Friday, December 16, 2020

Christmas Gifts for Foodies

Christmas Gifts For Foodies

Gifts for the Food Lover


Christmas Gifts for Food Lovers

Trying to keep the discerning food-lover in your life satisfied can be a tough task, especially when it comes to buying presents. But don’t let their taste for the finer things in life put you off treating them to something special once in a while, there are plenty of tasty treats, gift ideas and experience days  available that are sure to earn a five star review from even the fussiest of foodies.


Food and drink hampers

The perfect gift if you can’t decide on just one tasty treat. Food and drink hampers look great and taste even better. You can make your own and fill it with all their favorite cheeses, chutneys, oils, beers or wines. Or if you want to make things easier, order a ready-made gourmet hamper online and have it delivered direct to the lucky recipient’ door.
Cookery classes

You don’t have to worry about offending them, cookery classes aren’t a way of suggesting you don’t like their cooking. Even the most experienced of home chefs will be able to learn plenty of new skills, with a range of master classes available at restaurants and hotels around the country, whether they want to learn how to make sumptuous sushi, cook the perfect curry or tackle traditional British classics, expert chefs are on hand to teach a range of skills for a variety of dishes.
Recipe organizer
Perfect for those who hoard recipe cards, tear out pages of the Sunday magazines or scribble down ingredients from television cookery shows. A stylish filing box or recipe folder makes a neat and eye-catching addition to the kitchen and means they will never have to lose a recipe again.
Personalized oil and vinegar bottles
While not every budding chef will get their own brand of ingredients out on supermarket shelves, you can ensure the food-lover in your life will get some bottles bearing his or her name to use in their own kitchen. Bespoke oils and vinegars make great gifts in themselves, but add an extra personalized touch and get them engraved with a special message. The long shelf life of oils and vinegars make them perfect to give as gifts and personalized bottles are refillable for a gift that will adorn the kitchen for years to come.
Wine tasting
If they’re a whizz in the kitchen, then give them the perfect opportunity to boost their knowledge of the best wines to complement their gorgeous home cooking. Wine tasting evenings are great fun, however much knowledge you take away at the end of it. Wine buffs will love the chance to sample some top quality tipples and tuck into some fine food, while novices will pick up some top tips for how to choose their wines to match their future meals.




Thursday, December 15, 2020

Italian Christmas Cooking

Italian Christmas Cooking=

Italian Christmas Cooking


Why is there so much interest in Italian cooking? Because Italians love eating food, preparing food, sharing food? Well, those are key ingredients, but add family, friends, music and a particular Italian la dolce vita attitude and you will be close.


Regional cooking in Italy is as varied as regional cooking in the States. Cincinnati chili is not the same as Tex-Mex chili. New York style clam chowder looks and tastes very differently from New England clam chowder. Whether the region is Abruzzi, Tuscany, Sicily or a lesser known one called Marche, the style, the choices and the specialties will be remarkably delicious and unique.


The meatball, braciola, sauce and homemade spaghetti recipes below originated in La Marche. They are perfect for the holiday family meal. Put on some Frank Sinatra, smile and enjoy!



Ingredients: ground beef, egg, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, water

2 lbs. ground chuck or ground round. Ground pork may be used for half the beef.
1 egg – medium or large
½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
½ cup regular bread crumbs
Tsp. chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper


Mix together following ingredients by hand in large bowl. Knead mixture to sticky and pliable mixture. Mixture should not fall apart from being too dry or too wet. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to achieve consistency as necessary.


To form meatball, put mixture in palm of hand and shape into ball by rolling in palms. Warmth of hand will provide enough heat to melt meatball into rounded ball. Don’t rush this step. Meatballs should be about 2 inches across. Mixture will generate approximately 35 – 40 meatballs.


Using large frying pan, add ¼ inches of olive oil. Brown meatballs in olive oil. Flame will be medium hot for best results. Don’t crowd meatballs. Drain after frying.



Quick View Ingredients: Round steak, bacon, parsley


1 package of round steak
4 slices uncooked bacon
Fresh parsley


Pound round steak to flatten and thin. Divide round steak into 4 sections. Add ½ piece of bacon plus parsley to each section. Roll tightly and use toothpick to hold together.
Brown in olive oil. You may use same pan as meatballs, but should add move olive oil.




Quick View Ingredients: water, onion, celery, tomato puree, tomato paste,


¼ cup water
1 small onion
2 leafy celery tops


Simmer onion and celery in water in a large stock style pot. Add 3 cans tomato paste and 4 cans of tomato puree plus salt and pepper to taste. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add browned meatballs and braciole. Insure meat is covered by sauce. Add more paste, puree or water as necessary. Simmer covered for 2 hours. Watch bottom of pan to make sure sauce doesn’t scorch.


Tips: Sausage, chicken, and/or pork chops may be added to sauce for additional flavor. Brown all meat first. Chicken tends to thin the sauce. If too thick, add puree. If too thin, add paste.




Quick View Ingredients: Eggs, Flour and Salt and pasta machine


4 cups flour
3 eggs
Salt to taste


Make mound of 4 cups of flour and salt mixture with hole in center (think volcano). Drop in 3 lightly beaten eggs. Mix by hand. Consistency should be firm, yet sticky. If too wet, add more flour. If too dry, add more egg. Knead until dough is soft, pliable and smooth. Smooth is important. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.


Follow directions on pasta machine. A good hand machine is Imperia which can be purchased via internet.


Tips: Flatten small balls of dough, running each one through progressively narrower tracks until desired spaghetti size is cut. As each strip of dough is flattened, sprinkle with flour. Dough should be dry before cutting into spaghetti strips.


Let spaghetti dry to brittle before cooking. To cook, place in boiling hot water until spaghetti rises to the top. Do not overcrowd. Homemade dry spaghetti cooks quickly.
Drain. Cover with sauce. Surround with meat. Serve.


Homemade food is an offering of love to your family and friends. They will be delighted that their holiday meal is da Italia.

Tuesday, December 13, 2020

Christmas Placecards


Christmas Placecards

Christmas Placecards



Make Christmas dinner more inviting and exciting with a personalized touch for your guests and family. If you are planning to host a special feast, Christmas dinner placecards are a great way to add that personal touch. Here are some great ideas for inexpensive yet presentable placecards:


1. Look for some colorful paper to feed the printer. Key in the names of your guests with some cute designs from clip art or downloaded images from the internet. Set it in readable font style and size and have it printed. Fold them in half and stick them at the back of every chair. Use double sided tapes or you can tie your placards with ribbon.


2. If you have a large enough table to accommodate picture frames, then this place holder style is for you. Take time to search over social networks for each of your guests’ photos. The funnier, the better, but make sure the pictures are not offensive. Surprise them with their faces on top of the dinner table beside their plates. Have their photos printed, place it in the picture frame and put it at their designated seats.


3. Can’t find their pictures? Names on the picture frame will do. Don’t bother using your handwriting if you are not sure it is legible. Use stylish fonts you can find on your computer (or even download some new ones online!). Sprinkle in some color and graphics.


Christmas Placecards

Christmas Placecards

4. Good at baking? Why not make gingerbread cookies with your guests’ names on the tummy? The best thing is, after your guests find their seats, they can eat it up if they want to. Keep your eyes on the kids. The gingerbread man might end up eaten before the Christmas dinner.


5. Christmas stockings can also be used as place holders. If you have lots of stockings, you don’t have to hang them all over your house. Hang them on the back of every seat with the names of your guests glued on the stockings. Put some candies or gift certificates inside for a Christmas treat.




How to Save More on Materials

• Recycling is always the most cost–effective way to save on materials. Try to use old things you see inside your house. Cardboard, colorful paper, and glittering pens from your kids work great. Use up your savings for some sweet treats.


• Take advantage of the promo coupons you can find on the internet. Print them and take them to participating stores and shops to get discounts when purchasing your place holder materials. Christmas season is a time for giving and sharing. This is the best time for shops to give out discounts.


Christmas need not be extravagant. Even the simplest things bring out bright smiles that warm the heart. With these personalized Christmas dinner place holder ideas, expect a merrier feast. Your guest will appreciate your effort!

Photo credits: Gingerbread Decorating by Glenn Fleishman/flickr; Betsy’s Table by Scott Brenner/flickr


As an avid couponer in the UK, Mary Blanchard is an expert at finding the best prices. She has found many of her best deals on the Coupon Croc, check them out and see why she recommends them.

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