A nicely wrapped box with all the bits and pieces to create the perfect snack or beverage can be a very thoughtful gift, writes Michelle Darmody.
Items can be mixed and matched but a bag of homemade granola, a loaf of freshly baked bread and jar of marmalade will always come in handy, add a packet of rashers or sausages and you will most definitely get a smile.
For a more post meridian gift try making some flavoured vodkas. These can be created with various flavours, cinnamon and some orange peel, crushed berries or some fronds of saffron will make a beautiful golden, glowing liquid. These vodkas can be drunk over ice or used to enliven festive cocktails. I particularly like adding a small handful of coffee beans to 500 mls of vodka as well as a tablespoon of chopped, toasted hazelnuts and a teaspoon of brown sugar. After setting it aside for a few weeks, it can be used for a deliciously nutty version of an espresso martini.
For two of the recipes below it is best to use un-waxed citrus fruit, if you can access them. If you cannot find unwaxed fruit, rinse the fruit in boiling water and rub dry with a clean tea towel. Wax is applied to citrus fruits in particular to prolong their life while they are being shipped around the globe. The wax prevents water loss and gives the fruit a more appealing glow when on a supermarket shelf, but it is not desirable to eat.
Warm melted cheese makes the perfect end to a Christmas meal. Old bread, a few days past its best, can be toasted and used to dip into the centre and scoop out the molten cheesy liquid. It is a nice simple edible gift but it is generally received very warmly.
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