Se7en Review: Justin Bonello Cooks For Friends… Brilliant!!!

Last week we blogged about our fabulous visit with Justin Bonello and after a whole week of feasting we are finally ready to show you our review of his latest book. At first glance you may think this is a cook book but this book, like his previous books, is far more than a cook book – it is a travel experience and a lovely nostalgic walk down the South African road of food. You will come across food you had forgotten you had eaten and you wild discover things you wished you hadn’t forgotten! This book has a lot of great commentary around the recipes… you will learn a lot about cooking real, tasty food from scratch… Fresh grown, in season and local. Watching your green footprint is ever present and yet not in an overbearing or preachy way, but rather this is what we have to eat – let’s feast on it!!! And feast we did!!!

When we review a cook book we don’t like to just read it and tell you what we read. We like to explore the book and search through it for se7en + 1 recipes and then we like to try them out. You do want to know that the recipes work, right? So armed with our new copy of Justin Bonello’s Cook Book and a pile of post it notes we went through and turned our book into something that looked like it was ready to take off… with multiple post-it-note wings!!!. Clearly he has written a book that is so beautifully presented that we feel we could try almost every single recipe. The layout and the style is so exceptional that you want to lounge around and read this cookbook all weekend and then when you are done… well you want to read it some more – just in case you missed something!!!


So I confess we made far more than our usual se7en + 1 recipes and we completely overdid – cooking in the great outdoors and plotting and planning the next days meals… Not to mention had so many friends around to share the delights, because honestly when Justin Bonello says a recipe feeds multitudes then he means it. This book is packed with recipes. They range from the super easy to the “I’m so glad I have a heap of kids to help me” recipes… If Justin Bonello says peel about ten apples for an apple crumble… get each kid to peel an apple or two and you are ready to go… This is why this book is perfect for friends… because the best meals are seriously when you have a crowd of folk talking away around the table all the way from preparing ingredients to eating the meal.


I like that he includes basic skills like how to make a sauce… how to make your butter a whole lot more interesting. And you have to love his prego roll recipe – You’ll need a passport!!! I love all the tidbits and facts, I love that he explores ingredients (and on a side-note he was curious about uses for Olive Oil… cradle cap!!) and then the recipes… Everything to love from the super healthy to the decadent desserts – heaps of recipes to try… yup Justin Bonello has produced another winner of a book!!!

So here you go: Se7en + 1 million recipes… that we tried…

  1. Stuffed Steak Fillet sealed on the Braai: Anyway, my family of meat eaters thought this was a fine idea!!!

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    I love that he has a recipe for a great peppercorn rub to go with it… and yummy steak sauce as well…

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  3. Bread Sticks and Tzaziki: I haven’t had these since I was a kid and then we didn’t have suitable sticks… in the house full of sticks used for a million sort of boyish stick weapons… no one would part with part of their collection – so we used skewers… and they turned out fine, we cracked them open to stuff them… Now my kids want to cook their daily bread over a fire!!!
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  5. Braaied Mushrooms: Because you can’t just eat meat and bread for dinner we had to have some vegetables too!!! We made stuffed mushrooms… and here is a tip if you hollow out the stem of one of the mushrooms then your mushrooms will fit together like LEGO. Immediately these were called mushroom burgers – you can see why!!!
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  7. Spinach and Feta Pie: I know, pie on a braai!!! I tell you it worked… it really worked!!! I have one kid that won’t eat meat and then I have one that won’t touch (most) vegetables… well my non-vegetable eater just devoured this!!! We kept saying: “Are you really enjoying that?” and he was saying: “Yes, this is fabulous!!!” I guess we will be making a lot more of this and I may have to stuff it with a whole lot of variations – if a young man devours his vegetables covered in pastry and cooked over a fire I’ll take it!!!
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  9. One Pan Breakfast: Not everything in the book is cooked on a fire!!! And we actually had this breakfast for a quick supper – Oh yummy!!! It is a giant omelette with heaps of wonderful goodies tossed into it!!! And he has a tip… bake it in the oven… that way it browns on top and cooks through. We don’t have a stunning Le Creuset frying pan like he does in the photograph – but my ready steady roasting pan did the trick!!!
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  11. Fritters: My family love fritters and everyone wanted to try this recipe!!! You can find the recipe online at Eat In.. I have never made fritters with cornflour and egg whites before – light and crunchy and flavorful!!! Lovely. We made corn ones for the less adventurous amongst us and then… Sweet potato and chorizo… Oh so very yummy!!! These are now a staple on our menu!!!
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    And onto the sweet stuff…

  13. Apple Crumble: If you teach your children nothing else before they leave home you have to teach them how to make an apple crumble… trust me on this it is easy and so impressive… and If you want an apple crumble to feed an army then this is the one.
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  15. Garth’s Tart… We called this mud pie: Good wholesome ingredients like cream and condensed milk!!! And any kids, no matter what age they are, will enjoy making and love eating this dessert!!!
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  17. Fruity Pancake Pile: I never ever thought we could make this – seriously!!! Everyone ticked this as a must try recipe… and I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out… Well brace yourselves!!! We made a pile of pancakes, many hands sliced strawberries, peeled apples and slivered bananas… whipped cream and added some topping delights… and stacked away and we were done – so impressive!!! We had this for dinner too!!! Sometimes a mother must!!!
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  19. Messy Chocolate and Berry Pie: Saving the best till last… With a table packed with dinner guests… a silence fell and the only word we could find to describe this dessert was “FINE”… it was fine!!! Now Justin Bonello goes on and on about keeping your friends at bay when you make this pie, and he has a good point!!! He also suggests you make double and freeze the second batch to make “Messy Chocolate Sushi” … Well I laugh… if you make double you will eat double and good luck at getting to the sushi!!!!!!
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As Justin Bonello says: “There is no such thing as a bad cook, just friends who aren’t hungry enough.” If you are looking for friends then just invite a crowned over and start cooking from this book… by the time your feast is prepared you will have made a bunch of friends!!! Seriously this book is all about good food and good friends and having fun creating it and enjoying it together.

Thanks Justin Bonello for another fabulous, fabulous cook book!!! You were so right, this book was indeed written for us!!! We totally loved every single page of it!!!

14 Replies to “Se7en Review: Justin Bonello Cooks For Friends… Brilliant!!!”

  1. OK, you so need to arrange a giveaway for this book, and only to your US readers, since it’s not available here! Sniff, sniff. Looks wonderful. I think you mentioned this before, but is a braai different from a barbeque?

  2. Oh Mamalion… I noticed that and I am so sorry but it will be coming your way, all his other books are on Amazon!!! Wish I could give one away – really do!!! Our one is a little lived in and we’ve only had it about ten days… Smothered in post it notes and lingering recipe remnants!!! I am a firm believer in a book needs to be loved and used… Meanwhile, a barbecue and a braai are pretty much the same thing, except a braai really defines South African culture… If you say braai to a South African it is so much more than cooking over a fire!!! Thanks for the great comment and hope you have a fabulous weekend!!!

  3. Wow! Just wow!

    What a wonderful life and special times you all have! 🙂 Beautiful, and mouthwatering post.


  4. Oh April, How good to hear from you!!! Who knew a book could be such a memory maker!!! We had such fun making this post, you would not believe!!! Hope you and your little one are having a happy holiday time!!! Lots of love!!!

  5. Well Hello Aunty Muffin!!! You don’t say – yummy indeed!!! This is such a fab book you would not believe!!! I am sure you want to be our friends and come over for a meal!!! So cool to know you are still out there!!! Hope you are getting some pool time in this stunning weather… Tons of lekker love from all of us!!!

  6. We so love and adore your website! Every time we visit, we are inspired to do more cooking, baking & crafting together! I’m thankful to Sonlight that we found your fabulous blog and can come and visit y’all for inspiration – often! Love these last few posts – thank you for the fantastic Hanukkah links and ideas and oh how I want this cookbook too!!! I also got a kick out of the link to your post on braai for us non South Africans! Thank you for taking the time to put these wonderful posts together! We sooooo love visiting your site!
    Sending y’all Christmas cheer – from here in the land of Scorpions – Apache Rez, Arizona

  7. Hi Karyn from the land of Scorpions, Thank you so much for your loyal reading. I am so glad that our blog is encouraging to you and hopefully we will be able to bring you lots more interesting posts in the future!!! We had a lot of fun putting the Hanukkah post together and heaps of fun with the cook book!!! We will have to look out for it on Amazon for all our overseas readers. Lots of love and Happy Christmas to you all as well… Thanks again for taking the time to comment, Hope you have a great weekend!!!

  8. Those meals look wonderful! I can’t wait for good enough weather to cook outdoors; since I’m in the midst of winter, it will be awhile. The pancake pile looks do-able indoors…

    Thanks for sharing the yumminess.

    I always find you blog so encouraging, as a wife, teacher, mother, and COOK ;).

  9. Hi Melanie, Thanks for stoping by and so glad that we encourage you!!! Oh the pancake pile is so do-able!!! The hardest part about them was keeping a stack of piles safe… my kids literally eat them as they fly out the pan!!! But a little delayed gratification was so worth it!!! Enjoy your winter weather… it has taken ages for our summer to arrive, but I so love that seasons change!!! Hope you have a great week!!!

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