Part 1   Part 2
Salad of grilled peppers
Pepper  mousse and home-baked  focaccia
&
Zucchini paté in  tomato sauce
&
Risotto
with  baked pumpkin and walnuts

&
Braised carrots
Spinach salad with blue cheese
&
Oranges in orange sauce
  Roasted zucchini with pine nuts
&
Red bell-pepper soup
&
Risotto with roasted pumpkin, tomatoes and goat cheese
&
Green salad
&
Ice-cold creamy apple pudding
  See also part 3

Salad of grilled peppers

Serves 4 persons
2 large red peppers
4 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
½  teaspoon  Cayenne pepper

Place the peppers, round side up under the grill until the skin  starts to turn black.
Place the peppers in a closed plastic bag for 15 minutes.  Peel  the peppers, and cut them in thin strips.
Peel  the garlic and slice the cloves thinly. Fry the garlic in olive oil over moderate heat until golden brown, be careful not to burn! Scoop the garlic out of the pan. Then fry the pepper strips shortly in the same pan.
Place the peppers in a dish and sprinkle with paprika, pepper, salt and Cayenne pepper. Leave to stand about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, to enhance the flavour.
Serve  the pepper strips onto four plates and garnish with the garlic.
This course can be made a few hours in advance.

Pepper mousse

Serves  4-8
150 grams grilled peppers (fresh or in jar)
20 grams grated almonds
2 sundried  tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small teaspoon Tabasco
1 small teaspoon honey
Salt to taste

Drain and puree the peppers. Roast the almonds in a dry frying pan and grind until fine.
Chop the tomatoes and puree them shortly with the peppers.
Mix all ingredients and add salt to taste. Serve on (French) bread, toast, or crackers.
This course can be prepared a day in advance.

Focaccia

2 loaves
250 mls warm water
1 packet of yeast (7 grams)
500 grams flour
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion
10 black olives (stoneless)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Knead the flour through the yeast along with the rosemary, olive oil, sugar, pepper and salt. Knead for a further 3 minutes on a floured surface to a  smooth dough (until it no longer clings to your hands).
Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes in a closed dish (until it has reached twice its volume).
In the meantime, slice the onion thinly and halve the olives.
Split the dough in 2 round flaps (25 mm thick) and place the flaps on greaseproof paper. Press the onion and the olives in the dough. Brush the foccacias with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt. Allow to rise for a further 30 minutes, covered with plastic cling foil.
Bake for  20-25 minutes in a pre-heated hot-air or convection oven at 200 Celsius until they are golden brown and cooked. Slice in narrow pieces. Serve with the salad, the mousse and the paté.
This dish can be prepared a few hours in advance.

Zucchini  paté in tomato sauce

Gives 8 slices
500 grams zucchini
3 eggs
100 grams feta cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Grate the zucchinis roughly. Place the grated zucchinis in a sieve, sprinkle with a little salt and leave to stand for half an hour. Then press as much water as possible out of the grated zucchinis.
Whisk the eggs and crumble the feta cheese.
Mix the eggs, the feta cheese and chopped fresh herbs. Stir through the grated zucchini and flavour with pepper and salt.
Cover a baking tin (26 cm) with greaseproof paper. Pour the zucchini mixture into the tin and place in the pre-heated hot-air oven (150 C) for about 45 minutes until the paté turns golden (the paté should be firm to the touch when pressed lightly).
Allow the paté to cool a little. Lift the paté, using the greaseproof paper, out of the tin. Cut into 8 thick slices. Serve the slices on eight small plates with the tomato sauce and a slice of foccacia.
Best when served lukewarm..

Tomato sauce sufficient for garnishing one zucchini paté
½ red onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tin of peeled tomatoes
2 sundried tomatoes in oil
Pepper and salt
Paprika and Chili powder
2 sprigs of fresh basil
Sugar (if required!)

Slice the onion finely. Slice the tinned tomatoes and the sundried tomatoes finely.
Fry the onion in a little oil until soft. Crush the garlic above the onion and allow to fry. Add both sorts of tomato and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat.
Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 15 minutes, until it thickens. Chop the basil finely. Flavour the sauce with salt and pepper, paprika, chili powder and basil to taste. To allieve the somewhat bitter tomato taste, a little sugar can be added, if required.
This dish can be prepared a day in advance.

Risotto with baked pumpkin and walnuts

Serves 4
1 onion
150 grams risotto rice
50 grams wild rice
2 dls dry white wine
+/- 500 mls mushroom or vegetable stock
100 grams taleggio (soft Italian cheese)
50 grams walnuts
Freshly ground black pepper
500 grams pumpkin (with peel, without pits)

In advance:
Steep the wild rice for 3 hours in a generous amount of water. Cook the wild rice in +/- 45 minutes .
Slice the onion. Heat a small cube of butter in a pan with a thick base. Fry the onion until soft. Add the rice and stir until glassy. Add the wine and allow to cook on a low heat until all the wine has been absorbed.
Heat 500 mls vegetable stock. Add a couple of spoonfuls of stock to the rice, when the wine has been absorbed. Repeat this procedure until the rice is cooked, stirring now and again. (Be careful that the rice is not too moist!).

In the meantime:
Slice the cheese in small pieces.
Roast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until golden brown, then chop.
Wash the pumpkin peel thoroughly and remove any irregularities. Cut the fruit into cubes of around 3 cms. Place the pumpkin pieces in a baking tray with a little oil. Bake in a pre-heated hot-air oven in +/- 10 minutes until golden brown.
Stir the cooked wild rice and the cheese through the risotto. Flavour the risotto with freshly ground pepper. Serve the risotto (nice to serve in balls, using an ice-cream scoop) onto four plates. Garnish the risotto with the pumpkin pieces and the walnuts.
Serve immediately, on warmed plates.

Taleggio, good risotto rice and wild rice can be found in most Italian delicatessens.

Spinach salad with blue cheese

Side dish, serves 4-6
100 grams fresh spinach
50 grams lamb’s lettuce
100 grams (frozen)peas
50 grams Spanish (blue)cheese
Dressing
7 tablespoons  olive oil
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons honeys
2 teaspoons mustard

Wash and dry the spinach and lettuce. Mix them in a bowl.
Let the peas defrost in cold water. Cut the cheese in tiny pieces. Garnish the salad with peas and the cheese.
Mix all ingredients for the dressing and pour at the last minute over the salad.
This course can be prepared a few hours in advance.

Simmered Carrots

Side dish, serves  4-6

1 bunch carrots bospeen (+/- 500 grams)
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1 tablespoon honey
Salt and pepper

Wash and scrape the carrots. Leave them whole or cut them in thick slanted pieces. Peel and halve the garlic. Peel and grate the ginger.
Heat a little oil in a soup pan. Fry the carrots a few minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and fry for a while. Cover the pan and turn down heat. Allow the carrots to simmer about 10 minutes until they are cooked, tossing now and then.
At the end, add the grated ginger and sesame seed and allow to cook  for a further minute. Stir the honey through and flavor with pepper and salt. Serve luke warm.
This dish can be prepared a few hours in advance.

Oranges in orange sauce

Dessert, serves 4 

4 (eating)oranges
2 (juice) oranges
75 grams sugar
5 leaves of fresh mint

Remove the peel from the eating oranges, using a serrated knife. Also remove the pith. Cut the oranges in thin slices with the serrated knife. Place the orange slices on four plates.
Squeeze the juice oranges. Put the juice with sugar in a pan with thick base and allow to cook  and reduce to syrup consistency for about 10 minutes (even to caramel consistency!). Pour the syrup over the orange slices and garnish with a leaf of mint. Serve with vanilla iced cream or Greek yoghurt.
The oranges van be prepared a few hours in advance, make the orange sauce at the last minute.

Good luck
&
A happy, culinary Christmas to all.

Tina de Vries