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Dedicated to South Africans living abroad...and all lovers of Traditional South African food

Newsletter #64  - Nov 14  ,2003

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  Hi everybuddie!

As promised, here is the Christmas issue!  Too early?? No way, our shops have had Christmas stock on the shelves for some time now. Probably want to lay their hands on the extra spending money consumers have available due to the interest rate cuts we have been experiencing lately, and probably more to come. Bank rates have come down by 5% in the last few months, the fuel price has had two reductions, inflation is at the lowest I can remember (round 6%) so this festive season it will be spend, spend spend! The Rand is stronger thus reducing the price of imported luxury goods like DVD players, digital cameras etc etc.  There is a vibe of "spend now, pay later".

I am making this the Christmas issue as Christmas does need some advance planning and preparing. Some of the recipes can be prepared 6 weeks or even longer in advance, for example the Christmas pudding and the cake. The more. brandy you can pour over it before Christmas the better it will taste.  Does anyone remember trying to find tickeys in the Christmas pudding? I have quite a few tickeys saved up for use in a Christmas pudding at a special occasion. Like when I ever get to have a white Christmas? Any invitations? I will supply the tickeys!

Check out the first recipe, Christmas mince pies. Of course, Christmas mince is fruit mince, I can remember way back when my mom would get up early every Christmas morning and bake a batch of these yummilicious pies! What a start to Christmas! I wonder if they are prepared and enjoyed anywhere else in the world? And then I have a whole selection of traditional Christmas fare, from cakes and puddings to turkey, chicken and tongue! Ever tried turkey pie? If you would like a specific Christmas recipe that I don't have on this page, just ask, who knows, I might have it or find it for you!

I belong to the Danville Help Group, a few dedicated volunteers who are planning a Christmas tree party for the less privileged children in Danville, a suburb of Pretoria. Please click here to read more about the project and here to read about the Christmas party.   Any assistance or contribution will be greatly appreciated. Contact details on the Danville site.

We visited Kruger national park last weekend and this coming weekend we are going camping at the Vaal river, trying out our new tent! A new experience for us, feedback next time.

Click here to take a look at some panorama pics I took on our Kruger trip


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

~Featured Site~
Connie's Place

My friend. Connie, from Texas, has a great site with lots of inspirational stories, makes for ideal pre-Christmas reading. If you like what you see, please sign the Guestbook, she will really appreciate it!!

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Click here and get a ticket! You can't win if you aren't in! You can now also get your ticket for FREE!! Become a referrer and earn 50p for every ticket bought by your referrals! Let them pay for your tickets! This actually works,

I have received my first payment!

When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now


The Recipes
See Links for Metric Converter

  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 mincemeat
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 egg nog

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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