Recipes

Fish head soup with fennel

With a power failure without end at my sister-in-law’s Drakensberg timeshare, we had to take a meal with us from Durban that could be easily reheated over a camping stove. The answer, which was a long time coming, was fish head soup. And the result was truly a moveable feast.

Hungarian goulash

I was sitting around with my food focus group wondering what to do next. I decided I want something familiar, yet unfamiliar, a meal that’s easy to cook, made with easy-to-get ingredients that pushes the envelope a bit. And here it is: Hungarian goulash.

Calabash & chickpea curry

This chunky, flavoursome curry will seriously dent the prejudices of those who believe a meal without meat is not a meal at all, and will be a marvellous addition to your repertoire.

Sweet and spicy

This enticing combination of tastes and textures comes from North Africa. The mix of honey, saffron and nuts is common in cooking from Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, and will ensure that this splendid meal becomes a regular item on your family menu.

Chicken souvlakia

Tasty fragments of mixed foods cooked on a stick? This Greek influenced classic probably harks back to the earliest days of cooking over a fire. What could make more sense than threading food on a twig and holding it over the flames? While traditionally, souvlakia were made with lamb or kid, this chicken version gives the national bird of Africa yet another chance to shine.

Stifado: a greek-influenced beef casserole

There’s an understandable tradition to limit casseroles to cheaper cuts of meat. After all, that’s what slow cooking does best. But sometimes a casserole demands something more exciting than shin. My butcher provides something called ‘bucket meat’ which in his case refers to offcuts of beef fillet. And that’s what is used in this tender recipe.

Fresh from the local ‘ocean’

What better way to fight wintery weather? Here’s a hot fisherman’s pie, easy to make and even easier to eat. And, all three types of seafood were caught in the freezer of my local supermarket.

Asian inspiration

Here’s another venture in skottel or wok cooking. A stir-fry is always a welcome addition to the family menu. All you need is high heat and an ability to estimate time by the second.

The inside story: Liver, bacon and caramelised onions

This began with an idea. “How nice it would be,” I told the family, “to enjoy some delicious lamb sweetbreads.” Once I had told the youngsters what sweetbreads were, the enthusiasm waned a little. But mine remained at a high simmer. My butcher shook his head. No sweatbreads in his shop. Perhaps a kilogram or two of beef lips on special? A plateful of smiles. Perhaps not. My wife who is not a Boer, made a plan anyway. And this is what we cooked.

Ultra slow pork roast

Slow cooking produces a very different set of tastes and textures. This outstanding pork recipe brings a valuable new skill into the repertoire of the beginner cook with a meal awash with fragrance and tenderness.

Lemony soft-centred biscuits

Soft-centred with a crisp edge, these lemon zest accented biscuits don’t hang around long enough to get stale. Not only quick to bake, they also add their own special magic to the morning coffee break.

Meanwhile, back in Vietnam

Here’s a Vietnamese-influenced chicken noodle soup with pork belly, prawns and truly marvellous Asian herbs that’s easy to make.

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