The British Larder’s Home Made Christmas Hamper
Portion/Yield:Makes 200g smokey roasted chili nuts
The British Larder wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I love to play and if it means I can play with food it’s even better. I had to come up with a secret Santa gift for a colleague at work. After contemplating I came up with the idea of making a edible gift and a put together a hamper.
On my journey home, driving normally gets boring after the first hour, I stop listening to the radio and my brain starts clicking over everything on my “to do list”, a ha… and today it’s a fun one one to be dreamy about. At first I was wracking my brain thinking of what I could buy…. then as if lightning struck, I remembered about the lovely beetroot chutney that I made from the beets from my garden, the Spiced Caribbean Rum that I bought to make my Apple Snowballs for Christmas and the rest was pretty easy as it became apparent that I should put together a British Larder Christmas Hamper.
Unfortunately I did not know the recipient that well, so I hope that he will enjoy this hamper as much as I enjoyed putting it together. For me it’s not about the cost of the present but the thought and the enjoyment of making it. So recycling an empty carton hamper from last year and re-using some jam jars that I have washed and sterilized.
I labeled each item with the product name and wrote on the back suggestions on how to use that particular item. I think it makes it a bit more individual and shows that I really have put thought and soul into making this gift.
Everyone loves a nut or two over Christmas, but these Smokey Roasted Chili Nuts are not for the fainthearted. I selected a few different nuts and spices; smoked paprika for the smokey flavour, a dash of dried crushed chillies for heat and a dab of ground cloves for the festive cheer. I roasted them in the oven and bagged them in a clear cellophane bag decorated with some rustic twine and a cinnamon stick, very festive!
The Spiced Caribbean Rum came in very handy. I poured the rum into a sterilized bottle and added a cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves and a half a vanilla bean. This will be perfect come Christmas morning to spice things up and my message on the label reads “add a dash of this rum to warmed apple juice laced with cinnamon and orange slices for a festive cheer on Christmas day”.
The date and brandy bon bons and the Chocolate Salami are two good recipes to be found on this website, and as they had become synonymous with the British Larder they had to be included.
You can customise your hamper with your own home cooked chutneys and jams, sweets, treats and biscuits. Just remember to have lots of fun! I think a food hamper is the perfect gift and if it’s homemade it’s even better!
Ingredients & Method
Smokey Roasted Chili Nuts
- 50g pecan nuts
- 50g pistachio nuts
- 50g whole almonds
- 50g flaked almonds
- 2tsb cold water
- 1tbs olive oil
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1tsp Maldon Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp dried crushed chillies
Beetroot, Ginger and Cranberry Chutney
- 500g raw beetroot peeled and diced
- 3 red onions peeled and sliced
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 100ml Port wine or red wine
- 300g Demerara sugar
- 300ml malt vinegar
- 100g fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 100g dried cranberries
- 1 star anise
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Caribbean Spiced Vanilla Rum
- Morgan's Spiced Caribbean Rum
- 1/2 Vanilla Pod
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
For the Smokey Roasted Chili Nuts
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Mix all the nuts except the flaked almonds into a mixing bowl add the water, oil, salt, ground cloves, smoked paprika, salt and crushed chillies, mix well. Spread the nuts on the lined backing tray and roast them in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, stir them once and add the flaked almonds, mix and return the tray to the oven. Roast the nuts for a further 5 minutes, keep a eye on them as you do not want the nuts to burn, remove them from the oven when sufficiently roasted. Let the nuts cool completely before bagging them in a cellophane bag or a clean empty glass jar.
Choose your own selection of nuts. I have chosen to use shelled nuts however you could use pistachios in their shells. You could also personalise your spices to make something very special for each person. You could also use dried herbs or dried citrus fruit skins to flavour your nuts.
For the Beetroot, Ginger and Cranberry Chutney
Peel the beetroot and dice in approximately 1/2 cm pieces. Peel the onions and slice using a mandolin. Peel and grate the ginger. Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat, dissolve the sugar and bring the chutney to a gentle simmer. Stir the chutney regularly while cooking to prevent it catching. Cook the chutney for about 35 – 40 minutes, I stop the cooking the chutney once it has thickened and the beetroots are cooked. I like my chutney thick and quite dry but it’s your choice. If you would like to test your chutneys setting point, place a small plate in the freezer, pour a teaspoon of chutney on the ice cold plate, let it cool for 5 minutes and then you will have an indication of what it would look like once cooled. Let the chutney cool for 10 minutes before you fill your sterilized jars.
For the Caribbean Spiced Vanilla Rum
Choose a bottle, clean it thoroughly with hot soapy water and sterilize the bottle in the oven as per the method above. Let the sterilized bottle cool completely. Place the cloves, vanilla pod and cinnamon stick inside and fill the bottle with the rum. Secure the lid and decorate the bottle with string, twine or ribbon of your choice. Attach a luggage tag with the title and write a use for the product on the back.
I did not give quantities for this recipe as it’s your choice to what size bottle you use. You can use any spirit and spice of your choice.