Flavoured Butters – Festive Gifts
Hand-made gifts say “I care” in ways that vouchers and store bought candy can’t. The gifts that you can make in your kitchen in this Edible Gifts series are easy to achieve, take little time to make and are relatively inexpensive as well.
I’ve been experimenting with flavoured butters lately. When making a quick weeknight dinner of yellowtail en papillote, I often wish I had some Moroccan inspired butter to dab on in a hurry as I scramble around looking for the ingredients. When searing rib-eye or fillet, just a little pink or green peppercorn butter is all that is needed to finish the dish off. Brandy butter to slather on a warm scone would take it up just that notch and is festively decadent.
This set of flavoured butters makes a wonderful gift basket for a friend who loves to cook or who is looking for simple solutions to jazz up everyday meals. Think of flavours they enjoy or introduce them to some new combinations.
Keep butters in the fridge and transport in a cooler-bag- obviously this gift is only ideal for recipients who live nearby or for as long as you can keep the butters cold. The butters freeze well – just cut off what you need.
I took a little tongue-in-cheek approach to the sweet brandy butter, by storing it in a lovely jar that had once contained a lavish body butter (washed in dishwasher and sterilized, naturally).
Adjust the quantities of flavourants, depending on how much of butter you use and how strong you’d prefer them.
I divided 500 g softened unsalted butter into 6 (uneven) portions, each in it’s own bowl.
I ground 1 T peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and added it and 1/4 teaspoon Maldon salt flakes to the butter, mixing well with a spoon.
Spoon flavoured butter on a piece of cling film and roll into a sausage, twisting edges like a sweet wrapper. Cover with another piece of cling film. Store in fridge
*Uses: on steak, grilled chicken and fish*
Add 1 T finely chopped coriander, juice 1/3 lime and 1/4 teaspoon Maldon salt flakes to butter. Mix until smooth and well incorporated.
Roll and store as above
*Uses: on grilled chicken and fish, hot tortillas or wraps*
Mix 1/2 long red chilli, finely chopped, 1 clove garlic, pounded till smooth and 1/4 teaspoon Maldon salt flakes with the butter till smooth.
Roll and store as above.
*Uses: on grilled chicken, fish, lamb, steamed vegetables such as broccoli & cauliflower*
Soak 1/2 teaspoon saffron in 2 tablespoons single cream. Beat this, 1/4 teaspoon salt flakes and 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom into the butter until smooth.
Roll, sprinkle another ½ teaspoon saffron strands over rolled butter, cover again and store as above.
*Uses: on steamed or grilled fish, in couscous, to add interest to a roast chicken sandwich, melted over steamed carrots with honey*
* Garlic & Parsley Butter
I mixed 2 tablespoons of parsley and garlic tapenade (use fresh parsley, garlic and salt) into the butter till well incorporated.
Roll and store as above.
*Uses: on grilled chicken, fish, red meat, mixed with veggies such as peas, on sandwiches*
* Brandy Butter
I beat 3 tablespoons of brandy, 2 tablespoons of icing (confectioner’s) sugar into the butter till very smooth and spooned into my jar. You may also roll and store as above.
*Uses: on or in Christmas and rich puddings such as malva, use instead of custard as a sauce with sticky puddings, on hot scones or English muffins, over stewed fruit, in bread and butter puddings*