Christmas is the ultimate feast for the senses.twinkling lights, frost on your favourite tree, the air suffused with the scent of cinnamon, nut meg and cloves. It is a time to treasure, and a time to spend with those you care about.
Preparation for all your celebrations are well underway here at the Hundred House, menus have been finalised, bookings are flooding in for our famous party nights and the restaurant has a distinctly festive feel. Next week is our big decorating party, it’s a magical time which shows off the unique style of the Hundred House. I’ll be writing about our new decorations next week, but today I wanted to tell you about some gorgeous homemade gifts.
Imagine , if you will, little jars of clementines bathed in brandy and scented with Christmas spices, a warming ginger liqueur just made for sipping by the fire after a crisp winter walk and little jars of preserved herbs that will be perfect in February when we all crave a hint of spring. These are simple gifts that are straightforward to make, none of them need to mature for months so there is still time to get creative in the kitchen.
Clementines Soused in Brandy
Makes two generous jars.
You will need
- 8 to 12 clementines
- 250g caster sugar
- 300mls water
- 150mls brandy or cognac
- 4 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
You will also need two clean sterilised jars
What to do
Peel the clementines, taking care to remove the pith. Pack them into your jars, nestling the cinnamon and star anise around them.
To make the brandy syrup:dissolve the sugar in the water and bring it to the boil. Remove from the heat. When the syrup is cool add the brandy.
Pour the syrup over the clementines and seal the jars.
These will keep in a cool dark place for one month. They are delicious served warm (just heat them through on the stove), or cold with lick of velvety cream.
Making these takes around half an hour. I think they’re a fabulous twist on the Christmas tradition of putting an orange in your festive stocking !
I’ll be posting more ideas for homemade goodies over the next week so keep an eye on your inbox, or just like and follow us on Facebook.