In South Africa we celebrate a Summer Christmas and although the traditional Northern hemisphere images of snow covered trees and log fires are also found on Christmas cards here, we do not celebrate this special time of year indoors with mellow drinks and warm nuts! No, to us the festive season is one of sun and alfresco dinners, well-chilled wine and beach holidays.
If you do enjoy the romantic nuances of a white Christmas however, we would like to introduce our African-inspired Festive table with a white theme!
Use contemporary elements to create this simple and elegant Christmas setting. White placemats with white serviettes sets the tone and golden cutlery adds some sparkle. We used quirky African Nativity cut outs by Elsjedesigns.com and combined wire protea flowers with white peonies and garden roses. Hand-blown glass baubles finish this playful but elegant table.
But a table – especially a festive one! – is nothing if you don’t have some delicious food and wine on it! To go with the elegant white glow of our African festive table, Cellarmaster Eugene van Zyl suggested we open a bottle of the delightfully pink and very versatile Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan. We have just released the 2014 vintage and we use this sweet wine with desserts, in wine cocktails (keep an eye out for our delightful Candy Cane Milkshake Wine Cocktail Recipe!), as a partner to cheese boards (do try it with Gorgonzola!) and then yes, wait for it, also with some things savoury!
Chef Pieter shares his recipe for a duck or chicken liver parfait. Use the Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan to make the Muscat jelly, follow his instructions closely and then serve the parfait with a beautiful glass of this delicate salmon-coloured wine for the most talked-about starter of 2014!
Duck liver parfait with Muscat jelly
Makes 1 loaf that can serve up to 8 people as a starter.
Duck liver parfait
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
A few fresh thyme sprigs
400 g duck livers (you can also use chicken livers)
5 extra-large eggs
400 g butter, melted
Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan jelly
375 ml Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan
15 g gelatin
50 ml water, boiling
Preheat the oven to 150 °C. Line a 10 × 19 cm bread tin or 4 small 12 x 5 cm tins with plastic wrap.
Heat the wine, onion, garlic and thyme in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil and leave to reduce to a third. Remove the thyme and allow to cool slightly.
Rinse the duck livers under cold running water and remove the membranes.
In a food processor, blend the livers until smooth, add the eggs one at a time and mix after every addition.
Add the wine reduction, butter and combine thoroughly. Season with salt. Press the mixture through a sieve and pour into the prepared tins.
Cover with foil and place in a deep roasting pan half filled with hot water. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (the smaller tins will be ready within 15 to 20 minutes) or until set, but still soft. Allow to cool in the water bath and refrigerate overnight.
Line a 15 × 23 cm baking tray with plastic wrap.
Combine boiling water and gelatin and leave to stand for 2 to 4 minutes. Make sure all the granules are dissolved.
Whisk dissolved gelatine into the wine, pour into the tray and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours or until set.
Turn out, cut into little blocks and keep in the fridge until serving.
Before serving, unmold the parfait carefully and cut into 1,5 cm slices.
Sprinkle the top of each slice with castor sugar, then caramelize with a culinary torch.
Serve 2 slices per person with the Muscat jelly cubes, melba toast and a glass of 2014 Culinaria Muscat de Frontignan.
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