Christmas recipes

Christmas recipes

Christmas

Christmas

I have had so many requests for Christmas recipes again this year that I thought I would re-post the whole lot in one entry. Some of my best memories are around the table at Christmas time with the table groaning under all the delicious things to eat. It is so worth taking the time and putting in the extra effort to make Christmas dinner or lunch something really extraordinary, it is something that you and all your friends and family will remember for years to come.

There are also a few recipes that are fantastic to make as Christmas gifts like shortbread or cookie hampers, a little effort in the kitchen making Christmas presents is always appreciated and of course a lot less expensive.

Christmas cake recipe
This recipe makes a large cake that will see you through Christmas.

Glazed gammon recipe
For me, this is the best meal of Christmas with loaded sarmies the next day.

Ice Cream Christmas pudding
Summer Christmas must end with Ice Cream

Traditional steamed Christmas pudding
It’s rich and very good

Perfect roast potatoes recipe
A roast is just not a roast without great roast potatoes

Home made shortbread
Perfect to have around and they make great gifts.

Peanut butter cookies recipe
All time favorite cookie recipe

If there are any other recipes you would like to see here let me know and I will add to the list to help make your Christmas a Christmas to remember.

Get Christmas gift ideas and where to buy them at xmasgifts.co.za. Here we have put together the best selling gifts at the best prices. Most are delivered in 24 hours so don’t fret, there is still time and best of all you don’t need to troll around the shops!

Cheesecake with a chocolate crust

Cheesecake with a chocolate crust

cheesecakeBaked cheesecakes have been irresistible to me since I first had a slice in New York 24 years ago and this recipe, which has a chocolate biscuit base and creamy texture that includes condensed milk is just what the doctor ordered when you need a distraction.

What you need

1 packet chocolate digestive biscuits
100g butter melted
3 cups cream cheese
2 tins condensed milk (Nestle)
125ml lemon juice (from a bottle is just fine)
4 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons vanilla essence
250ml whipping cream

The process

Crumble the biscuits into a bowl, pour in the melted butter and mix together.

Pour the mixture into a spring form cake tin and press down firmly, covering the base with an even layer about 1cm thick.

In a bowl whip the cream to a firm consistency and set aside.

In another bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and combine until they are uniformly mixed. Then add the whipped cream and fold it in gently with a metal spoon to distribute evenly.

Pour the whole lot into the tin, smooth the top and bake in the middle of a 180 Celsius oven for ½ an hour.

Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. Take a knife and run it around the edge before releasing sides of the tin.

That’s it, serve with a fruit coulis or cream or both!

Summer time chicken salad

Summer time chicken salad

summer chicken salad

chicken salad

This is a great little chicken salad recipe with a summer twist that will have your family and friends going back again and again. It’s been so hot lately, I thought I’d make a chicken salad with some fruit. It’s really foolproof and fantastically fresh and delicious, Ideal for hot days so give it a try, you will love it. (makes 4 servings so double it up if need be)

What you need

Red apples and strawberries, same weight as the chicken 500g in this case
1 lemon
150ml light mayonnaise
3 or 4 spring onions
500g Chicken breast
mixed bag of salad greens
Handful of rocket leaves

The process

Cut the chicken breasts as if you were to butterfly them so that you have thinner pieces to cook, season with salt and pepper and then fry the chicken breasts in a little olive oil on a medium heat, and leave to cool on a plate. (they will continue to cook through while cooling and will be moist and succulent.

Skin and cube the apples into small pieces (say 2cm cubes) and place in a bowl. Squeeze a little lemon juice over them to prevent them from turning brown. Add 1 tablespoon of mayo and a twist of black pepper, mix and set aside.

Slice the celery and spring onions finely, halve the strawberries and mix together with the apples. Stir in the rest of the mayonnaise and make sure that everything is coated with the mayo mix.

Cube or shred the chicken breasts into similar size pieces and mix it all together.

Place some of the greens on a plate, spoon over some of the mixture and then pretty it up a bit by scattering some of the fine greens on top and serve with a french loaf or warmed traingles of pita bread. YUM

You can also add different fruits or nuts, walnuts to replace the strawberries is fantastic, a bit of sweet melon, watermelon or really any fruit you like will make it your own.

Try some of the other fabulous chicken recipes or serve this with the Eton mess as a dessert for the perfect summer meal.

Sticky Pork Ribs

Sticky Pork Ribs

Sticky-Pork-RibsRibs are an absolute favourite of mine. To me nothing compares to ribs that have great flavour and tender enough to fall off the bone when you bite down. These ribs have all the elements that make a great rib. It is sticky, chewy, sweet and sour with a hint of the orient. The flavours come out even stronger if the ribs are left overnight in the sticky marinade. This recipe serves 4-6 and takes 1 hour in the oven.
What you need
2kg Pork ribs, separated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil, for frying
6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
10cm fresh root of ginger, peeled and sliced
3 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 whole star anise
8 tablespoons runny honey
300ml soy sauce
4 tablespoons vinegar
600ml old brown sherry
10 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
800ml chicken stock
The process
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Rub a little salt and pepper into the pork ribs.

On the stove plate heat the oil in a roasting pan and brown the meat on all sides. Remove the ribs from the pan and set aside.

Add the garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, peppercorns, star anise and the honey and continue to cook over the heat for 2 minutes or until the honey begins to caramelize.

Add the soy sauce, vinegar and sherry and bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 1 minute.
Add the spring onions and the chicken stock and bring to the boil.

Add the ribs back to your roasting pan and make sure they are all nicely coated with the sauce.

Place in a pre-heated oven and cook for 1 hour until tender. Turn after ½ and hour giving the ribs at the top a chance to languish in that sauce for a while.

Once the ribs are done, take out of the oven.

Take ribs out of the marinade and keep to one side.

Place the roasting pan with the marinade onto the stove and heat the marinade for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thick and syrupy.

Place the ribs back in the pan and coat them with the marinade.

Now roll up your sleeves, have a damp cloth nearby and dig in….

Ginger beer braised pork belly with crunchy crackling

Ginger beer braised pork belly with crunchy crackling

Pork-BellyI don’t often cook Pork but this recipe is so easy and so tasty I made it twice last week to feed the masses. If you need something that doesn’t use a lot of pots and have no time to spend in the kitchen then this is the one for you. The whole preparation takes less than 5 minutes and then you forget about it for 3-4 hours. A lot of the fat dissolves when cooking, I was amazed at how little was left.

This will feed 6 people no problem.

What you need

2 kg piece of pork belly skin on (ask the butcher for a piece that has as little bone as possible)
2 15cm pieces of Rosemary or about 2 teaspoons dry rosemary
6 sprigs fresh Sage
1 liter Ginger beer
300ml water
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 large pinches of salt crystals

The process

Place the pork belly in a roasting pan (the sides should be at least 6cm high.

Pour in the ginger beer until it is almost at the level of the skin and then top up with water until the liquid touches the highest piece of the belly… Don’t worry of it goes a little over the edge and onto the skin.

Place the Cracked pepper corns, Rosemary and Sage into the liquid and then sprinkle the salt onto the skin and into the water.

Now cover with aluminum foil and place it in a 170 Celsius oven for 3-4 hours.

You don’t need to check on it or watch it, just leave it and do what you need to.

After 4 hours remove from the oven, increase the oven temp to 250 Celsius.

Remove the Pork belly from the liquid and peel off the skin, it’s the same as removing the skin from a gammon, it will peel of pretty easily.

Now place the pork belly back into the hot liquid and cover it up again.

Cut the skin into strips about 3cm wide and 10cm long, then place on a baking tray and pop back into the oven to crisp up.

The skin will pop and jump around on the tray but don’t worry when they are blistered white and light brown, they are done. (get as much blistering on each piece as possible)

Slice the pork belly and place on a serving plate then take a little of the juice from the oven dish and spoon over the meat.

Done and dusted, serve with mash, peas and gravy.

Gravy

Strain off 300ml or so of the liquid into a small pot and add 1 stock pot (these knorr stock pots are fantastic) bring it to the boil and add about 1 tablespoon Bisto. Simmer until nicely thickened.

Chicken Leek and Ham pie

Chicken Leek and Ham pie

Chicken and Ham pie with Leeks

I made these pies along with the Greek Lamb shanks and Lemon Flans for a dinner party of 23 people the other night and it went down a real treat. You can prepare the filling the night before and then just cover with the pastry and pop it in the oven half an hour before serving. It is a very simple recipe and seriously delicious.  Make a large pie or separate into 4 smaller pies, it works just as well. (Serves 4 to 6 people)

What you need

Large knob of butter (about 2 tablespoons)
1 large onion finely chopped
4 leeks finely sliced
4 chicken thighs poached and bones taken out
1 large potato cubed and par cooked
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons flour
150g cooked ham chopped or shredded
1 pack frozen puff pastry
beaten egg for glazing
Pepper

The process

Put a large pan on a medium heat, melt the butter and then add the leeks and onions. Cook gently until they are soft but not browned. This should take about 10 minutes or so.

Now add the flour and give it a good mix. You want to cook the flour but not colour it so stir for about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer so that the mixture begins to thicken. Now add the potato, chicken and ham, simmer for about 5 minutes, taste season if need be(this will depend a lot on the type of ham you use) and then remove from the stove.

Before serving, transfer everything into an oven proof disk, cover with the pastry, poke 2 holes into the top, wash with beaten egg and into a 200 Celsius oven for 30 minutes or until beautifully browned and puffed up.

This recipe can be doubled or trebled without any problem.

Black Cherry Tiramisu

Black Cherry Tiramisu

black cherry tiramisu

Black Cherry Tiramisu

This is a non alcoholic Tiramisu that worked so well the friends and family were groaning at the table, taking “just one more little piece”. It really is very simple and the only thing you need to be a little careful with is not turning the egg yolks into scrambled eggs but I have a fool proof method for that which will make sure your Black Cherry Tiramisu is perfect every time. You wil;l need a 30cm round pie dish or similar (makes enough for 10 people)

What you need

1 x 200g packet lady fingers (Bonomi is the brand I used from Picknpay)
2 x tins black cherries in syrup (pitted)
3 x tablespoons caster sugar

6 x egg yolks
4 tablespoons caster sugar
500g Mascarpone cheese (or 250g mascarpone and 250ml fresh cream beaten stiff)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The process

Open the tins of black cherries and add the syrup to a pot on a medium heat. Add the caster sugar and stir until the caster sugar is completely dissolved then remove and allow to cool while you make the mascarpone mixture. (if you want an alcoholic version, add 2 tots of cherry liqueur now.

follow these steps for the mascarpone exactly to ensure your egg yolks don’t scramble

Put a small pot of water onto the stove and bring to the boil, remove it.

In a glass mixing bowl add the egg yolks and caster sugar and beat to combine. Now place the bowl over the hot water in the pot and continue to beat until the misture turns a pale yellow (more white than yellow). It will thicken and when you lift the beaters it should leave a light trail along the top (about 3 minutes of beating)

Remove from the pot of hot water and beat for another 2 minutes until it has cooled a little.

In another bowl combine the mascarpone and vanilla essence (or if you like it a bit lighter like I do the mascarpone and beaten fresh cream and vanilla essence) Mix until smooth with no lumps.

Add the egg yolk and sugar mixture to the mascarpone mixture and fold together until well combines and smooth.

Dip the lady fingers one at a time in the cherry sauce and line the base of your pie dish with ladyfingers.

Add a layer of the creamy mixture and half of the cherries (halve them for a complete layer) and then sprinkle over a little cinnamon.

Repeat the process one more time ending with a layer of black cherries over the top.

Chill in the fridge for about 4-6 hours (this can be made the day before.

Folks, this is seriously delicious, the cherry flavour seems to fool you into thinking it’s not so rich and every mouthful is so tasty you will be hard pressed to stop before you are groaning. 🙂

Brinjal Curry

Brinjal Curry

brinjal curry recipe

Brinjal Curry

This one is really fantastic if you have vegetarian friends that your meat eating mates will also love. It is very tasty, does not take much effort apart from making sure you give it a stir every now and then so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Next time I make it I will also add 2 medium diced potatoes and a little extra water just to add another texture and make it go further. I had 9 people around for dinner and used it as a vegetable not a main meal. It will feed 4-6 people as a main with rice 0r 10-12 as a vegetable.

What you need

1 kg baby brinjals halved or 1 kg chopped brinjal
2 medium onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon clove or 1 clove crushed up
1 teaspoon salt
1 Cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
2 star anise
10 or so curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
1 tin chopped peeled tomatoes including liquid
1 cup vegetable stock
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
Chopped fresh coriander to serve (makes a big difference)

The process

Pop your brinjals onto a baking tray and then into a 200 Celsius oven for about 15 minutes to start the softening process.

While that’s on the go, place a large pot on a medium heat and cook your onions and garlic in a little oil until softened. Now add all of your spices except the cumin and Garam Masala, mix them well and allow to cook for about 2 minutes.

Now add your brinjals, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock, stir well, cover and allow to simmer, stirring every now and then until the brinjals are nice and soft, about 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the cumin and garam masala.

It is best to make this the day before and then reheat it before serving.

Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread

Lovers Shortbread recipe

Lovers Shortbread

This has got to be the simplest shortbread recipe I have ever had the pleasure of making. It takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes until you can eat your heart out, they taste fantastic and freeze extremely well, what more could you ask for?  I am told these are a Lebanese shortbread, not sure where the Lovers shortbread comes from 🙂

Folks, you really must make a batch of these, we used walnuts but you can make them without anything on top, with almonds or even a little dollop of your favourite jam. I reckon these are going to become very popular. Makes 2 dozen large short bread bisciuts.

What you need

375g salted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
Walnuts, cherries or whatever you are going to top them off with.
Lots of icing sugar to sprinkle on top

The process

Heat your oven to 190 Celsius.

In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and then pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. You want it to be soft enough to beat with an electric beater.

Add the icing sugar and beat it very well on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes very pale and creamy, almost white.

No toss in the flour and baking powder in 3 portions mixing after each addition.

Thats it, now all you need to do is form little balls of the mixture, roll them gently in your hand (yes round balls), place them on your baking sheet, press a little hole in the top with your finger and fill the hole with a nut, a lttle jam or even a piece of chocolate.

Pop them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 15-20 minutes.

If you notice some of them browning on top you can open the oven to let out some of the heat and close it up again. We made batches that were very pale that melt in your mouth and also had some browned ones that were more like biscuits with a bit of a crunch that I must confess I enjoyed even more.

Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before covering with a generous amount of icing sugar.

Smoked Trout pate

Smoked Trout pate

trout pate

Smoke Trout Pate

Any trip to Dullstroom has got to include trout and along with the corn bread muffins there will always be some smoked trout pate and this recipe is also from the book “savour” which I changed slightly. It is rediculously simple and Oh so very tasty. We smoke our own trout but store bought smoked trout is just as good. I must say, cooking trout whole has never been my favourite and the bones always seem to get me so this I have found to be the best and tastiest way to use those trout the kids bring back from fishing trips. (If you fish or have kids that fish you will know exactly what I mean – too often they lie in the fridge and get thrown out a few months later) This recipe is after having smoke a 1.2kg (that is not the biggest trout I have caught 🙂 ) whole trout which leaves you with about 500 or 600g of flesh.

halve the recipe if you need to, the proportions work well and depend only on how much trout you have.

What you need

600g smoke trout flaked into small pieces
1 and 1/2 cups creme fraiche
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoon creamed horseradish sauce
2 spring onions finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Black pepper

The process

Pop all of the ingredients except black pepper into a bowl and fold it all together to evenly distribute.

Season with some ground black pepper

Thats it, Done, a beautiful chunky pate that is as good as any you will have in any restaurant.

If you like your pate smoother, use a fork to break up the smoked trout.

You can also add in some finely chopped pickled cucumbers or just chop them up and serve them on the side, they go perfectly with the pate.

Serve with your favourite crackers, toasted rye bread, french loaf slices or the corn bread muffins