Recipes, from bliss to bling

2010-12-15 00:00

YOU Let’s Bake

Carmen Niehaus

ALMOST every kitchen in the country has a copy of a YOU or Huisgenoot cookbook. They’re as South African as biltong.

This, the newest instalment in the cookbook tradition spanning decades, is no disappointment.

It’s all about baking. The recipes are simple and easy to follow, and come from people all over the country.

Some are family recipes that have been passed down the generations, others are quick-cheat variations of more complicated recipes. All are delicious.

Niehaus has peppered the book with her particular brand of kitchen know-how by providing handy lists and tricks essential to aspiring bakers.

There’s a bake for every occasion in this book.


Curry Me Home Again

Yudhika Sujanani

I DON’T know how she does it, but Yudhika Sujanani is my hero. Where else can you find a woman in stilettos and bling stirring a perfect lamb rogan josh?

Aptly named the “Curry Queen of Bling” her recipes are tasty and easy to follow.

From step-by-step guides to making Indian breads like roti and puris, to decadent sweetmeat recipes — the book has something for every palate.

Written specifically for South African curry lovers, the recipes’ spices are easy to find and readily available in almost every convenience store.

A particular treat is her naan khatay (semolina biscuit) recipe which is as delicious as it is easy.


Once Upon a Chicken Pie and Other Food Tales

Johan de Villiers with Len Straw

THIS is a recipe book and a travel log with mementoes and knick knacks from the authors’ travels to exotic locations.

The pages are beautiful and each recipe was carefully photographed for the book.

Some of the food is region-specific and unusual and other meals are wholesome and familiar.

De villiers puts it best: “Some dishes have always been around, others are new and some have reappeared.”

The book stays true to its name by starting with a delightful chicken-pie story and recipe and moves on to all manner of culinary delights.

It’s the type of book you’ll need to sit down with and immerse yourself in.


Blissful Bites

Peter Veldsman

PERHAPS one of South Africa’s original foodies, Peter Veldsman, has turned his attention to the most simple type of eating: the snack.

“What are snacks? How are they handled and eaten?” the book asks as you turn to its first page. The next 160 pages then go on to explain and break down the art of the snack — and it is wonderful.

Everything is laid out: from simple pestos, olives and tomatoes to phyllo pastry and wraparound doughs.

Peter also includes handy tips as he goes along. Little notes like: “To prevent large platters of snacks from drying out, cover them with paper towels ... spray the paper with a bit of ice water to dampen.”

You’ll want to host a cocktail party after reading Blissful Bites.






YOU don’t have to visit a fancy Indian restaurant to enjoy this Kashmiri curry. In fact, my most memorable ones have been eaten at small nondescript eateries off the beaten track. This is a delicious and rich lamb curry, flavoured with traditional spices and thickened with brown onion, cashew nuts and cream. Serves four.



1,2 kg leg of lamb, shoulder or knuckles

4 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 cinnamon sticks

1 large bay leaf

1 onion, finely chopped

2 onions, finely sliced

2 tablespoons crushed ginger

1 tablespoon crushed garlic

1 ½ tablespoons red chilli powder

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon turmeric

Salt to taste

2 tomatoes, blanched

5 tablespoons cashew nuts

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup fresh cream

Fresh coriander, chopped



Skin and chop tomatoes. Fry sliced onion in a non- stick frying pan with sunflower oil. Brown the onion slices. Drain off the excess oil in a sieve. Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 10 minutes. Process the cashew nuts in a liquidiser with the browned onion slices. Trim excess fat off the lamb and cut into cubes.

Heat oil in a pot and fry the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf for a few seconds until fragrant. Add the chopped onion and fry on a medium heat until golden brown. Stir in the crushed ginger and garlic.

Mix in all the ground spices and stir for a few seconds. Add the lamb and coat in the spice paste mixture.

Add salt and continue stirring the meat to ensure the spices and lamb do not stick to the pot and burn.

When the mixture does begin to stick, add boiling water and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Add ground cashew nut and brown onion paste and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. The lamb should be tender. Pour in the cream, adjust the seasoning, and garnish with fresh coriander.


Yudhika’s tips

Do not debone the lamb. The bones add flavour to the sauce. Use almonds instead of cashew nuts if you prefer. Lamb Rogan Josh is often bright red due to colourants that are added to curries. Homemade food rarely uses food colourants to colour sauces. Pomegranate rubies may be used as an additional garnish.



CHEF Nic van Wyk of Stellenbosch made this tart especially for us to celebrate the arrival of spring.



1 recipe for sweet shortcrust pastry



250 ml caster sugar

4 extra-large eggs

250 ml cream

250 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon


2 egg whites

60 ml caster sugar.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.



Prepare the pastry and use it to line a medium-sized pie tin or five to six smaller tartlet tins. Bake blind. Reduce the oven temperature to 140 degrees Celsius.



Whisk the caster sugar, eggs, cream and lemon juice and zest together.

Pour the filling into the prepared pastry shell and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 90 degrees Celsius and continue baking until the filling has just set but is still slightly soft inside. Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to cool.



Whisk together the egg whites and caster sugar until soft peaks form and spoon or pipe on top of the tart. Bake at 200 degrees for about four minutes or until the meringue starts to brown.



Remove the tart from the oven and leave it to cool in a warm place (if it cools too rapidly the filling will crack). Dust the tart with a little caster sugar and heat with a gas flame until lightly caramelised.


Makes one medium-sized tart or five to six tartlets.



• Meringue must always be spooned onto a warm filling. If the meringue shrinks and draws too much moisture (it forms a syrupy layer between the meringue and filling) it could be that the oven temperature was too low, the meringue was spooned onto a cold filling, there was too much sugar in the meringue mixture or the sugar granules were too coarse.

• If the meringue forms golden syrupy droplets it could be that the sugar wasn’t whisked with the egg whites until dissolved, the filling was too warm when the meringue was spooned on top of it or the oven temperature was too low.



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