Recipes for a gift

By Rebecca Lynne Tan, Eunice Quek

The Straits Times

Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013

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Christmas is often viewed as the season of love and giving.

And home cooks say there is nothing more meaningful than an edible gift, made with love and from scratch.

SundayLife! speaks to four home cooks who make everything from cookies and intricately decorated gingerbread laced with royal icing to chocolate fruit cake with Guinness Stout and brandy, and even jam made from seasonal fresh fruit. They share their recipes.

Home baker Elaine Low, 41, finance director of a family-run property management company, makes more than 100 fruit cakes to give away at Christmas every year. She says: "The number of cakes I give away has been increasing each year because of the people we have come to know over the years. But Christmas is all about giving and I enjoy baking and giving away home-baked gifts."

Mr Wilson Wang, 25, creative director at a design studio, shares his recipe for a sweet-tart cranberry jam, which he usually makes for friends and family during the festive season.

On why he bothers to make jam from scratch when it is easily available in supermarkets and speciality gourmet shops, he says: "I love to cook and share my food. A recipe is just a recipe, but it's the joy of sharing that transforms a recipe into a meaningful gift."

Apple crumble bars, made with stewed cinnamonflavoured slices of apple, are 22-year-old music student Evangeline Koh's gifts of choice. She wraps the bars with cellophane or brown paper, before tying each parcel with ribbon and attaching a handwritten gift tag.

Housewife Shira Chan, 42, ropes in her four daughters, aged between four and 10, to help with decorating cakes and cookies for their friends and family.

One recipient who has received Ms Chan's edible gifts over the years, is administration executive Diana Lim, 44. Last year, Ms Chan gave her a beautifully decorated chocolate mousse cake and four cupcakes for Christmas.

Ms Lim says: "I love chocolate and receiving a customised gift makes me feel very special because I know it takes a lot of effort for someone to make it."

Check out the various recipes for:

1) Apple Crumble Bars

2) Chocolate Fruit Cake

3) Gingerbread & Royal Icing

4) Cranberry Jam

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