Pepper & Brandy Cheese, Peppermint Coconut Ice, Indian Curried Nuts
Use the freshest ingredients you can find when making home made gifts. It is definitely worth buying a fresh packet of curry powder for making these nuts as it makes all the difference to have the aromas of really fresh spices.
Indian Curried Nuts
- 700 grams (1 ½ pounds, 4 cups) of mixed brazils, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts – or nuts of your choice.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons heaped medium curry powder.
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, if available, otherwise a mild chilli sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- A little salt
- Put the nuts in a large baking pan. Mix the oil and spices together and pour them over the nuts. Stir well.
- Put the nuts in a low oven (300 F, 150 C or Gas Mark 2) for 20-30 minutes, checking and stirring them continually. They should brown beautifully but keep and eye on them and as soon as you see the slightest sign they may be burning, take them out, because nuts burn very quickly.
- Spread the nuts on paper towels to dry and cool. When they are cool, sprinkle them with a little salt – not too much.
- Put them in jars when cool.
Mint Coconut Ice
If you are going to make candies it is worth getting a sugar thermometer – you’ll find one in any cookshop. But it is perfectly possible to make candies successfully without one. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, test the coconut ice is ready by dropping a tiny piece into a glass of cold water. If it dissolves, it is not ready. If it falls a little ball, then it is ready to set.
- 450 grams (1 pound, 2 ½ cups) granulated sugar
- 150 ml (5 fluid ounces, just under ¾ cup) water
- 4 drops vanilla essence
- 2 drops green essence
- 4 drops peppermint essence.
- 100 grams (4 ounces, 1 1/4 cups) desiccated coconut, also known as shredded coconut
- Line a medium sized square tin with non stick paper, baking parchment is best. The size of the tin should be about 18 cm or 7 inches.
- Put the sugar and water into a medium sized heavy saucepan and heat it gently without boiling till the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and let it simmer steadily till it reaches 120 C (240 F) on a sugar thermometer. Alternatively, put a drop into cold water as described above.
- Remove from the heat at once, add the coconut and pour half of the resulting mixture into a heatproof bowl. To this bowl, add the green colouring and peppermint essence and mix well.
- To the mixture in the pan, add the vanilla essence and stir well.
- When it begins to thicken pour this white mixture into the baking tin and smooth it flat. Then, pour the green mixture on top of it and smooth that flat too.
- Leave it to harden, and then cut it into squares.
In this potted cheese recipe, the peppercorns add an unexpected surprise!
Peppercorn Cheese and Brandy Dip
- 100 grams (4 ounces, 1 cup) sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
- 1 heaped tablespoon of soft butter
- 1 tablespoon of brandy
- 10 black or coloured peppercorns
- Put the cheese and butter into a bowl and beat together.
- Gradually beat in the brandy and a small amount of water if you need it to make the consistency soft and creamy.
- Stir in the peppercorns and mix well.
- Pack the mixture into a jar, seal tightly and refrigerate until needed.
Look here for more easy low cost edible gifts. And here are some inexpensive but luxurious edible gifts you can make.