The holiday countdown has begun! The season of giving … and eating … is upon us and with just 13 sleeps to go, homes around the world are being decorated, traditional recipes are being dusted off, flights are filling up, shopping lists are being frantically ticked off and festive plans are well underway.
What are some of the festive season family traditions that are passed down from generation to generation in your household? Do you decorate a tree and hang stockings by the chimney? Do you sing Christmas carols and don ridiculously oversized paper crowns and the ugliest Christmas sweaters you can find? Is your table setting small and intimate or overflowing and full of family drama? Or, do you simply jet off to celebrate the end of the year in a faraway place, free from all the stress, shopping and to-do’s?
No matter how, or where, you celebrate the holidays, and whether you slave away in the kitchen cooking a festive feast for 2 or 52, nothing brings people together like good food, fine wine and great company. The most memorable meals happen when you’re surrounded by your most favourite people.
So, as you gear up to eat, drink and be merry over the festive season, our #TuesdayTreat and Christmas gift to you is the gift of a family recipe, or three. Many an &Beyond guest will know that we love to share our #recipesofandbeyond and we have made it a tradition to share a collection of our secret recipes every December, from our festive kitchens to yours. Here are some of Karen Groenewald’s (Executive Chef at &Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia) favourite holiday treats. And in case you missed last year’s festive season snacks, here they are. May you bake them with love and may they be devoured with reckless, calories-don’t-count abandon.
Happy holidays from all of us at &Beyond. May your festive season be happy, healthy, safe and memorable, not to mention full of belly-aching laughter, an attitude of gratitude, and eat-til-you-can’t-eat-no-more irresistible food. We’ll leave you with one of our favourite toasts…
“Thank you for the food before us, the friends beside us and the love between us.”
500g sweet pastry
125g melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
80ml golden syrup
1 cup pecan nut halves
Roll out the sweet pastry approximately 3mm thick. Line a small cake tin with the pastry and place in the freezer until you are finished making the filling.
Mix the melted butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a mixing bowl.
Add the eggs and mix well, then add the pecan nuts.
Remove the pastry-lined cake tin from the freezer and pour the filling into the pastry.
Bake at 160°C for 20 to 30 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool in the cake tin. Once cooled, remove from the cake tin and serve on a cake stand.
Carrot cake cupcakes
3 large carrots washed (3 cups grated)
1 green apple cored (2/3 cups grated)
1¼ cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup sultanas
½ cup chopped pecan nuts or walnuts
Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a muffin tin, loaf tin or cupcake cases.
Beat eggs and sugar until light and creamy; add oil slowly whilst beating.
Add the grated carrot and apple and fold in, then sift the dry ingredients and fold in.
Mix gently until well combined. Lastly, sprinkle sultanas and nuts over batter and fold through.
Pour batter into greased baking pan of choice and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes depending on which pan you use. Cupcakes will take much less time than a whole cake.
Once baked, remove from oven and allow to cool in pan. Turn out onto cooling rack and, once cool, ice with cream cheese icing, pecan nuts and lemon zest.
2 sheets puff pastry
500g springbok loin (or other venison/meat you prefer)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
500ml homemade beef stock
30ml red wine
30ml olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat a saucepan and add the olive oil, onions, garlic, carrots, celery and fry until the onions start to caramelise. Add your chosen meat and fry for 3 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 3 more minutes. Add the homemade stock and bring to the boil; then reduce the heat to a slow simmer (do not cover the saucepan with a lid).
Slowly simmer the meat filling until ¾ of the sauce has reduced and it becomes a thick sauce. Take care to stir every now and then so that the filling does not burn. Put the filling aside to allow it to cool down.
Prepare a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out the puff pastry to approximately 2.5mm thick and find a pastry cutter that is about 3mm bigger than the top of the muffin tin and cut out 12 rounds and line the muffin tray with the pastry.
Find another pastry cutter that is the same size as the top of the muffin cups and cut out 12 rounds.
Then fill the lined muffin tin with the meat filling and brush the pastry with egg wash before placing it on top of each pie. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Once cooked, take the pies out of the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the muffin tins. Serve hot or cold (they keep well in the freezer as well).