Give the gift of fresh this Christmas

A sponsored post for Woolworths

One of my all time favourite gifts to be given from friends, colleagues or family over Christmas is something that has care and love put into it, some real thought and of course a little homemade touch. These gifts aren’t often the fanciest things that you will get, but you know that they have been given with lots of thought and love – those homemade touches are the ones that I cherish the most.

In our village there are lots of people who make these homemade gifts each year and they are the ones that I look forward to most. There’s Sally down the road who makes a batch of Christmas shortbread that will be dropped off in the week before Christmas. We had friends who have since moved away who made these amazing chocolate cone trees delivered on a little plate to all their friends. There is the famous O’Connor homemade Irish whiskey that gets delivered that you just have to take one look at to know it’s Christmas!

While I might not have time for baking or making huge batches of things from scratch this Christmas I LOVE the idea of giving gifts that have a piece of me in them. I’m going to be giving the gift of ‘fresh’ which I think is a great way to give a practical and useful gift to loved ones this Christmas. These gifts are easy to throw together and can all be grabbed at Woolworths when you are doing your Christmas shopping over the festive season. Simple. Easy. Practical. Useful. 

I’m putting together a fresh hamper that I know my friends are going to love. How many times have you received a hamper filled with stuff that you never use? Weird crackers. Nuts. Shortbread that sits in the cupboard until the next year – such a waste. I figured why not share a little something that I love to use and cook with – a personal touch from me as well as all the ingredients on how to make it, along with a recipe so that they can make it as well. All packed together in a gorgeous hamper that can be used long after the silly season is over. Win win!

Here are three examples of the fresh hampers that I will whip up for friends. I’d give them to people who will use them and appreciate them. People who may have visitors or be doing lots of entertaining over the season. People that love food and cooking and are always looking for new things to make. Time poor people who love to cook but need to be shown how. Friends! Family! Work colleagues! Teachers! Otherwise known as everyone!

The gift of fresh: Seasonal summer fruits

What better time of the year than right now with the abundance of fresh seasonal stone fruits than to gift Mother nature’s creations? She’s done all the hard work for you so all you have to do is pack it up. Right now any time you head into Woolworths you will see mangoes, cherries, berries…there is SO much goodness, it’s in season, ripe and delicious and because there is so much of it, it’s a great price. I love the idea of giving someone a basket of this deliciousness – it looks great and it will be used and enjoyed throughout the festive season.  Don’t forget to check out the Odd Bunch too for extra value (I find them especially good for lemons and limes which are perfect for a Christmas cocktail!

I grabbed a stackable basket from the laundry & kitchen aisle which can be used beyond this gift. I use these baskets in my car for shopping, perfect as storage in the back seat for little people that might need entertaining (books, toys etc). I also grabbed the tea towels from the same section.

It’s as simple as placing in your selection onto the tea towel – you could even add in a recipe of your own to add in: maybe a mango chutney or salsa…only limited by your imagination! I love this idea as a present for a teacher, mail person, barista…whoever you need to give to without it costing a bomb. It’s practical and useful.

The gift of Fresh: Salsa Verde

I love simple sauce that I use all the time throughout the year. A batch of this will keep in an airtight container in the fridge up to a week, but it never lasts that long. You can use it on meats: roasted or bbq, on fish, on roasted vegetables, even tossed through a salad. I’ve even been known to eat it as a dip or straight up: those herbs give you such a punch of fresh flavour it’s impossible to resist.

Packed together in a bowl I found in the kitchen section of Woolworths, along with a practical tea towel, some cute Christmas toppers they have in store too, and all the ingredients and recipe to make it themselves. I think this is a great idea, something personal and homemade with love that people will enjoy.

Here’s how I put the hamper together:

Don’t you think that’s something you would love to get this Christmas? I know I would! A little preparation and thought beforehand but literally under 10 mins to do the whole thing that creates a unique gift showcasing fresh food this season. 

For the other elements of the hamper I used:

This Mixing bowl
These tea towels (I found a 4 pack in red and white in store)
These Christmas decorations 

Salsa Verde 

1 bunch parsley
1 bunch dill (you can add in whatever herbs you will replace with basil if you prefer this over dill)
1 bunch mint
Handful capers
Handful sweet gherkins (you can pour a little of the vinegar from the jar in)
2 whole cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil 

1. Rip the top of the bunches of herbs and place into a food processor 
2. Add in the whole garlic cloves, capers and gherkins (making sure you pour in about 2 tablespoons of vinegar from them as it adds to the flavour) as well as Dijon mustard and some salt and pepper
3. Pulse until combined – a little texture if still good I think
4. Slowly add in about a cup of olive oil while pulsing

You can print off this recipe card to add in as well:

The gift of Fresh: Honey mustard vinaigrette

Another version of this is a salad dressing that I love to make and use throughout the year. My girls LOVE this dressing and literally will drink it out of the bottom of a salad bowl. One of my fave things to do with it is pour into half an avocado where the stone has been taken out (an instant little bowl in itself) and eat for a quick snack. This would also be perfect over the festive season to use in salads – you have saved someone by giving them a homemade batch ready to use right away, shown them how to make it themselves and all placed in something they can continue to use throughout the year.

This dressing is also made in the food processor but you can do with a stick blender or even by hand with a whisk too. Adding the oil into the vinegar and mustard (acid) emulsifies into a smooth dressing. Takes 20 secs and will keep in the fridge for weeks (although it won’t last that long!). 

For the hamper I used an Inspire salad bowl (I found it in the kitchen section of Woolworths where the mugs and plate ware is) this one had a plastic lid you can add to the top to keep it fresh. Love this pattern! And I used these wooden Christmas toppers I found in the Christmas section.

Honey mustard vinaigrette

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
Pinch salt
½ cup olive oil

1. Place all ingredients straight into the food processor 
2. Blitz for 10-15 seconds or so or until combined and smooth
3. Pour into an airtight container

You can print out this recipe card to add in too:

I really hope you guys like the idea of these hampers and giving the gift of fresh food this Christmas. These are all practical things that can be used throughout Christmas when your house will be filled with extra people. Perhaps you are the guest staying – wouldn’t this be a great gift to bring along? You are only limited by your imagination on what you can create as well: perhaps you are a baker why not provide all the dry ingredients with a recipe and some baking tins that you can grab at Woolies? Why not create a hamper of delicious summer stone fruits: mangoes, cherries, nectarines and peaches all combined ready to be made into a fruit salad? Using the best of what is in season and what you love to cook creates such a useful, practical and caring gift.

Hope you guys love this!

Do you receive a homemade gift at Christmas time you love?
What would be something you could create for friends that’s fresh?

Comments

  1. I’ll never forget the year I gave my YiaYia-in-law to be a case of peaches….she said “I don’t like peaches but they look nice” I think it’s time for an all peach dessert 11 years later …

  2. So many ideas Beth – I love this!!

  3. Onto it, thank you. I thoroughly enjoy these videos you create. Could you do a baking version for us, or is that stretching the friendship?

  4. love this beth!
    also you’re a natural entertainer!… need to be on “telly”!
    much love mxx

  5. Fabulous ideas Beth! Thanks for inspiring me once again with gorgeous gifts. xxoo Manda

  6. Lovely ideas Beth – will keep up my sleeve as reference and inspiration x

  7. Jo Williams says

    Just gorgeous. I went straight out and grabbed the blue bowl plus a couple of the smaller ones. Such a great gift idea x

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