Delicious goodies are always a joy to receive, especially when you know that they’ve been made specially for you. With a little ingenuity and time you can put together all manner of homemade gifts with a minimal financial outlay. Here are a selection of tasty titbits that won’t take a lot of work and are cheaper – and more satisfying – than just picking up their equivalents in your local supermarket. And remember, presentation is everything. Pick up some cellophane and ribbons and take a look online for professional looking gift tags and packaging that you can download.
The article that I wrote for today’s Irish Times Gift Christmas Supplement is not online so I thought that I would reproduce the entire piece – before it was edited for space and clarity – here, complete with links.
Buying for someone who loves food might seem like the easiest thing in the world but sometimes gourmet foodies can also be the pickiest of recipients. Gift vouchers give them what they love – the opportunity to choose for themselves.
Peter Ward established the well-regarded Country Choice café and deli in Nenagh, Co Tipperary in the early 1980s. He talks to Caroline Hennessy for EveryMonday.ie about how he thinks the latest recession will affect Irish artisan food producers. More here.
When I lived in New Zealand, cooking was my way of getting to know the (then Boyfriend, now) Husband’s family and friends. Three of his sisters lived nearby in Christchurch and they, together with a boyfriend and various cousins, were regular visitors to our house. When I look back on the recipes that I gathered in those days, they rarely were for dining à deux; instead I cooked roasting tins full of Chicken with Garlic and Lemon, made overflowing pans of Beef and Chorizo Pie and baked large dishes of Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding.
This is the soup that I cooked at the Glenroe Ladies’ Club demonstration – it is something that I make regularly as it has a great flavour, doesn’t take long and is really good for freezing. The smoked paprika is fabulous with it, giving a real depth to the soup. Perfect for warming your hands while you sip it out of a large mug.
The suspense was growing. There is an element of hope in cooking an upsidedown cake at the best of time but cooking one for a demonstration in front of 35 members of the Glenroe Ladies’ Club was, perhaps, asking for trouble. Throw in anirregularly used gas oven – I live in a world of electricity, rarely cooking on gas – and a demonstrator who, while distracted, managed to turn the oven off instead of up (ahem) and you’re adding a whole new layer of problems to the mix!
As reported in The Avondhu, our local paper:The days are getting colder, nights are drawing in and it’s time for some warming homecooked meals. Fancy trying out a few new tastes and flavours? Have you ever wondered what to do with butternut squash or sweet potato? Wanted to try making a Moroccan Tagine but not been sure of what it involves?
…you just might find there really is such a thing as a free lunch. Discover wild mushrooms, or berries for a juicy jam in the untimate foodie treasure hunt. By Caroline Hennessy for The Irish Mail on Sunday on Sunday 13 September 2009.