Archive for the ‘Cookbooks’ Category

The UK’s Food Climate Research Network claims that food production is responsible for between 20-30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The livestock sector is accountable for around half of these dishonourable discharges, so the more meat we produce and eat the bigger the damage we’ll do.

If you make just one day a week a meat-free day, you can make a big difference and help fight global warming. So why not join Good Taste in this good deed?  Each Monday we’ll share a mouth-watering vegetarian recipe that will be great for you and even better for the planet.

Our first recipe is taken from Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook: Jamie Does Spain, Italy, Sweden, Morocco, Greece and France. I attempted this Swedish Creamy Mushroom recipe over the weekend and it was a big hit. Try it on toast or bread or better yet, enjoy it over rice for a delicious meat-free stroganoff.



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I love a good book. Even better is a book that does good. On a Plate, recently launched at Myoga restaurant, is just that. All profits from the sale of the book will go to StreetSmart to fund the national roll-out campaign of this fundraising initiative that sets out to engage restaurants and diners to assist street children in South Africa to rebuild their lives. And it’s not a bad deal, as this glossy cookery book and restaurant guide features 20 of South Africa’s award-winning chefs and restaurants. I can’t wait to try out the Slow-Roasted Rib-Eye with Crayfish and Horseradish Cream. Mmmm.


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applesforjamApples for Jam is a relatively old cookbook by Tessa Kiros, but since recipes don’t have a use-by date I have been droolingly paging through for a couple of days. Once again, a beautifully laid out recipe book with personal touches and photographs throughout—I am starting to feel as though  Tessa is a close friend of mine.

Just before we left for East London, for a short family visit, I made the Pear and Berry Crumble for a couple of friends. A delicious, simple dessert. The berries gave it a slightly exotic touch … just a little bit more interesting than the usual apple crumble. I couldn’t find any good pears around, so I substituted the pears for apples.

It was my first attempt at a crumble and I was again surprised at how simple this meal was. It’s another one of those recipes I have never tried because I always feared it would be difficult.

While we were in East London I used the recipe again, with my extended family, where I made another substitute. My godchild, Cayla, is wheat intolerant so I hunted the shops for ‘all purpose’ or ‘rice’ flour. I finally found ‘gluten free’ flour in the health shop. When I got back home I hit another snag. No vanilla extract. But I found some caramel essence lurking in the back of the cupboard.


Kirsten & Cayla - my fairy godchild

I was a bit worried when I started making the crumble, because the texture wasn’t the same as with normal flour—and when I tasted the mixture, it tasted like lentils. So I just sprinkled a little more caramel essence and hoped for the best.

My plan paid off. It was delicious. Cayla didn’t end up trying any, since she had a handful of cherries and a Kit Kat before it was dessert time. But everyone else seemed to like it. So here is the recipe, with substitutions and without. Enjoy, it’s really a great winter dessert.

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ffcover1Do you sometimes think you should be eating healthier, lighter meals in summer—it all helps for the summer dresses and bikini season. Or is it that with the fantastic summer weather these kinds of meals are actually what your body is craving?

In my experience it’s the latter. Okay, maybe a little bit of both. But for me it’s the only real time I feel like eating a salad. And I even stock up the fruit bowl, which usually stands filled with bits and bobs throughout the year, instead of fruit.

So when I came across the latest cookbook by Michele Cranston, Marie Claire Fresh and Fast, I decided it was time for my first summer salad. The sunny weather helped too.

But instead of making my favourite spicy chicken salad, I was inspired to try new combinations—especially ones that included fruit in the salads.

The book started with at least 25 different salads that I wanted to make. I was on page 74 of 250 pages and already the cookbook had 25 post-its stuck to it. How could I choose?

So, I decided to try as many recipes as I could fit into one day. There’s no fun in just cooking for yourself so I invited friends around—all the recipes are for 4 anyway—and spent the whole of Saturday chopping fruit and veg. Just as the book promises, the meals were fast to cook and prepare, and the ingredients fresh.

Our day started with Fruit Salad with a couple of substitues for in-season SA fruit.

For lunch we had a Watermelon and Feta Salad, Pumpkin and Chilli Quesadillas with freshly made Lemonade and dessert—in the middle of the day—was Strawberry and Turkish Delight Sundaes.

Dinner was an Orange and Watercress Salad to start, followed by Barbecued Chicken with Cucumber and Mango Salsa served with the Spiced Aubergine and Spinach ending with a Fine Apple Tart.

The response was great.

“The quesadillas can be adapted to include many different fresh ingredients, it’s a great dish which is surprisingly filling,” said Onno.

“I don’t like salads,” said Tracey, “but these ones were particularly interesting and the combinations just right.”

“What a nice way to enjoy braaied chicken, the salsa gave it a new dimension,” said Alex.

“I no longer consider coriander the devil herb,” said Pat.

“I love aubergine, and it was nicely matched with the spinach,” said Jacqui.


Marie Claire Fresh + Fast by Michele Cranston, from R199 at good bookstores.

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The sun shone all weekend. Most of our time was spent outdoors reading, gardening and eating—from scones for breakfast outside on the bench, to a picnic dinner inspired by Bill Granger’s new cookbook, Holiday. With my deadline past and my birthday celebrations over I felt ready for some new foodie inspiration.

Looking through Holiday I found a phrase that explained exactly how I was feeling, “A holiday doesn’t need to be about going away somewhere, it can be just a state of mind…” And that’s exactly where I was, on holiday, even though it was Sunday and Monday would bring a normal, stressful workday.

Happily paging through I smiled at how he has sectioned his recipes: Outdoors, Barefoot, Harvest, Honeymoon, Fireside and Celebrate. Doesn’t that make you want to pick it up and make something tasty for a lazy day or a romantic day or a special day?

I began to plan our evening picnic in the backyard. Since we weren’t going far I was able to create a menu that could be enjoyed only a few steps away from the stove. I chose the Lamb Skewers with Mint and Garlic Yogurt, with the Patatas Bravas. So Alex fired up the Weber and, glasses of Pink Lemonade in hand, our holiday began.

The marinade was delicious and is key to a fragrant, fresh lamb skewer. I think that the lamb can even stand alone without the mint and garlic yoghurt, but you wouldn’t want to leave it out. The patatas, an obvious choice for me, were nice bite-sized, crispy pops of potato served with a tomatoey sauce. For those of you who love your boerie rolls, this Bravas Sauce will work really well instead of the traditional tomato and onion mix or dollop of All Gold.

Here’s to holidays everyday.


For these recipes, check out the recipe pages.  

Holiday, at good bookstores for R453.00

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I received the latest Tessa Kiros cookbook last week, Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found and have been dying to try it since it landed on my desk. Tessa’s cookbooks are my favourites. One of the main reasons is because of their design and layout. Her team has a way of making her books look so fantastic you just want to keep paging through them, savouring every last image and cultural snapshot. And the other reason is, of course, because of her great recipes — often with local South African touches. After much paging through and careful consideration I decided to try her Prego Roll recipe with homemade Piri Piri Sauce served with Potatoes with Olive Oil, Coarse Salt and Rosemary.

I have tried only once before, unsuccessfully, to master the art of the Prego Roll. I can never seem to get meat as tender as I would like and the sauce to a Prego is key, a generic bottle of peri peri sauce just won’t do. Chippies, in Rondebosch, is my Prego yardstick. When my husband used to live only one block away from this popular Portuguese take-away, I used to get my Prego fix quite often -– as do most Bishops’ Boys. But now that we live in Simon’s Town I need to find an alternative, and I’m afraid it’s going to have to be me.

So yesterday we invited a friend around for an extra, honest palate. (My husband tends to ooh and ahh throughout dinner, fearful of the consequences if he doesn’t like my cooking.) The process started with my local Woolies letting me down, with no bay leaves on the shelf I decided to substitute them with rosemary from my garden. I found the timing a little difficult as my steaks were done before the potatoes, but thanks to my warming drawer it wasn’t a total disaster. The steaks were very tender, marinating them in red wine seemed to have done the trick and the potatoes were a good choice for a side dish. The Tomato Piri Piri Sauce, made from scratch, was the hit of the evening and dipping the roll into the pan of sauce definitely added an extra juicy delight. I usually don’t cook with much salt, but if I learned anything about Portuguese cooking from last night’s episode it’s not to be afraid of using lots of very coarse salt.

We paired our Pregos with Warwick’s The First Lady, a red blend, which worked very well. But I think if I had made my Piri Piri sauce very hot and not the very mild version that I did, I would have chosen a Viognier or off-dry white. Very spicy food needs a lighter-style wine because the spice makes the wine taste more acidic and a heavily-wooded wine will seem more bitter and tannic.

Next time I will try it with homemade Portuguese rolls too, and a lot more Piri Piri. This recipe is destined to become a summer weekend regular in our home. 

Check out the recipe for Prego Rolls on the recipe page.


Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found, at good bookstores for R295.

Perfect for those who have travelled to Portugal, or have tasted much of the country’s food thanks to friends and family, but know little about Portuguese cooking. The book is written like a travel diary with entries and impressions of the country she and her family visited—and complemented with beautiful images of her travels and food, as always. Piri Piri plays a huge part in the recipes, as does seafood, typical of a Mediterranean country.

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