Making Christmas Memories and a Trifle Recipe….

Back when I was a kid, before my mom had her own house, we stayed at the house her mom left for all her kids and even her siblings’ kids.

It was a strong mud house and I am told it stood the test of the 1972 hailstorms that brought down many of the houses in the neighbourhood.  Yeah a mud house, but my mom and her family loved it to bits, they made sure it was in its best at all times, more especially during the festive season.  My sisters and I would help my mom go dig up some soil and collect cow dung in order to make mud for plastering the house (ukutyabeka), then paint the front side thereafter.  She would clean windows, ensure the mud stoop was reconstructed and in tip top shape.  We would help with pushing the wheelbarrow, as she had to get water from a far away tap….This would just be preparation for the big day, Christmas Day.  Other houses did the same thing and you would see furniture shops delivering new lounge suites, fridges, dining room suits, the works…. You would see some people polishing their red stoeps!

All relatives working in the city would come back and rejoice with the rest of the families.  Some families would slaughter and have drinks.  Generally Christmas time was and still is a time for family love, togetherness and feasting.

During Christmas day, we would wear new clothes, for most people Christmas time was the only time to get new clothes.  My sisters (twins) would dress up in matching clothes and I would wear the same outfit in a different colour.  I swear we looked like Destiny’s Child lol!  We would then go to neighbour’s and relative’s houses to beg for Christmas gifts (sweets). I still don’t know why we did that but then it was customary for all children in the village to do that.  I think our parents just wanted us to show off our brand new clothes hehe!  We had such a great time!  We would have rice, meat, salads and dessert. Except for a very few special Sundays, this was almost the only time we got to have custard, jelly and pudding.  Trust me when I say in those days these three items were an absolute treat!

Fast tracking to the present, my sisters and I are cooking up a storm.  I’ve assigned myself to making desserts and drinks. My family takes Christmas day easy, we are just grateful for each other’s company.  Later on we’ll go and join other locals at Bonkolo dam and have a lekker braai there.  Many people in Queenstown hang out there on Christmas day.

So, on this day it doesn’t matter where you are or how you are celebrating Christ, what matters is being with the loved ones and celebrating the day with them.  Merry Christmas to everyone!  Eat, Drink and Be Merry!  However, let’s not forget Christmas time is for celebrating the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ, though in reality His birth date is hidden.

I made a trifle recipe to share with you, hope you get to try it some time.

Trifle Recipe

Serves: 6-8

Banana loaf

Raspberry jelly

Peach jelly

2 cans fruit cocktail, syrup drained

Thick custard

Lemon meringue instant pudding

Whipped cream (optional)

Chocolate of your choice for garnishing, grated


  1. Prepare the jelly, custard and instant according to instructions on the pack.
  2. Place banana loaf on the surface of the dish and layer the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Enjoy!

Thuli’s Tips

  1. You can use sponge cake or swiss roll instead of banana loaf.
  2. Fresh fruit can also be used to replace canned fruit cocktail.
  3. Don’t let your jellies set too much, rather set them half way.


About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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