Friends Christmas is nearly here, and that can only mean one thing…celebratory cooking. This recipe for sticky mincemeat cigars is one of my absolute favourites, warm from the oven spiced gently with @schwartz.uk cinnamon, dried ginger and nutmeg, the absolute trinity of festive spices. The recipe is devilishly easy to follow and a great one to get the little one involved with in the kitchen. See below for full details and do not forget the double cream to serve these beauties with. 


Add 150 grams raisins, 100grams diced apple, 150 grams light soft brown sugar, juice of half an orange, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and ½ teaspoon of ground ginger to a saucepan. Heat the mixture through for 8-10 minutes on a medium heat until it forms a sticky, thick mincemeat filling. Allow the mincemeat to cool and mix through 75 grams of chopped walnuts and a tablespoon of rosewater. 


Melt 50 grams of butter in a pan. Take 4 sheets of filo pastry and cut them in half through the middle to form 8 squares of filo pastry. Brush both sides of the filo sheets with the melted butter and lay the pastry with one corner facing you. Place around three teaspoon of filling in an oblong just below the middle, leaving a gap at each end, and then fold the bottom point over the top of the filling. Roll it up to the middle of the sheet, then fold the sides in over the top, rolling up tightly. The technique is identical to that of making spring rolls. 


Place the prepared mincemeat cigars on a greased baking sheet and bake for 18-20minutes at 180 degrees in a fan assisted oven, or until the cigars are golden brown coloured. To garnish the cigars, mix a tablespoon of caster sugar with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Scatter the cinnamon sugar over the mincemeat cigars along with any leftover walnuts and if you have them a few dried rose petals. Enjoy


#SchwartzChristmas #salihacooks #mincemeat #pastry 





I think one of the most stressful parts of Christmas lunch is sorting out the turkey dinner. And whilst I do love a good old roast, I must admit that I am often left wanting a more simple solution. If you are the same look no further than my Turkey Tikka Bites! Spiced gently with the most vibrant and earthy of all spices,@schwartz.uk Turmeric: the vivid colour makes them completely appetising to children as well as adults, and of course the healing properties of turmeric speaks for itself. You could of course substitute the turkey for chicken if you wish. See details of the recipe below:

Take a large mixing bowl and add 3 tablespoons of full fat yoghurt, 1 level teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon hot red chilli powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander. Mix the ingredients together to form the tikka marinade and add 600grams of bitesize pieces of turkey breast. Finally, add 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger paste, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and transfer to the fridge to marinade (ideally overnight but even a few hours will be great). 

For the last steps, skewer the marinated turkey tikka onto soaked skewers and transfer to a preheated oven at 220 degrees for 20-25minutes. Serve and enjoy immediately. 


#SchwartzChristmas #salihacooks #turkeytikka

tikka 1.jpeg



180 grams tinned chickpeas 

½ white onion, roughly chopped 

1 heaped teaspoon harissa paste (more if you can handle it)

1 beaten egg

1 handful flat leaf parsley

4 heaped teaspoons plain or chickpea flour

Olive oil 

1 red onion, sliced into fine rings 

1 teaspoon sugar 

Juice ½ lemon

100grams crème fraiche 

1 heaped teaspoon harissa paste

1 tablespoon honey 

Optional: salad leaves


4 pitta breads


Place the chickpeas, onion, harissa paste, egg and parsley in a food processor and blend to a puree. You can choose to leave this a little coarse if you prefer this to a smooth finish, although I tend to puree the mixture until it is relatively smooth. Now add the flour to blended chickpea mixture until the mixture is a soft droppable consistency: it will firm up on cooking so don’t worry if it is a little looser than you expected at this stage. Season the mixture with salt and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill. 

Now drizzle olive oil in a non-stick pan heated up to a medium heat. Spoon the falafel patty mixture into the pan and allow to cook on each side for around 3 minutes or until golden brown. For ease you can use a palette knife to flip to patties over in the pan. 

To make the pickled onion combine the onion rings with lemon juice, sugar and a pinch of salt. Allow to rest for 15 minutes to give the onions time to take on the acidic lemon juice. 

Combine the crème fraiche, harissa and honey in a separate bowl and keep aside. 

To assemble the pitta wraps, heat the pita breads in the oven or in a toasted. Make an incision down one side of the pitta to open up the pocket. Stuff the pitta pocket with salad leaves, the falafel patties, harissa crème fraiche and pickled onions. Serve immediately.