My top 12 recipes for 2023

A plate of whipped feta with roasted tomatoes and garlic and toasted ciabatta

Happy New Year to you all. 2023 seemed to whiz by in a flash and was another delicious year. As is tradition, I round up my top 12 recipes for the year. These are the ones I will make again and again, they are foolproof and delicious. It’s always quite difficult to narrow it down to 12. I selected these across the spectrum so there is a bit of everything.

If you want to check out my best recipes from previous years, which are still my favourite and delicious, you can find them here: 2022, 20212020201920182017,  20162015 and 2014.

My top 12 recipes for 2023

Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with harissa and garlic

The method I use to slowly roast a shoulder of lamb is the best I know and is very hands-off. The harissa, garlic and rosemary add a beautiful depth of flavour. This is a fabulous way to feed a crowd as the meat falls off the bone and can be used to fill pitas or top flatbread. I love to serve this tzatziki, a few salads, pita, smashed new potatoes or roast potato wedges.

A recipe for slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with harissa & garlic

Feta fried egg with chilli crips oil

This viral TikTok and Instagram recipe for eggs fried in feta with chilli crisp and eaten on a tortilla with smashed avocado is so delicious and something I could easily eat for supper too. It’s the perfect indulgent breakfast and girl dinner.

Eggs fried in chilli crisp oil on a flour tortilla with smashed avo (viral tik tok recipe)

Kale salad with Pecorino, walnuts and sultanas

This is the most delicious salad using kale I have ever encountered and could even turn a kale-hater around. The walnuts, pickled sultanas, cheese and toasted crumbs add so much flavour and texture. It’s a versatile salad that will pair with so many things and a healthyish salad for a braai.

Kale salad with Pecorino, walnuts & sultanas recipe with salad servers

French onion grilled cheese sandwich

The little bit of effort required to soften the onions for this grilled cheese is so worth it. I made this sandwich using incredible sourdough and Dalewopd Fromage Hugeonot to take it into the gourmet spectrum.

The best French onion grilled cheese sandwich in a frying pan

The best roast butternut and mascarpone pasta sauce

I add pan-fried mushrooms and crispy sage leaves to this luscious pasta sauce with roasted butternut and mascarpone. A sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds gives this a delicious crunchy texture. This is winter comfort food at its best.

Roasted butternut & mascarpone pasta sauce with mushrooms recipe with pumpkin seeds and crspy brown butter sage leaves

Greek lamb moussaka with eggplants

I know that traditionally Greek lamb mousska is made with potatoes and eggplants but I wanted to keep this dish lower in carb and lighter. I also opted to bake the eggplant slices vs frying them. I was so happy with the result and two of my Greek friends gave it a thumbs up.

A close up of a Classic Greek lamb Moussaka with eggplants recipe

Roast tomatoes with whipped feta

It was a toss-up between my roast cherries with whipped goat cheese and thyme and this roast tomato and garlic with whipped feta and fresh basil. I chose the roast tomatoes because of the yearly availability of tomatoes although this is going to work best with perfectly ripe summer tomatoes. It was also the first recipe reel to go viral on TikTok.


This‎ whipped‎ feta‎ with‎ roasted‎ tomatoes‎ and‎ garlic‎ is‎ the‎ easiest‎ and‎ most‎ delicious‎ appetizer.‎ I‎ will‎ be‎ making‎ it‎ all‎ summer‎ long.‎ The‎ whole‎ dish‎ comes‎ together‎ in‎ 30‎ minutes‎ with‎ very‎ little‎ hands-on‎ action. ⁣ ⁣Olive‎ oil‎ is‎ such‎ a‎ key‎ component‎ of‎ the‎ dish,‎ you‎ really‎ want‎ to‎ use‎ the‎ best.‎ I‎ used‎ it‎ to‎ roast‎ the‎ tomatoes‎ and‎ to‎ create‎ a‎ delicious‎ sauce‎ that‎ gets‎ drizzled‎ over‎ the‎ dip,‎ and‎ in‎ the‎ whipped‎ feta‎ itself.‎ Scoop‎ this‎ over‎ golden‎ ciabatta‎ toast‎ which‎ I‎ griddle‎ fried‎ with‎ the‎ olive‎ oil‎ until‎ super‎ crunchy. ⁣ ⁣You‎ will‎ find‎ the‎ full‎ recipe‎ on‎ my‎ website‎ and‎ linked‎ in‎ byo‎ ⁣ ⁣recipe‎ whippedfeta‎ dip‎ #tomatoes #viralvideo

♬ Everybody Wants To Rule The World X Electric Love – darcy stokes

Vietnamese rice noodle salad with chicken

This salad is on regular rotation in my house and is a good one to meal prep. The dressing is low-fat and utterly delicious. I use whatever fresh vegetables I have going.

Vietnamese rice noodle salad with grilled chicken recipe in a bowl with garnishes and nuoc cham dressing.

The perfect easy apricot torte

I loved this riff on Marrion Burro’s famous purple plum torte (which is one of my all-time favourite summer baked recipes).

The perfect easy apricot torte with whipped cream

Easy Instant Pot Crème Brûlée with passionfruit

I figured out how to perfect making Crème Brûlée in an Instant Pot. It’s so easy. This is the perfect showstopper dessert to make ahead and brûlée just before serving. I have added a spoonful of passionfruit to the bottom to give it a delicious tropical twist, but you can totally leave it out for a more classic flavour.

Easy Instant Pot Crème Brûlée with passionf ruit curd in a ramekin

Banana bread with pecans and raisins (or sultanas, or both)

I know I have already found the best ever banana bread recipe but somehow this one happened while developing it for my client Raisins of South Africa. Perhaps it’s because I’m currently obsessed with pecan nuts, but I’m kind of torn between choosing a favourite here. I added the nutty sugary topping with a hint of sea salt flakes again, making this ultra delicious.

slices of the best Banana bread with pecans and raisins on a board with butter

The best shortbread mince pie crumble cookies

I made 3 batches of these cookies over the festive season last year and everybody loved them. They will be repeated every year alone with my apple and mince pie crumble bars and easy deep-filled mince pies. I cannot get enough of homemade mince pie-related treats.

Mince pie crumble cookies (biscuits) with a dusting of icing sugar

A few other Notable mentions

Classic South African braaibroodjie jaffles

This is for when the craving for a braaibroodjie hits (and honestly that is all the time)but you don’t want to light a fire.

A board with classic South African Braaibroodjie jaffles (grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and onion)

Coffee tres leches with dalgona cream

Caffe adds a delicious depth and hint of bitterness to this tres leches cake which is amongst my favourite desserts of all time.

The best coffee tres leches cake with dalgona cream in a baking tin

Although my recipe for what I think is the best South African unbaked milk tart has been on my site for a while it’s the recipe that went viral on TikTok and Instagram last year. It brought me thousands of new followers and for that, I am truly grateful.

A slice of classic South African unbaked milk tart

I also loved the morning glory muffins I made and love to keep a stash in the freezer to quickly blitz in the microwave when the urge strikes.

I hope you all have a prosperous 2024 and thanks for visiting.


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  1. Carla Saunders says:

    Hi Sam, love your food and love your photography. Quick question, what is the name of that little machine you used to whip up the Feta ??
    Happy 2024 !!

  2. Hi Carla – its an older KitchenAid mini chopper. They have updated versions now and they are superb

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