Former Miss South Africa Sandy de Bruin delights in creating a magical setting in which to serve a memorable festive lunch



  • 50ml olive oil
  • 1 baguette, sliced into 2cm slices
  • salt and black pepper
  • 10ml dried mixed herbs
  • 5ml Cajun spice
  • 300g beef fillet
  • 80g Roquefort cheese or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • baby salad leaves and herbs, to serve

For the caramelised onions:

  • 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 100ml red wine


1. Brush a little of the olive oil over the bread slices. Season with salt and pepper and a few of the dried herbs, if desired. Toast in the oven until golden and crispy on both sides. Set aside.
2. To make the carpaccio: mix the remaining oil, Cajun spice and mixed herbs together and rub it all over the beef fillet. Sear the meat on all sides in a hot pan for 1–2 minutes per side. Allow to cool, then wrap the fillet tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for at least  2 hours. Remove from the freezer and slice carefully into wafer-thin slices. Arrange them in a single layer and chill in the fridge until required.
3. To make the caramelised onions: place all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan and simmer over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced by half. Allow to cool.
4. To assemble the canapés: arrange a few salad leaves on each slice of toasted baguette. Top with some onions, cheese and a folded piece of carpaccio. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve accompanied by a glass of bubbly.

Cook’s note: The carpaccio and caramelised onions can be prepared the day before.

This recipe serves 8 – 10.