Home food gifts for Christmas

WITH two weekends to spare before Christmas, there is still time to make some homely, food gifts for friends rather than rushing out for store-bought ones.
We’ve chosen four easy recipes from cookery books currently on the shelves.
A home-made gift is a labour of love – better still, if it is edible, as homes are often packed with visitors to feed at this time of year.
Buy some pretty ribbon and gift boxes and package nicely!
This recipe for grape jam flavoured with rose water is from Kokkedoor, by Errieda du Toit.
The book contains recipes from the successful Afrikaans reality cookery series on kykNET.
This recipe came from series contestants Mynhardt and Johann. Its combination of sweet, spicy and sour makes it ideal for the braai. It yields four jars of 250ml.
Kokkedoor is published by Human & Rousseau and sells for R250.
2kg hanepoot grapes
100ml lemon juice
1kg (5 cups) sugar
rind of 2 lemons, cut into thin strips
100g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small dice
125ml (1/2 cup) sugar
400ml water
15ml (1 Tbsp) rosewater
Cook the grapes and lemon juice together until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the 1kg of sugar and stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook over low heat until the syrup becomes rose-coloured.
In a separate pan cook the lemon peel, ginger, the 125ml sugar and water for about an hour until syrupy.
Add the lemon peel mixture and the rosewater to the jam and stir through. Heat the mixture till boiling point, then pour straight into sterilised jars and seal.
“Coffee and rusks… you can’t have one without the other,” writes renowned South African chef Jackie Cameron, of KZN’s Hartford House fame, who is sharing a collection of her own favourite recipes in Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home.
Jackie likes to add cranberries or other chopped dried fruit to her rusks, which also add a festive touch. Her recipe makes 55 “big, chunky rusks”.
Jackie Cameron Cooks at Home is published by Penguin.
1kg self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons fine salt
65g bran flake cereal
30g digestive bran
100g raisins
130g dried apricots and/or cranberries
115g sultanas
100g chopped pecan nuts
25g desiccated coconut
35g sesame seeds
350g brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups amasi or buttermilk
500g butter, melted
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, amasi or buttermilk and butter and mix.
Pour into a deep tray lined with greaseproof paper, push the raisins deep into the mixture so they don’t burn. Bake at 180 degrees C for about an hour.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Cut into slices and dry out in the oven at 80 degrees C with the door open, overnight if possible. The result must be crisp and crunchy rusks.
This recipe is from Everyday Delicious by Christine Capendale, who hails from the West Coast. It is published by Human & Rousseau and the recommended retail price is R230.
“This is an adaptation of an old-fashioned lemonade syrup recipe,” writes Christine. “The ginger and lemons go really well together and make the most refreshing drink.”
The recipe makes 1.5 litres of cordial.
8 large, ripe lemons
1.5 litres water
1kg sugar
125g grated fresh ginger
10ml cream of tartar
Wash the lemons well and finely grate the rind of 3 of the lemons (it must be very fine – use a microplane).
Juice all the lemons and add to a saucepan together with the water, sugar, ginger, lemon zest and cream of tartar.
Stir to dissolve the sugar and then boil for 20 minutes on a gentle heat.
Cool and strain through a sieve or muslin cloth.
Dilute with soda water for a refreshing drink. You can also add mint, lemon and ginger slices to the syrup or you can dilute the syrup with ginger ale, white rum and add ice, mint and lemon to make a delicious cocktail, Christine says.

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