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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Perfect Gifts for Enthusiastic Cooks

Serves Cooks & Bakers


What to gift?
seems to be on everyone's mind in the festive season. In my previous post, I shared with you gift inspirations for all kinds of foodie friends. I have also included tips on how to make your gifts more special, stay on budget as well as creating a plentiful gift basket. However, if the foodie gifts post was not exactly what you are looking for and you are looking for cooks-specific gift inspirations, read on because this post is for those who love to cook, bake and prepare food.

If your friend is really into cooking/baking, and if s/he is working on developing and perfecting their skills, or even if your friend is someone who simply enjoys cooking, these are the gadgets every cook must have. Contrary to many foodies, I am not very big on gadgets! I actually minimise gadgets to the least possible. To me, a knife is your best friend, however the very few gadgets I won't live without are the ones in this list:






Gifts for the Serious Cook




Not only are these items extremely useful, but some of them even help take your friend's cooking skills to the next level. Go for good quality durable ones and your friend will always think of you!

  1. Cook's Torch. For serious cooks, stylists and food photographers, a torch is a must. A Creme Brulee is not one without the caramelised sugar topping, a little extra browning of the meringue on that Lemon Meringue Pie is best achieved with a torch. This is one gadget that your friend will love.
  2. Immersion Blender. Whether to puree foods, blend ingredients or even emulsify sauces or ganache,  immersion blenders are the modern cook's best friend. Who wants to transfer hot foods to a blender? No one!
  3. Oven Thermometer is a baker's best friend. How do you know your oven is actually at the registered temperature? How do you guarantee delicate foods are not being over heated? How to ensure the proper rise in cakes? All down to the oven's temperature! This will let you know the exact temperature your oven is at. I won't use an oven without checking its temperature first!
  4. Instant Read Thermometer. Take the fear of thermometers right out of your friend's heart. Thermometers are one kitchen gadget that actually perfect your cooking skills. Is the turkey perfectly done? Is the chicken cooked to safe temperature? Is the steak rare, medium or welldone? Did the sugar over cook? All these questions will be put to rest using a thermometer.
  5. Instant Read Digital Thermometer. Digital Thermometers are very exact, a fact that is appreciated by candy and chocolate makers. This thermometer helps you know your chocolate is in temper, your sugar is at the right stage and whether your candy is pliable or hard! Perfect Results Guaranteed!
  6. A Good Sharp Knife is a Safe Knife. We all know that the proper knife is the difference between perfection and mediocre. We also know all very well that slicing with a sharp knife is a pleasure, while running back and forth over the tomato skin failing to slice is annoying to say the least. The right knife allows you to achieve better results creating uniform chops and slices. A sharp knife minimises accidents too! Chopping is a pleasure when done with the right knife and your friend will love you for it.
  7. A digital Scale is the single most important kitchen gadget. Does your friend like to bake? There is no perfection in baking without the proper measurements, digital scales are precise and take the guessing out of the weighing. No baker's kitchen is complete without one!
  8. Mandoline. I use mine daily, more than once! Yes this is a stylish cook's most precious gadget. How else will you get uniformly sized, paper thin slices, that allow you to eventually create shapes and styles out of potatoes, apples, beetroots...?! They also make the job so much faster. A Mandoline is a must have item!
  9. Pliable, Heat Proof Silicon Spatulas. Even when I think I have enough of these spatulas, I catch myself buying one more! I love these, they get everything! Batters, melted chocolate, ganache, sauces, creams, icing... you name it they get it all out for you.
  10. Kitchen Tweezers. You might not know it yet, but once you've used these tweezers there is no way back! Not only to fish out the bones from the fillets, the feathers from the birds, but also to place the sprouts, flowers, leaves right where you want them in the exact same angle without knocking off the rest of the compilation. Picture perfect production! Tweezers also help you pick up tiny items, like for example, silver balls in decorating those cookies! Best of all, they help you place them right on top pf icing without messing the surroundings with your fingers! Superb!
  11. My absolute favourite pick is this Kitchen Cabinet Mount, by Belkin. Now you guys can read my recipes on your iPads while cooking, without having to worry about clean hands, propping for the right angle, dirty surfaces...etc. The mount works well for some books too. 


Other specific gifts include a decorators  Kit, where you can buy food colours, piping bags and tips, cookie cutters, squeeze bottles for royal icing flooding, Pliable silicon moulds for fondant and gum paste...etc whatever suits your friend's decorating style. One excellent kit to get is a Jam Making Kit, as in the picture above. You might even get lucky and earn a jar of home-made jam! Otherwise, you can buy this kit for yourself, make your favourite jam recipe, fill the jars and gift to your friends as a Gift from your Kitchen.

If only everyone is as easy to gift as foodies and cooks! But hey, these are all guaranteed gifts to please your foodie friends. Mix and match and make sure to include the ones you know your friend likes and needs, am telling you, you will get that Oscar moment lol...

Remember, it is the thought that counts, but some thoughts are a notch above others and definitely not random ;) 

Happy Shopping and Oscar-worthy Gifting!


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