Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Unexpected Food-Related Gifts

I am a notoriously difficult person to buy presents for. If I want something, I will generally get it myself. If I don't have it, I probably don't want it. So when we finally had our housewarming party the other week (which coincided with my birthday), I was surprised by what amazing presents my family and friends managed to buy for us. Not counting edible gifts like bottles of wine, we received...

Drink Glassware

Our previous place was so tiny we did not even have a dining table. Not surprisngly, we also did not have much in the way of  glassware for drinks. We put the punch bowl to use straight away, making mojito with mint from the garden.

Wine decanter and punch bowl set.
Serving Set

We received souvenir serving utensils, a tea towel and an apron from Budapest. These were probably made in China, and I am not sure why the Hungarian man on the spoon handle looks like he is wearing a sombrero, but actually, these came in pretty handy.

Serving utensils, tea towel and apron (not pictured).
Chopping Boards and Knife

We have plenty of chopping boards already (with some spare ones to act as pot stands), as well as a good chef's knife, but I love the new chopping boards we were given, including one made out of recycled kauri, as well as a sharp santoku knife. The kauri board feels so beautifully smooth that we would never actually cut anything on it, but use it as a serving platter instead.

Chopping boards and santoku knife.

As with chopping boards, a steamer was something we already had, but the one we received as a gift was bigger and shinier. Now asparagus spears will be able to fit in whole!

Larger steamer than we currently have.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer

I love baking, but it always takes me hours, especially if there is any creaming of butter involved. The 15-year-old K5SSWH KitchenAid mixer we got would take care of that, as well as any whipping or kneading duties. Apparently, this mixer was used in a catering business and is one of the indestructible, heavy models. We also promptly bought ourselves a grinder attachment, so we can make proper mince ourselves, rather than buying the cheaper stuff from the supermarket. Nothing beats chopping your meat by hand, but this is less work for a decent result.

KitchenAid mixer from the 80s, with additional grinder attachment.
Cook Books

I am not a big fan of recipe books, but ones that tell you a bit about a culture, or the history of a food, is definitely my cup of tea. I only wish there were an easy way to keep track of all the recipes and information I come across.

Quick Pop Maker

When I first saw the Zoku Quick Pop Maker, my first thought was "Oh great, another piece of plastic junk to clutter up our new place". It turns out this uncharitable thought was unjustified, because this is no simple ice block mould. Once you have chilled the pop maker overnight in the freezer, you can make your ice blocks in as little as 7 minutes. This ability to freeze your ingredients quickly allows you to do all sorts of creative things, from making ice blocks with wavy stripes, to ones with a different coloured shell. You can even stick fruit or candy in precise locations on the side of your ice block. A great one for the kids!


We told everyone not to bring anything, so we certainly weren't expecting gifts, let alone ones that we would want. We are lucky indeed to have people around us who are not only generous, but almost know us better than we know ourselves!

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