Fennel (Variali) Biscuit


I really enjoy the taste of fennel seeds (variali), it gives a wonderful fresh feel to the mouth, which is the reason why it is used as a after dinner mouth freshener in India. Also it retains its taste when mixed with other herbs and spices. When I was living in India for my placement year, I went on a little weekend break with my maternal uncle’s family and along the car journey we saw fields of variali and drying red chillies. When I asked my cousin what was growing in the fields he said variali, so we stopped the car and cheekily ran into the field and picked a bunch of variali, it is so refreshing and cool when eaten fresh and raw.

So when I saw the event of ‘Think Spice.. Think Twice‘ for this month which was for fennel, I thought I must take part and make these biscuits. This event is originally started off by Sunita of Sunita’s World, and I feel it is a wonderful event where we learn a lot about different spices, not to mention the vast array of recipes we get from it as everyone uses spices in different ways. This month the event is hosted by Ivy from Kopiaste, where she has given the option of two different spices, fennel and mastic gum.

I originally made these biscuits a couple of years back as one of my Diwali treats. I had them at one of my husband’s cousin sister’s place. She  makes lovely biscuits, so I asked her for the recipe and made them a year or so later. However the biscuits had spread while baking, as I had beaten the butter and sugar mixture too much. So when I saw this event I thought I would make these biscuits, remembering not to over beat the mixture. However this time I cannot explain why it happened but once I had added the milk, the butter, and sugar, the mixture curdled slightly. I still carried on and the biscuits turned out to be a success. They are quite refreshing and a good treat and go wonderfully well with afternoon tea.

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Ginger Cookies


This recipe was invented by my 3 year old son. A couple of weeks back, I asked him what he wanted to do. So he said “I want to make ginger cookies”. I said “you mean gingerbread men”, he said “NO, cookies…”. So as soon as he finished his breakfast he wanted to get into the kitchen and get cooking. To begin with I wasted a bit of time trying to find a ginger cookie recipe. Then because he was getting a bit upset that he hadn’t started, I said OK I will be brave and make it up as we go along. I asked him about each ingredient and that is how we created this recipe. Surprisingly he said he wanted wholemeal flour and no sugar. “So how are we going to make it sweet” I said, he said “Honey”. As he was mixing the dough he kept on saying easy peasy lemon squeezy 🙂

As I have previously mentioned since my ‘golden child’ started Montessori school, I have tried to do some form of cooking with him on Wednesdays, his day off. I was so proud and could not believe my little 3 year old was so grown up that, he was creating a recipe with me, a wonderful moment of being a mother 😀

Ginger Cookies

I went with what my son felt like adding to the mix, however you can add raisins, oats, fresh ginger, candied citrus peel and chocolate. I just used the normal everyday chapatti flour to make the cookies. Its best to eat them within a few days as I found they started softening up.


Preparation time: 10 mins       Cooking time: 20 mins      Makes: approx 40

1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

zest of one lemon

4 tbsp candied ginger, cut into small bit sized pieces

2 tbsp each of honey, black treacle and lemon juice

80 g butter

120 ml milk


1) Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix, add the lemon zest and chopped candied ginger.

2) In a pan heat the butter, honey and black treacle, just enough to melt and mix all the ingredients. Cool slightly and pour into the dry mix of ingredients.

3) Squeeze the lemon juice and combine, now add the milk little at a time to form a soft dough. You may need a little extra or maybe even less.

4) Let the dough rest for a few minutes, while you prepare the baking tray by lining with a grease proof paper and preheat the oven to 200 ‘ C .

5) Roll out the dough on a slightly floured surface to 2 mm thickness, cut with a cookie cutter of your choice and place on the baking tray. Bake in the oven for roughly 10 mins or until they are golden brown. Remove from the tray and let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

Arabian Flowers

This is the perfect, healthy and wow biscuit, it only has a few ingredients and no sugar or butter.  I had learnt to make Arabian Flowers over the spring time when one of my husband’s cousins was getting married. Leading up to the wedding, a variety of food was made at their home for all the different events that took place. I was so glad and grateful for the opportunity when we were asked to help make these show stoppers!!  It is always good to learn and share new recipes. I was just so pleased that the humble puff pastry and dried dates can be made into such beautiful and pretty looking biscuits. The main ingredient is dried dates, and I don’t really enjoy dry dates very much, but love fresh dates, so for people like me and children it is a good way to get us to eat food that is good for us 🙂 Dates are said to be rich in fibre, calcium, vitamins and minerals, and also said to have good medicinal properties.

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Jam Filled Cookies

Since my son started going to his Montessori school, I have tried to make a routine of baking on Wednesday. Lately that has been a bit tricky but last week he told me he wanted to eat these. He had them originally over the summer and really enjoyed them so I decided to make some with him. My son enjoyed making them and felt they looked and tasted like Jammie dodgers.

I recently saw these cookies on this blog and this blog and it reminded me I had to try the recipe. I got the original recipe from a book published in Kenya for charity called, ‘The Ultimate Collection – A vegetarian cookbook’. I modified the recipe by adding the zest and juice of one lemon, and reducing the amount of sugar, this added flavour and changed the taste of the cookies and the combination of ingredients made them perfect.

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Passion Fruit and Candied Ginger Biscuits

I saw this recipe in a recipe book given recently to me that was written by a group of women in Kenya for charity.  I decided to make the biscuits as they seemed very different and I would never have thought to mix the two main ingredients – passion fruit and ginger.  I modified the recipe by adding more of the passion fruit than the recipe had suggested and you can still add a little more to make the taste more distinct.  I am glad I made them as they are different to the normal basic biscuits that we can either make or buy.  Have a go and let your taste buds go on a journey…

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