Christmas dinner recipes – how the world celebrates

Here’s a peek into the kitchens of the world during Christmas time!
Australia: It’s a summer Christmas always! So barbeque time – prawns, steak and chicken, on the beaches ending the huge feast with ice creams and sorbets. Have a taste of Barbequed Chicken.

Czech Republic: As a tradition (and an auspicious event) people sit in even numbers for dinner which can be fish soup, salads, eggs and carp.
Finland: It is customary to see casseroles of macaroni, rutabaga, carrots and potatoes, with ham or turkey or a mixed platter of meat and fish.
Germany: The popular poultry is still goose, roasted whole and served with potatoes, cabbage, carrots, parsnip and pickles. However, rural southern Germany still relishes wild boar and venison on Christmas day.
Greenland: The traditional Christmas dinner recipes may include ‘kiviak’: little seabirds named auks that are a bit like penguins, wrapped in sealskin and they are buried whole in this sealskin for several months till they reach an advanced stage of decomposition. Considered a delicacy. Other foods that are enjoyed are soups and stews, barbequed fish, or even raw fish. Baked apples and berried with crisp toppings and Danish pastries form the desserts. You could try out a simple Apple Crumble at home.
Italy: An Italian Christmas lunch is a leisurely seven course feast: antipasto, a small portion of pasta, roast meat, two salads, two sweet puddings followed by cheese, fruit, brandy and chocolates.
Jamaica: The traditional Christmas dinner is rice, peas, chicken, ox tail and curried goat.
Portugal: A special meal includes salted dry cod-fish with boiled potatoes eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve.
Russia: Christmas delicacies include cakes, pies and meat dumplings.
South Africa: It is the hot summer season during Christmas but they traditionally have a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.
Sweden: A super buffet for Christmas boasting of varieties of shellfish, pork, cooked and raw herring fish, caviar, cheese and brown beans.
United Kingdom: Christmas Pudding and Mince Pies are top of the list. A Christmas luncheon with family and friends will have turkey, roast vegetables, sausage and bacon. With the two favoured desserts even chocolates are generously passed around.
USA: With its multi cultural population, there is nothing specific as a Christmas feast. However, in small towns and rural America, goose, turkey, a variety of vegetables, squash, and pumpkin pie are traditionally eaten on Christmas day. Families from Western European origins enjoy turkey or ham with cranberry sauce. Families from Eastern European origins have a larger spread with turkey and its trimmings, keilbasi (a Polish sausage), cabbage preparations and some soups. It could be Christmas lasagna for some Italian families! Something like Spinach and Mozzarella Lasagna could interest you!

Joy of Halwa

As a North Indian, I can say I have grown up eating halwapuri halwa is a special breakfast combination in Punjab and Delhi! The Golden Temple in Amritsar has the Kadaprasad which is a rich version of halwa…then of course we have the suji halwa which takes the name of sheera in some states. But what I was totally thrilled with is the Lakshwadeep Halwa I picked up in Kottayam this weekend. I have tasted Kerala’s most famous traditional banana halwa – firm, nutty and quite dark in colour (frankly, its black!) but is appetising in looks! I picked up not only banana halwa for family, friends and colleagues but also the more contemporary pineapple halwa and my discovery Lakshwadeep Halwa. It comes in little banana leaf parcels all tied up with twine.

First you have to untie the twine. And yes, the more interested ones had a good whiff of the parcel before opening it…the contents are soft and dark and in a ball shape…the first bite says coconut, coconut all the way and the second bite gives signals of something sweet (maybe jaggery or dates, dates it is ) and then the third bite onwards you get the ginger taste. By this time, the taste buds are completely satiated with the fruity flavours and one starts to fill up on it. Lovely but best to have only one half of it!

My chat here is slowly going to take you to the fact that one should really try out new things and also to savour the taste and then come to a conclusion about your liking or dislike for it. In fact, I love to create new recipes and this is what most of us crave for all the time…something new to keep the taste buds revved up. If one enjoys new flavours then life will take you onto a fast track of gastronomic discoveries.

So lets give you something new to start the week…no more Monday blues!

Soya Granule Lasagne
Chicken and Spinach Pizza
Corn and Coriander Rice

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.

Wonderchef Workshop

Well, so what if the rains are late…life goes on and there is a lot of activity in the office with the first Wonderchef Workshop getting over today! Three days of buzyness…lots of demonstrations using the Ballarini and Pavoni Cookware. The new joinees are all enthusiastic about how easy to use and wonderful the whole range is.
We have enjoyed making Pan Lasagne, Chicken Flower Dumplings, Quesadillas and Mango Bhapa Doi! Multi cuisine at its best. The finale today are some Mixed Fruit Muffins which I will be making late in the afternoon, timing the final batch to come out from the oven coinciding with the hot cups of tea which are sure to do the rounds. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
Wonderchef is getting off the ground slowly and steadily and it is heartening to see people who enjoy cooking enhancing the experience with such excellent cookware.
Till I write again,
Sanjeev Kapoor.