Number 134

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28 November 2006


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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!

New subscribers and everyone else, get your eBook at the Freebie link below.

This time of year I just HAVE to feature Festive recipes. So scroll down to the recipe section and have fun!


We offer you low premiums and a cash OUTbonus. Click Here

Kitch 'n' Zinc

I happened to find this really nice Blog, please click on the link below and go browse around.....

Following with thanks from Brian at Kitsch'n'Zinc

Women in the kitchen

Isn't it strange that whilst women have almost exclusive rights to the domestic kitchen they have never really been accepted in the restaurant kitchen. Of course there are notable exceptions all doing a sterling job but generally they are as rare as female fighter pilots, female ministers of religion and female jockeys. Last year the Michelin Guide handed out one or more stars to over 100 restaurants in Paris but not one was headed up by a woman.
Since the French have claimed the culture of the table as their own, they have also moulded many of the thought processes around the culinary arts. As recently as 1988, the great Paul Bocuse pontificated that " the chef who names a dish after a women is a gentleman and diplomat. The chef who invites the same woman into his kitchen as a colleague is a fool " Perhaps he was just following in the footsteps of one of the world's most revered chefs, Auguste Escoffier who is credited with sweeping reforms in hotel kitchens notably the Savoy in London, and who developed a brigade system based on all male military institutions which only served to entrench male dominance in the commercial kitchen.
Although conditions are changing and much more thought is going into kitchen design, there is no doubt that in the middle of a busy service it can be extremely uncomfortable in front of a hot stove - it is mentally and physically challenging, abusive language pervades the air and it lacks the serenitity of a home kitchen, definitely not the place where many parents would like their little girl to be. Consequently although females are well represented at the lower echelons of the industry they are mainly involved in girly type jobs, in pastry and in the cold kitchen or larder and few rise to the top of the ladder. In fact in the USA where they have a certification programme for qualified Executive Chefs, a recent study revealed that out of 2134 Certified Executive Chefs ( CEC ) only 92 were female - there were also some who weren't quite sure !
I'm not sure how quickly things will change if they ever do but one thing I am sure of and perhaps the ladies can take some comfort from it, if you ask any chef who introduced him to and taught him how to cook, invariably you'll find that it was a woman - his mother !

Are you a dog lover? Then get your eBook - Perfect Handbook for Imperfect Dog Owners - by right clicking and downloading from here
One Ticket is All It Takes

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But that's nothing!! The Euromillions Jackpot has rolled over to a massive £ 120 million for Friday 17th!! That's roughly R1,740,000,000!!! You can't win it if you're not in it, so click here and get a ticket!

Never buy another recipe book again!

I have put together my South African Traditional Recipes in English and Afrikaans plus another 36 recipe eBooks on one CD. Click here to take a look and also download your free Low Fat recipe eBook

Hello Peter,
Just to let you know that I received my recipe CD today in the mail and I'm over the moon about it.
I'm going to spread the word to others to order copies too. It's most certainly worth every cent..........
Thanks again,

Glenacres Superspar Recipe

Glenacres Superspar sends out a really nice newsletter full of super recipes. To subscribe, click here and send the blank email. 


2 ½ kg venison of your choice
6 cups dry white wine
1 ½ cups white wine vinegar
1 cup oil
3 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 stems parsley
2 stems thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves
250g diced bacon
½ cup Madeira wine
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp maizena
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted

1. Heat 3 Tbsp oil in a casserole and cook the carrots, onions and garlic until softened, about 5 min
2. Add the dry white wine and vinegar and bring to the boil
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, cool
4. Place the venison in a deep casserole and add parsley, thyme and bay leaves
5. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt
6. Add the remaining oil to the marinade and pour over the meat
7. Cover and refrigerate for 1 - 3 days
8. Remove the venison from the marinade and dry with paper towels
9. Strain and reserve the marinade and marinated vegetables
10. Preheat oven to 180°C and brown the meat and bacon in a large casserole
11. Pour in 1 ½ cups marinade and bring to the boil
12. Transfer the casserole to the oven and roast for 2 hours, basting the meat often and adding more marinade if necessary
13. After 2 hours, cover and continue cooking for another 2 hours, remove the meat and keep warm
14. Soak the raisins and pine nuts in the Madeira
15. Bring the cooking liquid to the boil and cook until reduced by half, season with freshly ground black pepper and the cloves
16. Stir the raisins, pine nuts and Madeira into the sauce and heat through
17. Stir the maizena, dissolved in a little water, into the sauce, bring to the boil, and allow to thicken for 1 minute
18. Just before serving, whisk the butter, little by little into the sauce, but do not boil

Another Wacky Sarmie

Go take a look at my Wacky Sarmies page, there are some great sarmie ideas!

Following from Angie Gerber

I have been eating the following sandwich since I was a child:

2 slices of bread
Beefy Bovril(Fray Bentos)
Soft Fried egg in Rama Margarine
I cut the sandwich into 4 and dip it into All gold tomato sauce.
My son loves it too..
I wash it down with a nice big glass of cold Milo, or chocolate Nesquick!!

A Blast From The Past

Source: Sunday Times

1937: Fire destroys the German zeppelin, the Hindenburg, Japan invades China, Jean Harlow (actress) dies, the Prince Valiant comic strip debuts, first Disney animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the supermarket trolley is introduced.  

Really, really old recipe

This dates from the 1890's and is from a book titled  Cape Cookery, Simple Yet Distinctive.

Potato Stew with Sago 

Take some fat mutton, cut it up, and put into a saucepan with pepper and salt , no onion. Let the meat brown nicely and then add some water and potatoes. Stir gently, and when nearly ready stir in a large spoonful of sago.

Bush Buzz

Nature is wonderful. I envy the jobs of the game rangers and their wealth of bush knowledge. I have often wondered where one can read up on all the interesting facts. I would like to make this a regular feature of this newsletter, if you are able to contribute or would like to comment on the contribution below, please email me.



One comes across baboons in many parts of southern Africa. They are not confined to game reserves and prefer rocky mountain areas. They are characterized by red callosities at the bottom and the typical position of the tail, the first third of which is held straight upwards, while the rest is hanging down. Baboons live in hordes of 20 to 100 animals in a strict hierarchy with one leading male and a few subordinate males. They are omnivorous and mainly live on insects, mice, lizards, berries and wild fruit.

Although feeding the baboons is strictly forbidden, some visitors cannot resist the temptation of such a photo opportunity. The social order among these animals allows the highest in rank to eat first and the lower members get their turn only after him. Consequently a human who feeds the baboons is perceived to be low in the hierarchy, an assumption which is generalized and extended to the whole human race. As a result, the baboons have come to expect any human to feed them and - on refusal - become aggressive, steal food and even attack people. A sad consequence of this is that such baboons frequently have to be shot by rangers. 

Looking for Gift Ideas?

Do you have family and friends all over the world? Does it cost you a fortune to buy and mail gifts to all of them? Why not buy one Recipe eBook and email it to everyone! Just think about the savings on postage! For my selection of eBooks (and CD's) just click here.

I have just completed a really nice Christmas CD. On the CD I have 10 eBooks with Festive recipes, some really nice traditional Christmas stories (including 'The Big Book of Classic Christmas Tales' containing more than 30 classic stories) and some goodies like 'eMail Santa' and 'Make your own greeting cards'. For more info, click here
Afrikaans Newsletter

Subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter

I am upgrading and selling my GPS receiver. It's a Garmin eTrex Venture, as good as new, together with cigarette lighter power cable and suction cup holder. R1000. Email me for more details.
Smile a While

There was this guy Sipho and he had a girlfriend named Lorraine who was very pretty and he liked her a lot. One day Sipho went to work and found that a new girl had started working with him at his office.

Her name was Clearly and she was absolutely gorgeous. Sipho became quite smitten with her and after a while it became obvious that she was very interested in him too. But Sipho was a loyal man and he wouldn't do
anything with Clearly while he was still going out with his girlfriend.

He decided that there was nothing left to do but to break up with Lorraine and get on with Clearly. He planned several times to tell Lorraine but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

Then one day they went for a walk along the riverbank when Lorraine slipped and fell into the river. The current carried her off and she drowned. Sipho stopped for a moment by the river and then ran off smiling and singing and smiling and singing.

What was he singing, you ask???

I can see Clearly now .... Lorraine is gone....   

Phineas's sister is pregnant and was in a bad car accident, which caused her to fall into a deep coma. After nearly six months, she awakens and sees that she is no longer pregnant. Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby. The doctor replies, Ma'am, you had twins - a boy and a girl. The babies are fine. Your brother came in and named them." The woman thinks to herself, "Oh, no! Not Phineas; He's an idiot!" Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?" "Denise," the doctor answers. The new mother thinks, "Wow! That's a beautiful name! I guess I was wrong about my brother. I really like the name Denise." Then she asks the doctor, "What's the boy's name? "The doctor replies,

Two little kids are in a hospital, lying on beds next to each other, outside the operating room.

The first kid leans over and asks, "What are you in here for?"

The second kid says, "I'm in here to get my tonsils out and I'm a little nervous."

The first kid says, "You've got nothing to worry about. I had that done when I was four. They put you to sleep, and when you wake up they give you lots of Jell-O and ice-cream. It's a breeze."

The second kid then asks, "What are you here for?"

The first kid says, "A circumcision."

And the second kid says, "Whoa, Good luck, buddy, I had that done when I was born...
Couldn't walk for a year

The Herb Section

Check out more herbs on my Herb page.

Jasmine, also called Jasmin, Pikake, Sambac, Yeh-hsi-ming, Jati, and Yasmin, is a beautiful plant of the olive family. It grows as a shrub or a climber with long, slender branches that bear fragrant, yellow flowers. Many species are native to China, but others are native to India and southern Europe. It blooms in very early spring. The Jasmine sometimes grows up to ten feet in height. The Carolina or yellow Jasmine, with its trumpet-shaped flowers, grows in the southern United States. The fragrance of Jasmine is delightful, and the oil of Jasmine is used to make perfume. The Jasmine used most often in herbal medicine is Jaminum officinale, which is used interchangeably with Jasminum sambac and Jasminum grandiflorum. Jasmine has been used topically as an eyewash for sore eyes and in lotions for dry, sensitive skin. The oil of Jasmine has been used as an aphrodisiac. Jasmine was once prepared as a syrup for respiratory problems. The herb was very popular in Indian and Chinese medicine, where it was used as a blood purifier. Jasmine is famous for its calming powers, and was used in teas for that purpose. Jasmine has also been used in the relief of menstrual cramps.
South African Languages

South Africa is a multilingual country. Besides the 11 officially recognised languages, scores of others - African, European, Asian and more - are spoken here, as the country lies at the crossroads of southern Africa.
The country's Constitution guarantees equal status to 11 official languages to cater for the country's diverse peoples and their cultures. These are: Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga.

In each issue I will feature one of the languages. The second language I am featuring is English:

IsiNdebele, the language of the Ndebele people, is one of South Africa's four Nguni languages. The Ndebele were originally an offshoot of the Nguni people of KwaZulu-Natal, while the languages amaNala and amaNzunza are related to those of Zimbabwe's amaNdebele people.
Distribution of isiNdebele speakers:

IsiNdebele is mainly spoken in the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, around the towns of Mokopane, Polokwane, Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit, Middelburg, Witbank, Delmas, Standerton, Marble Hall, Groblersdal, Hendrina, Belfast and Bethal.
To tourists, the Ndebele people are best known for the vibrant geometric patterns with which they decorate their houses, the colourful traditional dress, and their intricate and skilful beadwork.
Like the country's other African languages, isiNdebele is a tonal language, governed by the noun, which dominates the sentence.
• Home language to: 1.6% of the population
• Family: Bantu Language Family
• Varieties: Manala and Ndzundza (or Nzunza)

Go to Source:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.
Inspirational Story


When I got mad today and hit my child "For his own good," I reconciled, and then I realized my plight… 
Today, I taught my child to fight.

When interrupted by the phone, I said, "tell them I'm not home." And then I thought, and had to sigh… 
Today I taught my child to lie.

I told the taxman what I made; forgetting cash that was paid, and then I blushed at this sad feat…
Today I taught my child to cheat.

I smugly copied a cassette, to keep me from one more debt, but now the bells of shame must peal…
Today I taught my child to steal.

Today I cursed another race, oh God, protect what I debase, for now, I fear it is too late… 
Today I taught my child to hate.

By my example, children learn that I must lead in life's sojourn in such a way they are lead by what is done and not what is said.

Today I gave my child his due by praise for him instead of rue. And now I have begun my guide: 
Today I gave my child his pride.

I now have reconciled and paid to the IRS all that I have made. And now I know that this dear youth: 
Today has learned from me the truth.

The alms I give are not for show, and yet, this child must surely know that charity is worth the price: 
Today he saw my sacrifice.

I clasp within a warm embrace my neighbor of another race, the great commandment from up above. 
Today I taught my child to love.

Someday my child must face alone this fearsome undertone, but I have blazed a sure pathway:
Today I taught my child to pray.

Author unknown
Recipe Requests

Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you!

Add your suggestions to my Elephant Stew and Wacky Sarmies recipes.

The Recipes


1 whole turkey 
2 oranges, quartered 
2 onions, peeled and quartered 
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped with leaves 
8 cloves garlic 
250ml olive oil 
3 red chillies 
3 green chillies 

Salt crust dough 
3 cups bread flour 
3 tsps fine salt 
3 litres water 

Stuff the turkey with the oranges, onions, celery, chillies and half the garlic. Rub the outer skin with olive oil and the remaining garlic. Leave to marinade for 24 hours to let the flavours infuse. 
To make the dough: Mix the flour and salt together. Slowly add the water until its texture resembles that of dough. Knead until smooth. Cover and leave. 

When the turkey has marinated overnight, roll out the salt crust dough. Place the turkey on top and fold upwards, making it like a bag. Squeeze the top together and make sure it is firmly sealed. 

To cook: 
Dig a hole in the ground! 
Line the hole with rocks. Place some wood in the hole and allow it to burn to coals. Place the wrapped turkey in a baking tray and cover with a sheet of corrugated iron or metal. Weigh down with more rocks. Cover the sheet with wood and coals and let the turkey cook in the ground for approximately six hours. During this time check on the coals to ensure they are still burning throughout. 
After six hours lift the turkey out of the ground. The dough will have hardened. Crack it open with a panga or a big knife. The turkey will be moist and cooked.


Low Cholesterol Christmas Cake

1 kg mixed dried fruit
150g glacé apricots, chopped
150g glacé pineapple, chopped
250ml brandy
250ml treacle brown sugar
80ml oil
3 extra large egg whites, lightly beaten
5ml vanilla essence
15ml molasses or golden syrup
15ml orange marmalade
60ml orange juice
15ml finely grated orange rind
500ml cake flour
125ml self raising flour
5ml ground nutmeg
5ml ground cinnamon
5ml ground cloves
5ml mixed spice
60ml brandy fro pouring over

Mix the fruit in a large bowl with the brandy, cover and leave overnight, stir occasionally. Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Grease and line a 20cm square or 23cm round cake pan with greaseproof paper. Beat the sugar, oil and egg whites till combined. Add the essence, molasses, marmalade, juice and rind and beat until combined. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the fruit and sifted dry ingredients. Spoon into the tin, tap on the table to remove any air bubbles, and smooth the surface. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours . Remove from oven, pour over the brandy and cool in tin before removing the paper.

Light Christmas Cake

250g butter, melted
10ml finely grated lemon rind
250g treacle brown sugar
500g mixed dried fruit
80 ml brandy
60 ml lemon juice
4 extra large eggs
250ml self raising flour
250ml cake flour
5 ml mixed spice

Line the base and sides of a deep 20 cm round cake pan with greaseproof paper to prevent drying out or burning. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. bake at 160ºC for 2 hours. Cool in pan and remove when cold.

Baked Ham
Baked, glazed ham is a firm favourite on the Christmas dinner table, you cannot go wrong with this one....

5 kg cured ham or gammon
5 ml mustard powder
10 ml ground ginger
1 bay leaf
5 peppercorns
500 ml vegetable stock or water

250 ml apricot juice
25 ml lemon juice
25 ml ginger syrup
25 ml honey
125 ml finely chopped preserved ginger

10 cloves
410g can apricot halves, drained
410g can stoned cherries, drained

Dust the ham or gammon with mustard powder and ground ginger. Place fat side up in a roasting pan. Add the bay leaf and peppercorns and pour the stock or water over the meat. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminium foil and bake at 160ºC for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Remove the ham from the oven and discard the stock. Peel the skin off the ham leaving the layer of fat intact. Score the fat with criss-cross cuts to form a diamond pattern. Mix all the ingredients for the glaze together and spoon the mixture over the ham. Bake for a further 10 minutes and garnish with apricots and cherries. Keep warm until ready to serve

Roast Stuffed Chicken/Turkey

1.5-2 kg chicken, cleaned and trimmed
salt and milled pepper
30-45 ml margarine or butter

Fill the chicken with the stuffing and close the openings with a skewer or thread. Truss the chicken if desired and place it on a grid, uncovered, in a deep roasting pan. Season with the salt and pepper and rub the margarine or butter all over the bird. Cover the bottom of the roasting pan with water. Roast at 200ºC for 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180ºC and continue roasting, basting occasionally, for another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cover the roasting pan with foil if the chicken browns too much. Serve with giblet gravy, roast potato and steamed vegetables.

A 4.5 kg turkey should be roasted for 3-3 1/2 hours at the same temperatures.

Almond stuffing
Brought to the Cape by the Dutch

3 large eggs, separated
250 ml thick cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
100 g ground almonds
180 g dried breadcrumbs
60 ml diced butter

Mix the egg yolks with the cream and nutmeg until well combined. Mix the ground almonds with a little of the egg white and stir the mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Stir in the breadcrumbs and diced butter. Add the stiffly beaten egg whites. Beat the mixture till it is smooth and fairly stiff.
Makes enough for a 1.5-2 kg chicken. Double the quantity for turkey.

Giblet Gravy

chicken giblets
salted water
dripping from roast
60 ml cake flour
15 ml chopped fresh parsley
5 ml salt
2 ml milled pepper

Boil the neck, gizzard and heart in salted water until tender, about 2 hours. Add the liver and boil for a further 15 minutes. Drain off the stock and make it up to 500 ml with water. Dice the meat, discarding the gristle and bone. Heat the dripping in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook till foamy. Gradually stir in the stock and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the gravy thickens. Stir in the diced giblets and parsley, season with salt and pepper and serve. 

Old-fashioned Christmas pudding 

Traditionally a few tickeys are placed in the pudding, supposedly they bring luck to the recipient.

175 g raisins 
125 g currants 
200 g sultanas 
250 g chopped dates 
125 g mixed peel 
225 g dried apricots, chopped 
300 ml Guinness beer 
60 ml rum 
grated rind and juice of a lemon 
grated rind and juice of an orange 
225 g butter, at room temperature 
350 g soft brown sugar 
1 green apple, cored and grated 
30 ml molasses or treacle 
3 large eggs 
125 g self-raising flour 
5 ml ground mixed spice 
10 ml ground cinnamon 
2 ml freshly grated nutmeg 
10 ml ground ginger 
225 g fresh white breadcrumbs 

Place the raisins, currants, sultanas, dates, mixed peel and apricots into a large mixing bowl. Pour over the beer, rum, lemon rind and juice, and the orange rind and juice. Cover the bowl and set aside to soak overnight. Cream together the butter and sugar until light. Stir in the grated apple and molasses. Beat the eggs in one by one, adding 15 ml self-raising flour to help prevent the mixture from curdling. Fold in the remaining flour and spices. Add the breadcrumbs and gently fold mixture together. Stir in soaked fruit, then all make your wishes. Grease and line 2 x 1 kg pudding basins or 4 x 500 g pudding basins. Spoon in the mixture. Cut round lids out of doubled greaseproof paper, allowing a little overhang. Fold a 1 cm pleat down the centres of the greaseproof circles and cover basins, tying in place with string under rim. Pleat a piece of foil or muslin in the same way and secure over basins. Steam for 4 hours, topping up with boiling water as required, or cook in a pressure cooker for 2 hours. Store pudding until needed, then steam for a further 2-4 hours, or 2 hours in a pressure cooker. Serves: 24 

We all had leftovers from Christmas and will probably also have leftovers from New Year, this is what you do with it.....

Turkey Curry

1 cup mushrooms
80ml minced onion
1 large apple, peeled and diced
3 cups cooked turkey, cit in pieces
6 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup cream or cream substitute

Sauté mushrooms, onion, apple and turkey in margarine until the apple and onion are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add salt, flour and curry powder and stir thoroughly. And juice and cream and cook until thickened. Place over hot, not boiling water for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors.

Turkey a la king

2 tablespoons margarine
1 green pepper, minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 cups diced, cooked turkey
1 cup sour cream or cream substitute
2 egg yolks
1 red bell pepper, diced
salt and pepper
4 teaspoons sherry

Melt margarine, add green pepper and mushrooms and sauté until tender. Lift out. Add flour to margarine, add stock and cook until thickened. Add turkey, cooked pepper and mushrooms and heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and add cream mixed with beaten egg yolks and remaining ingredients. Serve at once or place over hot, not boiling water to keep hot. Do not boil after adding egg yolks.
This recipe can also be used for chicken or salmon a la king. Just substitute the turkey with 2 cups of diced cooked chicken or 2 cups of boned, canned red salmon

Hot Cross Buns

375 ml milk 
60 g butter 
480 g cake flour 
65 ml castor sugar 
10 ml mixed spice 
5 ml ground cinnamon 
10 g instant dry yeast 
1 egg, beaten 
250 ml sultanas 
125 ml cake flour 
75 ml milk or water 
30 ml milk 
30 ml castor sugar 

1. Heat milk and butter together, leave to cool slightly. 
2. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, spices and yeast. 
3. Stir in lukewarm milk and butter, egg and sultanas. Knead well until smooth (10 minutes), cover and leave in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. 
4. Knead dough for a few minutes until smooth. Divide into 18 small balls and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and leave to rise until double in size. 
5. CROSSES: Mix flour and sugar, add enough water to form a smooth paste. Place flour paste in a piping bag and, using small plain tube, make crosses on buns. 
6. Bake in a 180 ºC oven for 15 to 20 minutes. 
GLAZE: Heat milk and sugar together, without boiling. Turn buns onto wire rack, brush with hot glaze and cool.

Christmas fruit mince pies

350 g cake or all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt
125 g castor sugar
175 g butter, cut into cubes
6 egg yolks, beaten
250 ml good-quality fruit mince
1 apple, peeled and grated
1 each orange and lemon, grated rind
splash of brandy or rum

Place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Add the butter and work it in, using your fingertips.
Mix in the egg yolks briefly, just until the dough holds together.
Knead into a ball and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out the pastry on a floured surface.
Cut out rounds, using a 5 cm diameter cookie cutter, and stamp out small star shapes from the leftover pastry.
Press the pastry rounds into the hollows of tartlet tins.
Mix mincemeat, apple, rind and brandy or rum.
Drop 5 ml filling into each pastry case and top with a star shape.
Bake at 190 °C for about 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
Cool on wire racks.
Serve warm, with a dollop of brandy butter or a dusting of icing sugar.
Make the pies in advance and freeze them.
When grating citrus peel or ginger, cover the side of the grater with cling film and grate over it. It's easier to lift off and you'll have a clean grater.

Christmas fruit cake

500 g fruitcake mix
50 g candied peel
150 g assorted glacé fruit
200 g butter
250 g soft brown sugar
5 ml mixed spice
15 ml bicarbonate of soda
250 ml brandy or rum
2 extra-large eggs
125 ml sherry
125 ml milk
400 ml cake or all purpose flour
100 g mixed nuts

Preheat the oven to 150 ºC.
Grease the cake pan well and line it with baking paper or greaseproof paper. Add a brown paper collar, if using.
Combine the fruit, butter, sugar, mixed spice, 7 ml bicarbonate of soda and brandy in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Simmer gently over moderate heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Cool.
Beat the eggs until frothy in a large mixing bowl. Add the sherry and milk and whisk with the eggs.
Sift the flour and remaining bicarbonate of soda together into a large mixing bowl and add the chopped nuts.
Add the cooled fruit mixture and the egg mixture to the flour and nuts and mix through evenly.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, to three quarters full.
Bake the cake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
Test to see if the cake is done: insert a thin metal skewer into the centre of the cake then remove it. If the cake is done, it will come out clean with no trace of stickiness.
If ready, remove the cake from the oven, place a plate on top and cool it on a wire rack for a few minutes. Remove the plate and the pan, shaking it loose carefully, then peel the lining paper off the bottom of the cake. Sprinkle the cake generously with extra brandy.
When the cake is cool, turn it right side up and decorate it with whole almonds and glacé cherries, as shown in the photograph.

Brandy sauce

750 ml water
4 whole cloves
2 pieces ginger
2 pieces stick cinnamon
200 g sugar
15 ml cornflour
50 ml brandy

Boil the water, cloves, ginger and cinnamon together for 10 minutes. Remove the spices and add the sugar, stirring continuously until it has dissolved. Blend the cornflour with a little cold water and add to the sauce. Boil until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add the brandy just before serving.

Christmas pudding

225 g hard margarine
225 g soft brown sugar
200 g flour
350 g currants
225 g raisins
175 g sultanas
50 g mixed peel
25 g blanched almonds
100 g cherries
175 g brown breadcrumbs
5 ml nutmeg
15 ml treacle
2 large eggs
1 lemon (grated rind only)
1 orange (grated rind and juice)
50 ml milk
25 ml brandy

Melt the margarine and mix in all the remaining ingredients.
Place the mixture in a greased 1 litre pudding dish. Cover tightly with greaseproof paper and foil and secure with string under the rim.
Place in a saucepan of boiling water to come halfway up the side of the basin. Steam for 7 hours, adding more boiling water to pan when necessary.
Remove from the saucepan, cool and store until needed. This pudding should be made 6 weeks in advance.
Serve hot with custard or cream.

Christmas turkey

4 kg turkey
75 ml butter, softened
7 ml mustard powder
7 ml flour
15 ml salt
5 ml milled black pepper

250 g rindless streaky bacon, chopped
30 ml butter
2 onions, finely chopped
500 ml stale breadcrumbs
3 green apples, cooked and puréed
2 lemons, grated peel
500 g pork sausage meat
2 ml sage, thyme or marjoram leaves
1 egg
salt and milled pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 160 ºC. Remove the giblets from the turkey. Clean and wash the turkey, inside and out. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Smooth 30 ml (2 tbsp) butter under the breast skin. Melt remaining butter and brush over entire turkey.
3. Mix the mustard, flour, salt and pepper and pat all over the turkey.

4. STUFFING: Fry the bacon until crisp in heated butter and crumble into a bowl. Sauté onions in the same pan and stir in the breadcrumbs. Add to the bacon. Mix with remaining ingredients.
Stuff the neck and stomach cavities loosely, to allow for expansion during cooking. (Self-basting turkeys are often already trussed. To add the stuffing, release the feet and parson's nose, wash the cavity, stuff and secure again.)
5. Close the cavities with small metal skewers and tie them together with string to prevent the stuffing from spilling out during cooking. Alternatively, you can place a piece of crumpled foil into the mouth of each cavity.
6. Truss the turkey by inserting small metal skewers through the legs and wings. Cut a long piece of string and place it under the parson's nose, loop it around the legs, draw up the string (leaving a fairly long tail end) and loop it around the leg skewers. Cross the string over the breast and loop it around the wing skewers. Tie the ends together firmly under the parson's nose.
Brush wings thoroughly with melted butter before covering with foil to protect them during roasting.

GRAVY: Prepare the gravy in advance. Wash the giblets and set the liver aside. Fry the gizzard and neck in a little sunflower oil until golden brown. Drain and then place in a saucepan with 2 onions, 2 chopped carrots, 4 celery sprigs, 1 bay leaf and salt and milled pepper. Add 500 ml (2 cups) water and 125 ml (1/2 cup) white wine and bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, until reduced by half, to make a flavoursome turkey stock. Strain. When the turkey has finished roasting and has been removed from the roasting pan, skim off any fat from the pan drippings, add the strained turkey stock to the pan and stir thoroughly. Melt 15 ml (1 tbsp) butter in a saucepan, blend in 10 ml (2 tsp) flour and slowly stir the mixture into the gravy over low heat until thickened. Sauté the turkey liver in 5-10 ml (1-2 tsp) sunflower oil for 2 to 3 minutes (it should still be pink inside). Season with salt and milled pepper, cool, and slice thinly. Add the liver to the gravy with a little medium cream sherry just before serving with the turkey

Christmas spice roast duck

2 medium ducks
salt to season
1 vanilla pod, halved
6 star anise
4 cinnamon sticks
250 ml maple syrup
3 oranges, cut in half

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Rub the salt all over and inside each of the ducks. Place a vanilla half, 3 star anise and 2 cinnamon sticks inside each cavity. Place on a roasting tray and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, pour out the fat and reserve. Spread the maple syrup over the ducks and put the oranges on the tray. Roast for another 30 minutes. Remove the ducks from the tray and carve. Bring the pan juices to a boil and remove any extra fat. Spoon liquid over the duck.

Christmas trifle

400 g strawberries
30 ml brandy
80 g port wine jelly powder
1 large OR 2 small jam rolls, cut into 1 cm thick slices
80 ml orange juice
30 ml lemon juice
15 ml brandy
100 g pecan nuts, chopped
825 g peach slices, drained
785 g pineapple chunks, drained
500 ml custard
3 fresh granadillas, pulp removed (OR 1 x 115 g can granadilla pulp)
500 ml cream, stiffly beaten

Rinse and hull the strawberries and pour over the 30 ml (2 T) brandy. Leave until needed. Dissolve the port wine jelly in 250 ml (1 c) boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add 250 ml (1 c) cold water and stir. Leave in the fridge until set. Arrange the jam roll slices in the bottom and along the sides of a glass bowl. Mix the orange juice, lemon juice and 15 ml (1 T) brandy. Pour over the cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Arrange the peach slices and pineapple chunks on top. Pour the custard over and chill. Cut the set jelly in squares and sprinkle on top of the custard. Pour over the granadilla pulp. Spoon the whipped cream into a piping bag and decorate the trifle with cream rosettes. Arrange the soaked strawberries between the cream rosettes. Chill until needed. Serves 10

Swedish Christmas ham

3 kg pickled leg of pork
30 g sugar
1 bay leaf
5 ml pickling spice
1 egg
30 ml prepared mustard
15 ml sugar
75 ml plain breadcrumbs

Place pork in large saucepan and add water to almost cover leg. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Boil gently for 30 minutes per 500 g, or until meat begins to come away from bone. Remove from saucepan and peel away skin. Preheat oven to 220 ºC. GLAZE: Mix egg, mustard and sugar and spread over pork. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes or until brown. Serve hot or cold.

Festive chicken

15 ml oil
4 rashers rindless bacon, chopped
45 ml butter or margarine
12 pickling onions, peeled
1 large chicken, cut into portions
15 ml grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
10 ml grated orange rind
5 ml ground cumin
5 ml ground coriander
250 ml fresh orange juice
250 ml white wine
250 g baby carrots, peeled
250 g young green beans, trimmed, but left whole
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 5 ml (1 tsp) oil in a frying pan or saucepan, add bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add remaining oil and half the butter to pan. Cook onions until golden brown, then remove and set aside. Add chicken pieces to pan and brown over medium heat. Remove and keep warm. Add remaining butter to pan, then stir in ginger, garlic, orange rind, cumin and coriander. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add orange juice and wine, and simmer for 1 minute. Return chicken pieces to pan, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add carrots and green beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Return onions and bacon to pan and simmer for a further 15 minutes. Serve on couscous or rice. If desired, garnish with coriander and orange rind.

Festive eggnog

6 large eggs, separated
150 g sugar
250 ml rum
1 l cream milk
250 ml fresh cream
125 ml brandy

1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together well. Gradually beat in the rum and milk. 2. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Add cream and brandy gently. 3. Serve in glasses and sprinkle lightly with a mixture of ground cinnamon and chocolate drinking powder. 4. Serve mid-morning with Christmas fruit cake.

Festive ox tongue

1 fresh ox tongue
2 onions, coarsely chopped
1 lemon
2 bay leaves
6 whole peppercorns
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs parsley

30 ml butter
30 ml cake flour
250 ml chicken stock
1 small lemon, juice and rind
2 ml ground cinnamon
5 ml mustard powder
65 ml sweet sherry
250 ml prunes, stoned and chopped
125 ml seedless raisins
125 ml almond slivers (optional)
sugar to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the tongue, onions, lemon and other seasonings in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until tender and cooked, about three to four hours. Cool slightly, remove the skin and slice thinly. Set aside. Melt the butter and stir in the cake flour. Heat for about one minute while stirring. Remove from the stove and stir in the chicken stock. Heat while stirring until the sauce come to the boil and thickens. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil once more. Add the sliced tongue, cover and simmer very slowly for about 30 minutes. Stir every now and then to prevent the mixture from burning. (The tongue can also be baked in the oven.) Serve with mashed potatoes and buttered French beans

Festive turkey pie

250 g cake flour
1 ml salt
180 g cold butter
1 large egg yolk

30 ml sunflower oil
10 pickling onions
1 green pepper
250 g fresh button mushrooms
1 clove garlic
1 packet instant tomato soup
500 g turkey meat
30 ml fresh origanum
1 large egg

Place flour and salt in a bowl.
Rub in the butter using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Mix in the egg yolk using a knife. The mixture should form a firm dough. If it's too dry, add a little cold water.
Roll into a ball and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Heat oil in a saucepan and brown the onions.
Add green pepper, mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
Stir in 400 ml water, tomato soup, turkey and origanum (5 ml if using dried origanum).
Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Season to taste, then set aside to cool.
Spoon cool mixture into a greased pie dish.
Roll pastry out on a floured surface.
Use a sharp knife to cut out leaf shapes. Layer the pastry leaves over the filling.
Brush with egg and bake in a preheated oven at 200 ºC for 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden.

Festive peaches

410 g peach halves, drained, but retain syrup
500 g fruit mincemeat
65 ml brandy
ice cream to serve

1. Place peaches in an ovenproof dish. 2. Use sufficient fruit mincemeat to fill peach cavities. 3. Pour peach syrup over peaches. 4. Bake at 180 ºC for 10 minutes. 5. Warm brandy and pour over peaches. 6. Ignite and serve with ice cream.

Festive nut roast

200 g mixed nuts, coarsely ground
85 g dried apricots, soaked
15 ml fresh white breadcrumbs

1 onion, coarsely chopped
50 g butter
100 g macadamia nuts
50 g dried apricots, soaked in orange juice or brandy
250 ml vegetable stock
100 g fresh white breadcrumbs
30 ml sunflower oil
2 onions, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
410 g whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
55 g fresh button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
30 ml tomato paste
2 ml ground cloves
5 ml ground coriander
5 ml ground cumin
2 ml crushed dried chillis
1 egg, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper

30 g butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 kg fresh spinach, washed, cooked and drained
salt and freshly ground black pepper

15 ml sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
200 g cooked, mashed sweet potato
100 g macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

1. Place the ground nuts and breadcrumbs together in a large bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onions and celery for about 10 minutes or until soft and transparent. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and then add to the nut and breadcrumb mixture.
3. Add the tomato paste and dried spices and combine thoroughly. Stir in the egg to make a moist but not wet mixture. Add a little water if necessary. Season to taste and set aside.

4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the garlic. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute, then add the spinach with butter. Season to taste and set aside.

5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and celery and cook for 10 minutes or until soft but not brown. Add the sweet potato and cook until soft.
Remove from the heat and tip into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

6. Lightly oil a large loaf tin. Line the bottom of the tin with greaseproof paper. Divide the nut mixture into 4 portions.
Layer the mixtures into the tin starting with nut mixture. Then add a layer of spinach, a layer of nut mixture, the macadamia mixture, the nut mixture, the remaining spinach and end with a layer of the nut mixture. Press down each layer with a spatula, making sure that the edges are neat. Cover with lightly oiled greaseproof paper.
7. Place the tin on a baking sheet and put on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake at 180 °C for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 220 °C.
8. Allow the roast to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and invert the tin onto it. Remove the tin and the greaseproof paper and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
9. Transfer to a serving dish. Top with braised nuts and onion sauce.

10. Sauté the onions in the butter until soft. Add the nuts and braise until lightly browned. Stir in the apricots and stock and simmer until syrupy and caramelised.

Christmas Cake

4 bottles of Vodka
1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs nuts
2 cups of dried fruit

Sample the vodka to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the vodka again.
To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer.
Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
At this point it's best to make sure the vodka is still OK.
Try another cup .... just in case

Turn off the mixerer.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick fruit off floor. Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck
in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver.
Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something.
Who giveshz a shoot

Check the vodka.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven and pee in the fridge.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over Don't forget to beat
off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka and kick the
Fall into bed.

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