Category: Christmas

Chocolate Brownies {vegan and gluten-free}

Tis the season of indulgence and all that. I’m trying not to give in too much to my sugar cravings but I’ve succumbed to temptation and it is mainly in chocolate form. These brownies are so good. I like my brownies to be the perfect amount of gooey with a crisp/crunchy top, and these deliver my requirements. If you prefer more of a cakey texture keep these in for twenty minutes, if not, fifteen minutes and you’ll have your brownie of dreams. If you’re looking to give edible gifts this Christmas, these will make an ideal gift, wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string or a ribbon.

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Chocolate Brownies
Makes 12
100g rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
1 tspn xantham gum
1 tspn baking powder
180g dark chocolate
50g cocoa
150ml sunflower oil
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp cashew/almond butter
275ml oat milk
50g pecans

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C and grease a line a 20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • In a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt half of the chocolate along with all of the cashew butter.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the flours, xanthum gum, baking powder, cocoa and sugar.
  • Add the oil, oat milk, melted chocolate and cashew butter and stir until all is thoroughly mixed together.
  • Chop the remaining chocolate into pieces and add to the mixture along with the pecans, and stir through.
  • Spread evenly into the lined baking tin and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cut into even squares whilst warm, and once they’ve cooled a little turn them out onto a wire rack (although these are best eaten straight from the oven in my humble opinion!).

Enjoy! x

 

Cranberry Maple Pecan Pancakes [vegan and gluten free]

Pancakes have become one of my favourite things about weekends. As I’ve been making more I think I’ve perfected their density and fluffiness, and this flavour combo is definitely a winner. These are pretty thick american styleee and the batter makes about four but you could probably make six at a push. The maple syrup takes the edge off the sharpness of the cranberries, and you’ve basically got Christmas morning done and dusted. Thank me later. 😉

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Cranberry Maple Pecan Pancakes
Makes 4-6 pancakes

For the pancakes:
50g Rice flour
50g Buckwheat flour
1 tspn Xantham gum
1 tspn Baking Powder
1/2 tspn Ground cinnamon
250ml Oat milk
1 tbsp Coconut oil

For the topping:
100g Cranberries
50g Pecans (roughly chopped)
2 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tbsp Water

  • In a mixing bowl, add the flours, baking powder, xantham gum and cinnamon. Whisk in the milk, until a batter has formed.
  • In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil on a medium heat. 
  • Once melted, add spoonfuls of the batter and allow to cook for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the cranberries to a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil, and then allow to gently soften. Add the pecans, along with the maple syrup. It will become quite sticky, add a little more water if desired.
  • Turn the pancakes over to allow them to cook on the other side. They will take about ten minutes in total.
  • Serve the pancakes along with the cranberries and pecans along with a little extra maple syrup. I often add some cashew butter or almond butter for some added yum.

Perfect for Christmas morning! x

Christmas Cranberry and Orange Loaf [vegan]

Is it me or is Christmas getting earlier each year? Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but just not in November. I’m about to contradict myself majorly because this loaf cake is PERFECT for Christmas, and technically we’re not quite in December territory yet…my bad!

I’m not a massive fan of dense fruit cakes, although I’ve got a great Christmas cake recipe if that’s what you’re looking for, but I think this is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter alternative! This recipe is pretty low in sugar, just using dates, a little maple syrup and a tad of caster sugar for your orange drizzle. That’s right, it’s got an orange drizzle running through it to make it super (apologies for using this word) moist! 

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Cranberry and Orange Loaf

100g rice flour
100g buckwheat flour
50g spelt flour
150g fresh cranberries
Zest of two oranges
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
100g dates
125ml vegetable oil
300ml oat milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
50g caster sugar
Juice of two oranges

  • Grease a 2lb loaf tin with margarine or oil
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the flours along with the xantham gum and baking powder
  • Add the fresh cranberries and coat in the flour, along with the zest of the oranges
  • Finely chop the dates and stir through. Gradually add the vegetable oil, oat milk and maple syrup and mix thoroughly until everything is mixed together
  • Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and spread evenly
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Pierce with a skewer all over 
  • In a bowl mix the caster sugar with the juice of the oranges, pour over the cake and leave to cool in the tin
  • Once cooled, store in an air tight container

Enjoy

Veronica x

 

Vegan Christmas Cake

Christmas is coming and the goose won’t be getting fat in our house (well Turkey, we always used to have Turkey). This will be our third vegan Christmas and we’re slowly starting to plan what we’ll be serving up on the big day, Amy’s Brussels Sprouts and Pomegranate Salad will definitely be going down a treat, and I’m sure we’ll have some other tasty recipes to share with you before the 25th!

Christmas-cake

I feel like Christmas has definitely creeped in earlier this year, in fact we made this cake a few months ago, we were really excited to be asked to contribute to Gluten-free Heaven magazine so we got our festive on a little earlier than planned.

The cake is refined sugar free, so I will definitely be making this at Christmas, but the icing is far from sugar free, and has plenty of icing sugar, plus some delicate sugar coated cranberries, so feel free to eat your yearly intake of sugar in one sitting! Or you could always cut down the sugar or leave it un-iced – it is tasty enough not to need icing, but then you wouldn’t get to try the wonder of aquafaba. Yep – aquafaba is the juice in the tin of chick peas…who knew?! This wonder ingredient is making shockwaves through vegan baking….royal icing…meringue….macarons, there appears to be an eggless revolution happening!

Cranberry Christmas Cake
200g chopped dates
250ml water
150g raisins
150g sultanas
75g chopped walnuts
75g cranberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
150g ground almonds
150g rice flour
1 tbsp + 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
150ml orange juice

For the icing and decorations
The water from 1 tin of chick peas (aquafaba)
500g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vegetarian glycerine
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml water
100g caster sugar
cranberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a saucepan, bring the dates to the boil with the water and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, add the raisins, sultanas, walnuts, cranberries and mix through all the spices. Stir through the ground almonds, rice flour and baking powder.
  • Once the dates have softened down, add them to the mixing bowl along with the orange juice, and combine until everything is mixed together.
  • Grease the cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mixture and spread evenly. Wrap the tin with newspaper so the edges don’t burn and bake in the oven for 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out onto a wire rack.

For the icing:

  • In a bowl, whisk the aquafaba until frothy, add the icing sugar a tablespoon at a time until it has a meringue like consistency.
  • Add the lemon juice, glycerine and vanilla extract and stir through. Spread a crumb coating over the cake, and ensure it is even.
  • Leave to set for an hour before covering with a thick layer. Leave to set overnight.

For the sugar glazed cranberries:

  • In a saucepan, melt the caster sugar in the water over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • In a bowl, cover the cranberries in the sugar syrup, drain the excess sugar syrup and leave until tacky, sprinkle over half of the granulated sugar and leave to set in the fridge for a couple of hours, turn them over and sprinkle with the rest of the granulated sugar. Leave overnight.
  • The next day, the icing will be firm enough to allow you to decorate with the sugar coated cranberries.

If there is a time to feast on a sugar laden cake then Christmas is definitely that time. I’ll be enjoying this cake just when I think there isn’t another morsel of food that I can possibly eat, but come 7pm I’ll be on the hunt for some more food!

Enjoy the festivities December brings!

Veronica x

Cheese, pùté and crackers

The one thing that people say to me time and time again when they find out I’m vegan is; “I just couldn’t live without cheese!” Well I probably would have said something along those lines not that long ago. But when I turned vegan I didn’t think about missing cheese, I thought about animal cruelty and environmental issues.

In my first year as a vegan I hadn’t really given cheese much thought, I’d had a pizza with some questionable vegan cheese and thought I’m better off without any weird cheese resembling products. It wasn’t until I went to SAF restaurant in November and had their cashew cheese that I realised you could have delicious and healthy vegan cheese. No, its not quite the same as a slice of cheddar but its deliciously creamy and has a lovely cheesy flavour.

Over Christmas we would normally have delicious lunches of cheese, pĂątĂ©, crackers, pickled onions and bits of left overs and I’m determined not to feel like I’m missing out on anything for my first vegan Christmas. So behold my vegan cheese, pĂątĂ© and cracker feast, not only is it delicious and cruelty free, it’s a whole lot healthier for you than actual cheese and pĂątĂ©.

vegan pate, cheese and cracker

Individually these recipes are pretty simple and easy but it is a bit of work making them all. However, I find there’s plenty of time around Christmas to spend a few hours in the kitchen and these recipes will make enough to keep you and your family going over the festive period.

Cashew Nut Cheese

280g Cashew nuts
250ml Water
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Onion granules
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg

1. Place the cashews in a glass bowl and cover with water, leave them to soak for at least 2 hours or leave them overnight.
2. Drain the cashews, blend them with 250ml water, the nutritional yeast, salt and lemon juice. If your nutritional yeast flakes are quite large you might want to put them in the blender first to break them down so they are nice and small. Keep blending the mix until you get a nice creamy paste.
3. Stir in the onion granules and nutmeg.
4. Pour the mixture into a tin or bowl and leave it at room temperature, covered for 12 hours.
5. Put the mixture into the fridge and leave to chill for at least 2 hours.

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vegan cheese

cashew nut cheese

vegan cheese

Mushroom and Chestnut Pùté

500g Mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms)
100g Chestnuts
250g Firm tofu
2 Shallots
3 Cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp Nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Chopped or dried herbs such as sage or thyme

3 tbsp Mushroom Ketchup (optional)
1 tbsp Lemon juice

1. Cut a cross in the shell of each chestnut and roast them on a baking tray for 30 minutes at 170C.
2. Place your block of tofu on a flat surface between two folded sheets of kitchen paper and place something heavy on top to press out the water.
3. Whilst the chestnuts are roasting, sauté the onion and garlic in a large frying pan until soft. Roughly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan, cooking them for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
4.  Stir in the crushed peppercorns, salt, herbs and mushroom ketchup. Cook for another few minutes until the ketchup has reduced down, then set aside to cool.
5. Once the chestnuts are roasted, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool before shelling them.
6. Put the chestnuts into a blender and blitz until roughly chopped. Add the cooled mushroom mixture, tofu, nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Blend to a fairly smooth paste.
7. Spoon the mixture into a springform tin or lined loaf tin and press down firmly. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

mushroom and chestnut pate

vegan pate recipe

mushroom and chestnut pate

Flax Seed Crackers

This recipe makes about 30 crackers, 15 plain and 15 flavoured. I used cavolo nero but you can use any leafy greens or even sun-dried tomatoes, or whatever you fancy to flavour them.

300g Flax seeds (you can used half golden and half brown if you have them)
30g Sunflower Seeds
200ml Water
1/2 tsp Salt
A small bunch of cavolo nero

1. Grind half the flax seeds with the sunflower seeds in a blender or spice grinder.
2. Mix together the ground seeds with the whole flax seeds, salt and water.
3. Put half this mixture into a blender with the cavolo nero.
4. Line two baking trays with baking paper and spoon out the two mixtures on the trays and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
5. Score the mixture into small squares and bake at 170C for 30 mins or until the begin to crisp slightly and aren’t too chewy inside. (If you have a dehydrator, even better!)
6. Lift the baking paper and crackers out of the trays and place on a wire rack, serve once cooled.

flax seeds

flax seed crackers recipe

flax seed crackers

flax seed crackers

With all this to feast on over the shortest days of the year I certainly won’t feel that my cruelty free lifestyle is meaning I miss out. I can have my cheesy fix this Christmas along with delicious, healthy crackers and pĂątĂ©.

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I hope you’ve all enjoyed our 12 days of Christmas series and found some useful festive tips and recipes. We’ve really enjoyed testing out our ideas and veganising our favourite traditional Christmas foods. From all of us here at Wrapped in Newspaper, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

Amy x

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Vegan Mince Pies

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Christmas is nearly here. Despite looking organised with our 12 days of Christmas series I’m far from it – I still have presents to buy! I’ve had a bit of mental block this year coming up with ideas of what to get people and have traipsed around the shops on several occasions with no clue on what to get and feeling far from Christmassy. I’m not really a fan of mince pies, but Amy insisted I make them and the smell of this mincemeat has got me feeling slightly more festive, and a jar of mincemeat or a batch of these pies makes an ideal gift.

Vegan Mince Pies

For the pastry:
225g Plain Flour
25g Ground Almonds
25g Caster Sugar
125g Margarine
60ml Water

For the mincemeat:
300g Currants
200g Raisins
100ml Brandy
100g Dried Apricots
225g Suet
50g Blanched Almonds
225g Brown Sugar
1 Apple
1 Lemon (Juice & Zest)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg

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Rub the margarine into the flour until resembling breadcrumbs. Add the ground almonds and sugar and stir through. Add the water gradually until it comes together, cool in the fridge for an hour.

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Soak the currants and raisins in the brandy for about an hour. Chop up the apricots and almonds nice and small. Slice and chop the apple, add  along with the suet, lemon, sugar and spices to the soaked currants and raisins.

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The mincemeat can be stored in sterilised jars for up to 6 months.

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Roll the pastry out fairly thin, cut out your circles using a pastry cutter.

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Line your tray with the pastry and spoon the filling in, be careful not to overfill. Using a slightly smaller pastry cutter or star shaped one cut out your lids. Moisten with almond milk or water and seal your pies.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C until golden brown. Once cooled dust with icing sugar, serve with brandy butter.

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Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Spiced Christmas Biscuits

I’ve been making these spiced biscuits for as long as I can remember. In recent years they’ve become synonymous with Christmas, with their subtle taste of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice they make perfect Christmas presents. Year after year they go down a treat and I wasn’t going to let my first vegan Christmas be any different. So I got to work on veganising my old recipe and just as I’d hoped, you can’t even tell the difference. Another cruelty-free Christmas recipe : )

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On a slightly less Christmassy note I wanted to let you know about the work happening on my flat. I have been covered in scaffolding and a veil of blue netting whilst my building gets its single-glazed windows replaced. This has already started causing me troubles, affecting the lighting for these photos so please forgive the bluey tint to some of my photos from now on : (

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Spiced Christmas Biscuits

250g Plain flour
125g Vegan margarine
125g Soft brown sugar
1 tbsp Ground flax seeds
3 tbsp Water
1 tbsp Mixed spice
A pinch of salt

1. Start of by grinding your flax seeds in a blender or using a pestle and mortar. Whisk up the ground flax with the water using a fork. Set aside and this should form a nice egg-like consistency by the time you’re ready to add it to the mixture.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the margarine and sugar until smooth and fluffy.
3. Beat in the flax mix a bit at a time, then add the flour, spice and salt, and mix together until you get quite a stiff, firm ball.
4. On a floured surface, roll out the mixture to about 1/2 cm and cut out the biscuits with your preferred Christmassy biscuit cutter. I used a mixture of Christmas trees and circles. I then gently imprinted the Christmas tree cutter onto the circular biscuits.
5. Place the biscuits onto a greased tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
6. Place the biscuits on a wire rack to cool.

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If you are giving them away as presents, hopefully you’ll have some old jars or tins lying around that you can put them into. I used old coffee jars, filled them with biscuits and tied them up with a pretty bow.

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These Spiced Christmas Biscuits are delicious and best of all, quick and easy to make. Hand them out as gifts, hang them on your tree as edible Christmas decorations or just make them for yourself for cosy nights in with a cup of tea.

Amy x

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Vegan Yule Log

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Christmas day in our house is a day full of food and drink.  We get on the booze about 11am, get cracking with dinner, eat about 2pm, clean up, have a cup of tea and then give our gifts to each other. Then we have a few games, have a couple of G&T’s and then it is time for more food! Yes, even after a massive Christmas dinner there is always room for a little more food. Perhaps a leftover sandwich, some nibbley bits and a bit of Christmas cake or a slice of this bad boy. Yes, Yule Log or Buche de Noel (its french name), is one of the highlights I think of the Christmas food fest and here is a Vegan Yule Log to try.

Recipe

For the sponge
100g caster sugar
40g cocoa
50g dark chocolate (melted)
60g self-raising flour
Egg replacer for 4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp soya single cream
2 tbsp vegetable oil

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Mix the egg replacer with water, and gradually beat in the sugar with a mixer until thick, frothy and meringue like.

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Sieve the flour and cocoa into the mixure, folding in carefully. Be warned, the mixture starts to go a bit weird here and you may think it is all going wrong. Add the oil, baking powder, melted chocolate and soya cream stirring carefully until smooth.

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Pour the mixture into a lined baking tin and smooth it out until evenly spread.

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Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes at 200C or until cooked. Stick a fork or skewer in it and it should come out clean.

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Now comes the tricky bit, and when photographing the process became pretty much impossible. I got a little stressed and I threw a few things but it did work in the end. Using a tea towel and a piece of grease proof paper, as soon as the sponge comes out of the oven, gently take it out of the tin and put it on the tea towel. Using the grease proof paper roll the sponge slowly and carefully, it may start to crack at this point but if you go slow you should be ok.

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Leave it to cool completely and mix up your filling and frosting.

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For the filling
75g vegetable fat (trex)
100g icing sugar
20ml single soya cream

Mix the vegetable fat in with the icing sugar until creamy, add the soya cream until smooth. Once the sponge has cooled, carefully unroll it and spread the filling over it. (I was battling fading light so didn’t get any pictures). Re-roll the sponge.

For the frosting
130g vegetable fat
150g icing sugar
50g cocoa
15g dark chocolate melted
20ml single soya cream

The frosting is pretty much the same as above, just add some cocoa and melted chocolate. Pipe the frosting on using a piping bag and a large nozzle or you can spread it on and then use a fork to give the ‘bark’ look. Sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar.

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Perfect for your Christmas tea, or for Christmas dinner for those people that don’t like Christmas Pudding.

Enjoy your Vegan Yule Log!

Veronica x

Vegan Sage and Onion Stuffing

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My favourite part of christmas dinner has always been the pigs in blankets (sausage meat wrapped in bacon), obviously this was before I was vegan. Now that this is no longer a contender in what will be our delicious christmas dinner, I thought I have to up the game in the stuffing stakes. We normally buy a shop bought mix, that you just add water to, sometimes we get a fancy one, I never think to make my own. We don’t usually ‘stuff the bird’, we make some balls that get thrown in the oven about 15 minutes before everything and yes it tastes good, but now I have discovered what stuffing really should taste like and it just doesn’t compare. I adapted this recipe from BBC Good Food .

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Recipe
2 onions (1 red & 1 white)
1 leek
1 stick of celery
A couple of slices of bread blitzed to breadcrumbs
2 tbsp sage (fresh or dried)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
A pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Apple sauce ( I made it using 2 small apples)
Olive oil

Finely chop the onions, leek and celery. Cook in a pan with a little olive oil for about 10-15 mins until soft.

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Peel a couple of apples, and finely chop, put in another pan with a little water and sugar until stewed.

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Take the onion mixture of the heat, add the breadcrumbs, sage, salt & pepper, chilli flakes, nutritional yeast and mix together. Add a glug of olive oil and the apple sauce. Taste it to check you have enough salt and pepper. Let it cool slightly until you are able to handle it.

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Make into balls, and grease the tray or grease a dish and spread the mixture out.

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Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes at 180C, until crisp.

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I plan on making these before Christmas Day and heating them up in the oven just before we are ready to serve. You can also pop these in the freezer, if you want to be super organised. These are definitely worth that little extra effort and will add some delicious flavours to your dinner.

Wrapped in Newspaper’s 12 days of Christmas: Wrapping gifts

This time last year I was wrapping up my Christmas presents with newspaper and the idea of this blog slowly began forming in my mind. One year later, a leap into veganism and the death of all our four rescue hens (who we are very much missing), the blog has come to fruition and we have been getting some lovely feedback from you lot -thanks guys! So today I’d like to share my gift wrapping for this years Christmas presents, which are of course, wrapped in newspaper! This year I’ve gone crazy and decided to lino print my own gift tags as well.

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To wrap up your gifts without expensive wrapping paper and minimising waste but with plenty of beauty you will need:

Newspaper
Pretty ribbon and or string
Scissors

I always have a stash of old ribbon, some rescued from last years Christmas and some new which I will try and save from the bin once used this year.

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Wrap your gift up as usual but place something or borrow someones finger to hold the paper in place whilst you fold up the edges.

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Cut your ribbon to size and slip it underneath the gift, keeping the middle held down, then pull the ribbon together and cross it over and twist 90 degrees.

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Turn the gift over, keeping the ribbon taut and tie a pretty bow.

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This is so simple and your gifts look beautiful and unique. Not using sellotape is great, it’s unnecessary and means all you paper can go straight into the recycling bin. It is also great if you are using recycled wrapping paper as it means it doesn’t get torn so you can reuse it.

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Now to make your gift tags. This is slightly more involved and does require some specialist crafty tools. You will need:

A piece of soft crafting lino
Lino cutter and varying sized blades
Lino roller
A piece of glass (I didn’t have any glass lying around so used a scrap piece of card)
Cutting matt
Craft knife
Steel ruler
Plain gift tags (or even better cut out your own from scrap paper)
Lino printing paint (I didn’t have any so I used acrylic paint)
A pencil
Some tracing or layout paper
Tailors chalk
A spoon
A cutting block (this isn’t essential but helps prevent slipping and cutting your finger. I borrowed my Dad’s which he made himself by screwing two bits of wood onto a piece of MDF)

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Cut your lino to size with the size of your gift tag in mind.

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Draw your design onto the tracing or layout paper using the tailors chalk. This is my first ever time lino printing so I went for a really simple design which I embellished slightly freehand whilst carving.

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Place your design face down onto the lino block and rub the back of the paper with a hard pencil.

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Place the lino onto your block and start carving using the biggest blade.

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I wanted to keep some texture to my background so didn’t carve it away completely.

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Switch to a smaller blade once you get to the more intricate part of your design.

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Squeeze some paint out onto the glass (or in my case card), roll it out so as to evenly coat your lino roller. Roll the paint onto your lino block.

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I started with a test print and found my background was too heavy so wiped my block clean and carved away a bit more. To print the design onto your gift tag, place the tag face down on the block, carefully hold in place and rub with the back of a spoon.

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Carefully peel the gift tag away and leave to dry.

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To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect and this isn’t quite what I’d pictured in my mind but I love them!!

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Once your set up you can repeat your print over and over and all of the sudden you’ve got a full set of unique gift tags.

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Undo your bow, slip the tag onto the ribbon and tie your bow back up again.

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I think this is such a good way to up-cycle old newspapers and with a bit of extra effort spent on ribbon and gift tags, your gifts still look extra special.