Hey, how are you holding up in the mad rush of the pre-Christmas days?

We are flying out of Doha on Friday but the suitcases aren’t packed yet. Too much ginger bread house making events (every child has their own event at school because their age gap is so big), last Jiu Jitsu training before the Xmas break, Christmas concert for our young piano player …

While looking at last minute gifts, I just came across a product from a Dawanda-Shop that I thought you guys might like. The shop’s name is Erbstuecke which means “heirloom pieces” in German.

They sell a set with 6 vials with a dry dip base and 6 vials of olive oil. Each vial contains only 10 g (dip) or 20 ml (oil), so if you made your own,  you’d have a enough for several gifts from one mammoth fruit-veggie drying session.

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Dips sold by Erbstuecke at Dawanda. Click on photo for link.

How do these dips work?

The Italian way to sample some nice fresh bread is: pour a very good olive oil into a small bowl or plate. Drop a few drops of a mild, good Aceto Balsamico vinegar into that, add a few sprinkles of ground sea salt (or another salt of your choice), stir with a piece of bread and enjoy.

For dried dips like this, you need olive oil as a base.

You can either dip bread in olive oil and then dunk it into the dip (which works but isn’t very pretty), or you dip the bread, then scatter a tiny bit of the dip powder over the bread. We use this kind of stuff the way Dukkah powder is used in the Middle East: you add a little bit of the powder to a bit of olive oil, stir it in well and then let it sit for a bit before you scoop it up with bread or use a teaspoon to transfer it to your bread.

What’s in a dip?

Erbstücke, the Dawanda Shop, combined some interesting stuff for their dips.

They say that their dips are made from dried and ground fruit and vegetables with NO ADDED ANYTHING. (Some of the dips have sugar and salt.)

I imagine if elves do the bread-and-dip thing, they’ll use exotic mixes like these for the dip. :-)

The 6 tastes at Erbstuecke are:

  • Carrot-Pineapple: carrot, pineapple, coconut, ginger, salt
  • Red beet-Pear: red beet, pear, orange peel, vanilla, salt
  • Red bell pepper-Mango: red bell pepper, mango, almonds, oregano, chili powder, sugar, salt
  • Pomegranate: pomegranate seeds, lemon peel, cardamom, cumin, cinnemon, cane sugar, pepper
  • Spinach-Ginger: spinach, garlic, ginger, vanilla, salt, pepper
  • Eggplant-Sesame: eggplant, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, salt, garlic

Since Dawanda is Germany’s answer to Etsy, Erbstuecke might not ship abroad, but if you have a dehydrator — or some time, patience and an oven– you can make these as Christmas presents at home.

All you need is dehydrator/oven, good quality fruit and veggies, and some nice containers with a stopper, like vials. We have also used the small jam glasses you get in hotels to the same effect. Sometimes you can buy a tray with 10 or 12 of the small glasses at the supermarket. Keep them when the jam is gone – they make lovely packaging for edible Christmas presents.

Dry the fruit/veggies in a dehydrator according to your machine’s settings. If fruit is very wet, use silicone inlays or baking paper that you poke holes into for circulation.

In the oven, heat it up to 330 degrees F / 170 degrees C, leave the door a bit open and stir fruit/veggies every 30 minutes. The slower you dry, the better the taste, but unless you have a dehydrator, you might go for higher temperature and be done in 6 to 8 hours.

Let the finished dried fruit / veggies rest for a day, then grind them in a food processor. Then play around, mixing and matching. :-)

I hope you enjoy — concoct something that would make Harcos, the elf, proud. ;-)

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If you’re wondering who Harcos is: He plays a big part in my 2012 Christmas novel “Three Days of Christmas”. At the moment, I took it down from Amazon because I’ve been trying to make it permafree, without success. You can find it on Smashwords and iBooks.

The spam trolls eat this blog for breakfast if I leave comments open, so I close them. But I’d love to hear what you think, so talk to me on Facebook or on Twitter instead.

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brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson writes Urban Fantasy and Steampunk. Poison Patch just came out, Book 2 of the Astoria Files series. You can find Brida at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a kobold who still pretends she’s a cat.