Christmas gifts for foodies at Fforestfach Retail Park, Swansea

Recently, I was contacted by Fforestfach Retail Park, Swansea, who are putting together the Fforestfach Guide to Christmas to give people the best fashion, homes and food advice from a team of bloggers. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to become their food expert by hunting down the best Christmas gifts for foodies and treats at the Parc and using a couple of my favourite items to concoct some Christmas recipes. I literally jumped at the opportunity – it was a much-needed push to make a start on my Christmas shopping! 

It took us around an hour to drive from Cardiff to Fforestfach Retail Parc, but it was clearly signposted so we had no trouble finding it. As parking is free for up to four hours, we had plenty of time to explore the different shops and it was great to be able to drop our bags off in the car rather than having to lug them around all the shops.

Shopping for Christmas gifts for foodies at Fforestfach

We began our shopping trip in Homesense, a homeware store owned by TK Maxx that offers discounts of up to 60% on RRP. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before.

Homesense Food Emporium
Homesense has it’s very own Global Food Emporium featuring imported produce like this fig infused balsamic dressing (£1.99). This is the perfect place to come if you’re looking for Christmas gifts for foodies. At the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to find out what I made using that!

Fig balsamic dressing, Christmas gifts for foodies

I was also tempted by this Tarall’ro striped farfalle pasta (£2.29), made using beetroot.

Striped pasta, Christmas gifts for foodies

These Belgian donut chocolates  (£4.99) would be the perfect Christmas present for someone with a sweet tooth. I know my sister will love these!

Donut chocolate biscuits
Besides food, Homesense had an impressive range of festive kitchenware and tableware and I couldn’t bear to leave without this sprout teapot, which was an absolute steal at just £7.99.

Sprout teapot

I also picked up a couple of sparkly silver plates, so I can serve up my festive food in style! At just £3.99 for the big plate and £2.49 for the side plate, I couldn’t believe the value for money. The plates are of an excellent quality and I hope you’ll agree that they look great!

Sparkly plate from Homesense

After dropping our bags off in the car, we headed over to Boots. I don’t know about you, but I find Boots is one of the most festive shops on the high street at Christmas time. I always look forward to flicking through their Christmas gift guide and the in-store displays always look great.

Yet again this year, Boots have got a stunning selection of Christmas gifts for foodies. My eyes were drawn to this nutcracker-shaped cookie tin (£12.50), which would make a lovely Christmas gift for cookie enthusiasts of all ages. I think my niece will be delighted when she opens this on Christmas Day.

Nutcracker tin

Coffee geeks will love the selection at Boots this year, and I picked up this espresso duet set (£16.50) for a friend who practically runs on coffee. 

Coffee set

As my dad is a big fan of spicy food, I think he will love this Nando’s sauce and caddy (£12.50), including garlic peri peri, hot and XX hot peri peri. The best part about it is that I actually got this gift free of charge, as it was part of the Boots 3-for-2 Christmas deal. 

Nandos sauces

After our trip to Boots, we popped into Marks & Spencer. This isn’t the biggest M&S I’ve been to by any means, but it does have a decent clothing selection and a lovely range of Christmas gifts for foodies.

M&S Christmas shop

Baked Camembert is one of my favourite festive foods, so I treated myself to this Camembert cheese baker (£15).

Camembert cheese baker - Christmas gifts for foodies

The last shop we visited was Poundland. I can never resist a look around in Poundland; there’s a lot of stuff in there that I don’t really want or need, but I’m often able to pick up branded food and drink products for less than they cost in the supermarket. You could save quite a lot of money if you bought all your Christmas snacking food in here. 

Poundland are probably one of the best shops I know of to buy cheap stocking fillers, like this chocolate Santa (£1).

Chocolate Santa, Christmas gifts for foodies

This year, Poundland have also got an attractive range of festive baking equipment and accessories, and I picked up a set of three star-shaped cookie cutters for just £1. These could be used to create festive edible gifts for your loved ones, which can often be more sentimental than shop-bought presents. Take a look at my recipe at the end of this blog post for inspiration. 

Cookie cutters
After a few hours of shopping, we were feeling a little tired and peckish. We popped in to Costa Coffee to see if we fancied anything in there, but we ended up going to Caffe Nero instead as it was a little less busy. I was slightly disappointed, as this pigs in blankets panini (£3.85) really caught my eye!

Pigs in Blankets Panini

The Christmas menu at Caffe Nero included a selection of festive sandwiches, cakes and bakes, including the option to build your own festive hot drink from a choice of roasted hazelnut, clementine, salted caramel and gingerbread. We couldn’t resist the look of the decadent salted caramel cake (£2.95 per slice to eat-in). I paired mine with a hot roasted hazelnut latte with whipped cream and marshmallows (£3.80), while my partner opted for a caramel latte with whipped cream and syrup (£3.45).

Caffe Nero cakes and hot drinks

I made a great start on my Christmas shopping at Fforestfach Retail Parc, crossing four presents off my list and even coming away with a few treats for myself too! It really is a fantastic shopping destination for Christmas gifts for foodies and tasty treats this Christmas, and I would happily make the journey here again in future just to see what’s new in Homesense’s Food Emporium! Read on to discover more about the festive recipes I made using some of my foodie finds from Fforestfach Retail Parc!

Fig and goats' cheese salad

When I picked up the fig balsamic dressing from Homesense, the idea for this recipe came into my head almost straight away. Fresh figs are one of my favourite festive foods, and they taste great with hot, crispy-coated, gooey-centred goats' cheese. What I love about this salad is that it's so quick and easy to make, yet it's so impressive, it wouldn't look out of place as a starter on the Christmas Day dinner table. It would also make for the ideal dish if you're fancying something a little lighter on Boxing Day, and you could even throw in a couple of leftover roasties. 

Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine UK
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh figs
  • 50 g pecans
  • 2 handfuls pea shoots or rocket
  • 70 g goats' cheese
  • 40 g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp CasaRinaldi fig balsamic dressing

Instructions

  1. Arrange the peashoots or rocket on a plate.

  2. Slice the figs and arrange them on top of the leaves.

  3. Halve the pecan nuts and scatter them over the dish.

  4. Roll the goat's cheese in the flour, dip it in the beaten egg and then roll it in the breadcrumbs until fully covered.

  5. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the goat's cheese for a minute or two each side, until golden brown and crispy.

  6. Carefully arrange the goat's cheese on top of the salad.

  7. Drizzle the balsamic fig dressing over the salad to taste, and serve immediately.

Fig and goat's cheese salad

 

Shortbread stars

These festive shortbread stars are so cheap and easy to make, and they'd be lovely boxed up as homemade Christmas gifts or packed into hampers for your nearest and dearest. 

Course Snack
Cuisine Scottish, UK
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 125 g butter cubed and softened
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Remove the butter from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for 15 minutes or so.

  2. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into it, until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs.

  3. Gradually mix in the caster sugar and vanilla extract, and work the mixture until you're able to form it into a ball.

  4. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it to chill in the fridge for an hour.

  5. Preheat the oven to 130°C/Gas Mark 2, take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for five minutes or so.

  6. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out onto a floured work surface, to around 1cm in thickness.

  7. Use star cookie cutters to cut star shapes out of the dough, placing them onto a baking tray lined with parchment.

  8. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes, until a light golden brown in colour.

  9. Remove the shortbread from the oven, leave to cool for a little while and then sprinkle with caster sugar while still warm.

Sugary star-shaped shortbread, Christmas gifts for foodies

 

Win £50 to spend on foodie treats/gifts at Fforestfach Retail Parc!

To celebrate my partnership with the Fforestfach Retail Parc Guide to Christmas, you have the chance to win £50 to spend on festive nibbles and Christmas gifts for foodies at the Parc this Christmas! To enter, simply visit the Fforestfach Facebook page. Entries close on Thursday 21st December at 12pm. Be sure to follow Fforestfach Retail Parc on Twitter to keep up with all their news and updates.

 Fforestfach Retail Parc Christmas Guide for Foodies

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? What do you think are the best Christmas gifts for foodies this year?

Fig and goats' cheese salad
This post is in collaboration with Fforestfach Retail Parc. 

16 Comments

  1. December 15, 2017 / 5:02 pm

    That sprout teapot is adorable! I love the gold bowl too, so sparkly and classy. I also find Boots is super festive at this time of year, its great!

    • December 15, 2017 / 5:35 pm

      I love the teapot! It’s so quirky. The gold ‘bowl’ is a plate actually lol, but it is quite big and dips a little in the middle so I can see how it might look like a bowl from above.

  2. December 15, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    I love Homesense for buying little foodie treats, they always have such lovely things.

    • December 15, 2017 / 5:34 pm

      I genuinely think I will be in there all the time. I was telling my mum it was like a TK Maxx for food, and then I realised it was owned by them!

  3. December 15, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    I love Homesense, it’s definitely one of the best places for seasonal gifts x

    • December 15, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      I wish I’d discovered it earlier. I loved the imported food produce, and my fig balsamic dressing is SO good! 😀

  4. Kate Veggie Desserts
    December 15, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I want want want the sprout teapot!! I could spend hours in there!

    • December 18, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      It’s so cool isn’t it?! Really funky.

  5. December 17, 2017 / 1:22 am

    I have never been to Homesense, but I do like the look of a lot stuff you have shared. If we ever go, we will need a sensible budget. I wont be spending it. But the wife will be. 😉

    John M

  6. December 17, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    The cake in Cafe Nero looks amazing! I could quite happily sit and eat that drinking festive drinks. We love Home Sense, there’s one about 5 minutes from home so we often go for a wander around. The stationery section is to die for in there.

    • December 18, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      I can’t believe I never knew about Homesense before. The foodie stuff is such good value for money. I could spend hours looking through everything in there.

  7. December 18, 2017 / 11:24 pm

    Looks like you found some excellent Christmas goodies! And those recipes look delicious, definitely going to give them a try!

    Sam

    • December 19, 2017 / 12:42 pm

      I hope you like the recipes – let me know how you get on with them if you do decide to try them out 🙂

  8. December 19, 2017 / 7:53 pm

    This is perfect! My sister is a massive foodie and I still need to get her something.
    Homesense is perfect – I need to see if there is one by me.
    Thanks so much for sharing this hun
    Charlotte x

    • December 20, 2017 / 12:45 pm

      Glad you liked my post! I am so fond of Homesense, I can’t imagine going there and not finding anything I wanted to buy.

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