Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS DINNER RECIPES WITH A TWIST

New Age Avocado Ritz

New-Age Avocado Ritz
(Photo : Jackie Cameron)

"It's with starters that we can demonstrate flair and creativity..."

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

The spirit of Christmas surrounds us. It must have struck you too.

I have compiled a few recipes so you can woo family and friends with a traditional home-cooked dinner on the 24th or 25th - whichever you fancy. Mains and desserts are pretty much a given at this time of the year when old favourites such as roast turkey, glazed gammon and Christmas pudding make a profound statement.

It's with starters that we can demonstrate flair and creativity. Remember keeping things simple, homely and wholesome is imperative.

Reviving the classical avocado Ritz seems appropriate for this traditional occasion. That's what we'll have because my parents' avocado pear trees are laden with the very best of the creamy - smooth fruit. A crème fraiche spicy dressing drizzled over lightly-blanched, firm shrimps is best with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some crisp Melba toast. There are some flavour combinations that will never die.

I have often written about ceviche (Peruvian cooking style of marinating seafood in soya sauce and lime or lemon juice). This time I have chosen prawn ceviche with asparagus and caviar for you.

Leaving it to marinate improves the taste as it takes on the flavour combinations. Its added value is that it can be prepared beforehand.

A risotto must always be straight forward. If enhanced, it loses its Italian roots. Served with a sizeable helping of smoked salmon or piece of fresh Norwegian salmon or line fish brings a summery touch to a hearty dish.

Chicken-liver pate or parfait is ridiculously over served but still I enjoy smearing a thick layer onto crispy, homemade, white bread. Add your personal touch by preparing it with love and the finest ingredients.

My grandmother's shortbread recipe adds a fun-filled dimension to the menu. Top this with prune compote, creamy gorgonzola, a drizzle of honey and a large, juicy, black, mission fig.

And for the decadent, serve prawns with litchis and coconut cream. Butter poached prawns add a certain grandness that Christmas lunch deserves.

I wish you all the very best for this festive time of the year - happy cooking, eating and celebrating with friends and family.

Don't miss next week's article where I give you New Year's decadent dessert combinations.

Take these recipes and try them.

african christmas tree