5 easy hostess gifts to wow your friends

Be your hosts favourite guest with home-made treats from the kitchen. Add a few finishing touches to these simple ideas for a one-of-a-kind gift.

There is no need to run around trying to find a last-minute hostess gift when you can keep some ready-to-go ideas up your sleeve. You’ll be surprised by how simple these scrumptious goodies are to make and how a few home-made touches can make all the difference.

1. Bag up sets of home-made biscuits

Once your biscuits have cooled, stack them inside clear cellophane bags. Use baker’s twine or a wooden peg to seal the bag so the biscuits stay fresh. Attach a name tag to the bag – you could stamp a paper luggage label or get the kids to draw their own design.

2. Make rose-water Turkish delight

Mix 700ml water, 400g caster sugar and tbsp gelatine in a bowl. Microwave on high for 7min. Stir, cook for a further 7 min, then stir again.

Seive 200g icing sugar, 80g cornflour and 1tsp cream of tartar into the syrup. Microwave on high for 6min. Stir in 1tbsp rose-water and a few drops of pink food colouring. Pour into a lightly oiled 18cm x 28cm cake tin and leave in the frige to set. Use a wet kinfe to cut into cubes, then toss in icing sugar.

STYLE TIP: Present in a vintage metal tin lined with parchment paper.

3. Make favour bags

Offer friends and relatives a nostalgic trip down memory lane by giving them a bag of traditional sweet-shop goodies. Make cute party favour bags and personalise by triming the top edges with scallop-bladed scissors, then tie on a home-made label with ribbon.

4. Decorate home-made jam jars

Home-made jam is a really simple gift and a great way of using up a glut of fruit that won’t get eaten. Spoon into sterilised preserving jars – if you don’t want to buy new jars reuse old ones. Finish off with a stamped label with the date and tie it to the jar using baker’s twine in a co-ordinating colour to the jam. Tuck a wooden or ceramic spoon in the hinge of the lid for serving.

5. Make your own flavoured oils

An infused oil is a fantastic gift that can be used to add flavour to salad dressings. Choose your flavour, be it woody rosemary or zesty lemon. Wash you flavouring and let it dry complately – any moisture might cause the oil to go rancid.

Place your flavouring in a glass jar and fill it to the top with olive oil. Leave the jar on a sunny windowsill for a few days to infuse, before pouring into a sterilised bottle. If you are using dried chillies or garlic, infuse in a saucepan over a low heat for five minutes, leave to boil, then pour into a sterilised bottle.

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