Whatever your holiday plans, there’s no denying that December is an excellent time for foodies. To round off 2022, the Dineplan team shared their most-loved recipes for Christmas and beyond.
Christmas wreath pavlova
Greg Whitfield – Co-founder
Is it even Christmas if there isn’t a pavlova? If you’ve never tried your hand at making your own, Greg’s foolproof recipe has you covered.
Preheat the oven to 120ºC. Beat 4 egg whites with ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. While beating, start adding 1 cup of caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until 2 tablespoons remain. (This should take 7-8 mins). Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and the last 2 tablespoons of sugar, mixing only to combine. Line a baking tray with parchment paper securing the sides of the paper to the tray with a spot of the meringue in each corner. Do not grease the baking parchment. Place scoops of the meringue onto the paper in a circle, shaping it into a rustic wreath. Place in the oven on the middle shelf for 2 hours. Then turn off the oven and let the meringue sit for another 2 hours – do not open the door. Once cool, take it out the oven, slide the meringue onto a plate and top with whipped cream, coulis and mixed, seasonal berries or fruit of your choice.
Festive bergamot boiled fruit cake
Paige Errera – Marketing Manager
“This Christmas cake recipe is a firm family favourite over the holidays. Adapted from Nigella’s boiled chocolate fruit cake, I throw in any festive ingredients I have on hand when making it. This year, I’m obsessing over Earl Grey tea and had some stem ginger left over from a cheeseboard, so they went in, of course. Make it your own – there are not rules – and enjoy!” – Paige
Preheat the oven to 130°C Fan. Line a 20cm, loose-bottomed cake tin. Put 350g chopped pitted prunes, 375g mixed raisins, 50g chopped crystallised ginger, 2 Earl Grey teabags, 175g butter, 175g muscovado sugar, 175ml honey, 125ml cognac (or coffee liquor), juice and zest of 2 oranges, 1 teaspoon mixed spice and 2 tablespoons cocoa into a large saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 mins, then take off the heat and leave to cool for 30 mins. Once cooler, remove the teabags, add 3 beaten eggs, 150 g cake flour, 75 g ground almonds, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to combine.Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 1¾–2 hours, until you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake and it’s only just a little moist. Cool on a rack and once cold, unmould it from the tin. If you don’t want to eat it immediately, wrap it in baking parchment and then in foil and place in a tin. (Like any fruit cake, it has a long shelf life and gets better as it rests.)
Sticky apple gammon
Mike King – Operations Manager
“I make this gammon every year for the Christmas party we host with our closest friends. I adapt the recipe and just wing it based on how it tastes and the ingredients I have at home, so the measurements are more of a guide.” – Mike
Place 2kg boneless gammon in a large pot, add 500ml apple juice (or good apple cider), 2 roughly-chopped red apples, 2 roughly-chopped red onions and 500ml water or stock. Top up with water to cover the gammon and cover the pot with the lid or some tin foil. Cook for 20 minutes per 500g. (If the liquid doesn’t fully cover the gammon, make sure to turn the gammon frequently.) When the gammon is cooked, remove it from the heat and set the gammon aside, leaving it covered. Keep all of the liquid in the pot or move to a saucepan, and add 4 tablespoons apricot jam, 50g brown sugar, 50ml white wine vinegar and add about half of the juice/syrup from the pineapple rings tin, if using to decorate. Cook until the sugar has dissolved and use a blender to chop up any larger pieces of apple and onion so that there are no large chunks and they are all pureed. Place the glaze back onto the heat and reduce the liquid to a thicker, sticky consistency. Top up with extra 250ml apple juice as needed to achieve the required consistency. Cut a diamond pattern into the fat of the gammon and rub the glaze all over, making sure to get it into all of the cuts.
Prepare a fire, and get the coals to medium to high heat. (You shouldn’t be able to hold your hand above the coals for longer than 5 seconds) Cook the gammon on the fire, making sure to baste constantly while you turn frequently to prevent the glaze from burning – be careful, as the glaze can burn quickly. The gammon is already cooked, so this is just to caramelise the glaze onto the outside of the gammon. Once the glaze is sticky and dark all over the gammon, remove it from the fire. Garnish with a tin of pineapple rings and Maraschino cherries on the gammon for garnish and serve.
Butter-basted Weber chicken
Mike Reid – Head of Sales
“I make this chicken all the time, not just for Christmas – it’s a real crowd-pleaser. It’s pretty much infallible as the butter ensures that the chicken never gets dry! Chef’s note: This process must be accompanied by a few ice cold beers!” – Mike
Mix 200g butter with a handful of thyme, 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic and zest of 1 lemon and stuff under the chicken breasts of a large free-range chicken. Use any remaining butter to smother the rest of the chicken. Layer 1 pack of streaky bacon over the top of the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Place more thyme, garlic gloves and half a lemon in the cavity of the chicken, being careful not to overstuff. Prepare your Weber or kettle braai for indirect cooking at 200ºC. Place the chicken in the middle of the weber with a drip tray underneath and close the lid, let the temperature drop down by itself from 200ºC to 160ºC and cook for roughly 1 hour 20 mins or until cooked through. Tip: Add potatoes to the drip tray to make delicious chicken fat roasted potatoes.
Spiced pumpkin tart
Mia Moorcroft – Onboarding Manager
“I make this pumpkin tart ALL the time. It’s a favourite with my friends and family when they visit for a braai.” – Mia
Mash 2 cups of cooked pumpkin or butternut until smooth. Allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cream together 3 tablespoons butter and 4 tablespoons sugar, then add 2 eggs and continue beating. Sift together ⅓ cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder and pinch of salt into the butter mix. Add ⅓ cup milk, then the cooked pumpkin or butternut. Gently combine, but do not over mix. Spoon into a greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with spices such as ground nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon, to taste and bake for 30-45 minutes.
Flourless chocolate and hazelnut cake
Catherine Poole – Key Account Manager
“This is a nice and rich, low-carb chocolate cake. It’s decadent and comes out almost like a chocolate truffle. The recipe is very slightly adapted from an Anneka Manning recipe.” – Catherine
Preheat oven to 150℃. Grease a 22cm springform tin with melted butter. Then line base and sides with baking paper. Combine 150g 70% Lindt chocolate and 100g cubed butter in a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t allow the bowl to touch the water. Stir occasionally until chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from pan. Separate 4 eggs and add the yolks, 50g sugar, 110g ground hazelnut or almonds and 2 tablespoons sherry, brandy, Amaretto or Frangelico (optional) to the chocolate mixture and use a balloon whisk to stir until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl. Place the 4 egg whites in a clean, dry medium bowl and use an electric beater to whisk until stiff peaks form. Add a spoonful of egg white to the chocolate mixture and use a large spoon or spatula to fold in – this will loosen the mixture. Add the remaining egg white in and fold gently until just combined. Place the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top of the cake feels set and crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into the centre. Remove the cake from the oven, place on a wire rack and cool completely in the tin. Turn out, dust and serve as is, or with whipped cream.
Beef ribs with red onion and horseradish jam
Rory Newkirk – Key Account Manager
“My family loves these beef ribs from delicious.com. The kids eat them like lollipops and love the sweet taste of them. Our whole family loves cooking and is very competitive when it comes to red meat and getting it right, so Christmas is always a fun time having family sharing their red meat dishes and ‘playing MasterChef’ around the Christmas dinner or lunch table.” – Rory
Place 200g each of brown and button mushrooms and 125g shiitake mushrooms in a food processor and whiz until finely chopped. Place 80g butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add mushroom and cook, stirring frequently, for 5-6 minutes until softened and reduced in size. Stir in ½ bunch finely-chopped tarragon and 2 cups of red wine and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25-30 minutes until wine is completely reduced. Stir through 1 bunch shredded cavolo nero and cook, stirring frequently, for a further 5-6 minutes until cavolo nero has wilted. Season to taste, transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Meanwhile, for the red onion and horseradish jam, place 80g butter in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add 3 thinly-sliced red onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Stir in 110g brown sugar and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 20-25 minutes until a thick jam consistency. Remove from the heat, season to taste, stir through 3cm grated fresh horseradish and cool completely. Once cooled, transfer jam to mushroom mixture and stir well to combine.
Preheat oven to 220°C. Cut 10 pieces of kitchen string long enough to wrap around 5kg (6-cutlet) French-trimmed beef rib roast. To prepare the beef rib roast, place beef on a chopping board, rib-side down. Using a sharp knife, cut the meat from the bottom, slicing lengthwise across the beef, leaving the rib side intact so that it butterflies open like a book. Spread stuffing evenly in the middle of the beef, then close and secure, tying kitchen string in between and on either side of each rib. Place beef rib on a wire rack on the middle shelf and roast for 1 hour 15 minutes for medium or until cooked to your liking. Remove from oven and rest, covered loosely with foil, for 15-20 minutes before carving. Serve with wholegrain mustard alongside.
Prawn and chicken curry
Nikita Ramchunder – Accounts
“I come from a very traditional Indian family where curry is a staple at every family dinner or special occasion. It’s not really ideal as the summers in Durban are super humid so a very nice compromise was made where we only have one curry at Christmas dinner. A family cookout was held once Saturday a few weeks before Christmas (yes, we take our curry that seriously) and this dish was an absolute winner. It has all the flavours of a traditional Indian dish whilst the pomegranate and zaatar gives it a light summery finish.” – Nikita
Mix together 2 teaspoons ginger/garlic/red chilli paste, 2 teaspoons prawn marinade, 2 teaspoons Kashmiri masala, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons prawn masala. Add in 500g cleaned and peeled prawns and leave to marinade for 2 hours at least. Mix together 2 teaspoons honey, 2 tablespoons Chilli & Mint Sauce, 2 teaspoons sumac,1 teaspoon salt and add in 4 chicken breasts cut into strips. Leave to marinade for 2 hours. Preheat pan with 2 tsp of ghee and fry the marinaded prawns till each side has a crust. Roughly 3 min each side. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan add 1 tsp ghee and pan-fry the marinaded chicken breasts, roughly 4-5 minutes per side, remove and keep aside..In the same pan add 1 tsp ghee and ½ onion to cook for 3/4 min before adding 1 tsp ginger/garlic/chilli paste and 1 tsp Kashmiri masala cook for 3min before adding 200ml fresh cream and sugar. Add the chicken and prawns to the sauce and coat well in the sauce.Turn off the heat. Before serving garnish with pomegranate seeds ,chopped dhania and zaatar.
Cashew cheese with cranberries (vegan)
Natalie Munro – Customer Support
“Christmas is a time for sharing and I love when the food I make is as inclusive as possible. Opting for a vegan option usually means everyone’s dietary requirements or allergies are covered. It’s also always fun to see how surprised family and friends are when they taste how delicious plant-based versions can be! I love this recipe from Exceedingly Vegan.” – Natalie
Add 80g cashew nuts, 150ml water, 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/3 teaspoon garlic powder and 5g agar powder (or 3 tablespoon cornstarch instead) to a smoothie blender and blend until you get a smooth consistency. If you have a half decent blender there is no need to soak the cashews before. Take a handful of cranberries and quarter them. You just want small cranberry pieces, not whole dried cranberries in your cashew cheese. Pour the cheese base ingredients into a pan and heat up on high to medium heat (that’s important to activate the agar powder). Make sure you stir all the time so it doesn’t burn. After a few minutes it will turn into a thick paste and stick together. Then add the cranberries and mix in. Take off the heat and transfer into a dish. Spread and distribute evenly. Let cool down in the fridge for at least 1 hour for it to set. Serve with some bread or crackers. If you want you can also sprinkle some cracked pepper on top. Like dairy cheese, keep in the fridge.
Spicy prawn linguine
Nicholas Vincent – Customer Support
“My family loves this dish as our very good family friends are Portuguese and, over the years, we’ve acquired a craving for the dishes they make when we visit them. Here’s one of our favourites to make altogether from Khin’s Kitchen blog.” – Nick
First, boil 150g spaghetti in salted boiling water – according to the packet instructions. Reserve one cup of pasta water. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water. While the pasta is boiling, sauté 200g peeled prawns in 2 tablespoons melted butter until the prawns turn pink. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set them aside. In the same pan, add more butter and sauté 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic on a low-medium heat for a few seconds and follow with 1 teaspoon chilli flakes. Place the cooked spaghetti and add half cup of reserved pasta water. Season to taste. Add the cooked prawns back in the pan and combine everything evenly. Finish with a splash of olive oil and finely chopped parsley. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle grated cheese and parsley.