This happens every year; a glut of birthdays, dinners and celebrations when vacation time is over and schools start. I thus need a bunch of presents and even though I usually plan ahead (and yes; I have a “gift drawer”) I also turn to these homemade things to give or sometimes hand over instead of a flower. None of my friends actually need more “stuff” so giving nice things that are put to use is a good way to go. A word of caution: make sure to sterilize jars properly beforehand so that you do not give friends food poisoning.
- Granola. As I blogged about the other day (here) I make my own and making a batch for someone else isn’t a bad idea. Just make sure that whatever you make is not gonna cause them an allergic reaction.
- Jam. You do not have to dress yourself in an asbestos suit and search the forrest for berries, and then slave away in a kitchen that becomes as hot as hell. Buy frozen fruit and a bag of jam sugar at the supermarket instead. It is very easy to make a small batch, just a couple of jars. Buying some Bonne Mama or Tiptree jam is always appreciated (and those are good stuff), homemade does allow for a personal touch like some vanilla in the blackcurrant jam, a mix of strawberries and red currants or plum jam with a dash of dark rum. Once you go down that path you will never look back. Search online and many recipes are available unless easy to follow instructions are printed on the bag of jam sugar.
- Romtopf. Speaking of rum…This is a desert for adults only and it won’t be ready for three months but that’s not a reason not to give it now. We are in harvest season so plenty of berries to pick or buy, and frozen is fine btw (just defrost them a bit before the layering so it doesn’t become to watery). I prefer using light rum and dark sugar and insist on a cinnamon stick. I’ve posted about it here. Make sure that the instructions “Must not be opened until December” are on the tag (and maybe ask them to turn it once or twice before then so it mixes?)
- Flavored sugar. This is the kind of thing that nobody thinks they need, until they have it and then life is never the same. So many of them can be sprinkled on porridge, used in cooking or baking or is all else fails; mixed with boiling water to make a syrup for cocktails. The best tip I have is to make several small jars, like three different, and make that the present just to give your friends a taste of what flavored sugar can do for them. A nice mix is lavender sugar, one with citrus and lastly one with vanilla to get them started. This is similar to how I go about it.
- Readymade spice mix. If I was perfect woman I would roast spices every time I made a curry (and make no mistake, curry season is coming). I also fall back on ras-el-hanout and other spice blends for chicken. Basically it’s an easy way not to have to think about seasoning every time and cut down the process. I probably have posted about this before but cannot find it and so I encourage you to search online or in cookbooks. It’s the best thing. Giving a few hints what it’s for on a note to the recipient is mandatory.
- Bodyscrub. This is easy to make but it must be mentioned again that it shouldn’t be used on the face, take it easy with essential oils (I stick to mint or bergamot when gifting it) and it shouldn’t be used to often as it clogs up the drains a bit (but it doesn’t last forever so use it, and keep it in the fridge in-between). I’ve blogged about it here.
- Treats. If you have the granola all you need to do is melt some chocolate and then mix the two and let it set. This recipe is similar to mine (mine comes from a handwritten note now covered in stains).