Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Christmas elving

My Christmas elving is now well under way as I attempt to have a completely handmade Christmas. As a teen, I used to make Christmas cards to send to school pals, and tried my hand at making small presents. (The decorated wine glasses worked well, but the wheat filled heat packs that sparked in the microwave weren't so much a present, more a weapon...).

In the past few years, I've begun making preserves using produce from the garden and have created hampers of delectable deliciousness (or at least, I hope so!) for family and friends. Last year was a bit of a washout homemade-present-wise as the thought of hot vinegar while pregnant made me heave and we moved house just before Christmas, meaning I hadn't grown anything in the garden worth preserving! So this year I am attempting homemade presents with renewed vigour and, even though I know it'll keep me busy until December, I'm really looking forward to it.

One staple of my handmade gifts this year will be a jar of something delicious - chutney, jam, or jelly. I'm sticking with a few old favourites, and attempting some new recipes too.

My go-to book for all things chutney is the River Cottage Preserves book. It's one of their handbooks, and is full of beautiful photographs and a huge range of recipes. I especially like it as lots of the recipes are based on foraged ingredients which appeals to my thrifty side!

So far, I've made Red Onion Marmalade, Hearty Ale Chutney and Apple and Rosehip Jelly (more on those soon) which have filled the house with a pleasing, autumnal-smelling warmth.

I think I'll also be having a go at making these...

Gingerbread Christmas Tree Decorations

Original image from here

Blackberry and Apple Gin

Original image and recipe from here

Orange and Pistachio Stollen Bars

Original image and recipe from here

 Spice Rub

Original image and recipe from here

I'll also be attempting a few hand sewn presents (can't give any more details as the recipients may be reading this!), some jewellery, and some crafted presents for my nephews.

Will you be making any Christmas presents this year?

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