April 17, 2020

Another week of lockdown under our belts

Extended lockdown in South Africa


With today marking the first day of the extended lockdown I hope that this week finds you feeling strong. I remain upbeat, we have hit halfway and we know we can do it. Having more time than usual in my kitchen has been a blessing, and the immediate benefit is showing in my bathroom, on the scale!


Every day I make a mental list of what I should be grateful for, before I get out of bed. No commuting, working with equally dedicated, positive professionals, and that I only have to be clean, not beautiful. I do not need to climb into my car, I can walk to the shops if I need any essentials. For the rest, we make do – dinner reminds me of that old TV show called Ready, Steady, Cook – making good with a few ingredients. We have never eaten in a more wholesome way, with the focus on plenty of fresh ingredients and plants.


It’s at my now-cherished table that we eat, work, puzzle and even play Monopoly. The weekend highlights included braaied yellowtail and pickled fish. Caught by my man, cleaned by me and nurtured by our freezer for a few months, both were delicious. If fresh fish is what your heart desires, support ABALOBI, who are bringing fish from the hook to cooks in their homes. www.abalobi.org  Another memorable meal was themed Japanese, which, over pork gyoza and a few glasses of sake, with chopsticks in hand, we reminisced about our time there in April 2019. Food has the amazing ability to create nostalgia, followed by gratitude. Here is my easy gyoza recipe. If you would rather have a vegetarian filling than pork or chicken, replace with grated carrot, onion, ginger and garlic, add some chopped coriander and miso, and you will have the carnivores floor-crossing.


by Gourmet Guide, Jenny Handley

Serves 8


1 packet frozen dim sum

8 pork sausages (or chicken)

1 bunch spring onions, chopped

1t grated ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 green chilli, finely chopped

salt, pepper

handful fresh coriander, chopped

50 to 100ml sesame oil

coriander leaves for garnishing


  1. Defrost the dim sum in the fridge.
  2. Remove the skin of the pork sausages and place the meat in a bowl.
  3. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chilli.
  4. Season well.
  5. Add the coriander.
  6. Place a teaspoon of the mixture on one half of the dim sum.
  7. Fold over and seal gently with your fingers, then place a few small folds to ‘scrunch’ it up.
  8. Place in a bamboo steamer over boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Whilst warm remove and place onto a non-stick baking tray (work quickly or they stick to the bamboo steamer).
  10. Heat the sesame oil in a pan, quickly fry one side of the dim sum in the oil and place on a platter.
  11. Serve hot, sprinkled with coriander.
Gyoza recipe


My reading has never been more rewarding. There is something decadent about being able to lie in the sun for an entire day, losing yourself between two covers. Re-reading, in fact, from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point to re-devouring some Conde Nast Traveler magazines, in that way enjoying armchair travel to exotic destinations. I was sad to come to the end of ‘Life from Scratch’, by Sasha Martin, it is heralded as a memoir of food, family and forgiveness. The flyleaf states ‘195 recipes, 195 countries, 195 weeks’. The book is not merely the account of the four years that it took to do this, but her brutally honest narrative of her life – gripping and eye-opening – is paired with some mouthwatering recipes. One, for her mother’s roast chicken, had us stuffing and seasoning a bird, cooked to perfection on the Weber, served with roast veg. The carcass found its way into a stock pot and the nutritious, delicious stock then starred in a paella the following day.


by Gourmet Guide, Jenny Handley

Serves 8


500g frozen prawn tails/heads, defrosted (optional)

1 large onion

1 red pepper

2 tomatoes

150g chorizo sausage

½ cup fresh parsley

6 deboned chicken thighs

3T garlic-infused olive oil

1t smoked paprika

500g arborio rice

½t saffron

1C white wine

3C chicken stock, hot

salt, pepper

100g frozen peas

2C fresh mussels (or 1 tin smoked mussels)

12 black olives

lemon wedges for serving


  1. Defrost the prawns and drain in a colander. 
  2. Chop the onion and peppers. 
  3. Chop or grate the tomatoes. 
  4. Remove the skin from the chorizo and slice thinly. 
  5. Chop the parsley. 
  6. Cut the chicken into thirds. 
  7. Heat oil in a paella pan and sauté onion and chicken.   
  8. Add paprika, chorizo and peppers. 
  9. Add tomatoes, rice, saffron and wine. 
  10. Turn heat down so mixture simmers.  
  11. Add hot stock. 
  12. Season with salt and pepper. 
  13. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until rice is cooked. 
  14. Add prawns, peas, mussels and half the parsley. 
  15. Remove pips from the olives, and add. 
  16. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, top with lemon wedges and serve. 


Our online food-writing course has had the most wonderful response, from all over the world. Converted primarily for South Africans from our popular one-day live course, into a digital version, it has elicited attendees from Africa to Europe and the USA. We are excited and invigorated to be upskilling chefs who want to write, photographers who wish to offer more comprehensive skills, and food-lovers who wish to improve their knowledge and share their passion. Thanks to all those who have made enquiries, to those who have signed up and are now part of our writing group, and to those who are already submitting their assignments for personal guidance, mentoring and feedback. It is a joy to tweak and advise, knowing that we will be playing a part in creating potential employment for these scribes. My take-away for the week, is that out of chaos comes opportunity.

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