Since my mum bought back the big bag of walnuts from France I’ve been playing around with ideas for recipes with them and this is one of my favourites! I love pesto and have never tried any other varieties so I decided to combine two flavours I love and I think go well together – walnuts and parsley! It was also an excuse to use some more wedding cheese which has been grated and in the freezer for a good few weeks!
Makes a small jar full:
20g Flat Leaf Parsley
1 small Garlic Clove
5-6 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
squeeze Lemon Juice
In a blender add the garlic clove and the chopped walnuts and blitz untill fine and almost the consistency of breadcrumbs. Place onto a chopping board and pile the parsley on top, using a big knife finely chop the parsley (mix it all up as you chop so you are combining the ingredients together on the board). You could do this in the blender but I really like the slightly rough texture you get from working it with a knife.
Put it all back into the blender and add the cheese and 3 tablespoons of oil. Blitz a few times just to mix it all up and combine the cheese with the herbs. Add another 2-3 tablespoons of oil to create a loosened sauce texture, season with a little black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, taste and add a little more lemon if needed.
Put into a bowl or jar and keep in the fridge for a week or so.
This is nice to serve on cooked pasta, added to a cheese toastie, stir into leek and potato soup or as I’m going to do in a later post – add it to your croutons in a soup!
This is a lovely variation on the classic pesto – will have to try some different herbs and nuts now! x x
This is my first try at making truffles and they were surprisingly easy and very delicious! I used this recipe: BBC Good Food Truffles to get the ratio of chocolate to cream but I made some changes to create flavours I love! These will be a great gift and also I plan to take them to a dinner party to share with everyone during after dinner drinks .
The best bit also is that you can change the flavours or toppings to whatever you fancy!
Heres my amended recipe:
200g Dark chocolate (70% Cocoa)
200g Milk Chocolate
150ml Reduced fat double cream (It does exist!! but use normal if you like)
4 teaspoon Amaretto
4 teaspoon Baileys
a few good quality Biscotti Biscuits
Cocoa Powder for dusting
Chop the chocolate quite roughly and put it into a bowl with the cream and melt either in the microwave (20-30 seconds at a time and stirring each time) or place the bowl over a pan of shallow hot water and stir untill melted.
Once melted split the mixture into two separate bowls and stir the Ameretto into one of the bowls and Baileys into the other bowl of chocolate. Put in the fridge and chill for 2-3 hours.
Once firm use a melon baller or I used a spoon and then rolled them into a ball in my hands and then roll the Baileys truffles in the cocoa powder and the Ameretto truffles in the crushed biscotti biscuits then put back in the fridge to firm up again.
You can freeze them untill you need them or keep the in the fridge for a few days untill needed!
I’m not sure I made mine perfectly round truffles but wow they taste delicious!! I also had the idea to roll them in flavoured hot chocolate powder to create orange or mint truffles!
This isn’t the usual recipe you will find on here and I apologise to my lactose intolerant friends as this isn’t very friendly for us (I ate three last night and my tummy had a little moan) but it is Christmas and I couldn’t resist sharing this little gem of a recipe for those of you wanting to find a quick and easy food gift for your friends and family.
In an earlier post I told you about the time I was at university and I didn’t have any money so for Christmas I made my family food gifts. I made cookies, bread rolls, ginger snaps, chilli oils and basil oil.
Now I was only just starting out in the world of cooking then and I think I can safely say that most of it was an endearing disaster! But the sentiment was appreciated and I think that was mainly because I had put so much effort into personalising the gift and making the packaging look nice!
So in the theme of “saving money at Christmas” I want to share a few tips on how to make your gifts really special without spending too much money!
- Think about what they like:
I know this seems like an obvious one but it really does make a difference! Don’t give chocolate fudge brownies to your fitness guru cousin, or bread rolls to a relative who can’t eat wheat. By thinking about what they will really appreciate and use in their everyday lives you will be giving a better gift. It also means nothing will get thrown in the bin and wasted!
- Think about how you are going to package the gifts:
A cake wrapped in tin foil may be practical but it doesn’t look special! You can often pick up some cheap flat packed cake boxes online or in local art stores (or go to your local bakery shop and see if they have any spare). Why not paint these with bright colours, put your relative’s names on the packaging, or make them look festive with ribbons and bows!
When I gave my gifts all those years ago I was studying Lingerie design at university so I decided to come up with my own brand called “Pants at baking”. My labels were all shaped like knickers and it was a play on the fact that I couldn’t bake! Why not play around with your own branding to make the gifts unique, personal and funny!
This year I will think of new branding for my own gifts, so I’ll let you know once it is designed!
- Recycle everyday items:
If you are going to make things like chilli oils/ sauces/ chutneys then keep any small jars from foods you have bought, wash them and put to one side! You can replace any labels with your own and it means you don’t have to buy new jars for your gifts.
You can also recycle old cards/ wrapping paper and use it to decorate your packaging without having to buy new things.
- Put some of their personality into it:
A great idea is to make a big batch of cupcakes or cookies and then personalise the decorations you use. By making a big batch of something you do not have to buy loads of different ingredients (one big bag of flour will make a lot of cakes!). Decorate them with stars for your nephew who loves astronomy, music notes for that Rock n Roll uncle and even a poem for your grandma. No one will mind that everyone also got a batch of cupcakes because you have made it special to them, and you have saved money by bulk buying ingredients.
- Think about ingredients you have around you:
I have unlimited use of a few apple/ pear trees, a freezer full of blackberries from the late summer, a huge batch of walnuts from my mum’s tree in France, loads of crystallised ginger from a recipe I made earlier in the year and also ALOT of dried fruit and cheese left from the wedding so I plan to use these in my food gifts. By thinking about what you have in the house/ garden you can save money and also people will appreciate it more if they know that the ingredients are from a tree instead of the supermarket. You could play on this in your branding – “Nice n Natural” or “From my garden to you”.
I hope this has helped inspire you to give some personal home made gifts this Christmas! Add a few little twists to make a batch of bread rolls become a really thoughtful and unique present.
What would your branding be?