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Say Cheese

For the four cheese lovers, there is no end to the available variety of this delicious dairy goodness, nor to the countless ways of using them in delectable dishes.

Cream Cheese Sticks
“Impress your guests with this golden, crispy cheese snack that is both quick and easy to make and is great served with tea or soup. Make an interesting presentation on your table by placing a group of these sticks in a fancy glass and fanning them out next to a dip, or by tying a few of them up together with a colourful ribbon. Oh, and they taste even better the next day!” – Nadia


• 1 cup plain flour
• ½ cup softened butter
• 110 gram cream cheese at room temperature
• 1 egg, beaten lightly
• pinch of salt
• pinch of cayenne pepper powder, optional sesame and cumin seeds for sprinkling



1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. This must be done before you begin preparing the flour mixture as the sticks will not get crispy if it sits before cooking.
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil.


3. In a bowl, add the plain flour, butter, cream cheese, cayenne pepper and salt.


4. Combine these ingredients together by hand until you form nice dough.


5. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into about ¼ inch thick.


6. Cut the dough into even strips with a regular knife.


7. Gently lay the strips on the baking tray, and brush them lightly with the beaten egg.


8. Sprinkle sesame and cumin seeds on top.


9. Bake for 20 minutes.


10. Take out, let them cool and serve.




Cheese Tikka
“Paneer, unlike most cheese, is very low in fat and does not melt on cooking. This property along with its great texture makes it ideal for pan-top grilling or frying. I usually make and freeze the green paste that is used here for marinating, so it is conveniently on hand for making curries and sauce. You may use frozen or fresh cheese.” – Huma

• 2 cups paneer/cottage cheese, cubed
• ¾ cup yoghurt
• 4 tbsp green paste
• ¼ tsp salt
• 4 tbsp oil


For the Green Paste
• 1 bunch coriander
• 1 bunch mint
• 8-10 green chillies
• 1 garlic clove, large
• Water



1. Prepare the green paste by placing all ingredients in a food processor. Add just enough water and process to form a  smooth, thick paste.
2. In a large bowl, add the yoghurt, salt and about 4 tablespoons of green paste or according to taste preference and mix until smooth.


3. Throw in the cheese cubes and mix well to coat them completely.


4. Cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.


5. Heat a grill or fry pan. Lightly spray or drizzle oil on the surface.


6. String the cheese cubes on wooden skewers.


7. Arrange the skewers in the pan and grill on medium-low heat. Turn and let all sides turn light gold.


8. Serve warm along with ketchup or chilli sauce as a snack or side dish to a main meal.




Penne with Four-Cheese Sauce
“I like to think of pasta with four-cheese sauce as mac and cheese for grownups. It takes a little more time and effort to make than regular mac and cheese but it makes an impressive entree on dinner table and is totally worth the time. This recipe includes a special type of cheese called Fontina and is a must in this dish. It is a great melting cheese and provides a wonderful cream base and flavour to this recipe. This dish doesn’t do too well when reheated so it is best prepared fresh and relished as soon as possible.” – Kanika



• 1 tbsp butter
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp plain flour
• 1 cup light cream
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded
• 1 cup Provolone cheese, shredded
• ½ cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
• ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp ground pepper
• 4 servings hot cooked penne or other pasta such as rotini



1. In a large, non-stick saucepan melt the butter over a moderate heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft.
2. Stir in the flour and cook for about one minute or until bubbly. Remove the pan from heat and gradually whisk in the cream and milk. Return the saucepan to a moderate heat and cook, stirring often, until the sauce just boils and thickens, about three to five minutes.


3. Add the cheeses, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until the cheeses melt and the sauce is smooth.


4. Transfer the cooked pasta to a heated serving bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over it and toss to mix well. Serve immediately.




Lemon Curd Cheesecake
“This deliciously tangy cake is adapted from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cheesecakes, Pavlovas and Trifles. This recipe makes is sufficient for a party of about ten people.” – Aminah



For the cheesecake
• 250g plain sweet biscuits (such as digestives)
• 125g butter, melted
• 3 tbsp golden syrup
• 3 x 250g tubs cream cheese (such as Philadelphia)
• 110g caster sugar
• 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind
• 3 eggs


For the lemon curd
• 45g butter
• 110g caster sugar
• 1 egg, beaten lightly and strained
• 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
• 2 tbsp lemon juice




1. Process or crush the biscuits until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the butter, process until just combined. Add the golden syrup, mix well.


2. Press the crumbed mixture into your chosen, well-greased tin (springform is ideal) or ovenproof dish, coating the base and sides evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.


3. Preheat the oven to 170 °C. Beat the cheese, sugar and rind in a large bowl with an electric mixer till smooth.


4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.


5. Pour the mixture into the tin on top of the chilled crumb base. (If using a springform tin, place the tin on a baking tray before putting in the oven.) Bake in the oven for one hour or until set. Take out and leave to cool at room temperature.


6. Prepare the lemon curd by combining all the ingredients in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring continuously, for about 20 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove the bowl from the saucepan to prevent further cooking, and cool to room temperature.


7. Spread the top of the cheesecake with the lemon curd. Refrigerate for three hours or overnight. Remove from the springform tin just before serving; otherwise leave to serve in the dish.



Nadia Masood lives in Dubai and writes about travel, food and photography on her website http://nadiamasood.com.
Kanika Aggarwal has a diploma in Indian Cooking and offers classes in Indian Cuisine in the Chicagoland Area. Get in touch with her through her website www.learnindiancooking.com.
Huma Imam is based in Dubai and holds a diploma in nutrition and dietetics.
Aminah Patel blogs her baking adventures on her blog  http://www.humblestoryteller.blogspot.com/.