If you’re racking your brains about what to buy for people this Christmas why not hit the kitchen and make your own? You’ll get loads of brownie points, plus you’ll save oodles of cash too. Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you a series of easy ideas that anyone can do and won’t leave you chained to your stove, like a culinary Cinderella, while your friends are off tripping the light fantastic. And what you store them in is important (as Tupperware does not a sexy gift make), so we’ll be suggesting ideas for that too.
This week we’re starting with a present for Dads, who are just about the most difficult person in a family to buy for. Gentleman's Relish is a type of anchovy paste also known as Patum Peperium. Created in 1828 it has a strong, very salty and slightly fishy taste, and tastes brilliant on crackers with cheese. The exact recipe is still a closely guarded secret, but we’ve created our sown simple version here.
Buy clear lidded tins from eBay and seal the sides with Christmas Washi tape from etsy. Label the tops with Letraset, from stationers including Fred Aldous . Place the tins and wafers in deli-inspired paper bags from carrierbagshop.co.uk and decorate with tape and baubles from the tree.
Gentleman’s Relish with Thyme and Cracked Pepper Wafers
Makes: enough for 8 x 30 g pots
250 g unsalted butter, softened
2 x 45 g can anchovies in oil, drained
2 tsp whole grain mustard
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
a pinch cayenne pepper
Thyme and pepper wafers
250 g plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp cracked black pepper
125 ml water
4 tps extra virgin olive oil
- Place the butter, anchovies, mustard, lemon and spices in the food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to pots and seal. Store in the fridge.
- Make wafers. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a food processor and stir in the thyme and cracked pepper. Add the water and oil and process until the ingredients just come together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190c/fan-forced 170c and lightly oil 2 large baking trays. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces and roll each out on a lightly floured surface to a long thin oval that will fit into whatever packaging you have. Transfer to the prepared trays and bake in batches for about 15 minutes until evenly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve the wafers spread with a little gentleman’s relish.
- The biscuits will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 1 week. The butter will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.