Money can be tight. Buying presents can be hard. Food and drink, however, can be good.
With that in mind, here are five relatively simple and affordable recipes, that conveniently all double up as gifts. Just make them, throw them into a nice looking container from B&M (other budget shops are available), and Santa’s your uncle. He might as well be anyway.
As far as ‘recipes’ go, this is by far the easiest to pull off, and also the most customisable.
Gently melt up some chocolate in a bain-marie (a bowl sat on top of pan of boiling water, to non-French speakers) and pour it onto a lined baking tray. It can look particularly nice with a few different types of chocolate tastefully swirled together.
After that’s all been said and done, hurl whatever your heart desires at it: marshmallows, nuts, dried fruit, digestives, candy cane shards, copper coins, acid… whatever.
Whack it in the fridge to set up for a couple of hours, take it out when it’s set, SMASH IT THE FUCK UP, and put it in nice cellophane bags with ribbon.
Nice little cheats recipe this one – still tasty as heck.
400g tin of condensed milk
450g demerara sugar
Throw everything together (and any other flavours you fancy) into a non-stick saucepan and bring it to the boil, stirring continuously for around ten-fifteen minutes. You can check if it’s done by taking a small amount on a spoon and throwing it into a jug of cold water – if it forms a solid ball, then it’s about done.
Take it off the heat, and beat VIGUROUSLY for about ten minutes to thicken it up.
Pour it into a lined tine and let it set up before cutting it into squares and presenting as desired.
Is there a better classy present to give than a bottle of wine? (Yes, it’s the infused olive oil directly after this recipe). BUT PEOPLE STILL LIKE WINE GOD DAMN IT.
A bottle (or a few) of *pretty much* any red wine
Clementine, Lemon, Lime
Spices – Star Anise, Vanilla Pod, Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Bay Leaves, Nutmeg
Peel up the citrus and whack the peel into a saucepan, alongside the sugar and the clementine juice (honestly any orange variety will probably do). Start cooking on a medium heat
Add in the spices (amount varying dependant on personal taste) and just enough wine to cover the sugar. Boil it all up to create a syrup. This is to make sure you get the flavour without burning off too much of the alcohol.
After you’re happy with the flavour base, turn the heat down real low and add the rest of the wine. Gently heat it for around five minutes.
Suggestion: Funnel it back into the original bottle, get an aesthetically pleasing bottle stopper, and make your own label. Classy AF.
Flavoured Olive Oil
Buy a decent olive oil, a decent looking bottle, pick your weapons of choice, and that’s pretty much it. Wash all your flavourings thoroughly and leave them to try overnight, put them in your bottle, and leave it in a warm, dark place for a week or two to infuse. Some flava Ideas: Garlic & Rosemary, Basil, Chilli, Lemon.
Pre-prepared gift jars
All the ingredients you need to make a delicious treat. Layered up in a jar. I myself have received this gift, and I liked it
Chocolate Brownie Jar
1¼ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
Layer it up in a jar. Put a label with instructions on it. Instructions are as follows:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Pour entire contents of jar into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add ½ cup of melted butter, 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Mix well. Pour into a greased baking tin. Bake for between 20 and 25 minutes.
Gingerbread Men Jar
1½ cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1½ cups flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1 tsp allspice
Mix 1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 egg and add the entire jar of cookie mix. Stir until well combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. Preheat oven to 180°C. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to create gingerbread men and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
Hot Chocolate Jar
¼ cup powdered milk
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup sugar
½ cup chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, heat a cup milk.
Add ¼ hot chocolate mix.
Whisk until all chocolate is melted and flavours are well combined.
(It might be an idea to present this in a fine mug, which also doubles as a practical gift. But hey, don’t let me tell you what to do)