It's suddenly December which is really interesting because this year has actually been twelve years long instead of twelve months long! Please don't try to argue with me on this, there's literally no evidence to the contrary that you can present me to make me think otherwise. Anyway, so I made some majorly delicious vegan pasta on Sunday night but then on Monday night I was incredibly nauseous and throw-uppy and blamed it, with rather horribly specific evidence, on the leftovers of said pasta that I'd eaten that day. Unable to face thinking about the pasta any time soon and rather desperately running out of cute metaphors for my life; I suddenly remembered! Every year I do a round up of my own blog posts featuring recipes which I think would make good edible Christmas presents. Or indeed, presents for any time or persuasion; I certainly don't expect all of you to be celebrating or even acknowledging Christmas but nevertheless, tis the season for presents to be in season and I shall not be left behind.
There's this video on youtube where it's Bee Movie but it speeds up every time someone says "Bee" and honestly that's what Christmas is like every year (okay I guess I have some cute metaphors left up my stylish yet affordable sleeves.) I don't intend for this list of stuff to put any pressure on anyone - just do what you can, if Christmas makes you feel all meaningful and stuff then act on it or don't; it's just another day but if there's someone you feel like you want to do something for then gosh, there's not much nicer than presenting them with something they can eat. Yes, capitalism is everything and greed is good but a small, homemade item, that you took time and effort to create with your own two hands (look at them! Those two hands!) is rather unbeatable. That said, if you were already planning to give me personally like, a crate of champagne or the princely sum of forty dollars, don't let my starry-eyed pronouncements change your mind.
So! With that whiplashingly mixed-messagey preamble out of the way, let's get festive! Festoon your bod with tinsel! Wear a garland of cranberries! Bathe in eggnog! Snort some snow! Wait...not that last one.
The HungryandFrozen Highly UnDefinitive List Of Stuff You Can Make for Presents for Literally Any Occasion but Wow It's Nearly Christmas oh My God Where Has The Year Gone
Category One: Stuff in Jars!
The stalwart backbone of edible giving. Jars look all twinkly and pretty and like you're the most accomplished so-and-so ever but just quietly, it's all rather low-effort.
Subsection A: Saucy stuff
- Cranberry sauce (this is stupidly easy and you should make it to go with your main meal anyway) (vegan, gluten free)
- Bacon jam (Best made at the last minute, because it needs refrigerating) (gluten free)
- Cashew butter (vegan, gluten free)
- Red chilli nahm jim (gluten free)
- Cranberry (or any-berry) curd (it involves a lot of effort but it's so pretty. Just like me.) (gluten free)
- Rhubarb-fig jam (gluten free)
- Salted caramel sauce (gluten free, has a vegan variant) (you can prise salted caramel from my cold dead hands where it shall be clamped forevermore, regardless of trend or whim)
- Peach balsamic barbecue sauce (vegan, gluten free)
- Berry chia seed jam (vegan, gluten free)
- Matcha mayonnaise (vegetarian, gluten free)
- Honeycomb Sauce (the new salted caramel, get out of here salted caramel) (gluten free)
Subsection B: Stuff stuff
- Orange confit (This is basically just slices of orange in syrup, but is surprisingly applicable to a variety of cake surfaces. And it's so pretty. And so cheap.) (vegan, gluten free)
- Apple cinnamon granola (vegan)
- Strawberry jam granola (vegan)
- Buckwheat, cranberry and cinnamon granola (vegan, gluten free)
- Marinated Tamarillos (vegan, gluten free)
- Taco pickles (vegan, gluten free)
- Pickled blueberries (vegan, gluten free)
- Honey thyme roasted peaches (gluten free)
Category Two: Baked Goods.
One for you, seventeen for me. I can't impress upon you enough how much buying some plain brown butcher paper and plain-ass string will embiggen your baked goods without you really having to try at all. If you're not into the wilfully rustic aesthetic, either buy a cute plate or box and use its transporting properties as part of the gift, or heck, just use plastic take out containers and wrap a ribbon around them. Either way I'm pretty sure all of the following will be rapturously received.
- My Christmas Cake is amazing. It just is, deal with my lack of coyness. Even if you decide at the last minute to make it on Christmas Day itself, it will still taste so great.
- Christmas-spiced chocolate cake (Also a good xmas-day pudding) (gluten free)
- Chocolate orange loaf cake
- Vegan chocolate cake (vegan, duhhh, gluten free)
- Chocolate chunk oatmeal cookies
- Cheese stars (make twelve times the amount you think you need)
- Coconut macaroons (gluten free)
- Chocolate macaroons (gluten free)
- Gingerbread cut-out cookies (vegan)
- Coconut condensed milk brownies
- Salted caramel slice (hello again Salted Caramel! Your persistence is as admirable as your deliciousness!)
- Fancy tea cookies
- Chocolate olive oil cake
- Cinnamon white chocolate banana loaf
- Cinnamon bars
- Coffee caramel slice
- Everyday chocolate brownies
- Cornbread cookie squares with maple buttercream
- Cranberry white chocolate cookies
- Peanut butter cookies
- Secret centre mini-pavlovas (gluten free, potentially dairy free)
- Avocado chocolate brownies (gluten free, dairy free)
- Bobby dazzler cake
- Chocolate-dipped brown sugar cookies
- Flourless double chocolate cookies (gluten free, dairy free)
- Salted chocolate cashew butter slice (vegan, gluten free)
- Smoky triple chocolate buckwheat cookies (gluten free)
- White chocolate gingerbread brownies
Category Three: Novelty!
This is mostly either homemade recreations of things you can buy from the corner dairy for fifty cents, or sticky-sweet things where you melt one ready-made thing into another. It's frankly the best category and you know it.
- Moonshine biffs (like homemade Milk Bottles!) (gluten free)
- Raw vegan chocolate cookie dough truffles (vegan, gluten free)
- Classic lolly cake
- Homemade peppermint schnapps (vegan, gluten free) (this is some harsh moonshine but also SO FUN. Weirdly, more fun the more you drink of it?)
- Forty-Four (Homemade Coffee Orange Liqueur) (as above) (vegan, gluten free)
- Candy cane chocolate bark (No effort, vegan - well, I think candy canes are vegan - gluten free, amazingly delicious, just store it carefully so it doesn't melt)
- White chocolate coco pops slice (gluten free)
- Homemade cherry ripe (gluten free)
- Mars bar cornflake slice
- Chocolate cookie dough pretzel things
- Brown sugar malteaser cardamom fudge
- Peanut butter chocolate caramel nut slice (gluten free)
- Crunchie Bar Slice
- Homemade bounty bars (vegan, gluten free)
Delightful Bonus Category: Stuff to bring!
At this time of year there's a lot of suddenly needing to provide, whether your flat is having an end of year dinner or you've been invited to some kind of celebrational potluck or indeed, you're hosting or attending some kind of group Christmas Day thing. It's all very overwhelming and there's nothing I like more than holding your hand throughout it all and assuring you it's going to be chill and fine and as long as your banter is good and your personality isn't entirely awful people really won't remember or mind about the food. On the other hand, they definitely will remember the food like, in the moment, as they're eating it, so to ensure a good good time may I suggest some of the following - these recipes all look like a big deal and are super delicious and crowd-pleaser-y but won't be immensely taxing upon your time, wallet, or eggnog-covered bod. Okay some of the recipes require a lot of slow cooking. But they reward you richly, promise.
- Roasted kumara with feta, walnuts, thyme and breadcrumbs (vegetarian)
- Hummus with avocado, pine nuts, and pomegranate (vegan, gluten free)
- Root vegetable stew with saffron, cinnamon and turmeric (vegan, gluten free)
- Barley, lentil and eggplant salad with pomegranate and mint (vegan, gluten free)
- Rice, charred corn, avocado, watercress and almond salad (vegan, gluten free)
- Miso-poached potatoes with butter (vegetarian, gluten free)
- Tomato and pomegranate salad (vegan, gluten free)
- Wasabi cauliflower cheese (vegetarian)
- Peach mozzarella panzanella (vegetarian)
- Cinnamon-golden syrup roasted butternut squash (gluten-free)
- Chorizo wellingtons
- Slow cooked beef cheeks with cinnamon (gluten-free)
- Slow-roasted garlic and lemon chicken (gluten-free)
- Half-coq au vin
- My pulled pork recipe (gluten free)
- My Christmas pulled pork (gluten free)
- Blackberry fool (gluten free)
- Gin and Tonic ice cream (gluten free)
- Girdlebuster Pie
- Caramel pretzel ice cream
- Cranberry curd and white chocolate ripple ice cream (gluten free)
- Billy Crudup's grandmother's chocolate fudge pie (forreal)
- S'mores pie (dairy-free)
- Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Custard Cookie Pie (vegan!)
- Strawberry Ice Cream Cake
- Water chocolate mousse (depending on your stance on honey, vegan-adjacent, gluten free)
- Lindt chocolate puddings
- Peaches in muscat (vegan, gluten free)
I hope this list is of some use to you, or if nothing else, moderately entertaining to read (seriously at this rate I'm counting "moderate" as a total win.) Because I changed over my blog platform this year all the links I'd previously copy-pasted were broken and it took me foreverrrrr to painstakingly look up each recipe and copy-paste it back, and please be aware that if you're clicking through to a way older recipe from this blog's lifetime there might be some formatting issues or I'm talking like it's 2009 or whatever. The recipes hold up though and honestly, we could all do worse than to be inspired by me this Christmas (I, for one, am going to try to be.)
title from: Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes, aka the musical form of the expression "waaaaaaaghhhhhhh", so listen with caution
Mariah Carey, All I Want For Christmas Is You. I am but human.
The performance of Turkey Lurkey Time, from the musical Promises, Promises, at the 1969 Tony Awards. It's my small tradition to watch this every year but only once December 1st hits; it's the most ludicrous song but something about the adorably deranged and yet technically ferocious dancing and Donna McKechnie's rubber-limbed movements, like she has no regard for her bones whatsoever, and Baayork Lee being a total delight, and the third woman who is also great, and the way the ending comes together somehow makes me COMPLETELY emotional.
Peach Kelli Castle, Sailor Moon. Surfy music plus TV is very my sweet spot, I'm afraid to say.
next time: probably back to normal-times food like this never happened, I know it's December but I've still got to eat, but after making this list all I want to do is like, pickle things and dissolve things into yet further things.