Famous Jordanian-Egyptian Chef Ghada El-Tally is a well-known figure on the Arab cuisine scene. A professional cake decorator and designer, she has been in the culinary field for more than 12 years.
El-Tally is a popular media chef whose first programme was on Ro'ya TV channel in Jordan.
Her famous Egyptian programme ‘Zaafran W Vanilla’ (Saffron and Vanilla) on CBC Sofra channel was the most highly rated cooking show. A publisher of two cook books, she studied for one year at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts - Les Roches in Amman, Jordan.
El-Tally remembers the beginning, telling Ahram Online that “at one point in time, there was no special academy that offered classes for patisserie and cake decoration arts. I taught myself from books and the internet.” She later established her centre for culinary arts and cake decoration in Amman, Jordan.
El-Tally gives some tips to help readers plan and organise successful Christmas banquets or parties.
Tally stresses that a food menu should have a wide range of choices to satisfy all your guests’ tastes. She adds that the best way to make a menu is to take two or three days to write down all dishes and recipes that come to mind. After that, look through it and add or remove items. Then, create a final menu for all food and drinks.
She says that it is preferable for your menu to include meat, poultry and fish dishes as a main course. At least one dish of each kind.
El-Tally advises that the menu should include one or two kinds of appetizers, one of each of the following: soup, salad, vegetables, and two different kinds of juice.
Concerning dessert, she recommends either one big dish of dessert in a large serving bowl or having desserts (two or three recipes) on a menu.
“It is better to include one chocolate dessert recipe. Also, keep in mind that your guests will usually bring desserts as a gift.”
If there are children among your guests, the hostess should set up a separate place for kids and someone to supervise them.
When arranging the setting of the dining table, it is preferable to keep the dining table empty and to put all tableware (plates, forks, knives, spoons, sporks, bowls, glasses or cups and napkins) on a side table.
If there is enough space for guests they can sit at the dining table. Otherwise, you can use the dining table as a food serving area. Food can be served buffet-style, allowing guests to serve themselves quickly and eat wherever they are comfortable. We can add smaller tables for your guests.
Chef El-Tally shared some of her delicious recipes for Christmas banquets with Ahram Online:
Leg of Lamb Recipe:
Leg of Lamb .Photo: Courtesy of Ghada El-Tally
Leg or shoulder of lamb
4 fresh garlic clove
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp spices
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp saffron (optional)
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
Small piece of heated charcoal
In food processor, mix minced onion/garlic until it turns to paste
Add tomato paste, spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper blend them well in the food processor
Add the pomegranate and yoghurt over the mixture as a final step
With the tip of a sharp knife make deep cuts on both sides of the leg of lamb. Place it in oven pan
Using a brush, rub the lamb all over with the sauce and inside the cuts to enhance the flavour
Cover tightly with a double layer of tin foil to keep all the meat juices in
Cook it at the highest temperature for 30 minutes
Lower the temperature to 180°C and leave it for 120-160 minutes until it is fully cooked
Uncover the lamb
Place glowing coal in small metallic dish
Drop a little oil on the coal to smoke directly over the lamb
Cover pan again quickly with layer of tin foil for a subtle smoked flavour
Red Velvet Cake Recipe
Red Velvet Cake. Photo: Courtesy of Ghada El-Tally
2 ¼ cups flour
1½ cup sugar
Butter (125g) at room temperature
2 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla
1cup fresh milk added ½ tsp vinegar
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp food color (red color)
3 tbsp water
Beat butter with sugar by using an electric mixer until it is smoothed
Then add eggs and vanilla one at a time to the mixture and beat well after every addition
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, food colour and cocoa powder, whisk to mix well
Add flour mixture gradually and beat until it is well-mixed
Pour the milk with vinegar and water to a mixture and whisk well to suspend
Grease cake pan with butter and flour
Put dough in a pan
Place pan in the oven
Bake cake at 180°C degrees for 35-40 minutes
Let it cool completely
Trim off the top
Crumble by hand or in a blender
Leave cake crumbs aside
Cut the cake into equal layers
Spread whipped cream filling between the cake layers
Spread last layer of whipped cream to cake top or frost the whole cake by using whipped cream
Drizzle crumbs over the top as garnish