Big expensive gifts for Christmas feel very superfluous, especially in these times when so many people’s lives are turned upside down by violent conflicts and natural catastrophies…
Some years ago, we decided to abolish Christmas gifts in the family to the profit of a good cause that we select collectively. No more last minute uninspired shopping for presents. No piles of giftwrapping paper and no adding to the already existing clutter. Less waste and more time saved. Precious time to spend on giving and receiving in kind.
Of course, Christmas holidays boil down to many a social occasion for getting together with family and friends and showing up empty handed at somebody’s doorstep may feel akward. So why not just cook up a little something as a give away? Stock up with some small jars, pots and tin boxes- see thrift stores! – and fill them with goodies. Much more personal than a store bought present. I am going to be sharing some ideas for simple diy gifts to please your dear ones’ palates!
The first little recipe is that for ghee, also known as clarified butter. Not only is ghee healthy, it will also fill you kitchen with a toffee-like fragrance while making it.
Ghee is produced by heating up the butter on low heat, and letting it simmer until the milk solids have sunk to the bottom of the pan. The ghee is then filtered through a cloth and placed in clean, disinfected glass jars.
Ghee can be kept at room temperature and will solidify a bit. It is used in cooking and of course, it complements Indian style food perfectly. It has a higher smoking point than most vegetable oils and thus behaves well when heated. Ghee tastes great on a freshly baked roti, or mixed into a rice dish.
- Organic butter, unsalted, 250 g
- Take the butter out of the fridge and let it get to room temperature
- Place the butter in a pot on low heat
- The butter will start to bubble, and white foam will move from the bottom of the pot up to the surface which will be covered with thick white foam
- When the butter stops bubbling and small, transparent bubbles fill the surface, take a spoon and stir gently to see if the butter has clarified.
- The ghee is ready when the bubbling has stopped. You can see the brownish milk solids at the bottom of the pan, the fine bubbles at the top and in between a clear, transparent golden colour liquid, your ghee!
- At this point, turn off the heat and wash a couple of jars. Place them upside down in the oven, with the lids separate, in 50-100 ºC (122-212 ºF), until dry.
- Place a piece of clean cloth in a funnel or a small sieve and transfer the ghee from the pot to the jars.
- Close with the lid and store at room temperature.
- While you are at it, use 500 g butter to make some extra ghee to keep or give away!