The second is a bread-maker. Let me tell you, this is truly revolutionary. No more plastic bread from the supermarket. No more £4.50 a loaf ‘artisan’ bread from the trendy new bakeries springing up all over the place. Instead we have fresh bread whenever we want it – providing we remember to restock on flour regularly. The thing is a bit of a hulk and takes up a fair bit of counter space, but it is worth its weight in gold and like the fridge we cannot believe we lived without one for so long. It is not quick – if you are immediately desirous of a fresh loaf of bread then you had best think again, but what we (the royal we…) do is to set it off overnight to be ready at 6am. So not only do we have fresh bread for breakfast and packed lunches, we also wake up to the house smelling divine. Initially a loaf would last less than five minutes, but as the magic wears off we are becoming more used to having decent bread constantly available and there is less desperate scoffing. It does not last anywhere near as long as supermarket bread as it has no preservatives in it – two days tops – but this is probably a good thing. It is also simplicity in itself – you (by which I mean Mrs L or a child) just tip all the ingredients in and set it off. There is no mixing, no kneading, no washing up even. At the appointed time you simply tip out a fresh loaf of bread and tuck in. It is brilliant.
The third and most recent is a blender. We already had a cooking blender that buzzes or slices stuff up, an ancient moulinex thing, but this is totally different. This is specifically for soups and smoothies, and is that latter that I bought it for. I was recently on holiday somewhere where fresh fruit grew on trees, and the place we were staying had one of these. I went large on watermelon, banana, pineapple, oranges, pomegranates etc and made some delicious drinks. When I got home I missed it, so I bought one. It was not cheap – all the advice was to get something very robust – but it looks like it will last a long time, and more importantly it works an absolute treat. There is quite a lot of experimentation going on but breakfasts have been transformed. The best one so far is one banana, about one third of a mango, ten frozen blackberries, a few grapes, a few spoons of natural yogurt and about a glass of ice. On-demand ice. The machine makes light work of this and the end result is sensational. I am much in demand from my children, and the aforementioned recipe makes enough for three. I am in the habit of getting up early at this time of year to go out on the patch, so the kids now know to have a quick look in the fridge to see if there is anything scrummy waiting for them. If you want your family to eat fruit, indeed if you yourself want to eat fruit, this is a way to make that happen.