Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of the year. Some of the things that make the festival so special are the cosy get-togethers, the festive decorations, the gifts and of course, the sumptuous food! We spend our time during Christmas at cosy dinners and brunches surrounded by our loved ones, needless to say the cooking for our close adds a personal touch even the fanciest of eateries can’t compete with. Here are two great recipes to try out this Christmas that will have your loved one’s mouth watering and make Christmas a whole lot merrier!

Executive Chef Anuj Kapoor from The Grand, Delhi gives us two awesome treats.

Many-grain-sugarfree-spiced Festive Cake

Christmas Cake, Cooking

Nothing like digging into slightly spiced and warm fresh baked cake on a chilly winter noon. Specially So great when it is Sugarfree too! And how about if I were to tell you wholewheat and multigrain as well.

Basic cake Ingredients:

  • Egg – 6 numbers
  • Whole wheat flour – 1 Cup
  • Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Olive oil – 1 cup
  • Low Cal Sweetener like Stevia – 2 Tea spoons

Nuts & Grain Mix:

  • Honey – 2 Table spoons
  • Rum – 2 Table spoon
  • Assorted Seeds & grains like – linseed, chia seeds, Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds – ½ cup
  • Chopped Orange peel & ginger chips – 1 Table spoon
  • Dry fruits and Nuts – Raisin, Apricot chopped, Almond chopped – ½ cup
  • Spices – roast and powder – 3 stick Cinnamon, 5 green cardamoms, 3 pieces mace, half a nutmeg

Nuts & Grain Mix Method:

  • Mix all the ingredients for the Nuts and Grain Mix in a bowl and leave aside covered for a day.
  • This will keep well refrigerated in a jar for months

Making the Cake:

  • Pre-heat oven to 160 deg C.
  • Beat the eggs for five minutes.
  • Sift the flour two times. Mix baking powder, sweetener and olive oil to it. Mix all nut & grain mix. Fold in the eggs. Pour the mixture in a butter paper lined metal mould or a non-stick mould or a silicone cake mould as per availability.
  • Bake for one hour.
  • You can even give the cake a Christmas pudding effect by introducing steam to the baking. If your oven doesn’t have steam injection – introduce a small metal/silicone bowl filled with of hot water in the oven chamber.

Ras-al-Hanout Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Ras Al Hanout, Roast Chicken, Cooking, Christmas

What’s better than preparing your own individual take on a festive roast. Here I am sharing an innovative roast Chicken recipe with a twist of Ras-Al-Hanout marination. Ras-al-hanout is a north African spice blend that every household has their own recipe for. It is kind of how garam masala is to Indian kitchens. I will share my own recipe for the spice blend that I know works very well. It imparts great flavor to the bird that everyone will enjoy on a festive family Luncheon or Dinner.

Ingredients for Chicken:

  • Broiler Chicken 1 number Skin on, whole dressed bird, between 1kg to 1.1 Kg
  • Buttermilk 200 ml
  • Himalayan Pink Rock Salt to taste
  • Fresh rosemary 4 full length twigs
  • Dry herb not recommended. In case fresh rosemary is not available, its best to use another fresh herb like thyme or sage instead.

Ingredients for Root Vegetables:

  • Sweet Potatoes – Potatoes
  • Carrots, Small onions, Turnips 2 Kg assorted
  • Large lemons 2 numbers

For Ras Al Hanout:

  • Green Cardamom 5 numbers
  • Cumin seeds 1 tablespoon
  • Cloves 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon 2 large sticks broken into small fragments
  • Nutmeg 1 whole broken into small fragments
  • peppercorn 1 tablespoon
  • Fenugreek 1 teaspoon
  • Dry Red chilli whole 5 numbers broken into small pieces
  • Dry ginger powder 1 tablespoon

Reserve the chilli and dry ginger powder as they will burn quickly. Take all the other whole spices and put them in a dry heavy bottom pan over very low heat. Dry roast the spices for 8-10 minutes – stirring all the time with a wooden spatula.Remove from heat if the spices become too hot and begin to emit smoke. Add the broken dry chilli and ginger powder. Stir for two more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Powder in a dry spice blender. Store in an air tight container.

Ras-Al-Hanout will stay well for weeks. It can be used in curries, stir fries or even something as simple as tossed vegetables or mushrooms.

Dressing The Chicken

Roughly chop the rosemary and keep aside. Clean and prepare the bird. Take buttermilk in a bowl add 3/4th of the rosemary, Salt to taste and two tablespoons of Ras-al-Hanout. Season the bird very well all over with the buttermilk seasoning. Rub well on the inside cavity. Cling wrap the chicken and refrigerate overnight.

The D-Day

Take the bird out of the chiller, remove wrap, rub the fallen marination back in the chicken and tie the legs together. Keep at room temperature for 3 hours. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C.

Wash & pre-prep all vegetables. No need to peel potatoes and turnips, just srub well under running water. If using baby potatoes cut them into two, peeled baby onions can be left whole, cut the lemons into halves. Cut all other vegetables into large chunks. Marinate the vegetables with two tablespoons of Olive Oil, pink salt, remaining rosemary and 1 teaspoon of Ras-al-Hanout

Lay the vegetables out on the roasting tray. Arrange the bird with breast side up and keep in the oven. Flipping the vegetables over – After 15 minutes take the tray out, remove the bird from the tray carefully, turn the vegetables over, place the bird back on the tray, brush with olive oil and back in the oven for another 10 minutes. By this time the bird as well as the vegetables should be cooked, and skin should be golden brown. Add/subtract a few minutes if the weight of the bird was more or less. Remove from oven; give a final brushing of olive oil. Serve with lemon halves and roasted root vegetables.