Christmas hamper feedback

Is it safe to mention Christmas yet?  Only in terms of looking back, how was it for you, most certainly not looking forward to plan for next year, what?!


Although I am guilty of buying luxury crackers in mid-January for next year, we’re talking originally £20 luxury but bought at the bargain price of £5.  So luxury the prizes inside are ‘keepers’ instead of fling them in the bin!  Okay enough talk about next year lets focus on last year, not something you’d often hear me say.

I made family food hampers and passed out baked goodies to my next door neighbours.  Here is the WordPress link to the pre-Christmas article;

Based on popularity I shall now reveal the most popular item, drum roll please… In equal first place it has to be the flapjacks and Russell Jame’s Pear & Goji berry chutney.  Not eaten together of course!

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The honey flapjacks always receive compliments, they’re soft, buttery and around Christmas – I guess – they’re a tasty respite from the reams of assorted chocolate on offer.  So easy to bake I add the icing at Christmas to give them a seasonal appeal, take the icing away and I assure you they are just as delicious.

Russell James is The Raw Chef – in case you hadn’t heard – I was drawn to the idea of healthier eating mixed with the idea of quick and easy alternatives when I happened across his website; .  Rave reviews for the Pear & Goji berry chutney, my cousins wife thought I should sell it!  I love chutney and relish on sandwiches with salads or just to dip a chip into.  This recipe was a surprise with its earthy, nutty sweetness.  Having made it twice I do prefer the second batch as I chopped all the ingredients super small and I found this way more palatable.  What I will say, as fabulous as the flavour was I’m glad I put the chutney in smaller mason jars because once opened my feelings were the mix only lasted maybe a week [refrigerated].  Clearly no preservatives so it’s something to bear in mind if you wish to make the chutney for yourself or others.  Also leave enough room in between the mix and the lid and burp the jars daily.  I totally forgot both and was wiping up chutney juice for a couple of days!

Homemade wheaten bread comes in closely behind the flapjacks and chutney. I find it a versatile slice! Great with soup, salad, cheese, or smoked salmon and any left overs can be fed to the birds, yay 🙂


So the mulled wine recipe was found in a community paper.  I also Googled mulled wine and as you can imagine there are many ways to go about making the perfect glass.  Totally confused by the choice of recipes I thought I may as well just try the one in the paper.  Although I didn’t hold out much hope that I’d get it right.  But oh boy do I think I got it right!! [inset hysterical laughing]  It was marvelous, I sort of wish I hadn’t given it away it was that nice.  A little pricey to make only because I was on a budget otherwise I would’ve been temped to make a truck load.  And I don’t generally drink alcohol anymore.  I made a mistake though I grated the lemon rind and so the mixture was bitsy if I was to make when I make it next year I’m going to somehow peel the lemon rind.  Also I made it one week before Christmas and I would think during this time the flavour was able to come into its own.  I’m sort of embarrassed to tell you I used Echo falls and feel like a snob for saying I don’t really rate it as a wine, in fact I wouldn’t normally go near it with a bargepole.  Apologies to everyone I know who drinks it, I’m just a Chilean red myself.  You see the recipe requires two bottles of fruity un-oaked red AND one bottle of ginger wine.  I thought it was going to end up tasting like paint stripper!  Yet I can’t fully describe how drinkable I found this mulled wine recipe, totally shocked me.

mulled wine    mulled wine1

A friend very kindly donated the small glass bottles which were sterilized in the oven.  Forgetting I had to decorate them somehow, I not so creatively wrapped Christmas paper around them.  Dare I use the word bespoke when describing the bottle design, no!


Click the link above to view the previous article with all the recipes

Okay so this leaves just two remaining items, banoffee balls and sauerkraut.  Not eaten together, well not unless you’re pregnant, ho ho ho!

The banoffee balls got great compliments people loved the taste.  Banoffee in bite size what negatives could there possibly be, right?  Well let me just fill you in.  Please oh please just make a banoffee pie because these little balls will drive you to hell and back in the midst of creating them. [inset loud sobbing]  Check out how they were supposed to look and see how mine turned out.

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We all clearly see the Frankenstein wannabe banoffee balls on the right and the food porn on the left, right, you’ll be glad to hear regardless of the look everyone loved the taste.  It was a nightmare from beginning to finish, from the boiling of the Carnation milk, rolling the little blighters into balls, to covering them in chocolate.  I bought little boxes online to hide their unusual appearance.


Last but not least sauerkraut.  I received no feedback which says it all really.  I did eat the sauerkraut with my Christmas dinner and then with some cheese.  I enjoyed it with my dinner but honestly I realized I hadn’t put half as much salt on the cabbage when preparing it as I should have.  So with not enough salt it didn’t last long in fridge either.

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My white cupboard shelves are now dyed pink as I didn’t leave enough space in between the sauerkraut and the lid and I forgot to burp the jars daily.  I will try this recipe again when I have the time to cut the cabbage and squeeze the life out of it, very therapeutic 🙂

Hopefully this encourages you to try some homemade treats for your family or friends in the coming year.

Have a wonderful 2016, move forward without looking back.




3 thoughts on “Christmas hamper feedback

    1. Oh do you remember the program on tv, Ainsley Harriott. Love Ainsley! I bet you could do the flapjacks it’s literally melting the butter and honey, do it with kids, dare ya 😀

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