7 last minute recipes for Christmas lunch

This year we're keeping it simple, easy and enjoyable. Honestly, we're in a pandemic and there is no time for intricacy! Here's what you'll find on our menu: boujee fish cake starters, a pork belly with apple sauce and rice salad for mains and Christmas cake trifle for dessert. We're also cooking a brandy and Coke gammon and trying out three other Christmas trifle recipes.

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Christmas may only be two days away, but that does not mean you do not have time to prepare a yummy festive feast. Take a deep breath! To execute a solid festive feast, simply follow the principles of simplicity.

Ditch the overthought Christmas menu right now and, instead, start prepping a few classic dishes to satisfy and spark nostalgia for your covid-Christmas guests.

On our Christmas lunch menu

This Mzansi Flavour three-course Christmas meal is guaranteed to give you some inspiration for your Christmas spread.

Yes, we are having fish cakes for starters! Chef David Higgs’s fish cakes are a winner and definitely boujee enough for a Christmas menu.

Also, you could never go wrong with a pork main by chef Lufuno Sinthumele. For dessert you are sorted with a Christmas cake trifle by chef Zanele Van Zyl. Click here for these easy recipes.

Continue reading, however, if you’re looking for something more traditional. We’ve also got great recipes for a Christmas gammon and some other excellent trifle varieties if you’re up for trying out new things.

Plus, something for the gammon lovers

Of course, many South Africans will argue that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a delicious gammon on the menu. Why not zoosh things up a bit this year? Try out this timeless South African classic: a gammon glazed with brandy and Coke.

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This brandy and Coke gammon is bound to have your mouth all kinds of watering. Photo: Taste

Ingredients for the gammon

You will need one large gammon, with or without the bone. However, do note that there is a difference in cooking times between cooking with or without the bone.

  • 330ml can/bottle of ginger ale
  • 330ml can/bottle of beer
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • Thumb length quill of cinnamon
  • A quarter grated nutmeg
  • 5ml whole black peppercorns
  • Water
Ingredients for the glaze
  • 330ml can of Coke
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp hot English mustard powder
  • 100ml brown sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • 15ml squeezed lemon juice
  • 45ml brandy
Preparation method

1. Add the gammon, ginger ale, beer, star anise, bay leaves, cloves, onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, and peppercorns into a large, deep pot.

2. Pour in the water so that it covers the gammon.

3. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat so that the gammon cooks at a simmer.

Food For Mzansi’s pro tip: Only cover one side of the pot. If you are cooking a boneless gammon, cook for about 30 – 40 minutes but if the gammon has is boned then 40 – 55 minutes depending on the kilogram of the gammon as the package says. Top up with water if necessary.
  1. When done, turn off the gas and leave to cool. It is usually suggested to cook the gammon a day before using it. Leave the gammon in the liquid. You’ll need it for later.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220 – 240 degrees celsius. Pour the coke into a wok (or if you do not have one, a shallow pan will suffice).
  3. Turn on the heat until bubbly and the liquid has reduced by half.
  4. Add the Dijon mustard and English mustard.
  5. Next add the coffee and sugar and increase the heat whilst stirring for 5 – 7 minutes until the mix is slightly syrupy and the liquid has reduced even more. Take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and brandy.
  6. Take out the gammon from the pan with its liquid, pat it down and place it in a roasting pan. Remove any rind off the gammon and open a score the shape of the diamond at the top of the gammon. Fill it with the cloves.
  7. Pour the glaze all around the gammon and put the pan into the heated oven. Cook for 30 minutes, basting every 5 – 7 minutes (use the glaze at the bottom of the pan and pour the liquid over the gammon. Be careful as the glaze is quick to burn).
  8. Once the gammon has a mahogany looking crust and the glaze at the bottom of the pan is little, bring it out of the oven. Use a paint brush to use the rest of the glaze to baste the gammon on the top and the sides.
  9. Set aside for about ten minutes before serving. When serving cold, leave in the fridge for about four hours. Do not cover it. Enjoy!

And, of course, the perfect trifle…

Lucia Mthiyane’s rainbow trifle. Photo: Supplied

Looking for more dessert options? It is no secret that trifles are a big deal in Mzansi. It could even be said that the dessert so deeply embedded in our history could have sparked a few family feuds.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a little friendly competition amongst family, you really stand a better chance of beating your aunts out for the trifle throne with these recipes.

Here are three of our favourite trifle recipes. Each one is different, and equally delicious!


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