As far as Christmas goes, I still think home-made gifts are the best. None of us really has a fortune to spend on gifts and to be honest, are they truly appreciated? You might say that home-made presents may not be appreciated either, but for me, personally, I would far prefer something that someone has taken the time and energy to produce than a re-gift or looks like it was left over from a garage sale!
Fudge, cookies, recipes-in-a-jar, candy – they’re all easy to whip up and you’d be surprised by how a little goes a long way. Last year I was given a copy of Annabel Langbein’s “A free range life”, her Summer must-have recipe book. It is stuffed with recipes and pictures that make your mouth water. One of these was a chocolate sauce which can be prepared in 3 minutes and cooked in 5 – honestly, it will take you longer to decide what to buy for someone and wrap it than preparing this delectable gift from scratch. Trust me, it’s delicious. I made so much of it I had to share a few bottles with friends and as I’ve received no negative feedback, I’m taking that as confirmation of just how good it really is. The only downside is that I can’t tell you what it’s shelf life is. It’s always gobbled up long before the ingredients have a chance to go off.
Another plus for me is that it immediately reminded me of a chocolate sauce you used to be able to buy in South Africa when I was a child. It is still quite possibly available, but I haven’t seen it in years and that could be because I’m halfway round the world in another country, but a glorious childhood memory all the same. The kind where you (well, me if I’m being honest) used to sneak to the fridge, open the lid and ooze the delicious thick black liquid straight into my mouth – eeek! Hope my parents don’t read this now! The recipe as listed below makes about 1½ cups but you can double or triple it and make as much as you like.
2 Tbsp cornflour
3 Tbsp cold water
4 Tbsp cocoa
1 cup sugar
½ cup boiling water
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the cornflour and cold water in a pot or microwave-proof bowl and stir.
- Add all the other ingredients and simmer for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring constantly, or microwave for 5 minutes, stirring every minute (I just do it on the stove as can’t be bothered to keep stopping the microwave).
- While still hot, pour into sterlilised bottles and seal with lids.
- Please don’t touch the glass bottle as it will burn you!
- Once cool, decorate the bottle or cover the lid in coloured paper or material and share with those you love.