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The extreme foodie gifting guide

The extreme edible gift guide for foodies

by Ella Timney 14 December 2016

Are homemade Christmas gifts like biscuits, fudge and flavoured spirits just a bit too boring for a full-on food nerd such as yourself? Try your hand at something more ambitious and wow everyone with your seriously advanced culinary skills.

Although plenty may be content with whipping up some sweet little Christmas biscuits for a loved one this year, here at Great British Chefs we wanted to take things to the next level with some more ambitious foodie gifts. These won't only (hopefully) fill the recipients with glee, but will satisfy any food nerd who wishes to tackle them. Besides, you can always double up on quantities when making your gifts and keep some for yourself.

Pastrami

Ah, pastrami. So easy to buy in the shops for all of your Christmas sandwich needs. But where's the fun in that? Homemade pastrami lords it over vac-packed commercial products with its intensely lovely flavour, plus you can show off about how you tested it with three different types of wood chips before you found your perfect level of smokiness. Find out all you need to know in our video guide.

Confit goose

Want to give those great, fanciful tins of Confit d’Oie found in posh food markets a run for their money? Try whipping up a gigantic batch of confit goose at home to pack into jars and present to your loved ones. After all, nothing says ‘I care’ like seeing your parents digging fat-covered goose legs out of a massive jar. Probably not the best choice for your gout-plagued uncle, though.

Sourdough starter kit

This is a great gift for someone who either has a) a keen interest in baking in all its forms or b) someone who lives in east London, has a beard and possibly wears thick-rimmed glasses. The sourdough craze is unstoppable, mainly because it’s one of the most delicious and magical forms of bread in the world. Learn how to make a sourdough starter kit for your loved ones with the help of Food Urchin, who fashioned his by reviving his dormant, neglected sourdough starter ‘Veronica III’. It’s the foamy, yeasty gift that keeps on giving.

Doughnuts

As anyone who has attempted them can testify, doughnuts are a right bugger to make. There are so many elements that can go wrong in these seemingly simple treats that making a batch for a loved one is perhaps the ultimate sign of dedication and reverence. Just make sure the recipient knows how hard they are to make though, or you will be sorely disappointed at their reaction. These blackberry jam-filled cinnamon doughnuts from Tom Aikens are an ideal choice for Christmas, and it even comes with a handy video from Tom packed with tips.

Did someone mention gout? Yes, Christmas is rightly the time of year where everyone stuffs themselves to the point of bursting, so why not contribute further to the feasting by presenting a loved one with a giant terrine. Danny Kingston’s wild boar terrine brings plenty of festive meaty cheer, or you can choose to go down the more traditional route of pâtés and rillettes. The choice is yours.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows – how hard can they really be, you might think. Well, similar to doughnuts, these sweet treats have been the downfall of many a home confectioner. There’s the temperature control of the sugar, the whisking of the egg whites, the near fanatical dusting with cornflour and icing sugar that will leave your kitchen looking like it's been struck by a freak blizzard. If all goes well, though, you will be rewarded with lovely pillows of happiness, and something quite different from the stabiliser-packed shop bought version.

Next-level macarons

There are macarons, then there are next-level macarons. These fiddly meringue creations are hard to master at the best of times, but when you combine them with fiddly tempered chocolate and some Michelin-starred ganache fillings from Graham Hornigold, they take on a whole new sense of intrigue. The difficulty really lies in how uniform your meringue shells look at the end, and whether after three hours of baking you can keep a steady hand with a pen-nozzle to get those decorative lines perfectly straight. Good luck, brave baker.

Pastilles, pate de fruits and jellies

Fancy spending the run-up to Christmas measuring out tiny quantities of citric acid and pectin? Have a go at some delicious jellied sweets. Like marshmallows, these can be a bit of a trial in that you normally have to keep an eagle eye on a sugar thermometer whilst whisking frantically, all the while working at scolding hot temperatures. Again, make sure to show off any severe burns you get from this arduous task, whether you opt for pastilles, festive clementine jellies or even some phenomenal Turkish delight.

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