A must-have cookbook for any kitchen


From process engineer to acclaimed chef is a mind-boggling leap – but it’s one Lesego Semenya has successfully negotiated as his cookbook, Dijo – My Food, My Journey, reveals.

Semenya’s aim is to take the snobbery out of food and with simple, reliable recipes for bone broth, scones and good ol’ fish and chips, he’s spot on. He expands into making your own bread and pasta (gnocchi with Parmesan crème and wild mushrooms anyone?). By the time you reach his mouth-watering versions of springbok shank, lamb rack, quail, or bacon wrapped sole, you can’t wait to get started (and start munching!).

As for Semenya’s  Mozambican-style prawns … they’re temptation on a plate. The book’s final touch is a recipe for grown-ups – Pinotage ice cream! Who could possibly resist? Jacana, R353.

Here are some delicious recipes from Lesego Semenya’s Dijo – My Food, My Journey for you to enjoy…


(Makes 750ml)


125ml Pinotage or any other wine);  7 large egg yolks; 375ml full cream milk; 375ml double thick cream (ordinary cream will work too); 180g castor sugar; 1 vanilla pod; (optional – 1 tsp pink food colouring if you’re not happy with the colour of your ice cream)


Pour wine into egg yolks and whisk until combined. Place milk, cream and sugar in a pot over medium heat. DO NOT BOIL – you just want the sugar to melt. When melted, remove pot from heat. Cut vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out seeds and add to the hot milk/cream. Stir. Slowly pour the hot liquid into the wine/egg yolk mixture and stir until well combined. Strain through a sieve into a clean container. This is your ice cream (or custard). Place a piece of cling film right on the surface of the custard and leave to cool at room temperature.

Once cool, place in the fridge and allow to rest for a minimum of 12 hours. When rested, pour into your ice cream making machine or start the manual churning process. Once  churned sufficiently, allow ice cream to set for 6 hours in the freezer before serving.

(Note: To churn ice cream manually, remove it from the freezer and whisk it for a few seconds every 20 minutes over 3 hours, returning it to the freezer after each whisking.)

Recipe from Lesego Semenya’s Dijo – My Food, My Journey


(Serves 6)


100g strawberries, hulled and washed; 100g brown castor sugar (caramel sugar works as well); 1 litre plain Greek thick full-cream yoghurt, chilled; 100g white castor sugar; 1/4 tsp fine salt; 1 lemon (optional)


Slice strawberries and place in a pan with brown castor sugar over medium heat. Stir until sugar has completely melted and strawberries are soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Whisk yoghurt, white sugar and salt until sugar granules have dissolved. Taste and add a little lemon juice if you prefer the mixture more tart. Add strawberry mixture and stir well. Place in a container and store in fridge for at least 2 hours. If using an ice cream machine, chill it in the freezer overnight. Pour mixture into the machine and churn until scoopable. Freeze for 6 hours if you prefer a firmer texture. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour chilled mixture into a shallow container with a lid and freeze for 1 to 15 hours. Using a strong whisk, beat to break up any solid frozen pieces. Return to freezer and repeat process every 30 minutes for another hour and a half before allowing it to freeze, undisturbed for 3 hours. Remove a few minutes before serving to allow it to soften slightly.

Recipe from Lesego Semenya’s Dijo – My Food, My Journey.


(Makes 1 terrine loaf)


400g mince made of springbok fillet; 50g springbok meat, preferably from the shank, roughly chopped; 225g ox liver, trimmed, sinew removed and finely chopped; 225g streaky bacon; 150ml port; 2 Tblsps crushed coriander; 100g dried cranberries; salt and pepper; 30g butter; 1 onion, chopped; 3 garlic cloves, chopped; 2 Tblsps sage, chopped; 2 Tblsps thyme, chopped; 2 Tblsps  basil, chopped; 1/2 tsp grated mace; 1 large egg, beaten; 45ml creme fraiche; 200g pancetta slices


Mix all the meat, port, coriander, cranberries and seasoning in a bowl. Cover and leave to marinate in fridge overnight . Remove and allow to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 150°C.

Melt butter in a large pan and fry onion and garlic for 3 minutes until soft and translucent. Stir in herbs and made. Set pan aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Add onion and herb mixture to meat mixture along with egg and creme fraiche. Mix gently. Butter inside sides of a 900g loaf tin then line it with pancetta slices. They should hang over the sides of the tin. Spoon in the meat mixture and fold pancetta slices over the top of the mix. Cover with heavy-duty foil and poke a few holes in the top with a toothpick to allow steam to escape. Carefully pour in enough hot water to reach halfway up an oven tray or casserole large enough to contain the loaf tin and place the whole lot on the middle shelf of the oven. Cook for about 2 hours and leave to cool for about 30 minutes without removing foil. Weigh terrine down with two full cans of beans or a small brick tightly wrapped in foil and clingwrap. When completely cool, place terrine in fridge for about 6 hours. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving. Cut into slices and enjoy – no need to warm it up. Lovely with crusty bread and a fresh green salad.

Recipe from Lesego Semenya’s Dijo – My Food, My Journey