Every year when we turn the curb on November I’m almost always surprised that yet another year has passed ever so quickly. The better weather in Dubai is received with both quiet reflective moments, warm cups of spiced tea and thinking about the year that was as well as months of entertaining and overindulging with friends and family.
The second half of this year has been so busy I’ve hardly had time for the blog and felt I had spent all my time catching my breath between product planning, orders and showing at makers’ markets. There have been so many different projects, each unique in their own right that I often feel like I’ve spread myself too thin. In retrospect, it’s given me so many opportunities to learn and better myself as I go. One of the ways I’ve learnt a tonne this year has been through collaborations with restaurants, brands, chefs, home bakers, content creators, food photographers and bloggers. The food industry has so many freelancers it’s so competitive but also very inclusive. It’s like we thrive off the energy and excitement of having so many of us on a similar journey around.
Around Christmas I end up baking a cake or cookies but this year with the launch of my spice range I decided to collaborate with Gaya from Gaya makes Content to help her make a complete Christmas Brunch for her family and friends. Christmas entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful and occasions like this should be about spending time with the ones you love rather than fussing unnecessarily in the kitchen. The Christmas Brunch Menu below is easily made on Christmas morning with a limited amount of preparation the previous evening. The spice mixes from my recently launched range The Spice Route have been used in these recipes to help make festive dishes that are so easy any kitchen novice can be persuaded into to make these dishes.
Feast your eyes on the Christmas Menu below and the detailed recipe for each that follows. Happy Holidays!!!
Poached Pear & Gingerbread Pancakes
Makes 10 pancakes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes (+ overnight for the poached pears)
Cooking Time: 20 mins
4 whole pears peeled with the stem intact
300 ml cranberry juice/port wine
50 ml orange juice
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1/2 tsp The Spice Route Christmas Special Gingerbread Spice Mix
Assorted citrus peel (lemon, orange, clementine etc.)
1.5 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup of milk
1 tsp The Spice Route Christmas Special Gingerbread Spice Mix
2 Tbsp of molasses or honey
Pinch of salt
Mincemeat pie filling
- In a medium saucepan bring all the ingredients for the poaching liquid except the pears to a boil.
- Add in the pears, make sure to fit them in the pan so they don’t move around much and are almost entirely submerged in the poaching liquid.
- Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes with the pan covered.
- Remove from the heat. allow it to cool to room temperature before setting it in the fridge overnight to absorb the flavours and colour better.
- Next, mix all the ingredients for the pancake in a bowl and mix until there are no lumps. Set aside the bowl for 10 minutes.
- In shallow non-stick pan on medium flame, add a bit of butter. Spoon out 2-3 Tbsp of pancake mixture into the pan.
- Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Set the cooked pancakes to the side.
- To serve, slice the pear in half, scoop out the seeds and stem and place on top of the pancake.
- Add some mascarpone cheese in the middle of the pear. Sprinkle orange zest and top with a spoon of Mincemeat pie filling and some of the remaining poaching juice.
Makes 12 Pieces
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Baking Time: 10 mins
1 Baguette sliced into 1/4 inch pieces (12 pieces)
2 Tbsp of Olive Oil
50g Cranberry Jam
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1/2 tsp The Spice Route Sichuan Chinese 5 Spice
Rosemary for the Garnish
- Preheat oven to 175 ºC. Arrange baguette slices on baking paper drizzle the olive oil over the slices and bake in the oven for 5 minutes until toasted.
- Remove the tray from the oven, cut slices of Brie and place over the bread and place back in the oven for another 5 minutes until the brie has melted.
- In the meantime in a saucepan, add the cranberry jam, the juice of half an orange and 1/2 tsp of Sichuan Chinese 5 Spice and cook on medium heat.
- Top the cranberry mixture on the crostinis and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Serving Size: 4 people
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Baking Time: 60 mins
6 Small white potatoes
6 small red potatoes
50g of garlic butter melted
1 Tbsp of The Spice Route Provençal Herb Mix
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 ºC.
- Wash, clean and dry the potatoes on the paper towel and keep the skin on the potatoes.
- Cut slits 1/8 inch apart into the potato, stopping just before you cut through so that the slices stay joint at the bottom of the potato.
- Place the potatoes with the slit side up onto a baking dish. Brush the garlic butter onto the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 30 mins
- Take out of the oven, brush again with the melted garlic butter, sprinkle the provençal herbs, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for another 30 minutes.
- You can rest the potato on a cutting board and place a chopstick on either side to serve as a guide for where to stop slicing. When the knife cuts through it will stop at the chopstick making sure the bottom of the potato is still intact.
- Pair these with a simple Sour Cream or Labneh dip.
Shakshuka with Dukkah
Serves 4 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cooking Time 25 mins
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
2 tomatoes diced
200 ml tomato puree
1 cup water
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 red chilli powder
1 Tbsp The Spice Route Dukkah Spice Mix
Salt to tatse
Fresh coriander to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add in the diced onions and green bell pepper saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add in the diced tomatoes and tomato puree along with the cumin, coriander, red chilli powder and salt stir, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2-1 cup of water, stir. Cover the skillet and let it cook for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
- Make 4 wells in the sauce with a tablespoon. Gently break the eggs and pour into each well. Simmer on low heat for 6 minutes or until the whites have set.
- Remove from heat and generous sprinkle the dukkah mix over and garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander.