Budget-beater Christmas lunch
Christmas is all about winding down the year, families coming together, celebrating joy and, of course, food. But making a hearty Christmas dinner doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few great recipes that remain festive, but on a budget. We suggest scaling down on the main dishes and bulking up the side dishes and salads to ensure you spend less, but give your guests more variety at the table.
Roast chicken and figs
8 portions bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh figs sliced in half
Heat the olive oil in a large cast- iron skillet over medium heat. Remove from heat and then carefully place the chicken pieces in the skillet, skin-side down.
Place the skillet inside the oven. When you open the oven door, the temperature should fall quite a bit. You want the overall temperature to hover around 200 degrees.
Roast chicken for 30 minutes, rotating the skillet midway through. Remove the chicken and add the figs to the skillet. Return the skillet to the oven for just four minutes so the figs start to caramelise.
Remove the skillet and let the chicken and figs rest. Season with an extra pinch of salt and serve.
Creamy spinach pasta
Pasta of your choice
1 chopped onion
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tomato, finely chopped
A bag of spinach leaves
Salt and pepper
Start by cooking the onions over a medium to low heat until they turn translucent. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for about two minutes before adding the coconut milk, chilli and soy sauce. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes while the pasta is cooking.
Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted and then add the pasta, mix and serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
1kg baby potatoes, washed and halved
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp fresh minced parsley or dill
1/2 tsp salt plus additional flaky salt for finishing
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the garlic cloves, potatoes, salt and olive oil. Toss well to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet or large casserole dish and roast for 30 minutes. Flip potatoes only once, halfway through cooking. The potatoes are done when they are golden and tender. Scatter with parsley, add steamed broccoli, chopped red cabbage and salt to serve.
Roasted corn with herbed butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tender herbs (such as cilantro, chives and/or flat-leaf parsley)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 ears corn, shucked
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Prepare the grill for medium-high heat (160–200 degrees) or alternatively cook on a braai. Mix butter, herbs, salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a small bowl. Set the herb butter aside.
Brush corn with oil and grill for five to eight minutes, turning often, until it is tender and charred in spots.
Transfer the corn to a large platter or bowl and spread with reserved herb butter, dividing evenly.
A Christmas dessert doesn’t have to be loaded with sugar. Try this delicious but healthy and budget-friendly option of individual desserts.
Christmas chia and coconut parfait
1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp agave
1 handful mango, chopped
1 handful raspberries
Coconut whipped cream
2 cans full fat coconut milk
1 splash maple syrup or sweetener of choice (optional)
1 splash vanilla extract (optional)
To make the chia pudding, start by adding the chia seeds, milk and agave to a bowl or jar and mix well. Mix it once more about 15 minutes later and let it rest overnight.
Divide the chia pudding in half and add little cubes of mango to one half and beet powder and raspberries to the other half. Mix both puddings very well and let them sit a bit so the colours are absorbed.
To serve, add fruit of your choice to the bottom, 1/2 banana and a few big splashes of the coconut liquid left from making the coconut whipped cream. Then add the chia pudding and top it with the coco whipped cream, fruits and chocolate bark.
To make the coconut whipped cream, you need a can of full fat coconut milk. Flip it upside down and put it in the fridge overnight. This allows the fat and water in the coconut milk to separate. The fat is what you need to make the whipped cream. Open the can, scoop out the solid part and whip it up using a hand mixer. You can serve it as is or add a splash of vanilla and maple syrup or any other sweetener of choice.