‘Tis the season to be jolly and festivities began in earnest at Chez Shamwari with a lunch befitting any fat man in a red suit. The goal was to deliver a menu dotted with seasonal delights and not stick to everything traditional for this time of year; I’ve nothing against it but there’s only so much turkey one can muster after all. A balance of all things warm and comforting would be the order of the day.

20141206 Xmas lunch

Place setting

Canapés –

  • Beetroot macarons with goats’ cheese & beetroot mousse filling – a savoury macaron vibrant in colour and a winning combination of flavours. These are a real favourite.
  •  Parmesan choux with dill & basil cream cheese filling.

Savoury choux with dill & basil cream cheese filling / beetroot macaronsStarter –

  • Multi seed bread – this is such an easy bread to make but is full of crunch and flavour with the 5 different seeds: sesame, poppy, sunflower, linseed and pumpkin!

Mulit seed breadMulit seed bread

  • Butternut and apple soup – one of my absolute favourite vegetables is butternut squash. There was really only a hint of apple because I wanted to add just a little bit of sweetness to the dish. It was garnished with apple I had sliced with a mandolin and dehydrated in the oven.

Butternut & apple soup

Main –

  • Chicken stroganoff, wild rice and green salad. This is a very simple dish which belies it’s great flavour. The chicken, sourced from my butcher just round the corner, was tender and succulent; the mainstay of the flavours coming from a combination of mustards and white wine in the sauce. A vegetarian alternative was also provided of mushrooms done in a white wine and cream sauce.

Chicken stroganoff

Dessert –

  • Melting Christmas pudding, brandy sauce, Baileys ice cream, orange confit. This was inspired by a dessert I had had at Northcote last Christmas. It’s a very rich, yet utterly delightful, chocolate fondant of a pudding with crumbled up Christmas pudding oozing out of its melting centre. Much practising on perfecting the timing of the melting centre did occur (much to the delight of my tasting panel!). A minute too long and all could have disappointingly ended up as a solid centre which is definitely not what the fat man in a red suit ordered. The brandy sauce packed a punch and, in my humble opinion, probably could have tipped anyone over the legal driving limit.


I have been making my own Baileys ice cream for years and wouldn’t dream of changing to the bought stuff. No additives or other nasties, just milk, cream, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and of course the real McCoy, Baileys. There’s always a tub of this in my freezer.


Tea and coffee with petit fours –

  • Morsels of Christmas cake, mini mince pies and rum truffles (and in case you ask, yes I did make them!).

Petit fours:  xmas cake / mince pies / rum trufflesTea & CoffeeTea & Coffee

Guests were even treated to a little Christmas goody bag to take on their merry way.

Goody bags

“Same time next year?!” was the consensus; I have no doubt it’ll be here before I know it.