So, our poor family got a lot of home-made stuff this year. I was inspired by all the beautiful posts out there from people making their own gifts.
This was my first year doing it so it was fairly basic but I might be able to improve next year.
First, I did chutney. This was inspired by Mango Cheeks from Allotment 2 Kitchen. She made lots of lovely looking preserves and pickles this year and I decided I wanted to give it a try. I chose Delia Smith's spiced plum chutney recipe. I think this is the same recipe but I used plums instead of damsons.
No idea if this is a success or not yet as we have to wait til March to try it! Check out the lovely little stickers from Lisa Orgler at The Lunch Box Project. I have heaps of different ones and they are so cute - I love all her art.
Next, I made some granola using a BBC Good Food recipe which I love. I love being able to vary every batch to keep it interesting! I made Christmas Cranberry for my gifts. And, again, I have used Lisa Orgler's lovely stickers.
I made Nigella's Sweet and Crunchy Nut Bars. I didn't want to buy Nigella's latest book incase I got it as a Christmas present. In fact, my Mother-in-law got it so I have read through it and written down a couple of my favourites. While I was waiting I got the recipe from The Art Of Being Perfect. This is a fabulous blog for getting baking ideas especially for decorating cupcakes!
I made Christmas tree sugar cookies. The cookie recipe is a basic one from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. If you are looking for a recipe or tips, I recommend Sweetopia. As you can see, I just did icing squiggles as I am too scared to try decorating them properly with outlining and flooding. I will try it in 2011, though - this is one of my resolutions. Ha ha I also made star shaped cookies but chickened out of decorating them nicely (and also ran out of time) so the boys got to eat them as plain biscuits. Obviously, Sweetopia's creations are amazing and a bit intimidating but I'm going get over the fear and do it sometime this year. Maybe I can get to a decent enough level by next Christmas that I can include them in the gift hampers then! There's a goal!
The boys made Rocky Road. Just melted chocolate with all our favourite stuff in - marshmallows, toffee popcorn, chopped up Snickers bars, Maltesers, etc.. Actually they were a little bit hard so next time we'll add some butter and syrup to soften the chocolate a little.
And, finally, some spicy nuts. I got the recipe from a little book called Homemade Treats and Gifts by Best Food Fast but there are loads of recipes for these in Blogland and also in Nigella's books.
Sorry to anyone from my family reading this for using your Christmas presents as a blog post!
I'll finish with this rather cheesy picture of us with our new gifts from Santa.
I got these aprons from Not On The High Street. The boys, however, got homemade aprons from their talented Auntie Lindsay which were quite similar in style with vintage fabric and their initials sewn into the corners. I will post a photo of them in those when we get back to our baking next week.