Dec 2011

Festive feast on a budget

Written by Samona Murugan

Advice and Events

Chef Danie du ToitThe festive season is a time when families and friends get together  to celebrate the holidays. One of the traditions of the festive season is the much-anticipated Christmas lunch. Making a lavish meal can cost a lot of money, but chef Danie du Toit says there are many ways to make a delicious lunch on a budget.

Chef Danie is passionate about food; he has travelled to many countries and has cooked in kitchens across the world. After completing his studies at the Institute of Culinary Arts, Danie decided to start his own chef recruitment company called Dan Dee Chefs.

Cooking has always been an importnt part of his life and he says it gives him great joy to cook for other people. “That is why I started my business; to give people a chef to cook for them while they have quality time with their families, and food being the glue keeping them together.” Chef Danie shows us how to make an affordable Christmas lunch.

Ginger ale roasted chicken


1 whole chicken
1 cup of homemade ginger beer or a 200ml can of ginger ale
½ an onion, chopped
½ a lemon
1tsp dried herbs

Slice the lemon in rings and mix it with the onion and dried herbs. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the onion mixture. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and pour the ginger ale all over the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and cover with foil. Roast in the oven for 30 min at 180° C.
Remove the foil and let the chicken brown for about 10 minutes in the oven

Tip: Vegetables can be added to the roasting pan before the chicken goes into the oven. You can add any vegatables like green beans, potatoes, carrots or butternut.


Potato and coleslaw salad

4 potatoes
2 cups of chopped raw cabbage
1 cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of grated carrots
20 ml of lemon juice

Peel and boil the potatoes in a saucepan until soft. Once cooked, remove the saucepan from the stove and leave to cool down.  Mix the cabbage, carrots, mayonnaise and lemon juice together in a bowl. Cut the potato into small bite-sized cubes and mix it into the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tip: Use red cabbage and fresh chopped parsley to give the salad a colourful Christmas look.


Homemade Ginger Beer

(Prepare two days before Christmas)

1 cup sugar
1 litre of hot water
1 litre of cold water
¼ cup of chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp of cream of tartar
1 tsp of tartaric acid
10 g instant yeast
1 cup of raisins – optional

Mix everything together and leave in an open container for 12 hours at room temperature. You may then bottle it and keep it in the fridge.




Dessert: Fruit Jelly

(Start making the dessert a day before Christmas)

2 cups of seasonal fruit
(use different colours if you can)
1 pack of green jelly
1 pack of red jelly.

Mix the green jelly by following the directions on the packet. Let it cool down, pour it half way into a serving dish and add one cup of fruit before it sets. Leave overnight and follow the same procedure with the red jelly, only this time pour the cooled down red jelly on top of the set green jelly and add the rest of the fruit. Leave to set.

Custard (Optional)
4 egg yolks
100 ml sugar
500 ml milk

Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan and set aside. Mix the sugar and egg yolk together in a large bowl, and slowly add all the milk while mixing. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and stir the custard on low heat. The custard will be ready when it coats the back of a spoon and you are able to run your finger through making a line through the custard.

Tip: Add some cinnamon to the custard for a great Christmas flavour.

Christmas shopping tips:
  • Buy your meats at the beginning of December as the prices increase close to Christmas. The meat can be kept in your freezer and defrosted when you are ready to start cooking. Buying your meat early also helps avoid the busy shopping malls and supermarkets.
  • Make a list of everything that needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Make shopping lists and decide when to prepare items.
  • Always start early with food preparations for Christmas. You can start the previous day by getting all the ingredients together, preparing some of the dishes and storing them in your fridge overnight. Then start early in the morning with finishing touches to the meal. Christmas is a day to spend with your family or friends, so make sure all your cooking is done in advance to prevent you from having to spend too much time in the kitchen.
  • After a Christmas meal there are always some left-overs. Use them to make a new dish. For example, you can use the left-over veggies and meat to make a pie or a stew. In this way, you won’t waste anything.
  • When cooking, get everyone to help with something, even it’s just peeling or washing potatoes. They will enjoy making a contribution and it will bring everyone closer together. It will also take some weight off your shoulders and make cooking more fun.


Share this page