The great advantage of having an allotment is, of course, the constant supply of fruit and vegetables drifting into my kitchen, a perk which I particularly appreciate come December. I make batches of jams and chutneys throughout the year and handpick a few to gift-wrap for friends and family at Christmas.
I do love a homemade gift. When I was small, if I was very lucky, my mum would make me a skirt or a dress for Christmas (she’s a fabulous dress-maker!) and these days, we always get a jar of something delicious from Ade’s sister, Marie, who is a whizz at preserving. I really appreciate the time and effort that goes into making something by hand, particularly as the kindness of giving feels all but lost amid the senseless spending that now defines Christmas. People buy each other so much more now than they did, say, twenty years ago, and yet there is somehow less value to it. They say it’s the thought that counts, and yet it can feel the very opposite of thoughtful; Christmas can seem less like an opportunity for heartfelt goodwill and generosity and more like an annual period of obligation during which we mutate into mindless mouse-clicking automatons. (Yeah, Black Friday, I’m talking about YOU!)
But anyway, I’ve been making a whole lot of chilli jam recently. Woop! It’s such a good way to use up excess chillies from the allotment. It’s easy to make, absolutely delicious and it’s a perfectly festive red, so a jar of this bad boy makes a great Christmas present! I’ve used this recipe for the last few years and it’s a cracker. Ade loves it with cheese but it’s also fabulous for marinading prawns in a stir-fry.
So who else is with me on the homemade gifts front? Are you making any Christmas gifts this year? I’d love to hear what you’re up to! 😍