies and Refresher bars. The 108g tubes of Mini Love Hearts, Refreshers and Drumsticks are also set to be excellent stocking fillers at the great value price of £1.49. Here’s hoping that Santa will slip a few under my tree!
Win Christmas treats with Visit South Devon
From December 1st until Christmas Eve, you can win a whole host of festive treasures thanks to Visit South Devon. Follow their Twitter and Facebook pages for your chance to win sumptuous Christmas hampers and Mitch Tonks’ book Fish Easy, and benefit from seasonal promotions, such as free mulled wine when you dine at Lyme Bay House Hotel in Dorset. I love Devon thanks to my special university years there and envy anyone who manages to make it there for the county’s traditional Christmas fairs (trust me when I say the French offerings on this front are pitiful).
Raising a glass
Alcohol is often a popular Christmas gift, but you can go one step further with Alchemist Dreams, which allow you to design your own signature flavour of liqueur and give it to everyone you know. You can even tailor each bottle to suit the recipient – and with prices starting at just £15, there is no excuse to not bestow this on the foodie in your life. They can be enjoyed neat (*responsibly!) or lengthened with soda or champagne. House blends can also be ordered if you don’t know where to start – and with names like Jade Dragon and Winter Warmer, what’s not to like? All bottles are topped off by a red ribbon and handwritten message. I’ll definitely know where to order from the next time I don’t know what to buy my dad.
Be mine (and Tesco’s)
You wouldn’t believe that the shops are already thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, but they are. Tesco’s offerings in particular are extremely affordable and wide-ranging, with their milk chocolate rose costing £1 and gingerbread hearts costing 90p each. For those who like to get passionate in the kitchen, there’s also their heart-shaped cookie cutters and frying pans, which are also priced from just £1 – so it couldn’t be easier to treat your loved one.
Everybody look left
As possibly the world’s biggest Simpsons fan, I’ve often marvelled at the sheer range of products available in Flanders’ Leftorium. Anything Left-Handed is possibly the next best thing, existing in real life online, and now selling the Left-Handers Kitchen Essentials Set, which contains left-handed kitchen shears, a swivel blade peeler, tin opener, corkscrew, and bread knife. At £41.95, this promises to be a gift for life, not just for Christmas.
Shoddy train food may now be forever a thing of the past aboard the Eurostar thanks to the new appointment of Raymond Blanc as culinary director. Aiming to share seasonal and sustainable food with the train company’s Business Premier passengers, the Michelin-star chef wants to transform travellers’ perceptions of on-board catering. Several Blanc family recipes will feature, including mackerel salad, and chocolate delice with praline custard. I’d hit it…not least because it might be the least expensive way for Mr Blanc to feed me.
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