Sunday, 28 December 2014

Edible Christmas presents

Prominent amongst my Christmas presents this year were some lovely edible (and drinkable) goodies. We are currently going through a period of pride in British products, so Jane bought me some very British foodstuffs, like this Kentish Cobnut oil from Hurstwood Farm near Sevenoaks:

Cobnuts are similar to Hazelnuts and Filberts. The nuts are shelled, roasted and then pressed to extract their oil, which is like Hazelnut oil, but "with a more intensely delicious nutty flavour". It can be used cold as a dipping oil or salad dressing, drizzled over hot vegetable like olive oil is used, and even used as an ingredient in dishes like Chocolate Brownies!

It is not cheap but it is a definitely a top-quality product. I bet it would be good made into that Hazelnut Mayonnaise I made the other day.

Jane also bought this for me:

This kit needs only the addition of milk to enable one to make two different types of cheese - mozzarella and ricotta.
Well, I imagine that when home-made they will be "in the style of" rather than authentically like the real thing. Still, I'm sure it will be fun to have a go. Just a few days before Christmas I had seen on a blog something about making cheese at home, and had said that I wanted to have a go at it. Jane had been trying to steer the conversation away from this subject for fear of divulging the fact that she had already bought me this kit! I've bought loads of milk now, so I'll let you know how it goes...

This is not a present for me; it is officially for both of us:

These are Alcoholic Fruit Mixers - Cassis (blackcurrant), Framboise (raspberry) and Fraise (strawberry) - the sort of thing you put into champagne to make a Kir Royale. They are made with "pure pressed fruit juice, a little champagne yeast and just enough sugar to sweeten". They contain 13% alcohol.

They are manufactured in Herefordshire by Jo Hilditch of British Cassis at Whittern Farm, Lyonshall. This is just a couple of miles from Pembridge, where we rented a self-catering cottage for a holiday in 2011. Incidentally, Lyonshall has a fabulous Water Garden which is definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the vicinity.

Lyonshall Water Gardens

So what did YOU get for Christmas? Any nice edible goodies?


  1. I got lots of lovely choccies for gifts but I like the look of that cheese making kit.

  2. I got some fruit flavored tequila. I haven't tried it yet though.

  3. Lots of chocolate covered nuts, chocolate covered caramel, and just plain chocolate...nothing to complain about here!

    I'm looking forward to hearing how your cheese making exploits go. I purchased a small book on cheesemaking many years ago, but unfortunately never got around to actually using it as it seemed quite the complicated process. However, in the last year or so, I did come across some cheese making posts on the internet & they definitely appear much more doable.

  4. Food gifts? Yes, gift cards for eating in restaurants!
    But my best gift this Christmas is a new camera!
    I've really enjoyed reading your blog this year and look forward to seeing your 2015 garden posts.
    Happy New Year!
    Mississippi, USA

  5. Have fun with that cheese kit. I have often wanted to try it but the only one I have tried is one where you make cheese using lemon juice. I have never heard of the fruit mixers that you got but then champagne is only drunk here at weddings and possibly New Years Eve. Your cobnut oil sounds very interesting too. I had never heard of cobnuts. What I got for Christmas: I got a very nice keyboard (because I just can't stop getting more instruments apparently), I got a very nice shoulder rest for my viola, I got two books on playing the keyboard, I got a new set of pots and pans from my daughter, a massage pillow from one son, the other son sent another photo book of my grandson (I LOVE those books!).

  6. No edibles for me this year but I did get a new camera, a Canon G16 to take on trips when I don't feel like taking the big DSLR. I have made ricotta before, but have never tried other cheese making. I will be surely looking forward to your efforts!

  7. Oh, cheesemaking! I've done lots of soft cheese curdled with vinegar, lemon, or ale, but I've never bothered with anything that requires me to find rennet. It's not hanging around on any of the grocer's shelves I visit. As for my winter presents, well, I gave myself a trip to Florida--I needed a break from the winter!

    (BTW, long time reader, first time commenter, yackity yack and all that. :-)

    1. Hi Elise; Thank you for introducing yourself. I'm glad you like my blog! I will be having a go with the cheese-making kit as per the instructions, but I reckon when the rennet tablets in it are used up I will probably go on to make cheese with lemon juice or buttermilk, because I have read that this is just as successful for certain types of cheese.

  8. We are still enjoying our Kentish cobnuts, I dread ti think how many it takes to make that bottle of oil no wonder it is expensive.

    1. According to the blurb sent with the bottle, it takes over a kilo of nuts to make 250ml of oil.

  9. Interesting about the cobnuts - never heard of them. Enjoy the cheese making!

  10. Lovely edible gifts,I would like to know how you get on with the cheese making kit, I've seen it being sold here at food festivals, but aired on the side of caution. Hope you had day, wishing you and Jane the best for the New Year. I had a hamper from my nephew, he topped it off with lots of extras that I am looking forward to tucking in the next few months.

  11. Hi Mark, I gave two of those cheese kits as presents, there's a goats cheese one too. So as with everyone else, it'll be really interesting to see how you get on :) I quite fancy a go myself.


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