Komal is a local chef well known for her cake creations at Fusion Organic Cafe on Arundel Street. Her baking often combines spices and delicious flavour combination, such as spiced banana cake and pear and marsala chai muffins. As well as being an accomplished chef, Komal writes a food blog called ‘The Girl Who Ate the World’.
What are your Christmas traditions?
On the lead up to Christmas I’m working hard as that’s the busiest time for chefs. On Christmas day I like to relax with my family, although I’m usually cooking the food but I don’t mind. It’s a lot more laid back than at work! I enjoy spending time with my loved ones and the exchanging of gifts, and watching the snowman on TV that always makes me feel happy and warm.
What food or food related gift would you like for Christmas?
I like big fat medjool dates, they make a great gift. Food related would be a cookbook. I’m a fan of Ottelenghi, Nigel Slater, Sam Clarke. Sally Butcher and Madhur Jaffrey.
What is your best tip for Christmas food shopping?
Go to small independent stores. I love Zeds, Beanies and In a Nutshell.
What are you planning to eat on Christmas Day this year?
My sisters loved my nut roast-stuffed portabellos last year so probably those again. I made a great chestnut chocolate torte sprinkled with pomegranate that went down pretty well. I love cooking as many different sides as I can fit in the oven/hob. Mashed potato & swede. Honey roast carrots and parsnips, herby Yorkshire puds, onion gravy and of course a lemon roast chicken for the family.
Tell us any cheats you have for calm Christmas cooking.
Prepare as much as possible in advance. Ask enough people to help but not too many so that you are squashed like sardines.
What’s your favourite Christmas tipple?
I don’t drink anymore but I was fond of mulled wine
How do you use Christmas leftovers?
My dad loves his chicken mayo sandwiches but there isn’t much left of the other food as we eat at about 1pm, and then nibble on whatever is left as the day goes on.
What do you cook on Boxing Day?
Usually a bit cooked-out by then. On New Year’s Day we go to my aunt’s house and she makes a big feast with traditional Pakistani food. Dhal, pilau rice, chicken curry, aloo gobi and parathas.
Have you ever had a bad Christmas dinner?
Not on the actual day but I’ve had some pretty poor Christmas dinners at pubs, etc.
What was your childhood Christmas dinner?
Veggie sausages with the same sides everyone else had, so mash, Yorkshire’s, fried mushrooms, parsnips, boiled broccoli & caulis all drowned in Bisto gravy. I still have a soft spot for Bisto.