For me, one of the best gifts to give or receive is food. Food or drink. I’m not necessarily talking about chocolates, just any food thing really. It’s a practical gift, we always need to eat, but it can also be an extremely thoughtful or luxurious gift. Perhaps you make a foodie gift yourself, or perhaps you buy something a little extravagant as a treat. Either way I think it’s the perfect gift for anyone with foodie inclinations.
This year, when my mum gave me a gorgeous glass jar of honey-roasted nuts & pieces of nutty chocolate that she had made, I was thrilled. Nuts and chocolate are my two favourite foods. Those two foods combined, and I’m in heaven! Here’s her festive recipe
Festive Honey-roasted NutsPrint Recipe
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- zest of an orange
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup honey
- 100g sesame seeds
- 200g macadamia nuts
- 200g almonds
- 200g cashews
- 200g pecan nuts
- 200g dark chocolate (optional)
- handful shelled pistachios (optional)
- handful chopped Brazil nust (optional)
Melt coconut oil, mix zest, honey & cinnamon over heat.
Put all nuts in a bowl, mix. Pour hot mix over nuts and add sesame.
Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes (or more), shaking the tray so they cook evenly
Optional: melt dark chocolate and pour into slabs to cool (you could sprinkle half with chopped Brazil nuts and the other half with shelled pistachio nuts). Then break up the slabs into pieces and put them with the honey-roasted nuts. Delishhh!
For anyone who cares to hear me rant further about waste and gifts #sorrynotsorry…I feel sickened every year seeing the pantomime that is Christmas unfold in Ireland. This year, living in Brussels, I missed out on the manic Dublin shopping streets for the months leading up to Christmas. I missed the TV advertisement hype. I buried my head in the sand (or in the speculoos) in Brussels.
Apparently there are now people in Ireland borrowing thousands from money lenders so they can buy their loved ones dream gifts for Christmas. People going into debt for Christmas, which after all, is one single day. There’s a culture in Ireland of ‘going all out’ for Christmas and marketing teams take full advantage. Granted, the festive celebrations started with religion, but for many, capitalism has since eclipsed the spiritual meaning of the festival.
What’s more, as an infant when Santa Claus delivers amazing presents each year, of course you buy into the festive hype. Christmas for me is associated with strong joyful memories from my youth. Yet there’s an ugly (albeit largely hidden) side to our festivities. As well as people going into debt in Ireland, there are people in factories in China working unthinkably long days around toxic chemicals to produce our cheap Christmas decorations. And perhaps most unbearable of all, there are so many homeless people here, who too often find themselves with nothing to eat. All the while the rest of us, privileged folk (myself included), are eating until we feel sick and laughing about having to go the gym to burn off the excess. We live in an unequal society and for me, the contrast becomes more stark at Christmas time. I don’t want to sound all ‘doom and gloom’ but I think it’s worth acknowledging these realities associated with Christmas.
There is overconsumption of everything at this time of year, and there ends up being huge waste as a result. I hate that aspect of Christmas. What I do like is that there’s a cheery cosy festival during the darkest days of winter. I like that we all reconnect with our family and friends and celebrate with seasonal foods. These are wonderful things! It’s just that I no longer buy into the capitalist hacking of the season, so when I receive a gift as thoughtful and useful as a jar of roasted nuts and chocolate made by my mum, I see no excess. I see generosity, I see kindness and I see love.