Christmas Joys in the Southern Hemisphere
Christmas is a special moment; there is no way out of it. But as we get older, for many, he loses his magic. And I have to look out of the box of Christianity here, while ignoring the concept of Santa Claus.
Fortunately, there is something that lives, and it is the sharing of food. Whether you believe in Christ or Santa Claus – or none – the food in the form of a good Christmas meal is what often brings people together. The real food of the soul.
But there is a big but here – in the form of an asymmetrical ball that affects all those living in the southern hemisphere. Traditionally – if you are gullible and believe everything you read (especially on the Internet) – the Christmas meal must be warm and comforting. It's even it's not snowing where you live. Christmas is a kind of winter sport!
"SA stores are wrong each year, the Christmas season is not about snowflakes and cold weather, about summer braais and beach parties." JERM, contemporary caricaturist
My Christmas Dinners in the Southern Hemisphere
For me, the Christmas dinner is different not only from the usual dinner, but also from most people's Christmas dinners –  Africa many braai people (or barbecue) on Christmas Day. I do not. I will not do it. Well, it's not quite true, because a braai kettle is one of the best appliances for cooking the Christmas meal. But my Christmas meal will never become a meal vleis (meat) and pap (boiled).
Although I like to eat meat, including roasted turkey (or even chicken) and gammon on my Christmas menu, salad. Yes salad. But not just lettuce, tomato and all the other pieces that make a regular salad throughout the year – like olives, feta or blanched mangetout peas and miniature corn. Christmas salad MUST be special. It will cost more and make more effort to get ready, but I promise you it will be worth it in the long run.
What makes my Christmas salad special
I have to start by making a confession. Aside from a few seasonal ingredients (mostly southern hemisphere things like asparagus), and of course the extra effort, there's not much more for salads from Christmas only for the other days of the week! It is really not difficult to make special salads all year round. Over the years, I have accumulated recipes that I enjoy and that I really like to do; and when I make that extra effort, it is my own Christmas present all year
There is nothing more rewarding than genuine compliments from people who clearly appreciate the food that I have produced.  Christmas Menu 2013
First, no single salad of lettuce, tomato and onion is allowed. They are completely inactive. Coleslaw could work, but it's too commonplace in my home. Potato salad? No, not this year; not even roasted potatoes.
Here is what was on the Christmas dinner menu this year:
- Baked honey-glazed gammon
- Baked roast with homemade bread
- Rice salad with red and yellow pepper
- Mangetout and new potato salad
- Leeks à la blue cheese sauce  Rocket and herb mushrooms
- Avocado and mangetout dressing
- Garlic sticks
- Lemon and vanilla ice cream scoop
… all with a pinch of family and friends.
Nowadays, you normally have an option between gammon ready to cook, or you can buy a smoked joint and cook it
Mine weighed 4,414 kg, and as you had to cook 30 minutes for 500 g – plus 25 minutes more – I had to leave a good cooking time of nine hours. As I also needed the oven to grill the peppers for the rice salad (see below), this had to be done before I could start Gammon
To bake gammon in oven, preheat to 160 ° C, then place the seal in a baking sheet with a peeled onion and cut in half, three sticks of celery, three carrots, a few bay leaves, a handful of black pepper and about six cloves. Add about two liters of water, cover with aluminum foil (shiny side towards the inside) and place in the center of the preheated oven
To glaze, brush with honey before cooking the last 25 minutes – just watch it burn.
Roast Kettle-Braai Turkey
Prepare the bread stuffing first.
Ideally, the bread should be stale because it's easier to crumble in a blender. But I used a loaf of brown bread one day, excluding the outer crusts (about 340 g), crumbled and transferred to a bowl. Add about 85 g melted butter and a good big onion, peeled and chopped, as well as a tablespoon of dried sage and salt and pepper to taste. Beat three eggs lightly with a fork and mix in the breadcrumb mixture. If it is too dry, you can add a little water or broth. Stuff the turkey. Yes, it must!
About an hour before you start cooking, light the embers of the Weber. Because an indirect cooking method is recommended for roasts, you need to make sure that the coals are positioned around the outside of the kettle's interior. This method relies on reflected heat; To minimize flames, place a drip tray or aluminum container in the center of the kettle to catch juices and grease dripping while cooking turkey.
Most turkeys you'll find in quality supermarkets like Woolworths, Pick's Pay, Checkers or Spar are self-watering and self-timing. This makes the cooking process very easy. They are also sold frozen, so you should consider the defrosting time. Mine weighed 4 kg and it took about 42 hours to slowly defrost it in the refrigerator.
When embers are hot and hot, place the grill in the kettle-braai; sprinkle the turkey with a good quality chicken or barbecue spice and place in the center on the grill. Open the vents on the lid and lid to make sure the heat is distributed more evenly. Note that the vents must be downstream.
The cooking time depends on the weight of the turkey.
Rice Salad with Red and Yellow Peppers
Since you need salad dressing for this recipe and many other salads, make a large quantity and decant as you need it.
Mix 300 ml of extra virgin olive oil with 60 ml of white wine vinegar, four teaspoons of Dijon mustard, one teaspoon of dried tarragon, and salt and pepper black freshly ground to taste. Beat with a fork before pouring into a screw jar. Here, olive oil and vinegar are mixed in a ratio of about 5: 1, which is perfect for lettuce and delicately flavored leeks. If you want to use it on green salads or stronger root vegetables, use a little less oil.
Pour 100 ml vinaigrette into a bowl and add a large pinch of garum masala. Stir and let infuse.
This is a delightfully sunny summer salad that is surprisingly easy to prepare. Grilling the peppers gives them a delicious slightly sweet flavor.
Heat the rack of your oven and place the peppers in a baking tray near the grill. Keep turning them until the skins darken everywhere. Remove and let cool. When they are cold enough to handle them, remove the blackened skin. Remove the seeds and chop the flesh.
In the meantime, measure and cook 260 g long grain rice in about 560 ml of water with a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of salt. As soon as it is cooked, cool it under running water to prevent it from sticking. Place in a dish with chopped peppers and about three tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs [oregano, marjoram and chives all work well]. Pour the vinaigrette over the rice and peppers and stir. Cover and let sit at room temperature until serving
Before serving, garnish with small tomato wedges
Mangetout and new potato salad
Here is a potato salad deliciously different that has a touch of green and
Start by boiling about 450 g of new potatoes (started in cold salt water). They should be cooked but not too soft. You do not want them to fall apart, so once you can push a skewer through them, remove from the heat and sprinkle with cold water.
At the same time, cook the mangetout (snow peas) for about five minutes. They should always be a nice bright green color but slightly crunchy. Also dip them in cold water when they are cooked. Let cool, then cut into slices of 5 mm diagonal thickness
Once the potatoes have cooled, cut them into quarters and put them in a bowl with the snow peas and the vinaigrette.
tablespoon (15 ml) of raspberry or strawberry vinegar to be mixed with a teaspoon (5 ml) of soy sauce and about three tablespoons of mayonnaise (preferably homemade). Mix well before smothering the potatoes.
Garnish with some bunches of watercress and decorate with hibiscus flowers if you can plant some. They say that they have a citrus-like, cranberry-like flavor, although not everyone likes to eat them
Leeks with Blue Cheese Dressing
This is another ultra-simple but absolutely amazing salad that is so fast and easy I wonder why you do not do it for all special occasions. Served with a few slices of ham and fresh rolls, he could also make a fabulous light lunch or dinner.
All you need is between 20 and 30 small tender leeks – two bunches should do it, as well as walnuts, parsley, and dressing mixed with blue cheese for the vinaigrette.
To make the salad, start by washing and slicing the leeks and then boiling them in boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on their size. They must be tender but still hold their shape. Drain, baste with cold water and cool.
Arrange the chilled leeks in a shallow dish and sprinkle with 75 g chopped walnuts and 45 ml finely chopped parsley. Mix 150 ml of the vinaigrette you made previously and crumble in it 75 g of any mild blue cheese. Place a spoon on leeks before serving
Rocket and Mushroom with Herbs
Based on an Italian salad known as Ruchetta ai Funghi, it's a nice ploy for other dishes that are rich and heavy.
a dozen large Paris mushrooms cut and sliced fairly thinly.
Then mix the mushroom slices with approximately 90 ml to 100 ml of coarsely chopped arugula and other herbs, or even other small leaves (spinach, sorrel and asiatic) as well as herbs such as marjoram and oregano, parsley and sorrel. While you are drying the salad, pour a little good quality virgin olive oil on each layer, then cover the mushrooms and herbs with about 175 g of finely chopped Pecorina or Parmesan cheese.
Garnish with nasturtium leaves and color and flavor flowers.
Avocado and Cassava Vinaigrette
Beautifully green, this pouring salad is our family's favorite, especially with my daughter and me, who once believed that she was a vegetarian. It is a very seasonal dish that requires fresh asparagus, snow peas (snow peas), avocados and pine nuts (which are both expensive and very often hard to find and which can happily be omitted without making a huge difference). ] BUT, this is another very easy salad to make, and it will amaze your friends and family.
You should start by spraying peas and asparagus. The quantities depend on your personal preferences, but about 350 g of asparagus and 500 g of snap all work pretty well. Both should be pretty crunchy and should be allowed to cool before assembling the salad. You will also need soft lettuce leaves for the base of the dish; my preference is always butter lettuce. Divide the lettuce on a serving platter and cover with the greens, adding two avocados that have been peeled and chopped just before serving so that they do not become black.
Garlic vinaigrette on the salad. This is done by squeezing fresh cloves of garlic into the dressing described above
Lemon Tart and Vanilla Ice Cream
I am not a pudding person, but for special occasions j & Try sometimes. This Christmas, I decided that lemon pie was a worthy challenge, and I was not sorry.
All you need for this delicious lemon tart, it's a box of digestive biscuits (225g is ideal); 130 ml castor sugar; 125 g of butter; two beautiful big lemons; and three big eggs.
You will also need a 20.5 cm flan box, a pan or a dish to cook the pudding. And you could serve it with ice cream and / or cream and other fruits. That's your call.
Before you start preheating the oven to 180 ° C.
For the crust to break all the biscuits into small pieces and put them in a food processor or blender and crumble them. Pour the cookies into a bowl and mix with 30 ml caster sugar and 75 g melted butter.
Grease the pan or tin and squeeze the cookie mix on the inside. Cool the base while you are preparing the lemon filling. It does not take long, although it takes a while to put it
Rinse the lemons and use a potato peeler to cut three beautiful long strips of lemon rind; then slice them finely into long, thin rags. Place them in a very small saucepan and over with water; bring to a boil and simmer until the skin becomes soft (five to ten minutes). Drain and add 50 g of castor sugar remaining in the mixture.
Grate the remaining lemon peel (of both lemons) using the finest side of a rasp. Also squeeze as much juice as you can from both lemons. Mix the crust, juice and 50 g melted butter and beat the eggs with the remaining sugar. Pour this mixture into the pie crust (which should now look like a custard).
Check oven is at temperature and bake for 25 minutes. When done, take out of the oven and let cool in the pan or pan. Sprinkle crumbled pieces of skin on the top of the skin and refrigerate.
Serve chilled with vanilla ice cream and enjoy
Long live next year – but feel free to use these recipes to enhance your salad experiences in the meantime.