Well, it is that time of year again: the holidays are upon us! I know there are so many fun treats to indulge in, but try to still eat your fruits and veggies (who says they can’t be fun and festive, too?).
Fresh fruit in the summer is one of life’s simple pleasures: juicy, sweet (or tart, depending on said fruit), and perfect for snacking.
Fruit often gets side-lined as more indulgent treats claim the festive spotlight. They’re good value at markets, though, and always on offer in the supermarket at this time of year, so stock up and put them to good use.
Juicy Delicious South Africa has teamed up with the talented and much-loved television chefs Justine Drake and Jenny Morris to create fabulous festive season recipes with stone fruit adding the extra zing.
Peach Prosecco Cocktail by Justine Drake
2 peach-flavoured tea bags
1 cup boiling water
¾ cup white sugar
4-8 basil leaves
1-2 peaches, thinly sliced
1 bottle Prosecco (sparkling wine or Cap Classique are good alternatives)
Pop the tea bags into the water and infuse them to make a strong tea.
Place the tea and sugar in a pot and boil to reduce by half, and create a simple peach syrup. Allow cooling.
Place 1 tbsp of the peach syrup at the bottom of each champagne flute.
Add 2 peach slices and 1 basil leaf and top with ice-cold Prosecco.
Mini Pavlovas with Nectarine and Burnt Sugar Shards by Justine Drake
Makes: 8 mini Pavlovas or one large one
4 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup castor sugar
½ tbsp vanilla essence
Juice of 1 large orange
1-2 tbsp orange liqueur, optional
1 cup cream, whipped
Burnt Sugar Shards
2 tbsp water
¾ cup sugar
Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to medium-stiff peaks.
Add castor sugar a tablespoon at a time every few minutes – the sugar should dissolve completely before adding the next spoonful. Whisk until all the sugar has been added and the meringue is smooth, thick, and glossy.
Place large dollops of the meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray taking care to allow enough space between each one.
Using the back of a teaspoon, create a well in the middle of each to create a nest.
Bake at 100°C for about 1 hour. Cool completely in the oven before removing.
Thinly slice nectarines and macerate in orange juice and liqueur for no longer than 30 minutes.
Spoon the cream into the meringue nests and arrange the nectarines on top. Decorate with sugar shards and mint leaves if you like.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place water and sugar into a heavy-based pot.
Cook over medium heat to dissolve the sugar – do not stir as crystals will form.
Once the sugar starts to dissolve, increase the heat and cook until dark brown.
Pour the caramel onto a baking sheet in a thin, even layer.
Cool and chop or break into shards.
Store in an airtight container until needed.
Do not refrigerate or the shards will become tacky.
Summer Plum and Prawn Salad by Jenny Morris
6 large firm, ripe plums, peeled, pitted, and cubed.
200g butter lettuce
1 cup of cubed English cucumber
400g cooked prawn meat
1 cup of bean sprouts
2 spring onions with tops, sliced
½ red pepper diced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Spicy Plum and Chilli dressing
½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
Prepare the salad dressing first by blending all the ingredients in a food processor. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Layer the salad ingredients on a serving platter, moistening each of the layers with the chilli dressing as you go.
Roasted Fillet with Chunky Plums by Jenny Morris
1kg beef fillet trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp ground cumin
300g firm, red, ripe plums
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp onion finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 red chilli sliced
3 tbsp white sugar
2 whole star anise
½ cup lemon juice
Juice of 1 orange
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp of fresh coriander
First, get the sauce started. Stone and halve the plums. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chilli. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, and then add the sugar and star anise. Cook stirring until sugar dissolves and add a little port to prevent it from burning. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the remaining port, lemon juice, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.
Place the plums into the mixture and simmer gently until tender but not overcooked – about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the plums with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Stir in the sesame oil, orange zest, and coriander. Return the plums to the sauce.
To prepare the meat, rub the fillet with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, and ground cumin. Heat a frying pan until it is hot and then seal the meat on all sides until nice and brown. Roast in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Rest the fillet for 10 minutes and then slice the meat. Spoon over the plum sauce and serve.
Tip: This sauce is also delicious with pork, chicken, lamb, duck, and ostrich.