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Go handmade this Christmas

Thursday, 29th November, 2018 8:56am

It is that time of year again when we are all thinking of what to gift our loved ones.

The frenzy that comes these days with Christmas is something I loathe – deeply and utterly. Saying that, I love giving gifts to my family and friends.

I just tend to give handmade things rather than one of the anonymous ‘must-haves’.

I never subscribe to the frenzy of Christmas shopping and I am normally quite organized. I only buy a few items every year but the rest is handmade.

I am lucky with my friends that they don’t subscribe to the shopping ritual either.

My friend Sally is a wonderful potter who made me lovely napkin rings one year and a delicious lemoncello (she is Italian) last year.

Derval is even better organized then me as she visits charity shops during the year and is always on the lookout for vintage cookbooks and vintage liquor glasses for me.

I love these gifts, as I know that it came from the heart and thought was put into the present.

In return, I create things – either in the kitchen or my craftroom. Last year, I gave Derval a wind chime made from pieces from old CDs (they looked like jewellery) and of course, I always gift something edible.

The possibilities are endless. Over the years, I have made gift bags that included homemade spice mixes, cheese balls in oil, handmade chocolates, chutneys, jams and so much more.

There is still loads of time to create something outstanding. Why not make labneh?

To make that, you take Greek yogurt, pour it into a muslin cloth and hang it over a bowl. Leave it for at least a day – the longer you hang the yogurt, the firmer the cheese will become.

Roll little ball shapes from the cheese (yes, it’s that easy to make cheese), dip them into a mix of dried herbs and place them in a jar.

Cover with olive oil and seal. Tie a nice ribbon around it with a little gift tag and you have a great gift.

If you feel adventurous, make small breads, slice them thinly and bake again until crisp. Place in an airtight tin (it will last for about two weeks) and give with the jar of labneh.

The possibilities are endless. Just make sure that the recipient isn’t allergic to anything.

Check out for some ideas for edible gifts.

If making your own gifts seems to be too bothersome, can I ask you to stay local at least? Yes, online shopping is so convenient but be proud where your hard earned cash goes. I’d rather support a local family paying for their child to get dance lessons than a faceless CEO getting his or her third summer mansion.

At the end of the day – enjoy this time; make it about your family and friends not the shopping frenzy.


Upcoming food events:


30 November

AIB Coffee Morning Blarney (Marymount)

30 November

Christmas Gin Festival Waterford

1 December

Barista Workshop (BSI Cork)

4 December

Raw Festive Treats Workshop

7 December

Vegan Christmas Dinner

16 December

Vegan Christmas Market in Kino


For details on these and other upcoming food events, please go to

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