Bongani Mdlalose, a hotel chef, says planning a Christmas dinner is not complicated - and the more thought you put into it the easier it becomes.
"The key is to do as much work ahead of time as you can, so that you can enjoy the party with your guests without worrying about the food," he says.
Tips and warnings forChristmas dinner
l Buffet service is easier to manage than seating everyone at the same table.
l Plan on serving some food that does not need to be cooked, such as salad, cheese and crackers and fresh fruit. This will save valuable oven and counter space.
l Don't worry about having too little. Most people's eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Don't worry about having too much - leftovers are good.
l You can't be too organised but you should not let it affect how much fun you have. Remember to enjoy yourself.
Mdlalose says a classic beef curry in a tomato-andchilli-based sauce is a traditional South African recipe that is popular on local Christmas tables.
It is often followed by malva pudding.
Curried Beef Stew
2 tbsp groundnut oil
600g stewing steak, cut into 1,5cm cubes
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Curry powder
1 Scotch bonnet chilli, pounded to a paste
Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the meat cubes. Fry on each side until they are evenly browned.
Then add the onion, tomatoes and chilli paste.
Cook over high heat until the tomatoes soften, then add the salt and curry powder and simmer until the meat is tender. (Add water if the stew gets too dry, to prevent burning.)
Serve on a bed of rice and accompanied by a bowl of chilli flakes that can be sprinkled on top.
1 cup of milk
1 cup of (light) brown sugar
3 teaspoons of apricot jam
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of vinegar
1 cup of plain white flour
4 teaspoons of butter
First beat the egg and brown sugar together until the mixture is thick and light, then stir in the apricot jam. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda together.
Melt butter and vinegar together and then add the milk. Add the sifted dry ingredients to egg mixture, alternating with milk mixture.
Pour butter into greased ovenproof dish. Bake at 180 C for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
1 cup whipping cream (not whipped)
6 ounces butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup hot water
Melt together the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven. - www.chirundu.com