Hands up, who loves Christmas? Hands up, who hates waiting a whole six months to put up the tree, bust/bring out some gifts and indulge in a delicious family feast? Good thing then that we have Christmas in July, a fun little tradition of celebrating the silliness of the season smack bang in the middle of the year, when all those hot meals (and festive egg favourites) actually make sense to us here in the Southern Hemisphere.
The origins of Christmas in July are disputed. But whatever its roots, the idea of a midyear festive holiday has taken hold in many countries, where it is now celebrated on 12 or 25 July.
Here in SA, we’re in the throes of winter – the ideal time to enjoy all those Christmas staples that wouldn’t normally find a place on our December holiday table. Because let’s be honest, we have inherited many global customs that are now woven into the tapestry of our Rainbow Nation but that aren’t always appropriate for our climate.
That includes festive dishes like roast turkey, beef or gammon; stuffing; beef Wellington; Yorkshire puddings; roast potatoes; rice and gravy; and Brussel sprouts, broccoli and carrots. Finished off with Christmas pud and brandy butter or custard for dessert, and a little eggnog on the side.
In many of these dishes, eggs are the star of the show. Yorkshire puddings, hot custard and eggnog are nothing without egg. That deliciously brown Wellington crust? Needs an eggwash. And the secret ingredient in the best stuffing ever…egg!
Eggs are affordable and make for the perfect Christmas Day treats for any time of the day (or year!) and for any meal. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper, dessert and even some warm drinks are all perfectly at home with eggs.
We’ve taken the best of British and the best of Mzansi and combined them into some truly colourful dishes for our Christmas in July menu.
First up is Yorkshire pudding with boerewors and tomato. This is effectively an egg and boerie traybake, but the base is made in the traditional Yorkshire pud way for a festive touch. Our second dish is potato and cabbage hash cakes with fried egg which, much like the customary Boxing Day bubble and squeak dishes, can be made with leftover vegetables.
If you’re home for the holidays, surprise the kids with a Christmas in July spread. Don’t forget to add all the trimmings (and affordable eggs!).
EGG & BOEREWORS TRAYBAKE
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
For the batter
- 140g plain flour
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 200ml full cream milk
- Salt & pepper, to taste
For the filling
- 6 thin boerewors sausages
- 15-30ml (1-2 tbsp) olive oil for drizzling
- 200g colourful cocktail tomatoes or cherry tomatoes on the vine
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 200g baby button mushrooms
- 2 fresh rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
- 2-4 eggs
- 100g Feta cheese crumbled
- 15g flat leaf parsley, chopped
Pesto to garnish (optional)
- Start by making the batter, whisk the flour and 4 beaten eggs in a bowl until smooth. Gradually add the milk, whisking until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Place the sausages in a deep roasting pan, drizzle over some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes to colour lightly. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms to the pan, sprinkle over the chopped rosemary and season again to taste.
- Increase the oven to 220°C. Return the pan to the oven for 10 minutes, remove and carefully pour in the batter. Take care as the fat could splatter. Put the pan straight back into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the batter is puffed up and golden brown.
- Crack the remaining eggs into low spots in the Yorkshire pudding and return the pan to the oven for 6-8 minutes or until the egg whites are set and the yolks still runny. Remove and sprinkle over the crumbled feta and garnish with flat leaf parsley. Drizzle over the pesto and serve immediately while hot.