Make Your Own Gifts From Falastin

Tara Wigley shares her favourite Christmas gift ideas 

As well as gifting FALASTIN, why not make one or two things from Sami and Tara’s book to gift alongside? Here are a few ideas of things which could work under the tree, slipped into someone’s fridge or just dropped on the doorstep if rules only allow for a drive-by Christmas wave...

Spicy olives and roasted red pepper – (p.73) – This is another winning colour-coded green-and-red themed pressie. Double or triple the batch in FALASTIN and this condiment-meets-salsa will keep well for a good 4 days in the fridge. This is lovely with all sorts of things: a match made in heaven with cold meats the days after Christmas or piled into any sandwich, cheese or turkey or otherwise. 

Spicy nuts (p.46) – These are a lovely thing to make at Christmas: they’re ridiculously moreish and keep well in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks so you can make them well in advance. The batch also doubles and triples well so you can gift generously. Mix and match with whatever seeds and nuts you want to use and have around. The bigger nuts stay really crunchy and the seeds (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds) get a little chewy and clump together. 

Granola (p.25) – This is a really lovely gift to give at Christmas. It’s a little bit unusual and a lot-a-bit delicious. Feel free to drop the rose water if you think this will put some people off: we love it but some (particularly kids!) think that floral waters taste a little bit like perfume. We love to make a batch of this and then gift it along with the things we suggest serving it alongside in the book: the tahini, date molasses and orange blossom in the syrup we drizzle over, for example, and/or the pistachios and dried rose petals we suggest sprinkling over. 
Ghraybeh – shortbread cookies (p.325) – Ghraybeh means ‘swoon’ in Arabic which suits well these shortbread cookies. They are typically served at big weddings or christenings, etc, where swooning in the air is matched by the orange blossom water in the cookies. You can replace the floral water with some vanilla essence and finely grated lemon zest, if you like. We like to make these into rings and pack up 5 at a time to play on the ‘5 gold rings’ theme of Christmas. These keep well for up to 5 days and can also be baked from frozen.

Shatta – (p.73) Make a jar of red shatta, make a jar of green shatta: gift the two together and you’ve got the most seasonally-appropriate colour-coded gift theme going on. You need to give yourself time to make shatta as the chillies need to ferment in the fridge for 3 days before they are blitzed up. Once they are in their merry jar and sealed with olive oil, though, they’ll last for up to 6 months. Significantly longer, indeed, than it will take to eat the contents of the jar, spooned on anything and everything from eggs to grilled meat and fish.