December can be pretty crazy, and figuring out what to cook for all the guests at your house on Christmas Day is one of the most stressful parts. I love to cook, so while I don’t want to prep something that will have me flustering around all day, I also don’t want to buy everything ready-made. That’s where the UCOOK Christmas meal delivery box comes in.
By Roxy Greeff
The increasingly popular meal delivery service has teamed up with world-renowned chef Franck Dangereux and Yuppiechef to bring you something has never been seen before in South Africa: A Christmas meal delivery box. The box will arrive on your doorstep a few days before 25th December and you’ll find it filled with a pack of recipe cards and all the ingredients needed to whip up a feast that can cater for up to 16 guests.
This means, first of all, that you won’t be standing in those long queues of last-minute December shoppers at your grocery store. I’ve spent multiple years running around from store to store because they are sold out of glace cherries everywhere, and the only gammons and ducks left couldn’t feed a table of four, nevermind my massive family; so skipping queues is the biggest winner in my book. Secondly, you know you’ll have everything you need.
You may know Franck as the previous head chef at La Colombe, and he now owns the well-known FoodBarn in Noordhoek. Drawing inspiration from his French heritage, his Christmas menu includes a smoked salmon rosti starter, up to five sides (including the best ever roast pots) and your choice of duck, fillet, chicken or pork belly. Each recipe is completed with his personal touch and detailed nuances, from the foraged pine needles in the pork belly to the pink peppercorns native to SA.
I chose the duck option so keep reading to see what I got up to while cooking, and to take a sneak peek at what you can expect to find in your very own box. There’s also information on how to get your order in.
Smoked salmon potato cakes with herbed créme and pink peppercorns
This was the first time that I had made potato cakes and I couldn’t believe how easy it was. The local pink peppercorns lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle also add a deliciously unique touch.
This is a hearty, tomatoey dish loaded with goodness and a main option that your vegetarian guests won’t be able to get enough of. I particularly loved cooking all in veggies and caramelising them separately for an intense boldness in flavour, and a sweetness to offset the acidity from the tomatoes. Serve it up with a nice big bowl of herbed rice.
TIP: I ate the leftovers piping hot on buttered toast the next day and it was amazing.
Roasted duck with orange (Canard roti à l’orange)
When you watch cooking competitions on TV, they always make a big fuss about how difficult it is to cook a duck perfectly. It wasn’t. Follow the instructions to the letter, and you’ll have a tasty bird on the table in under two hours.
Chickpea and lentil salad with mint and parsley
My family actually reached for seconds of this side. Whip it up in under 10 minutes and top it off with the most amazing cumin dressing (I’m obsessed). This is another great option for lunch the next day.
La grande salade verte (The big green salad)
Three ingredients, a dressing and you’re done. Quite a few people told me this is the best salad they’ve ever tasted. Plus, you’ll get to learn to make home-made croutons!
Asparagus with almond butter and Parmesan (Asperges verte au beurre d’amande)
Another one that comes together in minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on that asparagus as it can go soggy very quickly (and no one wants that). I ran mine through cold water immediately after blanching to prevent further cooking.
The best roasties ever
It wasn’t in the instructions, but I used the leftover fat from the duck (what I didn’t use in my gravy) and I cooked them in the same pan I used for the duck. Because what’s better than potatoes roasted in duck fat, right?
Are you sold yet?
To order your own box, all you have to do is head over to UCOOK.co.za, select how many you are cooking for and choose your protein/s. Your box will be delivered to your doorstep on 22nd December and you’ll be good to go! And if you buy selected Christmas gifts and feasting necessities from Yuppiechef, you’ll get 30% off your UCOOK Christmas box. Enjoy!