Edible Christmas gifts there’s still time to make…

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Rather than going out to get last minute presents today, why not stay in, listen to some Christmas tunes, and let the smell of edible gifts permeate the house instead?

Below I’ve collected a few of my gifts from Christmases past, and a few other recipes that work as presents – I hope they’re useful if you’re stuck for that last present for someone!

(Click on the titles to find the recipes)

Salted butter caramels

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These are a crowd-pleaser: I’ve made them numerous times in the past and they always get good comments! They also don’t take too long – about 15 minutes on the hob and then a couple of hours to set – stick them in a cute gift bag and you’re sorted…

Vanilla extract

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A lot of people don’t realise you can make your own vanilla extract, but it’s pretty easy and looks impressive! You will need to put a ‘use after’ label (or words to that effect) on this as the vanilla won’t be infused enough by Christmas – but it will look pretty in a glass bottle with the vanilla pods…

  Blue cheese & poppy seed biscuits

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These biscuits are great as an aperitif with a glass of fino, or equally as good with a glass of port post-meal. They’re a good pressie for anyone who likes cheese – just keep them in a sealed container after making. You can also swap out the blue cheese for any other semi-hard cheese you wish!

Pickled rhubarb

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This year I have decided to make some pickled cherries, but I don’t know what they taste like yet as they’re not quite ready. The pickled rhubarb I made earlier in the year was great though and a good accompaniment to cheese and cold meats. It also is quick to make, and can be used after 48 hours – winning!

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Have an excellent Christmas and New Year all – eat, drink and be merry!

14 Things

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Happy 2015! I’ve decided to take a look back at the year just gone, before jumping into the new one. I’m borrowing the idea for this post from a friend and fashion blogger – I wish I could wink. I like the idea of looking back over the last year and finding 14 things to be thankful for. It’s been an interesting year, a lot has happened, mostly good but some bad, and the last couple of months have been quite stressful for me, so I think looking back and remembering the good could be a useful, positive exercise! It’s a departure from food for a moment (mainly), but indulge me. In no particular order…

  •  Starting this blog! It feels like ages ago now but I only started blogging in June this year – even if no-one reads it, I’m quite proud of it and it makes me more creative with food and writing, which I think is a good thing. It makes me (a bit) more disciplined too.
  • Turning thirty: I didn’t approach this milestone with much trepidation (although plenty of people made me feel like I should) – it’s quite a nice feeling being in your thirties, older and wiser but not old…
  •  All the amazing travelling i’ve done this year: What with the milestone birthdays and a holiday and a couple of mini-breaks, 2014 was a bumper travelling year 🙂 Morocco in February, Cornwall in April and August, London in May, Italy in June, Spain in September, and Edinburgh in November… Good times.
  • Going to the 2nd best restaurant in the world (I really need to finish the last post on this!): For the OH’s birthday I took him to El Celler de Can Roca, the only slight issue was that when I booked it, it was number 1…
  • The support of family and friends: During a couple of difficult months, feeling supported by people close to you is really important, and valued more because I know some are going through difficult times too.
  • Getting a promotion: Moving from Assistant Manager to Manager hasn’t been a smooth ride but i’m hopeful it will be worth it and thankful people believe(d) in me.
  • My nephew! Watching him grow up into an inquisitive, bright, funny little boy is a real joy – and now he’s 3, it’s great to be able to have a chat with him and (almost) understand everything he says 😉
  • Realising I really enjoy photography: I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but I really enjoy taking photographs for my blog, and just generally in life. One day I’ll own a DSLR but I’m happy to play around with my little Nikon Coolpix for now…. (Unless someone wants to buy me a DSLR of course).
  • Realising I’ve kept most of my New Years resolutions for a change: Reading more (working in a shop with a floor dedicated to books helps), being more creative generally (blogging! although my sewing machine is getting a little dusty…), singing/dancing more (I was in a choir for the first half of the year and have been tap-dancing the last few months), being healthier (overall I think so, although the Bake-off challenges scuppered that resolution a bit!)
  • My OH – always supportive, always finding a way to make me smile…
  • New experiences – particularly hot-air ballooning and rock climbing!
  • Starting Tap-dancing again after 20+ years – Ginger Rogers here I come…
  • Living somewhere surrounded by beautiful countryside so I can escape when the buildings and traffic get too much.
  • Häagen Dazs Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream: OMG it’s ridiculously good – thankful that my mother-in-law pretty much always has it in her freezer, but I also have to be thankful then that it’s not sold in my corner shop otherwise I would be the size of a house.

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Here’s to an amazing 2015!

Normal service will now be resumed…