Christmas is a time for giving and for amazing food, so it’s always fun to combine both and create delicious, thoughtful edible gifts. These food presents are the perfect solution when you’ve given your brother-in-law socks for the past eight Christmases – now is the time to give him a jar of rum butter to have with his Christmas pudding.
I have always loved home-made gifts. I started making our own gingerbread crib more than a decade ago and it’s such a delicious, cinnamon scented centrepiece in our home each year. It gets decorated with jelly babies, marshmallows and all sorts of sugary treats. Now that my children help me to bake it each year, it’s much more straightforward getting a gingerbread house to stay standing up. It makes a really lovely gift. Edible gifts really show that you’ve taken the time and made the effort, thinking of the recipient during such a busy time of year.
I love to bake a few trays of almond biscotti and gift them along with a sweet dessert wine. I’m suggesting Killahora Orchards Pom O, it’s made in Cork and is amazing. We always have a bottle at Christmas. Or a nice bottle of Kinsale Mead. I recently served their Wild Red Mead poured over black cherries alongside a bowl of softly whipped cream and chocolate cake. It is an effortless deconstructed Black Forest gateau to feed a crowd.
Giving someone the makings of a cheese board is always a good idea. Pick a nice chutney or relish to accompany it. I love West Cork Follain’s spiced Irish Apple Jelly or Ballymaloe Original or Red Onion Relish. Make your own home-made crackers and stack them in an airtight jar then pick a few nice cheeses to go with it. I love Hegartys cheddar, Cashel Blue and Ardsallagh goat’s cheese. Along with a nice organic pear, you have created a very affordable and thoughtful gift.
Spiced clementines are a delicious syrupy treat, ideally served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream or with a plain sponge cake and vanilla whipped cream. They’re a key ingredients for fuss-free, relaxed desserts over the holidays. They’re very easy to make, simply make a spiced sugar syrup, adding rum or brandy for some festive warmth. Pour the spiced syrup over the peeled clementines and seal in a jar. Oranges and clementines are long associated with being seasonal Christmas gifts, used them to stuff stockings and decorate tables. These will keep for up to six months in a cool dark place. Perfect for adorning a bowl of porridge on a dark January morning.
The hardest part will be to give these delicious treats away.