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Mostly Food & Travel Journal

A'rom Moulin Coarse Salt


Chef's Mandoline Slicer by OXO

The Chrome Wet & Dry Grinder from Revel

Cole & Mason Salt and Pepper Grinders

Cornishware – a traditional cook’s gift

George Wilkinson British Bakeware

Lékué ‘Loaf’ Springform

Lékué Microwave or Oven Steamer

Magimix: Le Duo XL Juicer

Magimix: Pixie Nespresso Coffee Maker

Magimix: The Vision Toaster

Mermaid Double Burner Foodwarmer

The Original Green Pan non-stick Wok

OXO Good Grips® Julienne Peeler

OXO Good Grips® Mini Measuring Beakers

Superstone Shortbread Mould

Travel Accessories

It’s all about travel and food - lots of international excursions, culture and history, hotel, destination and restaurant reviews.
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All restaurant, hotel and product reviews are sponsored; however, the resulting articles are unbiased and the opinions expressed are my own.

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Kitchen Gadgets

On this page:

A'rom Moulin Coarse Salt


Chef's Mandoline Slicer by OXO

The Chrome Wet & Dry Grinder from Revel

Cole & Mason Salt and Pepper Grinders

Cornishware – a traditional cook’s gift

George Wilkinson British Bakeware

Lékué ‘Loaf’ Springform

Lékué Microwave or Oven Steamer

Magimix: Le Duo XL Juicer

Magimix: Pixie Nespresso Coffee Maker

Magimix: The Vision Toaster

Mermaid Double Burner Foodwarmer

The Original Green Pan non-stick Wok

OXO Good Grips® Julienne Peeler

OXO Good Grips® Mini Measuring Beakers

Superstone Shortbread Mould

Cornishware – a traditional cook’s gift

T.G. Green & Co was founded by Thomas Goodwin Green of Boston, Lincolnshire, in around 1864. His money came from business in Australia but Mr Green returned to England to marry Mary Tenniel. She was the sister of illustrator Sir John Tenniel whose work could be seen in Punch magazine and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. T.G. Green bought an already established pottery in Church Gresley, Derbyshire.

cornishware T.G. Green has been making the classic blue and white striped crockery since 1926. The iconic blue and white stripes are said to reflect the coastline of Cornwall in the South West corner of England: the blue of the sky and the white foam of the waves. The exact date that Cornishware was created isn’t known, but it is thought to have been introduced by Frederick Parke, Green’s General Manager, in 1919. The earliest mention of Cornishware by name is in a T.G. Green Trade Catalogue dated 1923. By the 1930s the range was well established. The pottery was widely sold throughout the UK through major department stores as well as Harrods.

The iconic kitchenware range has been used and appreciated in kitchens the world over since its introduction and it is now a true design classic. It is still made the same way as ever and the style is still the same. It is made using a unique lathe-turning technique that scrapes blue-coloured slip away from the white clay beneath. After the Church Gresley factory closed in 2007, designer Perry Haydn Taylor and 'lifelong admirers' Charles Rickards and Paul Burston restored the brand. It’s practical, has classic lines, it looks at home by a cottage range and equally so in a techy apartment. It has an ageless appeal for anyone who loves cooking, baking and eating. One might have seen a few pieces on British television shows, including The Great British Bake Off!

I am rather taken by the iconic Cornishware large mixing bowl. It is beautiful, sturdy, has a good capacity and is a must-have for any budding baker. It’s a good weight and ideal for hand-mixing cake batter. It looks good enough to be used as a kitchen fruit dish. The acquisition of one piece of this brand will likely herald the start of a collection. It’s comforting to consider that I am using pottery which my grandmother would recognise and covet. Cornishware endures for very good reason.

Learn more here.

food and travel reviews

Superstone Shortbread Mould

Christmas gift ideas The Superstone Shortbread Mould is made of natural stoneware fired at over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. Each piece is hand-finished and inspected. This shortbread mould is perfect for making traditional Christmas shortbread - each mould comes with a recipe, and makes a great gift for any food lover.

The pan will bake six Christmassy shortbread slices with every batch, each displaying a delightful festive design pressed into the biscuit.

This is a heavy-duty stoneware pan that is easy to clean and re-use. It will likely become a treasured family heirloom.

Superstone shortbread maker: £30

food and travel reviews

A'rom Moulin Coarse Salt

Aimed at the informed palette, simple condiments are raised to dizzy heights with these carefully selected gourmet salt and pepper combinations, made all the more tantalising with the addition of highly flavoured luxury ingredients. Season sophisticated summer salads and raise the barbecue bar with freshly-milled combinations to enhance the flavours of meat and fish.

Christmas gift ideas A collection of coarse salts, including the piquant Himalayan Pink Salt, are combined with a mouthwatering array of herbs and fungi. Perfect for pasta, Salt with Porcini Mushrooms and Salt with Black Summer Truffles deliver texture and flavour - dress simple tagliatelle for a black-tie engagement! For the herb lover, Salt with Marine Plants and Salt & Herbes de Provence add a wonderful aroma and a taste of the country. Coarse Salt & Basil transports the palate to Italy - delicious with salads and fish; while Sel Fou will leave the gourmand in paroxysms of pleasure with its wild and willful blend of paprika, peppercorns and thyme.

A'Rom Moulins Long salt and pepper grinders from £9.75

food and travel reviews

Healthy ceramic non-stick Wok from The Original Green Pan.

Christmas gift ideas This is the pan that will likely get most use. It has the high sides of a wok but a flat base suitable for all heat sources.  The metal handle allows it to be put into a hot oven making this even more versatile.

This is an easy-clean wok with Thermolon™ non-stick technology - a ceramic coating with excellent non-stick properties. The Thermolon™ coating is healthy, safe and does not contain any toxic chemicals or persistent pollutants. It will not release any toxic fumes, even when the pan is heated up to 450°C/850°F, and the coating will not blister or peel.
Thermolon™ is a better heat conductor than traditional coatings: this results in superb searing and crispy frying.

GreenPan Milan 3D range from £35

food and travel reviews

Chef's Mandoline Slicer by OXO

We all have those little plastic graters with a single slicing blade. The blade was never very sharp even when it was new and now the gadget lurks at the back of the drawer, not even used for grating. The traditional metal box grater gets more use as at least it has convincing grating capacity and it also has that single blade for slicing …but it's not sharp and results in only one thickness of carrot and is impossible to use on tomatoes or even cucumber.

gadget review OXO’s Chef's Mandoline Slicer is described as ‘user-friendly’ and that is an important quality. We all remember the scene on a Rick Stein cooking show when he sliced part of a finger using a Mandoline. OK, the injury didn’t kill him and he returned to our screens sporting a smart blue plaster, but these things are as dangerous as the sharpest of kitchen knives.

When one is choosing a Chef's Mandoline Slicer it's important to consider safety first. The OXO Chef's Mandoline Slicer has stable rubber feet so you won't be juggling both food and gadget. It is substantial enough to stand firmly on a counter without moving when pressure is applied. The safety holder for the food has plenty of prongs to hold veggies securely, and the guard keeps vulnerable fingers away from those blades.

Those blades are the business end of the device and they cut with ease. There is a base on which to slice the foods and that has adjustable height to enable the chef (yes, that’s you) to create slices of different thicknesses – from chunky pennies to slices so thin one could read a cook book through them. One can cut batons and juliennes as well as waffles for truly professional game chips and the like.

The Chef's Mandoline Slicer by OXO is one of the safest devices of its type on the market and it comes with all the features that one would wish to see. It's well designed and cuts with precision for professional results. It’s not the cheapest mandoline on the market but it's one of the best.

For more on the Chef's Mandoline Slicer visit OXO here

food and travel reviews

OXO Good Grips® Mini Measuring Beakers

It’s another great idea from OXO, who are famed for their innovation and quality. OXO Good Grips® Mini Measuring Beakers are small, neat and practical phials for liquid measurement. Yes, there are measuring spoons that could help but you will need both hands to fill those spoons, and then you have to use that liquid in your recipe right away, as round-bottomed spoons spill contents if put down.

cookbook review The OXO Good Grips 4-Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set is designed specifically to measure and pour small volumes of liquids such as food colour, vanilla extracts, vinegars, etc. The beakers stand on their own for easy filling so you can line up your measured ingredients for recipes. They have a slight funnel shape at the top and a lip for pouring.

The beakers are graduated in size so they nest together on a shelf and they have coloured bases to help you select which ones you need. They include 60ml, 30ml, 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon beakers, with easy-to-read measurement markings. Made of durable plastic and top-rack dishwasher safe.

OXO Good Grips® Mini Measuring Beakers would make a practical gift for any home cook. They have an attractive design and work alongside cup measurements for smaller quantities of ingredients. Available at many good kitchen shops.

food and travel reviews

‘Loaf’ Springform by Lékué

Well, you think you have everything. Cake tins, muffin tins, flat sheet tins – all a home baker could want. But then you come across an idea that has the ‘why didn’t I think of that’ quality that is so rare.

kitchen gadget ‘Loaf’ Springform by Lékué is a culinary gem of common sense. A flexible silicone collar clips into place around a ceramic plate which is in fact the base of the loaf form. It’s well sealed once assembled so no oozing around the join. There’s little preparation before baking as the silicone is naturally non-stick, and washing up is simple with no worries of rust or peeling of non-stick coating.

I made a New York Crumb Cake and was delighted with the results. Truly non-stick sides, and the presentation was crisp and clean. I served the cake on the ceramic base, without the anxiety of transferring the cake from tin to cooling rack and from there to the presentation plate. ‘Loaf’ Springform by Lékué will be welcomed by those of us who struggle with delicate mousses.

It’s approaching that time of year when we want to prepare festive dinners and smart party buffets. This gadget can be put to good use for both sweet and savoury centrepieces. I am considering buying an extra ceramic base so that I can perhaps make a savoury starter the day before and later a chocolate-chilli mousse using the same collar.

The ‘Loaf’ Springform by Lékué is practical and will be a gift welcomed by any enthusiastic home cook. It’s unique and I am already considering recipes that have previously been overlooked due to that chancy fiddle-factor of unmoulding.


The springform 24cm loaf mould by Lékué is the perfect combination of platinum silicone and ceramic. Measures 27 x 14 x 7cm externally, capacity 1.5 litres.

The 100% non-stick platinum silicone, leak-proof, non-stick belt is combined with a scratch-resistant ceramic plate that is ideal for taking your dishes to the table.

For information on this and other well-designed kitchen gadgets look here

food and travel reviews


Cataplana is a traditional Portuguese dish of seafood. It originated on the Algarve coast in the south of the country, but it’s now found on menus across Portugal and further afield. Cataplana is the name not only of the food but the vessel in which it is cooked, in the same way as we have a tagine made in a tagine and a casserole made in a casserole.

One can see why Cataplana is popular. It’s a striking copper pot made in two halves, said to be of Moorish design and introduced to the Algarve during the occupation of Spain from the 8th Century. It makes an ideal centrepiece for special meals, and they come in various sizes to accommodate food for a family party or for a romantic and stylish dinner for two.
There are many recipes to use with your Cataplana but typically the vegetables are cooked in the Cataplana (or transferred hot from a regular pan) and then shellfish are piled on top. The top of the dish is clamped down to create a kind of pressure cooker, which can continue to cook on the hob or can be placed in the oven.

A Cataplana is about delicious food beautifully presented, but there is also that element of gastronomic theatre. Take your Cataplana to the table and unclip; lift the lid with a flourish and allow the aromas of the delicate shellfish to waft. It’s simple cooking but a Cataplana makes it a memorable meal.

Recipe for Cataplana of Clams

    45 to 50 uniformly small clams in the shell
    Large saucepan of cold water
    3 tablespoons cornmeal or oats
    2 tablespoons salt

For the sauce:

    3 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
    4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
    2 green peppers, cut into thin strips
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 bay leaf
    1 large tin tomatoes with their juice
    1 small carton passata
    110g lean smoked ham, cut into small dice
    110g chorizo, diced
    120ml dry white wine
    ½ bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped


Scrub the clams well in cold water, discard any that are not closed, and put in a large saucepan, add the cold water, salt, and the cornmeal or oats (this acts as an irritant, encouraging the clams to purge any grit). Let the clams stand in the cold water about 1 hour.

In a large frying pan or wok stir-fry the onions, garlic, and green peppers for about 10 minutes until the onions are golden and the peppers are soft.

Add the bay leaf and the tomatoes cut into small pieces. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.

Add the passata, smoked ham, and chorizo, cover, and cook for another 30 minutes.

Pour half the tomato mixture into the bottom of a large Cataplana (it should measure 13 inches, 33cm, or larger) or into a large heavy casserole and bring to a simmer. Remove the clams from the water and discard any that remain open. Place the clams on top of the tomatoes and pour in the remaining tomato mixture. Cover and clamp, and cook for 10 minutes over moderately low heat. Open the Cataplana, add the wine and garnish with the parsley.  Clamp again and cook for a few minutes more until the clams are open.

Serves 6 as a starter, or 4 as a main course with side dishes.

To buy a Cataplana visit Kitchen to Table here

food and travel reviews

Lékué Microwave or Oven Steamer

Steaming is a healthy method of cooking and I use my large multi-tier steamer very often when I am cooking for a group of friends. It’s ideal for fish and delicate vegetables and steaming is said to retain more of the vitamins and nutrients than boiling. But that appliance is large and makes for plenty of washing up at the end of the meal, so it’s not so practical when there’s only one or two for dinner. I am delighted to announce that there is a little gadget that will save both time and washing-up liquid.

kitchen gadget The Lékué silicone steamer is a soft rubbery container with a perforated draining plate in the same material for the bottom. One simply fills it with steamable food and puts it in the microwave. Although it’s also oven-safe let’s take advantage of our microwaves as they don’t require pre-heating and, let’s be honest, you’ve only been using it to heat your coffee, anyway.

This lime-green gizmo cooks salmon fillets in just a few minutes. Obviously a thick steak would take longer but it’s evident that your dinner could be ready in no time at all. I grated a little fresh ginger and spread that over the fish. I didn’t have time to allow it to marinate but the end result was a flavourful steamed fillet with the tang of exotic spice. A little water with soy sauce under the inner tray helped to develop a good head of steam.

It’s one of those devices that doesn’t look like it should work. The top has just two sides that fold over with no catches or clips to worry about, but the steam doesn’t seem to escape. One can cook veggies to perfection and I have even cooked rice, although one has to experiment with timing and liquid-to-rice ratio. The rice was fluffy with every grain separate so you can indeed cook a full Asian dinner even if your only cooking appliance is that microwave. Perhaps this steamer should be in the kitchen kit of every camper van or mobile home. If you are a lover of steamed fish in particular then this might be a worthwhile addition to your kitchen battery.

The Lékué Microwave or Oven Steamer is attractive, a time-saver and practical, with simple clean-up. Your steamed food will be healthy and delicious and there is even a recipe book to give you some inspiration. It’s a winner.

Find your Lékué steamer here
food and travel reviews

George Wilkinson British Bakeware with GlideX coating

It’s a sign of the times that we want everything lighter. Suitcases, tents, cameras, vacuum cleaners; but that philosophy should not apply to bakeware.Reviews of kitchen gadgets

What do I mean by ‘bakeware’? Well, that’s your loaf tins, your cake tins and your flat cookie sheets. If you have ever bought a baking tray from a Pound shop then you will likely have been stricken with a warp. After even the first use the thing will have taken on a curious undulation, a slight curve which isn’t ideal for biscuits or even for standing under a soufflé dish. In short you would soon realise that the £ you spent was a £ wasted.

George Wilkinson British Bakeware has been making baking tins in Lancashire for over 80 years and have a range of tins and trays that will become culinary heirlooms. They are truly heavy-duty and substantial, and made of recycled steel. Nothing half-hearted here – the black coating is non-stick of the highest order and I suspect it’s almost indestructible.

I have several sheet pans for baking biscuits (cookies for my dear US reader). They are thick enough not to have warped but their non-stick surface has long been just a memory. I have spent time and effort lining each sheet with baking parchment, I have greased the bare metal with non-stick spray and I have smeared lard. OK, so the biscuits have not welded themselves to the pan but I have wasted time preparing the tins; and then there is the clean-up.

British Bakeware promises that if you simply use a smear of oil for prep then just a rinse will be sufficient to have these black beauties looking like new. “Yeah, right,” was my cynical reaction. I have heard such claims before, but I must say that it’s true. I first tried some sugary cookies that oozed their sweet buttery juices, which then caramelised on the surface. “Gotcha!” I thought. But a moment under a hot-running tap and the surface was back to its pristine ebony best. This really does work. GlideX coating is bonded directly onto the surface to ensure it keeps performing like new every time. The GlideX is scratch resistant, flake-resistant and virtually indestructible. Tested rigorously by George Wilkinson laboratories and consumers the GlideX coating outperforms all other non-stick brands. Use it a few times and you will notice the difference.

Great British Bakeware with GlideX is the latest collection from this British bakeware manufacturer which offers a wide range of these amazing non-stick products from roasters and pizza trays to spring form cakes tin and pie plates, plus much more.

This bakeware has a 15-year guarantee and I have only had mine a few weeks so I can’t swear to its endurance, but I can say they are the best non-stick tins I have tried to date, and I am grateful for sliding cakes, loose loaves and gliding, freeform tarts, not to mention the time saved in scouring. Well done George Wilkinson British Bakeware!

Visit George Wilkinson British Bakeware here

food and travel reviews

Mermaid Double Burner Foodwarmer

We want to eat outside in warmer weather, but does that oblige us to eat nothing but salad? Even in the summer the evenings can be chilly when dusk falls and that’s just when we might fancy something warming.

london restaurant review A barbecue is always welcome but there is all that washing-up of grills to consider, so why not have some of those foods you would normally enjoy in your dining room, but just sit outside and eat? Well, it’s because the food cools off too fast to make that style of al fresco entertaining appealing.

Mermaid have a practical solution in their Table Top Deluxe Foodwarmer. These warmers come in two sizes: 2- or 3-candlepower, but even the 2-burner version offers enough space for a large main dish or two smaller ones. The aforementioned burners are in fact your regular tea-lights and they radiate a surprising amount of heat.

This foodwarmer is safe to use and has an integral tea-light snuffer and a detachable top for practicality and ease of cleaning. It will allow you to linger longer over those summer dinners with foods that remain steaming hot. A great addition to your outdoor dining kit.

food and travel reviews

Cole & Mason Salt and Pepper Grinders

london restaurant review

Experience a flavour revelation

london restaurant review Introducing unique milling technology, durable mechanisms and superior construction from Cole & Mason salt and pepper mills.  It is called Precision System and gives optimum control to adjust salt and pepper grinds from fine to coarse and confidently mill with the lifetime mechanism guarantee.  Expertly engineered, each mill delivers fresh grounds, bringing real flavour to your food.

Established in 1919, Cole & Mason’s world-renowned salt and pepper mills remain wholly designed in England.  With mill designs from traditional to modern, these innovative mills not only enhance your home and food with function and optimum flavour, but bring great style too.

The Cole & Mason Precision Mechanism distinguishes itself from typical pepper mills and guarantees to deliver a seasoning experience that will really bring out the best in your food. Rather than simply crushing the peppercorns, the advanced mechanism instead strips them down by their individual layers as it grinds.  As the different flavours within these layers are released they mix together to deliver the fully rounded and intense flavour of the peppercorn. This true and pleasurable flavour of the peppercorn enhances your food with a difference that you can really taste.

london restaurant review


Machine-cut hardened carbon steel mechanism for pepper and diamond-sharp ceramic for salt, ensuring their hardwearing properties maintain the ultimate in performance.

london restaurant review


Precision System mills have mechanisms that deliver excellent throughput of pepper and salt, ensuring more grinds with each turn and consistently releasing the optimum flavour.


With a spring-loaded mechanism, Precision System mills can be easily adjusted for fine or coarse grinds to meet your individual taste.  Perfect for precision grinding. 

The Cole & Mason Precision System distinguishes itself from run-of-the-mill salt and pepper mills. 

To find out more about how to experience Cole & Mason’s new flavour revelation visit

food and travel reviews

Magimix Le Duo XL Juicer

Magimix produces some of the best quality kitchen appliances around. They look stylish but more importantly they work. You know you have a high-end gadget from the moment you set hands on a device. kitchen gadget reviewThe weight and finish give you the clue as soon as you lift it from the box, and the Magimix Le Duo XL Juicer is another in that superb line-up.

Similar to other juicers but with a wider feed tube, this machine can handle hard produce like apples, carrots, and larger fruit and vegetables. How much juice can one get from a carrot? Lots, and a pile of dust-like remains in the easy-to-clean basket. The 12-year-guaranteed motor throbs with power and deals with root veggies with ease. 1500 R.P.M. and 400 Watts is tech-speak that doesn’t mean much on paper – but those RPMs and Watts are remarkable on one’s kitchen counter.

The citrus press is part of that “duo”. It takes seconds to juice two halves of an orange, producing a couple of totally empty peel shells and a nice glass of juice. Even those orange shells are useful: fill them with sorbet made from that aforementioned fresh orange juice. The juicing section is easily rinsed under the tap or in the dishwasher.

There’s another attachment which will help you make coulis from soft fruit, firmly pushing the flesh through a fine mesh. This saves a lot of messing around with a wooden spoon or ladle and a nylon sieve.

We should all eat and drink more fruit and vegetables. Juicing gives a quick and delicious alternative to shop-bought cartons and bottles. We will be overindulging at Christmas but the Magimix Le Duo XL Juicer will also provide the fruity ingredients for some festive cocktails as well as delicious drinks to aid Yule recovery, and some detoxing vitamins for the New Year. An amazing and practical gift for any food lover.

Dishwasher Safe:    Yes
R.P.M. :    1500
Power:     400 Watts
Weight:    6 kg
Dimensions (LxWxH):    210 x 310 x 330 mm
Warranty Motor:     12 Years
Warranty Parts:     3 Years

food and travel reviews

Magimix for breakfast
  - The Vision Toaster

I was flattered to be asked to work with Magimix to promote a couple of their kitchen products. They do, after all, make some of the best quality appliances around and I do subscribe to that old but wise saying that one should have the right tool for the job.

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, but it's a shame that it arrives too early, when we are least in command of our faculties. We know we need something to eat and drink and we do indeed crave some sustenance, but it's just too much trouble to get the comatose brain in gear.

Magimix Vision toaster Well, let's start with a simple slice of toast. I was in the first year of secondary school cookery lessons before I realised that toast was not a two-part recipe: first incinerate your bread and then scrape with a sharp instrument over a handy sink.

The Vision Toaster would have been a godsend to our small family and the Fire Brigade back then. I fell in love with this stylish piece of equipment across a crowded room. Yes, food is my living and I cook every day but I eat toast every day as well, and even people who are virtual strangers to the inside of a kitchen also eat toast frequently.

This isn't just a good-looking piece of kitchen kit - it's the most practical of toasters. There is the usual control for degree of brownness, but this toaster uniquely has glass sides which allow you to eject the toast at just the right moment. And one can now toast French bread or bagels to perfection on just the cut side, and even defrost that bread you forgot to take out of the freezer the night before.

It's a universal rule that twice-cooked toast is to be avoided. We have all been presented with that dilemma. Started the toast and gone to check emails and texts. Toast is brown but cold on return to the kitchen. Do you eat cold toast or apply more heat, rendering the bread brittle and scorched? The Vision Toaster can just reheat your soon-to-be warm and buttery breakfast.

I have put the Vision Toaster through its paces and I am just as impressed as I was when we first met. All toasters are not made equal and I am sticking to the one that I believe to be the best. It's taken the uncertainty out of breakfast and that can only be a life-enhancing improvement.

The Vision Toaster can defrost, warm and toast most types of bread, baguettes, bagels, croissants, buns, teacakes, crumpets, brioche, waffles...

• Double-insulated toughened glass windows for visual control

• High-quality replaceable quartz elements

• Variable browning control

• Slide-out crumb tray

• Extra-lift lever for small slices of bread

• 3-Year Gold Seal Service Guarantee

• Extra-wide slots with automatic self centring

For more information visit Magimix here

  - Pixie Nespresso Coffee Maker

We love it, don't we? Sitting outside a French café drinking espresso like the natives. Basking in the sun and pretending to read Le Monde. A French breakfast wouldn't be complete without coffee in some guise or other, and there is nothing more chic than ending a meal in a Parisian bistro with a little cup of noisette (espresso with a cloud of milk). Now we can enjoy good espresso without crossing the Channel, and indeed without crossing one's own threshold.

Magimix Pixie coffee maker Coffee seems to have taken over from tea in the morning popularity stakes. The queues at "costabucks" confirm the nation's love of a jolt of caffeine to start the day. I am the proud owner of two Italian coffee pots. You know the ones: scoops of ground coffee in a holey receptacle; fill the lower pot with water till just below the rubber safety gasket and stand on the hob. Something of a fiddle when one only wants a single espresso.

The Pixie Nespresso coffee maker is a simple and unobtrusive gadget that does exactly what it says on the box. It makes coffee. No fuss, no mess and in no time at all. It uses those small sealed capsules which eliminate the faff of coffee scooping. There is a water tank at the back so there is no more measuring - it's automatic. No mystery, and you won't have to wait for your seven-year-old to come home from school to show you what to do.

The charm of the Pixie is its size. There are machines on the market that are reminiscent of those found in trendy Italian coffee bars of the 1960's - all chrome with big levers like one-armed bandits, and dispensing dozens of cups per hour. Yes, they are splendid in a retro way, but those big appliances take up a lot of space on a domestic kitchen counter. You'll want your coffee maker on display for easy access so it needs to look good, and the Pixie does, but most importantly it works. One of the best espresso makers around.

• Ultra-compact brewing unit

• Simple capsule insertion and automatic ejection of used capsules

• Power-save mode

• Programmable water quantity control

• Cup support and drip tray

• 19 Bar pressure system

• Thermoblock instant water heating system

• Removable 0.7 litre water tank

• 1260W power.

For more information visit Magimix here
food and travel reviews

The Chrome Wet & Dry Grinder from Revel

These days I am almost a full-time recipe tester and this little gem has been a godsend. I have been using a combination of old coffee grinder and immersion blender until now, but it’s been a struggle to get a good fine powder of whole spices from the coffee grinder, and the immersion blender only works well on soft ingredients with volume.

Wet and Dry Grinder from Revel The Chrome Wet & Dry Grinder is powerful and convincing. The lower blade is close to the bottom of the cup and that must be the key to the fast processing. Its shiny exterior fits into any kitchen decor and if it doesn’t then it’s small enough for you to hide it away.

Manufacturer's Description

The Chrome Wet & Dry Grinder from Revel is a versatile product as it allows you to grind wet herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, and within the same bowl and by using the same blade it can grind dry coffee beans, nuts and peppercorns. It is equipped with a powerful 280Watt motor that enables you to grind to a paste and puree or to a powder, respectively. This dual function means it can be used just as any other coffee grinder, but the wet grinding gives the added ability to do more and allows you to make baby food, yoghurt dips and sauces. This product is finished in the ever-popular chrome which gives it the stylish look that meets the present consumer demands. The complete bowl and cup is also dishwasher safe. The machine comes with its own miniature spatula.

Product Description

• 280 watt motor

• Mains power 220-240 volt 50Hz

• Instruction booklet enclosed

• Grinds coffee beans, spices, breadcrumbs and nuts

• Purées garlic, onions, ginger, herbs and seeds

• Bowl and lid dishwasher-safe

• One year guarantee.

For this grinder and more visit Salamander Cookshop

food and travel reviews

The OXO Good Grips® Julienne Peeler

Harrod Horticultural is a division of Harrod UK Limited, founded in 1954 by the present Chairman Ron Harrod. TheirHarrod OXO julienne peeler reputation for product design and development is second to none. In fact Harrod UK sports equipment is today extensively used in all major sporting venues including the Millennium Stadium and all Premier League football clubs. Plus in 2002 Harrod UK became the official suppliers of sports equipment to the Manchester Commonwealth Games, extending their reputation worldwide. Harrod Horticultural has the same unique commitment to quality and customer satisfaction that has always been at the heart of their business. So when you buy their products you can buy with confidence.

But it’s not just sports equipment that Harrod supply – they have a good stock of garden supplies to bring joy to any with green fingers. Their interests include the kitchen as that’s where most people prepare the produce they have tended in the garden.

Harrod OXO julienne peeler I have been test-running one of the gadgets available via mail-order from Harrod. The OXO Good Grips® Julienne Peeler costs £5.75 and it’s worth every penny. This is the indispensible tool for making delicate Thai salads and delicious decorations.

OXO Good Grips® Julienne Peeler will help you to make garnishes, salad toppings, stir fry dishes and more... quickly, safely and attractively cutting the perfect fruit or vegetable julienne strips. The clear safety cover flips out of the way while you peel, but locks back into place as a protective cover during storage.

• Sharp, stainless steel blades easily create julienne strips

• Clear, flip-top safety cover

• Contoured handle accommodates all grips

• Dishwasher safe

• Dimensions 16cm L x 8cm W

Visit Harrod Horticultural here

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