Festive food made easy

Festive food made easy
Festive food made easy

First Group Chef offers her top three-course recipes for the Festive Season!

For most South African hosts and hostesses, the festive season is synonymous with spending hours in the kitchen slaving away at the hot stove – as if the summer heat isn’t enough – only for friends and family to gobble the royal feast down in ten minutes!

Chef Samantha Stone, qualified chef and Group F&B Development Manager for First Group Hotels and Resorts says that she believes that hosts and hostesses need to be able to enjoy the festivities as much as their guests, “I, for one, have no desire to spend every minute in the kitchen checking that I haven’t burnt something to a crisp. Sipping summer cocktails sounds a lot more enticing! After all, we all deserve a break to make lasting, magical memories with our friends and families, right?”

Chef Stone shares her go-to, easy-peasy three-course Christmas recipes that will have you throwing off your apron and spending less time in the kitchen this Festive season:


Peach, Nut Brittle and Prosciutto Salad

The perfect summer, guilt-free salad packed with flavour and guaranteed to impress your guests

Serves 4



300g of your favourite salad pack mix (I love the Italian mix)

2 peaches – pitted and sliced into wedges *Optional – sear on a dry hot griddle pan until slightly charred

+- 100g soft cheese, cut into bite-size pieces (brie, blue cheese or camembert)

70g Prosciutto – roughly torn to resemble slithers

50g Nut Brittle, roughly chopped (any nut brittle will do, I use Pecan Nut Brittle)


To Assemble

1. Simply start with your salad greens and layer on your peaches, prosciutto, and soft cheese and sprinkle over the roughly chopped nut brittle. It’s really that easy.

Tip – this salad can be made the day before, just leave out the nut brittle and sprinkle over when ready to serve.


Insanely easy and hassle-free glazed Gammon

Serves 6 – 8



1 medium gammon ± 1.7kg

2 dried bay leaves

½ onion

Cloves to taste


For the glaze

150g Orange Marmalade

150g dark brown sugar



1. Add the bay leaves and onion to a pot of lightly seasoned simmering water.

2. Place the gammon into the water and simmer for 1 hour, checking the water level every 20 minutes or so. Top up with boiled kettle water when needed.

3. Once the gammon is ready, set it aside and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat your oven to 1700C

5. If your gammon has the rind on, now is when you need to remove it and trim off any excess fat.

6. Score the gammon and pierce with whole cloves – as many as you like.

7. Place the gammon into a roasting tray lined with greaseproof paper.

8. Spoon over the marmalade and spread it over the gammon with the back of a spoon and sprinkle over the dark brown sugar.

9. Place in the oven, on the middle rack for +- 20 – 25 minutes or until the glaze and sugar have caramelised.

10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down to room temperature before carving.

Tip – This gammon is best served at room temperature. If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers, it makes the most amazing cold meat rolls for lunches the next day.

Oh-so-easy Gingerbread Christmas Trifle

In my family, we want to be traditional, but we also want our bread buttered on both sides. We want the good stuff but without all the labour that goes into it. This is how my Gingerbread Christmas Trifle was born, it’s packed with flavour and everybody, including the kids, absolutely loves it.

Makes 6 individual portions




1 tea loaf good quality Gingerbread – sliced into 1cm thick slices *Optional: Drizzle with brandy or Triple sec for a more indulgent pudding for the adults

250ml fresh whipping cream, unsweetened – whipped to a soft peak

500ml vanilla custard

Ground cinnamon – to dust over the top


To assemble

  1. Start by putting a layer of Gingerbread at the bottom of your glass and spoon over a layer of vanilla custard and then a layer of whipped cream.
  2. Amount of custard and whipped cream is entirely up to you, it all depends on how many layers you are wanting.
  3. Repeat the layering process – with the final layer being whipped cream at the top.
  4. Dust with ground cinnamon and serve.

Tip – Best made the day before. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. Dust with ground cinnamon just before serving.