The air is filled with the aroma of decadent cakes being pulled out of the oven, juicy chicken being roasted to perfection, potatoes being sautéed and salads tossed.
The holidays are the perfect time to satiate those taste buds, and if it’s a cosy Christmas meal for friends, pull out all the stops and whip up a feast.
Of course, it would be perfect if you could conjure the said feast. After all, who wants to slave over a hot stove all day long?
Restaurateur Sandesh Reddy shares recipes for an easy-to-make festive dinner:
Half-baked rum-and-raisin cake
125 gm softened unsalted butter
125 gm castor sugar
125 gm flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp milk
3 tbsps raisins soaked in dark rum over night (more if you want it boozy)
1 tsp vanilla extract (pure vanilla, not the cheap alternative)
Combine the butter and sugar till the mixture is pale. It’s best to use an electric whisk or a stand mixer for this — or you can give your arms a good workout. Add the eggs and mix further. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Add the vanilla, rum-soaked raisins and milk. Mix them through. Pour into small tea cups or ramekins. Fill only halfway through. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 190 degree Celsius. Bake the cakes for six minutes, or until you see a crust forming. They should be runny in the centre. Remove them and serve with cold heavy cream.
2 chicken breasts, deboned and skinless
A bunch of spinach, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large onion
15 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
Peri peri powder
Extra-virgin Olive oil
Butterfly the chicken breast and flatten using a kitchen mallet/ rolling pin/ tenderiser/ heavy pan. Marinate the inside with salt, pepper and olive oil. Marinate the outside with salt, pepper, peri peri powder and olive oil.
Let this sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté till soft.
Add the mushrooms with some salt and pepper, and cook till they are soft. Add the spinach with some salt and pepper. Cook just till it wilts.
Remove the mixture and place two heaped spoonfuls on the inner side of the chicken breasts. Roll the chicken and hold it together with toothpicks or kitchen twine.
Pre-heat an oven to 180 degree Celsius. Take a frying pan and heat about three tablespoons of olive oil, till it is smoking hot. Fry the chicken till it’s brown on all sides. Now, place it on a tray and place it in the oven for 10 minutes. Take it out and rest it for five minutes. Serve it with a salad and mashed potatoes.
If you want some sauce on the dish, then just reduce some tomato juice with salt and pepper and a touch of Tabasco sauce. Whisk some cold butter into this and you have a lovely tangy sauce to go with your chicken.
Recipe sourceRecipes: Christmas treats, with plenty of trimmings and Olive Oil,