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Food special: Get your Christmas goodie basket

Curating Christmas goodie baskets for your loved ones just got easier with our ready list that will help you save time and have more fun

The romantic couple
Very much in love, a sugary sweet couple calls for an equally romantic hamper. Chef and food stylist Michael Swamy suggests: “Buy candied fruits and a variety of chocolates. Instead of brownies include blondies, which are white brownies, add caramel popcorns too.” Another unsual addition would be turkish delights and marzipan in lovey-dovey shapes such as hearts or flavours. Add a candle, two wine glasses and a mistletoe for either one of the couple to arrange a cosy Christmas dinner at home.

Christmas goodie

The health-conscious couple
Festive seasons are the toughest for those who watch their weight and a thoughtless goodie basket might end up passed on to someone else. “While vodka is lower on calories compared to wine, when mixed with other beverages you consume more calories. Red wine is your best bet as it is a natural blood thinner too. If you are making cookies on your own, try dates, figs or honey instead of powdered sugar. Olive oil is a good substitute for butter. Whole-wheat or oats cookies and biscuits are easily available in the market too,” suggests nutritionist Anjali Peswani. “Meringues or rochers are made using almonds and egg whites and no flour so can be included instead of brownies. Opt for flourless cakes that are available in the city. Jams are easy to make; one can make fresh fruit jams at home using seasonal fruits. Small portions of good quality cold cuts will also add to the variety. A batch of fresh whole wheat breads and lavash bought from the market can be added with homemade dips made using hung curd mixed with cucumber, garlic, chives, herbs, etc. They are easy to whip up, and can replace butter dips. Hummus is a healthy dip too,” suggests chef Nikhil Chib. We would add some delicious gluten-free or whey-protein based baked goodies made by several home-bakers in the city.

The bottoms-up couple
Their conversations are incomplete without a bottle of wine or any other poison of their choice and Christmas is one their favourite festivals (there’s cake and there’s rum in the cake!) — the alcohol-loving couple would love a tipple basket. “It can be a basket full of different types of wines, or a bottle of cognac or rose champagne. Add cakes and chocolates with a different alcohol fillings such as wine, whiskey or rum. Pick up a variety of cheese (smoked cheese and brie) to go with the wines you have picked,” suggests Ashwin Deo, MD, founder of Trinity Vintners.

The experimental couple
They put the fun in food and are ready to try out every new restaurant with the wackiest dish on offer. This couple deserves an equally exciting hamper. “Countless flavoured oils and vinegars are available in the market today. These work well to create different kinds of salad dressings instead of regular olive oil. Instead of usual cakes and brownies, opt for desserts in jars. Also add DIY kits with printed instructions (in festive fonts) with the required ingredients. Pick fresh ingredients of an uncommon cuisine that they can then try experimenting with,” says chef Rakhee Vaswani of Palate Culinary Studio. Buy a smoking gun (from Saria Store at Lohar Chawl) that can be used to create smoked molecular cocktails at home.

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