Christmas season is a busy time for Shanaz De Lanerolle as she juggles her orders for Anna’s Kitchen and prepares to travel overseas for her husband Ishan De Lanerolle’s Christmas concert in Singapore, all of which is in addition to her full-time role as a mother to eight-year-old daughter Khaliah. However, a love of baking [...]


DIY little Christmas treats this season!


Christmas season is a busy time for Shanaz De Lanerolle as she juggles her orders for Anna’s Kitchen and prepares to travel overseas for her husband Ishan De Lanerolle’s Christmas concert in Singapore, all of which is in addition to her full-time role as a mother to eight-year-old daughter Khaliah. However, a love of baking and cooking has fuelled her commitment to keep on going, even during the season. “When you are able to feed people and they enjoy your food, there’s nothing like it,” she says, adding that few accolades can compare to this sense of accomplishment.

Shanaz, who earlier worked at Emirates Airlines has loved baking since she was young. However, it was only when she left the airline after her daughter was born that she decided to go into business with ‘Anna’s Kitchen’, under which she has published a cookery column and provided for many satisfied customers. She hopes that more people will take to the kitchen this year so that they can feed their guests something which they themselves have made. To her, a perceived lack of ability is not an excuse. “Just try it out – with the recipes I’ve given you, you can’t go terribly wrong,” she says, adding that if it’s made with love, the love will transfer into the food. In her book, a busy schedule is also not an excuse to avoid the kitchen. “It’s all about planning – with proper planning cooking is not difficult,” she says, giving an example of how she has cooked for 40 – 50 people by herself.

Financial constraints are not limiting either in her opinion – a little bit of creativity and imagination is all it takes to create a sumptuous meal. “There are three kinds of whipping cream. There’s the expensive kind that you can freeze, the well known brand and then there’s a powdered packet for Rs. 150 that you can make by adding milk. They don’t taste too different, but the pricing is quite different. Baking is like grocery shopping in that way – you buy what you can afford and use that,” she says simply. You can decide what you want to do and how you want to do it, she says – whether it’s making things festive by adding icing, or fruits or chocolate to making desserts more complex by adding layers.

Here are four simple recipes that Shanaz hopes people will try out at home. “They are really simple but they look like you’ve really done something complex,” she says. She hopes that everyone will take to the kitchen this season to make yummy treats for their families and guests. Happy Christmas cooking!

Creative cook: Shanaz De Lanerolle

Mini Christmas puddingsAll these puddings are another way of serving your Christmas cake. Easy to assemble and looks so pretty on a platter.

Christmas cake (500g for approx 12 puddings) 200g white marzipan
6 red and 6 green cherries

1. Take about 50g of Christmas cake
(approx amount of a piece of cake), roll the cake into a ball. Continue till all the cake is used up.
2. Roll out the marzipan as you would to cover your Christmas cake (about two millime- tres in thickness)
3. Cut out the marzipan into circular shapes but with a wavy circumference…almost like the shape of a flower with five petals.
4. Gently place one of these cut out marzipan shapes over each ball of Christmas cake and press it gently against the cake.
5. Cut each red cherry into four and place a
piece atop each pudding. Now cut each green cherry into longer strips and arrange against the red ones on the pudding.


Strawberry SantasThis is a real cute way to adorn your Christmas dessert table and is suitable also for older kids to make. All you need are two ingredients and a little time.

Fresh strawberries (number depends on how many Santas you need – it’s one strawberry per Santa) 200 ml whipping cream (more depending on the number of strawberries)

1. Cut off the stem end of the strawber- ries straight, so that the strawberries stand upright when placed on a plat- ter. Discard the stems.
2. Whip the cream till stiff peaks appear.
3. Cut a slice (approx 1/3 inch) from the pointed end of the strawberry . Replace this on each strawberry. This will serve as Santa’s hat.
4. Put your whipped cream in a piping bag using a star nozzle. Place all the strawberries on a platter with what was the stem end, on the bottom. Now remove one of the “hats” off a strawberry. Pipe a blob of cream and replace the pointed hat on top of the cream. Now pipe a tiny bit of cream on the point. This will be the white on the end of Santa’s hat.
5. Use two mustard seeds for eyes.


Smoked salmon canapésIngredients
One brown or white baguette sliced into
about 15 slices
8 ozs cream cheese
1 tsp Dijon mustard (cream)
15 bite sized pieces of sliced smoked salmon
2 tsps finely chopped parsley
A bunch of fresh dill leaves \

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 F. Place slices of bread on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until just crisp. Remove from heat.
2. Mix together the cream cheese (which should be at room temperature) mus- tard and parsley until well combined.
3. Spread a dollop of the cream cheese mixture on each slice of toast. Place a piece of smoked salmon on top and decorate with a few dill leaves. Arrange on a platter and serve.


Christmas cookiesThese colourful cookies are a lovely addition to your Christmas table and can even be made to adorn your Christmas tree!

Ingredients (cookies)
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup margarine softened
1/2 an egg (approximately)
1/2 tsp almond essence
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups flour
Ingredients (frosting)
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

1. In a bowl, mix the 3/4 cup icing sugar, almond essence, butter and egg until well combined. Add flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and mix to a dough.
2. Cover mixture and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out different Christmas shapes using cookie cutters . If you require them as Christmas decorations, make a small hole at the top of each cookie.
4. Place the cut out cookies on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 8-10 mins or until light brown. Transfer to a cooling rack.
5. In another bowl beat all the frosting ingredients till well com bined. Use food colouring, colour the icing as desired. Be as creative as you like and decorate the cookies using the icing.

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