Farm­house kitchen

You could go to the has­sle of bak­ing, or you could present a de­con­structed treat.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - JEAN MANS­FIELD

The eas­i­est home-made gift idea ever

Last Christ­mas I re­ceived a home­made present of cook­ies in a jar from my niece. This con­cept of quick cooking had never oc­curred to me although I had seen jars of rain­bow-coloured mixes in spe­cialty shops. It’s not just bis­cuit mixes ei­ther but dried soups, pas­tas, and even ready-made main meals lay­ered pret­tily like stained glass and just wait­ing for liq­uid to turn them into some­thing de­li­cious.

My niece is a new mother and ad­mits that work­ing in the kitchen is one of the chal­leng­ing as­pects of her life. She is ex­tremely or­gan­ised so pre­pares meals when the baby is asleep. Mak­ing th­ese jars of pre­mixed in­gre­di­ents has re­ally helped her man­age how and when she bakes.

It sur­prised me how lit­tle mess there was when I ac­tu­ally came to make the cook­ies from her gift jar. Pour the jar of in­gre­di­ents into a bowl; add the fixer (but­ter and egg), give it a stir and you are ready to place on the bak­ing pa­per. There is only one bowl, one spoon and a jar to clean so it’s quick and ef­fi­cient.

I have quite a few 2-litre pre­serv­ing jars and can mea­sure out half a dozen cook­ies mixes and have them sit­ting in the pantry, ready to go. Just add the liq­uid in­gre­di­ents and it is ready to bind and bake straight away.

I think this is a great gift idea for the busy per­son who might like home-made cook­ies but is short of time. Chil­dren could make bis­cuits eas­ily and quickly too. Grab a pre­mixed jar of in­gre­di­ents and a batch can be whipped up af­ter school for the next day’s lunches. The cook­ies don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be high in sugar and fat, and with a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion all sorts of vari­a­tions can be made. You can make meals in a jar for camp­ing or a savoury muf­fin mix.

Meals in a jar are not new to the mar­ket but com­bin­ing the in­gre­di­ents your­self when it’s quiet makes best use of your time. You are in con­trol of the in­gre­di­ents too, so if you are on a low salt or sugar diet you can man­age the mea­sure­ments your­self.

My pantry now has a few rows of dried meals in pre­serv­ing jars, mostly bis­cuits but I am ex­per­i­ment­ing with soups too.

I can give pret­tily pack­aged gifts to my friends who have heavy work­loads and will ap­pre­ci­ate some­thing that they can make them­selves at home in min­utes, the per­fect home­made gift.

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