Cooksister | Food, Travel, Photography

Menu for Hope prizes from CookSister, The Passionate Cook and affilliates

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat scared, and I feel… like hiding under my bed till it’s all over!!  I adore shopping, but from mid-November onwards, the shops depress me beyond imagination.  Throngs of people running about like headless chickens, spending thousands on stuff that they don’t need, probably can’t afford, and that will end up as unwanted presents under a thousand Christmas trees, broken or discarded by 5 January.  Shudder. 

So this year, why not give yourself a break, both from the crazy crowds of kamikaze shoppers on Oxford Street, and from rampant and pointless consumerism.  How is this possible, you may ask?  Well, why not treat yourself and your loved ones to a gift with a difference and buy a few on-line raffle tickets in the food blog world’s biggest charity event, Menu for Hope.  The prizes are foodie-related treats and rarities, and all the money you spend (a very reasonable $10 per ticket) goes to the UN’s World Food Programme, to be channelled into a school feeding programme in Lesotho.  So not only do you stand a chance of winning a gift you actually want, but you are also contributing to upliftment in a country where more than half the population survives on less than a Pound a day.

I am co-organising this year’s UK donations with Johanna of The Passionate Cook – those prizes which have been donated by bloggers are described in detail on their respective blogs.  What you see below is a list of our own contributions and those prizes that have been donated by people who don’t own a blog and rely on us to promote their generous donations.  Even if you don’t win any prizes, please consider supporting the businesses listed below who were willing to donate their goods and services to this worthy cause.  A complete list of ALL UK prizes can be found here when the campaign goes live tomorrow.

Vouchers for Cooking Classes at Eat Drink Talk

This prize is from Jennifer for two £55 vouchers which can be redeemed for any cooking class(es) at Eat Drink Talk in London. The vouchers are valid to June 30th 2008 and can be redeemed for any class in the schedule. A class at Eat Drink Talk is sure to be a fun and delicious experience and you can choose from a huge range of classes covering everything from Vietnamese Cooking to Dim Sum to creating a Modern British feast.
Shipping anywhere in the world.
Prize codes: UK01 and UK02

Organic Chocolate Hamper from Natural Collection
You’ll be in seventh heaven with this irresistible Deluxe Organic Chocolate Hamper from Natural Collection, the eco-friendly alternative to convenient online shopping! It’s packed with organic chocolate treats including (are you ready for this?) enrobed ginger in dark chocolate, milk chocolate peanutbutter truffle stars, dark chocolate peppermint fondant stars, white champagne truffle stars, a white chocolate with blueberry and blackcurrant chunky bar, a chunky dark chocolate bar studded with brazils and sultanas, and a bag of milk and white chocolate snowmen and trees. All organic, all made in the UK and all deeply moreish… Comes gift boxed in a beautiful red box, finished with a ribbon.
Shipping within the UK only.
Prize code: UK03

5-course Tasting Menu for Two at Les Trois Garcons restaurant in London, E1

Les Trois Garçons has become legendary amongst food lovers in London. Inspired by luxury and executed with impeccable taste a place to marvel, a warm homely welcome to comfort with a hint of decadence. Baroque courtesan’s parlour meets Parisian antique market: stuffed monkeys, tigers, swans and giraffe swathed in necklaces. Gigantic wine glasses filled with bejeweled fruit, underneath an impressive collection of chandeliers.
Attention to detail is Les Trois Garçons’ motto, especially with regards to food.   Chef Jérôme Henry draws from his Swiss-French roots to create elaborate dishes packed with flavours, top ingredients juxta-posed to compliment each other without fuss. He will be devising a 5-course tasting menu for you and a companion and pair them with matching wines. Say goodbye to the real world. True escapism awaits. Let Les Trois Garçons take you on a journey.
Voucher can be sent anywhere in the world, restaurant is in London.
Prize code: UK09

Thermomix Box of Tricks & Treats

Johanna has written about the Thermomix and all the wonderful things it can do a lot on this blog – the ultimate kitchen gadget that professional chefs like Raymond Blanc, Heston BLumenthal and Adrian Ferra swear by. It never fails to impress whether it’s whipping up a frothy hollandaise in 6 minutes flat, stirring the ultimate, smooth bechamel sauce without you getting into a sweat or making a creamy risotto from start to finish…
The prize donated by UK Thermomix is a box of wonderful goodies:  5 delicious home-made liqueurs plus two dozen chocolate biscuits plus two dozen parmesan shortbread biscuits.  The biscuits will be made with all organic ingredients and the liqueurs will be made with organic fruits, organic sugar, organic coffee, organic eggs: Creamy Orange Liqueur, Limoncello, Coffee Liqueur, Cranberry Raspberry Cordial Liqueur (for grown-ups only!) and Egg Cognac Liqueur. All these goodies will be made using the Thermomix TM31, the food processor that weighs and cooks.  They will be made fresh just before being sent out to the prize-winner.
Courier delivery within the UK only.

Prize code: UK22

Meal at 1802 restaurant in the London Docklands

1802, named after the year the West India Quay rum and tea warehouse in which it is housed was built, provides the best in modern British food. Referred to as “… a menu that pushes all the right buttons” by The Square Meal Guide, the a la carte lunch menu always includes such favourites as the now famous 1802 lamb burger with tzatziki, while innovative seasonal dishes such as roast haddock with smoked pork belly or poached crayfish with samphire also feature. With South African chef Gustav Leipoldt at the helm in the kitchen, you may even find traditional tomato bredie or a traditional Cape Malay curry on the menu!  The voucher to the value of £75 can  be redeemed against any food or drinks bill and is valid until 30 March 2008.
Voucher can be shipped anywhere, restaurant is in London.
Prize code:  UK17

Sourdough Bread Baking Starter Kit

Johanna’s contribution this year will be to spread the passion that is bread baking. Says Johanna:"Surely I am not alone in being appalled by the poor quality of bread available in this country (the few specialist or artisan bakeries we have are not only dying a slow death, we are also, lets face it, just too busy to be seeking out that special loaf every single day). I got very lucky last spring when a dear German blogger sent me two cultures of sourdough she has been using in her own baking for years and years… I have since not only been nurturing these cultures, but also experimenting with various recipes over the months, with the result that both myself and the rest of the family will now only reluctantly eat anything bought at the supermarket!"
With your raffle ticket, you’re buying a chance to win a sourdough baking starter kit containing the following:

"I never thought it would be so easy to produce consistently great bread that rivals the bakeries around me. The secret is not in the recipe or any miracle flour used, you don’t need a special oven to make it either: it’s all about the starter you use and the one that’s up for grabs will make you one very happy baker and very popular with the people surrounding you (if you decide to share your bread that is!)"
Will send anywhere within Europe (the starters would probably not survive shipment anywhere else in the world).
Prize code: UK18

Choose 1 of 5 original food photographs

Ever looked at a picture on Cooksister and thought “man, that looks good enough to eat”?  Well, the good news is that you can now win one of five pictures that have appeared on Cooksister over the past year. The picture will be printed on gloss paper in 8×12" format and will be matted.  The prize can be shipped anywhere in the world and would make a perfect gift for a foodie friend – or yourself!

Will ship anywhere in the world
Prize Code: UK25

Heston Blumenthal’s Menu for 2 at Hinds Head

A unique historic British menu for two at the Hinds Head from Heston Blumenthal. Heston will meet the winner and present  autographed copies of all his three books. The more public side of Heston Blumenthal is the pre-eminent chef-scientist at the Michelin three-star restaurant The Fat Duck, while  the side lesser known is the passionate researcher and restorer of  historic British dishes.  The lucky winner of this prize (and a guest) will dine on a menu that is literally a representation of British cuisine from the 17th and 18th century.  Heston promise that they will be outstanding, and some of them will never have been tested before!
Prize code: UK33

A companion spot with Jay Rayner doing a restaurant review for the Observer

Jay said "This meal will be a London review, so no point bidding if  they ain’t nearby or planning to be there. (note from Pim: Menu for  Hope won’t fly you over either so you’re on your own there.)  And  secondly, I do not guarantee that the cost of the meal I take them on  will in any way match the amount they spent on raffle tickets. Somebody here in London recently bid £500 for my company which is a  ludicrous sum. Do I now have to be £500 funny?  Oh, and it will be at  a time convenient to us both but within the next, say, six months.  How does that sound?"
Prize code: UK34

San Lorenzo Hamper of Italian Delicacies worth £70

You are bidding for a hamper filled to the brim with the ultimate selection of Italian delicacies from San Lorenzo: apricot extra jam, rice biscuits, organic linguine, organic pesto alla Genovese, organic sun-dried tomatoes in extra-virgin olive oil, organic black Ligurian olives in brine (Taggiasca cultivar), organic 100% Italian extra-virgin olive oil, Italian chestnut honey, organic peeled tomatoes, Alma Rosada tuna in olive oil, anchovy fillets, Chianti Classico d.o.c.g. 2004, and Moscato d’Asti d.o.c.g. 2007.
Shipped to: UK, Ireland, France, Luxemburg, Belgium, Austria, Germany and Italy
Prize code: UK35

Traditional Nigerian egusi stew recipe and spices

Are you, or do you know a homesick Nigerian living abroad? Or are you just fascinated by the tastes and spices of faraway lands? Then this is the prize for you. Nigerian blogger Sokari will send you not only her recipe for egusi stew/soup, but also the Nigerian spices and seasonings that you will need to get the authentic taste right. The recipe is intriguing in that it contains both meat and seafood and the dish is named after the egusi (melon) seeds that are crushed and stirred into the dish to thicken it. The perfect prize if you want to recreate the taste of Nigeria wherever you may be!
Prize code:  UK36

Don’t forget to check back here when the campaign goes live and I will have a full list of all the UK prizes for you to browse, as well as a link to the global prize list!