Classics and soul food

recipe booksFOR FAMILY & FRIENDS by Nicky Stubbs, published by Human & Rousseau
THE CLASSIC SOUTH AFRICAN COOKBOOK by Melinda Roodt, published by Struik Lifestyle

This is the time of year for new cookery books to fly into bookstores in the hope that they will fly out again before Christmas and there are always plenty which will languish on the shelves until the New Year or later.

Which is why these two new titles are special: they are both uniquely South African and flavour infuses not only the recipes but also the text and photographs.

Melinda Roodt and her husband are both senior pastors at a Vereeniging church, and this is her first foray into recipe book territory.

Nicky Stubbs works for a publisher but also has a long and interesting career. She has completed a Cordon Bleu course, cooking in London and France, run restaurants, catered and written for magazines.

What shines through with both authors is that they love food and people in equal dollops.

Additionally, as both Stubbs and Roodt have taught people in cookery classes, they carefully and clearly outline how to make the dishes in their books.

 

 

Stubbs seems to have a lighter twist and is a little more contemporary than Roodt. However, both authors include stunning looking recipes for this country’s family treats such as carrot cake, milk tart, lemon meringue pie, rusks, bobotie, bredie, sweet potatoes and more.

 

 

snoek recipe
The Classic South African Cookbook: snoek on the braai
Braaied snoek with sweet barbecue marinade

In The Classic South African Cookbook, Roodt starts with breakfasts and appetisers and works her way through the day ending with cakes and desserts, and a section on homely staples such as like rusks, sauces and jams. As a mother of four older children and the the wife of a pastor, she certainly has cooked more than her share of wholesome family meals.

Not only that, she also is a seasoned host and organiser of conferences, catering for hundreds at a time. Roodt suggests using only fresh and locally available ingredients, which will also make a positive difference to so many classic dishes.

The Classic South African Cookbook is also available in Afrikaans as Die Klassieke Suid-Afrikaanse Kookboek.

This recipe for braaied snoek with sweet barbecue marinade serves 4-6

Ingredients: 1 large whole snoek, filleted and halved lengthways
125ml meat marinade
60ml chutney
60ml apricot jam

Method: Prepare a slow-burning braai fire. The snoek should be cooked over medium heat.

Line a folding grid with heavy-duty foil and place the snoek halves, flesh-side up, parallel on the grid.

Mix the meat marinade, chutney and apricot jam in a small bowls.

Baste the flesh of the snoek with this marinade, closer the foil over the fish and close the grid.

Fasten the handles of the grid so that it can be turned.

Grill the snoek for about 5 minutes on each side until just cooked.

Serve with baked whole sweet potatoes and salad.

Fish cooks quickly , so do not overcook the snoek as it will become dry. If there are any leftovers, keep them in the fridge to snack on the next day.

 

peppermint chocolate tart
The Classic South African Cookbook: peppermint chocolate tart
Peppermint chocolate tart

Ingredients: 200g packet Bakers tennis biscuits
100g butter
225g peppermint chocolate
250ml Orley Whip
360g caramel treat

Method: In a medium bowl, crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and add the butter.
Mix well until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Grease a 20 x 30cm rectangular pie dish with butter and cover the bottom with the crumbs, pressing down firmly to form a crust.

Divide the chocolate into two quantities: 150g and 75g. Grate the chocolate, keeping it in two separate batches.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the Orley Whip with an electric mixer until stiff.

With the mixer running on low speed, add the caramel, a spoon at a time, mixing until combined.

Using a large spoon, fold the 150g grated chocolate into the thick cream mixture.

Spoon the filling onto the crust and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the 75g grated chocolate over the filling.

Cover the tart with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours before serving.  Serve this tart as a tea-time treat or cold dessert. Refrigerate any leftovers.

For Family & Friends

Nicky Stubbs gives delightful anecdotes along with her recipes in For Family & Friends, published by Human & Rousseau.

In For Family & Friends, Stubbs groups recipes into breakfast, simple and then main meals before ending with baking and puddings.

The tone is also warm and welcoming, noting that after lunch her friends and family lose their good manner and fight over the chocolate mousse bowl.

“At tea time they drop in unexpectedly in the hope of a freshly baked lemon sponge, and at supper time they can count on being invited to linger as there is always enough food for everyone.”

recipe
For Family and Friends: Baked sweet potato and pumpkin
Baked sweet potato& pumpkin with cinnamon, brown sugar & orange

This was the first vegetable dish I learnt to make. My Uncle Pete often pulled me into Sunday lunch preparations. While stuffing the chicken and readying the trifle, he was able to give me instructionsto make this simple dish, which goes well with anything.

There are a variety of pumpkin and sweet potatoes available. Use whatever is available and in season. Serves 8–10as a side dish

Ingredients: 700 g sweet potato, unpeeled, thickly sliced

700 g pumpkin, peeled and sliced

30ml(2 Tbsp) treacle sugar mixed with 10ml(2 tsp) ground cinnamon

grated orange rind (optional, but gives a wonderful flavour)

125 g butter, melted

salt and white pepper

toasted sunflower seeds to serve

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Arrange the sweet potato and pumpkin in overlapping layers, alternating between the two, on a large baking tray.

Sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mix and orange rind, if using. Pour over themelted butter, ensuring that the vegetables are generously coated.

Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and allow to crisp up slightly for another 20–30 minutes, depending on the variety of sweet potato and pumpkin used.

Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with toasted sunflower seeds.

How to toast sunflower seeds: Preheat a small frying pan. Place 1 handful of sunflower seeds in the pan and watch closely. As the seeds brown, turn them. This happens suddenly so be careful that they don’t burn. Cool completely and then store in a glass jar with a lid for up to two weeks.

 

lemon meringue pie
For Family and Friends: lemon meringue pie
Lemon meringue pie

I find most lemon meringue pies to be rather sickly and insipid with hardly a hint of lemon. This one has a real lemon kick with a lovely smooth curd. It is rich, though, and not for the faint hearted. Serves 6–8

Ingredients: 1 packet (200 g) Tennis biscuits

125 ml (½ cup) melted butter

grated rind and juice of 4 lemons

1 tin (385 g) condensed milk

3 extra­large eggs, separated

2,5 ml (½ tsp) cream of tartar

180 g castor sugar

2,5 ml (½ tsp) baking powder

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Crush the biscuits. I do this by bashing the biscuits into crumbs using a double plastic shopping bag, tied loosely, and a rolling pin.

In a small bowl, mix the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter. Press the mixture into a shallow pie plate. Smooth with the back of a spoon.

In a bowl, mix together the lemon rind, lemon juice, condensed milk and egg yolks. Pour into the crumb base.

In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites to a soft peak. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the peaks are very stiff. Add the castor sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the baking powder once the egg whites and sugar have formed a stiff meringue.

Spoon the meringue onto the egg mixture and cover gently. Swirl the meringue into peaks with the back of the spoon.

Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off but leave the pie in the oven to cool down completely. This dries the meringue slightly.

Best served chilled.

 

 

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