Looking for some holiday cooking inspiration?
In keeping with the spirit of the season, here we have a group of wonderful ladies in Kuwait who are happy to share their tried and tested recipes with us!
Delightful Date Cake
1 cup unsalted sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
• Grease a round/ loaf tin. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar, flour and chopped walnuts. Add egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and butter. Mix to combine. Finally, stir in chopped dates. Mix well. Pour batter into prepared pans.
• Bake for about one hour. Please do check after 35 minutes with a wooden skewer. If it comes out clean, it means it is done. Cake will pull away from sides of pans and be golden brown.
• The dates are boiled in a cup of water and then allowed to come to room temperature, before use.
• You can add 1/2 cup of grated dried coconut to add more richness to the cake. If you feel the batter is too dry, add little yogurt to get the right consistency.
Courtesy Maria Al-Ibrahim
Did you know? Dates are a rich source of sugar,vitamins and minerals and also natural fiber.
Sweet Potato Casserole
3 cups sweet potatoes cut into chunks and boiled
¾ cups walnuts
¼ cup brown sugar
1 can pineapple cubes
1 ½ cup orange juice
1 cup mini marshmallows for toppings
• Butter a Pyrex dish and place the boiled sweet potato chunks. Dab a bit of orange marmalade.
• Sprinkle brown sugar on top, and then pour over it the orange juice.
• Put in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, dot top with marshmallows and replace in oven about 30 minutes or until brown.
Courtesy Carol Al Gattan
Did you know? Sweet potato is the richest low-fat source of vitamin E. It contributes to heart health and is a good source of dietary antioxidants. It can help to regulate high blood pressure and also helps anaemia.
Delicious Opera Fudge
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
• Butter sides of heavy 2-quart saucepan. In it, combine sugar, milk, cream, corn syrup and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Cook to soft ball stage (238 degrees).Stirring only to prevent sticking . Immediately remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla without stirring. Cool to likewarm (110degrees)
• Beat vigorously for about 10 minutes until mixture becomes very thick and starts to lose its gloss. Spread in buttered 8x4x2 inch loaf pan.Score while warm: cut when firm.
• Options: Stir in ¼ cup chopped candied cherries before spreading into pan.
Courtesy Le Ann Abdul Rahim
Did you know? Opera fudge is one of many delicious culinary specialties connected with Lebanon, PA. This fondant candy is a seasonal treat, traditionally made from Thanksgiving to Easter (it melts in the hotter months). In other parts of the US these candies are called opera drops.
The Oxford English Dictionary suggests Fudge may be a variant of an older word, “fadge,” meaning “to fit pieces together”.
200 grams Sevian or vermicilli (available at Indian stores)
90 grams butter
1/2 cup sugar
31/2 cups water
20 blanched, slivered almonds for garnishing
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder
• Break seviyan / vermicelli into 3 inch pieces and fry for about two minutes in butter. Add sugar and fry for another 2 minutes or so on moderate flame, and add cardamom powder.
• Add water and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes or till all the water is absorbed. When cooked, arrange slivered almonds and serve while still warm.
Courtesy Indira Kapadiya
Did you know? Almonds are rich in vitamin E and are a useful source of calcium. It may help reduce the risk of heart disease and can also lower blood cholesterol levels.
1 ¼ cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons melted butter
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup fresh blueberries (If you are using frozen berries, defrost them first, drain the excess liquid, and then coat them in a light dusting of flour)
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
• Grease a 12 cup muffin pan.
• Sift the flour, sugar and baking powder and salt into a bowl.
• In another bowl, whisk the eggs, add melted butter, milk, vanilla and lemon rind and stir to combine.
• Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.Stir with a metal spoon, until just the flour is moistened.
• Fold in the Blueberries, and spoon the batter into the muffin cups.
• Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.
• Test with a bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done.
• Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin and serve slightly warm or store in airtight container for 2 to 3 days. Makes 12.
Did you know? Blueberries are a good source of dietary fibre and vitamin C, they contain more antioxidants than any other fruit or vegetable – and they can also boost your brain power.
According to food historians the term Muffin originated from moufflet, an old French word applied to bread, meaning soft.
Courtesy Deepa Pant, adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Baking by Carole Clements
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
• Beat eggs with sugar until light in color, add butter, beat until smooth.
• Add flour until just combined.
• Stir in the cranberries.
• Spread the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
• Bake at 350 degrees for about 50-55 minutes.
Courtesy Corinne Boucher
Did you know? Cranberries have long been valued for their ability to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Now, recent studies suggest that they may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health, prevent the formation of kidney stones, lower LDL and raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and aid in recovery from stroke.
Paneer Tikka Platter
Cottage cheese cut into ½ inch chunks
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon Chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons mango powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
Garnishing: Cherry tomatoes, salad leaves, tomato and cucumber slices, chopped green coriander.
• To make cottage cheese, boil 4 litres full cream milk in a pan, add ½ cup vinegar and let it curdle. Strain through a muslin cloth and keep it under some heavy object to press out the excess of water, about ½ an hour is okay.
• Cut the cheese slab into slices, about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle salt to taste,red chilly powder 1 tsp. Add 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 2 tsp mango powder,garam masala 1 teaspon and add juice of 1 lemon, mix and marinate overnight.
• Mix in about 3 cups of bell peppers rings and chopped red onions to the paneer slices.
• Bake for about 20 minutes at 150 degrees C.
• Arrange the paneer slices in the middle of a platter and place the salad leaves, tomato slices, cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes on the side and sprinkle some green coriander on top. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve hot.
Courtesy Paramjeet Bawa
Did you know? Cottage cheese is a great diet food. It is low in fat and carbs and high in protein.
½ head cabbage finely shredded
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons roasted pine nuts
Ramen noodles, broken, just to sprinkle on top
2 tablespoons Canola oil
½ tablespoon sesame seed oil
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
Salt to taste
Whisk together the above ingredients.
• In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, parsley, sesame seeds and pine nuts.
• Break up uncooked noodles and toss them over the salad.
• Pour dressing over salad just before serving.
Courtesy Mary Joseph
Did you know?
Sesame seed are one of the oldest condiments known to humans. The Babylonians made sesame cakes and used the oil for cooking and toiletries. Sesame was used by the Egyptians as a medicine as early as 1500 B.C. “Open Sesame” was the magical password that opened the entrance to the cave in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. This reference is perhaps attributable to the fact that ripe sesame seed pods open with a sharp pop at the slightest touch.
Orange Tabouleh Salad
1 cup cracked bulgar wheat (tabouleh)
2 cups orange segments
2 tablespoons orange rind
2 spring onions chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint,
1 handful chopped walnuts, lightly oven-toasted
1 tomato cubed
1 tablespon Olive oil,1 tablespoon lemon juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, Salt and pepper to taste.
• Soak bulgar with 1 tablespoon grated rind and then boil bulgar to package directions, or place in a bowl and top with boiling water; cover bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
• Drain in a strainer and set aside. Burghul should still have a little bite to it when ready (like al dente). It will soften more once dressed.
• Add all the above dry ingredients to bulgar, then add lemon juice, olive oil, , herbs, walnuts and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use, or serve at room temperature.
Courtesy Sneh Sharma
Did you know? Oranges contains Vitamin C and Betacarotene –a powerful antioxidant.
Cheese and Zaater Fatayers
Ingredients for the dough:
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ¼ teaspoon yeast
Lukewarm water to knead(roughly 1 ½
To prepare the dough, mix the ingredients together, then add water slowly and knead until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let sit one hour.
Ingredients for the filling:
2 packages of Syrian Akkawi cheese,soaked in water to reduce the salt content,and cut into tiny pieces
5 or 6 bunches of fresh Zaater,picked,washed and chopped fine
1 onion finely chopped
2 green peppers chopped fine
2 medium tomatoes chopped fine
4 tablespoons of olive oil
• Mix all the ingredients together.
• After dough has risen, punch down the dough and divide it into small balls and cover and let rise for 10 minutes.
• Roll out each ball into a flat circle, then place filling onto dough, brush edges of dough with oil, then fold either as triangle or square or semi circle.
• Bake for twenty minutes in hot oven at 200 degrees C.
Courtesy Siham Abu Ghazaleh
Did you know? Cheese provides a portion of our daily intake of calcium, high protein content and important nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B12.
Akkawi is considered an excellent table cheese, and can be eaten fresh also after reducing its salt content by soaking in warm water.
Rainbow Fruit Salad
2 green apples
5 mandarin oranges,
1 cup strawberries, halved
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup seedless grapes
1 cup fresh pineapple cubed
1 cup mango cubes
1 cup Egyptian melon (the crispy one)
1 teaspoon chopped mint (optional)
2 tablespoon spoon lemon/mango/orange juice(optional)
Handful of walnuts, broken into pieces (optional)
1/2 cup yogurt (optional)
Shredded coconut (to taste and texture appeal)
• Mix thin slices of all the above fruits.
• Add juice and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of chopped, fresh mint. Toss gently in a bowl.Serve cold.
Courtesy Janica Janner
Did you know? Fruit salad is low in fat, saturated fat, sodium and is cholesterol free.
Kashmiri Kehwa (green tea)
4 cups water
4 teaspoons sugar or to taste
1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
1 stick cinnamon
pinch saffron (6 strands)
1 teaspoons kehwa or green tea
4 almonds, chopped
• Boil the water with cinnamon and the green cardamom powder and saffron and boil for 5-10 minutes.
• Add sugar, tea leaves, remove from flame, cover with lid and let stand for 3-5 minutes till the tea brews.
• Pour into warmed cups and add chopped almonds.
• Serve immediately.
Courtesy Abha Raina
Did you know? Kashmir Kehwa Tea is a traditional beverage evolved in the valley of Kashmir and is a luxurious presentation on the auspicious occasions of engagements and marriages. The Kashmiri word kehwa is also a derivative of Arabic, yet the ingredients that go into the making of Kashmiri kehwa are not coffee beans but green tea.
(A longer version of this article was published in the Arab Times)