For stocking fillers or just to treat yourself to some fabulous ingredients (especially if you own Persiana and Sirocco) those lovely people at Belazu are offering all my friends a generous 20% discount on a specially selected range of my favourite Belazu products and spend just £25.00 and they will deliver it to you, free of charge. Gift giving aside, it really is a great excuse to treat yourself and stock up on all my favourites such as Rose Harissa, preserved lemons, Freekeh, garlic oil and pomegranate molasses, to mention but a few!
Many people ask me which knives I use and since I became a Chef and discovered IO Shen knives, I have never needed to look any further. Simply put, fantastic value, great handling and superior quality knives making chopping a food preparation an absolute breeze whether you are a home cook or a professional. My favourite knives are the Sahm Khom slicer and the 6” Chef’s knife, in case you are wondering. In addition to their knives, I find their electric sharpener so useful and sharpens the blades beautifully with just a few gentle strokes, so no more sharpening (and often, damaging) knives by hand.
Swiss army knife maker Victorinox’s little tomato/sausage knives are something I cannot live without. They have pretty much replaced normal butter knives in my house as they are fantastic for everything from cutting tomatoes, peppers, fruit and peeling aubergines and are dishwasher safe, to boot. At just £4.00 they don’t break the bank and they now come in a variety of bright colours and I have far too many of them.
Makers of some of my favourite hand-crafted ceramics, adored by top chefs the country over, including Chef Tom Kerridge, it’s not hard to see why every Chef and restaurant covet their beautiful creations. New order commissions will have to be taken from the New Year onwards but they do have some fantastic condiment sets and Tapas bowls for sale in their online shop, just perfect for a special Christmas gift.
Fast becoming one of my favourite artists, Anna is regularly commissioned to create canvases by restaurants, designers and private collectors alike. Her incredibly detailed and paintings of fruit and vegetables and fish and fowl… they really are perfect gift for food lovers and those who appreciate beautiful works of art. New commissions can be booked for 2017 so the gift of a special commission would make a wonderful idea for a Christmas present but you can also purchase limited edition prints of some of her beautiful work, too.
I am so proud of the beautifully created ‘Ultimate Persiana and Sirocco Gift Set’ on sale at Sous Chef, that I just have to shout (loudly) about it! A perfect gift for Christmas, complete with carefully chosen key ingredients used in both books, the perfect gift for someone special… even if that someone special is you! Sous Chef stock everything from beautiful kitchen tools and cookware to ingredients and tableware. It truly is an online haven for amateur and professional cooks alike and I promise you, you can easily spend hours trawling through their endless delights. It is impossible not to find a dozen things you never knew you needed until you visited their site, everything from Jamon flavour hand-cooked crisps to Aleppo pepper and liquid smoke… there is something for every level of food lover and cook.
The Silk Roads - by Peter Frankopan
A Sunday Times Bestseller, I have found this book to be an invaluable and fascinating education on the ancient world, Empires, religion, war, trade and so much more besides. So much detail and information, I still haven’t finished reading it but cannot recommend it highly enough. It is a must read for anyone and everyone and makes a wonderful Christmas gift or stocking filler. £10.99 by Bloomsbury Paperbacks
Samarkand: Recipes and stories from Central Asia and the Caucasus - by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford
Wow, what a book. Absolutely beautiful photography and wonderful recipes, a real eye-opener to even someone like myself who knows a little about the food covered in these region but not anywhere near as much as these wonderful ladies have put together so lovingly through all their extensive travels. It is a wonderful addition to any bookshelf and I promise you, you will be doing a lot of cooking from it and if gifting it, I am confident it will be cherished by its new owner. £25.00 by Kyle Books
Handmade in Norther Ireland, these absolutely beautiful linen aprons are much-coveted in my industry and with such a high quality finish, it’s not hard to see why. As a proud owner of a beautiful turquoise (well I am Iranian, what did you expect?) one of their gorgeous aprons, I can tell you, it really is quite stunning, so much so, that I confess I cannot bring myself to wear it too often when cooking with turmeric or harissa for fear of staining them heavily. So far they have made it into photoshoots and mostly baking and the occasional swanning around the house posing in it. Although perhaps the Turmeric colour was made for me and my spice-laden cookery but fear not, they have an incredible array of colours as well as some limited edition collaboration aprons and also napkins, too!
Over the years I have accumulated quite a large collection of Le Creuset products with everything from various shapes and sizes of the cast iron casseroles to little condiment pots, champagne flutes and ceramic olive pots. I have asked for many a Le Creuset item for Christmas and birthdays alike, so it’s fair to say, I’m a huge fan of the entire range, especially their Toughened non-stick pans. But rather than harp on about how amazing it all is and try, pathetically, to narrow down my wish list to merely a couple of items, just check out the wonderful colours of their current Moorlands Mist range. Hubba, hubba! That’s all you need to know… Oh and if you’re asking, Ink and Cassis are my favourite colours, so check them out.