COOKED is a warm-hearted book about foodies and food. And all funds raised from its sales are for a good cause, writes Ingrid Shevlin
As its editor admits, COOKED in South Africa is not a traditional recipe book. Instead it documents the early food memories and food journeys of a range of foodies from the Cape, KZN and Gauteng, with recipes almost a secondary objective. And, while well-established chefs have been interviewed, the stories of artisanal bakers, food truckers, pastry chefs, caterers and market stall holders are also told.
I like that as often the most interesting stories come from those a little further down in the food chain. And I like the eclectic collection recipes too, as they represent the personal favourites of each contributor. Something close to their hearts – or stomachs!
I bought the book a few months back on impulse even though it was R500. Partly because I liked the KZN contributions and the stunning photography, and partly because it’s a fund-raising project initiated by Wish Upon A Star, a charity devoted to helping disadvantaged children living with disabilities. What better cause could there be?
Inevitably, KZN has the smallest section, but what a colourful bunch of foodies they are.
There is Rabia Adam who (wo)mans a stall at the Morning Trade market and who offers a recipe for masala eggs with jeera aloo. My long-time friend Ralph Bronzin is also included. He runs a coffee shop at Station Drive and a cold press juice company. It’s his grandma’s scotch eggs recipe that he shares. And the eggs, which he sells at markets, have a devoted following.
And everyone knows Athos Euripidou, whose eatery (Fortunes) at Con Amore in Station Drive is an ode to food that is fresh, healthy, mainly veggie and inspired by his Cyprian heritage. He shares a recipe for lamb souvlaki with tzatziki (featured below). Then comes Kirti Kamal, the talented pastry chef behind Boutique Boulangerie in Glenwood. Loved the sound of her pear, almond and pistachio tart recipe.
Chef Brendon Newport (the creative foodie behind Surf Riders, The Joint and Ebb & Flo Cafe) is also interviewed. His recipe for piccalilli hot dogs is the stuff of true comfort food. He’s also shared a recipe for oven-roasted whole fish, a speciality at Surf Riders.
Steve Clements from St Clements in Musgrave Road is another familiar face to foodies. Unsurprisingly for this Asian-mad chef, his offering is Thai, namely khmer lok las, a beef stir-fry.
Then come the Delish Sisters (Kate and Rebecca Lund) who are serving some winning dishes from their al fresco-style eatery in Salt Rock. They offer two recipes: lamb shank salad with a mint-pistachio dressing and a poppy seed cake.
Finally there is catering queen Shakila Bisner who shares recipes for bhindi and butter paneer. No KZN offfering is complete without curry.
True, not the usual foodie gang, but editor Gary Cottrell’s selection is interesting.
This is a book to savour and salivate over. Not only are the stories straight from the heart, but the mouth-watering recipes reflect our wonderfully diverse and multi-cultural society.
The only irritation is the colour of the typeface, which is pale grey on a white. Jeeze, I had a problem reading it.
If you want to buy a book – and you should – click onto www.wishuponastar.co.za and order it online. It would make the perfect gift. Not too early to think of Christmas, is it? – August 2017
LAMB SOUVLAKI WITH TZATZIKI
1 leg of lamb, cubed
1 Tbsp Greek origanum
1 tsp salt
8 pita breads
1l double-thick Greek yoghurt
A pinch of dried mint
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
1 cucumber, grated and strained
A pinch of salt
2 bunches of parsley, finely chopped
2 red onions, sliced
3 whole tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
Juice from 2 lemons
A pinch of sea salt
1 Cut lamb into 5cm cubes and marinate with origanum and salt for an hour. Slide onto skewers and cook over coals.
2 To make the tzatziki, mix all ingredients in a bowl. Separately, do the same with the salad ingredients.
3 Toast pita bread over coals for one minute and add lamb, tzatziki and salad.
** Recipe taken from Cooked in South Africa. Photographs courtesy of Naashon Zalk and Cooked in South Africa.