I know for some people it’s a little too early to thinking about holiday gifts. But if you want to give a special person a handmade gift, then you may have to start organising it now. And giving gifts doesn’t have to wait for holiday season right?
1.Vanilla Sugar – Sounds fancy, easy to make, and is perfect sprinkled over french toast or to add extra flavour for your drink.
How to make: for every cup of granulated sugar you need about 1-2 medium size vanilla bean. Halve vanilla beans in a lengthwise, scrape vanilla seeds from pod using the knife into the sugar. Bury vanilla bean in sugar, keep it in an airtight container and let it stand for at least 3 days.
2. Masala Chai Blend – You can easily get instant masala chai in the supermarket, but nothing better than fresh spices and good quality tea for your chai latte. There is no specific recipe for masala chai, each household in India have their own favourite blend. However, the essential component for masala chai is tea (mostly use strong black tea like Assam tea), ginger, cardamom, and milk.
How to make: 1 cup black tea, 15 green cardamom pods, 5-inch cinnamon stick, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorn, 1/2 teaspoon pink peppercorn, 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves, 3 maces, 3 tablespoons candied ginger or 1 heap teaspoon powdered ginger. Dried toast all the spices in the pan for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Crushed it lightly with mortar and pestle. Mix the spices, tea, and candied ginger.
3. Curry Powder – Curry powder is an essential thing in my pantry, it add nice kick for my cooking. I like to add it to my scrambled eggs, for make my grandma’s curry or curried sweet potato hash. The beauty of making your own curry blend is you can adjust it to suit your tastes.
How to make: coriander seed, cumin seed, clove, white peppercorn, 1 nutmeg, and 1 star anise. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander, cumin, clove, peppercorn and star anise. Toast seeds over medium heat until fragrant, tossing constantly. Transfer it to spice grinder. Add crushed nutmeg and pulse to combine. Place it in an airtight container, and store it in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month.
4. Infused Olive Oil – Infusing your olive oil with herbs is the easiest way to make your olive oil fancier. Beside look pretty herb-infused olive oil is also perfect to add light flavour for pasta, salad, or for bread dipping. You can use any herbs you like, such as thyme, rosemary, or even lemon. And for your Aglio olio lover, you can make garlic-chilli infused olive oil.
How to make: 1 cup olive oil, 5 cloves garlic, 2 chillies, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Smash and peel garlic. Put garlic, chillies, and lightly crushed black pepper in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low for about 3 minutes, until oil simmer. Reduce heat to low and let the oil to cook for about 10 minutes, until garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat, and let it cool. Transfer oil to the bottle once it cool.
5. Pasta or Noodles – Who don’t like pasta and noodles? Make your own pasta is not as hard as you may think. You don’t have to go all out kneading the dough by hands and use a rolling pin, stand mixer and manual pasta makes your life easier. You can make egg pasta/ noodles or be creative and add your favourite flavour.
I love giving homemade gifts but to be honest I’m not much into wrapping and decorating gifts. And finding a good quality affordable container to package my food gift in a pretty way is not an easy task. Cute jar, unique glass bottle, tin can, or a proper basket in a basic colour is a good choice for my homemade treats. They are pretty, sturdy and ready to decorated as you like. For the decoration, I like to keep it simple with the printed label or colourful tags.
Here’s what you need for your homemade gifts packaging:
- Labels or paper tag for your olive oil, pasta, curry powder, masala chai blend, and vanilla sugar.
- Jar or tin can for curry powder, vanilla sugar, and masala chai blend. Good quality glass bottle for your olive oil, and cellophane bags for your pasta.
- It would be nice to include a few recipe recommendation alongside with the packages
- You can use either gift box or paper bag to put all these goodies. Or if you have extra budget you can opt for a tote bag.
- Ribbon, string or branch from your backyard.