The countdown to Christmas Day has officially begun.
This year Christmas will likely look more different than we had hoped for, but we are taking that as our cue to make it one for the ages with new recipes to dazzle our festive guests (while keeping a safe distance around the table, of course).
Our choice of five home cooks and chefs did not hold back with their selection and tips, either.
You could never go wrong with a light chicken starter
Try the Yummy Chef, Lesego Moetse’s Cajun grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms and leeks.
250g chicken breast
Punnet mushrooms, halved
1 whole leek stalk
5g Cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large iron pan with olive oil.
2. Grill seasoned chicken for 2 mins on both sides. Rest for 5 mins.
3. In the same pan with leftover oil, fry mushrooms and leeks until golden.
4. Top mushrooms and leeks on grilled breast and serve. Enjoy!
What’s a festive spread without pumpkin? Make Moetse’s caramelized version
One whole pumpkin, diced
6 tbsp butter (melted)
¼ cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin with butter, sugar, salt and pepper.
3. Place seasoned pumpkin on a greased baking tray.
4. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until caramelised. Remove from oven and serve.
5. Also try this side dish: Parmesan brussel sprouts salad
Parmesan brussels sprouts salad
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves
Tray of brussels sprouts (halved)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese for kick
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat until hot.
2. Melt 1 tbsp butter and stir in garlic until aromatic.
3. Add another tbsp of butter and brussels sprouts.
4. Cover pan and cook for 4 – 6 mins.
5. Stir sprouts then cover and cook until browned.
6. Transfer to serving plate, then sprinkle parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Enjoy!
Make flavour symphonies with Paul’s slow cooked crispy duck.
3 large duck breasts with skin on
3 garlic cloves
1 big knob of ginger (5cm)
1 tsp salt
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs honey
1 tbs Chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1 tsp cha siu sauce (optional)
Small dash of flavourless oil (peanut, canola, etc)
- Finely chop ginger and garlic.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together.
Stovetop sous vide duck breast
- Place the marinated duck breast in a vacuum seal bag and leave it open.
- Slowly insert the bag into water so it pushes the air out. Once the air is out, zip the bag.
- Using a thermometer, set your temp to 55°c. Cook the duck breast for 1 hour.
- Now caramelise the fat as described below.
Caramelising the duck fat
- Put a mini dash of oil in a non-stick pan. Heat on medium.
- Pull the bags out and place them in the sink. Cut them open and, using kitchen tongs, place the breasts in a plate.
- Place breasts in the pan skin down. Melt the skin fat, caramelising it without burning it. When it’s nice and golden, turn them upside down and leave them for 1 minute.
- Serve and enjoy.
Up for a challenge? Make Leshoto’s red wine and caramelised onion, slow cooked lamb shoulder.
Half a cup caramelised onion chutney (available at Woolies)
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 can tomato purée
3 sprigs rosemary
1 head garlic, halved
1 & 1/2 cups red wine
Salt and pepper
Lamb rub for seasoning
- Add wine, tomatoes and caramelised onion chutney in a large roasting pan and mix to combine.
- Add garlic and rosemary to the mixture.
- Place the lamb shoulder in the mixture, drizzled with olive oil and generously seasoned with lamb rub, salt and pepper.
- Cover tightly with foil and cook in a pre-heated oven at 190-200 degrees Celsius for about 3 hours, turning halfway.
- Remove foil for the last 5-10 minutes to broil.
- Serve with your choice of starch (goes well with creamy samp) or shred and add to cooked pappardelle pasta to make lamb ragu pasta.
Sweets are obviously a must-have treat
Make the Dianne Bibby no-bake caramel walnut chocolate tart
200g chocolate-filled biscuits
60g butter, melted
30ml (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder
100g walnuts, toasted
385g tin caramel treat
200g 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
180ml (3/4 cup) fresh cream
10ml (2 teaspoons) glucose or 1 tablespoon butter
Hawaiian black salt, to finish
- Pulse the biscuits in a processor until fine breadcrumb texture. Add the melted butter and cocoa and pulse again.
- Press the biscuit crumbs into a 22cm tart tin.
- Press the walnuts into the biscuit base.
- Warm the caramel for about 40 seconds and stir until smooth.
- Spread the caramel into the tart shell and smooth over with an off-set spatula. Chill until firm.
- Place the chopped chocolate, cream and glucose in a glass bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate is melted and glossy.
- Pour the chocolate over the caramel. Chill for 2-3 hours. Scatter with Hawaiian black salt.
- Set on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving.
And of course, no table is complete without a trifle
Unaty Daniel has just the recipe for you, an apricot trifle with homemade custard.
2 x packets raspberry jelly
250ml whipped cream
1 x ready madeira cake
2×410g can apricot halves in syrup
500g homemade custard
- Prepare the jelly as per the pack instructions and place in the fridge to set slightly, but not yet firm.
- Arrange the Madeira Cake pieces in individual glasses and drizzle with apricot syrup from apricot can.
- Cover with custard, followed by the jelly.
- Arrange the apricot halves on top of the jelly and put in the fridge to set for about 4 hours.
- Top with whipped cream and berries