Whether your cooking skills stretch to triple-layered chocolate cake or simply warming a shop-bought pie in the oven, making an edible gift is definitely within your reach.
As well as being a stunning way to show you care, homemade presents are a thrifty way to deal with special occasions when the credit card needs a rest. If you’re trying to gather Christmas gifts or heading to a birthday party, baby shower or even a wedding, an inventive, original gift will always be as welcome as an expensive present. So get into the kitchen and start cooking some fantastic treats!
If you’re really not too sure that your cooking skills pass muster, then jump over all obstacles and serve up a drink-based gift. Vodka is delicious when infused with fruit, so use a bottle of good-quality liquor as your starting point.
Step one: Place 700g of strawberries and raspberries, one lemon’s worth of zest and 200g caster sugar in a bowl. Crush together, add a vanilla pod and leave to stand for a couple of hours.
Step two: Ladle contents into a sterilised jar and pour in 1x70cl bottle of vodka. Mix and chill for a week.
Step three: Strain the vodka through a fine sieve and decant into an attractive bottle. Tie a ribbon round its neck for a festive finish.
A homemade cuppa
If you’ve got a friend who needs the gift equivalent of a hug, consider making her a selection of unique teabags. Then set a date for a good catch-up.
Step one: Buy a selection of dried herbs that will suit her tastes (perhaps include camomile if she’s feeling stressed) and a packet of empty tea bags.
Step two: Combine the herbs in equal quantities and mix. Scoop a teaspoon into each bag.
Step three: Write a pretty label for each bag so every cuppa is special!
Every adult worth their salt will beam with delight when they receive this old homemade childish treat.
Step one: Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and then toast 75g of blanched hazelnuts for 5-7 minutes. Remove, allow to cool, and then pop into a food processor. Chop until they become a smoothish paste.
Step two: Melt 100g of cooking chocolate, 100ml condensed milk and one tablespoon of hazelnut oil in a small pan on a low heat. Stir until smooth, then add to hazelnut paste. Add a pinch of salt, 4 tablespoons of hot water and blend until nice and thick.
Step three: Choose a pretty jar, spoon in mixture and leave to cool. Label and tie with ribbon, once cold.