When I was a kid, ‘phoren’ meant a huge deal for me, escpeaily since I grew up in Port Blair, cut off from the ‘mainland’ in every which way. Yes, we did call the rest of India ‘mainland’, perhaps in Port Blair people still refer to as that. We were deprived of even the basic chocolate or aereated drinks or even kwality ice cream. It was only during our summer vacation, when we would spend our entire two months in sultry Kolkata summers, that Kwality icecream became our best friend and we were allowed the indulgence of campa cola or limca and sometimes local ‘pepsi’ which was came frozen in a small plastic tube. I grew up in a joint family and my everyday was shared with my brother and my sister and hence, most of my childhood experience will be mentioned in ‘we’. Whatever, we did, it was together.
Summer vacation was also the most coveted time of the year for us since we got to meet with all our cousins who came in from all parts of the country and we met at Canning, my grandparents’ place. The high point was the gifts which came along and we looked forward to the ones that came from US or ‘phoren land’. However, small it may be, we took immense pride in that gift.
- Things have changed now. We get everything in India now. Somethings may be a bit expensive but then there is nothing that we don’t get here (with a few exceptions may be). Yet, when my cousin who stays in Muscat, comes to Kolkata every year for her summer vacation, I send her a whole list of things to bring. Mostly they are edibles- giant sized nutella (Tugga and I live on Nutella), cream cheese bottle, tuna cheese bottle and of course the Omani dates. You do get these Arabian dates in India but no harm in getting it as a gift from Muscat. So, like every year, this year too I have my box of Omani dates and to finish off any healthy food (in the form of fruits and nuts) at home is a challenge. Both Anindya, Tugga and my mother in law do not eat fruits and nuts. So this year, I have decided to undo the regular and make interesting stuffed dates for my unhealthy food loving family.
You can make stuffed dates with just about anything. You can use a variety of cheeses, honey, almonds, pistachios and fruits too. You can even make quite a contrasting sweet and savoury stuffed dates with bacon. On any given day, I would love to make stuffed dates with cream cheese and bacon but then Tugga is not yet fond of anything ‘piggy’. So i decided to make these stuffed dates vegetarian. It is very easy to make and barely takes anytime if you have the pitted dates.
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Stuffed Dates with creame cheese and nuts
- 75 gms cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 tbsp Icing Sugar you can use castor sugar also
- 25 nos dates
- 20 nos pistachios
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Honey
- In case you do not have pitted dates, then first thing you need to do is to de seed them carefully. Then slice the dates lenghtwise without cutting them in halves by just making an opening for your stuffing.
- Toast the pistachios and chop them. You can use almonds or walnuts instead of pistachios too.
- Whisk together cream cheese and icing sugar and then add 75% of the chopped nuts. Mix it thoroughly and transfer to a piping bag.
- Cut the tip of the icing bag and pipe out the filling inside the dates. Place them on a place and spirnkle with the rest of the nuts.
- Finally blend together balsamic vinegar and honey with a spoon (the quantity here is completely up to your taste buds as is how much of tart you would want). Then drizzle the balsamic dressing on your dates. Finally top them with rest of the pistachios.
- Stuffed dates with cream cheese and pistachios are ready to serve.