From South African kitchens

BILLY SUTER looks at two new South African recipe books published by Human and Rousseau – Home Cooking by Esther Malan and Cape, Curry and Koesisters by twins Fatima Sydow and Cadija Sydow Noordien.

NUTRITIOUS and easy to make, the 100 sweet and savoury recipes contained in Home Cooking, a new softcover book authored by Esther Malan, assistant food editor for three popular South African magazines – You, Drum and Huisgenoot – are well worth a look.

Taken from Malan’s popular Take Five food column in You and Drum magazines, the recipes are aimed at the budget-conscious, but are not boring.

Malan, who grew up on a farm outside Paarl and has been associated with magazines for seven years, says that for this, her first cookery book, she wanted to share recipes that showed how easy it is to create spectacular dishes in one’s own home.

If the book, selling for under R300, helps anyone discover (or rediscover) the joy of home cooking she has achieved her goal, writes Malan, who offers many yummy delights – from golden-brown pumpkin fritters with rosemary dukkah and scrumptious salads, pies and butter chicken, to malva pudding with a brandy sauce. Some dishes are traditional, some experimental and others a bit of both.

The cooking suggestions range from ideas for breakfast to quiches, savoury tarts and pies, while there are also suggestions for street food, healthy salads, family classics, cheeky ways with chicken, comfort food and the braai. Also here are recipes for pancakes, flapjacks and biscuits, as well as hot and cold puds.

Everything has reportedly been tested in the You test kitchen, which ensures the recipes are foolproof and will work again and again.

I particularly want to try the Coffee and Cremora Tart with Orange and the Budget Turkish Baklava, as well as the Lemon Drizzle Pudding, Guava Custard Tart and Buttermilk Jellies with Grenadilla.

I also like the sound of Cottage Pie with Pastry Crust, Masala Shank Pies, Tomato and Cheddar Quiche, Peppered Bacon and Mushroom Pies, Beetroot Tart, and Spinach and Feta Dhaltjies.

Also new on the shelves and sure to attract a lot of interest is Cape, Curry and Koesisters by twin sisters Fatima Sydow and Cadija Sydow Noordien.

Selling for about R330, their 192-page book, a large softcover, is an obvious and most welcome follow-on from their hit Afrikaans TV show, Kaap, Kerrie en Koesisters, on the VIA channel.

Fatima made her first 100-litre pot of curry at the age of 16 and has been sharing her popular recipes ever since. Even before her TV fame, she had built up a worldwide following with her Facebook page, ‘Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow’.

Gadija, known as the bredie queen and also noted for her tasty, heart-shaped romany creams, is not only a great cook but also head librarian at Seaview Primary in Mitchells Plain.

They offer some great recipes, all linked to memories of growing up. We get tales about their beloved mother, who taught them to cook; their father, who loves pumpkin bredie; and the family’s gatherings.

I particularly liked the recipes for curries: lamb, frikkadel, three-bean, chicken neck, lentil-and-beef, butter chicken and quick-and-easy-prawn among them – but the book also offers chapters on spices, herbs and seasonings; soups, light meals and snacks; rice, sambals and atchar; bredies; puddngs, and cakes, biscuits, cupcakes and loaves.

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