christmas boxes

(Q with one of the boxes)

2/3 of my late Christmas posts! We simply didn't have time to photograph before holidays, so I'm posting this afterwards as an inspiration for the next Christmases and why not other holidays to come. We got this idea of festive gift baskets around November last year when we were pondering about Christmas presents to give to our parents. After some search in the flea markets we faced the fact that we would not find baskets beautiful and affordable enough, so we made Festive gift hatboxes instead of Christmas gift baskets.

We made the box edges from 1mm thick cardboard and the bottoms and lids from recycled corrugated fiberboard. Now I'd recommend a cardboard of 2-3 mm thickness for the edges to get 'em more sturdy. We covered the boxes (both inside and outside) with white plain cotton mostly before assembling, just to make them as neat as possible, and clued them up using the sort of glue used in bookbinding. Then we sew bows made of nicely patterned fabric, filled up the boxes with vegan treats we'd prepared and gave them away knowing that our families would finish them in a lot less time that we'd spent preparing them.

I'd encourange people making gift boxes to start well in advance to avoid unnecessery rush. We had a lot to do with the right kind of bottles and jars and graphics, and of course with the food. We naturally made the products that keep well first, but we could have started searching for the jars and boxes as soon as we got the idea of these del boxes. I think next year we'll make few beautiful boxes of handmade chocolates, and start designing the packages in September.

Our gift hat boxes included:
Lemon olive oil
Gloves of garlic in marinade
Dried ground sweet onion
Mustard and cucumber salad
Home-made mustard two ways
Mullet wine (glogg) gingerbread cookies
Fresh ginger-gingerbread cookies
Fruitcake three ways
Toasted muesli
Cinnamon and vanilla rusks
Cherry jam
Black Chokeberry jam

Recipes to some and pictures after the seasonal photography. We had a white Christmas, and after December the winter really got going. We've had the most snowy weather in years.

We had this bottle of mullet wine as a little Christmas gift. Very well composed package and product, beautiful decorative graphics and flavourful drink. Laitila generally has fresh and well composed packages to go with their drinks.

Lemon olive oil

1 litre good quality olive oil*
ground zest of two lemons
(and ground zest of one or two lemons)

Warm up the olive oil with the zest of two lemons in a kettle. Let infuse about half an hour, pour through a strainer and let cool. Bottle in clean glass bottles (preferably dark glass). Add the fresh peel of one or two lemons to the bottles and let the flavours infuse a week or two. For stronger flavor of lemon let the zest lay infuse in the oil longer. Taste the oil while it's being seasoned to get the right amount of flavour.

*we used Creek cold pressed virgin olive oil from a regular grocery store, no need to use any super expensive deli shop oil

Marinated gloves with chili, olive oil and rosemary. Boil peeled cloves few minutes, mix herbs with oil and let cloves marinate couple of days or weeks.

Dried ground sweet onion

plenty of onions
olive oil

Peel and chop the onions fine. Distribute them on a oven tray, sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven in 100-150 degrees Celsius 200-300F until they're dried and crisp. This will take several hours, but you can leave them to dry overnight in mild temperature. But in jars or paper bags when finished. Store in cool, dry place.

Mustard and cucumber salad

I used this basic recipe which I modified to suit my needs. I used canned cucumbers instead of fresh ones, and left out a lot of the salt, sugar and vinegar. Basically the salad is made by mixing the ingredients and cooking it until it thickens slightly. Then it's poured into jars and cooled. Stored in the fridge, keeps about two weeks.

3 kg cucumbers
1 kg onion
1 kg sugar
0,5dl/0,2 cup salt
1 tsp ground mustard seeds
5 dl/2 cups vinegar

Home-made mustard two ways

Hot rhum mustard (recipe adapted from Glorian Ruoka&Viini-magazine 12/09)

3 dl (1,3 cup) mustard flour (ground mustard seeds)
3 dl (1,3 cup) raw cane sugar (or dark sugar)
2 tbsp potato- or cornstarch
1 1/2 - 2 tsp salt
1 dl (0,4 cup) dark rum
1/2 dl (0,2 cup) water
4 tbsp whole mustard seeds

Mix mustard flour, sugar, starch, salt, dark rum and water in a kettle. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Measure the mustard seeds on a frying pan and roast them without oil about 2-5 minutes. Add straight to the mustard mixture, mix and pour in clean glass jars. The mustard sets when it cools. Stores in fridge from 1 to 2 months.

Gentle rosemary mustard (recipe adapted from Glorian Ruoka&Viini-magazine 12/09)

2 tbsp dried or fresh rosemary

1 tbsp olive oil
2 dl (0,8 cup) light soy cream
1 1/2 dl (0,6 cup) mustard flour (ground mustard seeds)
2 dl (0,8 cup) sugar
1 tbsp potato starch
2 tbsp vinegar
(grated fresh ginger)

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the rosemary until it oozes scent. Mix cream, mustard flour, sugar, potato starch and rosemary with the oil in a kettle. Add grated ginger if desired. Heat the mustard constantly mixing until it boils and thickens. Pour in clean glass jars and let cool, store in the fridge. Keeps about 3-4 weeks.

Fresh ginger-gingerbreads

Literally gingerbread cookies.

250 g vegan butter
2 1/4 dl (1 cup) sugar
3/4 dl (0,3 cup) light syrup
about 10 cm (3 inch) long piece of ginger
1 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tsp ground bitter orange peel
dash of cinnamon
1 dl (0,4 cup) plain soy yogurt
1/2-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
6 dl (2 1/2 cups) wheat flour

Melt the vegan butter, mix with the syrup and dried spices. Peel and grate the fresh ginger. Add about half of it to the mixture. Whisk in plain soy yogurt. Mix baking soda well with the flour. If you want flatter, more crisp gingerbreads use less soda, if you prefer puffy ones add more. Sieve the flour-soda mixture carefully and gradually to the syrup-spice mix, beating with a spatula. Mix all flour in to get a rather firm dough. Wrap up in plastic and let rest in the fridge overnight.

Roll the dough into a 3-5 mm thick sheet on a floured surface and cut off gingerbreads with the cookie-cutter of your choice. We made round gingerbreads to go with the designer-spirited boxes but other forms are suitable of course. Off The Beaten Path have pretty impressive range of different cutters. Place the cookies on a baking tin covered with parchment paper and bake in 200 degrees Celsius/390 F from 5 to 8 minutes until crips and golden. Let cool on a wire rack and decorate with powdered sugar frosting. Make the frosting by mixing about 1 dl/0,4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2-1 tbsp water to get a thick paste.

Mullet wine gingerbreads (from Veg'Arome)

3 dl (1,3 cups) dark syrup
2 dl (0,8 cup) brown sugar
1 1/2 dl (0,6 cup) glogg/mulled vine
225 g vegan butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
vanilla sugar
dried ground peel of bitter orange
(add spices according to taste)
1l (34 ounces) wheat flour

Heat mullet wine, suryp and sugar in a small kettle. Add vegan butter and stirr until it has melted completely. Mix spices, soda and baking powder with about 2 dl (0,8 cup) of the wheat flour. Blend with syrup-mixture until even. Gradually add rest of the flour. Blend again and taste, add more spices or flour if needed. Let rest in fridge overnight wrapped in plastic.

Roll the dough into a 3-5 mm thick sheet on a floured surface and cut off gingerbreads with the cookie-cutter of your choice. Place the cookies on a baking tin covered with parchment paper and bake in 200 degrees Celsius/390 F from 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool on wire rack and decorate with powdered sugar frosting.

Toasted muesli (recipe in the second image)

Cherry and black chokeberry jams.

2 kommenttia:

  1. Beautiful box! So much work and thought put into it:-)

  2. Thank you! There was three of them actually..it was fun designing them.