At one second past midnight on December 31 we start celebrating the New Year. Monday turns into Tuesday with one tick of the clock. If we are partying most of us will think, ‘Wow, it’s 2019.’ But why is the last minute of the old year the cause for so much jubilation? Is it because we have survived yet another year? Is it because we think that 2019 could be a fresh start? Or is it because we’re social animals and just love a party?
Making New Year resolutions is great at the time because one feels positively in charge of one’s aspirations. And even if they fly out the window the next day, there’s always the memory of trying.
According to American professor David Ropeik, New Year resolutions commonly include things like treating other people better, making new friends, and paying off debts. This has been documented throughout history. The Babylonians returned borrowed objects, and the Scots have been first footing wishing neighbours the best since time immemorial. Treating people well is a good way to ensure you’re treated well.
Hence, I’m intending to keep my resolution of inviting neighbours or friends for a cuppa or a wine at least once a week and serve them a little something special. It won’t be oysters but delicious wraps are always winners. Enjoy!
CURRIED POTATO SAMOSAS
Prepare ahead up until the baking stage. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
2 medium potatoes, halved and peeled
1 medium onion, diced
1/2-3/4 cup rice bran oil
1 teaspoon each: whole cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder
1 cup finely sliced cabbage, chopped
9 sheets filo pastry
1 tablespoon yoghurt
Steam the potatoes until just tender. Cool then cut into small dice.
Sauté the onion in a tablespoon of oil on low heat until softened. Add the spices and cabbage and sauté until the cabbage has wilted. Add the potatoes and yoghurt and stir well. Remove from the heat and cool.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly oil a baking tray.
Brush 1 sheet of filo with the oil. Top with two more oiled filo sheets. Cut into quarters lengthwise — each length should be about 7.5cm wide. Place a good tablespoon of the potato mixture at one end. Fold the pastry over on the diagonal to form a triangle and cover the filling. Continue folding the pastry over and over maintaining the triangle shape. Place on the baking tray.
Repeat with the remaining filo to make a total of 12 samosas. Brush with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and hot. Excellent served with yoghurt and/or a chutney. Makes 12.
GREEK BEET WRAPS
Prepare up to 8 hours in advance. Keep chilled.
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
75g feta cheese, diced
freshly ground black pepper to taste
75g piece telegraph cucumber, skin scored
8 large mint leaves
2 large Farrah’s Superbeet Wraps
3-4 tablespoons humus
Combine the tomato and feta in a bowl. Season.
Cut the cucumber into thin batons. Thinly slice the mint leaves.
Warm the wraps quickly in the microwave. Spread evenly with the hummus.
Make a row of the tomato mixture, cucumber and mint across the centre of each wrap. Fold the base over the filling and roll up firmly. Wrap each in cling wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. Trim the ends neatly then cut each in half. Cut each piece in half again on the diagonal. Makes 8.
SALMON & EGG ROLLS
These can be prepared up to 8 hours in advance, wrapped in cling film and chilled.
3 eggs, hard-boiled
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
100g sliced smoked salmon
2 x 22cm flour tortillas
Mash the eggs, mayo, seasonings and lemon juice, until smooth. Stir in the chives.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until pliable.
Spread evenly with the egg mixture. Divide the salmon into smaller pieces if required. Place evenly over the egg. Roll up firmly and wrap in cling film. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Trim the edges then cut into 3cm lengths. Makes 8.
DUCK & LETTUCE WRAPS
Cooked shredded chicken could replace the duck.
Duck: 2 small duck breasts
salt to taste
3-4 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
Wraps: 8 medium lettuce leaves
8 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Divide the breasts in two. Score the skin in a diamond pattern as you would for a ham. Sprinkle evenly all over with salt and the five-spice powder.
Heat a heavy, non-stick frying pan on medium. Place the duck breasts skin-side down in the pan and cook until the fat has rendered and the skin is golden brown, about 7 minutes.
Cook the duck in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Cover with foil and rest until almost cool. Remove the fat and shred the meat.
Spread a lettuce leaf with hoisin sauce. Place heaped tablespoons of the duck in the centre of the leaf. Top with cranberry sauce and roll up. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Makes 8.