Christmas is done and dusted and it is not unusual to feel somewhat jaded, this exacerbated by the heat of summer with many long lazy days ahead for those who are still on leave.
Celebrating New Year need not be a tiresome or stressful affair if sensible planning is done in advance. In order to start the New year on a festive, yet fuss-free way , the last article for 2014 recommends tasty, yet cold food requiring none or little cooking.
First on the list are the drinks, all of which are low-alcohol which should eliminate that nasty "hung-over" feeling !
Using Ginger beer with a dash of vodka and loads of ice, then garnished with fresh mint goes down extremely well.
Cans of iced peach tea can be topped up with chilled rose wine then poured into jugs giving guests the liberty of topping up at will.
Sangria - an all-time favourite; Colourful and a great summer low alcohol drink which in this recipe requires the following:
A bottle of 750ml red wine, to which is added
2 cups of ginger ale
1 lemon and 1 orange cut into wedges , pips removed and the juice squeezed out into the above, then chilled
overnight and just before serving any of the following can be added:
Fruit such as halved strawberries, diced spaanspec, chopped kiwi fruit and any other fruits of one's choice
Do note that there are many varieties of Sangria other than this one
A cold soup which is so simple to prepare and economical, requiring the following:
Green pea soup in a can of the "lite" or "weigh-less" variety which contains almost zero fat
To this is added some coconut milk [not the cream, as all diets commence on the 1st of the year ! ]
The two blended together, then before serving a swirl of the coconut milk can be created on the top of each bowl, be garnished with mint or parsley and served Serve with crusty bread
If the soup is of the thick variety, it is advisable to thin out before preparing.
Using dessert glasses or large wine glasses the idea is to fill half of each with a low fat yogurt of one's choice then to top each with at least 3 types of fruit chopped into small cubes. Lastly for those with a sweet tooth
a little honey can be drizzled over the fruit and a sprinkling of chopped nuts completes the starter.
Ingredients will include: shredded cold crab meat, a dash of lemon juice, salt and ground pepper, bean sprouts , pitted olives and diced preserved ginger. This mixture is then placed onto rotis or crepes, rolled up and topped with mayonnaise flavoured with a little Thai chilli sauce.
Toasted Ciabatta open sandwiches [ no butter required ] make for a nice change!
After toasting the bread a clove of garlic is rubbed across each surface then topped with cream cheese, paper thin slices of beef, ham or turkey – another way to use up a " Christmas leftover " and be garnished with well drained pepperdews , wedges of avocado pear or whatever comes to mind.
Luckily there is great flexibility when preparing of any of these cold dishes.
Smoked beef, chicken and ham platter:
This is a marvellous, colourful and enticing dish!
Using a large shallow platter [ even a tray will suffice ] the surface is covered with fairly flat lettuce leaves, then the following variety of items placed on the lettuce base:
Cold, cooked green beans, slices of mango, avocado pear wedges, spring onions, quartered boiled eggs and the meat of one's choice.
Finally a not too watery dressing is drizzled over the salad [ the recipe actually call for a honey mustard dressing ] and lastly whole pecan nuts can be sprinkled on top of the salad.
The above makes for a pleasant change from the tiresome old green salad one encounters at many a function or party.
Now for a festive dessert that will not disappoint and may be labelled " Shades of Christmas at New year "
Basically one will need some left over Christmas cake or pudding cut into slices, a block of vanilla ice cream, a packet of ginger biscuits, nuts and spices
Allowing the ice cream to soften slightly stir in just a sprinkling of cinnamon, clove and ginger , blend well and return to the freezer to firm up
Begin by placing the cake into a not too shallow dish, followed by a layer of ice cream and crushed ginger biscuits
Then repeat the above and finally sprinkle nuts over the last layer of biscuits
As slices are cut for the guests the layers are visually appealing and the taste quite scrumptious !!
The team at MATSIMELA would like to extend good wishes to our friends, clients and for a successful 2015 year head!