This quick and easy butter is much tastier than store-bought varieties.

IUse an electric whisk to beat 250g unsalted butter until smooth.

2 Grind 1 garlic clove and a pinch of sea salt in a pestle and mortar.

Mix in 1 tbsp lemon juice to form a smooth paste.

3 Add the paste and 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, to the butter. Wrap in clingwrap and shape into a rectangle. Leave in the fridge for 30 min, then unwrap and smooth the edges and corners with a palette knife. Wrap in baking paper or package in a butter dish.


To make walnut butter, beat 250g butter until smooth then add 100g maple syrup and 75g chopped walnuts.


These are such simple gifts to make -all you need to do is layer up the dry ingredients in 11 glass jars. Simple!

I Mix 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder and 275g plain flour and pour into the jar. Next, add 75g cocoa powder, followed by 250g golden castor sugar, then 225g dark chocolate chips. Pop the lid on the jar and tie a ribbon around it.

2 Write this recipe on a label: Heat the oven to 190°C. Beat one egg with 175g soft butter, then beat in this mix. Spoon mounds of the mixture onto baking paper and then bake for 10 min.


Foodies will love the gift of potted, fragrant herbs that they can use in their home cooking.

1 Simply repot a herb plant from your local nursery into a nice sturdy terracotta pot. Wrap the pot in cloth and tie with coloured twine.

2 Transfer dried herbs and spices into mini flip-lid jars. Give them a final flourish with home-made labels.

Top tip!

Shh… putting store-bought jam into prettied-up jars gives it a home-made feel – your secret i safe with us1

Home-made jam is a really simple gift – finish off the jar with a few decorative extras.

IWash and hull 1kg of strawberries (also try gooseberries or apricots), then tip them into a wide pan. Add 1kg sugar and the juice of one lemon. Heat through gently and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2 Leave to boil for 5 min, then check it has reached setting point by spooning some onto a saucer and leaving it in the fridge for 2 min. Take it out, then gently push the jam – if the surface wrinkles it is ready.

3 Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a knob of butter. Skim off any scum on the surface using al slotted spoon. Leave to cool least 30 min. ive it a stir, then spoon your jam sterilised preserving jars (you old jam jars). Stamp a label date and tie it to the jar using n tuck a wooden spoon into of the lid.


Use this salt mix to season risottos or to flavour meat – it’s especially good with roast chicken.

I Dry the zest of two lemons in the oven at a low temperature for around 10-12 min. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 30 min.

2 Blitz the lemon zest in a food processor together with 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves and 75g coarse sea salt. Tip it into an airtight glass jar – a sterilised and cleaned-up old jam jar will do the job.


Give a loaf tin and a bottle of good-quality beer with the following recipe as a gift.

I Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease the inside of a loaf tin.

2 Sieve 400g white bread flour and 3 tsp baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 tsp salt and 2 tbsp sugar, then pour in 330ml beer. Stir the mix until it forms a dough – take care not to over-mix it.

3 Leave to stand for 10 min, then put into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hr. Leave to cool.


Give your dinner-party host – or your child’s teacher – a box of this delectable home-made treat.

IMix 700ml water, 400g castor sugar and 4 tbsp gelatine in a bowl. Microwave on high for 7 min.

Stir well, cook for a further 7 min, then stir again.

2 Sieve 200g icing sugar, 80g cornflour and 1 tsp cream of tartar into the syrup. Microwave on high for 6 min. Stir in 1 tbsp rose-water and a few drops of pink food colouring. Pour into a lightly oiled 18cm x 28cm cake tin and leave in the fridge to set. Use a wet knife to cut into cubes, then toss in icing sugar.


An infused oil is a fantastic gift that can be used to add flavour to salad dressings – or just about anything.

1 Choose your flavour, be it woody rosemary, spicy fresh chilli, or zesty lemon. Wash your flavouring and let it dry completely – moisture might cause the oil to go rancid.

2 Place your flavouring in a clean, dry glass jar and fill it to the top with olive oil. You can also add dried spices – just lightly toast and crush in a pestle and mortar. Seal the jar and leave it in a cool, dark place for 1-2 weeks to infuse, before pouring into a sterilised bottle.

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