NZ Woman's Weekly

Christmas gift idea recipes

In Nana’s day, times were tough and Christmas presents were simple pleasures often made at home or in the kitchen. These days, finding the right present can put unrealistic pressure on the family budget – so why not take a leaf out of Nana’s book and make some tasty treats in your kitchen?

These recipes are ones I make every year as gifts – then all you need to do is throw in a few chocolates and make a hamper. None of them are very difficult to make, so you can get them all done in a weekend with your family’s help.

Herbed salt

  • 4 heaped tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 4 heaped tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 heaped tbsp fresh oregano or marjoram
  • 12 peeled garlic cloves
  • 500g sea salt

1. Finely chop the herbs and garlic. Mix with salt in a large bowl and let it stand for 24 hours at room temperature to dry out.

2. Place in an airtight container. Use this salt to season pasta sauces or sprinkle over tomatoes on toast. It is lovely on a steak before cooking, or coated over a chicken before roasting – put a bit inside as well.

Worcestershire sauce

  • 5 cups malt vinegar
  • 1kg treacle
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3cm piece green ginger finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

2. Cover and let stand overnight. Next day, strain and bottle.

Green peppercorn mustard

  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp green peppercorns, rinsed (you can buy big jars of these at Asian supermarkets, bulk bin stores and Indian grocers)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar (tarragon or rosemary are good too)
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and leave to stand in a cool place for two days. Don’t leave it any longer, as I once did, or it goes off and tastes dreadful!

2. In a blender, mix the mustard until you have a coarse paste. You may need to do this in batches. Mix the blended mustard well and spoon into small, clean jars. Melt over some sealing wax, filling right to the top of the jar.

Chilli jam

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 fresh chillies, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 50ml red wine vinegar
  • 500g tomatoes, chopped – fresh or tinned will do
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 75g brown sugar or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • Handful of coriander, chopped

1. In a food processor, grind the garlic, ginger, chillies, cumin, mustard seeds and red wine vinegar to a paste.

2. Transfer to a heavy bottomed saucepan, then add the tomatoes, fish sauce, sugar and turmeric.

3. Simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes until it resembles a sauce. Fold through the coriander at the last minute and put into jars.

Do you have a Nana recipe you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at: or write to Nana’s Pantry, NZWW, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

Issue 1541

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