Back in the day, wedding catering used to be a lot different. It was all about traditional, well-loved three-course sit-down meals, followed by a finger buffet in the evening.
But now couples are increasingly prioritizing a well-crafted food experience within their wedding budget, ensuring their guests dine on cuisine that is interesting, and above all, completely delicious.
And that is why it is a good idea to consider this year’s wedding food trends when planning the menu for your big day.
Head Chef at BON Hotel Waterfront in Richards Bay, Nonhlanhla Mabaso shares her top three recommendations for must-serve dishes at your wedding this year.
Though the concept may not be new, fusion food is still rare on occasions like weddings, especially if your family and loved ones are very traditional. I suggest adding a subtle change to a dish to bring it closer to home.
The latest favourite is amasi-marinated Cajun chicken – an African twist on the beloved American Southern-fried chicken. Traditionally marinated in buttermilk, this shakes up is sure to please guests.
You may multiply quantities according to the number of guests, and one kilogram of chicken serves eight to ten guests.
1kg chicken pieces of your choice
1tbsp Cajun spice
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
2tsp finely chopped coriander
1½ cups Amasi
1tsp chilli flakes
¼ cup lemon juice and zest
2 cups flour
Wash your chicken and leave it on the strainer for a little while to dry, or pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Mix all your spices and seasoning. Add the chopped coriander to the amasi.
Use a small portion of spices to rub your chicken pieces. The rest of the spices must be added to your flour.
Pour amasi over your chicken and leave to marinate about two hours.
Remove each piece from the marinade and dust with seasoned flour.
Transfer the chicken to a baking tray and put it in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius or deep fry the chicken, based on your preference.
Serves well with braised samp, spinach, and chakalaka.
Keeping it simple
One dish that will remain a firm favourite is the potjie. With origins dating back to the 1600s and Dutch settlers, it has remained a staple at all kinds of family gatherings and friendly celebrations. I have added a special kick to this recipe that will leave the crowd happy.
1kg cubed game (springbok or kudu)
2 cups plain yoghurt
1tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground jeera
½ tsp roasted coriander seeds
2 tbsp paprika
2tsp dried mixed herbs
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbsp bacon fat
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion
¾ cup red wine
700ml vegetable stock
50 ml (2 tots) Amarula Gold
500g root vegetables of your choice
1 bunch fresh coriander
Wash the venison and coat with yoghurt and leave in the fridge overnight.
Remove the meat from the yoghurt and rub with all the spices. Leave to stand while heating your iron-based pan.
Brown your meat and add bacon lard, bay leaves, onions, and garlic. Fry a little; then add your wine and vegetable stock.
Cook on a slow heat for about 2 hours (until soft and tender)
Add your Amarula Gold and fresh root vegetables and let it simmer for about 10-15 more minutes.
Remove from heat and add your fresh coriander.
Serves well with yellow rice and raisins.
A French twist
Directly translating to ‘burnt cream’, this French classic will likely never leave the top of people’s lists when it comes to favourite desserts. What makes crème brûlée so appealing is perhaps the way it can be enjoyed with its classic vanilla flavour, or as I prefer to make it – with a truly South African spin.
Below is the recipe for the caramelised Amarula milk tart, marrying two iconic desserts.
200g shortbread biscuits, finely crushed
3 tbsp melted butter
2 cups of milk
360g condensed milk
Eggs – 2 whole and 1 separated
1 tsp vanilla essence
75ml Amarula, add a touch of cornflour
Mix the biscuits with the melted butter and press onto the bottom of a baking tray.
In a thick-based pan, warm three-quarters of the milk with the condensed milk and cream for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl beat the eggs, remaining milk, flour, cornflour, and vanilla essence until smooth.
Mix the flour mixture with the hot milk and cook over low heat, stirring at all times until smooth and thick. Once thick remove from heat and stir in your Amarula and butter.
Pour the mixture into a biscuit-lined base and level out.
Sprinkle with cinnamon powder and refrigerate to set. Before serving, cut into small squares and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Crystalise with a pastry torch.