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Season’s eatings

South Africa has a rainbow approach to Christmas – some families enjoy a get together on Christmas Eve and a visit to the beach for a picnic of leftovers the next day. And then there are others who enjoy a feast on Christmas Day usually involving roast lamb, turkey, beef, pork or chicken, roasted vegetables and then… if there’s space – and there always is – a dessert. Aaah.

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While we’ll never tell you to abandon this once a year feast spectacular, we have a few suggestions for some delicious additions to your current menu.

Biltong roast potatoes

You’ll need a packet of brown onion soup (55g) and about 100g of grated or powered biltong per 10 medium-sized potatoes. Peel and parboil the potatoes for about 20 minutes. Melt 100g of butter, and combine with 150ml of cooking oil, the brown onion soup and half the biltong. Score the parboiled potatoes, grease an ovenproof dish, place the potatoes on the dish, pour biltong and oil mixture over, and place in a preheated oven (180ºC) for about an hour. Serve with remaining biltong sprinkled over. Yum!

‘Geelrys’

This is an old favourite you may remember from granny’s kitchen. You’ll need 2.5 cups of white rice, 4 cups of water, 1 cinnamon stick, 2.5g ground cinnamon, 15-30g white or brown sugar, salt and pepper, 175g raisins and 10g butter. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil uncovered. Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is fluffy and water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.

Something sweet

For something light and sweet, this watermelon dish is perfect. Cut a watermelon into slices, then into triangles about 1cm thick, leaving the thick skin on. Pierce each piece with a skewer, and sprinkle with lemon balm and sugar. Refrigerate until chilled.

Eggnog

For this American specialty, you’ll need 4 cups of full cream milk, 6 eggs, 2 extra egg yolks, half a cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, 15ml vanilla extract, 2.5g grated nutmeg, 1 cup of rum and ¾ cup of cream. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth. Slowly pour in the milk. Place in a pan on moderate heat, and whisk for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain in a bowl. Stir in the rum, vanilla extract and nutmeg. Let it cool in the fridge for a few hours, then serve with whipped cream.

For nibbles

Take a peek here to see how to make Christmas tree bread. CNA has two fabulous cookbooks by SA chefs. World Atlas of Food by Jenny Morris, aka The Giggling Gourmet, is a compilation of tastes, traditions and flavours from more than 100 countries, and will offer you a sneak peek into kitchens around the world. Jan Scannell, aka Jan Braai, who started the National Braai Day initiative in 2005, brings you The Democratic Republic of Braai. There’s no need to eat badly braaied food ever again! And Jan will show you how. You never know, perhaps this year, you might decide to swap the traditional Christmas oven roast for a braaied alternative!

Make sure you visit www.cna.co.za or pop in store to see CNA’s wide range of cookbooks and festive table decorations. Plus, look out for the 3 for the price of 2 offers on all Christmas serviettes, decorations and wrap.

Wendy Maritz