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Home made food gifts with Phelim Byrne

Friday, 4 December 2009

Those who want to reduce their Xmas costs or who want to put some extra thought into the gifts they give could consider homemade Christmas Gifts as an alternative.

Phelim Bryne

He has a cookery academy based in Wexford for the last three years (The Phelim Byrne Cookery Academy) and prior to setting that up he was the Head Chef at Dunbrody House for four years.

During his training and cheffing career, he won many prestigious awards and scholarships, some of which include; winning 2 Gold and 2 Bronze medals representing Ireland at the International Culinare Salon as a Euro-toque chef in the World Cooking Championships in 2004; whilst Head Chef at Dunbrody, won Best Restaurant from Bushmills Ireland and from Food and Wine.

Last year Phelim was added to John and Sally McKenna's Bridgestone Guide for his cookery School.

Savory Food Gifts

About the chutney's
These chutneys are absolutely perfect with cold meats either as a plated salad or in a rustic sandwich and are guaranteed to jazz up your Christmas feast, they also go exceptionally well with cheeses at any time of year or even try a spoonful with a warm brie salad for a lighter vegetarian option this Christmas!

Chutneys can be made either quite chunky and rustic or blended to be quite smooth. Originating in India many fruits and spices are combined to produce this condiment from the popular mango to coconut, often spices are added giving a real mouth water boost of flavour.

Almost all chutney's include vinegar and sugar and they have a super shelf life. They can be stored in your sterilised jars in the fridge or on the shelf until required.
Spices including the coriander seeds and clove I use in the chutney are also quite popular and can be used to make hot chutneys often served with a curry for example or a milder one ideal for cold meats and cheeses.

The two I've made on today's show are an ideal foodie gift, have fantastic colours and flavours and go well with every thing from a sandwich or salad to cold meats and cheeses!

Red pepper, tomato and chilli chutney with plump raisins and fresh herbs

Cost of ingredients per jar: €2.04
Cost of fancy jar: €1.39 each (unless recycling your own)
Total cost per jar of prepared chutney: €3.43

NOTE: You can pay up to €20 for a jar of chutney or relish!

. 2 red peppers
. 6 plum tomatoes
. 1 onion
. 2 garlic cloves
. 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
. Salt and pepper to taste
. 350ml white wine vinegar
. 280g caster sugar
. 75g plump raisins
. A little oil to fry
. 1 tbsp of fresh herbs ( basil, coriander and parsley)

1. Chop the red pepper into rough half inch dice.
2. Roughly chop the tomato and finely chop the garlic, onion & red chillies.
3. Cook the onion , chilli and garlic over a medium heat to soften, slightly colour and release a beautiful flavor.
4. Now add the tomato and red pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften a little.
5. Now add the raisins, vinegar and sugar, season to taste.
6. Place over a medium to high heat and cook with out a lid to reduce to an almost pulp like mixture for 10- 12 minutes ( time varies with quantity made).
7. When reduced until the tomato is cooked and the mixture is thickened remove and allow to cool.
8. Now add the fresh herbs and taste.
9. Store in sterilised glass jars until required.
10. Decorate nicely as your perfect foodie present!

Tangy apricot, orange and coriander seed relish

Cost of ingredients per jar: €2.35
Cost of fancy jar: €1.39 each (unless recycling your own)
Total cost per jar of prepared relish: €3.74

. 250g dried apricots
. 3-4 shallots
. 2 garlic cloves
. 1 tsp of dried coriander seeds
. Jest of 2 oranges and juice of 1
. 300ml cider vinegar
. 260g caster sugar
. 1 finely diced red chilli, seeds removed

1. Chop the apricots into quarters
2. Crush the coriander seeds with a pestle and mortar
3. Place the shallot and garlic in the sauce pan with a little oil and fry until soft to release their flavour
4. Add the apricot, coriander seeds, orange juice, orange jest, chilli, sugar and vinegar to the saucepan, simmer until reduced to a nice syrupy consistency for approx 15 minutes
5. Allow to cool , store in your sterilised jars until required
6. I place the pair of chutneys into a mini basket and decorate with Christmas ribbons, cinnamon sticks and holly for a beautiful , tasty and colourful foodie present this Christmas

Sweet food gifts

Selection of Chocolates per box: €4.76
Cost of fancy box: €1.60
Total cost per box of chocolates: €6.36

Handmade decadent assorted Chocolate Truffles

. 2 X 100g bars of chocolate ( green and blacks)
. 60 g unsalted butter
. 40ml fresh cream

These little truffles are so luscious, I make a base of plain truffle mix first then divide it into 3 bowls , adding different flavours to each for a quite popular selection delectable treats!

1. Carefully melt the chocolate and butter together, then stir in the fresh cream.
2. Divide into three separate little bowls

Roast hazelnut and pecan truffles.

1. Chop 2 tablespoons of hazelnuts and pecan nuts roughly, toast carefully under a grill, in the oven or on a dry pan, caramelise slightly with a little brown sugar and cool
2. Stir the nuts into the melted truffle mix and place in the fridge
3. When set roll quickly in your hands (wear gloves) to form marble sized little truffles, roll the truffles in some ground almonds to coat them nicely.

Brandy and raisin truffles

1. Soak 2 table spoons of plump raisins in 200ml brandy over night, they will soak up the flavours of the brandy, strain, chop roughly and add to the melted truffle mix
2. Stir the fruit into the melted truffle mix with half the remaining brandy and place in the fridge
3. When set roll quickly in your hands (wear gloves) to form marble sized little truffles , roll the truffles in some icing sugar to coat them nicely

Coffee truffles

1. Stir 2 tsp of instant coffee into the melted truffle mixture
2. Place in the fridge to cool
3. When set roll quickly in your hands (wear gloves) to form marble sized little truffles , roll the truffles in some coco powder to coat them nicely