RECIPES: The foods you should try ahead of the festive season

The holiday season is upon us.

We still cannot believe how fast the year has gone by.

2020 has not been the easiest of years for many people due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns that came with it.

But the festive season is a time that many of us are looking forward to, as it is always a joyful and wonderful time.

Even though things might be different this year, we can always sit back, count our blessings, and prepare for another new year, and what better way to do that with delicious food?

We have gathered below some recipes for the holiday season to help make your celebrations simpler, easier, and more delicious.

Some of these recipes share the benefit of being made in advance, leaving more time to socialise and less time stressing around the already busy season.

Butterfly lamb with cherry glaze

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1.8kg deboned leg of lamb

60ml balsamic vinegar

15ml chopped garlic

15ml wholegrain mustard

45ml black cherry jam

15ml olive oil

45ml chopped thyme

45ml chopped rosemary

Salt and pepper

Fresh cherries for garnishing

Roasted shallots and carrots to serve

Method

Place the lamb in a strong plastic bag.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, jam, olive oil, herbs, and seasoning and mix well.

Pour over the lamb and massage into the meat.

Set aside to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, bring the meat to room temperature. Prepare indirect heat in a covered braai.

Place the meat in a disposable container and roast, basting frequently with the marinade, for 45-50 minutes or until the desired doneness.

Remove from the braai, cover with foil, and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Garnish with fresh cherries and serve with roasted shallots and carrots if desired.

Place the remaining marinade in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until thickened.

Serve with the sliced meat.

Peri-peri duck

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1.8kg whole duck

60ml olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped

125ml peri sauce

30ml brown sugar

Salt and pepper

Method

Place the duck in a deep dish or strong plastic bag.

Combine all the ingredients, pour over the duck, refrigerate and marinate overnight.

Remove the duck from the marinade, lay breast-side up in a foil container, and roast in a preheated gas braai or on the braai using the indirect method.

Baste frequently with the leftover marinade.

Pour off the fat half-way through cooking and use to make roast potatoes.

Remove the duck, cover with tinfoil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with crispy roast potatoes.

South African queen of plum puddings

Serves: 4

Ingredients

6 plums

60g caster sugar

Pinch ground mixed spice

100ml water

10g butter

100g fresh white breadcrumbs

400ml semi-skimmed milk

1tsp vanilla extract

3 large eggs, separated

Method

Halve, pit, and slice the plums. Put them into a saucepan with 20g of sugar, the mixed spice, and 100ml water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Leave to cool.

Grease a 1-litre baking dish with half the butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs into the dish.

Heat the milk with the remaining butter and vanilla extract until lukewarm. Remove from the heat and add half the remaining sugar (20g), stirring to dissolve it. Pour into the baking dish. Add the beaten egg yolks and stir into the breadcrumbs. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C or fan oven 160°C or gas mark 4.

Bake the pudding for 20-25 minutes, until set. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then spoon the plums over the surface.

Whisk the egg whites in a grease-free bowl until they hold their shape, then add the remaining sugar, whisking again until stiff and glossy.

Pile on top of the pudding, then bake for a further 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Serve at once.

Cook’s tips: This is a great recipe for making the most of the bread that’s 2-3 days old.

Remember, egg whites won’t whip if there is the slightest trace of grease in the bowl or on the beaters – and that includes egg yolk – so take care when separating the eggs.