Saturday, 5 December 2015

Moroccan Spice Mix (Edible Christmas Gifts)

Edible Xmas gifts are a passion of mine, because most people I know don't need more stuff and home made consumables are such a nice thing to give. I've tended to try and go on the healthy side the last few years, making Tomato Vodka Pasta Sauce Gift Packs, Cornbread in a Jar (2 kinds) and Bean Soup in a Jar. Also in keeping with the less-sugary-treats theme (but so much 'healthy') I've also made lots of infused vodkas - chilli, raspberry and strawberry lime.

I've been blogging for years now, and still trying to come up with new and different ideas to share for home made Xmas pressies. This year* I've gone with a theme of home made spice blends, giving away my own home made Garam Masala and also this beautiful Moroccan Spice blend. I like to try and give some guidance with my gifts though, so I've written a basic recipe on the label to help my recipients use it up.

* actually, I'll let you in on something. I hate to spoil the surprises for my family and friends by blogging about their Xmas presents before they even get them, so each year I blog about last years home made Xmas gifts. These spice blends were part of my gifts last year :)

I've started by toasting some of my spices, because I just love to do it. You can simplify the whole process and just mix pre-ground spices if you prefer. Get some little jars with good sealing lids, so the spice blend keeps nice and fresh for as long as possible. If you want to add the the gift you could combine it with some good quality couscous, a jar of Preserved Lemons or even a tagine. 

Moroccan Spice Mix

3 cinnamon sticks (you can substitute 1/4 cup ground cinnamon)
1/4 cup black peppercorns (you can substitute ground black pepper)
1-2 dried chillis (more or less to taste, you can substitute 1/4 cup cayenne pepper)
1/2 cup cumin seeds (you can substitute ground cumin)
1/2 cup ground ginger
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1/4 cup turmeric

To make: 
1. Combine the cinnamon sticks, peppercorns, dried chillis and cumin seeds in a dry frypan and toast until fragrant. Crush in a spice grinder/coffee grinder/food processor/mortar and pestle into a fine powder. 
2. Add in the ground ginger, smoked paprika and turmeric. 
3. Divide into small jars with tight sealing lids. 
Makes about 2 1/2 cups spice mix, will keep for several months. 

Write a label with a basic recipe if you like, here is what mine said:

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Yule Mule (Cocktail)

Ever since I made this delicious Dutch Orange Bitters, I've been keeping an eye out for cocktails to use it in. This Yule Mule is (as you can tell by the name) a traditional Yuletime cocktail, but really is great any time of the year. It's incredibly refreshing on a hot Australian summer day, so bring it out at your family Xmas this year. You could even give gifts of little bottles of home made Orange Bitters to family with a copy of the recipe for this cocktail so they can replicate it at home.

How are you going for Xmas gift ideas? If you're a bit stumped, or are looking to add in some home made edible stocking fillers then Gormandize has definitely got you covered! Small edible gifts are also great for colleagues, teachers or neighbours who you want to give a gift to but don't know that well and don't want to spend too much on. All this month starting tomorrow, I'll be sharing Christmas Gift ideas on the Gormandize facebook page. Don't worry, they're not all just different types of biscuits in jars - they're very varied. Follow the page on facebook to get all these nifty ideas in one place. 

Yule Mule

1 1/2 measures of vodka
1/2 measure fresh lime juice
1/2 measure cranberry juice
Dash of orange bitters 
3 measures ginger beer

To Make
1. Combine vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice and orange bitter. Shake well and strain into a highball glass half filled with ice.
2. Top up with ginger beer and serve. 

Makes 1 drink - multiply by however many people you're making it for.