Carmen does it again

By admin
20 August 2010

Good food and her family is all-important to Carmen Niehaus, who has been YOU’s food editor for 22 years.

“The first thing my mom taught me as a child was how to knead. She always did her kneading in a large zinc dish on a chair. My sister and I were keen to help but we were so small - we hadn’t even started school yet - we could hardly reach.”

Carmen’s first attempt at baking was scones and to this day she enjoys nothing more than a beautiful, freshly baked scone. So it comes as no surprise a recipe for scones is one of the many included in the recently published Let’s Bake, Carmen’s 15th YOU cookery book.

“I enjoy making food that’s packed with flavour. I love experimenting with salads and vegetable dishes because I think they’re often the most undervalued. I also love any seafood dish and trying new ingredients.”

One of the best parts of her job, she says, is working with young people, be they students or assistants. “They know the latest trends and are very energetic. It gives another dimension to how I look at food.”

Carmen knows her readers, be they English, Afrikaans or Muslim, young or old, living in country towns or cities.

“South Africans love contrasts - sweet with savoury like snoek with jam. I’ve also noticed over the years that eating and cooking habits in the Western Cape differ from those in the north of the country.”

Between writing and meeting deadlines there isn’t much time for relaxing, so she values her time with her husband, Lodewyk, and their kids, HW (23) and Hanje (18).

“And weekends are for my family. You become stingy with your time when you don’t see one another that often.”

Her final advice to readers is not to strive for perfection when baking. “Things are more relaxed these days. Anything goes. Don’t worry if things don’t go exactly according to plan.”

* See the latest issue of YOU (26 August) to order your copy of Let’s Bake at a special readers’ price.

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