The Cottage Smallholder

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Magimix and colchicums – very special birthday presents

colchicums in Beth Chatto's gardenMy mother remarried when I was eight. I encouraged the union. My prospective stepfather had a car, a Riley 127, and liked Cadbury’s créme eggs.

Just before our first Christmas together the vacuum cleaner blew up. Back then, this was a luxury item.
“Don’t worry,” said Arthur as he tucked in his napkin, “I’ll buy you a nice new one for Christmas.”
The chirpy remark was met with a sharp retort, so swift it was hard to believe it hadn’t been rehearsed.
“A hoover is a household expense. It’s not a legitimate present for your new wife.”
Somehow things went rather downhill from that point.

This troubled suppertime scene stuck in my memory. I never asked for household presents and have never been overwhelmed when I have been given them. The best birthday present that I ever received was a large bunch of autumn crocuses (colchicums), shyly produced by a very old friend, from a bucket in the depths of his car.

My birthday was celebrated on Friday this year. My sister had already given me a Rolls Royce set of cedar seed trays that I had spotted at Hampton Court Flower show. When Danny asked me what I would like, I realised that all I wanted was an expensive household item.

I’ve worked in houses and seen them in action. This present would give me something priceless, more time to have fun in the kitchen and less graft. When I explained this to my 87 year old mother she finally saw my point after the first effusive, “Surely this is a household expense,” shriek.

Armed with a couple of cheques and some cash secreted for such a moment, I ventured onto the Internet and ordered the beast. My Magimix compact 3200 strained the arms of the courier when he tottered up the drive with it on Saturday morning.

I haven’t taken it for a test run yet. Just washed the bowls, fingered the attachments and read the instruction manual/recipe book from cover to cover. It is sitting on the worktop with a brushed steel finish that is almost as beautiful as the delicate colchicums that enchanted me all those years ago.

Tips and tricks:

I don’t think that my friend was trying to kill me but all parts of colchicums are poisonous so wear gloves when handling them in the garden. And never toss them in a salad.

I have three to plant and they are going to go in the front garden away from Inca’s jaws. She ate a large pot of pansies this summer and they have never grown back.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kate(uk)

    That’s a great hoover story!

    I am delighted with the Magimix.

  2. Happy Birthday! I love my magimix, but I laughed at the hoover story- a few years ago I was in John Lewis the week before Christmas and at the tills a man was buying his wife a hoover.She was looking pretty grim-faced. The transaction over he handed her the receipt and said ‘there you are dear, Happy Christmas”. Her look could have frozen a waterfall. A magimix is a wonderful household gift as you can create with it- a hoover just cleans!

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Celia,

    We have the same Moulinex egg whisk! I also use a Braun hand blender a lot for soup and sauces as, with a bit of care, it can be used in a saucepan.

    The Magimix will be the work horse for making the vast stews, shepherd’s pies, game pies (12 portions) etc that I make and freeze for suppers in the winter. Last year I was too busy to spend hours chopping so we didn’t make much food in advance and suppers became a bit of a nightmare on a day to day basis.

    The Magimix also does the kneading for bread and brioche which have both gone by the board. Time again!

    I had a lovely birthday. I always enjoy them.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda,

    That’s a good point. I am delighted with the Magmix and love being given stuff for the garden and gardening/cookery books. The KitchenAid range is beautiful. For years I just was not into cooking so wasn’t pleased with stuff that would have me clapping my hands with joy these days.

    Hi KJ,

    Not been a housework fiend, I would loathe to be given a hoover or an iron. These are definitely household essentials.

    Generally we share the cost of buying kitchen equipment but the Magimix is different. We could have coped without it and it is something that I’ve longed for.

    Hi Joanna,

    I am equally pleased with the colchicums and Magimix. That says it all.

    Hi Pat,

    Danny says it is a man thing. He bought his first wife oven gloves on their first Christmas and was astonished that she was not delighted!

  5. Happy Birthday!! and enjoy whizzing up some fabulous things in your new kitchen toy.
    I’m not a big user of electric kitchen gadgets but have a Braun food processor that does a good job of grating carrots for carrot cake and making hummus. I also rescued my mother’s Moulinex electric whisk (c. 1970) which was destined for the bin – great for whipping up egg whites or cream.

  6. Ohhhh Happy Birthday!!!!!! A Magimix!!!! Oh cool!!! That is a lovely pressie!!! Still waiting to get a kitchen aid mixer one of these years. It only took about 30 some years for a new cooker soo..
    But loved that line!!! Hubby didn’t find it as amusing as I did. Must be a man thing.
    Again Happy Birthday!!!

  7. Colchicums, Magimix – both wonderful presents, both something that will give you pleasure for years, probably decades.

    A vacuum cleaner? Ha!

    Many happy returns of the day


  8. Happy Birthday for whichever Friday it was. I hope you had a lovely day.

    As for gifts, for me it depends. Houseworky type things I would have a problem with. I would find it hard to appreciate a vacuum cleaner or a new iron as a gift. It would be a clear declaration that the drudge work is all my responsibility.

    Kitcheny type things on the other hand are positively encouraged. It’s a hobby and I enjoy it. I have been dropping hints about a kitchen aid for ever.

  9. I grew up hearing similar things from lots of family members. However, I love receiving household things for Birthday or Christmas. I spend so much time at home it makes sense that it has the things I would love to use in it. I still love my KitchenAid Artisan Mixer which was a present a couple of years ago (after admiring them for a few years but saying they were too expensive).

    So…. this birthday that we’ve missed. How do we remedy that?

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