yummy homemade gifts

by whitneyinchicago on flickr

I love the holiday season, but this year, for some reason, I’m even more into the whole Christmas thing. Tonight I’m having a cozy evening at home, baking peanut butter balls and spiced nuts, burning a Christmas Cookie candle I bought at Yankee Candle and listening to Michael Buble’s Christmas CD (great gift idea, by the way). And it’s only December 6th! lol!

I love making consumable gifts and over the years I’ve received some pretty scrumptious homemade foodie gifts as well. Here are the recipes for what I’m making tonight as well as recipes for some of the best consumable gifts I’ve received. They’re easy to make, luxurious and won’t break the bank:

Homemade Baileys

Homemade Vanilla

Spiced Nuts

Ingredients for Black Truffle Popcorn

Peanut Butter Balls



What’s your favourite foodie gift to give and/or receive?


Eating in: mango cassis parfait

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a special meal for my boyfriend, but was so preoccupied with the labour-intensive main course (blanquette de veau) that dessert slipped my mind. So I dashed out and picked up the ingredients for an easy, affordable and impressive dessert recipe that my father invented. The ingredients are so luxurious that my boyfriend had no idea it was an afterthought. The cassis is a nod to papa’s French roots.

Mango Cassis Parfait (serves four)


2 ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced

4 tablespoons crème de cassis liqueur, preferably the authentic stuff from Dijon, France. L’Heritier-Guyot is a good brand.

1 carton good quality vanilla ice cream such as Häagen-Dazs


Scoop ice cream into four martini glasses. Arrange mango slices on top and drizzle with crème de cassis. Layer if desired.

Note: There’s no need to run out and buy a huge bottle of crème de cassis if you don’t already have it in your liquor cabinet. When I made this dessert two weekends ago, I bought a mini bottle for $4.20 at the liquor store.

Also, Haagen-Dazs can be pricey so I try to get it when it’s on sale. Here in Montreal, a 500 ml carton starts at around $5.99 but I’ve seen it on sale for $3.99.

 What’s your cheap and easy go-to dessert?

Eating In: Spicy Lamb Dry Curry

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my boyfriend’s skills in the kitchen and promised to share his Spicy Lamb Dry Curry recipe. The dish is from the Chettinad region, which is close to where he grew up in the South Indian province of Tamil Nadu. If you really want to impress your dinner guests you can show off your Tamil and tell them they’re eating Chettinad Mutton Chukka Varuval. Some recipes require that you cook the lamb in a slow cooker, but this one skips that step, and I find it tastes great. It can be a kicker, so adjust the number of spicy chilies to taste.

Ebe’s Spicy Lamb Dry Curry (Chettinad Mutton Chukka Varuval)

Ingredients for 4 Servings

500 grams lamb leg, cubed
2 small onions, chopped
1/2 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 small green chilies, finely chopped
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp salt
4 cardamom seeds, crushed
Pinch cinnamon


Heat 2 tbsp olive oil on high heat.

Sautée green chilies, garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes or until light brown.

Add onions and sautée 10 minutes.

Add spices and cook for two minutes.

Add lamb. Cook on high heat for about 20 minutes or until cooked through and very brown.

Serve with basmati rice and paratha bread.

Did you try this recipe? How did you find it?