december 2015 round-up

Christmas is so close you can taste it! Speaking of taste it, here’s some tasty things I’ve been rattling around with lately…

Sage by Heston Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker review

I have never used an ice cream machine before, but I have completely fallen for this gadget. I think I’ve made a litre of ice cream every weekend since getting it. It’s another genius device from Sage Appliances.

Watch the video explaining it:

Start with a custard – or buy a decent one ready-made – and dump it in the machine. That’s it. No pre-freezing, no freezer space required. The machine handles the whole thing. It’ll also make sorbet, frozen yoghurt and gelato. Generally speaking it take about 45 minutes from pressing start.

I’ve made all sorts of ice creams in it. A chocolate ice-cream, white chocolate, lime, strawberry… all are absolutely amazing. Fresh from the machine it’s soft and unctuous, but you can transfer it to a freezer for later use if you prefer. Either way it gives great results every time. And best of all, it plays a jingly ice cream van tune when it’s ready 🙂

It’s not cheap, but talking to other ice cream machine users convinces me it’s worth it as the whole thing is self-contained and can be left to sort itself out. Highly recommended.

Buy the Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker from Amazon

Fortnum and Mason’s Hampers

Image copyright Fortnum & Mason’s

If you need a last minute gift check out F&M’s world-famous hampers. I’ve tried out one of their smaller hampers and it’s very cute. Who wouldn’t be pleasantly surprised with a posh hamper for Christmas?!

Twitter party

I was invited to Twitter HQ for a Christmas party. How can I say no to that? I was mingling with all kinds of Twitterati, plus plenty of sweet treats. Madeleine Shaw live Periscoped a smoothie recipe, and man of the moment Joe Wicks gave us a potted history of how Twitter and Instagram propelled him to the forefront of healthy eating in 2016. It was a great experience.


Inspired by some of the work at Twitter HQ, I’ve got myself a bendy arm to attach my phone to. I’ve been trying out Periscoping from my kitchen, so go follow on @BigSpud on Periscope and join in with my cookalongs!

Sophie Thompson – My Family Kitchen

I received Celebrity Masterchef 2014 winner Sophie Thompson’s cookbook to peruse. The biggest revelation to me was that she is the sister of Emma Thompson! I had no idea and felt quite foolish. The style is loose and chatty, with every page having a funny story or family anecdote. It’d make a great stocking-filler as it’s easy-going, very accessible and packed with lots of fun family recipes that anybody could try. Recipes are comforting, such as “Granny Annie’s Orange and Ginger Chicken” and “Uncle James’s Pineapple Tarts”.

Buy My Family Kitchen from Amazon

Buko Organic Coconut water

I’ve never really tried coconut water before – I’m not a huge fan of coconuts so it didn’t occur to me to dip my toe in. But having been sent some it seemed rude not to! I tried it from one of Madeleine Shaw’s recipe as the basis of a smoothie (extremely low in sugar compared to other brands you see) and was a great base for the other flavours. More importantly though, it wears it’s eco-credentials loud and proud. Each carton saves a metre of rainforest too! Find out more at

Well that’s all for now. Merry Christmas!