Bridget White-Kumar shares some easy recipes from the Anglo-Indian festive hamper of Christmas cakes, sweets and home-made wine
Christmas Fruit Cake
Ingredients: 300 gm plain flour or maida; ¼ tsp salt; 250 gm butter; 250 gm sugar (powdered); 300 gm mixed dried fruit (chopped into small pieces); 3 eggs beaten well; ½ cup cold milk; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 1 tsp baking powder.
Method: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a big bowl. Mix in the butter and rub finely with the fingertips to form crumbs. Add the sugar, vanilla essence, chopped fruit and mix well. Add the milk and eggs. Using a fork mix to a semi-stiff batter without churning or beating. When evenly mixed pour the mixture into a greased and papered cake tin and bake in a hot oven for 45 minutes or till the cake is cooked inside and brown on the top.
Simple Plum Cake
Ingredients: 300 gm flour or maida; 250 gm butter; 250 gm powdered sugar; 3 eggs (whites beaten well separately); 1 tsp baking powder; 2 teaspoons chopped orange or lemon peel; 100 gm black currants chopped; 2 tbsp date syrup (for colour); 2 cloves and 2 small pieces of cinnamon powdered; 1 tsp vanilla essence; ¼ tsp salt.
Method: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Dust the orange/ lemon peel and chopped black currants with a little flour. Cream the butter and sugar well. Add the egg yolks, date syrup, cinnamon and clove powder and vanilla essence and mix well. Add the orange/ lemon peel and black currants. Slowly add the egg whites and flour and fold in well. If the mixture is too thick, add a little milk. Pour into a greased and papered baking tin or dish and bake in a slow oven for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven when done and set aside to cool.
Special Steamed Christmas Plum Pudding
Ingredients: 200 gm fresh bread crumbs; 200 gm butter; 2 tsp instant coffee (Nescafe or Bru); 2 tsp date syrup; ½ tsp baking powder; 2 eggs beaten well; ¼ cup rum;1 tsp ground cinnamon and cloves; ¼ tsp ground nutmeg; 100 gm raisins; 100 gm chopped sultanas; 100 gm mixed peel; ½ tsp salt; 100 gm sugar.
Method: Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and mix well. Gradually add all the other ingredients and mix well. Grease a pudding mould or any suitable bowl with butter. Pour the pudding mixture into it and steam the pudding for about 1 hour on low heat till it is firm to touch.
Note: This pudding can be made in advance and refrigerated till required. Steam for 10 minutes or microwave for 3 minutes before serving.
Fruit Mince Pies
Ingredients: 200 gm flour or maida; 2 eggs beaten; 150 gm powdered sugar; 1 tsp cinnamon powder; 250 gm chopped dry fruits soaked in a little rum before hand; 150 gm butter; ½ tsp baking powder.
Method: Sieve the flour with the baking powder. Cream butter and sugar till creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs, then mix with the flour. Knead to a smooth batter. Roll out the dough and cut out circles. Line a few pie shells with this. Fill each one with the marinated dry fruit and seal with another layer of the dough. Prick on top with a toothpick. Bake the pies in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.
Ingredients: 1 kg refined flour or maida; 6 eggs beaten well; 2 cups thick coconut milk; ½ tsp salt; 300 gm sugar; 1 tsp baking powder; Oil for deep frying.
Method: Mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Add the coconut milk and eggs and knead to a soft dough. Keep aside for an hour. Form kalkals by taking small lumps of the dough and roll on the back of a fork or a wooden kalkal mould, to form a scroll. Alternately, roll out the dough and cut into fancy shapes with kalkal or cookie cutters. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry as many kalkals as possible at a time.
Ingredients: ½ kg refined flour or maida; 250 gm rice flour (optional); 1 cup coconut milk; 200 gm sugar; 6 eggs beaten well; ½ tsp salt; 1 litre oil for frying; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 1 tsp baking powder.
Method: Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth and slightly thick batter. Heat oil in a deep pan till it reaches boiling point. Now place the rose cookie mould into the oil to get hot. When the mould is hot enough dip it half way only into the batter and put it back immediately into the boiling oil. Shake the mould to separate the cookie from it. Heat the mould again and repeat the process. Fry rose cookies till brown. Continue in this way till the batter is finished.
Note: The batter will stick to the rose cookie mould with a hissing sound only if it is sufficiently hot; otherwise it will just slide off the mould.
Ingredients: 2 tbsp gelatin; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 250 gm sugar; 2 tbsp icing sugar; ¼ tsp pink food colour.
Method: Soak the gelatin in ½ cup cold water and keep aside for some time till it dissolves completely. On low heat, melt the sugar with ½ cup of water in a pan. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture, mix well and bring to boil. Keep cooking on high heat for about 6 to 8 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. When it is still lukewarm, add the vanilla essence and the food colour and beat well with a fork or egg-beater until thick. Pour this mixture into a dish or plate. Refrigerate till set. Cut into squares then roll in icing sugar.
Ingredients: 2 kg sweet black grapes; 2 kg sugar; 3 litres water; ½ tsp active dry yeast or a handful of whole wheat.
Method: Wash the grapes and crush them well with the sugar. Add the water and the yeast/ wheat and store in a stone jar or any other container. Leave for 21 days, stirring the wine every alternate day. After 21 days, strain the wine into another jar. To add more colour to the wine, burn some sugar with a little of the wine in a saucepan. When the sugar is burnt to a nice brown, add to the wine and mix well. It will give it a lovely rich colour. Bottle and keep for future use.
Ginger Wine also known as O T - the Non Temperance Drink for Teetotalers to wash down all the rich food during Christmas
Ingredients: 200 gm fresh ginger; 1 kg sugar; 6 limes (extract the juice); 3 pieces cinnamon; 1 red chilli (remove the seeds); 3 litres water.
Method: Peel and wash the ginger and cut into thin slices. Make lime juice and keep aside. Put all the above ingredients together with the water and bring to boil. Boil for at least 2 hours, first on high then on low heat till the decoction is slightly thick. Remove from heat and add the lime juice. When cold, strain through a thin cloth, then bottle, and use whenever required.