Lifestyle

Home-made gifts delight family and friends this Christmas

Beetroot and feta salad with candied pecans.
Beetroot and feta salad with candied pecans.

I KNOW it's rolled up to that time when no-one has any (time, that is), but making Christmas gifts can often be easier than shopping - and it can make the recipient feel pretty special.

I still make mango chutney, jams and other little culinary treats for friends who I know will enjoy them.

It works out much cheaper than buying things that may or may not be appreciated - unless one factors in the time spent thinking of the idea and executing it, of course.

In this time-poor society we now live in, making gifts means so much more than before.

Other ideas for kitchen delights to make as gifts include peanut brittle, the old favourite White Christmas, marinated feta in jars or spiced or candied nuts.

I'm making jars of candied pecans and walnuts this year to give to friends.

They're delicious little moreish treats, vaguely good for you (very vaguely - nuts are a healthy food; the additions … not so).

They are also ideal nibbles to put out when guests call or as an after-dinner treat on the table.

Another way to use candied nuts is in a salad; I recently dined at a restaurant in southern California where I tried this yummy dish.

The ingredients there included wafer-thin slices of the intriguing watermelon radish, which I have yet to find here in Australia.

It was sweeter and milder than a regular radish (as well as being a pretty addition to the salad); you could substitute the variety available here or omit it all together.

This method of cooking nuts can be used for other varieties as well; try a batch with macadamias or almonds and either give them as gifts or keep a few jars in the pantry to add to your next healthy salad.

The quantity below is enough for two or three jars or four salads.

 

Beetroot and feta salad with candied pecans

Serves four

 

Ingredients

Candied pecans

2 x 180g bags Australian pecans

1 egg white

1 tblspn water

4 tblspn sugar

1/4 tspn ground cinnamon

1/3 tspn salt

Salad

2-3 fresh baby beetroot

150g washed mixed salad leaves

2 green onions, finely sliced

1 small radish, finely sliced (optional)

130g feta, cubed

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

 

Method

Pecans

Preheat oven to 120°C. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together egg white and water in a bowl until frothy. Combine sugar, cinnamon and salt in another bowl.

Add pecans to egg white and toss until coated. Repeat with spice mixture.

Spread pecans in a single layer on the baking sheets and cook at 125°C for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Try to keep the nuts from touching each other; this allows them to dry out completely and the toffee coating to harden. Allow to cool.

Salad

Steam unpeeled beetroot until just tender (about 35-40 minutes, depending on size).

Place in cold water until cool enough to handle, then peel and dice.

Combine beetroot with salad leaves, green onions, radish (if using) and feta.

Shake vinegar and oil in a screw-topped jar until it emulsifies; drizzle over salad.

Scatter a quarter of the pecans over the salad and serve immediately.

Remaining nuts can be stored in clean, dry jars for up to two months.

 

>> To read more lifestyle stories

Topics:  christmas, cooking, easy eating, food, lifestyle, recipes



Top chefs help feed the needy

CREATIVE KITCHEN: Helpers providing the good food at Halcyon House's community dinner.

Top chefs raise money for needy: socials

From little things, big things grow

Diana Abraham, with help from Chris Watt, cutting the cake at the Meals on Wheels 30th birthday.

Meals on Wheels mark 30th anniversary on Tweed Coast

Tyalgum kicks off musical season

Flutterbies' Solar Chapel and operatic soprano Jenna Dearness-Dark prepare for the Opera and Piano concert in Tyalgum on September 3.

Intimate concert awaits.

Latest deals and offers

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Mexican band takes aim at Trump

Disguised as unhinged narcotraficantes, the Mexican-American agitators of BRUJERIA captured the mood of the citys minorities with the bands infamous and widely banned 1993 debut, Matando Geros (Killing White People), quickly becoming the Spanish-language counterparts to early grindcore masters TERRORIZER and NAPALM DEATH.  Photo Contributed

'Satanic drug lord' band challenges Trump

Tyalgum kicks off musical season

Flutterbies' Solar Chapel and operatic soprano Jenna Dearness-Dark prepare for the Opera and Piano concert in Tyalgum on September 3.

Intimate concert awaits.

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.