As we have reached the festive season I have been thinking of what dishes to prepare on the weekends and long weekends that lie ahead. My childhood memories are filled with Christmas lunches by my grandmother on the farm with all the aunts, uncles and cousins gathering together.
On the larger than life dining room table was carefully placed cold meals which consisted of roast beef, gammon, roasted leg of lamb and roasted chicken.
Here in South Africa we don’t need an excuse to braai together with complimentary salads to decorate the table, but there always will be a few traditional dishes that are expected during Christmas. While I was searching online for some of the traditional meals, it was evident that only a handful of recipes showed up in every online search result.
The classical leg of lamb, roast chicken or turkey and roast beef always made their appearances. Although our nation isn’t a big fan of turkey, this type of poultry is making its appearance with specialty stores selling it both raw and semi cooked. Hardly any South African Christmas meals are hot, cooked foods. It appears that our country has a tradition of a wide array of pre-prepared salads from the ordinary potato salad, noodle salad, green leaves with tomato variants and corn on the cob.
I have also noticed that canapés served during evening cocktails are gaining popularity. Now with canapés one can do quite a lot. Funny enough, the roasted chicken legs and sliced, roasted leg of lamb was nearly part of every top canapé variant!
What is clear as daylight is that the pudding on Christmas day is the star of the show. Trifle, whether the boozy kind or not, can be found on nearly all home menus. Fruit cakes are more likely than not going to be baked or bought for tea time too. There is however one specific dessert recipe that will likely be on every South African Christmas table this year… Malva Pudding.
This warm apricot sponge cake served with custard is one of those desserts that tastes even more fabulous the next day. The Malva Pudding originated in the land of the Dutch and through the years first time cooks as well as skilled bakers have treated their families with this easy to prepare dessert.
We are such a warm nation so whatever will be placed on your Christmas table this year, may you all be merry and round off 2015 with cheer and look forward to many, many blessings.
by Mariska Knoesen
Subscribe to the free Enjoy Life newsletter: