Christmas fruit cake
Christmas cakes that contain alcohol should be made about a month ahead of time to allow the flavor to mature. Incredibly, fruit cakes containing alcohol can be stored for around 9 months if in an airtight container.
What you need
500g mixed candied citrus peel
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
375g soft butter
375g treacle sugar
Heat the oven to 150 Celsius.
Lightly butter and line a deep cake tin(should be 28cm x about 17cm deep) with grease proof paper. (cut a circle for the bottom and then line the sides)
Sift together the flour, salt, nutmeg and allspice onto a piece of grease proof paper.
In another bowl(large), cream together the sugar and butter until a creamy texture is reached. Take an electric beater and add the eggs one at a time to the sugar mixture beating well after each addition.
Add the flour in 3 batches, stirring by hand to combine after each batch. Add the dried fruits and the brandy and mix by hand.
Scoop the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Then take the back of a spoon and create a depression in the center by pressing with the back of the spoon(about ½ cm deep)
Place in the oven for 2 ½ hours, test with a metal skewer to see that it comes out clean. If not, return to the oven covered with tin foil (you don’t want it to become too dark brown)for a further 15 – 30 minutes and test again.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
I am not mad about marzipan so prefer to melt some smooth apricot jam with a little brandy and paint it over the cake before serving.
Store the cake in a tin in a cool place until Christmas. Here is a Christmas glazed gammon recipe , a Christmas roast turkey recipe and of course, perfect roast potatoes.
See all of the Christmas recipe ideas
This recipe is a perfect recipe if you are a fan of one pot cooking. It is really delicious, has a fantastic gravy and never fails to please. You can substitute the stout for regular beer or chicken stock but believe me, the stout gives it a really great flavour. For my foreign readers, a stout beer is very similar to Guinness.
Serve it with some creamed spinach or any greens. Green beans in a bit of garlic with bacon are excellent with this dish.
This will serve 4-5 people quite happily. If you have more than 5 people just add other vegetables to serve it with like broccoli and cauliflower steamed and smothered in cheese sauce.
What you need
1 x whole chicken in pieces or 10-12 thighs (I personally like thighs)
1 x large onion roughly chopped
2-3 large carrots roughly chopped
1 x 250g packet of bacon cut into pieces
half packet brown onion soup
1 tablespoon of chopped Fresh herbs + bay leaf (thyme, rosemary, celery leaf or whatever you have in the garden/fridge) or, if you have a bouquet garni, toss that in.
200ml castle milk stout beer and drink the rest 🙂
3-4 large potatoes sliced about 5mm thick
Salt and pepper
2 x tablesoons melted butter
Chop up all of your ingredients and take a 23-30cm diameter casserole dish that is nice and deep (over 10cm) or cast iron pot and place a layer of potato slices in the bottom.
Now place a layer of chicken pieces and half of all of the rest of the ingredients, another layer of chicken pieces and the rest of the chopped ingredients and brown onion soup.
Pour over the beer and then cover the top with a layer of potato slices. (overlap them so that you have plenty of potato)
Now pour the melted butter over the potatoes, cover with a lid and put into a 160 celsius oven for 90 minutes.
Remove the lid, turn on the grill and grill the top until the potatoes look fabulous and brown.
Let it stand for about 10 minutes before serving if you can.
As a child I remember having the most delicious Sarah Lee cherry pies (not sure if you can still get them in SA) as a treat and as I have moved recently was keen to try out the new oven and decided to give a cherry pie recipe a try for some friends.
Everyone really enjoyed it and I can seriously recommend you try it. The recipe calls for ready made pastry so no messy stuff involved. It’s a pretty simple recipe and almost anyone could make this.
What you need:
2 x rolls frozen shortcrust pastry
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons Maizena (corn starch)
Pinch of salt
2 x tins pitted black cherries in thick sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon softened butter
Flan dish (20cm)
Set your oven to 200 celsius
Let the pastry thaw in the fridge over night and then lightly flour a surface and roll out so that you have enough width to line the flan dish with pastry. Spray the flan dish with spray and cook or butter well and then cover the pastry with baking paper and fill with baking beads.
Blind bake for 15 minutes, remove the beads and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
Add sugar, Maizena and salt to a bowl and mix.
Drain the cherries and keep 1/2 cup of the sauce in a bowl.
Add the lemon juice to the cherry sauce and then add all of the dry ingredients and mix well.
Now add the softened butter and pop into the fridge for about 15 minutes.
The mixture is quite runny so don’t be alarmed.
Now place the cherry mixture into the beautifully crisp flan dish.
Cover with a lattice of pastry strips and pop into the oven for 50 minutes or so or until the lattice pastry is golden brown.
Serve with thick cream and ice cream.
Next time I will add a little cinnamon!!
This is a great lamb recipe that can be done on the braai or in the oven and is a really nice change from the usual garlic and herb flavored lamb. Do it for your next braai, you won’t regret it and serve it with the potato bake. This is enough for 4-6 people.
If you do it on the braai you will want to squeeze a lemon or two over the lamb while cooking but it is really important lo let it rest after removing from the fire before slicing or it will be dry.
I sometimes wrap it in foil for the last 10 minutes or so to keep in all the flavours 🙂
What you need
1 1/2 kg deboned leg of lamb
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons mustard
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 teaspoons chicken stock powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and microwave for about 1 minute to dissolve the honey.
Place the lamb in a dish and cover with the marinade, turning to coat all over. Cover with cling film and let it marinade overnight. 24 hours in the marinade is better, so prepare on Saturday for your Sunday lunch.
Place on a rack in an oven at 180 Celsius for 40 minutes.
Braai over medium/low coals until done (also about 40 minutes)
Remember to let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This will ensure that the juices do not run out and leave the meat dry.
At this time of the month many are a little tight and I have had a lot of requests for tasty economical meals, so here are a few great ideas for meals that taste great and cost very little. In my view rice is a very under rated product that can be easily fancied up and for a tasty, healthy meal. I found a really inexpensive brown rice at PicknPay the other day which you will love. It’s called Spekko brown rice. Brown rice has a distinct nutty taste and is far better for you.
1 cup rice
1 chicken or veg stock cube
1 onion chopped
handful of frozen peas
Cook the rice in the stock per the instructions on the pack.
Fry the onions until soft on a medium heat.
Heat the peas in the microwave or in boiling water.
When the rice is done and soft, mix in the peas and onions and serve with this Chicken and tomato casserole or the Recession proof lamb casserole.
You can add whatever it is you have in your fridge to the rice, I have often added small cubes of butternut, grated carrot that has been cooked up with the onions or cooked a beaten egg into a pancake type thing, rolled it up and sliced it to add to the rice for a Chinese feel.
I hope this gives you some inspiration to be a little creative and to just try things out! Add left over chicken to it for a complete meal on its own, you know what I mean!
Dads seldom need more than to be shown that you appreciate them and what better way than to spend a little time preparing a few of his favorite meals. Spoil the Dads this weekend with a hearty lunch and a dessert that will have him singing your praises and looking forward to next year. Here are a few ideas that are really simple but will show him that you have put in the effort to make something special.
Always remember that the love you put into your food comes through in the flavour and remember to tell him you love him when you place it in front of him, it will bring tears to his eyes and probably result in a string of stories about when you were a nipper. After you have made your Dad the French toast for breakfast, try one of these.
Greek Lamb shanks
These are truly delicious, the preparation takes a little time and you need a bit of time for it to cook, but oh so well worth it.
Jeremy Mansfields Greek style chicken
This is one of the easiest yet tastiest meals to prepare and is a real winner for chicken lovers.
For Dessert in winter you NEED to make one of these beauties, they are foolproof and seriously delicious. Check the comments for inspiration.
Malva pudding recipe
Sticky toffee pudding
Apple passion crumble
Last night it was cold and windy and had this ghalashing for banana bread, hot and steamy straight out of the oven and turned to a quick and trusty banana bread recipe I’ve had for years and never fails. (It was late so excuse the pic) I have done almost everything with banana bread, including making a bread and butter pudding with it.
What you need
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice (I didnt have but used 1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 ginger)
150g soft butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
1 cup mashed bananas (the riper the better)
Oven temp 180 degrees celsius
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters until soft, Add the eggs and beat well, add the mashed banana and mix well.
Sift in all the dry igredients and mix to a smooth batter and mix well again.
Pour into a lightly greased loaf tin and pop into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check at 35 minutes with a toothpick and if it comes out clean you’re done.
Remove your banana bread from tin and let it cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack if you can resist the smell. If not, go ahead and cut yourself a slice of the warm delicious banana bread and load it up with some butter, I tell you it is irressistable.
You can also add a palm full of chopped nuts like walnuts to make it a really special banana bread.
I like mine with a good spread of butter. Enjoy!
There seems to be a glut of bananas on the market at the moment. PicknPay were all but giving them away last week and here is a really delicious warm dessert for those bananas that are getting over ripe. Also remember that if you peel and slice bananas you can freeze them and then pop them frozen into a blender for an ice cream type treat.
What you need
120ml soft butter (100 grams)
175ml white sugar
175ml brown sugar
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250ml mashed bananas
400ml flour (1 and 3/4 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
Add the softened butter and both sugars to a bowl and mix together very well then add the vanilla essence and egg and beat well with electric beater.
Sift in the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix until combines.
Add the banana and chocolate chips and mix gently with a metal spoon to evenly distribute the banana and chocolate chips, you dont want to mix it, just distribute it.
You have quite a large amount of mixture so place it in a large baking dish or roasting pan and bake at 180 Celsius for about 20 minutes. Check on it after 10 minutes and if the sides seem to be cooking too fast, turn the oven down to 160.
Allow it to cool slightly and dig in. It’s simple and very tasty.
Sometimes only a boerewors roll will satisfy the hunger! If you have ever been driving around and racked your brain for the location of that guy making boerie rolls outside the supermarket or the butcher in the middle of the day and have traveled about 10km to find one, then you know you are a born and bred South African!
The rest of you may not quite understand the simple pleasure of biting down on a boerewors roll but for those of you who do understand, the next step is guaging the quality of the wors. Make your own and have that SA experience every time 🙂
What you need
2Kg Stewing beef or silver side
1.5 kg pork belly
20g Whole coriander
2ml Ground cloves
2ml Grated nutmeg
5ml Freshly ground black pepper
100ml White vinegar
Pop the coriander into a hot pan and toss it around for while until you smell that beautiful coriander fragrance quite strongly. Pop it into a pestle and mortar grind it down to a powder, removing any husks and then combine with the rest of the spices.
Cut all of the meat into small chunks and combine with the spices. Put the meat and spice mixture through a grinder or a food processor (make small batches if you are using a food processor). Now add the vinegar to the minced meat and mix thoroughly.
Set it aside for about 1/2 an hour to combine nicely.
Stuff meat lightly into casings and get the braai ready!
Mamas Lasagna recipe
Every now and then a recipe comes along that you just have to print and keep, bookmark or do whatever you need to so that you do not lose it and this old fashioned Lasagna recipe is one of those easy recipes. Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients, you will have most of them in your cupboard.
There is no low fat low salt this or that, it’s from a great friend of mine whose grandmother passed on the recipe and has been a favourite in their household for as long as anyone can remember. This is not to say that it is difficult or complicated, it is a lasagna recipe that is unpretentious, great tasting and home style food at it’s best so do what you need to and cook this one, you will be so glad you did. (serves 6) Dish size is 30cm x 20cm x about 8cm deep.
What you need
1 large onion finely chopped/grated
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
150g pork sausage meat
1 kg beef mince
2 tbsp tomato purée
3 tsp dried oregano
2 x 420g tins chopped peeled tomatoes
150ml beef stock
2 heaped tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
600ml full-fat milk
pinch of nutmeg
250g lasagne sheets
Grated Parmesan cheese
Grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
If you are using boxed lasagna, boil the kettle and fill a dish with boiling water, place your lasagna sheets into the water one at a time and allow to stand for about 10 minutes or so so that they par cook. It is important to add them one at a time or they will stick together.
In a pan on a medium heat with a little oil add the onions and cook until they begin to sften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the pork sausage meat and fry for about another 3 minutes. You want to make sure that the meat is separated into a mince consistency. Add the beef mince and cook for about 10 minutes, moving it around so that it is all cokked. It may look a bit grey at this stage but have no fear that is how it is meant to look.
Now add the tomato puree, tomatoes, beef stock and oregano, mix it all up and allow to heat through, taste and season with salt and pepper and then leave it to simmer for about 30 minutes or so to reduce the liquid and thicken up while you make the white sauce.
Take a small pot and place on a medium heat, melt the butter and then stir in the flour. You want the flour to cook but not brown so make sure you are tirring all the time and that your stove is not too hot. This should take about 3 minutes with the butter and flour mixture foaming. Now add the milk little by little and stir furiously to get a smooth consistency and you ahve used all of the milk. Now add the nutmeg, give it a good stir and turn off the heat.
By this time your meat sauce should be ready as well and you are ready to get going.
Take a 20x30cm oven proof dish that is at least 6-8cm high and give it a light rubbing with some butter all over the base and add a thin layer of the meat sauce, then a layer of lasagna sheets, a thin layer of white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan, then another layer of lasagna sheets and repeat until it is all finished. Sprinkle a nice thick layer of Mozzarella over the top with another fine sprinkle of parmesan.
Into a 180 Celsius oven it goes for 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is beautifully brown and bubbling.
That is the very best lasagna you will ever taste! Check out some of the other easy pasta recipes.