Cooking Sense foodie friends – Karishma Chugani and Sharleen Browne – share their holiday menu with a twist. 

Sharleen Browne

I LOVE food! I absolutely love exploring different cultures through their food but my desire to do our Christmas lunch differently stemmed from another reason. I wanted to ensure my mother could still dine with us. She developed an essential tremor in her late 30s and now several years later, the disorder progressed to where she can no longer comfortably dine with a knife and fork. She’d often just eat where she couldn’t be seen so I decided to find menu items that were finger foods so we could all eat together in the same way. So, over the years we’ve had wraps, macaroni pie cups, garlic mash filled parmesan cups, stuffing muffins (which is just stuffing in individual portions, like muffins!) …items like that. It gets pretty creative on our table, and everyone enjoys the food together.

Glazed ham, roasted pork and herb-roasted chicken must be on the table. We’ll also have the staples like rice and peas . . . and potato salad. Those things aside, our table will be a culturally diverse cohobblopot featuring Italian inspired dishes like arancini, Mediterranean meals will make an appearance with a Greek green bean dish, maybe some Thai Satay chicken skewers too…who knows? I’m still pulling it all together. 

Arancini di Riso


  • 2 cup leftover risotto
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8-ounce fresh mozzarella, cut into ½‑inch cubes
  • 1 cup flour, or more as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup prepared dried bread crumbs, or more as needed
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Into a deep-sided pan {or dutch oven} add approximately 2″ vegetable oil. You may alternatively use a deep fryer. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
  2. While the oil is heating, add 1 beaten egg and risotto to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes. Add flour into 1st dish, along with a pinch or 2 of salt and some black pepper to taste. Place remaining egg into 2nd dish and breadcrumbs into 3rd dish.
  4. To make risotto balls: Scoop approximately 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of risotto into your hand. Form into a ball and, using your thumb, indent a well in the ball about as deep as its centre. Place 1 cube of mozzarella into the well, close the opening and re-shape into a ball. Add more risotto if needed to cover the mozzarella. Continue until either you run out of risotto or cheese. You should bet about 16 balls.
  5. Using your left hand roll a completed ball in flour, then transfer to your right hand and roll it in egg, then breadcrumbs. Transfer the breaded ball to a tray. This left-hand then right-hand method will keep one hand relatively clean, and not contaminate the egg mixture with flour or breadcrumbs. Continue until all the balls are breaded.
  6. Place breaded balls into hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pan, fry in batches if necessary. Fry for approximately 2 minutes or until golden. Transfer balls to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve while still warm.

Planeta La Segreta Bianco 
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Karishma Chugani

With roots in Barbados, we feel the hustle, bustle and general excitement of the Christmas Holiday season as most do! My parents have a retail store in Sheraton Mall which they turn into a toy shop for the month of December, so our house gets split into a makeshift warehouse and Christmas Bakery, with all the treats my sister bakes. She operates under the name Mixedin246 and marries our family’s Indian heritage with traditional cakes, cookies and ice cream, as well as savoury snacks.

We absolutely love Biryani, made with different coloured rice, Indian spices and vegetables. Another favourite is ‘Dhokla’; spongy steamed gram-flour squares, which we always eat with a fresh coriander chutney and coconut flakes. A staple in our home is ‘Chaat’, which is Indian street food, consisting of homemade tamarind chutney, coriander chutney and fresh yoghurt. We pour these on top of various delicacies, to enhance the flavour, so for example on top of a samosa – it becomes Samosa Chaat! This is a family favourite!

This year, we have been taking advantage of large video calls via Zoom and games via ‘Kahoot’! For Christmas, we plan to have a big family games night, with our aunts, uncles and cousins all over the world, while sipping on Masala Chai and nibbling on my sister’s special Indian spiced Christmas cookies.

Cardamom Rose Cookies

Recipe by @mixedin246


  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 5 oz butter
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • ¼ tsp rose extract

1. Combine ingredients in a bowl until a smooth batter forms.
2. Make 1 tablespoon-sized balls and slightly flatten it in the palm of the hand.

3. Place on lined cookie sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven at 350℃ for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly golden brown.
5. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Santa Margherita Prosecco 
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