Simple winter pleasures

Nurture your family by cooking together this school holiday, writes Louise Liebenberg

The winter holidays are an ideal time to stock up the baking tins with rusks and biscuits, as well as cook deliciously hearty and warming meals for the family.

Better yet, look out for recipes that allow you to rope in the kids so they can assist in both the prep work and the feast afterwards, while also sharing moments for family bonding.

We’ve chosen two comforting recipes from recently released South African cookbooks to inspire you.

The first recipe is from Christine Capendale’s Meals: Effortless Food for Every Occasion, also available in Afrikaans as Maaltye: Maklike Geregte vir Elke Dag.

Capendale is well known for her cooking classes in Cape Town and Meals is her family-focussed but stylishly executed collection of uncomplicated recipes for lunch, dinner and home entertaining.

Included are one-pot meals such as a delectable looking chicken, mushroom and thyme cassoulet – which looks appealing enough to serve to guests this winter and will still save you big time on dirty dishes.

Soups and salads are other fuss-free go-to’s; I am especially eager to try the grilled nectarine and Parma ham salad with crushed walnut dressing on P40 for my next dinner do.


Cauliflower is a surprising ingredient: it can seem unappealing, even boring, but roast it in the oven with some olive oil and spices and it takes on a wonderfully nutty flavour that combines so well with chickpeas.

This recipe serves 4.


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 tin (400g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 5ml paprika
  • 5ml chopped fresh thyme
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 5ml ground cumin
  • 15ml grated ginger
  • 5ml grated fresh turmeric OR 2,5ml ground turmeric
  • 150g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 500ml vegetable OR chicken stock
  • 200ml fresh cream
  • 250ml milk
  • extra thyme for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 200°C.


Combine cauliflower, chickpeas, half of the olive oil, paprika, thyme and seasoning in an ovenproof dish, mix well and roast for about 25 minutes.

Stir once during cooking period.

Remove from oven and keep aside – reserve about one-third of this mixture to use as garnish for the soup.

Place the rest of the olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add cumin, ginger and turmeric.

Cook for 1 minute, then add potatoes.

Cook for a few minutes and then add stock. Simmer potatoes on low heat until cooked.

Cool a little, then stir in cream, milk and two-thirds of roasted cauliflower and chickpea mixture.

Blend until smooth and adjust seasoning to taste.

Reheat and serve with reserved roasted cauliflower and chickpeas and more fresh thyme.

The second recipe is from Clover Royal Tea Party, a collection of 55 of the brand’s best bakes from the recipe books it has produced over the last 20 years.

The collection is therefore quite heavily nostalgia-driven but it does also mean the recipes – all trusted favourites – are absolutely flop-proof.

There are recipes for breads, scones, muffins, quiches, pies, cakes and more, and all the South African favourites are there too, from Melting Moments and tamboesies to Lamingtons and Amarula fridge tart.


This recipe yields about 60 biscuits and HAS to be made with butter.

This is a Clover recipe book after all so don’t even think of substituting with marge.


  • 1t (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1t (5ml) coffee granules
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3c (80g) Clover Farmstyle butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp (45ml) sunflower oil
  • ¾c (187,5ml) sugar
  • ¾c (187,5ml) macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼c (62,5ml) coffee beans, roughly chopped
  • 1½c (375ml) cake flour
  • 1½t (7,5ml) baking powder
  • ¼t (1ml) salt


Preheat oven to 160°C and grease a large baking sheet well.

Combine vanilla and coffee granules and stir to dissolve coffee.

Whisk egg and egg white together in a large mixing bowl.

Add butter, oil, sugar and reserved coffee mixture; mix well.

Stir in nuts and coffee beans.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt over mixture; mix well.

Divide dough in two.

Shape each half into two logs and wrap in cling wrap.

Chill for 30 minutes to firm up.

Place rolls on the baking sheet, allowing room for spreading.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and firm.

Remove from oven and slice each roll into thin slices.

Arrange biscotti in a single layer on baking sheets, reduce oven temperature to 80°C and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Turn off oven and allow biscuits to dry out in warm oven.

Cool completely before storing.


  • Ginger and almond biscotti: Replace macadamia nuts and coffee beans with one cup of flaked almonds. Add 1t (5ml) each ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon and 2.5ml mixed spice to dry ingredients.
  • Pistachio biscotti: Omit coffee granules and replace nuts and coffee beans with one cup of pistachio nuts, roughly chopped.
  • Christine Capendale’s Meals: Effortless Food for Every Occasion is published by Human & Rousseau and retails for R325.

Clover Royal Tea Party is published by Lapa and retails for R280.