Season’s feastings

Whipping up a festive spread is a cinch with these simple recipes

Season's feastings

Christmas tree cheese platter

Serves 6

Ingredients
For the baba ganoush
2 large brinjals
50 ml tahini
100 ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper, to season

For the pesto
50g basil
20g pine nuts, toasted
10g parsley
2 garlic cloves, bruised
150 ml olive oil

To serve
30g pomegranate arils
10 bocconcini
5g za’atar
Bread or crackers

Method
For the baba ganoush
1. Place whole brinjals over a gas flame (a braai flame also works well)
until they are very charred.
2. Place the charred brinjals, tahini, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender and blitz
until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the pesto
1. Blend the basil, pine nuts, parsley and garlic to a paste-like consistency. Slowly add the olive oil, blending continuously. Season to taste.

To serve
1. Using the pesto, paint a Christmas tree shape on to a dark plate. Arrange the pomegranate arils, bocconcini and a little za’atar over and around the tree as ‘decorations’. Serve with warm bread or crackers, and baba ganoush.

Roast chicken with baked apples

Serves 4

Ingredients
1 free-range chicken
2 lemons
10 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh sage
100g butter
Salt and black pepper, to season
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
8 pickling onions, peeled
2 cups chicken stock
8 small apples

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Place the whole chicken on a flat surface and insert one of the lemons, three sprigs of thyme and all of the sage into the cavity. Gently massage half of the butter into the skin of the bird, then season with a little salt and black pepper.
2. Arrange the celery and carrots in a pile in the centre of a large roasting tray. Place the chicken on top of the pile of vegetables and dot the pickling onions around it. Add half of the chicken stock and the rest of the thyme. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.
3. Add the apples and baste the chicken with a little bit of juice from the other lemon. Add the rest of the chicken stock. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes.
4. Roughly chop the remaining butter and dot around the chicken and vegetables. Turn up the oven to 200˚C and cook for 10 minutes, uncovered.
5. Serve with the baked apples and onions, discarding the other vegetables.

Pumpkin fritters with sesame seeds

Serves 6

Ingredients
500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
50 ml olive oil
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, bruised
Salt, to season
1 egg
60 ml cake flour
10g spring onion, finely sliced
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
Canola oil, for frying
50g mixed white and black sesame seeds, toasted

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and toss with the olive oil. Add the thyme, garlic and salt to taste, then toss again. Roast until golden
and cooked through.
2. Mash the pumpkin and set aside to cool. Once at room temperature, add the egg, flour, spring onion, paprika and cumin.
3. Heat the canola oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Carefully drop spoonfuls of the pumpkin batter into the hot oil and fry until golden (do not allow the oil to get too hot, as the outsides of the fritters will burn before the insides cook). Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain.
4. Roll fritters in the sesame seeds, season again if necessary and serve warm.

Green salad with mustard dressing

Serves 6

Ingredients
For the salad
200g broccoli
200g green beans
10g butter
20 ml olive oil
18 asparagus spears
150g fresh peas
50g radish, finely sliced
Flowers, to garnish

For the dressing
20 ml wholegrain mustard
Juice of 2 limes
200 ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to season

Method
For the salad
1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and blanch the broccoli for one minute. Add the beans and blanch for another minute.Refresh both in ice water.
2. Heat butter and olive oil in a pan over high heat. Sear the asparagus spears.
3. Assemble all the salad ingredients and garnish with the flowers.

For the dressing
1. Place mustard and lime juice in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add the olive oil,
whisking continuously.
2. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl alongside the salad.

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Mince pie ice cream

Serves 8

Ingredients
150g butter, cubed and softened
225g cake flour
100g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
200g ready-made minced fruit
2l vanilla ice cream, at room temperature

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
2. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the caster sugar. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the egg. Use a palette or bread knife to cut the egg into the flour. Knead the dough for five minutes. Then cover and rest in the fridge for five minutes.
3. Grease a shallow muffin tray. Break off pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand and ease into the muffin tray.
4. Spoon about 10 ml of the minced fruit into the centre of each circle. Cut circles out of the remaining dough for lids. If you are making a second batch to serve with the ice cream, cut stars out of the dough for festive lids.
5. Bake until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
6. Chop the mince pies into small pieces and mix into the softened ice cream. Return to the freezer and allow to set for three to four hours.

Recipes & Styling: Lisa Clark; Photography: Andreas Eiselen/HSMimages.co.za
December 2015/January 2016

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