Are you suffering from Christmas present panic? I’m here to help!
My eight gift ideas include versatile condiments, chocolatey treats for the sweet-teeth in your life and an emergency dinner pack for the time-poor.
Dani Valent gift vouchers are available right here and make the perfect present for the Thermo-lover in your life.
We’re getting very cross-cultural here, taking the concept and many of the spice notes of a traditional Middle Eastern dukkah and sparking it up with Australian wattleseeds and macadamias. Dukkah is a lovely jarred gift and keeps for months in a cool, dark place. After grinding, allow it to cool completely before sealing up.
This flavoured salt is quick and easy and you can whack it in jars to give away as a colourful, flavourful, fragrant gift. It’s an incredibly versatile condiment: spicy, zesty and ready to add a kick to everything from fruit to prawns to mayonnaise. Make sure it’s cool and dry before packing into jar or containers.
Chef Victor Liong takes a classic Cantonese flavour profile and turns it into two flavoured oils that will give sparkle and surprise to countless Chinese dishes. These quick and easy condiments can be poured into little jars and given as gifts. The oils are amazing on oysters and they also work well as a drizzle for soups, salads, grilled seafood or meat. You can whip them through mayonnaise or vinaigrette too.
Bring ‘facon’ joy to all with this George Calombaris recipe. The Pumpkin Soup method in this video and recipe is interesting but it’s the ‘virtual bacon dust’ that is the mind-bending taste explosion. It tastes just like bacon, but no pigs were harmed in its creation and there are just three ingredients. Use Virtual Bacon Dust on everything from scrambled eggs to peas or even sprinkled over a risotto or salad.
Chef Jesse McTavish gives us a masterclass in frying lamb cutlets and serves them with three quick Thermo-condiments: a flavoured salt, a herb oil and a green salsa. It’s the pepper that I want to draw your attention to here: little jars of this purply-black salt and pepper seasoning make great gifts and have the added interest of using a native Australian ingredient.
Do you ever have those “OMG I forgot to make dinner!” moments? I do! This lentil soup is the result of one of those panicky times. Why not give away Emergency Lentil Soup Emergency Packs? Put lentils in a jar with the curry powder and, if you like, package it up with a tin of tomatoes, a container of vegetable stock paste and a print-out of the recipe. Practical and cute!
Everyone loves this dark chocolate slab and you can use cranberries instead of cherries to make it even more Christmassy. I have another idea: take milk chocolate (300 grams, let’s say), melt it in the Thermomix (8 min/50°C/speed 1), then stir through 60 grams unsalted roasted peanuts (10 sec/Reverse/speed 2) before turning the delicious slurry onto baking paper and setting it in a slab. Too easy, too delicious, and a lovely gift wrapped up and beribboned.
I’ve seen lots of people sharing pics of their Pretzel Perfection at this time of year! I love the mix of sweet and savoury in these dense, chocolatey cookies, rich with cocoa and studded with chocolate pieces. They look so cute packaged up as gifts.
The recipe is by chef Kylie Millar (tweaked a little by me in the video) – I just love her way with flavours.