Posts tagged Food Gifts

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

Homemade Christmas Hamper

Woohoo! It’s that time of year again. Maybe you have found that perfect gift, maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’d like to include something a little extra, a little homemade.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who just keeps coming up with little gifts right up till the big day, because hey, it’s only once a year. Well I am too, so here are some quick and easy homemade Christmas gifts for those special people in your life.
Read More

Mothers’ Day (Foodie) Gift Roundup

My Mama and me! 

Mothers do so much for us: lovingly and selflessly, and most of the time, thanklessly. And while we all know that Mum shouldn’t just be celebrated on one day of the year, we don’t always appreciate Mum as much as she deserves it. So if you’re wondering what to give the woman who has given you life and an appreciation of good food (and she already has too many mugs), here are some gift ideas that any foodie mum will appreciate.

Shopping Basket

Fulfil any foodie’s French marketing fantasy by getting her this lovely shopping basket from The Market Basket Co. for all her weekly groceries! Once she slips the soft Moroccan leather handles over her shoulder she can imagine that she’s wandering down cobblestone streets, with all her treasures from the markets. It’s like making every grocery trip a holiday! Extra points if you put a selection of gourmet food in the basket when you give it to her!

Tea Garden in a Box

My mum loves gardening, and tea? So if your mum’s like mine, why not give her a tea garden in a box? Fill it with aromatic herbs like chocolate mint and pineapple sage, and it ensures that Mum can have an insanely fragrant fresh pot of tea whenever the winter chill strikes! Get the instructions here

Mason Jar Cookie Mix

Source: Something Turquoise

If your mom is a foodie, she probably makes the best cookies in the world. But you know what the problem with making the best cookies in the world is? That it’s not special to you because you know exactly what goes into it! Well why not give mom your special cookies: all the joy of baking, but with some of the mystery left for the joy of eating! Bonus points if you give these to her accompanied with a cellophane bag of the baked cookies for her to eat right now. Get the instructions here.

Flavoured Salts

Source: Country Living

Any foodie worth their salt (heh heh) loves variety, and homemade flavoured salts are a way of combining your creativity with theirs! You’re not only providing inspiration, you’re providing the building blocks of deliciousness. And these are so easy to make, you don’t have to stop at six! Why not include variations like Vanilla salt and Bloody Mary salt? Find the instructions for these flavoured salts from Country Living here.

Hot Chocolate Truffles

Source: Your Cup of Cake

As much as a food mum would enjoy a box of truffles, can you imagine how mind blowing it would be to give her hot chocolate truffles? Made with a similar method to regular truffles, these sweet morsels can be dropped into a mug of warm milk, providing an instant cup of steaming chocolatey goodness for a winter evening. Want to take it to another level? Why not gift these to her with a bottle of Irish cream! You know it would go perfectly with the ‘Best Mum in the World’ mug she got from you 5 years ago.  You can find the instructions for these truffles here.

Edible Bouquet

Source: Maggie’s Wine

That bouquet of flowers that you’ve ordered is pretty and nice smelling and all, but I’m sure that foodie mums would rather have something they can eat. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be pretty! Why not gift her with a bouquet of fresh herbs – I bet you that they smell better than the flowers! Find more inspiration here.

All gifts aside, I’m sure that all your mum wants is to hang out with her favourite people: her family. So make her that cuppa, and just ask her how she’s doing. And don’t forget the rest of the year!

Have a happy Mothers’ Day you guys!

Note: Tammi from InsatiableMunchies was gifted with a shopping basket from The Market Basket Co. and Pursuit Communications.

Father’s Day Gift Roundup

Dad can be so hard to gift sometimes, especially because your dad might just be the stoic type who tells everyone not to make a fuss. Well, Dad deserves some pampering too, and if you are stuck on ideas, here are some cute, thoughtful ones that I’ve come across, that I absolutely love.

Read More

Spiced Nuts


With Father’s Day just round the corner, I’m sure everyone’s racking their brains to figure out just how to spoil dad. Well, if your dad loves flavoured nuts, I’ve got a really simple recipe here for you.

When I first had this idea, I went trawling through the net for spiced nuts recipes, but all of them seem to just dust roasted nuts with spices. But what about that gnarly crispy coating that you get with store bought nuts?

Well, the secret? Egg whites.


I learnt a recipe for almond biscuits that use just lightly whipped egg whites with icing sugar and slivered almonds, and it gave the exact texture that I wanted for my nuts.

Cayenne Spiced Nuts:

1 large egg white
350g raw cashews (or any nuts you like)
3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of paprika
2 tsp salt (or smoked salt if you can get your hands on it)
2 tsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Simply whip up the egg whites to soft peaks, then stir in all the seasoning. Coat the nuts in the mixture, then spread onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake till golden brown, then let cool. Break up the nuts – it would have baked into one single sheet – and if things aren’t as crispy, you can dry it out a little in a low (150C) oven.

Then simply pop into a jar/airtight container/cellophane bags and serve it up to Dad with his favourite whisky on the rocks/beer/beverage of choice!

This super simple recipe means that you can make a whole ton of variations – anything from sweet vanilla almonds, to peri peri peanuts…the sky’s the limit. As long as you can mix it into the egg white mixture, you’re good to go. Just remember that the flavour can get a little muted, so if you find that it’s not quite as strong as you’d like it, just scatter more flavouring over the top while its still warm, and just mix it in once it’s cooled. 

Lemon Meringue…in a jar!


I’ve been on a bit of a dessert binge lately – I keep telling myself that I burn more calories in the cold, and so am allowed to consume more. I know it doesn’t quite work that way, but it helps me sleep at night. So when I saw these adorable individual lemon meringues in jars I just couldn’t help myself.

It’s incredibly simple. Just layer some crumbled cake in a jar – I just had some leftover from some experimental baking I did – with lemon curd. For added moisture, I drizzled the cake with leftover limoncello syrup I had from the Lemon Tiramisu, and then topped everything with a meringue, which is simply egg whites and sugar beaten to glossy stiff peaks.


Then when it was time to serve, I just took a blowtorch to the top, which I must admit was the bit that was the most fun. These little pots of tangy sugary goodness just help me cling desperately to spring and summer like the jilted mistress of a billionaire tycoon.

And really. I can’t get over how cute these jars are!! It’s the perfect start to the weekend. Makes me wonder what else I can pack into jar form…

Easy Lemon Tiramisu – no sabayon!


I’ve still got some Anatoth lemon curd that was sent to me by Beyond the Square – thank you Carrie! I think fruit curds are a fabulous way to recapture that sensation of summer, and the tart lemon curd just brings a spot of brightness to my day.

I saw this great Limoncello Tiramisu recipe from Italian Food Forever that I just had to try out. The best part was that there was no need for a sabayon!! No splitting eggs, no whipping egg yolks and sugar over a bain marie, because the lemon curd did that work for you…this was the easiest recipe for tiramisu ever.

This recipe uses limoncello, and because I don’t have a bottle of that at home, I decided to make my own version out of lemon zest and vodka – which is what you’d use in homemade limoncello anyway.

Speedy Limoncello Recipe

You need:
Lemon Zest of 3 lemons
500ml vodka

Soda siphon


So, inspired by Dave Arnold’s post on rapid infusion, I decided to do a little rapid infusion of my own. Basically the idea is that you put a porous product – in this case, lemon zest – into a siphon with liquid, charge the siphon – I used two chargers of nitrous oxide canisters. What basically happens is that the gas pushes the liquid into the porous item, and the rapid venting pushes all the liquid back out, which completes your infusion. I rested the charged siphon for about 5 minutes before venting, and then rested the vented liquid for about 5 minutes before using.

Super simple limoncello.


Next, the Tiramisu

Lemon Tiramisu 
Adapted from Italian Food Forever

1 Cup Limoncello Liqueur
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Lemon Juice
20 Savoiardi or Lady Finger Cookies (1 Package)

For The Mascarpone Cream:
1 1/2 Cups Cream
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 pot/jar of lemon curd
1 (10 Ounce) Jar Lemon Curd, divided

Bring the liquer, water, sugar and lemon juice to the boil, and reduce slightly.

While the syrup is cooling, mix your mascarpone into the lemon curd. Save some to serve on top of the final dish – I used about 1/2 a pot at this stage. In another bowl, whip the cream and sugar to soft peaks, then fold in your mascarpone and lemon mixture.

Then it’s all an assembly job – roll the savoiardi in the syrup (not too long or they’ll fall apart), lay them in a single layer on your serving dish, lay the mascarpone cream over the top, then repeat the process. Grate some lemon zest over the top and voila! You have an easy, delicious dessert that helps you cling to the memories of summer evenings on the front porch awash in golden setting sunlight.

I served mine with a dollop of lemon curd over the top and some walnut pieces, because I like that crunch.


You will have some syrup left over, which you can use in other desserts. It also makes for a refreshing summery lemonade when mixed with a little ice and soda water.

Rose and Vanilla Tea


More gift ideas for mum in the leadup to Mothers’ Day! Thoroughly inspired by Dilmah’s French Vanilla and Rose Tea – one of my mum’s favourite because it’s so fragrant – I decided to make my own Rose and Vanilla Tea!

It’s so dead easy – Just get a box of tea leaves – I used black tea – and add dried rose buds and a vanilla pod in. You can get rose buds from places like T2, or I just got mine from the local Asian shop. As for the vanilla pod, I used the vanilla pod from Queen Fine Foods. I was very luckily sent some from Beyond the Square Communications – thank you Carrie! – but these vanilla pods are also the ones that I keep in my pantry. They are the better ones that you can find readily available – I’ve tried some from other brands that are just brittle and dry and hard to work with – and the aroma just fills the room once you open that cute test tube bottle they come in. 
Simply split the vanilla pod open, and then stick it into the tea and dried rose buds to infuse. 
To gift, might I suggest getting a reusable coffee/tea cup and filling it with the tea mix? That’s what I’m sending to my mum, together with a tea strainer, of course. 
I also added a bit of cling wrap to the top before closing the rubber lid to help seal the infusion in. 
I hope this doesn’t spoil the surprise – Happy Mother’s Day ma!!! 

Earl Grey Chocolate Truffles


With roses, a popular gift is chocolates. So, moving in with the tea theme – my mum likes tea =) – I really liked this recipe that I was sent by Horizon Communication Group and thought that it would make a great gift idea! The ganache turned out really gooey, so I just rolled the chocolate truffles using tea spoons, then coated them with white chocolate.

Earl Grey Infused Truffle
Adapted from Dilmah’s Real High Tea Recipe

2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Earl Grey Tea from three tea bags
170g high quality chocolate

Heat the cream and butter over low heat and bring to the boil.

Stir in the tea leaves and allow to infuse of the heat for 5 minutes. Break chocolate into a heatsafe container – I used a mixture of dark chocolate and milk chocolate – and pour the tea infusion over the chocolate through a fine sieve, pressing against the tea leaves to squeeze out all the tea.

Stir till all the chocolate is completely melted, and place in the fridge to set.

Once set, roll out the ganache into balls. Place on a lined tray and pop tray into the freezer for a couple of minutes to firm up.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate chips with some butter to loosen it to coating consistency. Take your cold chocolate balls out of the freezer and coat with melted white chocolate. Use two forks to drain off the excess before placing on a lined tray and pop back into the fridge to allow everything to set.

Sprinkle with sea salt to finish.

The result is luscious, luxurious chocolate truffles that have all the aroma of earl grey tea, finished with the palate cleansing sea salt. And if sea salt is not your thing, feel free to finely grate some lemon zest over the top! Delicious either way, and great for a gift. 
What are your favourite chocolate combinations? 

Roses and Pearls


Mother’s day is just around the corner, and it can be hard to find just the right gift. The most common thing to get is a bouquet of flowers – roses, carnations – but I really don’t like the idea of flowers wilting in a vase on the dining table.

So why not an edible bouquet of flowers?

The idea is simple: cupcake base with buttercream frosting piped into a rose. But what kind of cupcake and what kind of buttercream?

Part of the charm of the rose is its glorious smell, and not to mention the flavour. So that’s the butter cream done. And I think Earl Grey cupcakes will go fabulously with it. So…

Earl Grey Chiffon Cupcakes with Rose Buttercream Frosting

[For the Cupcakes]
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes about 30 cupcakes

7 large eggs, separated.
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold Earl Grey Tea (Make it a strong one!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp baking powder
2 cups sifted cake flour (I used plain)
Cupcake cases, preferably high sided so the chiffon can rise

Preheat your oven to 160C (150C fan forced)

Whip your egg whites, cream of tartar and salt to stiff peaks.

In another bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and sugar till pale. Whisk in your vegetable oil – creating your emulsion – and then slowly add in your cold tea. Mix in your vanilla extract, then fold in your sifted flour and baking powder.

Next – and this is important because you want to retain as much air as possible – add in just a third of your whipped egg whites to the batter to loosen it. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture, and fill the cupcake cups to 2/3 full.

Bake on a tray till risen and brown. Do not open the oven door for the first 20 minutes, then do the skewer test to see if it’s done. Opening the oven door will cause it to sink and you to have a dense chiffon. Don’t worry if it’s not as airy as you want it though – it still makes a delicious, soft cake!

[For the frosting]
Adapted from My Cupcake Addiction

5 cups Icing Sugar
250g Unsalted Butter
2 tsp Vanilla extract
3 tbsp rose water

Cream softened butter till light and fluffy. It should take on a lighter colour and a slightly pearlescent finish. Aerate that butter!

With the mixer running – or you could do this by hand – incorporate the icing sugar little by little. If you add it all at once, you’ll be coughing up icing sugar because it’s poofed up you’ve breathed it all in. Once it’s completely incorporated and dissolved, mix in the rosewater and vanilla.

Add a couple of drops of red/pink food colouring, and you’re ready to go.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, you can just pipe the buttercream frosting on top. Yes, it goes against my cupcake to frosting ratio per bite because buttercream can be a bit heavy, but it’s a special occasion. You could always fill the cupcakes because the chiffon will have a bit of give, but it’s a challenge enough to try and pipe the roses on. (Apparently a Wilton 2D tip is all you need, but it’s out of stock everywhere!!!!)


As a final touch, I think pearls go very well with roses, and I’ve been very lucky to have conveniently received Queen Soft Sugar Pearls from Beyond the Square.


The white ones are just perfect for this, and it’s an elegant solution to filling up any gaps on the side of the roses because my piping skills are terrible. I considered using cachous, but they are hard and like jawbreakers, while these taste heaps better.

So go on, bake a few cupcakes and throw a party for Mum!


Lindt, Martin Place


One of the ingredients to a great girls night out is definitely oodles of chocolate, and the Lindt cafe has been a favourite meeting spot for many a girls night out for me. So imagine my excitement when I got an invite to the reopening of a completely revamped Lindt Cafe at Martin Place!

Layout 2

Yeah. I was that excited!

The Lindt cafe, as it always is to me, is a sophisticated Willy Wonka Wonderland. Gold and marble adorn the interior, and it’s understated in its luxury and opulence. And this sophistication is reflected in the chocolates as well. Lindt chocolate never disappoints, and the people I know who aren’t a fan of chocolate because it can be cloying, always end up a fan of Lindt because of their fine balance in flavours and textures, and variety.

Of course, chocolates of every incarnation were proffered to us upon arrival.



Layout 3

They even had a brand new station where vats of tempered, molten chocolate sat, and strawberries, macaroons and pralines were covered in lush, silky chocolate of every kind. I especially loved how the chocolatiers were available for us to talk to, and food nerd that I am, I was so happy with the effortless way they answered my questions and explained to me the finer points of chocolate.

One of the chocolatiers said that they sometimes had to stop work on the finer chocolate work on really humid days as the humidity can be enough to cause the chocolate to seize up. Besides which, chocolate is really best to be set at room temperature (about 20C) and that sort of humidity can cause a really ugly chocolate bloom – which can be caused by the sugar reacting with the moisture in the air.

I also had a chat with Thomas Schnetzler, one of Lindt’s Master Chocolatier, who talked about the challenges of following the Lindt traditions right here in a (sometimes) hot and humid Australia. I’ve heard that some chocolate companies – in order to work with the climate that Australia has – sometimes change the recipe of their chocolate according to the region. Lindt however – according to Thomas – staunchly refuses to change their recipe, and instead chooses to apply technique and equipment to allow the quality and standard to be unchanged throughout the world.

So besides eating amazing chocolate straight out, what else can you have in a chocolate cafe? Chocolate with coffee of course!


Now I may not be the biggest connoisseur of coffee, but the mix of dark chocolate with rich coffee actually made a really nice drink. It was served towards the end of the night, and it was a great pick-me-up.

And guess where that chocolate came from?


Australia’s first chocolate on tap! With sophisticated machines imported from Italy, the chocolate is kept liquid and warm, and when it comes time to clean the machines, chocolate is used to flush out the machines, because any drop of water might ruin the chocolate.

And the piece de resistance for the night? Customizable chocolate slabs!


Yeah yeah, I know that some people might be unimpressed because it’s just chocolate writing on chocolate, but think about all those generic chocolates gifts that you give people throughout your life. Now, instead of giving them a card and a box of chocolates because you don’t know what to get people, you can give them a card written on chocolates! How cool is that?

Layout 1

Of course, what kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t get one myself?


Thank you again to Laura from Trish Nichol Agency and Lindt for the invite!