Christmas is a time of giving and sharing and thankfulness (and of course the birth of a rather important person). Most people celebrate with some sort of Christmas style dinner or lunch, whatever religion they belong to. Generally the meal will have some sort of meaty centre stage, roasted veggies of sorts and sauces, stuffings and puddings.
However, before the feasting begins, there are the entrees and the nibbles which come before. These, very often, are not homemade, because the cook needs to devote time to slaving over the golden turkey!
These snacky things can range from pies, pastries, cakes and tarts to nuts, cheeses, dried fruit and salty things. More often than not these little snacks are pretty filling in themselves and quite high in fat, sugar and salt.
If you want to avoid feeling bloated over the festive season (and consequently not having to make that New Year’s resolution to lose holiday season poundage) try your hand at making some of these snacks.
Switch to making your own water biscuits and avoid the over-salted and high cholesterol biscuits and pies.
Spice your own nuts to guarantee freshness and nutritional value.
And lastly learn to make Christmas caramel popcorn, with the fraction of the amount of fat found on store bought caramel corn.
Rosemary water biscuits
Makes 25 – 30 biscuits
Biscuits and cheese form a large part of my family’s take on Christmas snacks.
These biscuits are very easy to make and can be made into any shape you want.
They can be kept for two weeks in an airtight biscuit tin.
I used Rosemary in these; you can also use fresh thyme, or lavender, finely grated parmesan or mature cheddar cheese, or spices such as chilli, paprika, nutmeg etc.
- 200g cake flour
- a large pinch of baking powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 tsp dried rosemary, finely chopped.
- 50g butter, cubed
- 8T cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Cut the butter into small pieces, and rub it into the flour.
Add the finely chopped or crumbled rosemary.
Add the water, and mix to form a dough.
Roll the dough out very thinly – about 3-5mm, and cut into squares, or use a cutter for shapes.
Place the biscuits onto a tray, and bake until lightly browned – from 5 – 10 minutes depending on size.
The biscuits will harden when they cool.
Top with your choice of toppings and serve immediately.
Smoked snoek paté and rocket
Pepper ham and Ina Paarman’s peach and apricot chutney.
FOR RECIPES ON HOW TO MAKE TOASTED SPICED NUTS AND FESTIVELY SPICED CARAMEL POPCORN, TURN TO RADIANT’S NOV/DEC ISSUE ON PAGE 33.