Foodies share their festive fare - recipes

By Esther Lewis Time of article published Dec 23, 2013

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Cape Town - Three foodies share their plans for their festive meals... and an expert suggests wine pairings.

 

Kamini Pather has faced off against top cooks to be crowned South Africa’s MasterChef, but when it comes to Christmas lunch, it’s her mom and granny who are in charge of the menu.

Kamini, 30, will spend Christmas in Durban, and describes it as a big family affair. There will be lots of cousins, aunts and uncles. And, of course, lots of food. “With my family, it’s like MasterChef didn’t happen. I’ll be given menial tasks to do, like making salads,” she jokes.

She will, however, try to sneak a Christmas pudding flavoured ice-cream on to the dessert menu.

If Kamini had her way, she would make gammon with a watermelon glaze and lots of salads. She also advises people to cut down on the carbs in the meal. “You have to keep it light because Christmas time is hot in South Africa,” she says.

Another idea she’s been trying to sell to her family – without any success – is having a braai. But she admits there is the risk of losing that Christmas feeling.

Since Kamini was named South Africa’s second MasterChef earlier this year, life has been busy. Kamini has been doing many cooking demos, tons of photo-shoots, and a lot of interviews.

“I’m loving my life right now. It’s exactly what I wanted. I’ve never looked back. I’m looking forward to doing what I want to do,” she says.

That includes opening pop-up restaurants, maybe writing a book, and definitely filming her cooking show.

The show – still unnamed – will be filmed on location in southern Africa before April. Kamini says too often people look to the north for new tastes or inspiration, but she will draw on the wealth of cuisine available in the southern hemisphere.

But for now, she’s looking forward to taking a break and spending the holidays with her family.

Kamini favourite fare:

Fig and Camembert phyllo pastry

Serves 6

3 sheets phyllo, cut into squares

6 figs, cut down diagonally

Wheel of Camembert

Honey to drizzle

Place figs and Camembert in the centre of each piece of phyllo pastry. Drizzle with honey. Squeeze pastry together and tie with butcher’s string before baking at 180°C for 10-15 minutes

Coriander seed squid and orange mayo

Serves 2

200 squid, cleaned

3T cornflour

Salt and pepper

1 tsp coriander seed powder

Oil for frying

1 orange

1 Cup avocado Oil

2 egg yolks

Clean and dry the squid. Mix with cornflour, coriander and salt and pepper to coat. Fry in shallow oil until crisp. Allow to drain on kitchen towel.

Whisk together egg yolks with a squeeze of juice from half the orange. Drizzle the oil into the yolks while whisking vigorously. Season to taste.

 

For Expresso presenter Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp and radio personality Ian Bredenkamp it will be their first Christmas as a married couple, and Elana has plans to prepare one of the dishes she learnt to cook on the show.

Elana, born to Christian parents, converted to Judaism three years ago. But to her and Ian, Christmas and the idea around it means a lot and is special.

In fact, Elana, who also hosts her own radio show, remembers finding wrapped gifts in her mother’s cupboard as a little girl. One of them was a pram. “I wondered how my mother knew I wanted a pram, because I only told Father Christmas,” says Elana.

Her brother told her that Father Christmas lived in their mother’s cupboard and Elana, who was six at the time, believed him.

Ian says this time of year means finishing off projects, wrapping a few gifts, and lighting candles for Channukah, and visiting family.

“We believe in this time, because taking a break is good for the soul, and so is seeing family that we love,” he says.

The other thing they do is eat a lot. “I learnt to cook on the set of Expresso,” says Elana. Her new winning recipes are trifle and Mediterranean loaf.

The couple will enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas morning breakfast with family.

Ian’s and Elana’s favourite :

Mediterranean baked loaf

500g flour

15g salt

55ml olive oil

20g fresh yeast

275ml water

170g Greek olives, pitted and chopped

55g sun-dried tomatoes

1 x sliced green pepper and 1 x sliced red pepper

Mix all ingredients, apart from the olives and tomatoes and peppers, in a large bowl. Knead well with your hands until dough is smooth and shiny. Cover with a piece of cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into two and add half of the olives and sun-dried tomatoes and peppers. Mould both the doughs into rough round shapes and press firmly down.

Bake at 220°C for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

 

Jenny Morris, also known as the Giggling Gourmet, is notorious for her “groaning table” at Christmas.

“My table usually groans with food. I do make a lot to eat, but it keeps us going with leftovers for two days after Christmas,” she says.

This year she will spend Christmas in Cape Town with family and special friends. Jenny will cook for 10 guests on Christmas Eve, and eight on Christmas Day. The special part for her is the time spent with her family. And food is a big part of their lives.

“I love my family to death with food all year round, so it is like Christmas in my house at every mealtime, but I try to make all of their favourite dishes at this time of the year. But just having my family together at one table even if we were eating dry bread and Vim would be special for me,” says Jenny.

Luckily, they won’t have to eat dry bread. Jenny will prepare her all-in-one four-bird roast – turkey, duck, chicken and quail, gammon, whole Norwegian salmon baked in a salt crust, and lots of salads.

The flavours are inspired by Thai, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese dishes, especially the glazes and toppings for the gammon and bird.

Desserts will be fresh fruit, and a twist on a traditional Christmas cake by turning it into a frozen terrine.

While there are many favourites, her signature prawn and Norwegian salmon salad, dressed with Asian dressing, is the dish that keeps her guests begging for more.

Jenny says to cook to this scale, it takes two days of preparing. But “there is no other pleasure more important to me than making a meal for your family and special friends”, she says.

Jenny’s festive favourites:

4-bird Roast with Jenny’s Sweet Gooseberry & Chilli Sauce

This generous deboned turkey, duck, chicken and quail roast is big enough for the whole family and will make for an exciting centrepiece.

METHOD: Prepare the bird by rubbing it well with 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil. Then mix together some salt, ground white pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons of toasted and ground cumin and a teaspoon of toasted and ground coriander. Rub this all over the bird, making sure you don’t leave any gaps.

 

As a cooking guide to help you with roasting this bird: each bird weighs about 2.3kg, so cook it for about for 40 minutes for every kilo. And always remember to pre-heat your oven at 180°C.

Place the bird in the pre-heated oven and roast until golden brown, for about 25 minutes. Turn the bird over and cook the other side for a further 25 minutes.

Finally, wrap it in foil and cook for another 25 minutes while you make the sweet gooseberry and chilli sauce.

Sweet gooseberry and chilli sauce

1T of vegetable or olive oil

2T of chopped fresh ginger

Clove of chopped garlic

200g of gooseberry jam

1/2 cup of sweet chilli sauce

1T of fresh rosemary needles, chopped

1T of white balsamic vinegar

1T of orange zest

Dash of sesame oil

Heat the oil, add the ginger and the garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds – you don’t want to burn it.

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook gently for about 12 minutes or until glossy.

Remove the roast from the oven and remove the foil, cover with half the topping and then cook for the final 20 minutes at 200°C to 220°C until light golden brown.

It’s very important not to exceed the total cooking time of 40 minutes for each kilogram.

Serve your golden roast with the rest of the sauce.

Deluxe Christmas Ice Cream Cake

Fruit filling – assemble first:

500g of chopped glazed fruit

100g glaze cherries

250ml golden syrup or honey

250ml of whisky

Place the whisky into a saucepan and add the golden syrup. Cook this till it reduces by a third and then remove it from the heat and allow to cool before stirring the fruit into the whisky syrup.

While the mixture is cooling, assemble the ingredients for your terrine.

Ice cream and Fruit cake:

2l vanilla ice cream

800g fruit cake, thinly sliced (no thicker than 1cm)

Line a loaf tin with cling film and allow the plastic to hang over the sides of the tin, so you can seal the terrine when it’s done.

Place a thick layer of vanilla ice cream on the base of the tin, cover with slices of fruit cake and then add more ice cream and top with half of the cooled whiskied fruit mix.

Add more cake and ice cream and then fold the cling film over the top of the dessert and then just press down firmly to get rid of any little air holes. Fold the cling film over the top.

Place the terrine in the freezer and freeze till firm.

What’s wonderful about this dessert is that you can actually make it a week before you need to serve it, but don’t make it less than 48 hours before the time, otherwise it’s not going to set.

To serve, dip the tin quickly in some warm water and then invert it on to your serving dish to unmould it. Spoon over the remaining fruit.

 

PAIRING the right wine with each of the dishes can make a huge difference to the meal. Stefan Coetzee, wine expert at Cybercellar.com, suggests perfect pairings to complement these dishes.

Fig and Camembert phyllo pastry

De Toren La Jeunesse Delicat – A Beaujolais-style (soft red) wine that’s abundant with red berries and especially strawberries. The gentle tannin and a delicate acidity will complement this starter perfectly. Serve the wine slightly chilled for optimal enjoyment.

De Grendel Pinot Grigio – Gorgeously pale, crisp white with a small oak component, this is a wine that is light in appearance yet rich on the palate. The gentle acidity will cut through the Camembert and fig, while the richness of the wine will complement the phyllo.

Coriander seed squid and orange mayo

Saronsberg Viognier – Remarkably versatile food wine. Light straw colour and flavours of butterscotch, nutty caramel, pear and lime. It has a rich, silky palate and a balanced oak finish that complements the spice used in dishes. Works wonders with the squid and orange combination.

Jean Daneel Signature Chenin Blanc – Tones of lime, lemon peel, honeysuckle, baked apples, ripe pineapple, dried apricots, nutty flavours and almonds that show in the acidity of the wine. Rich and creamy on the palate with a complex fruity aftertaste and subtle oak flavours.

Mediterranean baked loaf

Bon Courage Jacques Bruere Blanc de Blanc – This elegant Methode Cap Classique has a strong yeasty nose and a faint lemon scent. It is a crisp white wine with a creamy complexity on the palate. A wine with great finesse that pairs well with freshly baked dishes.

Silverthorn Green Man Blanc de Blanc – Vibrant green/yellow hue – fine twirling bead of bubbles. It has fresh aromas of green apple and acacia blossom on the nose, backed up by subtle hints of minerality and whiffs of freshly baked brioche.

Four Bird Roast:

Cederberg Bukettraube – A rare and beautiful aromatic wine that exhibits delicate floral notes, dried mango, apricot and muscat flavours. Well balanced with a delicate sweetness and a crisp acidity that will complement the Sweet GooseBerry and Chilli sauce magnificently.

Paul Cluver Close Encounter Riesling – Wonderfully fragrant partner to chicken and other bird dishes, with concentrated fruit and floral notes. Lots of mango, orange and frangipani with sweet melon freshness. Lovely lime and lemongrass finish.

Deluxe Christmas Ice Cream Cake

Blaauwklippen Noble Late Harvest Malbec – Gorgeous dessert wine that stands up well to the glazed fruit and sweetness in this dish. The cleansing acidity in this wine helps cut through the sweetness.

Boplaas Cape Tawny Reserve – Spice, treacle/caramel, bitter orange, wafts of spirit on the bouquet. Complex palate, roast nuts, hints of cinnamon and allspice. Lingering dry finish makes it the perfect partner for this Christmas ice cream cake. - Cape Argus

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