8 easy edible gifts to make this Christmas
The best, most affordable and tastiest pressies come from your own kitchen. Try these easy recipes
VANILLA BEAN LIQUEUR
500ml (2 cups) vodka
200g (1 cup) white sugar
3 vanilla beans, split in half lengthways
1. Sterilise a 1 litre glass bottle with a screw-top lid.
2. Pour in the vodka, sugar and split beans and seal tightly. Shake well until the sugar has dissolved.
3. Store the bottle in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks or longer if you have the time.
4. Transfer into a decorative bottle.
Makes: About 500ml
1 large bunch of radishes, washed and trimmed
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
125ml (½ cup) white grape or wine vinegar
125ml (½ cup) white sugar
7.5ml (1 ½ tsp) salt
60ml (4 tbsp) water
A handful of dill
1 bay leaf
15ml (1 tbsp) whole peppercorns
1. Using a mandolin or food processor with a slicing blade, slice the radishes and onion into very thin slices. Place in a sterilised jar or serveral small jars.
2. In a small pan combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, water, dill, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to the boil stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool completely.
3. Pour the pickling liquid over the sliced vegetables. Seal the jar(s) tightly and store in the fridge for a day or two to allow flavours to mellow.
Makes: 1 medium jar
500ml (2 cups) sugar
6 star anise
1 stick of cinnamon
8 peaches (or nectarines), halved and pips removed
1. Heat the water, sugar, star anise and the stick of cinnamon in a saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove star anise and cinnamon and set aside.
2. Lower syrup temperature and slowly reduce.
3. Add star anise and cinnamon and cool slightly.
4. Place the peach halves in a medium jar, pour syrup over and leave overnight for the flavours to develop.
5. Decorate the lid with Christmas material and tie it down with raffia.
JUICY TURKEY KIT
Makes: 1 kit
Keep extra fat from roasting a duck; strain it through muslin into a sterlised jar and refrigerate.
Alternatively purchase store-bought duck fat.
1 chopped onion sauted with 150g chopped streaky bacon
125g cleaned chicken livers, poached in boiling water
250g pork sausages, skin slit and meat removed
Handful of roughly chopped pistachio nuts, roasted
60g of fresh breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
To assemble the kit:
1. Place the coarse salt and braai salt in a sterilised jar labelled 'seasoning salt'.
2. Place the duck fat in a sterilised jar labelled 'duck fat; keep refrigerated'.
3. Layer the stuffing ingredients in a sterilised jar labeled 'stuffing; keep refrigerated'.
4. Decorate the jars with ribbon or raffia and pop into a gift bag or basket along with a note detailing the cooking instructions:
- Season turkey with the seasoning salt before roasting.
- Brush duck fat all over turkey before roasting, and use extra, with pan juices, to baste frequently.
- To make up the stuffing, mix the ingredients in the jar with 2 eggs and 45ml (3 tbsp) brandy. Use to stuff the turkey cavity as well as placing some under the skin of the bird.
Makes: 2 X 20cm trays
30ml (2 tbsp) gelatine powder
10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract
450g white sugar
200ml warm water
225ml liquid glucose (available from a pharmacy)
45ml (3 tbsp) cornflour
45ml (3 tbsp) icing sugar, sifted
1. Place 150ml water, gelatine and 5ml vanilla in a stainless-steel bowl and dissolve over a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside to keep warm.
2. Dissolve sugar and warm water over low heat and stir in glucose. Keep stirring until the temperature reaches 118°C (soft ball stage) on sugar thermometer.
3. Place liquid gelatine mixture into a mixing bowl of electric mixer and start whisking, slowly pouring in the liquid glucose mixture with machine running and continue until the mixture has cooled down.
4. Add the egg white, slowly, and 5ml vanilla.
5. Lightly brush two 20cm baking trays with oil.
6. Mix cornflour and icing sugar and lightly sprinkle trays with this, reserving the remaining cornflour mixture.
7. Pour marshmallow into the tins and allow to set for 12-24 hours.
8. Cut into squares or desired shapes with a sharp knife dipped in corn flour mixture.
9. Pack into decorative containers.
Cook's tip: Package the marshmallows with some homemade or bought plain biscuits and a slab of chocolate to make a smore kit.
30ml (2 tbsp) oil
1 small onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
A generous pinch of dried chilli flakes
250ml (1 cup) of readymade tomato sauce (ketchup)
125ml (½ cup) of white grape or wine vinegar
60ml (4 tbsp) soy sauce
60ml (4 tbsp) sticky brown sugar
30ml (2 tbsp) Worcestershire sauce
3ml smoked paprika
1. Preheat the oil in a pan and add onion and fry till just softening then add the garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and saute over a medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring until slightly thickened, about 10 - 15 minutes.
3. Pour into a sterilised bottle and attach a basting brush.
Makes: 3 x 400g jars
1.2 litres of water
1.5kg of sugar
60ml - 120ml gin
1. Wash lemons and limes and remove the zest using a zester.
2. Cut fruit in half, squeeze the juice and place in a large pan with the citrus zest and water.
3. Scrape out the pulp and seeds of the fruit and place in a muslin bag. Tie bag closed with string and add to pan, tying string to the handle of the pan.
4. Bring to the boil and boil for one hour. Remove muslin bag.
5. Lower the heat and add sugar and stir without boiling until the sugar has dissolved completely.
6. Place a saucer of water in the freezer.
7. Increase the heat and without stirring allow the mixture to come to the boil.
8. After about 40 minutes, test the mixture by dropping a spoonful onto the saucer of icy water. If it remains runny, it needs to boil for longer and if it forms a blob, the marmalade is ready.
9. Add gin and stir through then bottle in sterilised jars and seal immediately. Decorate with ribbon or raffia.
CHRISTMAS PUDDING KIT
Makes: 1 kit
500g dried and chopped fruit cake mix
6 dates, soaked, chopped and pitted
100g (½ cup) brown sugar
315g fresh bread crumbs (about 9 slices)
10ml (2 tsp) ground mixed spice
3ml ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2 medium carrots, grated
To assemble the kit:
1. In a sterilised jar, layer the dried and chopped fruit cake mix, dates, brown sugar, bread crumbs, ground mixed spice, ground nutmeg, salt and grated carrots.
2. Label the jar 'Christmas pudding mix; keep refrigerated', decorate with raffia or ribbon and attach a tag with the following recipe:
- Beat 3 eggs with 125ml (½ cup) brandy.
- Fold in pre-made dry Christmas pudding mix along with the zest of 1 lemon and 5ml (1 tsp) lemon juice.
- Add 60ml (4 tbsp) white wine and 240g minced suet (or a vegetable fat or butter).
- Place in a pudding bowl, cover with foil and place on a trivet in a pot with boiling water that comes ¾ up the sides of the bowl. Simmer for 6 hours, topping up water as necessary.
- Serve with brandy butter or custard.
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