Plaintain, commonly referred to as gonja, are a popular delicacy in Uganda. Plaintain is a member of the banana family. It is starchy, low in sugar and can be cooked or roasted over fire. Plaintain is a street food in Uganda. It is cooked over open fire with the skin. It is then spilt in the middle, sprinkled with salt, red chilli and lemon. The skin is your plate. It can be boiled with the skin, you peel it and eat it. My Mum often fried and served it. She also made gonja fritters or Naryal Vara Gonja(Gonja cooked in coconut milk) and served as a dessert. Gonja is very popular in the Caribbean, it is fried and served as a side. Fried gonja and fritters were a popular afternoon snack with a cup of tea. You have to store the gonja in a dark warm place to ripen them. They have to be soft before you use them.
2 ripe plaintain bananas
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup homo milk
1/4 cup sugar(or to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp crushed cardamon seeds
20 strands saffron
1 tbsp slivered almonds
1 tbsp slivered pistachios
In a medium saucepan boil some water.
Peel and slice the bananas and boil for about 5 minutes. The bananas will become soft.
In another large saucepan boil coconut milk, milk, sugar and spices. When it starts to boil turn the heat to medium and let it simmer. When the banana is cooked, take it out of the water with a slotted spoon and drop it in the coconut mixture.
Cook for about five minutes on medium heat.
Let it cool down, transfer it into a serving bowl and refrigerate it till ready to serve.
Decorate with slivered almonds and pistachios before serving.
Ma’amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with pistachios, walnuts or dates. They are served all over the Arab world for Eid and Easter.
A special wooden mould is used to shape a ma’amoul, the round shallow molds are for dates, oval molds are for pistachios and deeper molds for walnuts. If you do not have the molds you can shape the ma’moul in your hand or use a small tart pan.
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 lb unsalted butter
1 tbsp rosewater
4 tbsp milk
icing sugar for dusting the pastries
1 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup sugar(granulated or icing)
1 tbsp rosewater
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup sugar(granulated or icing)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rosewater
Make the fillings. Chop the nuts and mix in the sugar. If you don’t like a grainy texture, you can use icing sugar. The tblsp of rosewater will make the nut mixture moist and easy to shape. Add cinnamon to the walnuts.
In a large bowl add the flour.
Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it into the flour(using the tip of your fingers)
Add the rose water, followed by milk and make a soft dough.
Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each quarter into about 9 balls to make approximately 36 balls of dough-depending on the size of the mold.
Fill the dough balls with a spoonful of nuts. First, flatten a ball of dough with your thumb and make a hollow. Place the nuts into the hollow. Be generous with the filling. Pinch the dough back over the nut filling, making a ball shape. Do this with the rest of the balls.
Press the filled dough balls one by one into the ma’moul mold.
To snap the dough out of the mold, tap the tip of the mold against the edge of the counter with a firm quick movement. With the other hand, catch the ma’moul and place it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dust some flour inside the mold if it’s sticking.
This rich German fruit bread is particularly popular in the city of Dresden, where a huge stollen is traditionally paraded through the streets at the annual Stollenfest.
1.5 oz candied peel
2 oz glace cherries
4 oz raisins, sultanas and currants
1 oz dried cranberries
2 tbsp brandy or rum
3-4 cardamom pods
1 tsp dried active yeast*
1 oz sugar
1/4 cup whole milk, plus a little extra
10 oz all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 oz unsalted butter(at room temperature)
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 oz almomds
8 oz marzipan
olive oil, or vegetable oil for greasing
icing sugar, for dusting
Finely chop the candied peel, and quarter the glace cherries. Finely grate the orange zest.
Place all the diced fruit into a bowl with the orange zest. Squeeze the orange juice into a pan, add the brandy or rum and heat to just below boiling point, then pour it over the dried fruit. Mix well, then set aside for 1 to 2 hours to allow it to plump up.
Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods, then grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar(roughly 1/4 tsp)
Spoon the yeast into a bowl of a free standing mixer, then add sugar.
In a pan, heat the milk until just warm, add to the yeast and whisk to combine. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes, until the yeast has formed a thick foamy crust on the milk.
Add the flour, spices and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Using a dough hook, combine the butter, egg and vanilla, then mix for 5 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
Roughly chop the almonds and pistachio.
Pour away about half the liquid from the soaked fruit, then add the fruit and remaining liquid to the dough, along with the nuts. Mix again.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 1 minute. Shape the dough into an oval shape, about A4 size.
Roll the marzipan into a neat log, about 4cm shorter than the length of the dough , and place in the middle of the oval.
Brush one long edge with milk and fold it over, completely encasing the marzipan, and press the edge together to seal.
Carefully lift the dough onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees/gas mark 4.
Remove the clingfilm, then bake the stollen for 30 minutes, or until golden, risen and the underside sounds slightly hollow when tapped.
Leave to cool on a wire rack before dredging with icing sugar.
*Not to be confused with fast action dried yeast, which comes in a tub. Unlike fast-action, it needs to be activated with warm liquid and sugar before adding to the mixture.
Hamantaschen is a filled pocket or pastry recognizable for its triangular shape, usually associated with Jewish holiday of Purin. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough with a filling placed in the centre. Hamantaschen are made with many different filling, including poppy seed(the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, raspberry, raisins, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, fig, and chocolate.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulted sugar
4 tsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp lemon or orange zest
1/ 2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup apricot or raspberry jam
1 tbsp milk
Whirl flour, sugar, poppy seeds, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a food processor.
Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form.
Whisk yolks, egg and vanilla in a bowl and pour through feed tube. pulsing until dough starts to come together.
gently knead into a ball and divide in half.
Wrap in plastic wrap and press into discs. refrigerate at least 1 hour or unto 3 days.(bring to room temperature before rolling).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Roll dough on a lighty floured surface to1/4” thickness. Use a 3” round cookie cutter to cut out dough, rerolling scraps. Scoop a scant 1 tsp jam into centre of each round.
Lightly brush edges of rounds with milk. Pinch in 3 corners to seal, forming a triangle, leaving jam centre open.
Refrigerate for 15 min.
Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.