I find myself on the horns of a dilemma! I’ll explain, dear reader. This is a marvellous book, Simple Pleasures – Edible Gifts for Friends and Family to give its full title, but there is a problem. Should I give this book as Christmas gifts to all my friends, or should I use the recipes to make presents for the aforementioned chums?
There are a few books around that give ideas for edible presents but this is the first that I have come across that gives such detailed instructions on wrapping, tagging and box making. The finished results are very professional and will add so much to the presentation of your lovely cooking.
So how about the recipes? Well, they are broad-based and charming. I would be tickled to be the recipient of any of them. There are several categories which cover Jams, Preserves and Chutneys, Cakes and Biscuits, Sweets and Chocolates, and Drinks and Accompaniments. You are bound to find a suitable gift for those special people in your life.
There are recipes that you would expect in this type of book. Chocolate truffles have always been a favourite homemade gift so its inclusion is no surprise, but there are some great new ideas. Cranberry and Orange Preserve will be great with the Boxing Day cold cuts as would East India Chutney. Preserved Lemons Moroccan-style is a stunner and a bit exotic.
If sweet treats are more to your taste then there is plenty on offer. Buttered Brazil Nuts, Cinder Toffee and Brown Sugar Fudge will make a change from a Selection Box but don’t forget those friends whose eyes will only light up at the sight of a bottle-shaped parcel. Limoncello, Flavoured Vodkas and Crème de Cassis are among the list of “adult” delights. My choice is a pretty bottle of Winter Liqueur with warming cloves, cinnamon and allspice.
After careful consideration I have decided to give this book as an early Christmas present to my friends in the hopes that they will have the opportunity to make these jams, drinks and sweets in time to box them up and send them to me! You’ll hear no complaints! This is a gift that offers as much to the giver as to the receiver.
Authors: Stephanie Evans, Andrew Franks, Susanna Tee
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018