A Coastal Christmas

The Ballito MagazineDecember 19, 2023

The weather outside isn’t frightful and the sun is so delightful. And since we live on the coast, it’s time to host, host, host! This season, we have added a Ballito twist to the Christmas feast with the help of Phillippa & Janine Hill from Phill’s Food. Invite your family and friends to indulge in a beautiful seafood spread to celebrate a sunny, merry Christmas.

 

CRAYFISH COCKTAIL

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 crayfish tails
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 cup Bridget’s Creamy
  • Garlic Mayo (available at SPAR Tiffany’s) or any mayonnaise you prefer
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 3 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • Shredded lettuce
  • 2 avocados, cut into squares

 

METHOD:

  1. In a pot, bring the fish stock to a simmer.
  2. Cook the crayfish until they turn white. Be careful not to overcook. This usually takes about five to seven minutes.
  3. Once cooked, remove the crayfish from the stock immediately. Do not leave them in the stock, as they can continue cooking and become tough.
  4. In a mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, tomato sauce, Tabasco sauce, brandy and cream. This mixture will become your flavourful Marie Rose sauce.
  5. Allow the cooked crayfish to cool for a bit. Once cooled, chop them into bite-sized pieces.
  6. In a serving glass or on a plate, place a layer of shredded lettuce as the base and arrange the diced avocados on top.
  7. Gently mix the chopped crayfish with the prepared Marie Rose sauce. Ensure the crayfish pieces are coated with the sauce. Now, spoon the crayfish and sauce mixture over the bed of lettuce and avocados. Garnish with chopped red onion and gherkins.

 

PRAWN AND PAPAYA SALAD

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic (for 4 prawns)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chilli (for 4 prawns)
  • Large prawns (about 4 per person), cleaned, deveined and shelled
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Sliced red onion
  • Fresh sliced papaya
  • 1 cup chopped coriander, mint and parsley (combined)
  • Halved cherry tomatoes

For the Dressing

  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander for garnish

 

METHOD:

  1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan. Quickly cook the chopped garlic and chilli in the heated oil.
  2. Add the prawns to the pan and cook them until they change colour. Do this in batches if necessary, as overcrowding can lead to stewing instead of sauteing. Set the cooked prawns aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mixed lettuce, sliced red onion, and fresh mango cubes.
  4. Gently mix in the cooked and cooled prawns along with the chopped coriander, mint, and parsley.
  5. In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the chilli flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, soy sauce and honey.
  6. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Start with a portion of the dressing and add more to taste. Toss the salad to coat it evenly with the dressing. Sprinkle chopped coriander over the top for a fresh and colourful garnish.

 

CHEF’S TIP: Replace the papaya with mango for the ultimate summer salad!

 

MUSSEL POT

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg fresh or frozen musselS
  • 100g (7 tbsp) butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup Ina Paarman’s fish stock (or any fish stock)
  • Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups cream

 

METHOD:

  1. If you’re using fresh mussels, scrub them to remove any dirt or debris and pull off any beards. If you’re using frozen mussels, you can skip this step.
  2. In a large pot or pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Cook for about three to four minutes until they become soft and fragrant.
  3. Pour in the white wine and let it cook for about three minutes or until the alcohol smell has dissipated. This will help to flavour the sauce.
  4. Stir in the fish stock and the cream. Add the chopped parsley to the pot.
  5. If you’re serving the dish immediately, add the mussels to the pot. Make sure they’re well-coated with the sauce. Please note that if you’re preparing the dish in advance, you can cool the sauce down at this point and refrigerate it until you’re ready to serve. When you’re ready, reheat the sauce before adding the mussels.
  6. Cover the pot and cook the mussels just until they open. This should take about five to seven minutes. Discard any mussels that remain closed as they may be bad.
  7. When the mussels have opened, you can serve the mussel pot as is, with the flavorful sauce, alongside some crusty bread to soak up the juices.

 

WHOLE BAKED FISH 

INGREDIENTS

  • Whole fish of your choice (rock cod is a great option)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup fresh dill
  • 2 tbsp fish spice
  • 2 sliced onions
  • Aluminium foil

 

METHOD:

  1. Ensure the fish has been properly gutted and cleaned. You can ask your fishmonger to do this for you.
  2. Tear off a piece of aluminium foil large enough to accommodate the fish and wrap it securely.
  3. Lay down a bed of sliced onions, lemon rings and plenty of fresh dill on the aluminium foil.
  4. Lay the whole fish on top of the onion, lemon, and dill bed. Sprinkle fish spice over the fish. Top the fish with additional lemon slices, more fresh dill and sliced onions.
  5. Wrap the aluminium foil tightly around the fish, creating a sealed packet. This step can be done in advance, and you can store the packet in the fridge overnight, but not longer than that.
  6. Preheat your oven to 200°C. You can also cook it on a grill or in a pizza oven.
  7. Cook the fish packet for about 10 minutes for every 200 grams of fish. Check the fish occasionally. It won’t take long to cook, so keep an eye on it. As soon as the flesh turns completely white and opaque, it’s ready.
  8. Remove the fish from the heat source and carefully loosen the foil to allow the steam to escape. This will help prevent overcooking.
  9. Garnish the baked whole fish with more lemon slices and fresh herbs for a beautiful presentation. Best served with savoury rice or rustic chips.

 

CHEF’S TIP: This baked fish is delicious with Bridget’s Creamy Mayo (available at SPAR Tiffany’s) or any mayonnaise you prefer, with chopped fresh herbs.

 

MERINGUE NEST WITH WHIPPED CREAM AND FRUIT

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:

For the Meringue

  • 9 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Topping

  • 500ml (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, etc.)
  • Melted baking chocolate for drizzling

METHOD:

Make the Meringue

  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer or whisk, until stiff peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and keep beating until glossy.
  4. Gently fold in the powdered sugar, cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla extract until well combined. Be gentle to keep the air in the mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture into four equal portions.
  6. On a sheet of parchment paper, use a plate to draw four 20-centimetre circles. Flip the paper so that you won’t transfer the pencil markings to your meringue, and grease the circles with a cooking spray.
  7. Place meringue portions on circles, spreading each one to make a five-centimetre thick disk.
  8. Bake for one hour, then turn off the oven and allow to cool inside the oven. This helps them set and keeps them from cracking.

Assemble the Dessert

  1. Once completely cooled, take one meringue disk and place it on a serving platter.
  2. Whip the heavy whipping cream until it’s thick and holds its shape. You can add a little powdered sugar for sweetness if you like.
  3. Spread a generous layer of whipped cream on top of the meringue disk.
  4. Add your choice of fresh fruit on top of the whipped cream.
  5. Place another meringue disk on top of the fruit and repeat the process, until you’ve used all your meringue disks and toppings.
  6. Drizzle melted baking chocolate over the top for a delicious finishing touch.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy.

 

SPECIAL THANKS

Venue: Maroupi Wedding Venue | @maroupiweddingsandfunctions

Photographer: Paula Ann Photography | @paula_ann_photography

Chef: Phillippa & Janine Hill from Phill’s Food | @_phillsfood

Decor: Love Laugh | @lovelaughproteas