At Temple House we have a long tradition of giving Christmas Food Gifts and they are always well-received. It is a lovely opportunity to share some of our favourite recipes with family and friends. Generations of feeding family and friends means we have a large library of recipes. However, these recipes are perfect if you are looking for a last-minute easy gift to make at home this Christmas.
These are perfect to hand around with drinks before dinner, tossed in a salad and work well on a cheeseboard. They make the perfect gift as they are so versatile and moreish.
11/2 cups golden brown sugar
3 cups walnut halves, toasted
1) Combine the first 5 ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Heat for 6-7 minutes. Keep stirring until all the grains are gone and it golden with frothy bubbles
2) Remove from the heat. Add the nuts and stir until the syrup begins to look cloudy and all the nuts are coated.
3) Divide the mixture between two baking trays lined with greaseproof paper. Separate the nuts with a fork quickly then leave to cool.
These can be made up to a week ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Temple House Fudge
We serve this in the house after dinner. It is a recipe which requires your attention don’t be distracted or tempted away from the stove as Fudge can burn easily but it is well worth the effort.
450g caster sugar
1tblsp golden syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
You will need a greased, and lined, baking tin. I use a Swiss roll tin lined with baking parchment.
1) Put the butter, syrup and sugar in a heavy based pan over a low heat and stir to dissolve all the sugar.
2) Once the sugar is completely dissolved add the tin of condensed milk.
3) Increase your heat to medium and stir the fudge mixture constantly. You have to watch and be careful not to burn the mixture so if you feel it’s becoming too hot then turn your heat down.
This process of heating and stirring will slowly start to turn the mixture from pale cream colour to a caramel fudge brown colour - about 20-25 minutes but it might be shorter or longer.
4) Once the fudge is cooked and has reached its colour then beat in the vinegar and vanilla and then spread the fudge into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
5) Leave to set and after an hour or so score the fudge then put into the fridge to set properly.
6) When it is completely set cut into pieces and put into bags or jars for gifts or a tin. If you want to keep it longer put the cut pieces into a freezer container and freeze.
Sweet Chilli Jam
Makes about 1.5 L
This is the perfect edible gift and can be adapted to be hotter or sweeter by adding more chillies or more sweet red bell peppers.
It is important to use jam sugar in this recipe as it contains pectin which will help set the mixture more easily and quickly. Jam sugar is in most supermarkets.
1kg jam sugar
600ml white wine vinegar
200g medium red chillies deseeded and roughly chopped
200g sweet red bell peppers deseeded and roughly chopped
Sterilised jars and lids - sterilise your jars either in a low oven or a hot wash in the dishwasher.
1) Put the sugar in a heavy bottomed pan with the vinegar over a low to medium heat and gently dissolve the sugar with an occasional stir.
2) Whilst the sugar is dissolving out the deseeded chillies and peppers into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not mush.
3) When the sugar has completely dissolved add the chilli/pepper mix to the pan and stir.
4) Bring to the boil and then let it come to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
5) Take the pan off the heat and as it cools it will start to thicken. — if after 15 minutes you don’t notice it thickening then just put it back on the heat and let it come back to a rolling boil for another 10 minutes.
6) Let the jam cool a little longer then give it a gentle stir and then bottle in sterilised jars. It thickens to set as it cools completely.
This is delicious with cheese or meat, in sandwiches or used in cooking sauces.
I often spoon it onto salmon darnes for a quick lunch before cooking to make a sweet chilli glaze or put it in a marinade for sweet chilli sticky chicken.