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Make your own gifts - recipes

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By Angela Day

LEMONGRASS AND GINGER CORDIAL

Makes 1.5 litres

4 stalks of lemongrass, sliced into 2cm pieces

6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

300ml castor sugar

1 litre of water

grated rind of 1 lemon

45ml lemon juice

Combine the lemongrass, ginger, sugar, water and lemon rind in a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.

Let the mixture infuse for at least 3 hours. Strain through a sieve and pour into bottles.

Serve diluted with plain or sparkling water and plenty of ice.

GOURMET ROCKY ROAD

Makes about 20 squares

400g dark chocolate

180g butter

60ml golden syrup

200g amaretti biscuits, roughly broken

150g mixed nuts, roughly chopped

100g glacé cherries

150g mini marshmallows

Combine the chocolate, butter and syrup in a small pot and heat gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove and set aside.

Combine the biscuits, nuts, cherries and marshmallows in a bowl. Pour over the melted chocolate mixture. Mix well.

Press the mixture into a 20cm x 30cm pan which has been lined with non-stick baking paper that extends over the edge of the pan.

Refrigerate until set. Turn out and cut into squares.

PEACH AND CRANBERRY CHUTNEY

Makes about 750ml

8 nectarines, pitted and chopped

1 large red onion, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, crushed

10ml chopped ginger

1 cinnamon stick

5ml salt

250ml dried cranberries

250ml apple cider vinegar

500ml sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer until the mixture is thick. This will take about 60-70 minutes.

Bottle in sterilised jars and seal while hot.

l Delicious with turkey or gammon.

CHOCOLATE AND GINGER SHORTBREAD

Makes 2 x 20cm

500ml flour

250ml cornflour

180ml castor sugar

250g butter, slightly softened

50g dark chocolate, chopped

60ml crystallised ginger pieces

Combine the flour, cornflour and castor sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, switch the machine on and add the butter in pieces. Mix until a dough is formed. Add the chocolate and ginger and mix until combined.

Divide the mixture into two portions. Press each into a greased shallow 20cm cake tin or make two 20cm free-form discs on a greased baking tray.

Prick with a fork and score into 8 wedges. Bake at 160ºC for 30-40 minutes until pale golden brown. Remove and cool slightly before cutting through the score lines into wedges.

Sprinkle lightly with extra castor sugar, if desired.

Wrap well and store in an airtight container.

* For plain shortbread omit the chocolate and ginger.

TOFFEE WITH CHOCOLATE AND NUTS

Makes a Swiss-roll pan full

500g butter

500ml sugar

15ml liquid glucose

150g dark chocolate

60-80ml chopped pecan nuts

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pot. Add the sugar and liquid glucose and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil until the mixture reaches the hard-crack stage.

This can be measured with a sugar thermometer, which should reach 130ºC, or test by dropping some mixture into cold water – it should form a brittle thread.

Quickly pour the mixture into a Swiss-roll pan, which has been lined with tinfoil and greased with butter. Allow to cool.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for two minutes.

Spread over the toffee and sprinkle with nuts.

Refrigerate until set.

Break or cut into desired shapes. - The Star

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