With summer in full swing and heavily pregnant with her first child, professional chef, menu designer and aspiring food stylist Linda Mazibuko has used lockdown to compile her first recipe book and come up with colourful throw-it-together staples that are delicious and healthy and can be assembled in minutes. She shared a few favourites with us.
With both South African and Malagasy roots, some of Chef Mazibuko’s earliest childhood memories are of her life in Madagascar, where she spent eveninggs in the fields with her grandmother, hunting for locusts – a Malagasy delicacy!
“I’ve always been fascinated with plants, colour and nature. My mother bought me toy pots and I used to make my younger sisters play ‘restaurant’ with me so I could pretend to cook for them. I used plants and flowers from our gardens. When I was nine, my mother began to teach me how to cook. I wasn’t always confident about pursuing my passion for cooking though, so I ended up studying at WITS University after high school instead. I continued to cook at home though and my passion continued to grow until I decided to drop out of university to pursue my first love … cooking.”
Having worked in many kitchens, both locally and internationally, Chef Mazibuko still believes that home is where the heart is, and she aspires to be a part of the host of new age African chefs whose goal is to bring Africa to the world through the art of cuisine.
“Food is a beautiful thing. It brings joy to the heart. But, without people, it means nothing. I want to be the chef who creates unforgettable experiences for people by taking them on a beautiful journey through their palates. I love to use simple and classic flavours, but there is always a twist to what I do because I am a fun and adventurous person … an artist whose medium of choice is food.”
Coconut, Banana and Blueberry Ice-cream
400g blueberries (frozen)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 cans coconut cream (chilled)
4 bananas (sliced and frozen)
sweet gourmet popcorn to garnish (optional – you can make your own or use bought popcorn)
Pour blueberries and maple syrup into a small pot and allow to simmer on a low heat until the water evaporates and you get a syrup consistency. Set aside to cool completely. Put the frozen bananas into a blender and add 1/4 cup of the coconut cream, blend until it is completely smooth. Pour the remaining coconut cream into a large bowl and whisk until it reaches a soft peak, you can also use an electric mixer. Pour the banana mixture into the cream and gently fold it in then pour the blueberry compote into the mixture and swirl it around the bowl. Pour into an old ice-cream container or a regular plastic bowl and freeze for four hours.
Quick Tips: This ice-cream can also be made using chunky strawberry jam, gooseberry jam or any other jam that you like, just heat the jam so that it can become syrupy – do not add maple syrup if you are using jam as it has already been sweetened. Make sure that all of your ingredients for the ice cream are cold before throwing them together so that your ice-cream does not crystalise.
Spring Baked Aubergine
2 medium aubergines
12 cherry tomatoes
3/4 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp plain yoghurt
8 fresh mint leaves (chopped)
2 tsp lemon juice
Chaloner Olive & Chilli Marmalade (available online at chaloner.co.za or you can use your favourite savoury marmalade)
Preheat oven to 200°C, wash the aubergines then toss them into the hot oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven, allow to cool. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan until smoking hot, then toss the whole cherry tomatoes into the hot oil. Drizzle the honey into the tomatoes then add a pinch of salt and pepper. Once the tomatoes burst, set them aside to cool. Place the plain yoghurt into a small bowl, add the mint leaves, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix them all together. Slice the aubergines lengthwise in half and plate (inner flesh side up), sprinkle some salt on top of the aubergine. Using a spoon, put the yoghurt mixture on top of the aubergine, followed by the cherry tomatoes (three on each half), the olive and chilli marmalade (or your choice of savoury marmalade) and finish off by garnishing with fresh basil leaves.
Prawn and Summer Vegetable Bowl
4 queen prawns, cleaned with shell on
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 can chickpeas
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp red kidney beans
1 carrot, grated
4 tbsp sweet corn
1 handful sugar snap peas
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp honey
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
Masterstock Cape Seaweed Flakes (optional to garnish carrots, you can buy online at www.masterstock.co.za)
Cut prawns down the back to create a butterfly then add 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic onto the flesh, followed by thyme and a small pinch of salt. Set aside. Place chickpeas, avocado, remaining garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a blender and blitz together until smooth. Set aside. In a non-stick sauce pan, heat a dash olive oil and flash fry the sweet corn, followed by the red kidney beans then the sugar snap peas. Make sure that you add salt and pepper each time you flash fry the vegetables. Grab a small bowl, then add the diced onion, parsley, honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside. Heat up your non-stick pan again, drizzle with olive oil until smoking hot then fry the prawns flesh side down, keeping the butterfly shape. Allow them to fry for three minutes – do not cook fresh prawns for longer than five minutes because they will become rubbery. Assemble the bowl. Using a spoon, put the chickpea and avocado paste in the middle, then place all the other ingredients around the bowl and finally add the onion and parsley dressing around the middle of the paste.