Homemade Christmas Gifts

As promised, here is another super simple idea for a stocking filler this Christmas. As you know we have a fabulous herb garden here at the Hundred House, and this recipe is an unusual way of preserving them. The fragrance is delightful and will bring a hint of spring to those dark February days. It’s an unusual idea and a change from more traditional edible gifts.

Fragrant and vibrant herb salts bring freshness to darker days . Use it as a finishing salt, a rub for meats or to flavour homemade stocks.

You can use any herbs you like for this recipe. I’ve created one in a Mediterranean style (basil,parsley) and one with a nod to Morocco, brimming with the freshness of mint and coriander. Anything that you have in your garden will work well, just think about what flavours you enjoy. It’s a lovely way to preserve the very last memories of summer eating .

What you need

  • 3 cups of fresh herbs.
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt ( I used Maldon Smoked Sea salt, but any coarse salt will do)

What to do 

Wash your chosen herbs and dry them thoroughly.

Remove any discoloured leaves

Place the herbs and salt in a food processor and pulse until they are blended together. Go steadily, if you go too far you will end up with a mushy mess !

Place the herbs in a sterilised jar, and store in the fridge. The herb salt will be ready in around 7 days, and will keep for up to six months.

I use this as a finishing salt, or as a rub for my favourite meats. It’ll be a real boon when barbecue season rolls around .

Any herbs can be used, I chose to create two blends based on cuisine of Morocco and the Mediterranean.

Three cups of  your chosen herbs…….

………blended with half a cup of coarse grain salt.

Blend to a coarse grind. Use the pulse setting to make sure you don’t blend the mixture too much.

A pretty ribbon and a handwritten label transform this simple idea into an unusual gift.

This is such a simple make, and a smashing alternative to the swathes of shortbread and chocolates that we are used to. Combine it with a voucher for  lunch or dinner at the Hundred House and you have a perfect gift for any lover of great food.

I hope you enjoy making and giving this lovely gift, remember to subscribe to get our regular updates and recipes. Liking  and following our Facebook page will make sure you never miss a post from our blog.

 

 

 

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Homemade Christmas Gifts

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.

Sweet, fragrant and delicious served with a spoonful of cream.

 

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.

Peel the clementines and pack them into your sterilised jars along with Cinnamon and Star Anise.

 

 

Dissolve the sugar in the water, bring to the boil, then remove the syrup from the heat and allow to cool before adding the brandy.

Pour the brandy syrup over the clementines and store in a cool dark place for up to a month.

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.

 

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Cheery Chutney

Chutneys are used in so many ways at the Hundred House, whether they’re enhancing our home made paté, giving a bit of zing to our scrumptious lunchtime sandwiches or complimenting our selection of cheeses, we love the curious combination of sweet and savoury that only a chutney can give.

Assembled loveliness
©kam

 

 

Chutney makes a gorgeous gift too, and is a great way of using up a glut of apples or pears from your garden, making the most of homegrown veg, or even just taking advantage of special offers at your local greengrocer.  Here are a couple of my favourites

Beetroot and Orange Chutney

  • 1½ kg raw beetroot, trimmed, peeled and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 3 eating apples, peeled and grated
  • zest and juice 3 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed
  • 1 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 700ml red wine vinegar
  • 700g golden granulated sugar

Method

  1. In a preserving pan or your largest saucepan, mix together all the ingredients well. Bring to a gentle simmer, then cook for 1 hr, stirring occasionally, until the chutney is thick and the beetroot tender.
  2. While the chutney is cooking, prepare your jars by running through a short hot wash in your dishwasher. Or wash thoroughly by hand, then put in a hot oven to sterilise for 10-15 mins. Once the chutney is ready, let it settle for 10 mins, then carefully spoon into the jars and seal while still hot. You can eat it straight away but it will be even better after a month. Will keep for up to 6 months in a cool dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and eat within 2 months.

Spiced Beetroot and Orange Chutney. Great with cold meats and rich brie and sharp stilton. Making it makes the house smell stunning too !

Recipe from Good Food magazine

Spiced Pear Chutney

Ingredients

  • 60ml/2¼fl oz olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 200g/7¼oz sultanas
  • 100g/3½oz raisins
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar /or coconut sugar
  • 400ml/14¼oz cider vinegar
  • 100g/3½oz crystallised ginger, finely sliced
  • 800g/1lb 12¼oz pears coared and cut into wedges
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 good pinch of saffron

    Method

    1. Heat a large saucepan with the oil, add the rosemary, sultanas, raisins and sugar and fry them until the fruit begins to caramelise.

    2. Pour in the vinegar and boil on a high heat for three minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, then turn to a simmer and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Because of the fruit, this chutney has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir it well and keep an eye on it. Don’t let the pears cook too much; they should keep their shape.

    3. Spoon it into clean hot jars, filling them as full as you can, and seal while hot. Store in the fridge.

      Pear Chutney is delicious with hard cheeses such as Comté, or slathered on a pork pie.

 

Recipe from BBC Food

There’s just got time time to make a batch or two ready for Christmas. Alongside a Hundred House gift voucher you’ve got the makings of a perfect food lovers gift.

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