Put a twist to your dishes
Nomkhosi Miya looks at new ways to prepare food for stokvels
MICROWAVE meals and takeaways have become the alternative because of our busy lifestyle. However, this popular trend doesn’t guarantee healthy eating.
Catering & Events Management owner, Thabile Zikalala, gives stokvels tips on putting a spin on their dishes and preparing food in a modern way.
She says that freshly prepared food is healthy compared to the food from restaurants or fastfood outlets.
PREPARING YOUR STARTERS
Thabile says stokvel ladies should bear in mind that starters should be very light, colourful and inviting.
Starters are served in small portions and are prepared to keep guests busy before the main meal.
“Many people go for platters as starter these days. When serving your platters, keep in mind that some people may be allergic to fish or pork. Therefore, think of other options like chicken, lamb or beef,” she advises.
“When serving your starters, make sure that you serve them in a way that is appetising. Place your ribs, sausages, drumsticks and a variety of samoosas in an orderly manner on a big plate covered in foil. Sprinkle herbs or garnish for that enticing smell. You can also add pieces of lemon for good presentation.
Make sure that you allow your guests time to enjoy their starters while slowly filling up the plates.”
Thabile says ingredients to make starters can be found in big supermarkets. She urges stokvel members to buy original brands for good results.
“For your drinks, serve guests fruit juice, ice tea and water. As a host,
it’s important to accommodate everybody’s preferences. However, you can limit the amount of fizzy drinks. Buy your drinks from big retail shops, which sell in bulk and at a cheaper rate,” advises Thabile.
SERVING YOUR MAIN COURSE
Thabile says it’s time for passionate cooks to do away with the old method of preparing dishes. She urges stokvels to try new things.
“If you are going for a chicken curry and rice or lamb curry and rice, spice things up for your guests. Make flavoured rice, which may include fried mushrooms, onions and turmeric or mixed veggies.”
She adds that when cooking your lamb stew or chicken stew, make sure that your spices are minimal and that your stove is set to the right temperature to avoid overcooking it. Make sure to cook your beef chunks in batches and give the meat enough time to cook.
She says,“you can add fresh curry to your stew as it doesn’t have a strong aroma.”
Thabile advises that using fresh ingredients will ensure that your food remains fresh for longer. She adds that curry leaves can be frozen and kept in a container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Thabile says when preparing food for your guests, it’s also important to know the number of guests you are having to avoid food shortage. You can allow your guests to dish up for themselves. If you fear that your food may run out before everyone has eaten, your guests can tell your what they prefer and you can dish up for them to ensure that the food covers everyone.
HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS SALADS
Thabile says there are salads that will forever stay with us but cooks need to be creative and have fun when preparing salads.
She recommends green salad as one of the salads you can serve with your meals as it is not only healthy but delicious too.
“Prepare your green salad a few hours before the actual event to serve it fresh to your guests. Add red and yellow pepper to give your green salad colour,” she says. “For a second option, stokvel ladies can serve beetroot cut into cubes and dressed with a bit of chutney.
If you don’t have chutney, you can mix your beetroot with onions chopped into small pieces and vinegar.
Stokvel ladies can also find a variety of veggies from the food markets at an affordable price.”
A YUMMY DESSERT
Thabile says when preparing your dessert, presentation is key. She says if your dessert looks good, your guests will go for it even if they may be full from having their main course.
She recommends the dessert instead of serving the usual jelly and custard dessert.
“For a biscuit dessert, you would need a packet of biscuits and 500ml of amasi, 250 whip cream, 125g of instant custard powder and 45ml of condensed milk.
“For a beautiful display, make this dessert in a clear glass bowl. Mix all the ingredients together and pour over a layer of crushed biscuits. Make another layer. Do this until all the ingredients have been used. Crush one or two biscuits for garnishing. Refrigerate until set and serve,” Thabile advises.
She adds that you can serve this dessert in transparent dessert bowls or wine glasses. This dessert will be an end to a perfect meal for your stokvel guests.
Cooks need to be creative and have fun when preparing meals