Don't want to tempt fate but I'm actually feeling like I might be ahead of the game this year with my Christmas Shopping. I've still got my trip to Munich next weekend for the Christmas Markets to look forward to and I'm hoping to pick up some goodies for people there, but bar that I'm pretty much done. As always I'm giving, and hoping to receive quite a few foodie related gifts. Hopefully won't spoil the surprise for anyone by this post but might provide some inspiration.
First up the homemade foodie goodies. After tasting them at the Festive Pinnies and Petticoats meet I was inspired to make some Zimtsterne (German Cinamon Stars) as gifts. The instructions say they will last four weeks but at the rate they are disappearing I may have to make another batch for gifting. Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam was made back in August after being inspired by the Great Glenbervie Bake Off and picking Strawberries at Easter Anguston Farm. Christmas fabric and festive labels still to be added.
|Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam|
The most recent make is Spiced Apple Jelly and I'm happy to oblige in answering a request for the recipe which is a variation of the one found in the WI Book of Jams, Pickles and Chutneys. I've also made a second batch which is Spiced Apple and Chilli Jelly.
|Spiced Apple Jelly|
SPICED APPLE JELLY
2lb Cooking Apples chopped (no need to core or peel)
2 lemons sliced
1oz Ginger Root chopped
1/2 tsp Cloves
Sugar - 1lb for every pint of juice.
Place everything bar sugar in a large pan with 3 pints of water. Bring to the boil and simmer until apples are very soft. Anything up to an hour. Strain overnight in a jelly bag. Don't push it through or you will get a cloudy result. Add sugar to the resulting juice, dissolve over a gentle heat and bring to a boil until you reach setting point. For the chilli version I added crushed dried chilli before jarring. Other herbs can also be added. If you look closely at the finished jars you might spot a sprig of Rosemary.
Those who have been following my adventures in Cheese Making won't be surprised to hear that I'm gifting a couple of Big Cheese Making Kits. I've already given one as a Birthday pressie which went down very well so I'm hoping the Christmas ones will be equally well received. I reckon there will be a few of these under Christmas trees this year. Fab gift for any foodie.
I spotted this Jolly Hot Chcolate Set in John Lewis. Good assortment of flavours plus marshmallows. A nice treat that you wouldn't buy yourself but would hopefully love to receive. There was a fantastic selection of food gifts instore. I love John Lewis at Christmas and their current snowman advert just melts your heart.
Boy is a big Lego fan but unfortunately he won't be finding this in his stocking but a couple of his friends will. Lego lunchbox and Drink Bottle combo. Great fun for packed lunches and seem pretty sturdy and good quality. A few different colour variations available. Even pink to match the gender styreotypical girlie Lego Friends range.
Not sure if the Lakeland sausage kit will produce the great results we got at Andrew Gordon's Sausage Class but I'm sure Boy will love it. They have three different variations. Lincolnshire, Farmhouse and Cumberland. I'll no doubt be reporting back on the success or otherwise of this.
But enough shopping for others. What do I want to find in my own stocking? The latest addition to my list is a bottle of Martin Millers Gin. My favourite new tipple as discovered at G and Teatime. Its the only thing from Iceland I'll be enjoying this Christmas.
Wouldn't be Christmas without some chocolate but I'll forego the traditional selection box in favour of some Hotel Chocolate Salted Caramels. Or perhaps Gin Truffles. Or Salted Caramel Puddles. Or anything with praline. Or nuts. Or caramel. No white choc though. Their Christmas catalogue is pure chocolate porn. I even quite fancy their Penne Cocoa Pasta to give Nigella's pud a try.
Whilst on the salty sweet theme I discovered some amazing fudge last weekend at Stirling Farmers Market. Ochil Fudge Pantry had a huge selction on sale with samples of all. Totally spoilt for choice. I went for Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, Toasted Pecan and Irn Bru. The first three were amazingly good. Especially the Salted Caramel which was to die for. Kids loved the Irn Bru. Me less so. Definitely need some more of this as it went too fast. Have discovered that it is stocked locally at Hamerton Store so will be sending husband there with instructions. May also give their Letter to Santa Competition a try. Gotta be in it to win it.Always good to get a book in your stocking and I've requested two. The Hairy Dieters and Lakeland's How to Make Soft Cheese. If you missed it boy and me went to se Si and Dave on tour recently. Larger than Live. Much hilarity.
Last but not least gift experience vouchers. I'd be happy with some for Nick Nairn Cookshool (although I do still have a quick cook one to use...) but I've also recently spotted a full day breadmaking course at The Breadmaker and a butchery half day at The Store. Food for thought. But I reckon I've been more nice than naughty this year so I hope my luck might just be in.
I'd love to hear about what foodie gifts you are giving and hoping to receive. Still room on my list to add more and I might need to buy some last minute items if it turns out that I'm not quite as organised as I'd like to think I am...