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Christmas Gift Recipes

I am aware that it sounds almost affectedly homespun to advocate the return of handmade Christmas gifts, but my fervour here makes me indifferent to any accusation of winsomely retro fancy. It’s too easy to feel the mania and the raging impatience come over you in the bustle of the shops, and then you end up with presents that cost too much and aren’t even right. I like to feel that what I’m giving means something – and for me, Christmas is created and celebrated in the kitchen. You don’t have to take the slightly emetic food-is-love line to know that giving a present of something you’ve made with your own hands, in your own time, is what Christmas is or should be about.

None of these recipes is complicated or takes very long. One of the joys of the edible present approach is that it’s less stressful – you can buy ingredients in the normal course of your grocery shopping and a pretty jar, some cellophane bags, a handwritten label and maybe a rosette or a ribbon are all you need in the way of wrapping. Don’t forget, though, to write any storage instructions on the label, and a note of how long your present will keep for.

If it’s biscuits you are after, may I recommend Edible Christmas Tree Decorations? These peppery gingerbread cookies are Christmas to me and my children, and I couldn’t contemplate Christmas without them. Packaged up prettily in a cellophane bag with a seasonal ribbon, they make for a lovely gift, too. If you’re catering to a more delicate palate, feel free to substitute Butter Cut-Out Cookies – a seasonal cookie cutter and some appropriate decoration and you’re away. Christmas Chocolate Biscuits and Vanilla Shortbread would also make lovely gifts both for Christmas Day itself, and as gifts to hosts in the many celebrations in the holiday season. And I think it’s hard to beat an old Quality Street tin filled with Star-Topped Mince Pies.

And for sweeter treats, try Christmas Rocky Road and Hokey Pokey. Again, cellophane bags and pretty ribbons are all you need to conjure up some lovely Christmas gifts.

If you want to try your hand at chutneys and preserves, I’d recommend Fig and Olive Chutney. It’s easy-peasy, and goes fantastically well with cheese, so is a perfect gift for the holiday season. My Chilli Jam is also a great accompaniment to a cheese plate, and to cold meats, and its fiery red stained-glass look is very seasonal. Another leftovers livener-upper is Spiced Peaches – remember, though, that these peaches are not preserves, and should be eaten up quickly. This never seems to pose a problem in my house.

One last bossy note; jars and bottles should be sterilized before having foodstuff put in them. I regard a dishwasher-clean jar or bottle (providing it comes fresh from the machine, with not so much as a finger touching the inside) as a sterilized one. If you wish to be more meticulous, you can sterilize by washing your jars well in soapy water, then rinsing them and letting them dry in a cool (140C/gas mark 1) oven. If you’re putting warm chutneys or jellies into them, all jars must be used warm.

And remember, whatever you make is going to be a better present than almost any you might buy. And, really, wouldn’t you rather be in your kitchen instead of the shopping mall at Christmas?

Posted by Nigella      Makes 35 - 40 biscuits

I couldn’t have Christmas without these, or at least, not happily. Rituals are essential to give us meaning, a sense of ceremony,…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Yield approx. 750ml in total

I often give homemade chutneys to Italian friends when I visit, as I’m proud of our traditional recipes and know that an English…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 16 pieces

This is so temple-achingly sweet that one small marked-out diamond, or maybe two, is enough. But even so, I love its perfumed sugariness…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 36

This is the way I make my mince pies, and there is no changing me or them: they are small, to be popped straight into the mouth in…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 50-60

It’s not hard to make biscuits that hold their shape well while cooking; it’s not hard to make biscuits that taste good…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 33 fingers

I know that biscuits sound like the sort of cooking someone else does, but you need never have baked anything ever in your life to…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes approx. 24

I love these dark, fat patties of chocolate shortbread exuberantly topped with festive sprinkles. There’s something so cheering…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Yield approx. 1.5 litres / 1.5 quart

Although I call this chilli jam, I don't mean by this that it's the sort of thing you'd spread on your toast at breakfast (though…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Serves approx. 8 people

I've used bottled peaches, I've used canned peaches, and it honestly doesn't matter which, but I'm afraid you have to resist the healthier…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 24 bars

It’s not that I felt my usual Rocky Road Crunch Bars needed any improvement (though fiddling with recipes is one of life’s…Read on

Posted by Nigella      Makes 125g / 2 cups

Hokey pokey is a Cornish term for honeycomb. It is wonderful eaten in golden shards or crumbled into the best vanilla ice cream. It…Read on

Posted by rosiecammish      5 jars

Mince pies have always been the first treat of the festive season in my household. However, I have always dreaded coming acoss a bitter…Read on

Posted by kmumby      Makes 3 good sized rolls
Posted by franvama@libero.it      Makes 1 large glass jar

Perfect with roasted or boiled meat.Read on

Hosting a Christmas Party why not browse our easy Christmas Party recipes