I love Christmas! I know it’s a bit daggy and uncool to admit that, but I do. I come from a large extended family and, especially now that I live interstate, I don’t get to see them very often. As well as that, I’m usually doing PhD fieldwork right up until Christmas Eve, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for getting into the Christmas spirit or making homemade Christmas presents. So this year I was very excited to have my fieldwork over and done with three weeks before Christmas and decided to go all out with some homemade presents 🙂
I have a lot of people on my gift-giving list who are older than us and have everything they could possibly want or need (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles). I like to give (and receive) gifts that will be used and useful, so homemade gifts allow me to give something unique that is consumable.
For the next few days I am going to share some recipes for Christmas gifts that I am making this year. Luckily my blog is anonymous, so I can post my gift recipes without spoiling anyone’s surprise. Most of them are quick and easy, so they could be useful if you’re still looking for inspiration for that hard-to-buy-for relative.
Chai tea is very trendy at the moment, at least here in Australia. While I have never really gotten into it, I saw a recipe for on the kitchn and had most of the ingredients on hand, so decided to try it. Both my mum and my sister are big tea drinkers, so I thought it would make a perfect gift for them. Mr Omnivore was my official taste-tester and he declared it tasted just like the real thing.
Just a note, if you don’t have a lot of spices already, this could be an expensive recipe to try out. The only spices I needed to buy were coriander seeds and fennel seeds, plus loose leaf tea, but I know I will use all of them in other recipes as well. The original recipe called for candied ginger, but I used crystallised ginger instead because that’s what I had on hand (I’m not entirely sure they’re different things anyway).
Ingredients (makes about 3/4 cup)
12 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cloves
4cm stick of cinnamon
2 tbsp crystalised ginger, chopped
1/2 cup loose black tea (use the cheap stuff, as you don’t want a strong flavour).
Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Split the cardamom pods open using a sharp knife. Mix together with the cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and peppercorns. Place mixture on a baking tray and toast in the oven until fragrant (around 5 minutes).
Allow spices to cool slightly, then crush them using a mortar and pestle (or whatever heavy object you have on hand). Don’t use a food processor, as you might scratch it (don’t ask me how I know that!). Separate the cinnamon stick and crumble it with your fingers. Place spices with ginger and black tea in a bowl and mix well.
Store in an airtight container until you are ready to use.
To brew a cup of chai tea, place about 2 tsp of the mixture into a tea ball. Pour 1 cup of boiling water into a mug and steep the tea ball for around 5 minutes. Remove the tea ball and add 1/2 cup of milk (of your choice). I chose to drink it like that, but you can also heat it again (either on the stove or in the microwave) to make it nice and hot after adding the milk. Add sugar or honey to taste (Again, I didn’t have to do that because it was sweet enough for me with the sugar from the ginger).
If you’re looking for more gift ideas, some other gifts I have planned for this year include:
What gifts are you planning on making this year?