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



Patients inside as ambulance hit on highway

Queensland Ambulance Service transported a 60-year-old man from Septimus

Three paramedics among the injured

James Hardie boss devastated by work death

Construction firms have faced challenges from rising costs and small margins, but there's absolutely no indication that the coming year will be any worse than the past couple, MBA's Will Wilson says.

A MAN in his 60s has died in an industrial accident.

How police shooting in Lockyer Valley unfolded

An armed man is on the run from police after an officer was shot this afternoon.

Events that led to a police officer's death in the Lockyer Valley

Local Partners

WATCH: Judah battles his emotions as he makes Top 12

Judah Kelly has made it through to the top 12 of Australia's The Voice competition.

Karl Stefanovic's rant about Schapelle Corby 'a bit rich'

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Maybe he just wanted to make himself the story.

My Kitchen Rules champion reveals how he won $250K

SWEET SUCCESS: MKR 2017 winners Amy and Tyson Murr celebrate their glorious victory.

VIDEO: Tyson revealed behind-the-scenes stories in his speech at IGS

Could Schapelle be heading for Gladstone?

Australian Schapelle Corby is escorted by Bali Police at the parole office in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, 27 May 2017.

Schapelle's mother teases her free daughter could be Gladstone bound

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

Mushu the pug

It's been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!