I met Ilse Van Der Merwe a couple years back, at The SA Food and Wine Blogger Indaba and I was excited to see that she had bought out a cook book… And when I saw that it was a Mediterranean Cook Book, using local ingredients and adding a Cape touch to it… I was thrilled. Cape Mediterranean, the Way We Love to Eat, is work of art and a cook book that deserves to be showcased.
A Mediterranean theme for a book that takes a look at our local food, and while we have a Mediterranean climate in the Cape, our food has its own unique freshness and vibe. I love the “Local is Lekker” mood of this book, and that all the ingredients were easily available from our local market. There is a lot to love about this cook book. The recipes are very clear and easy to follow. There are not pages and pages of instructions, because let’s face it, all you really want to do is get feasting.
Which, leads to the next thing, these recipes are packed with delicious flavour and inspiration, they are also very forgiving… don’t worry about perfection, these recipes are all about enjoying the feast. Not to mention, they are not skimpy, there was plenty to feast on, every recipe was more than enough and even for a family of our size, there would be no need to double up. Absolutely lovely book, right down to the beautiful end papers.
The Cook Book Club
As soon as I saw this cookbook I knew it deserved to become the inaugural cook book for a couple of foodie friends and I to start a “cook book club.” This is how it works: We selected recipes throughout the cook book and then we each prepared our own recipe and and finally we gathered together for a feast. And was it a feast…
You can visit Ilse Van Der Merwe at her website: The Food Fox, over here. I have linked to most of the recipes that we used for our dinner in the post, but visit her website for loads of lovely recipes.
Recipes We Tried and Tested
- Roasted Garlic Butter Loaf:
- Oil Bread:
- Double Cream Tzaziki:
- Olive Tapenade with Anchovies and Capers:
- Roast Tomato Soup with Garlic and Thyme:
- Green on Green Salad: Broccolini, Avo and Asparagus with Poached Eggs and “Green Goddess” Dressing:
- Roasted Cracked Baby Potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary:
- 8-Hour Roast Pork Shoulder (with crackling) with Orange, Fennel and Paprika:
- Roast Farm Chicken with Garlic and Thyme:
- Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Passion Fruit:
This recipe is very much a case of oh my goodness, why didn’t I think of this sooner. It is so easy to grab a garlic bread and pop it in your shopping cart, but it is so much better when you make it yourself. It doesn’t have to be a hassle, you can make the filling in advance. The key is in your choice of bread. A lovely fresh ciabatta for the win.
This recipe comes through one of our time favourite chefs Frank Dangereux, we have blogged about him quite a lot in the past and our kids have been lucky enough to do some cooking with him for their French classes. Let’s talk about the bread… it has a lovely salty crunch on the outside and a soft textured middle… this would be delicious at any and every occasion… Bread is indeed life!!!
In my opinion tzaziki is should be in its very own food group, it shouts summertime and a holiday long ago in Greece!!! Cool cucumber, a double cream yogurt and a dash of mint… really what could be better!!!
The thing about an olive tapenade is that it is so easy to create… literally pop all the ingredients into a food processor and zoom. Why don’t we make it all the time!!! This is delicious and salty and perfect as a dip, perfect for crackers, perfect for toast… you can keep it in a jar in the fridge for about two weeks. Honestly though, ours never gets to a jar, it is always eaten on the day.
My family absolutely love roast tomato soup… LOVE IT. And this is the season, when you find boxes of red ripe tomatoes at the supermarket and they are perfect for a massive, “make ahead session.” All the ingredients are easily accessible, gather them together, roast your tomatoes and then with a stick blender, blend away into a smooth soup for those who like it smooth or leave it chunky for those who like it chunky. This soup is perfect any time, any place.
I was drawn to this salad because it is just beautiful. Turns out this salad is an absolutely perfect meal in and of itself. Really a spectacular salad, absolutely packed with layers of beautiful greens… and then there is the dressing. The dressing is absolutley out of this world spectacular, and totally worth buying the book for. I am not kidding, the dressing is really good and should be on stand by in your fridge… ready to eat on any salad, anytime and anywhere.
There are naturally, loads of potato and pasta dishes in this book… loads of rich and creamy looking meals that are packed with fresh vegetables, we chose the crispy roast potatoes to go with the roast main dishes that we had selected.
When I see a recipe that has eight hours in the title, I literally want to crawl into a corner and hide, and this is why I have friends… because one of them leapt for joy at the opportunity. And was it an opportunity. This recipe comes with the best ever directions for the most perfect crackling, absolutely stunning… if nothing else I have learnt how to make brilliant crackling, which my family considers to be a life-skill.
My husband wooed me on roast chicken, I think it is my favourite meal. This recipe is really easy and and is just spectacular then you are done, lovely crispy skin, tender inside. I had to smile when I read at the end of the recipe, best served with the Roasted Cracked Baby Potatoes and Green on Green Salad. Clearly we have very good taste, because that’s exactly what we did.
The book ends with a handful of the most beautiful desserts and preserves… making loads of use of fresh and seasonal fruits. I chose to make the Pavlova, because it always looks so impressive and yet
All in all, a lovely book. The perfect recipe collection for a Cook Book Club evening and dinner with a couple of friends. The kind of recipe book that will leave you thinking, I need to try that recipe, and that recipe as well… and the splash of Cape Mediterranean style just makes it absolutely fantastic and perfectly giftable.
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We were given this book for review purposes by Penguin Random House and Struik Lifestyle South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.