It’s that time of year when the nights have turned chilly and everyone is out braving the crowds trying to buy all their Christmas presents before the big day. As much as I love the magical feeling that fills the air around this time, I would much rather be at home all snug and warm. Instead of buying gifts I prefer to make and bake mine, which I feel is much more personal. A little bit of me for those I love.
I love receiving a little homemade hamper of goodies, where you rip away the wrapper and have a good look at what is hidden inside. Making everything to go in a hamper needs quite a bit of prep, and a lot of effort, unless you have a whole bunch of homemade treats already such as chutneys and jams, not to mention pretty little jars to put them in.
This year I have bought the cutest little kilner jars which I have filled with my Caramelised Onion, Balsamic and Fig Chutney. I’ve made little ‘Eat me!’ labels and tied them to the jars with some string for a rustic feel. Just giving a little jar all on its own seems rather mean and so I have been making the most delicious cheese biscuits to eat with it. You have to try my Chilli Cheese Sablés for the best cheese biscuits you will ever taste. So that’s the usual cheese and chutney combo covered!
I find myself eating out a lot with the run upto Christmas, trying to squeeze in seeing all my friends. I love it when I’m leaving a restaurant and the waiter brings over a small plate of mini mince pies or cookies, for no other reason than it’s Christmas. So to keep in the spirit of the festive season I have been baking batches of Mini Cranberry Peanut Butter Oaties to give away. They taste wonderful dipped in a Spiced Hot Chocolate. You can even make up the hot chocolate mix without the milk and pop in a jar with recipe instructions. What better way to say ‘Merry Christmas’ than cookies and chocolate?!
And for my friends who don’t have a sweet tooth and prefer savoury, I have been packing up my favourite homemade Spice Rub. Great for sprinkling into dishes using leftovers, and the flavours work well with meat, seafood and veg.
Now all I need to worry about is what I’m going to cook on Xmas day…..too many choices, but I think I am going to do something different this year like my Slow Roast Leg of Lamb. I can leave it in a low oven ticking away whilst I put my feet up and enjoy a glass of bubbly. Now that’s what I call Christmas!