Exclusive Books is keeping the spirit of home alive, only now, they are taking it to the kitchen. So you can now celebrate the taste of home with their Tasty Reads – Mzansi Made selection. Get your tastebuds tingling because we’re sharing three cookbooks with recipes from this selection you can try at home.
Welcome to My Table by Siba Mtongana
For busy professionals, married or single parents, or young people who want to glam up their meals, but don’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen, this is the book for them. Although Welcome to My Table by Siba Mtongana was previously self-published in 2015, it had a relatively limited distribution presence. Now updated and published by Penguin Random House, it is sure to find a wider, appreciative readership, looking for new inspiration in the kitchen as they settle into a new mindset of making great food themselves, rather than relying only on eating out for that pleasure.
Lamb neck potjie
My grandparents had a small livestock farm and large gardens, where they grew their own veggies. For them cooking outside on a wood fire was the norm. A Potjie (heavy three-legged cast-iron pot) would be used for cooking food, making traditional bread – idombolo or steamed bread as we call it – and sometimes just for boiling large quantities of water. It fascinated me that it was the women who gathered the wood, carried it on their heads in a bundle and lit the fire.
You’ll need: 60ml plain flour; 10ml ground cumin; 10ml smoked paprika; 10ml ground coriander; 10ml garlic and rosemary dry seasoning mix; 600g lamb neck chops; 30ml canola oil; 2 onions, halved and sliced; 2 celery sticks, sliced; 4 cloves garlic, chopped; 1 large green pepper, cored and diced; 15ml tomato paste; 400g canned tomatoes, chopped; 800ml chicken stock; salt and pepper; 6 baby potatoes, halved; 8 whole baby carrots, washed; 6–8 small tomatoes on the vine; 5 small pickling onions; crusty bread, to serve; fresh parsley, to garnish
In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, garlic and rosemary seasoning. Roll the lamb neck in the flour and spices to coat, then set aside.
In a medium-sized potjie over hot coals, heat the canola oil, add the lamb and brown it for 4 minutes. Add the onions, celery, half the garlic and green pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the remaining seasoned flour from coating the meat and cook for a minute to make a roux-like mixture. Stir in the tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Pour in the stock and season with salt and pepper. Stir again to integrate the ingredients.
Simmer for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring every 20–30 minutes, adding water if needed, until the meat is tender. Throughout the cooking time check that the coals aren’t too hot. If they are, separate them to reduce the heat.
Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for a further 15 minutes until the veggies are cooked but still firm. Add the tomatoes, pickling onions and remaining garlic and cook until done. Serve with crusty bread.
Siba’s tip …
Traditionally, potjiekos (potjie food) is cooked in a three-legged, castiron pot over coals outdoors and it’s this way of cooking that gives the dish its particular flavour. If you don’t have a potjie, you can use a flat Dutch pot, either on the coals or the stove. If you don’t have either of these, then use a heavy-based pot on the stove to make a lamb neck stew rather than a lamb neck potjie.
Heal – Begin with Food by Melissa Delport
Cooking has always been at the heart of Melissa Delport’s home, but it wasn’t until she became interested in nutrition that she recognized the connection between what we eat and the state of our health. Melissa sets out to show how following a healthy and balanced diet can have positive benefits for our bodies and our wellbeing. Having a happy digestive system can result in a calmer state of mind, and a greater ability to manage stress. In Heal she presents recipes for healthy and balanced eating, as well as nutritional tips and guidance.
Butternut chicken subs
You’ll need: 2 whole butternuts, halved lengthways and seeds removed; Olive oil; Salt and pepper; 1 cup shredded leftover cooked chicken; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1 tablespoon coconut oil; 1/ 2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted; ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish; ½ cup grated hard cheese (e.g. organic or grass-fed cheddar, parmesan); 1 teaspoon ground paprika
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Rub the butternuts with olive oil and season the flesh with salt and pepper.
Place the butternuts skin side down on a baking tray and bake for 30–45 minutes, until a fork can easily be inserted.
Leave them to cool long enough so that they can be handled. Using a spoon, scrape out the flesh into a bowl, making sure to keep the butternut skins intact for use later.
Add the shredded cooked chicken, cinnamon, coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, more salt and pepper and the basil to the bowl of butternut and mix everything together until well combined.
Using a spoon, scoop the butternut and chicken mixture back into the butternut skins. Sprinkle over the grated cheese evenly and sprinkle over some paprika.
Increase the oven temperature to 200°C. Bake the filled butternuts until the cheese has melted and parts of the butternut start to crisp up. Garnish with extra basil before serving.
Temptations by Prim Reddy & Niranj Pather
Prim Reddy and Niranj Pather are South Africans of Indian origin who embrace the diverse culinary offering of cosmopolitan South Africa. Temptations is a reflection of their philosophy, a cookbook encompassing various cultures and featuring heritage recipes passed down through generations, as well as dishes experienced on their travels. To these, they have added their own flair and the resulting flavours are incredible. The array of recipes will transport you from local Indian cuisine and exotic offerings from the sub-continent, through local braaivleis (barbecue) and salads, to Italian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese and African flavours. Every recipe has a story. Best of all, these are meals that are quick and easy but that will make a home chef feel like a million bucks. They exude laughter and happiness, sharing and celebration. Niranj and Prim’s motto is that food isn’t just about sustenance; it’s about the experience, irrespective of how simple the offering may be.
I call myself a foodie, which means I understand flavour and love good food. I search for great cuisine wherever I go. So far, I haven’t found a chicken tandoori to rival this one. You can make it in the oven or on the braai. It’s important to score the chicken quite deep to ensure that the marinade is completely absorbed. The yoghurt and lemon juice in the marinade tenderise the chicken, so it’s best to allow it to marinate for a few hours before cooking.
You’ll need: 4 skinless chicken pieces (drumsticks and thighs, or breasts); 250g double cream Bulgarian yoghurt; 1/4 tsp garam masala; 1/4 tsp ground coriander; 1/4 tsp ground cumin; 1/4 cup lemon juice; 1 tsp salt; 2 Tbsp egg-yellow food colouring fresh coriander for garnishing
Using a sharp knife, make incisions in the chicken pieces right to the bone. For thighs and drumsticks, a few incisions will suffice, but because the meat of the breast is much thicker, the incisions will have to crisscross to ensure the marinade penetrates evenly.
Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl to make a marinade. Add the chicken pieces and rub with the marinade, coating them well.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the chicken to marinate in the fridge for a few hours.
You can either grill the chicken in the oven or on the braai. Either way, it will be delicious.
Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with cucumber and spring onion ribbons, raita and naan.
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