Fervet olla, vivit amicitia … The pot bubbles, friendship lives: we particularly love this Roman proverb which sums up the joy of cooking for and entertaining those nearest and dearest to us. The 2010s have been the decade of the foodie so there’s every chance within your family or circle of friends there is someone who will love a smart piece of kitchen kit to show off their culinary talent.
Here are some tools to help the keen chef practise his or her art, and good taste …
Magimix Le Mini Plus Food Processor is the best little engine for the kitchen, taking up little counter space yet punching above its weight for performance and reliability when mincing, chopping, mixing, kneading, grating, slicing and emulsifying. Includes two knife blades, a blender, two sizes of slicing/grating discs, a citrus press for both large and small fruits, an egg whisk for egg whites and creams, a bowl, spatula and recipe book.
La Cafetiere Classic Espresso Red Six-Cup A little espresso pot is a must-have for any coffee enthusiast’s kitchen. With its three-chamber design the pot will slowly brew rich and luxurious espresso on the stove. Constructed in aluminium with a striking red finish and an ergonomic, soft touch handle. Replacement funnels and filters are available, making this coffee pot a keeper. Also available in black, pistachio and polished finishes.
Staub Rooster Cocotte This gorgeous 24cm pot conjures images of a piping hot boeuf bourgignon or chicken chausseur bubbling on the stove or simmering away in the Aga while guests gather on a cold winter’s afternoon. There is something rather masculine about the tobacco colour, not to mention the proud rooster motif, so it would make a nice gift for a man.
Dualit Panini Contact Grill This is for someone with plenty of kitchen space and a penchant for paninis. It is specifically designed to make the ultimate panini in the fastest time, sandwiching the food between robust cast-iron plates which adjust to the thickness of the food via a ‘sprung’ top plate which heats to 300°C.
Miele 5500 Countertop Coffee Machine is a sleek rose gold-finished coffee machine which produces delicious, intense coffee and frothy milk at the touch of a button. You can even make two coffees at once, and it’s easy to clean, with an automated cleaning system. Best of all, it logs your coffee-making “history” so you hardly have to think before pressing the button. Just wait a few seconds for a fresh brew for two.
Morphy Richards Red Evoke slow cooker There seems to be a resurgence of slow cookers recently, with homey influencers extolling their virtues. While not a gadget for a serious cook maybe, it would be incredibly useful for someone living alone – or even for elderly cooks, who need only pop in vegetables and meat and good stock, to have a gently bubbling stew at dinnertime. While this may be a special sale price at time of going to press, they are incredibly inexpensive now.
KitchenAid Artisan 4.8L Stand Mixer in Empire Red The undisputed king of stand mixers, the KitchenAid is still on the wish list of many who have not yet worked themselves up to a purchase. The thing is, with stand mixers, you really need a tutorial to get the very best out of all the functions and attachments (who hasn’t stowed the extensions on Day One, never to see or use them again?). A YouTube video will show you how to get the best out of your mixer, making it worth the whopping price tag. Consider clubbing in? There are simply too many features to list – suffice to say, the Artisan has got it all going on.
The Weber Grill It mightn’t immediately spring to mind as a Christmas present but actually, since barbecuing and smoking took off with such momentum, lots of families are cooking their turkey outdoors, freeing up oven space and cutting down on steam and sizzle (the delicious aromas will still filter in from outside, don’t worry!) So a barbecue might not be the nuttiest of choices – just make sure it’s delivered well ahead of the festivities, to avoid ill-prepared last-minute set-up, not to mention marital bust-ups. One way to ensure your incoming gift is used to best advantage is to book a course for the recipient. The Weber Grill Academy Festive Barbecue course takes place at Cooks Academy on Saturday, 16th November. It will teach you the Weber way of cooking winter dishes on the barbecue including Sunday roasts, soups and of course your Christmas turkey. From creating the perfect Yorkshire puddings every time, to serving up the ultimate Christmas feast, you will enjoy an immersive experience and enjoy a four-course meal of festive favourites. €125 per person including Weber apron and recipes at Cooks Academy, 9 William Street South, Dublin 2. To book your place visit: www.weber.com