Preparing for number two Hacked!


Celebrating Christmas in July – just because…

Since it was July and I had a long overdue lunch I thought why not do ‘Christmas in July’.

Nothing better than that Christmas spirit and why not flog it in another month – just because. My brother celebrates this every year to great delight and enjoys a large “mulled wine” hangover afterwards so I thought why not give it a shot – not for the hangover however!

Now I have a confession. I have never done a Christmas lunch. Well maybe a dish here or chopped up some vegetables there, but not a whole Christmas lunch. So I’m not sure if I really should be taking on this…particularly just because just because! in addition I have diners that don’t eat turkey or pork…. so beef it is  – this time.

So the menu:

  • Thai style pumpkin soup with coriander pesto
  • Fillet of beef with parsley and mint salsa
  • Carrots with preserved lemons and honey
  • Good old roasted potatoes
  • Our guests are bringing flourless chocolate cake (love guests that want to bring a dish! Welcome anytime!)
  • All washed down with wine!

Now I have one more confession amidst all the fun I forgot to take photos (!!!) so yes I have taken the cheats way by sharing the photos from the cookbook – apologies they are so grainy. But overall the cookbook shot definitely looks way better than what I served up! These recipes are winners! Give them a try!

Thai style pumpkin soup with coriander pesto

Serves 6


  • 2 bunches fresh coriander, root trimmed (leave a few leaves for garnish)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp (80ml) olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp thai red curry paste
  • 1 kg pumpkin, peeled, cut into small subes
  • 2 cupes (500ml) vegetable stock
  • 400 ml canned light coconut milk
  • thinly sliced red onion and thinly sliced red chilli, to garnish


  1. To make the coriander pesto, whiz the coriander, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic in a food processor. Slowly add 3 tablespoons (60 ml) of the oil to make a sauce consistency, adding a little warm water if necessary, then season to taste
  2. Heat the remaining tablespoon (20ml) of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and stir for 1 minute. Add the ginger and curry paste and stir for 1 minute
  3. Add the pumpkin and stock, bring to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, until the pumpkin is cooked. Cool slightly, then blend until smooth. Return to the pan, add the coconut milk and season, then warm through.
  4. To serve, pour the soup into bowls and swirl in a spoonful of pesto. Garnish with the onion, chilli and reserved coriander leaves

Fillet of beef with parsley and mint salsa

Serves 8. Prep and cook time 45 minutes + standing time


  • 1.25 kg beet fillet
  • 30g butter
  • 1/2 cup (125ml brandy)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped chervil and chopped mint

Parsley and mint salsa

  • 3/4 chopped mint
  • 1/4 chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped spiced gherkins
  • 2 tablespoons baby capers, drained
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped (I decided to leave this out!)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees (180 degrees for fan forced)
  2. Trim beef and tie into a neat shape with string. Melt butter in a heavy baking pan on a high heat. Cook beef for 3 minutes on each side until browned. Add brandy and season to taste
  3. Roast beef for 25 minutes, basting frequently. Remove from oven and cool
  4. Place roast on a piece of foil. Sprinkle with combined herbs, roll to coat evenly
  5. Stand a room temperature for up to 2 hours (depending on what temp you want the beef when served) before serving sliced with parsley and mint salsa
  6. For parsley and mint salsa, place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Season to taste.

Happy cooking ! Happy Christmas (5 months early!)

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