Monday, 17 December 2012

Christmas snacks

Time for a break from gift-giving and think for a second about what to give any festive guests. These people are notoriously greedy whatsits I find, and will very often measure any good cheer against any free food and drink they can score. I've been sent a few samples - there will be more on drinks towards the end of the week. First the snacks.

Chocolate is always a winner, I find, and the tradition of big boxes of biscuits has become a bit of a fixture by now. As an aside I was in Debenham's in Wimbledon a week ago and you'd be staggered at the amount of really quite ordinary food that becomes 'festive' when put in a little wicker basket and surrounded by shredded paper; packs of oatcake biscuits, I even saw an ordinary pot of jam wrapped and made to look a bit 'glam' in the gift section. You'd have bought it in Sainsbury's without thinking about it only a couple of weeks ago.

I like the sort of rubbish people come out with at this time of year. Over a decade ago I found my all time favourite in British Home Stores - porridge. Seriously, it was a small pack of oats, a wooden spurtle, tiny jar of honey, instructions(!), all done up in a little basket and shredded paper.

On the non-rubbish side, if your visitors have a sweet tooth I can recommend the "Fabulously Fox's" tin, of which they've sent a sample, as a pretty decent selection including some for those incomprehensible people who don't want chocolate biccies. The same company's "Rocks" is a fairly basic biscuit covered in chocolate but it's inexpensive and you get a decent thickness of covering, which isn't always the case where cheaper brands are concerned.

Nibbles with drinks are always good and I've been getting hooked on nuts lately. I often review the newspapers on the BBC News Channel which means getting home past midnight and hungry; I know nuts are calorific but they're not as bad as the sugary snacks that might otherwise tempt me. So I was pleased to receive a selection of pistachios from Wonderful; you can have salted, salted and peppered, unsalted and unpeppered (known as 'pistachios') or sweet chilli flavour. I'm not in favour of loads of salt as it messes with your blood pressure and makes you thirsty, and I find these nuts have enough flavour in their own right so the plain version is my favourite. Your mileage might of course vary - do watch them, they're fattening, very more-ish, tasty and easy to get through an awful lot when there's a daft film on the TV.

Who am I kidding, it's Christmas in a week. Help yourselves, worry about the diet next month.

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