By Nita Mehta
It’s the time to get into kitchen and put together some of the yummiest Christmas delicacies. Here’re five mindblowing recipes from my kitchen to impress your guests this Christmas.
1. Swiss Rolls with Chocolate
For the cake
50 gm flour (maida)
1/8 tsp baking powder
10 gm cornflour (2 measuring tbsp)
75 gm castor sugar
50 ml (4 tbsp) oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
tray size 7”x9”
½ cup white butter – softened
¾ cup powdered sugar – sifted
¼ cup cocoa, approx.
1 tsp vanilla essence
* Sift flour, baking powder and cornflour. Keep aside.
* Line the tray with butter paper. See that the butter paper extends above the tray on all four sides. There is no need to grease the paper.
* Break eggs in a beating bowl. Add essence.
* Add sugar and beat till very fluffy, pale and thick. Beat for 7-8 minutes till it inceases 4-6 times in volume.
* Add oil gradually with the beater running on full speed. After the oil is added the mixture becomes less in volume. Remove beater.
* Fold flour in batches in the egg mixture and mix very lightly.
* Pour in the tray to a thickness of ¼” thick layer. Level with a spatula.
* Bake at 180°C/350ºF for 15 minutes till golden on the top. When the cake leaves the sides of the tray and is springy to touch, remove from the oven. Spread powdered sugar on a grease proof paper and turn out the cake over the sugar.
* To prepare the filling, sift sugar and cocoa powder. In a pan put butter. Beat till fluffy. Add all the other ingredients and beat well till well mixed. (Add more cocoa and sugar, according to your taste.)
* Spread the chocolate filling on the sponge cake and roll upwards.
* Pack the roll tightly in a plastic wrap or aluminium foil and keep in the fridge till required. To serve, cut the roll into 12 pieces.
2. Beans & Cauliflower Casserole
A delightful combination of beans with cauliflower. Any other vegetable, like mushrooms or babycorns, carrots or broccoli or mixed veggies may be substituted for cauliflower.
½ cup red kidney beans (rajmah) – soaked overnight
4 cups finely chopped cauliflower
1 onion – chopped
3 tomatoes – blanched, peeled and chopped
2½ tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1½ cups (150 gms) grated cheese
½ cup cream
2 tbsp oil, salt and pepper to taste
* Pressure cook beans with 2 cups water and ½ tsp salt to give 1 whistle. Keep on low heat for 20 minutes or till soft. Let the pressure drop. Drain the water from the cooked beans.
* Fry the onions and cauliflower in 2 tbsp oil until onions turn golden and the cauliflower is cooked. Add 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper.
* Add tomatoes, beans, ketchup and worcestershire sauce to the onions. Mix well. Check salt and pepper.
* Remove from fire. Add half of the grated cheese.
* Put the mixture in a baking dish.
* Mix the other half of the cheese with cream. Add ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Pour cream over the vegetables and spread gently.
* Cook at 180°C/350°F for 25 minutes or till done.
3. Peanut Butter Cookies
100 gms breakfast sugar, 75 gms yellow butter
100 gms peanut butter, preferably crunchy variety
100 gms flour (maida), ¼ tsp baking powder
* Beat butter and sugar till fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix well. Sift flour and baking powder. Fold in the flour and make a soft dough. Keep in fridge for 10 minutes.
* Take out and roll into small balls. Roll the top of the balls in 2 tbsp breakfast sugar and place them on a greased baking tray. Space them properly since they will spread while baking. Keep the tray in fridge for 30 minutes.
* Bake at 180ºC/350ºF for 20-25 minutes till bottom turns golden brown.
4. Plum Pudding
This flour-and-butter based steamed pudding is bursting with raisins, dates, currants, candied peel and orange rind, and tempts with its cinnamon aroma.
¼ cup salted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
12 dates – pitted and chopped
½ cup raisins (kishmish)
¼ cup dried currants
¼ cup candied mixed fruit peel – chopped
1 tbsp orange rind
1 tsp baking soda (mitha soda)
1 cup flour (maida)
2 tsp ground cinnamon (dalchini)
a pinch salt
* In a large saucepan combine butter, sugar, milk, dates, raisins, currants, mixed fruit peel and rind of orange. Bring to a boil.
* Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda.
* Sift flour, cinnamon and salt. Add to the dry fruits and mix gently until blended.
* Pour mixture into greased pudding mould. Cover with a double layer of greased wax paper or aluminium foil and steam for 2 hours.
5. Christmas Cake
This mouth-watering cake has a dark colour from the brown sugar and caramel, and is thick with raisins, dates and nuts. Check that you have all the ingredients in your kitchen including liquid glucose, glycerine and rum. Glowing eyes and happy smiles on the faces of your loved ones will be your reward.
100 gm (1 cup) plain flour (maida)
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
125 gm margarine
1 tsp liquid glucose
4 large eggs
2 tbsp caramel
1 tbsp candied ginger
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp mixed spice powder (cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms)
¼ tsp glycerine
¼ cup (75 gm) candied peel
75 gms raisins
10-12 (30 gms) dates
¼ cup (60 gm) chopped glazed cherries
25 gm almonds
25 gm cashews
½ tsp lemon juice
¼ cup rum
* Mix together all the dry fruit, if large, cut down to an even size, approximately ¼” cubes. Soak them in rum. Cover with wrap. The soak should be regularly stirred to ensure even mixing. The right way is to soak fruit for a minimum of 2 weeks.
* Pre-heat the oven to 160-170°C.
* Cream together the margarine, liquid glucose, sugar and brown sugar. The creaming should be done until it becomes light and fluffy.
* Beat in the eggs gradually. Then add the vanilla essence, spice powder, lemon juice and finally the caramel.
* Mix together the flour and the soaked fruit and fold this into the egg-margarine batter along with glycerine. Transfer to a tin immediately and bake at 160°C till golden brown (50 minutes).
* Brush with 2-3 tbsp rum when the cake is hot and out of the oven.
Nita Mehta is a celebrated chef and has penned over 600 books. Her book cover a multitude of cuisines from around the world. 450 of her books have been on the best-seller list, and in the short span of a few years she has sold over 7.5 million books. Several of her books have also won International Awards. She has conducted cooking classes in USA, UK, Canada and several other countries, and appeared on many TV channels in cookery shows.