Christmas is only one month away and each year I work super hard to ensure I have all the gifts sorted before December so I don’t have to set foot in any crowded shopping centre on the holidays. So this gives me 6 days to tick off everything on my list and I am almost there. The turkey is in the freezer, a ham in the fridge and most of the presents hidden in various places.
My favourite gift to give is homemade food so I have listed a few ideas to get busy in the kitchen with. Plus some food related gifts that I love and that hopefully won’t break the budget.
I need to get busy in the kitchen now. Preschool breaks up next week and school the week after so I will need to make something delicious to thank my kids incredible teachers.
Jars full of homemade goodies.
This year, without giving too much away, I will be making our families jars of homemade caramelised onion. I have made so many batches of caramelised onions this year as they are so yummy and can be used for so many things so I thought they would make delicious, useful gifts. Perfect with leftover Christmas ham on a toasted sandwich or to serve with cheese and crackers. Jars can also be filled with homemade jam, relishes, preserved lemons or biscuits and labelled with a homemade tag on ribbon or string.
Try some of these recipes.
Sure it doesn’t look exciting but I picked up one of these recently just from Big W for around $10 and I love it! They can be found everywhere and it was money well spent. Lots of lemon juice and no pips. I use it to squeeze a little lemon over cut apples for the kids lunch boxes each morning and find it particularly helpful when I am cooking something that needs a lot of lemon juice.
My sister bought one of these for my mum a couple of years ago and I think it is the best gift for a Grandma. When the kids go and visit Grandma they will be excited about having a special apple slinky with some wriggly skin. My girls don’t need any encouragement to eat an apple but it does make eating an apple extra fun.
Earlier this year I bought one of these for Essie’s preschool and all the kids lined up to get an apple and most came back for seconds and thirds.
I think they cost around $20 – $30.
For $29 we can help people less fortunate to set up their own kitchen garden to feed their family. That is surely better than anything else I could possibly list here.
I will get the kids to flick through the TEAR Australia Useful Gift’s catalogue and choose something for someone else for Christmas. They have previously gone for a goat, a beehive and a toilet. A gift card is sent with a photo of their chosen gift and we hang this on the Christmas tree.
Collapsible Cupcake and Cake Carrier.
A year or two ago a friend and I wandered into Wheel & Barrow to browse and I came out with this cupcake carrier. Every birthday when I send the kids to school or preschool with cupcakes for the whole class I am grateful I made this impulse purchase.
There is space for 24 cupcakes and sometimes I can squeeze a few more cupcakes in for the teachers. It is however frustrating that the trays aren’t secured on the base but thankfully I haven’t lost any cupcakes as a result.
The beauty of this is that you can remove all the cupcake trays and use it to transport a whole cake. I have made use of this many times for big 30cm round cakes to take to the park for birthday parties and away on holidays. If the big cake isn’t too high I will push down the lid so it is more compact. There are times when I have used this to transport pies, tarts and pavlovas too. Very handy for families.
Prices vary so it is worth shopping around online. Any where from $40 – $70.
A spatula. Yes a spatula. But this is one of my most used and most loved kitchen utensils. I have a Donna Hay one but it doesn’t matter what brand. What matters is that it is heat resistant and is all in one – the handle and the spatula must be seamless. This makes for a more hygienic spatula with no little gaps for germs to hide.
Besides using a spatula to scrap out every last drop of cake batter it is also very useful when cooking in pans as it can get into every curve of the pan. When you have multiple dishes on the go you can never have enough spatulas. I don’t think you can ever have enough spatulas.
The Donna Hay ones aren’t available on her website at the moment but you can pick up other brands from department stores and online cooking stores for under $10.
It seems the only genre of books safe in the face of the new e-reader technology are cookbooks. Nothing beats a well loved cookbook stained with splatters from a bubbling pot.
Every Christmas I request a new cookbook from Joel and it wouldn’t be Christmas if I couldn’t take my time flicking through a brand new book. Now Joel couldn’t just go and randomly select any old book as my collection is pretty vast these days so I will give him a little direction. Second hand books are worth looking out for too. I have picked up some real treasures from op shopping trips.
Boxes of homemade treats.
Homemade food again but this time it is boxes filled with lovely pieces of homemade shortbread, fudge, rum balls and caramels. Who wouldn’t want that! I sent Joel to work with a box full of homemade salted caramels to share around his office and he came home with a request from a colleague that I make a batch just for him and he would pay me for it!
Each Christmas a small group of my friends all bake their speciality treat, wrap it up and we exchange foodie gifts at our annual Christmas party. I come home with fudge, mini Christmas cakes, rocky road and cookies. For those of us who love to cook it is enjoyable to give and to receive edible treats like these.
I found the above boxes last year at Spotlight plus I picked up some tissue paper and ribbon. Make personalised cards to place on top and it will look gorgeous and very special.
Try some of these recipes.
Good quality oils and vinegars.
Good quality oils and vinegars are a staple in any foodies kitchen. They don’t come cheap but it does make a thoughtful gift. I bought this sherry vinegar from a local deli and it has been worth every cent. Make a little hamper with a good bottle of oil, vinegar, maybe a jar of good Dijon mustard plus a recipe for a brilliant salad dressing like this Sherry Vinegar Salad Dressing.