Thursday, 30 December 2010

Home-made Christmas Presents.

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.


  1. Everything looks fantastic, you did an amazing job. I really want to make chutney and jam for that matter but never seem to get around to it.

    I'd have been over the moon with any of your gorgeous gifts, I bet everyone loved them. x

  2. Thank you! I was exactly the same - been meaning to get into making chutney and jams for years and never got around to it. We got a hamper from my Mum-in-law and it had home-made raspberry jam in it - lovely. So, I'll really have to give jam a go in the Summer.

  3. Your family are very lucky - your presents look wonderful. I really like the idea of making granola and giving it away in nice jars - might pinch that idea for next year if I remember. I've just posted my foodie gifts too.

  4. You were quite busy. I would have loved to receive any one of those handmade goodies. There is something about homemade presents that are more special than ordinary store bought gifts. The picture is adorable. The family that cooks together stays together.

  5. I really wish I were on your gift list!!!!

    Everything looks wonderful.

  6. Pixiedust - thanks!

    Choclette - just had a nosy at your ones - look lovely - I had had plans to do several of the things you did but ran out of time - you managed to do it all!

    FBMKW - I was a bit hurried at the end because I didn't plan ahead enough. I found it quite difficult. I wanted to do everything as close to Christmas as possible so it would be as fresh as possible but you can't do everything at once. I need am organised person to give me a schedule to follow for next year! The family that cooks together stays together - I might steal that - it should be the byline for my Blog!

    Brownieville Girl - Thank you - what a lovely comment. I will be doing a post later about gifts I received from a Blogger so maybe next year I should try to repay the kindness and send out to some of my friends from Blog World!

  7. Your gifts look great. Thanks for the link to the Art of being Perfect, haven't seen that blog before and it looks awesome. Happy New Year

  8. Ok so you and Choclette are putting me to shame. Lucky family I say. I love those aprons.

  9. Wow, you must have been busy! The Art of Being Perfect IS an amazing blog, thanks for the tip about Sweetopia too. But the aprons are the thing that truly takes the (Christmas) cake!

  10. I agree with the other comments, I would be thrilled to receive such a wonderful gift. Your must have been busy! I am also giving a try at preserving, I still need some work. I look forward to seeing what else you make. Happy New Year!

  11. Your home-made gifts are wonderful and I am sure each was appreciated. I know I would have been chuffed to have received them. Sadly I did not get round to giving the jams and chutney I made as gifts at Christmas, may have to wait for another occasion :(

    Those aprons looks great on you all. A cheesy family photograph is compulsory around Christmas time and I so like this. Thank you for sharing and giving us a glimpse into your family life.

    Warmest of wishes for the New Year.

  12. Wonderful homemade gifts! Thanks for sharing! Family picture is adorable (adults included)!