Gifts good enough to eat
With Christmas just round the corner, surprise your friends and family this year with some delicious home-made edible gifts.
Christmas choco-nut fudge
This home-made fudge makes a great indulgent present for chocoholics. If people don't like nuts or have a allergy, replace with an equal quantity of mixed dried fruits.
300g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 can condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g mixed chopped nuts
1 Line a 17cm-square baking tin with foil. Grease with oil and set aside.
2 Melt the chocolate chips and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat.
3 Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla extract, nuts and marshmallows. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray.
4 Place in the fridge for at least two hours or until firm. When firm, turn the fudge upside down and remove the foil. Cut into 2.5cm squares.
5 Divide the fudge into decorative bags and tie each bag with a ribbon. Store in the fridge. Fudge will keep for two to three weeks in an airtight container in the fridge or can be stored wrapped in greaseproof paper and then in foil and stored in an airtight container for several months.
Chutneys go well with cold meats, such as leftover turkey and ham. Keep a jar for yourself to enjoy on Boxing Day after the big feast.
450ml cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
350g dried apricots, chopped
350g dried figs, stalks removed and chopped
450g onions, skinned, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
100g demerara sugar
1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 Place the vinegar in a large saucepan with the salt, ginger and mixed spice. Bring to the boil over a medium heat.
2 Stir in the dried fruits, onions, garlic, sugar and chilli flakes if using. Turn the heat to low and simmer without a lid, stirring occasionally for about one hour or until the chutney has thickened.
3 Sterilise the jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinse them off and put them in a low oven (110C) for about 10 minutes, or until dry. Alternatively, bring a pan of water to the boil and boil jars for 15 minutes and the lids for 5 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and invert the jars onto some kitchen paper to dry.
4 When the chutney is ready, fill the sterilised jars while they are still hot, seal with the lid and allow to cool completely before labelling .
5 Allow the chutney to mature for at least three weeks before eating.
You can customise each biscuit by piping the recipient's name or a favourite image. Wrap them up with a copy of the recipe to make it a more interesting gift.
450g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
150g dark muscovado sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1 In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt then set aside.
2 With an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the molasses and egg and whisk until combined.
3 Fold in the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. Lightly flour two pieces of clingfilm, divide the dough in half, wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge to firm for an hour.
4 Preheat the oven to 180C. Take half of the gingerbread dough from the fridge and place on a floured work surface or floured greaseproof paper. Roll the dough out 2cm thick. Cut out shapes, and put in a baking tin lined with greaseproof paper.
5 Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until firm and golden. Remove from the oven and let the biscuits cool on a baking tray, then decorate with icing sugar or sprinkles. Repeat steps 5 to 7 with the remaining dough.