December 1st always feels like the beginning of the festive season. Until then, I had a feeling it was coming, but suddenly a more immediate countdown begins. As a big fan of food especially this season, this is a roundup of some of my favorite recipes for parties all around.
Parties & Snacks:
If you’re having a party and need a snack with your drink, here are some ideas.
Baked camembert (or brie) with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and thyme. This is probably my favorite snack and I always have camembert or brie in the freezer. A pouch of sun-dried tomatoes in vinaigrette, available from Woolies or Ina Paarman, is always in my pantry. All you need is a clove of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme.
If you want something a little sweeter, my Baked Camembert with Caramelized Apples and Thyme is also a winner:
Make lots of melba toasts and delicious crispy flatbreads ahead of time. These are much tastier than chips and biscuits full of fat. Great for cheese boards, dips and spreads and I usually make both together and keep them in an airtight container.
How to make melba toast
Just freeze the bread you want to use. Ciabatta works well and defrosts a bit. Or use stale bread. Use a bread slicer or electric carving knife to slice the bread very thinly (this is a little easier than doing it by hand). Place the slices on a large baking tray and bake in the oven. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C/350°F for about 10 minutes, until hardened and beginning to brown. Store in closed container until use.
The best flaky flatbread recipe ever. Featured in my first cookbook, these flatbreads are the bomb. They are totally more and addictive. This makes a big batch, but you can easily halve it.
No festive season is complete without at least one or two batches of the best chicken liver patties ever.
I usually make two batches and freeze some ramekins for every picnic or summer party. I include a second modified recipe with a bit of
For a few more dips and spreads:
Ottolenghi’s famous hummus, or roasted beet hummus (you can also make it with roasted butternuts), charcoal-grilled zucchini hummus, classic South African smoked snook patties, and a delicious caponata recipe.
If you’re looking for some hot snacks, I loved the recent zucchini and cheese phyllo pie made in the air fryer. There are also delicious sweet corn and cheese options.
Sausage rolls with apples and sage are perfect for parties.
A baked goat cheese cigar with honey and thyme is a fancy and delicious snack.
Caramelized onion and goat cheese tartlets are one of my favorite picnic and party snacks. Make it in advance and serve at room temperature. Even easier, tomato and basil crostini with whipped goat cheese.
Just make some spicy caramel popcorn and never look back. Everyone loves this, and despite the spice, kids love it too.
The bacon-wrapped chipolata sausage with rosemary and honey is always a winner. Soak in mustard or mustard cream (stir Dijon with whipped cream).
Christmas in South Africa is summertime, so something like a delicious Peruvian ceviche is a great party food. Make fish and chips with potato chips or corn chips.
If you’re looking for fresh oysters, try my Oysters with Spicy Cucumber and Lime Granite.
We’re in the party mood, so here are some great celebratory cocktails:
Pineapple and mint julep
perfect paloma cocktail
Pomegranate and Ginger Spritzer (the red seeds look like Christmas)
pink grapefruit gin and tonic
Happy holiday season friends!
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