Celebrating Christmas The South African Way With Your Weber Braai

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What do you think of when you hear the word Christmas? Not your Weber Braai, probably.

Chances are, you pictured quaint, snow-covered little wooden homes in Switzerland, kids building a snowman and slow-cooked lunches followed by a hot, brandy pudding?

It is no wonder that we think about the festive season in this way, because that is what those kitschy Christmas movies (which we all secretly love to watch) have always shown us.

Keep Christmas lunch simple and fuss-free to make more time for what is really important.
Keep Christmas lunch simple and fuss-free to make more time for what is really important.

This year, we are tossing those European Christmas ideas aside and instead, we are celebrating this special time of year the proudly SA way.

Our December is hot! We don’t spend Christmas sipping Glühwein by the fireplace, and we definitely don’t need fake snowflakes sprayed onto our windows.

Let’s highlight and enjoy celebrating Christmas in the heat of summer. Build a sandman on the beach, set up an outdoor Christmas tree, whip out a Weber braai, and enjoy lunch by the pool. Slip into that sexy kaftan, let your hair down and grab a cocktail – this year we are doing it the Saffa way!

Let the feasting begin!

Fish and Weber braais are must-haves when it comes to preparing an easy and delicious Christmas lunch.
Fish and Weber Braais are must-haves when it comes to preparing an easy and delicious lunch for your family.

Forget diets, say goodbye to counting calories and loosen your belts – Christmas time is all about guilt-free indulging in fab food. And if you are hosting the family over the festive season, we are about to make your life so much easier with this recipe that you can fire up on your Weber braai.

Apricot-infused Smoked Snoek on the braai

Pull out your Weber braai and cook in true South African style by adding a fish braai to this year’s Christmas lunch. Fish is one of those super simple and utterly delicious summer meals, and we just love how the sweet, tangy Apricot flavours complement the characteristic salty sea taste of a Snoek. Not only will this meal be done in a jiffy, it is also ultra quick to prepare with a Weber braai.

Fire up your Weber braai and get your Christmas lunch started with this hearty Apricot-infused Smoked Snoek recipe.
Christmas calls for cool starters — fruity & fishy mains and frosty desserts that are quick and effortless to make. Here’s one that you can easily fire up on your Weber braai.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Snoek (minimum 1 kg), cleaned
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 80 g butter, melted
  • 4 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (medium heat)
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons apricot chutney
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped

Kitchen equipment and appliances:

Method:

  1. Wash the Snoek and pat it dry. Lay the skin side onto a sheet of foil and cut the fish in half, lengthwise (if this isn’t already done). Season the fish lightly with salt, as it is already a salty fish and a good grind of pepper.
  2. Mix the melted butter, lemon juice, garlic, chilli, apricot jam and chutney and coriander in a bowl.
  3. Using the basting brush, liberally spread the saucey goodness on the fish. Cover the top of the fish with foil.
  4. Place the fish wrapped in foil on the hot Weber braai. Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Open the foil to check if the meat is white. If it is, close up the foil again and turn it around, cooking the other side for a further 3-5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the Weber braai, open up the foil and serve with a fresh green salad or potato salad.

Keep it Cool with Frozen Holiday Treats

Balance is the key to harmony. A Weber braai may be a South African’t best friends on special occasions like this, but no one should be sweating the day away near the Weber braai while the rest of the family are having fun.

A South African style Christmas calls for fishy mains paired with fruity and frosty desserts that are quick and effortless to make.

Surprise your guests with a refreshing starter - a chilled cucumber soup.
Surprise your guests with a refreshing starter – a chilled cucumber soup.

Chilled cucumber and mint soup:

You don’t want your guests to break into a sweat while eating a hot soup under the African sun!

That’s why we love this cool cucumber soup which is light and heavenly with subtle, fresh flavours. It is really quick and easy to make, and you can prepare it the day before allowing it to chill in the fridge overnight!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers halved and chopped
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup dill
  • ⅓ cup mint (save a couple of extra leaves for the garnish)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Optional extra:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper for an added kick

Kitchen equipment and appliances:

Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook briefly until tender.
  2. Add lemon juice first. A minute later, add the cucumber, broth, salt, pepper and cayenne and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook gently until the cucumbers are soft.
  3. Let the soup cool slightly before pouring it into a blender or food processor and blend.
  4. Add the avocado, yoghurt, dill and mint and blend on a low setting.
  5. Transfer the soup to the serving bowl and refrigerate.
  6. Season the chilled soup with a little more pepper and garnish with mint leaves. Serves 6 (small bowls).
Snow cones are not just for kids - serve them in a fancy tumbler and pour a nice but naughty alcohol-infused syrup on top.
Snow cones are not just for kids – serve them in a fancy tumbler and pour a nice but naughty alcohol-infused syrup on top.

Naughty snow cones

Let the kiddies enjoy a yummy, snowy treat with fruity snow cones and give the adults a special kick with a shot (or three) of something special. With a dessert maker or an ice shaver machine, you will have shaved ice in minutes. When it comes to the snow cone syrup, we suggest making your own to avoid the added sugar, preservatives and colourants in store-bought syrup.

Home-made snow cone syrup

Ingredients:

  • 450 grams strawberries (red syrup) OR
  • 3 cups kiwi, peeled and diced with ¼ cup fresh spinach leaves (for some added green)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Candy canes (optional)

For the adult version add:

  • ⅓ cup Limoncello to the strawberry syrup for a zesty sweet surprise.
  • ⅓ cup rum, mint leaves and juice of 1 lime for a kiwi mojito.

Kitchen equipment and appliances:

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to a boil on medium heat.
  2. Mash and stir the fruit with a whisk as it heats up. Once the fruit is mashed up properly, let it boil until the syrup starts to thicken. This should take 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Remove syrup from the stove and pour it through a strainer into a bowl. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Pour the syrup into a squeeze bottle and pour over the shaved ice. Pop a little candy cane into the ice and serve.

Merry Christmas and bon appétit!

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