Christmas is a great motivator (and good reason) to get creative, especially if finances are a little tight. Gifts and cards that have been made with thought and care are worth so much more than something bought from stacks of items all the same in a department store.
So, why not get your creativity buzzing and draw up a list of people who you want to give gifts to, and then start working out what they’d like. There will be a few articles along these lines so this one will be devoted to foodie gifts.
So much of a gift of edibles is down to the packaging, so even if you’re not too confident in your cooking skills, don’t worry – you can still give edibles, but ramp up the decoration on the container they’re in.
Or don’t even cook the gift – give it uncooked, so the recipient just needs to add the wet ingredients. You can fill jars (with lids) with layers of the ingredients for brownies, or chocolate chip cookies or chicken noodle soup, or different colour beans for soup (add a stock cube). This can look amazing and even just a circle of pretty fabric over the lid held in place with an elastic band can make it look fabulous. Attach a small gift tag with a personal message and you’ve made someone’s day. (Don’t forget to put instructions/recipe on the tag or maybe on another tag.)
Baskets of ingredients are fun to put together, especially if you use a theme. For example, Italian nights, vegetarian living or Irish Idylls. If you really want to splash out, you can include a recipe book that goes with the theme.
If you want to give a jar of edibles that require no cooking either for you or for the recipient, then layer in different nuts – always an acceptable snack and just as prettyfiable. Or go with candy or chocolates.
If you are going to cook, there are limitless possibilities including peanut or almond or cashew brittle, brownies, cookies, flavoured butter – sweet (rum or brandy butter is great with the Christmas pudding) or savory (garlic butter for bread); sweets – fudge, truffles, toffee; sugared nuts, cakes big or small. Check out your favourite recipe book, or browse online for inspiration.
You can get the kids involved in this, too.
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We will go into more detail on packaging for your treats in a later article.