Saturday, 19 January 2013

Christmas Hampers, Food Gifts & Nibbles

This post featuring foodie gifts may seem a little late, or even very premature, but the Christmas festivities are never over for us until my mother has had her Christmas dinner, featuring a locally reared free range goose and something special for me. Sometimes this happens on Christmas Day, sometimes on New Year's Eve, which is her birthday and sometimes it's later. For Christmas 2012, we were all away on a big family gathering at one of my aunts near Cambridge. My mother decided to extend her stay for a couple of weeks so has not had a chance to have her dinner until today.

Usually, it is my prerogative to bring along a dessert to complement my mother's famous Christmas pudding (the only one CT will eat). However, this year, she has that already sorted so I am bringing the pre-dinner nibbles instead. As well as various nuts, I have marinated some olives, originating from a friend's place in Liguria, with olive oil and oregano.

I've also made some of Nigella's Parmesan shortbreads that look so very tempting on the BBC food site, but look completely different here. Luckily, they taste wonderfully naughty and I've found it very difficult to keep CT at bay and save the majority to take with me today. One of the guests is gluten sensitive, so although these are not completely gluten free, I made them with half gluten free flour and half wholemeal spelt, so the gluten level is very low. Spelt flour can often be tolerated when standard wheat flour cannot. In making the mix, I found it was far too dry, perhaps because these flours absorb more liquid than plain white wheat flour. I ended up adding the white of the egg as well as the yolk and a tablespoon of water. When I cut the rounds (43 in total), they flattened out into rectangles and ended up looking like mini slices of toast I thought - quite cute really.

As these are a Nigella special I am entering them into Forever Nigella, a monthly blog event from Maison Cupcake. This month is being hosted by Recipe Junkie and the Attack of the Custard Creams and the theme is Food to Cherish Your Loved Ones. Making these virtually gluten free is a loving touch I reckon and they will also be shared out lovingly amongst our friends.

So what were in my Christmas hampers in 2012?

Fig, Apple and Pomegranate Jam
Chilli & Chocolate Mincemeat
Chewy Apricot & White Chocolate Cookies
Cinnamon & Honey Christmas Stars
Rosemary Chocolate Truffles
Cookies in a Jar
Ginger Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies
Mincemeat Buns
Chocolate Spoons & Dinosaurs
Peppermint Bark - yet to be posted
Almond and Cinnamon Balls from Belleau Kitchen
Chill ChocolateMincemeat Slices
Chocolate Coated Caramel Brazils
Chocolate Crackles - yet to be posted
Breton Butter Biscuits
Vanilla Extract
Lemon Marmalade

28 comments:

  1. Everything looks so beautiful and yummy!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice Saturday

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  2. Love all your goodies! They look wonderful.

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  3. Goodness what a treat, all those lovely homemade goodies. I like the sound of the parmesan shortbreads too and they do look cute.

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    1. Thanks Janice - the shortbreads disappeared rather quickly, so I think they were appreciated :)

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  4. Wow - your Christmas gift selection certainly puts my efforts to shame! I think I made about 5 different sweet things plus a couple of chutneys, which went down well, but if my family ever see this they'll start thinking I need to try harder!

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    1. Well, I didn't make them all at the same time and they all went to different people, so it wasn't quite as grand as it looks.

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  5. What a selection and how lucky are the recipients...you should open an artisan shop.

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    1. Oh, I'd love to open a shop - a chocolate tea shop :)

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  6. Awesome, Choclette!

    Worthy of a feature in the glossiest cookery magazine.

    Original, well-thought out and eye-catchingly attractive.

    Send to a food editor? (Pick my brains?).

    Happy shiny new optimistic 2013!

    Elisabeth

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    1. Thank you Elisabeth, your thoughtful comments have made my week - your suggestion sounds a bit scary though :)

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  7. Wow that looks like an amazing hamper...I want one! So much work on your part too...but so lovely to receive...so much nicer to get something that is homemade! :-)

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    1. Thanks Laura - it wasn't quite one hamper and was spread around a large number of people. I hadn't realised I'd done as much until I did this post.

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  8. my balls!.... my balls on your blog... how I am honoured... they look fabulous... and a massive bowl too.... what an excellent post and even though it's post christmas and we should be over these things I want to turn the clocks back and do it all again!... fabulous stuff!

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    1. Hehe, I had to get them on here somehow Dom ;-)

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  9. What a lovely selection of stuff - makes me want to dig out my dinosaur silicon mould!

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    1. Oh do dig it out CC, would be fun.

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  10. Gorgeous stuff, Choc! Clicking over to those parmesan cookies right now! :)

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    1. They are way too good Celia and shouldn't be made by me unless I have a load of people in the house - I would eat them all far too easily.

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  11. Fantastic hamper - I am so impressed - I give myself a pat on the back if I even cook one thing and here you are with such a variety! I love those chocolate spoons but am hoping the next recipe is your mincemeat slice - I still have leftover mincemeat

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    1. Thanks Johanna - looking back, I'm not sure how I managed it. In your honour, I made the mincemeat slice my very next post :)

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  12. The chocolate spoons and dinosaurs are so cute :D

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    1. Thanks Zoe. I'm keen to try the spoons again as well as chocolate buttons, which didn't turn out so well first time around.

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  13. Oh I remember reading about your hampers last year and thought you had done such a great job. Now looking at this collection, it seems that you made even more than last year. I made peppermint bark for pressies and cookies in a jar plus a few stained glass biscuits but that was my lot. I do think home made gifts are hard to beat x

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    1. I don't quite know how this happened as I vowed I wouldn't do too much this year. Your stained glass biscuits sound good. I don't remember seeing them, so will have to come and have a look and see your peppermint bark too.

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  14. Love the variety! So,many good gift ideas!! Making notes!!

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    1. Thank you Lisa - do let me know if you ever use any of them.

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