For some, the kitchen’s been a sweet escape from the reality of lockdown … and Dianne Bibby has made sure we never run out of carefully-curated homely recipes
If Dianne Bibby’s recipes and photos make your mouth water, then just wait until you read how she speaks about food. It’s practically poetic and downright droolworthy!
‘Food is a vehicle for cultural expression,’ says the local food stylist, photographer and blogger, cookbook author and recipe developer.
‘It tells the story of origin and heritage. It merges the old with the new, evolving into food that’s exciting and fresh. Food can take you places you’ve never been to before. It’s magical.’
When many headed for the kitchen to take a sweet escape from lockdown last year, Dianne met the demand for home-cooked meal recipes not only on her carefully-curated blog, ‘Bibby’s Kitchen’ and social media pages, but with an e-book, Beautiful Home Food.
‘The e-book is about homely food, not too fancy, just a little special. The recipes are versatile and easily adapted. Plain Jane store cupboards are transformed into nourishing bowls and deceptively easy, yet deeply flavourful casseroles and soups. There are five essential chapters to see you through the day from kitchen staples, breakfast in pyjamas, sweet and savoury bread, mains and trendy desserts.’
Some of Dianne’s favourite recipes in the e-book are the broccoli tabbouleh with tahini sauce, coconut rusks, dalgona ice cream and Swedish buns.
Just as an e-book was ‘the easiest way to reach both local and international audiences’, Dianne’s first cookbook, Bibby’s Kitchen, made its way around the world. ‘It’s been so rewarding to see people cooking their way through the book.’
Even the briefest scroll through Dianne’s social media and blog reveals the meticulous attention to detail she gives to her cooking, styling, writing and photography … and it’s somewhat astonishing that these are all self-taught skills. Dianne studied fashion design and worked in the industry for 18 years. After she had her two daughters, food became her ‘new creative outlet’. In 2014, she started her blog. ‘Publishing the first blog post was immensely daunting. Seven years on, it feels like my third child.’ When it comes to creating recipes, Dianne finds she often has ‘too many ideas, too little time’. ‘I find inspiration in everyday things – food cultures, beautiful seasonal produce, an unusual ingredient and food trends.’ She’s also constantly inspired to cook with new ingredients. ‘The kitchen is a bustling place with five or six recipes going at the same time, testing and tasting. There is an energy that’s infectious.’
While Dianne finds it important to include all food cultures in her recipes, you’ll find there’s a strong Middle Eastern influence. ‘Perhaps working on a kibbutz in my twenties has something to do with it. I love the uninhibited use of fresh ingredients and spices used in Middle Eastern food. It’s vibrant, colourful and very textural.’
Details: Find Dianne’s e-book on her blog, bibbyskitchenat36.com for R200, and be sure to follow @bibbyskitchen on Instagram.
DIANNE RECOMMENDS THESE TOP 10 STAPLES FOR YOUR PANTRY
- Tahini – for everything from hummus, salad dressings, bliss balls, cookies and a honey tahini drizzle for the best banana bread
- Homemade basil pesto
- Spice rubs
- Harissa paste – a flavourful workhorse that can transform even the blandest of dishes into something exotically good
- Italian tomatoes
- Peppery green olive oil
- Maldon sea salt
- Wild rice
- Nuts and seeds
Plus, a household essential? Dark chocolate!
DI’S DALGONA AND HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE SWIRL ICE CREAM
Ethereally light and voluptuously seductive, like a billowy cream-less coffee mousse, if you will.
Trendy dalgona coffee has stood in the gap for stay-home coffee aficionados. It pairs effortlessly with chocolate and hazelnuts in this no-churn ice-cream recipe.
What you’ll need:
Dalgona coffee froth: 30ml (2 Tbsp) instant coffee granules; 30ml (2 Tbsp) granulated sugar; 30ml (2 Tbsp) cold water
Chocolate ganache: 100g dark chocolate (50 per cent or 70 per cent), roughly chopped; 100ml full-cream milk
Ice cream: 300g condensed milk, chilled; 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract; 500ml (2 cups) fresh cream; 50g hazelnuts, toasted and
For the dalgona froth, place all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until pale and mousse-like.
To make the ganache, melt the chocolate and milk together. Whisk until smooth and glossy.
For the ice cream, place the condensed milk, vanilla and cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the balloon whisk attachment, whisk slowly to incorporate, increasing the speed once the cream has thickened slightly. Beat until pale and fluffy. Add the dalgona froth and mix on a low speed to incorporate.
Fold through most of the hazelnuts, reserving a handful for finishing. Transfer the ice cream to a suitable container. Dollop over the ganache and swirl through. Finish with the remaining hazelnuts.
Cover and freeze overnight.
Set on the counter for several minutes to soften before serving.
MOROCCAN BEEF AND BEAN CASSEROLE WITH WALNUT SALSA
Casseroles epitomise relaxed, easy cooking. This recipe pays homage to ground spices and pantry cupboard basics. As far as meat goes, use what’s available or affordable. That said, shin is Di’s preferred cut for slow cooking. Slightly marbled with excellent flavour.
What you’ll need:
Olive oil for cooking; 1.2kgs deboned shin, excess fat removed and cut into large cubes; 10ml (2 tsp) ground coriander; 2 red onions, finely diced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 1 tsp turmeric; 10ml (2 teaspoons) smoked paprika; 1½ tsp ground ginger; 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander; 10ml (2 tsp) honey; 45ml (3 Tbsp) tomato paste; 400g tinned chopped tomatoes; 750ml weak beef stock; 2 X 400g tinned butter beans, rinsed and drained; 5 Medjool dates, pitted and halved; salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a casserole or heavy-based pan. Season the meat with coriander, salt and black pepper. Working in batches, brown the meat on both sides. Remove and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté the onion until softened, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir through the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all the spices, honey and tomato paste, mixing everything together to make an onion-like paste. Once fragrant, add the chopped tomatoes and stock. Return the beef to the pot, along with any resting juices. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours or until the sauce is thickened and the meat is spoon-tender. Gently fold through the beans and dates and heat through.
For the walnut salsa:
Roughly chop a handful of coriander, parsley, dill and mint. Combine with 2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnuts, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon finely diced preserved lemon, 1 teaspoon honey, salt and black pepper.