So here, just in time (perhaps almost a touch late?) is the final installment in my first attempt at a gift guide for Christmas. This little collection is a mixture of home-made, easy to source and/or forage bits and pieces perfect for those lovely neighbours, helpful friends, babysitters and/or colleagues you’d like to show some love to this year.
1. Stock up on this season’s beautiful cherries and pickle them for pretty, long-lasting presents. 2. Saltbird packs come out of Orange and are great little presents (the citrus is fantastic over pretty much any steamed or grilled vegetable) from $6. 3. Nothing says Christmas more than a big box of shiny cherries, stock up at the Agrestic Grocer (they have a few varieties in stock at the moment). 4. Apricots are in season, oh happy day, so grab a box and make some jam! I used this recipe and added a handful of roughly chopped, toasted almonds to add extra nut-factor.
5. Raid your garden or someone’s who won’t mind and pull together a bouquet of herbs. This one came from my friend Libby of Morganics Farm and as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, was honestly one of the best presents I’ve ever received. It was an aromatic bundle of mint, dill, borage, thyme and tarragon and I picked and cooked from it for over a week. 6. A pot of natural hand scrub aromatic with lavender and full of other goodness from Lavendilli Blue, $15. 7. Package up a bottle of Milla Cordial ($18), a bottle of Stone Pine Gin, print out this recipe and invite yourself over for drinks. 8. Make a beautiful butter cake with fresh seasonal berries or stone fruit, wrap and give to the neighbour and they’ll never complain about your crazy loud music again.
Raspberry vanilla butter wreath cake
250g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 180C and grease a ring-shaped cake tin or line a 24cm springform cake tin. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (this should take about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder together then fold this through the butter mixture. Finally, fold through the fruit and spoon into prepared cake tin, smoothing the top. Bake for 35 minutes or until the sides of the cake are just pulling away from the tin and a skewer comes out clean. Let cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve or give.
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