A week of food blogging would not be complete without a cookbook review… and a South African cook book by a fabulous food blogger!!! Earlier this year I was privileged to attend the Cape Town Food Blogger’s Indaba and what an experience it was… One of the speakers was Alida Ryder who blogs at Simply Delicious… well she recently fulfilled so many bloggers’ dreams and published her first fabulous cook book!!! And I say “first” cookbook, because I hope she writes many more of them!!! South Africa so needs some great food cookbooks that use our ingredients, where the seasons aren’t in reverse… sometimes local is just so lekker…
Naturally I am a fan of anyone who has twins and the fact that she loves cooking and writing about food just adds to the appeal!!! I was lucky enough to be at her book launch in Cape Town, hosted by Penguin Books South Africa, a couple of weeks back – on a wild and wintry night… And heard how she turned her blog into a book, how she feeds her family simple fair… how her kids eat what they eat – pretty much. How she proposed, wrote and photographed the entire project in four months… FOUR months!!!
And since I didn’t have a copy of her book yet, she was kind enough to write on a serviette… I of course was armed with my camera and not a piece of paper in sight!!!
There you go… my autographed serviette, by a famous South African foodie!!! I am honoured!!!
Now before we start looking at recipes – I have to say this gal can take photographs and her food styling skill is incredible… so her book is just the most delightful wander through South African recipes. Recipes that folk are eating right now – each one beautifully presented!!! I have to say that I looked at the photographs and thought that I may have bitten off more than I could chew… literally, but just a quick read of the recipes and they are completely doable!!! I hate recipes with millions of ingredients, especially ingredients that are not at hand, but these recipes are really a collection of goodies that you would naturally have in your pantry.
Yes, her recipe book has a pantry section packed with realistic things, in fact for this review, where we made eight recipes – four sweet and four savoury, the only things we didn’t have on hand was a tub of cream and three slabs of chocolate – (Like duh!!! Who has three slabs of chocolate lying around the house… not us for sure – I blog and I eat chocolate, the two are the same!!!). So no strange and obscure ingredients and no strange and obscure recipes… just food that you and your kids would like to see on their dinner plate!!!
Now, the first thing we do when we review a cookbook is leave it in the lounge with a pile of post-it-notes and then let folk pop a note into a must try recipe. Our book was popping with post-it-notes!!!
We narrowed it down… to Se7en + 1 recipes:
- Butter Chicken Bunny Chow: Now butter chicken is a light creamy curry and it is no secret that our kids love and adore curry. And bunny chow, for our overseas readers is a truly South African event… An easy way to eat curry as a take-out food and eaten by surfers all over the country: take half a loaf of bread, or in our case we just chunked the bread up, and then taking out a section of the soft inner dough and putting the curry in there to serve. A great way to have an instant canister to hold your curry and the bread absorbs all the yummy curry juices. So curry and fresh bread – both things that we love… and one of those huge hit dinners that leaves you wondering why on earth you have never made it before. This is now a fixture on our menu!!!
- Chicken Pie: My mom-in-law comes over for dinner every Wednesday night, and we always have roast chicken – she likes it, it makes her happy and I am happy to please!!! But just this once we broke the mould and served this wonderfully satisfying dish… everybody loved it and I fear our pastry chef may have a new job one evening a week!!!
- Pork Steaks with Basalmic Onions: Everybody loved these… my only error of judgement is that a quick meal for a family of four is not quite as quick for a family of ten!!! When you have a pan that only fits four steaks and ten folk… then it can take a while to get your quick dinner done that quickly!!! But worth the wait – oh yes!!!
- Quesadillas with Cheese, Corn and Kidney Beans: My kids love Quesadillas, but normally we usually just pop cheese inside them… we loved these with beans and corns and chopped chilli. These have opened a whole new door of ideas to us, and suddenly I have a feeling we may be making extra wraps for lunch, just so that we can turn them into quesadillas.
- Peppermint Crisp Mess: This is a combination of Eton Mess and Peppermint Crisp Pie… simply divine… can you honestly beat: creme caramel, whipped cream, and meringues. The only way to create this dessert is at the table and one at a time… lots of oohing and aaahing, and then silence!!!
- Banana Caramel Treats: Well the name says it all and the empty dishes say even more… my child who will not touch bananas wolfed this down!!!
- Flourless Chocolate Cake: Had to to try this recipe… had to try it!!! A soft gooey chocolate cake… just wonderful and yes totally what I was hoping for!!!
- Millefeuille with White Chocolate Cream and Berries: Right… this looks so elaborate and it is so easy!!! Puff pastry is a winner, lets just be honest!!! Though this dessert took a fair amount of concentration to master!!! If I was looking for a dessert to impress dinner guests and I had totally run out of time – I know this never happens to other folk, but it happens to us all the time… then this is the dessert to make and to impress!!!
And the se7en + 1th recipe:
There you are se7en + 1 awesome recipes showcasing her book… and the work on her blog. Not exactly the health edition, I know… but the desserts were impressive and had to be tried… and now we can say they work!!! If you are looking for a book to see what many South Africans are cooking in the kitchens right now, with more than a touch of finesse added into it… then this is the book to read!!!
We really want to thank: Penguin Books South Africa for providing us with this book. And thank-you Alida Ryder for a fabulous cook book packed with family favourites… I knew it would be brilliant!!! We would like to declare that we were not paid to do this review and all the opinions are entirely our own!!!