Christmas in a Jar
But, this year for Christmas, I made the (mistake) decision to make a hamper for the family. Which means being super-prepared. It’s all a bit tight on money because there are big plans for 2014, so flashy presents are out of the question. This year, instead, I’ve bought some jars and have dug around the internet for some tasty recipes.
Seeing as half the readers of the blog are my family, I can’t give too much away, as I am doing special bits for each person. But I’m also making some more “generic” goodies for the hampers, and these I’m more than happy to share!
First, I am attempting my very first chutney. This Hemsley & Hemsley festive chutney is gluten free, vegan and nut free, so great for almost anyone. It’s dead simple to make, and although I’m not making it too spicy (none of the family are great fans of anything too hot) they recommend making half with some chillies to use for cooking (smear it on a roasting joint for extra kick). I had to make it at the weekend to let it mature long enough so as not to be too vinegary for Christmas/Boxing Day.
Next up is a gluten-free Christmas pudding. I don’t like Christmas pudding myself, but my granny is mad for it, and she’s a coeliac. Rather than getting a shop-bought one (which are always questionable in taste), I’ve decided to attempt my very own, with this BBC recipe. Wish me luck!
For the non-Christmas pudding eaters, I’m making the lemon loaf cake (imagining it warm from the oven with a dollop of cream – my mouth is watering already) and I expect we’ll be served up some bread and butter pudding at some point! (Make it with marmalade and oodles of sugar to get that crunch around the edges)
I’m also trying the BBC lemon curd recipe (I have SO MUCH love for lemon curd), an AllRecipes plum jam, a Channel 4 toffee apple jam and Red Online blackberry jam. These are much easier to make (and need less resting time than the others) so I will be making them at a later date.
The jars I bought from Wilkinson (dead cheap!) in a variety of sizes and with a variety of lids. The best and by far the most secure are the clip-top lids, because the seal on them is so tight. For those, I’ll be using green and gold ribbon to decorate (every year I theme my present wrapping and this year it’s green and gold). For tags, I picked up some luggage tags (you’ll have to wait and see what’s so good about them), and I’m going to practice my best calligraphy handwriting!
For the screw top lids I’m making cloth covers – head to your nearest fabric shop and rummage through their off-cuts. When making them, draw a circle about an inch or so bigger than the lid’s circumference so that it folds over all the way round, and tie with ribbon or string.
There’s going to be some serious kitchen time over the next couple of weeks to get everything ready, so if you find me covered in jam with a panicked look in my eye, just back away slowly.
Are you making any Christmas presents this year?
Have you been tempted to try your own jams or chutneys?