Foodie Gift Giving

Beauties and Foodies – Affordable Christmas present ideas

Not quite organised for Christmas yet?  Stuck for affordable Christmas present ideas? Keep reading!

Up until we sung Christmas carols at work yesterday I was totally in denial that it’s Christmas time (we don’t even have our decorations up yet at home!).  As a bit of a ‘last minute Charlie’ I’ve behaved slighly contra-personality this year and I finished the bulk of my Christmas present shopping by the end of November (go Lou, you polish that halo!). However, I’m starting to panic with the last few presents I need to buy as I’m totes stuck for (affordable) ideas (Note, If money were no object I’d be taking everyone on a holiday to a tropical island).  Unfortunately the people I have left to get pressies for aren’t into beauty or food  – and I’m stumped!  Anyhow, pondering this made me realise that I’ve got a bunch of good ideas for folk that ARE into beauty and food! (Disclaimer… I think they are good ideas)… So, if you are rushing around going “Oh shit, I need to do some Christmas shopping” and muttering swear words under your breath about what to buy, here’s a blog post that might help with shopping for any folk that are mad for all things beauty, or foodie.

I’ve put this blog post together based on gifts I’ve received that I’ve loved, or things I’m secretly lusting after!  Most things you should be able to buy locally, or online (if you get cracking, stat) and they won’t break the bank.  On the topic of price I’m getting endlessly frustrated at all the Christmas marketing suggesting you should remortgage your house and buy Dad a new 55″ TV, a $1000 food processor for Mum, or your best friend a $200 perfume. It’s the thought that counts, not the pricetag and I reckon the below options are both super thoughtful and not conducive to having your bum pucker at the cost.

Camembert Baker 

christmas present ideas

Cheese is, hands down, my favourite food.  I could give up all other dairy except cheese.  This Camembert Baking Pot therefore, was a perfect gift for me from Milly (my mother-in-law).  All you do is place a camembert in the pot, stab it slightly, put whatever seasonings (i.e. herbs) on it that you like and bake it for about 15 minutes (the pot comes with some recipes).  Hell,  keep it simple, add nothing and let the cheese speak for itself!   The result is hot, gooey, delicious cheesy goodness that’s the perfect accompaniment to crackers/fresh bread – and it’ll wow any visitors.  You can get these from specialist foodie shops (Hawke’s Bay folk get into TFE in Napier,  Rotorua folk Food Equipment on Hinemoa Street have these!). I have also spotted these in Spotlight.  Can’t get into the shops?  Buy online, there’s heaps of stockists,  just Google camembert baker NZ.  Price: NZ$30.

Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector

christmas present ideas

I’ve bought this product so many times the Clarins’ lady at Farmers now asks me if I’m buying for myself or “is this another present?”. I’ve raved about this product here and here, so I’ll keep this short: It’ll be a winner. I got this for my bestie Rhonda for her birthday. She was pumped.  This is a winning product for a young lady (bit of luxe, spoil ’em), your sister/cousin/aunt, Mum, or Nana.  NZ$35 (don’t quote me!).  I like the colour 01  as I find it suits everyone, but there’s a bunch of other gorgeous colours, I just dare not deviate from what works!  Available at Farmers or your local Clarins stockist. (more…)

Tomato Chilli Jam

tomato chilli jam recipeHere’s another DIY foodie gift idea just in time for Christmas (and just in time for tomatoes coming down in price!). This is a Peter Gordon recipe, which I got via Ruth Pretty (a Wellington caterer/chef who I adore – if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend Ruth’s cooking school on the Kapiti Coast).

Anyhow, I digress. If you asked me what you can always find in my pantry, this’d be on the list: It’s like sweet chilli sauce for grown ups. It’s super versatile and goes with nearly everything: All meats, poached/fried eggs, quiche, it’s gorgeous in a stir fry sauce (use it in the place of sweet chilli sauce)… It’s kick-butt delicious on a pizza base… I even have it on top of my cheese on toast..  Sometimes I use it as an Asian salad dressing for Thai Beef Salad (3 Tlb chilli jam, add a bit of rice wine vinegar and a half teaspoon of sesame oil – amazing).  One of my favourite ways to serve it is as a dip: Get a big platter. Turn out a tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese into the centre of the platter. Surround it with corn chips (don’t be shy, load them on). Cover the cream cheese with a generous amount of chilli jam. Get dippin’. Amazing. I usually package this up as a Christmas gift with a vintage knife or fork tied to the jar. Simple and stunning. (more…)

Chocolate Brownie with White Chocolate Icing

SAMSUNG CSCThis recipe is the BEST brownie ever.  I love making this, it’s really straight forward, it’s got serious wow factor and people usually groan with pleasure when they eat it.  But, that’s no surprise really, cast your eye over the ingredients…. All the good stuff, or the bad stuff, depending on which way you look at it (I’m not going to try and pull the wool over your eyes!)  But, I eat this so rarely, and it’s so scrummy,  I just refuse to feel bad eating it:  Life is TOO short to feel guilty about eating a piece of brownie! That said, I do chuckle to myself when people ask what’s in this brownie. I usually just smile and say “one packet of dark chocolate melts in the base. Oh and a packet of white chocolate melts in the icing, along with a tin of condensed milk and butter”.   Eyes usually widen and then, with a mouth full of brownie, I hear murmurs of appreciation, and then, inevitably, they ask for another slice. (more…)

Pistachio, Cranberry and White Chocolate Biscotti

SAMSUNG CSCI love biscotti and, thinking ahead to Christmas foodie presents, I figured biscotti with cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate would give it a little bit of Christmas cheer (OK, and look pretty).  Biscotti is surprisingly easy to make, the only tricky bit is making sure you have enough time to let the biscotti logs cool completely before slicing them up into little pieces and baking them again to crisp them up.  Once cooled, package these up in a cellophane bag with a bit of ribbon – you’ve got a nice gift for a foodie.

This recipe is a little bit Donna Hay and a little bit Beauty Foodie as I just couldn’t find the perfect recipe! Just quietly, I’m pretty chuffed with how this turned out!  They taste delicious, I love the texture and the slightly salty contrast of the pistachio with the sweetness of the cranberry and white chocolate.  Don’t tell my favourite cafe… But this biscotti is nicer than theirs… (more…)

Dukkah Recipe

Dukkah recipe
I love giving homemade foodie gifts at Christmas and I absolutely love receiving them.  Gift giving doesn’t have to be expensive,  yet, more than ever, society puts an emphasis on giving big extravagant gifts… Just think of all the marketing campaigns you see leading up to Christmas! This makes me sad as I just don’t think this what Christmas should be about.  Giving and receiving something thoughtful, made with love, time and effort – now that’s what makes people feel special… And when you make a foodie gift for a fellow foodie and they come back and ask for the recipe, as happened to me last year with this dukkah recipe, then you know you hit the gift giving jackpot!  Package this dukkah up in a nice jar, tie some ribbon around the lid, maybe make a homemade label – done.

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