Here's a roundup of some unique and quirky Christmas gift ideas for vegetarian and vegan foodies. Most are tried and tested by me, and some are from my own wishlist, but all will bring smiles to your veggie friends and family.
Gifts that keep giving
I love subscription-style gifts which continue to arrive all year long - whether its a magazine subscription (I love Vegetarian Living or Veggie), or one of the ideas below, the vegetarian in your life will have Christmas presents popping through their letterbox for the next 12 months - what a bonus!
1. Pomora - Adopt an Olive Tree
Adopt an olive tree on behalf of your friend or loved one this Christmas and you’ll be giving them quarterly deliveries of some of the finest Italian olive oil they’ll ever taste, while also supporting hardworking, highly-skilled olive growers. Pomora is more than just another subscription service. They’ll receive regular updates on their tree from their producer throughout the year - either Antonio in Campania or Carmelo in Sicily, it’s up to you. Pomora can even help them arrange a trip to visit their producer!
2. Bake Box Subscription
Bake Box is a brand new subscription box for budding bakers in search of inspiration, new equipment, access to masterclass videos and specialist products. Every other month, your friend or loved one will receive a box like this one, packed with 6-8 bespoke bakeware goodies such as silicone moulds and decorating tools, as well as specialist products from Rainbow Dust.
I've been so impressed by the range and quality of the goodies in my trial box - a cost-effective and fun way of building up a stash of bakeware, as well as being inspired to try new things.
Annual membership of The Vegetarian Society is a lovely gift for the veggies in your life. Members receive a welcome pack filled with personalised information and goodies, a quarterly glossy magazine, The Vegetarian, hundreds of veggie-friendly discounts exclusive to members, and mentoring, volunteering schemes and local groups to meet like-minded people in their area.
As well as being a lovely gift, this is a unique way to support a fantastic charity that does so much to influence, inspire and support people to embrace and maintain a vegetarian lifestyle.
4. Vegan in 15 by Kate Ford (Short Books)
Forgive the terribly self-indulgent gift idea no. 1.... but if you enjoy the recipes on my blog you will love my new book! Thanks for your support x
The vegan revolution is here... More and more people are looking to eat and shop in a way that treads as lightly as possible on our fragile planet and doesn't cause suffering to animals. This book presents the easy way to go vegan showing you how to conjure up incredibly tasty meals with simple, accessible ingredients in just 15 minutes.
Packed with tips and advice, shopping lists and meal planners, Vegan in 15 offers irresistible recipes which are full of flavour and character, containing all the nutrients you need for optimum health. It will inspire you to get the most out of a vegan lifestyle, whether you are an established green eater or just looking for a way to begin.
5. Vegan Chocolate Hamper Gift Box from The Goodness Project. This beautifully packaged Vegan Chocolate Gift Hamper is sure to impress! 13 varied vegan chocolate bars chocolates come nicely packaged in a sturdy box, each box is hand-packed with care and you can even include a handwritten note.
Quality Kitchen Essentials
Whilst unusual or slightly silly kitchen gadgets can be fun, I would always rather receive a really good-quality version of a piece of bog-standard, (even boring!), kitchen equipment which I'll use every day. There's nothing particularly sexy about these bits of kit, but I can vouch for their absolutely excellent quality. They will last in pristine condition for years and years and years, and your recipient will be grateful every single time they use them. That's what I call a really excellent Christmas present.
When ovenware comes with a lifetime guarantee, you know it is going to be pretty special. My drawer full of cheap and cheerful baking trays have warped, scratched and are well past their prime, so what a joy it was to discover Stellar's Hard Anodised ovenware.
It really is top-quality - it will not peel or flake, (unlike non-stick bakeware) and will never rust. You can safely use metal utensils on it, and use it under the grill or in the oven up to 240C. Some clever heat-distribution technology means it delivers pretty fabulous baking results. Take a look at their baking trays, roasting tins, fluted tart tins and round cake tins. Any keen cook or baker will thank you for these over and over again!
Here I go again, raving about my high-speed blender, the Optimum 9200A. Everyone needs one of these in their kitchen - I use mine at least once a day, and haven't come across anything to rival it - even its much more expensive competitors. This beast will make smoothies, soups, sauces, hummus, flours and nut milks etc. finer, smoother, and silkier than you could imagine. It really is worth every penny, (and it takes a lot to impress me). (Oh and there's a Christmas sale on.... its sister-blender the Optimum 9400 - also absolutely brilliant - is currently hugely discounted at just £299 which is an absolute bargain for a professional piece of kit like this).
I never knew that I needed a kitchen thermometer until this popped through the letterbox. Of course it is great for jam-making, caramel, tempering chocolate and that sort of precision-temperature cooking, but I also use it all the time to test whether things are cooked through.
The probe is very thin, so you can easily poke it into a loaf of bread or cake to find out if it is cooked through, without ruining the crust. Similarly, there's no need to cut open foods you've cooked straight from the freezer to check they are done, just pop in the Thermapen and check the temperature of the middle. Small enough to pack into your cutlery drawer, and in a range of funky colours, (mine is bright pink!), every keen cook needs a Thermapen in their life!
Similarly, a knife sharpener isn't something I realised I was missing, but my, what a difference just a few strokes through this knife honer has made to all my kitchen knives, scissors, and even mini-chopper blades. And having a knife sharpener included in the corner of a solid bamboo chopping board.... well of course, why didn't I think of that?!
Shiny & Pretty Things
I just love the current craze for copper kitchenware, and even though I'm not a huge coffee drinker, just fell in love this the gorgeous geometric shape of this little French press coffee maker.
I can't think of a coffee drinker I know who wouldn't absolutely love this in their kitchen. Start the day with a 'proper' coffee from this pretty press, and you can't go wrong.
Premier Homewares have brought out a gorgeously quirky range of metal tins for around the home, and this 'Shake' tin has been used so much already, with both flour for rolling out pastry, and icing sugar for dredging over mince pies and other pastries.
It has a rubber seal to make sure the lid stays on whilst shaking, and will look fab on any kitchen shelf or dresser.
I was sent one of these gorgeous knife blocks some time ago, and am rather ashamed to admit that I presumed that the knives would probably be a bit rubbish, as surely nothing could be this gorgeous and excellent quality? I'm delighted to report that I was totally wrong - these knives are super-sharp, and the block looks as good today as it did the day I got it.
These have received so many compliments, with pride of place on my window sill!
I've picked below the seven cookbooks I would rescue in a fire - the ones I turn to again and again when I'm in need of an idea for dinner, to check a fail-safe method for making an old classic, or for last-minute entertaining when you need to be 100% a dish will turn out right first time and taste amazing.
First up, three classics which every vegetarian and vegan absolutely must have on their shelves.
11. Anna Jones: A Modern Way to Cook is a sequel to her hugely popular first book A Modern Way to Eat which was an instant sensation, and in my eyes the second is even better.
12. Leon Fast Vegetarian is quirky and fun, and an absolute must-have for families. One of my favourite veggie books of all time.
13. River Cottage Veg Everyday is another book I wouldn't be without - this would be ideal for a new vegetarian or vegan, as the recipes are so well written, easy to make but packed with flavour and fabulous seasonal vegetables.
Next up, two new books this year from my two favourite restaurants in London.
14. Vanilla Black: Fresh Flavours for your Vegetarian Kitchen is not what I expected from this Michelin-recommended restaurant - no fancy-pants arty stuff here, but instead great home cooking recipes with really quirky flavours and ingredients - this is a book that will make you smile just reading it, let alone cooking from it.
15. Mildreds: The Vegetarian Cookbook is another classic from a brilliant vegetarian restaurant. Truly international recipes here, from every corner of the globe, but in easy to follow recipes using accessible ingredients.
And finally, pretty much the only two baking books which I use, as they are just so excellent and reliable....
16. Crumb by Ruby Tandoh Ruby shot to fame as a Great British Bake Off contestant, but this book shows she is no amateur home baker - the science she explains behind each recipe is incredible, and every recipe I've tried has exceeded expectation.
17. Dan Lepard: Short & Sweet I've had this book for years, and use it all the time - if you are going to buy one baking book, make it this one. Dan's recipes for the classics - shortcrust pastry, victoria sponge, a plain white loaf, are somehow better than you ever imagined you could make, through his clever trickery and amazing baking know-how. What this man doesn't know about baking isn't worth knowing.
Ideas for generous givers....
This is a brand new piece of kit that I've only owned for a few weeks but is already in use many times a day. At a very basic level it's a bit like a food processor with a very precise heating element, but that doesn't do justice to the squillions of different things this thing can do. Read my full review of the Optimum ThermoCook here.
19. Demuths' Vegetarian Cooking Holidays
What an absolutely fab idea from Demuths Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath. I've so often seen 'foodie' holidays advertised and thought they looked like a lot of fun, but would probably involve too much meat and fish to be of any interest. But foodie holidays organised by vegetarians for vegetarians? Now those sound very good indeed. Check out their website for more information.
And at very long last - here are a couple of stocking-fillers under £10, both from my little shop on the blog. Buying these will make both the recipient and me very happy indeed - thank you!
I doodled this little poster many years ago to illustrate an article on the blog, and it went a bit viral with many thousands of hits in under an hour! I also had a lot of requests from companies and organisations wanting to use the artwork for merchandise, so I thought hard and said no, and made it into tea towels myself! I now have both a vegetarian and vegan version, screenprinted in the UK on organic & unbleached cotton, and they have both been really popular, (but I still have a few left so grab one today before they sell out!).
The Vegan one in particular would make a great gift for anyone taking part in Veganuary this January (like me!), and in need of some ideas to get started!
'A magical read for all new readers, young and old; Herb's story tells the tale of the future' Sir Paul McCartney
'Dare to be different, is the message that drives this story of Herb, the dragon who prefers leek and potato soup to the crispy crunch of brave knights. This is a terrific book.' Independent
'An excellent book for younger juniors on the themes of peace, tolerance and vegetarianism' Junior Education
This is a wonderful childrens' storybook about a vegetarian dragon who has some difficult decisions to make....
And don't forget that my new book Vegan in 15 is now available to pre-order on Amazon, (whoop!) - publication date is 5th January 2017. Many thanks for your support!
Disclosure: I have been sent many of these items to review. There was no expectation of a positive review and all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links - if you order products from Pomora, Amazon or Froothie I will receive a commission, (which supports my blog - and me and my family - thank you!). Happy Christmas!