Christmas feasts might be fun to munch, but creating them can be an exercise in festive patience. Coated in cranberry sauce and nursing a soggy nut roast, it’s all you can do not to cancel the banquet and order a takeaway turkey.
Don’t throw in the gravy-stained towel: take the pain out of seasonal cuisine and upgrade your Chrimbo cooking with this clever culinary kit.
From blenders to mixers to digital assistants, add these gastronomic accessories to your Yuletide arsenal and you’ll be plating up like a merry Masterchef.
Le Creuset R2-D2 Mini Cocotte (£25)
A whip-equipped R2-D2 would be the ultimate in kitchen utility. Sadly, the iconic droid is yet to be deployed for sous chef duty. Bring the galaxy to your kitchen a different way with this astromech dish from the perennial pot-makers at Le Creuset.
Part of a special range that spans the dark side (Darth Vader Dutch Oven), droids (C-3P0 Cocotte) and dishwasher-safe starships (Millennium Falcon Trivet), this stoneware serving solution apes R2’s legendary blue and white livery with surprising subtlety – and it’s perfectly sized for doling out single portions of hot pot on Hoth.
Anova Precision Cooker (£199)
Sealing food in a bag, dropping it in hot water and hoping for the best is no way to guarantee good grub this Christmas. Sealing food in a bag, dropping it in water and precisely controlling the time and temperature with this improved version of Anova’s smart sous vide stick, on the other hand, definitely is.
Smaller, faster and sturdier than before, attach the revised shaft to one of your pots, pair it with the Anova app via Wi-Fi and prepare to cook like you’re a Michelin-starred dipper.
Eva Solo Measuring Trivet (€25)
Quantities are important at Christmas. Insufficient brandy and the pudding won’t ignite. Too much of the stuff and you risk a festive inferno – not to mention wrecked relations.
Prevent several sorts of burn with this nifty implement. Use its flexible limbs as standard measuring spoons, before flipping it over for trivet duty: stuck under a hot plate, the silicone stand will keep your table safe from scorch marks. There’s no shot measure, mind, so Uncle Brian will have to take his spirit by the tablespoon.
Sage 3X Bluicer (£300)
Since the dawn of the smoothie, there’s been a single burning question: blend or juice? For years, those who favoured the squeeze sought supremacy over those who picked the mix, with fruit the delicious victim in the battle of the berries. Until now.
Meet the 3X Bluicer. One base, two ways: this smoothie system lets you juice, blend or both. Drop ingredients down the extra-wide shoot and, with the second container attached, the resulting juice will feed in ready for blending with oats, seeds or whatever takes your fancy. The best bit? Cold Spin smarts mean no toasty extracts.
Pie Fidelity: In Defence Of British Food (£12)
Pigs in blankets. Roast potatoes. Brussel sprouts. If there’s a greater celebration of traditional British grub than the classic Christmas dinner, it could only be one with a Lazy Susan, prawn crackers and swathes of sweet and sour sauce.
Intrigued the UK’s eccentric tastes? Work up a hunger well into the New Year with this affectionate account of Blighty’s culinary favourites. From the classic fish and chips to the ubiquitous spag bol, via the Friday night curry, Pie Fidelity sees food writer Pete Brown extolling the virtues of British cuisine with an informed fondness that’s sure to leave you craving crusty pastry.
Drop Colander (£29)
Rinsing salad should be a splash-free task, but it’s amazing how a single piece of spinach can deflect water halfway across the kitchen. Contain the spray with this innovative take on the age-old drainer.
Fill the spherical compartment with your chosen foodstuff, swivel the perforated dome shut and run the tap through the handle. After a quick bit of wrist rotation, you’ll have clean leaves with zero spillage.
Amazon Echo Show 8 (£120)
Between Christmas dinner and Boxing Day brunch, there’s no shortage of culinary tasks to tackle come Chrimbo week. Problem is, given your partner’s proven inability to peel a potato without wasting half the spud, a suitable sous chef can be hard to find.
Enter the Echo Show: stash this 8-inch sidekick on your kitchen counter and, besides TV shows, video calls and smart home control, Amazon’s voice assistant will be on hand to help with a host of step-by-step recipes and quick quantity conversions. Sadly, it can’t assist with the clean-up.
The Spicery 12 Curries of Christmas Advent Calendar (£30)
Going alternative with this year’s festive menu? You could order a different takeaway every day. Or, for an approach that won’t leave you knee-deep in tinfoil trays, try this curry calendar from The Spicery.
Behind each of the 12 doors, spice fans will find a recipe card and a special seasoning blend. From a creamy korma to a scorching Madras, there’s something to suit every taste – and, unlike that vindaloo you love to get from Goa Grub, these dishes will actually teach you what goes into a good curry.