There is nothing like a Christmas table, laden with mouth-watering dishes and festive decorations to make the day memorable. But preparing a feast for your family and friends can be stressful and exhausting, whether it’s the first time you are catering for a crowd or whether you’ve been doing it for years. It can also be predictable, especially if you turn to your tried-and-tested, but tired, recipes every year. So if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, look no further. We’ve rounded up some exciting, easy and festive recipes from some of the tenants at The Constantia Village to give you some brand-new ideas, whether you’re making a traditional meal or not: there’s a zingy Bloody Mary cocktail to get things off to a good start, followed by a delectable pear salad from tashas (or serve it as a side to your main dishes). Then we present not one, but two, glorious roast turkey options, supplied by Le Creuset. And we haven’t forgotten about all-important spirits (wine and MCCs to be exact) to get you into the … spirit of things! There’s a list of options, kindly supplied by Pick n Pay Liquor.

START OFF WITH A BANG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tashas BLOODY ROSS

This recipe, from the cookbook tashas Café Classics (Quivertree), is reprinted with permission.

‘Originally, the Bloody Mary was made with equal measures of tomato juice and vodka which is probably why it was called the Red Hammer. This version, given to us by siblings David and Alexandra, is far less potent, but it still packs a punch. The secret ingredients are freshly grated horseradish, which you can get at a Chinese supermarket, and a dash of sherry, which cuts the acidity. The Rosses insist on a spicy cocktail – you can’t chicken out and have a mild one. And the celery stalk must have leaves.’

Makes 1 cocktail
INGREDIENTS
30 ml vodka
15 ml medium dry sherry
250 ml tomato cocktail
Tabasco sauce, to taste
dash of Worcestershire sauce
pinch fresh, grated horseradish
squeeze of lemon juice
ice
celery stalk for garnish
salt and pepper

METHOD
Shake all the ingredients, apart from the celery, and salt and pepper, in a cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with the leafy celery and season with salt and pepper. If you’re using a flavoured tomato cocktail, go easy.

PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID ROSS

AND NOW FOR MAIN COURSE – TURKEY: TWO WAYS

These delicious turkey recipes were supplied by Le Creuset www.lecreuset.co.za/recipes/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NUMBER 1 – TURKEY CHAMPENOISE
Serves 6–8
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 120 minutes

INGREDIENTS
3 kg fresh turkey
500 g cocktail sausages
24 slices streaky bacon
12 baby pearl onions
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 baby potatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 220 ºC. Place the sausages in the cavity of the turkey and truss firmly.

Place the turkey in a Le Creuset Signature Roaster. Layer the bacon over the breast and legs of the turkey, covering as much of the skin as possible.

Place the pearl onions and herbs around the turkey and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the turkey for 1 hour uncovered or until the bacon is crispy. Thereafter cover the turkey with foil and cook for a further 45 minutes to 1 hour. The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear once you insert a knife into the breast of the turkey.

While the turkey is cooking, toss the halved baby potatoes in olive oil, season with salt and pepper then roast on a tray for 40 minutes at 180ºC or until cooked and golden.

Serve the turkey hot with the roasted baby potatoes and onions.

NUMBER 2 – ROAST TURKEY WITH STICKY ROASTED PLUMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serves 8
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 120 min

INGREDIENTS
For the stuffing:
100 g butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1–2 cups breadcrumbs, toasted
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup apple juice
10 g fresh thyme, chopped
70 g pecan nuts, chopped
⅓ cup dried apple or figs, chopped

For the turkey:
3–4 kg free-range turkey, defrosted
2 tbsp olive oil
120 g butter
3 tbsp honey

For the sticky roasted plums:
6 plums (or nectarines/peaches), halved
6 tsp butter
1 lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

METHOD
To make the stuffing:
Melt 100 g of butter in a pan. Add the onion and garlic cloves and soften over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add a cup or two of toasted breadcrumbs to the pan, along with the chicken stock, apple juice, thyme, pecan nuts and dried apple. Season and combine. Stuff into the cavity of a free-range turkey before tying the legs with string to secure.

To make the turkey:
Drizzle the turkey with olive oil and place in a Le Creuset 31 cm Signature Oval Casserole with 100 g butter. Roast for 1½ –2 hours, adding water to the bottom of the casserole to prevent the turkey from drying out. After an hour, baste the turkey with 20 g butter and 2 tbsp honey.

To make the sticky roasted plums:
Top each half with half a teaspoon of butter, a squeeze of lemon juice and some caster sugar. Place around the turkey and roast for the last 15–20 minutes until slightly caramelised and tender.

Optional:
To brine your turkey, combine 160 g fine salt, 55 g sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar and 1 litre of water and bring to a simmer. Add the juice and halves of 4 oranges and 2 lemons and remove from the heat. Pour another ⅖ litres of water over the turkey in a container, pour over the flavoured water and brine overnight in the fridge.

A BEAUTIFUL SIDE DISH OR STARTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tashas GOLDEN PEAR SALAD
This recipe, from the cookbook tashas Café Classics (Quivertree), is reprinted with permission.

‘This is as close as a salad gets to a dessert. Blue cheese and pears are a classic combination. We fell in love with the idea of the pears, designed this dish around them and now it’s one of our most popular. You can caramelise the pears about two hours in advance – not more than that though because the sugar dissolves. If pears are not in season, you can get away with tinned ones.’

20 rashers crispy bacon, chopped
32 walnuts, dry roasted

Golden pears:
12 baby pears 300 g sugar

To make 160 ml balsamic toffee dressing:
30 g caramelised sugar
130 ml olive oil
30 ml balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Salad:
2 large handfuls baby spinach
2 large handfuls baby lettuce leaves
2 large handfuls baby gem lettuce
2 avocados, sliced lengthways
caramelised sugar shards
200 g Gorgonzola cheese

First fry the bacon until crispy and dry roast the walnuts in a pan. Set aside to cool. Peel the pears and pat dry. If you’re using tinned ones, drain them well before caramelising.

Caramelise the sugar in a pot over a high heat. Don’t stir it, rather gently shake the sugar in the pan until it has melted. Be careful: caramelised sugar is extremely hot. Tilt the pan slightly and dip each pear into the caramel. Place on a baking tray to harden. Once the pears have all been covered, pour the remaining caramel (less 30 g for the dressing) onto a baking sheet. It should form a thin pool which you can break into shards when it has cooled and hardened.

To make the dressing, crush 30 g of the caramelised sugar that you kept aside. Mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID ROSS

DIVINE DESSERT

 

 

 

 

 

PAVLOVA WITH BAKED PLUMS

Serves 8
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 3 hours

INGREDIENTS
For the baked plums:
8 plums, sliced in half and pitted
100 g butter, cut into blocks
125 ml sugar
125 ml water
1 vanilla pod

For the meringue:
8 egg whites
250 g caster sugar
200 g icing sugar, sifted
25 g corn flour, sifted

To serve:
250 ml cream, whipped
50 g dried cranberries
50 g pistachio nuts
edible gold leaves

METHOD
To make the baked plums:
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Arrange the plums and butter in an oven dish. Sprinkle the sugar and water over the plums and add the vanilla pod. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to cool.

To make the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 120 °C.

Using a pencil, mark out the circumference of a dinner plate on baking parchment.

Whisk the egg whites in a bowl or an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar (15 ml at a time), until the meringue looks glossy. Fold in the icing sugar and corn flour.

Spread the meringue inside the circle of baking parchment, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 3 hours.

When the meringue has cooled, spoon cream on top and decorate with baked plums, cranberries, pistachio nuts and edible gold leaves.

This recipe is courtesy of Le Creuset. Check out their website for more recipe ideas www.lecreuset.co.za/recipes

WINE PAIRINGS
To complement your festive menu, here are wine-pairing suggestions from Jeremy Anthony from Pick n Pay Liquor:

When your guests arrive, offer them a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne – if they’re not having Bloody Marys! If the sky’s the limit when it comes to your budget, there is one-and-only Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial. However, if you’re looking at keeping your bubbly uniquely South African, there are excellent MCCs (Méthode Cap Classique) to choose from. Jeremy recommends Steenberg Brut MCC and Graham Beck Brut MCC. At your festive table, serve Eagles’ Nest Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2017. When things start to get lively, bring on the red, Steenberg Catharina 2015 to be precise, and a Rosé for good measure: Waterford Rose-Mary Rosé 2018.

Bon appétit, and wishing you and yours a blessed festive season and happy holidays from all of us at The Constantia Village.

 

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