The Christmas bells are ringing and everyone is starting to plan their Christmas Eve themes and menus. Have you got any ideas yet? If not, here are a few menus to choose from:
Go South African with a twist this Christmas. Here are some of our ideas that could spark your imagination and get your creative juices flowing:
- Chilled Garden Pea Soup with Gammon or Bacon
- Cheddar Truffles
- Duck Liver Terrine
- Pork Belly with a Cranberry Sauce
- Karoo Lamb with Tomato Farcies, Basil and Truffles
- Smoked Lamb Rump with Minted Rosti, Wild Mushrooms, Asparagus and Brandy Jus
- Pecan Nut Pie with Custard, Malva Ice Cream and Candied Fruit
- Gingerbread Ice Cream with Vanilla infused Pears and Marinated Berries
- Selection of South African Cheeses
Are the above ideas tickling your taste buds? Here are a few recipes to play around with:
250 g Philadelphia brick cream cheese, softened
200 g cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
Cayenne pepper to taste
¼ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 2/3 pecans, chopped
Blend the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic powder and cayenne pepper together.
Divide the cheese mixture and add the roasted peppers to the one half and onions to the other.
Mix each half until well blended.
Refrigerate the mixtures until chilled.
Shape into 24 similar sized balls.
Roll the cheese balls in the chopped pecans.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve with crackers.
Pork Belly with Cranberry and Apple Relish
1 bunch of thyme, chopped
1 bunch of rosemary, chopped
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
150 ml olive oil
2.5 kg pork belly
1 bottle of white wine
Course sea salt and black pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 120°C.
Lay the pork belly in an oven tray, skin side down.
Sprinkle the pork belly lightly with salt and pepper, using your hands to spread the herb mixture over the meat evenly.
Turn the belly skin side up, wipe it dry with kitchen paper and sprinkle some more salt over the top. (Do not use too much salt as it might create a crust and prevent the crackling from forming).
Put the tray in the oven for an hour, turning the belly every 20 minutes.
Once the skin has formed, turn the oven down to 80°C and continue roasting for another hour until the skin is crackled and dry.
Remove from the oven and cut it into segments with a sharp knife between the rib bones.
Serve with Cranberry and Apple Relish as seen below.
Cranberry and Apple Relish
150 g castor sugar
2 star anise
4 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
250g fresh / dried cranberries (if using dried, add a little cranberry juice)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
60 ml port
125 ml orange juice
Add the castor sugar, star anise and cardamom together in a heavy-based saucepan and melt over medium heat.
Allow the melted sugar to turn a rich caramel colour and add the cranberries (if dried, also the cranberry juice) and a touch of seasoning.
Cook gently until the cranberries begin to soften, then add the apples and cook for another three to four minutes. Toss the mixture frequently to coat the fruit in caramel.
Add the port to the mixture and reduce the heat slightly.
Stir in the orange juice.
Simmer for about ten minutes, allowing some of the cranberries to thicken the sauce.
Remove from the heat and remove the star anise and cardamom pods from the mixture.
(This sauce can be made three days in advance and kept in the refrigerator).
(From Gingerbread Cookbook)
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups full cream milk
50 mm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
6 large egg yolks
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream, milk and ginger in a heavy based saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to infuse for 30 minutes to an hour.
Strain the mixture, discarding the ginger.
Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat just to a simmer.
Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks, sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a heatproof bowl.
Slowly add the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the protein from coagulating.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium heat.
Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Strain the custard into a heat proof bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to its instructions.
Transfer to airtight container and freeze until firm – at least one hour.