Ten perfect presents

The best gift is something of yourself. So when Christmas comes, or Mother’s Day, or a special birthday, roll up your sleeves and make something special. Here’s a few ideas:

  1. A jar of pesto, particularly appropriate for Mother’s Day. Make sure it’s done the old-fashioned way, by hand.
  2. Cumquat marmalade, easy to make in the microwave, if you can get rid of those &*%$#@*! pips. It’s old-fashioned, and if it’s for your mum, she’ll goo.
  3. Muesli. Find a recipe you like, and fill a 5-litre jar with a rib- tickler.
  4. Make a dozen jars of tomato sauce. If you can’t get fresh tomatoes, make some with the tinned variety.
  5. Make a jar of baba ghanoush (eggplant dip) and one of hummus (chick pea dip) for a real taste of the Middle East.
  6. Make your favourite curry powder or curry paste.
  7. If you are a cooking illiterate, get a cook book; it’s not quite the same as making something, but the thought is there. Don’t buy any old book -get hold of some of the great influences on cooking:
    Microwave Gourmet by Barbara Kafka
    On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee
    Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book Any of the Time-LifeGood Cook series of books. If you’re a big spender, get the lot.
    The Italian Baker orCelebrating Italy by Carol Field
  8. If he/she can’t cook, and wants to, seek out a special cooking school, and enrol him/her. Be delicate with this one.
  9. Get hold of a side of Tasmanian smoked salmon or trout.
  10. Get together a selection of the best Australian cheeses.