Tis the season for some easy, exotic and lip-smacking Christmas delicacies

Published: December 23, 2018
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Cooking for Christmas is the way many share the joy of this holiday with their friends and family. PHOTO: NAZEEHA KHAN

Finally, it’s that time of the year again. Christmas, as traditional as it sounds, is reminiscent of many childhood holidays. From stuffing the chicken and turkey to baking fragrant ornaments for the Christmas tree, hanging up stockings and decking up the living room, some of our favourite festive memories have come from this holiday.  

Cooking for Christmas is the way many share the joy of this holiday with their friends and family. You cannot just serve the Christmas bakes on the table; you should wrap them, adorn them with beautiful embellishments and send them to your loved ones as Christmas giveaways too.

Here is a compilation of three exotic Christmas recipes that will help add grandeur to your festive dinners and tea parties. If you have limited time to spend in the kitchen, you can treat your guests to these delectable goodies.

While I share my Christmas love, you make sure to fill your houses with the fragrances of the season with wood-scented potpourri, scented candles or aromatic dough ornaments.

Tis the season to celebrate after all.

Herb Honey and Garlic Roasted Chicken

This chicken is an exotic addition to any festive table. It tastes great on its own but you can also serve it with various sides as well.

Ingredients:

Whole chicken, with skin: 1

Garlic: 3 tbsp, freshly chopped

Mayonnaise: 1 cup

Oil: ½ cup

Balsamic vinegar: 3 tbsp

Dark soy sauce: 1½ tbsp

Honey: ¼ cup

Garlic powder: 1 tsp

Salt: ½ tsp

Black pepper: 1 tbsp, freshly grounded

Dried oregano: 1 tsp

Dried thyme: 1 tsp

Dried basil: ½ tsp

Dried parsley: ½ tsp

To fill in the cavity:

Lemon: 2 halves

Rosemary: a few sprigs

Onion: 2 halves

Method:

1. Preheat the oven at 150 degrees celsius.

2. Add all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir together to form the marinade.

3. Place whole chicken in a plastic container breast side up and start massaging the marinade on it. Cover and let it marinate overnight.

4. Next morning, place the well-marinated chicken in a roasting pan along with all the leftover marinade. Insert lemon and onion halves and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity. Tie the bird’s legs using butchers twine.

5. Tent the pan with a sheet of aluminium foil. Bake for 30 minutes with the foil on.

6. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and brush the marinade onto the chicken every 10 minutes. Do this twice till the skin gets a golden crisp exterior.

Enjoy!

Christmas Shortbread Cookies

These rich, creamy and buttery shortbread cookies not only add beauty to your Christmas table and bake jars but also make for impeccable Christmas giveaways.

Ingredients:

Salted butter: 125 grams, softened at room temperature

Icing sugar: ¼ cup

Butter essence: a few drops

Flour: 1 cup

Rice flour: ¼ cup

Method:

1. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees celsius.

2. Start by taking the salted butter that has been softened at room temperature and add it to a bowl. Add icing sugar to the same bowl and using a rubber spatula, start creaming the two.

3. Add a few drops of butter essence. This is the secret ingredients to all shortbread cookies.

4. Add flour and rice flour to the butter mixture and fold in with your spatula.

5. Roll out the dough making sure that it is quarter-inch thick.

6. Use your favourite cookie cutters and cut out as many cookies as you can.

7. Place them on a grease-proof baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Orange Fruit Cake

This recipe makes such a moist, juicy and lip-smacking orange cake that your guests will not be able to resist another slice. Therefore, be sure to make a few extra loaves to enjoy throughout the holiday season.

Ingredients:

Oil: 1 cup

Castor sugar: 1½ cups

Eggs: 4

Vanilla essence: 1 tsp

Orange essence: ½ tsp

Flour: 2 cups

Baking powder: 2 tsp

Baking soda: ¼ tsp

Salt: ¼ tsp

Orange zest: 1 tsp

Buttermilk: ½ cup

Fresh orange juice: ½ cup

Orange food colour: a pinch

Mixed dried fruits: ¾ cup (glazed green and red cherries chopped, currants and raisins)

Flour: 3 tbsp, to toss the dried fruits in

Method:

1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius.

2. Begin by measuring out the ingredients. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. Zest one orange and squeeze out the juice from the same.

4. Prepare buttermilk if you are unable to find the readymade one. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar to milk and let it stand for five minutes. You will see the milk curdle and thicken. Your buttermilk is ready.

5. Next, toss the dried fruits in flour so that they are well-coated.

6. Add oil, sugar, eggs, orange essence and vanilla essence in a large mixing bowl and start beating them at medium speed till they are well mixed.

7. Add orange food colour to the mixture.

8. And now for the fun part. Add in the flour mixture, the zest, the freshly squeezed orange juice and buttermilk to the egg batter and use an electric beater at low speed till everything is mixed well.

9. Finally, fold in the flour-coated dried fruits into the batter.

10. Grease a nine-inch loaf tin and line it with parchment paper. Grease the paper as well. Now pour the batter in the pan and bake for 35 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Serve this delicious cake with tea or as a dessert.

Merry Christmas!

All photos: Nazeeha Khan

Nazeeha Khan

Nazeeha Khan

The author is a self taught passion driven baker. She conducts culinary classes in PECHS and DHA, runs a food blog, a YouTube channel and has mentored many students as they turned into entrepreneurs/home based bakers. She tweets @MySecretBakes

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    The chicken and the orange cake looks yummy ….. shortbread cookies or butter biscuits are too crumbly and bland. You should have done a Christmas pudding with custard sauce instead. Loved the pictures.Recommend