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



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

Dreamworld could become a “more attractive and entertaining park”.

Tweed Midwives Group Practice celebrate their first baby

HAPPY FAMILY: Jamie and Nathan Millard with their new baby, Emme and her big sister Pippa.

The Tweed Midwifery Group Practice have welcomed its first baby.

Local Partners

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!