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Budget Homemade gifts made now that just get better in time for Christmas

(113 Posts)
Afrodizzywonders Sat 11-May-13 11:04:03

I've started making foodie things over the last month and thought....these would make nice gifts for Christmas. I thought (hoped), maybe others could share their ideas.

Neverending Vanilla essence - I'm trialing this, 5 vanilla pods (bought online) plopped in 250ml of vodka. In 3 months time it's ready, as you use it top up with more vodka. Great for bakers.

Vanilla Sugar - couldn't be easier, vanilla pods in caster sugar.....put in a pretty jar, wait 2 weeks.

Now the biggie, DIY champagne or sparkling wine as its being made in my garage not champagne technically! I'm planning this now, never homebrewed, but...big but! I think I can make 30 decent bottles of fizz for £30 excluding equipment, so I'm trying to find cheap ways of doing this over the next week. If a success, we will have a bloody big party and I will make tonnes of the stuff.

Finally, spiced apple chutney (apples from our tree) but that's a little way off.

Anyone else up to any homemade stuff?

MrsMangoBiscuit Thu 20-Jun-13 13:19:21

We have an apple tree too. I made apple and green tomato (had a glut of those too! sad ) chutney, and apple and cinnamon vodka. Both were very nice.

Zeeky Thu 20-Jun-13 16:43:27

Taken up sewing this year, so hoping to make a few fabric gifts too. I was thinking bunting with their name on for each of the children of our friends - everyone likes bunting, right? And maybe some tote bags, glasses cases, lavender sachets for older family members.

BoysAreLikeDogs Thu 20-Jun-13 16:49:00

Pop a vanilla pod into rhubarb gin or vodka to get a rhubarb and custard liqueur.

HopeForTheBest Thu 20-Jun-13 16:58:57

I wanted to do it last year but didn't get around to it, but this year I am definitely making some fancy mustards.
I went to a really interesting mustard seminar a few weeks ago, and it totally inspired me to try making some myself. If they turn out nice, then I can give a small jar as a gift, perhaps with some nice cheese and/or homemade crackers; these are heavenly and always go down well).

I've also made some strawberry jam, but suspect that that will not last till Christmas and I'm going to have to do another batch and hide it!

What I also did last year (but this is not really a make-ahead as such) is spicy roast nuts which went down an absolute storm.
It's worth practicing though, to get the combination of nuts and spices that you want. Makes a fab gift, especially with a bottle of something homemade and alcoholic!

HopeForTheBest Fri 21-Jun-13 12:56:02

Oh, my ideas were so crap they killed the thread blush grin

NumTumDeDum Fri 21-Jun-13 13:54:29

Ha, no they weren't. What's your recipe for the spiced nuts if you don't mind sharing?

HopeForTheBest Fri 21-Jun-13 17:18:00

It's a bit make-it-up-as-you-go-along, but basically:

mix together unsalted, non-roasted nut selection (I've just done one with pecans, cashews and almonds, 200g of each)

mix in a couple of tablespoons of oil (depending on what spice-flavour you're going for, you can use olive, rapeseed, sesame, chili etc) until nuts are all coated and shiny.

mix together your spice combination (the one I've just done was chili flakes, coriander, pepper, cinammon and salt) - you'll need at least 2 heaped tablespoons altogether of mixed spices for that amount of nuts. Salt is very much a personal taste thing, you need to experiment to find how much you like (but it'll probably be less than any commercial bag of spiced nuts you can buy).

Sprinkle spices over nuts and mix until all are coated well (I added a bit of maple syrup to the combination I've just done as I wanted a sweet/spicy taste).

Bake in oven on a tray (I use a baking sheet to cut down on cleaning) on 180° for about 15 mins until they are just starting to brown.

Take out and LEAVE TO COOL. They will be sort of soft and chewy straight out the oven and not at all pleasant.

Once they are cool, they harden up again. Taste to see if they need more salt, then store in a sealed container. They last for ages (theoretically, that is. If you are like me you will end up nibbling them with a glass of wine every night until a huge 1litre pot of them is all gone and you suddenly realise you've eaten the lot yourself over the course of about a week!!).

I did a really good moroccan-spice combo at Christmas with cinammon, turmeric, a bit of chili, paprika - it was truly heavenly.
And I also used a ready-mix of arrabiata pasta spices for doing spicy walnuts that was absolutely addictive!

HopeForTheBest Fri 21-Jun-13 17:18:18

OMG that was a bit long blush

pollywollydoodle Fri 21-Jun-13 17:30:37

long is good in this casesmile
they sound great!

ChaosTrulyReigns Fri 21-Jun-13 17:48:56

Somebody mentioned Marmalade Gin recently, which I so wanted to try.

I'll chase up the recipe and post on here shall I?

[smile ]

MrsMangoBiscuit Fri 21-Jun-13 17:57:19

My mouth is watering reading those recipes for spiced nuts!

MooseyMoo Sat 22-Jun-13 16:30:49

Ooh Hopeforthebest those nuts sound lovely. I got my DH a subscription for The Spicery and each month, along with spices and receipe card, they include a spice sample. Just had a look and there are a couple that would work on nuts. Can't wait to try it out.

Also going to try Limoncello and Everlasting Vanilla Extract for myself, then will make for christmas presents.

ConsiderablyBiggerBuns Wed 26-Jun-13 14:14:39

Hello All, on these homemade threads there is often a search for appropriate bottles for bottling homemade alcoholic beverages. Sainsburys have some very nice kilner bottles ~.5l with old fashioned flip top lids. They are at 25% off at the moment at £1.68. Also some similar but shaped bottles, marketed for sloe gin but they are a bit more expensive.

MrsHende Wed 26-Jun-13 20:03:25

Marmalade gin? Oh yes please!

SuzySuzSuz Thu 27-Jun-13 18:59:04

I stumbled across this thread checking what homemade gifts went down well last year and now seem to have fully joined you all! Some things are a bit rubbish right now so it feels a bit like escapism in doing some advance homemade Christmas bits!

Just been to Ikea and stocked up on my kilner jars, so far the plans include:

- vanilla essence
- vanilla sugar
- lem

SuzySuzSuz Thu 27-Jun-13 19:01:21

Doh flamin pod!

- lemoncello
- Christmas pudding vodka
- delia mincemeat
- strawberry jam - not done before so test batch will be done first
- cherry brandy

But will be keeping an eye out for more ideas!!


NumTumDeDum Thu 27-Jun-13 19:28:17

I want to make some soap. Has anyone ever done that? How hard/easy is it?

mrsdinklage Thu 27-Jun-13 19:58:37

Hope - fancy mustards - please tell us more. Those nuts sound great I'll have to try them.

wafflingworrier Thu 27-Jun-13 20:10:41

4 anyone doing hampers lidl are selling vanilla, hazlenut or caramel syrup for £1.50! bargain and lovely treat i recon

wafflingworrier Thu 27-Jun-13 20:14:03

for making soap try watching fight club :D

HopeForTheBest Fri 28-Jun-13 20:46:38

I don't have my mustard-making bookmarks on this pc but a quick google came up with this link which covers pretty much what we learnt at the mustard seminar.

Here's a David Lebovitz recipe that sounds (and looks) rather gorgeous (it's got maple syrup in it, which I think would work really well as a more smoky, caramely flavour to the more usual honey).

And here are 6 DIY mustard recipes to try.

Even The Guardian has a basic Dijon recipe, with some nice variations (I'm liking the 3-fruit red one).


Dilidali Fri 28-Jun-13 21:02:29

Hope, love the biscuity thingy recipe, how far in advance can you make them?
Also, do you have any wrapping ideas? I might seriously do a 'foody christmas', keep the ideas coming please!

mrsdinklage Sat 29-Jun-13 08:31:24

Hope - thanks for the links.

Jojobump1986 Sat 29-Jun-13 16:30:02

Num here is a really easy sounding way to make soap. I've added it to my to-make list!

Kveta Sat 29-Jun-13 20:24:09

can't believe I'm posting here in JUNE!

anyway, I'm thinking of making elderflower cordial this year, as the local trees are covered in blossoms - has anyone tried it? I thought a bottle of that and a wee jar of, say, rhubarb and ginger jam (because my rhubarb is out of control!) would make a nice christmas present?

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