I have always wanted to celebrate Christmas. I yearned for all things festive- glittering decorations, sparkling trees, a frosty winterland when I peek outside my window, intricately decorated cookies. In fact, one of the highlights of living in London was getting caught up in the spirit of Christmas.
The beautiful lights that lined Oxford Street, the food hall at Harrods adorned with exquisite delicacies, even the romantic adverts on TV. I was especially keen on the Marks and Spencer adverts which came out every Christmas.
However, my mum was never keen on the idea. We never celebrated Christmas as she always wanted to hold on to our culture, traditions and religion. And now that I am a mother, I understand that. However, I do want Maryam to enjoy the holiday period. The festive Christmas nursery rhymes, the magical aura of Santa. A winter wonderland full of snow, elves and reindeers.
Living in the middle of a desert means some elements need to be left to the imagination. However, we did celebrate in our own little way by attending a lovely gingerbread decorating session at Sally's house. Later that week, Maryam helped me wrap a present for a round of Secret Santa at nursery. She had a wonderful party there with lots of cookies, mince pies and learnt some new Christmas nursery rhymes which all the children sang in front of the parents. Besides devouring cookies, her favorite part of the day was sitting in Santa's lap and receiving her present.
That glow of excitement and amazement in her eyes at the sight of Santa appearing from behind the Christmas tree was priceless. I'm really glad we have found a great balance of being able to celebrate and embrace different holidays, festivals and cultures whilst still holding onto our own identity.
This is the perfect time to share these truffles with you that I made for Mowie's Christmas Issue. Perfect bite sized treats with a kick of coffee and a crunch from the pecans. I also made some pear tarts with a chocolate crumble, some hazelnuts and coffee. You can get the recipe for the pear tarts here (page 142 onwards).
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with their loved ones with plenty of snow, laughter, cookies and presents. And of course plenty of family time.
Click on recipe to print
150 gms white or dark chocolate (I used white)
80 ml double cream
2 tsp coffee powder
30 gms pecans, finely chopped
1 tbs butter, room temperature
Mixture of Dutch processed cocoa powder and coffee powder for rolling
Chop the chocolate finely and place in a bowl. In a pan, bring the cream and coffee powder to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir in the chopped pecans and butter. Use a wooden spatula to whisk the mixture until a homogeneous ganache is formed. Cover the bowl with a cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until the ganache is set.
Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and using a teaspoon or a melon scooper, scoop small balls into the palms of your hand and roll into balls. Place on wax paper and back into the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Sift a mixture of cocoa powder and coffee powder into a bowl. Roll each truffle into the mixture and shake off any excess powder with your hands or in a sieve. Serve the truffles at room temperature or store in an air tight container for up to a few weeks.
Makes approximately 16-20 truffles depending on size.