Master class in cooking

MANISHA Naidu, well known as one of the top three finalists in season one of MasterChef South Africa, has written a book for young aspiring chefs who already have a little cooking experience.

Made by Manisha … and Me! will help children to develop their confidence to try out new dishes, explore their culinary senses and add their own unique twist to Naidu’s tried and tested recipes.

“I don’t think I need to tell you … but I do really love food,” says Naidu.

“Cooking is not only about feeding your body, it’s also a way to express creativity, a way to bring smiles to people’s faces and show your family and friends how much you love them.”

Drawing inspiration from her passion for South African food and produce, children will be whipping up traditional South African favourites like frikkadels in tomato sauce and fridge milk tart in no time.

Naidu’s 11-year-old daughter, Laila Malaika Naidu, helped with the preparation of the book.

“Her favourite dish is the shepherd’s pie that’s included in the book. She also loves seafood and has an amazingly adventurous palate.”

Parents can help their little chefs with cooking tasty, nutritious main meals, sides, snacks and desserts through the book’s 31 easy-to-follow recipes. It is illustrated with colourful photographs and includes simple step-by-step instructions, useful tips and recipe variations, trivia tidbits, jokes and rules for kitchen safety.

Naidu, who gained prominence in the country’s first major reality TV cooking challenge last year, is a soon- to-be mother of two.

MasterChef South Africa was such a success that M-Net has already started filming a second series.

Although her first cookery book is simple food aimed at families with young children, Naidu’s own tastes extend over a wider range.

“My signature and favourite dish is a rack of lamb encrusted in mint and coriander, pomegranate sauce and saffron mash, served with orange and coriander jelly and ginger crisps.”

Also, food fans may be able to learn this recipe: “I have been working on an adults book that will hopefully be picked up by a publisher once it is complete,” she said.

Pietermaritzburg- born Naidu grew up in a family of four children and discovered her creativity at an early age, later starting her career as a part-time artist, painting children’s murals for bedrooms and nursery schools, she said. She also tried her hand at landscaping and later worked at a leather manufacturing business. Naidu now works in a family-run business in partnership with her dad.

Her philosophy on food is based on local, easily accessible and affordable produce.

Naidu enjoys being surrounded by children’s enthusiasm and excitement for life, and has combined her love for food and children in creating a children’s cookbook. All of the children featured in the cookbook, including Laila, share a love for and are passionate about food and cooking.

The chef believes encouraging children to cook from a young age does not only provide a productive, yet artistic and creative outlet, but also teaches them to make responsible choices regarding food consumption.

Made by Manisha … and Me! is published by Jacklin Enterprises, retails for R149.95, and 10% of the author’s proceeds will go to the Reach for a Dream Foundation.

BUTTER BISCUITS

THIS recipe is one of 31 in Made by Manisha … and Me! a collection of child-friendly dishes ranging from starter to dessert.

INGREDIENTS:500g butter

1 cup icing sugar

4 cups flour

2 cups cornflour (Maizena)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

METHOD:Preheat oven to 180ºC. Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and knead well.

Roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to create different shapes. Place the dough shapes onto baking trays. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned underneath.

TIPS:The butter should be at room temperature, not melted and, on a hot day, more flour may be needed. For chocolate biscuits, add a quarter of a cup of cocoa to the dough.

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