What Shall we Eat?

How About a Christmas Picnic Menu…

Cooking a traditional Christmas lunch or dinner is normally a marathon affair requiring lots of energy from the chefs. The cost of all the rich food also takes quite a toll on one’s purse (not to mention one’s hips!) Why not opt for a simple menu with easy-to-assemble fresh salads and simple meat dishes that can be made a few days ahead and served either chilled or at room temperature.

The Picnic Menu

Vichyssoise – A classic, chilled cream soup with leek and potato


Rye, beetroot, goat’s milk cheese and chilli jam canapés


Glazed gammon
Coronation chicken
Sweet pepper salad
Pesto potato salad with green beans
Spinach salad with blue cheese, pears and walnuts


Seasonal fruit and cheese platter


Co­ffee and chocolate cake


Some of the recipes used for this garden feast appear in Ina Paarman’s What’s for Supper? (BOOK ONE) and What’s on the Braai? (BOOK TWO) and were used with her permission. These and her other cookery books, as well as her other products, are available at most supermarkets.

RECIPES:

Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans

  • 1 kg potatoes, unpeeled
  • 250 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 cm
  • lengths on the diagonal
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Basil Pesto
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) Green Onion Seasoning
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) spring onions, ‑ neatly snipped
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

Steam the potatoes until tender. Leave to cool.

Steam the beans until just tender but still bright green. Toss beans with pesto while still warm.

Skin and cut potatoes into small wedges. Season with Green Onion Seasoning. Gently toss with the dressed green beans, spring onions and olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

(This salad serves 6-8 and can also be made ahead of time.)

Quick Coronation Chicken

  •      3 cups (750 ml) cooked, sliced chicken or turkey
  •      (skin and bones removed)
  •      Garlic and Herb Seasoning

SAUCE

  •      200 ml Tikka Curry Coat-and-Cook Sauce
  •      60 ml mayonnaise
  •      125 ml fresh cream
  •      15 ml Tomato Pesto
  •      Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Mix all the ingredients together, except for the chicken. Now add the sliced chicken or turkey and toss lightly. Allow to stand for an hour or more to develop the ­flavour. Serve at room temperature, garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

(This dish serves 6 and can be made in advance.)

Sweet Pepper Salad

  •      3 red bell peppers
  •      3 yellow bell peppers
  •      10 ml Lemon and Black Pepper Seasoning
  •      125 ml Classic Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
  •      Grated rind of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 250 C. Bake the peppers on a rack over a roasting pan for about 20-25 minutes until blistered and blackening on the outside. Place them in a glass mixing bowl and cover tightly with cling wrap – leave to sweat and cool down. In the process the skin will loosen itself from the flesh. Pull off the blistered skin (it doesn’t matter if a little bit remains here and there). Remove the stems and seeds. Cut the peppers lengthways into 1-2 cm strips. Season, arrange on a platter and add the dressing. Sprinkle with grated lemon rind. Serve at room temperature. (This salad serves 8 and keeps very well in the fridge for up to three days).

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