Cook’s notes: Christmas presents for food lovers

The big event is fast approaching and here are some simple inspirational present ideas for members of your family and friends who are food lovers. 

It's December! As well as a recipe, this month, Maureen is sharing gift ideas.

It’s December! As well as a recipe, this month, Maureen is sharing gift ideas.

Books are always a good option but don’t necessarily have to be the full all-singing-all-dancing cookery picture book. Keeping to the theme of simplicity you cannot beat a thoughtful, hand-baked culinary treat, always very much appreciated at Christmas. Last but not least a simple flower posy to decorate the table or use as a centrepiece for Christmas drinks or simply sharing a home-cooked meal

Foodie lovers book choice: Do/Sea Salt: The Magic of Seasoning by Alison, David and Jess Lea Wilson 

Do/Sea Salt - for the foodie reader.

Do/Sea Salt – for the foodie reader.

I came across this delightful small book while browsing the bookshelves in one of Edinburgh’s independent bookshops. A compact book about the history and the effects salt has on our everyday lives plus the health benefits and the way we use salt to season food.

The book also includes 20 easy-to-understand recipes for the reader to try, such as savoury tarts and a delicious salted caramel sauce. An excellent and interesting Christmas gift for a foodie lover.

Foodie lovers food choice: homemade ginger and dark chocolate nut torte

Nutty, chocolatey, no-bake.

Nutty, chocolatey, no-bake. To give or to keep, that is the question.

Home-made food makes such a thoughtful gift. This recipe is ideal as it is simple and is no-bake! It looks impressive and tastes delicious – you only need a small piece to satisfy your chocolate addiction. Simple to make and very portable for a Christmas gift. For a foodie gift, wrap in greaseproof paper and tie with a Christmas bow or break into bit-sized pieces and place in a fancy glass jar.

Homemade Ginger and Dark Chocolate Nut Torte
A delicious no-bake dessert that also makes a good Christmas present.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: European
Serves: 1
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 500g butter (block butter)
  • 2 tbsp syrup
  • 200g crushed thin ginger biscuits
  • 50g toasted hazelnuts (roughly crushed)
  • 50g toasted walnuts (roughly crushed)
  • Toasted coconut slices (optional)
  1. Lightly grease a 18cm round cake tin.
  2. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl place 150g dark chocolate (broken into pieces) plus butter, and syrup.
  3. Place the bowl on a simmering pan of hot water. Carefully melt all the ingredients until they are combined. Stir occasionally.
  4. Remove bowl from heat then add crushed ginger biscuits, toasted hazelnuts and toasted walnuts. Mix gently until all ingredients coated with the chocolate.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Press down gently and set aside.
  6. Melt the remaining 50g dark chocolate as above. Spoon over the pressed tort. Smooth over with a palate knife.
  7. Cover and place in fridge and chill for at least an hour.
  8. When ready to use, remove from tin by loosing edges with a palate knife.

Food lovers flower choice: flower and food pairings

Dried flowers with food makes a beautiful and considerat gift.

Dried flowers with food makes a beautiful gift.

Christmas food and flower pairings has become a traditional Christmas styling trend, from door wreaths to centre table arrangements. Simplicity is the key to delivering this trend into your home.

I have chosen the styling trend of using dried flowers (a blast from the past), however many flower shops and garden centres are now stocking this style of arrangement. Rose and Ammi, a delightful flower shop in the Bruntsfield area, have a lovely selection of dried flowers to purchase online. Worth checking out for Christmas gifts.

My dried flower selection consists of nigella heads, dried garden ferns, wired red berries – all ready to pop into any small container to use either as a table centre piece for a formal dinner party or as a placement on a Christmas drinks party table.

I teamed up my dried flower posy with a nicely presented kiln jar full of walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins, and chocolate honeycombs. A very simple and everlasting foodie-style Christmas gift for a family member or friend.

Have fun being creative – either create your own or check out various outlets around town for availability

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