Every year, a month or so before Christmas, I plan all the edible gifts I’m going to make for my friends and family. I can see the jams and preserves all jarred up. I can smell the roasted nuts and spiced, star-shaped biscuits tied up with a smart ribbon. Every year, truth be told, I never quite get around to it. Time runs out, plan B kicks in and I hastily head for the shops. This year, however, is not every year, as no one needs reminding, so, for once, we might have enough time on our hands to make and bake for those we love. We might not be able to choose whom we’re spending Christmas with, or even where we’ll be, but lists can still be made, plans can be hatched … and gifts can still be made.
Festive chilli oil (pictured above)
This chilli oil is spiced with the festive flavours of cinnamon, star anise and cloves. Drizzle it over everything from noodles to ricotta-topped toast. If you’re making a double or triple batch, be sure to use a big pan with a large surface area, because the chilli mixture needs to fry in a single layer. This keeps in a sealed jar at room temperature for three weeks.
Prep 10 minCook 40 minMakes 1 x 220g jar
6-7 medium red chillies, roughly chopped (100g)6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped (30g)15g piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped12 cloves, roughly crushedSalt and black pepper2 cinnamon sticks, roughly broken3 star anise200ml olive oil1 tsp chipotle flakes1 tbsp red bell pepper flakes2 tsp sugar