Christmas recipes for the budget conscious

Try out these fantastic recipes of you are cooking for several people on a tight budget:

1 side of small kingklip with skin on
2 red onions quartered and shaved finely
1 x fennel bulb -Shave fennel slices in the same shape as quarters of onion
1 x bunch of dill
Juice of 2 lemons

Take a side of kingklip with the skin on and cut very fine slices at a slant starting at the tail – cutting towards the tail.
Place the kingklip slices in a glass bowl or Tupperware and squeeze the juice of 2 lemons over the fish.  Leave for 2 hours.  The fish ‘cooks’ in the lemon.
Neaten up the slices of fish so that they are easy to thread.
Take the skewer and thread one caper on to it first.  Taking the kingklip slice, thread it on to the skewer backwards and forwards interspersing one slice of the shaved onion and 1 slice of the fennel and finishing with a caper.  Sprinkle on finely chopped dill just before serving.  Keep them covered in the fridge until about 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with Melba toast or Crusty French Bread
This coarse paté varies from village to village in France.   I have used the Belly of Pork for extra fat and the apple jelly balances the rich meat.  The crackling adds a third dimension to the dish and who can resist it?

1 whole belly of pork – boned and with the skin off and cut into strips
150g pork fat
Salt and black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of parsley, 1 sprig of thyme or rosemary
Cut the meat and pork fat into strips and mix together with 1 teaspoon of fine salt, a good grind of black pepper and the crushed garlic.  Pack all into a roasting pan or casserole dish pushing the herbs into the meat and pour 200 ml of water over it all.  Cover with silver foil.
Bake for 4 hours on the central shelf in a preheated oven at 140 degrees.  Stir occasionally to stop a crust forming on the meat.  When the meat is tender, place the contents of the pan into a sieve placed over a mixing bowl so that the fat can drain.  Remove the herbs and pulse the meat in a food processor (3 times is enough) taking care not to make it too fine. N.B. Test the seasoning at this stage and add more salt and pepper to taste.  Pack the meat down into a large earthenware pot or small ones for individual servings.  Pour enough of the pork fat over the meat to cover by ½ cm.  Place into the refrigerator to set. Can be made days ahead of time.

250 g caster sugar
500g red apples such as Pink Lady cored and cut into chunks (leave skin on)
1 lemon cut into chunks
7 sheets of gelatin

Dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium heat and then turn up the heat and skim any residue off the surface.  Add the apple and lemon and lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Soften the gelatin in a dish of cold water for about 5 minutes.  Take the apples off the heat and make a space in the pan to add the gelatin after squeezing out the excess water.  It will dissolve immediately.
Line a colander with a clean dish cloth or muslin or use a fine sieve set over a bowl.  Using a ladle transfer the fruit and syrup to the colander and allow the juices to drip into the bowl beneath.  Do not press the fruit as the jelly will turn cloudy.  Leave for a few hours until the fruit has stopped dripping and transfer to a shallow dish to set.  Cool and refrigerate.  This will keep in the fridge for 10 days and can also be used for desserts and glazes.

If you want to add this to the dish, simply pour boiling water over the skin.  Leave for about 5 minutes, take out and pat dry.  To make strips of crackling score the skin – a Stanley knife is great for this, rub with sunflower oil and salt and roast in the oven at 180C until crisp.  Set aside until ready to serve.

•    1 bottle of red wine
•    1 star anise
•    1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
•    1 cinnamon stick
•    1 cup of sugar
•    ½ cup brandy
•    Rind and juice of one orange
Stir the ingredients together in a pot on the stove until the sugar has dissolved.  Allow the wine mixture to boil until reduced by half and has become a syrup. Strain to remove the orange rind.  Pour over ice creams and Christmas desserts for all the Christmas flavour without the Mulled Wine heat. Can be made days in advance and kept in the fridge.

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