Christmas Foodie Gifts

And for the second post of today, I wanted to share with you the foodie gifts that have now become regular presents underneath the tree for my family and friends.

It’s not ideal timing given that the longer you can infuse these gifts the better, but I only decanted mine into bottles this morning and wanted to share the recipes with a nice picture to go alongside it. I’ll also be making some shortbread and fudge to add to the hampers this year but I won’t make these until Christmas eve so no pics of these yet!

Christmas Spirits

You can use any brand of vodka or gin for the next two recipes, but obviously the higher quality of the spirit going in, the nicer it will taste at the end. You can also switch the spirits used (last year I made blackberry gin and although I’m not a gin fan I’ve been told it tasted lovely)!

Blackberry Vodka

500ml Vodka

300g Fresh Blackberries

2 Tbsp Caster Sugar

Method

Sterilise a large Kilner jar (either put through a hot dishwasher cycle or wash in hot soapy water and dry in an oven for 1 hour at Gas Mark 1/140°C/120°C Fan).

Pour the vodka into the sterilised jar and add the blackberries and sugar before sealing tightly and giving the jar a good shake.

Leave in a cool dark place for 3 days – two weeks, shaking daily so the flavours infuse properly.

When you’re ready to decant into bottles, strain the vodka and berries through a funnel lined with muslin into sterilised bottles and seal tightly. Keep chilled and drink within 3 months.

 

Winter Spiced Gin

500ml Gin

175g Frozen Mixed Berries

1 Cinnamon Stick

Thumb Sized Piece Ginger, thickly sliced

4 Whole Cloves

1/2 Lemon

1/2 Orange

150g Caster Sugar

Method

Sterilise a large Kilner jar (either put through a hot dishwasher cycle or wash in hot soapy water and dry in an oven for 1 hour at Gas Mark 1/140°C/120°C Fan).

Add the frozen berries, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, lemon, orange and 300ml into a medium sized pan with 150ml water and bring to a simmer, crushing the fruit slightly into the mix. After 5 minutes simmering, remove from the heat, stir in the sugar and leave to cool.

Add all the ingredients to the sterilised jar along with the gin and stir everything together before sealing tightly and leaving in a cool, dark place for a week.

After a week, strain the liquid through a funnel lined with muslin to remove all the fine debris from the gin to a sterilised bottle. Keep chilled and drink within 3 months.

Infused Oils

As with the spirits, you want to use a good quality olive oil here so that the final product tastes great on its own, as these work best as dipping oils or drilled over salads or pizzas!

Chilli Oil

450ml Olive Oil

20g Dried Red Chilli Flakes

3 Whole Dried Red Chillies

Method

Sterilise a sealable glass bottle (either put through a hot dishwasher cycle or wash in hot soapy water and dry in an oven for 1 hour at Gas Mark 1/140°C/120°C Fan).

Gently warm the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the chilli flakes and whole chillies to the oil and heat for 3-4 minutes.

Remove from the oil and leave to cool before straining into the sterilised bottle using a funnel. Add the whole dried chillies from the pan and seal the bottle.

Keep chilled and use within 2 months.

Sun Dried Tomato & Basil

450ml Olive Oil

12 Ripe Plum Tomatoes

Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper

4 Tbsp Chopped Oregano

Handful Fresh Basil Leaves

Method

Sterilise a sealable glass bottle  or jar (either put through a hot dishwasher cycle or wash in hot soapy water and dry in an oven for 1 hour at Gas Mark 1/140°C/120°C Fan).

Slice the tomatoes in half horizontally and scoop out the seeds. Add sea salt to the insides and turn them the cut side down on a wire tray.

Leave to dry out for about 30 minutes then transfer to a roasting tray. Turn them cut side up, cover with the oregano and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil over them.

Place in the centre of the oven and cook at 100C/200F/Gas 1 for three hours.

Once cooked and dried out, place the tomatoes in a sterilised bottle or jar with the basil leaves and cover with good quality olive oil.

Keep chilled and use within 2 months.

Chocolate Orange Shortbread

125g Unsalted Butter

55g Caster Sugar

180g Plain Flour

50g Orange-flavoured Dark Chocolate (minimum 75% Cocoa Solids)

Method

Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a medium sized mixing bowl until smooth.

Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until you have a smooth paste and transfer to a floured work surface.

Roll our the dough until it’s around 1cm thick, cut into circles or fingers and place onto a baking tray. Sprinkle with caster sugar and chill in the fridge for 20-25 minutes.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes, until pale golden brown.

Once baked, leave to cool before wrapping in cellophane – these will keep for 7 days.

 

Have a gorgeous Christmas everyone, I’ll see you in the New Year!

Helena xx

 

 

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