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Busy Weekend

5 November, 2012

Christmas is approaching, and I realised that I have made no progress with presents at all. I’ve thought of a couple of things to buy people, but what really I really needed to do this weekend was to get my Christmas Hampers started. I had already pickled some homegrown beetroot and onions, and last week I made a batch of piccallili, but this week I stepped up a gear.

I went to the market as it opened on Saturday morning and picked up about 12lb of pickling onions, 5kg of limes, a dozen lemons and the last couple of grapefruit (which they threw in for free). I then spent the day making a batch of lemon curd, a few jars of lime pickle (perfect accompaniment to curry), and peeled the onions, which were then coated in salt overnight to dry them out. I added the sugar to the limoncello I started last week, and in another week it will be ready to bottle. I also found a tomato ketchup recipe and made a trial batch, which was such a success I have decided I will never buy it from the shops again.

On Sunday, I was about to start rinsing and jarring the onions when on a whim I decided I would bake a christmas cake to go with dinner at my sister’s on the big day. This meant a trip to Sainsburys to stock up on fruit and sugar, and after a few minutes beating and mixing, my first ever christmas cake was in the oven. Next job was to prep the rest of the limes and my free grapefruit to make marmalade, and while this was boiling, the onions went in their jars.

The cake was a triumph, has had it’s first feed of brandy, and will be properly alcholic after I have given it another drink every week. And a corner of my loungs now has two huge cardboard boxes filled with dozens of jars which will make up four homemade gifts, and anything left over will fill my kitchen cupboards. All of which cost, even if you count the vodka for the limoncello (but not the ingredients for the cake which isn’t a present) a total of twenty five quid.

I still want to make onion chutney, plum jam and cranberry sauce, and in christmas week i will make my legendary chocolate truffles, but the hampers are essentially done. Now i just need to find the cash for the bought presents.

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14 Comments
  1. wow – that’s amazing production, all in a weekend. Limoncello is delicious. lucky friends!

  2. May I just say I love a crafty man.

  3. You now have me sat in my recovery bed drooling at the thought of onion chutney and chocolate truffles though not together of course maybe you should start a hamper business to bring in extra cash for the other pressies

    • i did make some truffles and sold them at work last year but it was alot of effort for a few quid. Making whole hampers to sell on the other hand is a definite thought. prob too late for this year but if i get myself organised for next year i could make a bit of cash

  4. You are quite the chef! Yum!!

  5. Hold up, you write and cook? Can it get any better?! Felt like I’d stepped into Delia’s kitchen then!
    Forget about cash for presents, just make people things, more time and thought in things like that. I’m drooling over plum jam, I’ll send you my address lol 🙂

    • i would LOVE to just make all the pressies, but my 16yrold nephew (for example) will want something more than a jar of pickled cabbage 🙂
      My plum jam is indeed a classic, but the one you will REALLY like is the plum wine. Even a sniff of it will put you over the driving limit

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