Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A tasty homemade Hostess Gift

If you have been following The Humble Bungalow Blog for awhile you might remember that my BFF lives in a vast arts and crafts home "Tigara" with gorgeous gardens on several acres. I posted last June and July about her home so if you want to read about her home click on the tag arts and crafts and you can find the Tigara posts.

Her kitchen has lots more room than mine so naturally when we decided that we were making a big batch of treats we got together at her place.
Our project "Chocolate Dipped Dried Fruit" required ample counter space to set out the dipped fruit before filling the tins.

The AGA cooker has a hot hob on the left and a simmering one to the right.
We used stainless bowls over top of pots of boiling water to melt the Foley's chocolate buttons.

Parchment paper, waxed paper and cookie sheets at the ready.

Foley's chocolate buttons before melted.
Dark and light chocolate were used.

An assortment of dried fruit purchased from the local health food store.
Apple rings, apricots, cherries, papaya, mango, peaches, pears, and ginger.

Doilies, tins and ribbons.
The Christmas cactus on the dining room table is spectacular!

Some of the larger fruits were cut into smaller pieces.

(in case you were wondering we did not have any wine!)
My BFF made the most delicious coconut curry soup for our lunch and we drank several mugs of restorative tea.

The dipped fruit ready for the tins.

The doilies line the tins...waiting.

Not bad for a days work.
And it is so much more fun when made with a friend.
Despite sampling a few of these at my WW weigh I was down another half a pound.
Just a couple of pounds left to go.
What a journey this has been.

I made a big batch or tapenaude last week too...
for me, retirement is all about having more time to make things from scratch.

 Pondside met me for a walk and a coffee this week.
 I told her about the Hostess gifts and she mentioned she made a big batch of antipasto with her friend.
(BTW I have tasted her antipasto and it is delicious.)
We seriously could have talked for hours and were still chatting as we went our separate ways!

Are you making any edible gifts to give as Hostess gifts this holiday season?
Do you have any standard or trademark gifts that you like to give?

Take care,


  1. What a simple but delightful gift! I will have to borrow this idea for sure :)


  2. I do a similar chocolate dipped fruit mixture - dark chocolate dipped apricots, white chocolate dipped pretzels, and some nuts. Always a hit. Last year a friend and I made antipasto, which is always welcome.
    I like your idea of dipping a variety of dried fruits.
    Sometime you, Pondside and I should get together for a walk or tea.

    1. Let's plan to meet and go for a walk soon. I've been emailing with Pondside so we can see what dates might work. I know my calendar is getting busy so we may need to schedule for a few weeks in advance.

  3. Hostess- Congratulations again on your fantastic weight loss! We are so happy for you.
    This post was lovely- probably nothing nicer that chocolate dipped fruit. I am lusting over your friends Aga. For hostess gifts I often make apple chutney and a variety of savory shortbreads such as coconut curry and or Italian which has fresh rosemary and hot pepper flakes.

    1. I'd love to try some of your recipes if you care to share them.

  4. I used to love making antipasto, but haven't for years. Do you use a pressure cooker for yours? Mine was just hot bath method. . .
    I saw a recipe today for chocolate medallions studded with pieces of fruit and nuts -- I thought I'd try making some for gifts, but I really like your idea here -- prettier and perhaps easier. . .

    1. When I make antipasto I used a canner and canning jars then I know that it will keep. The fruit takes a few hours less than the antipasto and is a bit less expensive. Nice for a change and I hope no one will miss the antipasto!

    2. That's what I did as well -- canner, canning jars, the whole bit. But then (this was in the 80s) folks started saying that safety demanded pressure cooking antipasto because of some of the veggies. I just couldn't see doing it after that -- for one thing, I suspect the pressure cooker would make too soft a product (we like the crunch to some of the veg). . . and we'd have to buy the pressure cooker, etc. etc. . . .

  5. It all looks yummy and your afternoon sounds very cosy. It's fun to do something like this with a friend. Lorrie is right - we should try to get together soon!

  6. I love the chocolate dipped fruit idea! I usually gift my frosted cashew cookies. They are very decadent and in my humble opinion, one of the best cookies ever. I have often wished I could thank the person who came up with the recipe - which I got out of a magazine, 20 years ago. Btw, I would love to come for tea, too! :)

    1. Sally I'd love your decadent recipe...I'm always looking for a great holiday treat.
      Do you write a blog?

  7. I appreciate your interest in cooking, baking and gardening, but I am no match for you.
    I just simply lack the interest. I appreciate your interest.
    Women from my mother´s side of the family were poor in the kitchen too.
    I hope the chain will brake finally, and occasionally my daughters show interest in baking.

  8. I have often given loaves of homemade bread as gifts. My current favorite recipe is the Bittman No Knead bread from the NY Times.