Cooking up old, new memories

Foodies Mathapelo Montsho and Yolanda Nomoyi of catering company Why Cook.
Foodies Mathapelo Montsho and Yolanda Nomoyi of catering company Why Cook.

Everything on Christmas Day is special. From the clothes you wear to even the church service.

For a lot of people, there might not have been presents growing up but there was something to look forward to when it came to food.

It's always great to keep trusted family recipes but sometimes introducing a new dish will add that extra kick to your Christmas lunch.

Sowetan spoke to gospel star Ntokozo Mbambo, 21-year-old commis chef Lebone Modise, chef Nelly Dube and foodies and entrepreneurs Mathapelo Montsho and Yolanda Nomoyi of catering company Why Cook, to ask them what their fondest memory of Christmas is and what new dishes you can try this Christmas.

Gospel star Ntokozo Mbambo
Gospel star Ntokozo Mbambo

"My fondest Christmas memory happens every year!," says Mbambo. "It's the preparation of Christmas lunch as a family - my mom, sisters, cousins and everyone else. It's the making of desserts and keeping it in the fridge overnight.

"Stuffing the meats and marinating others. It's the loud laughing, the singing, the scolds from my mom when we don't chop right."

"I'm blessed with a family filled with good cooks; people that really know how to make the pots to be done."

Her recipe to try is a biryani.

The Why Cook duo will be serving Thai stuffed red snapper (fish), black rice and gravy with a vegan pomegranate panna cotta. One of Montsho's favourite memories is baking with her aunt.

Modise's tip is to go all out with your menu and to have fun. She will be making duck for Christmas lunch.

Commis chef Lebone Modise
Commis chef Lebone Modise

Putting devilled eggs on the menu

Chef Nelly Dube fondly remembers decorating her Christmas tree with her mother, a task she says took them almost half the night.

Dube says she's going to be adding devilled eggs to her menu as starters this Christmas. Devilled eggs are basically stuffed boiled eggs.


Boil your egg well done. Make sure it's boiled to the maximum. Peel the egg. Cut it in half and remove the yolks inside both halves. Take the egg yolks, finely smash them in a bowl and mix them with salt and pepper, or any tasty spices you have. Then finely chop garlic chives and add creamy mayonnaise. Mix well together. Then take that mixture and insert it back inside the egg whites. You can add cucumber and stuffed olives at the sides. It's a delicious starter!

Dube's favourite main for Christmas lunch is venison stew with vegetables and basmati rice. For those watching their waistline, she says you can have lean chicken breasts larded with bacon and a Greek salad.


You need to boil your venison whole; it might take a while but it's worth it. Once cooked, shred it, preferably by hand so that it doesn't become too fine. Prepare your basmati rice or a roll of your choice. Prepare a Greek salad. Dube loves a traditional Christmas theme."When it comes to desserts there's lots of options. My personal favourite is jello with a crunchy muesli base."

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