Having Christmas with friends? Here are 12 dishes to make for your festive feast

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Having Christmas with friends? Here are 12 dishes to make for your festive feast

While we would all love to be with family this festive season, that may not be possible for everyone. The pandemic has transformed how we celebrate big moments. If you’re scaling down Christmas, planning a pot luck-style meal or hosting “Friendsmas” for those who can’t be with their families this year, here’s our guide to what to cook.

We may be in level one of lockdown, but we still have to take precautions for the most vulnerable members of our community. For some, that may mean not travelling home to be with family over the festive season or continuing to isolate to keep safe. If you’re planning a small “Friendsmas” gathering for your support bubble, a whole roast turkey might not be the right way to go. Rather than take on the task of preparing an entire Christmas meal yourself, why not have a pot-luck meal? That way all your friends can share the load (and the cost) of the meal. Here are our top suggestions for a non-traditional “Friendsmas” pot-luck meal.

For a sitdown lunch:

Persian lamb shoulder

Lamb is one of the go-to Christmas roasts, but it may be a little too extravagant this year while the country is going through a major economic crisis. But if you do have your heart set on lamb, rather than going for a leg, opt for shoulder. It’s a cheaper cut, but every bit as delicious. This slow-roasted Persian lamb shoulder is fragrant, spicy and has a tomato lentil sauce that can be used in place of gravy.

Find the recipe for Persian lamb shoulder here.

Stained-glass gammon

Gammon is a Christmas staple with broad appeal and, fortunately, Woolies has an array of gammons of different sizes and price points, so you can choose one that works for you. This gorgeous gammon is on the cover of our December issue and takes just 15 minutes to prep!

Stained-glass gammon

Find the recipe for stained-glass gammon here.

Butter-basted “rotisserie” chicken

Chicken is a great budget-friendly alternative to turkey. This succulent roast chicken recipe takes just 45 minutes to make and requires 20 minutes’ resting time before serving, so you can wrap it up in foil and travel to the host’s house without compromising the roast.

Find the recipe for butter-basted “rotisserie” chicken here.

Lamb chops with rosemary and lemon

If a full-on roast is too much hassle or too expensive, have chops instead. These chops need just 35 minutes of hands-on time, so you can focus your energy on doing other things, like wrapping gifts or decorating.

Lamb chops

Find the recipe for lamb chops with rosemary-and-lemon here.

The classic potato bake

A good roast potato is always welcome at any Christmas table, but they don’t travel very well, so aren’t best suited to a pot luck. A potato bake on the other hand does travel well, and will work well with virtually any main.

Find the recipe for classic potato bake here.

Asparagus with apple matchsticks

Serve this as a side or a salad, either way it’s a great addition to a festive summer feast, and is outrageously easy to make.

Find the recipe for asparagus with apple matchsticks here.

Festive Christmas salad

A special lunch calls for a special salad, and this one is perfection. Prep the salad and dressing separately at home and dress it when you get to the host house to avoid it going soggy when you travel.

Find the recipe for festive Christmas salad here.

For a braai:

Want to have a laid-back bring-and-braai for Christmas instead? Here are some great sides options to take along with your meat.

Condensed-milk potato salad

No braai is complete without a potato salad and this proudly South African recipe will definitely be a hit.

Find the recipe for condensed-milk potato salad here.

Braaied tomato-and-bulgur wheat salad

This salad is game-changing! The peppers and tomatoes are done on the braai, so you can prep all the elements at home and put it together at the braai.

Braaied tomato salad

Find the recipe for braaied tomato-and-bulgur wheat salad here.


Take a leaf out of editor-in-chief Kate Wilson’s book and have a green sauce to complement red meat at a braai. She recommends serving chimichurri with lamb.


Find the recipe for chimichurri here.


Strawberry-and-cream pavlova

Skip the hassle of making a trifle and make this super easy strawberry-and-cream pavlova instead. It’s Abigail Donnelly’s take on an Eton mess and takes just 15 minutes to prep.

Strawberry-and-cream pavlova recipe

Find the recipe for strawberry-and-cream pavlova here.

Individual malva puddings

Since our gatherings are going to be smaller this year, why not make individual desserts? Simply follow Hannah Lewry’s recipe and ensure all your guests get their own little malva pudding.

Individual malva puddings recipe

Find the recipe for individual malva puddings here.

Annzra Denita Article by: Annzra Denita

Annzra Denita is the digital editor of TASTE. Eating good food is her absolute favourite thing and making good food is a close second.

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