Joe and Petal's Recipes

This is the Christmas season and Joe and Petal are offering some very traditional recipes. Ozman has provided one special exotic recipe from Morocco to make you think of warmer weather.


Traditional Plum Pudding

plum pudding

Christmas pudding, also known as plum pudding. It is traditionally made five weeks before Christmas, on or after the Sunday before Advent. That day was often deemed "Stir-up Sunday," and each family member in the household gave the pudding a stir and made a wish.

Irish plum pudding accompanied by brandy butter is part and parcel of a traditional Irish Christmas food feast although it is doubtful that the dessert we eat today would be immediately recognizable to our ancestors who lived through the 18th century. Their version was lighter - in both weight and color.

Over the years, as more exotic ingredients have become available, the Irish plum pudding we know and love today has evolved.

The following recipes are guaranteed to finish off Christmas Dinner in fine form.


  • 3oz/90g/ white breadcrumbs
  • 1½oz/45g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4oz/115g demerara sugar (a rich golden sugar with a hint of molasses 100% pure cane sugar).
    Regular white sugar will work.
  • 4oz/115g prepared suet
  • 4oz/115g diced plum/prunes
  • 4oz/115g raisins
  • 4oz/115g currants
  • 2oz/55g sliced almonds
  • 1oz/30g chopped cherries
  • 2oz/55g peel
  • 1/2 lemon, rind and juice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp mixed spice
  • Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Salt


Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, and then add lemon rind, juice and eggs. Mix really well. Place the mixture in a well-greased 1½ pint/850ml bowl and cover the bowl with two well-greased pieces of greaseproof paper. Steam the mixture for six hours and then remove the paper.

Ignore any fat lying on the top of the pudding as it will be absorbed. Once the pudding is cold, recover it, still in its bowl, with fresh paper and store it for up to three months. You can douse it in rum or brandy occasionally if you like a pudding with a kick.

On Christmas morning, steam it for three hours.

A traditional Irish plum pudding is brought to the table aflame. Obviously you need to take extra care doing this. Before serving, pour brandy or any other alcohol over the pudding and set it alight.

Brandy Butter

This is a very simple brandy butter recipe... Because you get to taste it as you go, you'll find it puts you rather nicely in the Christmas spirit! You can freeze it if you wish, but it keeps well enough in the fridge without being frozen.


  • 6 tablespoons brandy
  • 6oz/175g unsalted butter
  • 6oz/175g soft dark brown sugar.

Method: Using either a food processor or a hand whisk, blend the room temperature butter with the sugar until it is soft and creamy. Once it is smooth, add in a small quantity of brandy. Mix well. Repeat until all the brandy is used up. Taste, and add more brandy if you think it needs it.

Put the mixture into a sealed container and wait for Christmas Day. Serve, as cold as possible, with plum pudding.

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Ginger bread

gingerbread cookies

Volumes exist on the origins of gingerbread. For these purposes, suffice it to say an early form of gingerbread can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used it for ceremonial purposes. Gingerbread made an appearance in Europe when 11th-century crusaders brought the spice back from the Middle East for the rich folks' cooks to experiment with.

The first gingerbread man is credited to Queen Elizabeth I, who knocked the socks off visiting dignitaries by presenting them with one baked in their own likeness. Gingerbread tied with ribbon was popular at fairs and, when exchanged, became a token of love.

The gingerbread house became popular in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their fairy tale collection which included "Hansel and Gretel" in the 19th century.

Nuremberg, Germany, has been famous for its gingerbread cookies and cakes since the middle Ages. The cookies were originally baked in intricately carved wooden molds but today are more often cut in rounds or the shapes of snowflakes, hearts and other fanciful designs.

Traditional recipe updated
Makes about 3 dozen Gingerbread Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir together pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom until combined. Add ice cream and stir until well blended. Scoop the mixture into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Cover and place in the freezer until firm, at least 2 hours. It will be easier to cut if you let it slightly soften in the refrigerator for about 10 to 20 minutes before serving.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar until light and lemon-colored. Add the spices, baking soda-water mixture and honey. Mix well. Add flour gradually and mix until a stiff dough forms. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Next, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into whatever shape you desire. Place on the non stick baking pan, or line pan with parchment paper.

Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.

Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. It's best to ice or glaze these cookies right before serving.

Decoration A few things you will need:

  • Aluminum foil or better yet, silicon baking mats
  • Heavy duty mixer (you can mix by hand if ya have it in ya)
  • Rolling pin
  • Spatula
  • Cooling racks
  • Pastry bags and tips (for later if you plan to decorate with icing)
  • Cookie sheets and Cookie cutters



  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 4 cups of confectioner's sugar (also called icing sugar or powdered sugar)
  • Be sure cookies are cool and icing is well set. Then let the fun begin...

If you like a more grown up version try:

Chocolate Glaze


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • (Add to tablespoons of brandy) for a little kick.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Whisk together until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and whisk in corn syrup and vanilla extract until smooth.

Dip the cooled cookies into the glaze and remove, with a fork, to a wire rack set over a sheet tray. Allow the cookies to set for 40 minutes before serving.

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Chicken K'draa

Chicken K'draa

This is a favourite Moroccan dish. It is easy to prepare, versatile, low GI and most importantly, delicious!


  • 500 gm (1.1 lbs) chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • 1 can chickpeas or one cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • (to taste) Moroccan spices and chilli
  • 3 onions, very finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • Handful chopped coriander
  • Salt to taste or Japanese soy sauce


Chop the three onions very finely, by hand or with a food processor.

Place the chicken pieces into a tagine or a heavy bottom pan with a tablespoon of oil.

Put the cinnamon stick in and sprinkle the Moroccan spices and chilli on top of the chicken. Add salt or Japanese soy. The soy provides the salt and also gives the dish a richer taste.

Put in two tablespoons of the onions. The rest go in later.

Cover the ingredients with the chicken stock or water.

Turn on the burner to high until the mixture comes to a full boil, then turn low to simmer for one hour.

Put the almonds into a frying pan with a dollop of butter and fry under medium heat until the almonds turn golden brown. Wrap them in a paper towel to drain.

After an hour, put the rest of the onion mix and 3 ounces butter or margarine into the dish. Recover and let simmer for another 30 minutes.

Just before serving, sprinkle the almonds and coriander on top of the dish.

Serve with a tomato and basil salad and orange flavoured couscous.

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Be sure to leave out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas eve! cookies and milk for Santa


Joe and Petal are looking for new recipes. Do you have a recipe you would like to share with our readers? Just mail your recipe to the Yellow Gazette, care of Joe. If you have a nice picture of the finished recipe, send us that too.