Olive Hamilton Russell’s sophisticated dishes are inspired by the seasonal produce she grows on her family’s wine estate. She shares a few festive recipes from her cookbook, ‘A Year on a Cape Wine Estate – Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards’ (Struik Lifestyle)



  • 1,2kg ready-made gnocchi
  • 4 Fuerte avocados, halved, peeled and stoned
  • fresh lemon juice, for drizzling
  • 125ml lemon-infused olive oil
  • 45g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 30ml freshly grated lemon zest

For the prawn and  white mussel mayonnaise:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5ml salt
  • 5ml mustard powder
  • 5ml cayenne pepper
  • 10ml Hamilton Russell Vineyards Fynbos Honey
  • 55ml fresh lemon juice
  • 125ml Hamilton Russell
  • Vineyards Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 250ml canola oil
  • 45ml tomato purée
  • 10ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 5ml brandy
  • 7 drops Tabasco or hot sauce
  • 250ml Greek-style yoghurt
  • 500g prawns, cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 24 white mussels, steamed and finely chopped


1. To make the prawn and white mussel mayonnaise: put the egg yolks, salt, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, honey and 30ml of the lemon juice into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 15 seconds.
2. Combine the two oils. With the motor running on high speed, add the oils to the egg mixture one drop at a time (this should take 12–15 minutes). The mixture should thicken with every addition of oil. If you add the oil too quickly, it will become too thin and you’ll need to start again.
3. When all the oil has been added and the mixture is thick and glossy, beat in another 15ml of the lemon juice.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, brandy, Tabasco, 10ml lemon juice and yoghurt. Stir into the mayonnaise. Add the prawns and white mussels and stir gently to combine.
5. Cook the gnocchi according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, slice the avocados thinly and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
6. Divide the gnocchi between your serving bowls. Drizzle over some lemon-infused olive oil and top with a spoonful of prawn and mussel mayonnaise and half a sliced avocado. Garnish with toasted almonds and a sprinkling of lemon zest.

Wine suggestion: This flavoursome and creamy dish works well with a fresh, structured dry Rosé from Durbanville.

Cook’s note: Lemon-infused olive oil is available from most supermarkets, but it’s easy to make your own: simply pare the skin and zest of 4 lemons and place in a 500ml bottle of fresh extra virgin olive oil and leave to infuse for 2 months. Don’t use the lemon flesh or pips as they will make the oil bitter.

This recipe serves 8 as a starter.