From the snifferati, to a casual beer around the braai, these books have it all.
Cellarmasters in the kitchen
Cape Winemakers Guild – 30 years of excellence by Wendy Toerien
The Cape Winemakers Guild celebrated 30 years of winemaking excellence last year. This association comprises some of the country’s most celebrated winemakers who have honed their craft while enduring often character-building conditions (despite dominant views, not many become millionaires). Today they number 45.
Forty-five individuals, who have much to contribute in terms of wisdom and experience to the industry. And they’ve proved their worth over decades. Admission is by invitation only, so becoming a guild member is the ultimate honour for a winemaker.
Since wine and food are inextricable, it calls to reason that winemakers understand something about food. After all, who is better employed than the producer to give recommendations about what would best suit something that they know intimately?
A wine writer since 1989, Wendy Toerien, in Cellarmasters of the Kitchen, taps into that by weaving profile pieces on each of the guild members with anecdotes and a recipe or two.
She has written numerous books on wine, and has contributed to the Platter’s Wine Guide for more than a decade.
Admittedly, they’re not all super-chef material. Some of the recipes are basic, some are serious, some are immense fun.
A few of the highlights: a barefoot and shorts-clad Jan “Boland” Coetzee of Vriesenhof prepares “Cape” coq au vin in his kitchen; lover-of-the-underdog, pinotage pioneer Beyers “Beyerskloof” Truter makes a mean minced alikreuk in pinotage with saffron rice; Kevin Grant of Ataraxia dishes up Karoo lamb shanks with creamy samp; Danie Steytler from Kaapzicht makes a lamb shank “pootjie”; pig farmer-cum-shiraz king of Luddite, Niels Verburg puts a suckling pig on the spit; and Coenie Snyman of Rust en Vrede ends with a crème brûlée with a compressed chocolate cake – one of the few sweets in the book.
The styling is gorgeous – although some pictures are decidedly cheesy and have a posed quality – but the recipes are worth replicating, especially when you’re at the coast and have easy access to a lot of the shellfish featured.
This coffee table book is primarily aimed at wine lovers.
Ultimate Braai Master
Lekker braai recipes from across South Africa, by Justin Bonello
Some people have all the luck. With no training or expertise, just a great concept, Justin Bonello is a TV celebrity who learns to cook on the fly.
Whether it meant taking 20 of his best friends along for the ride on his BBC Food show, Cooked in Africa, or working in the kitchens of some of the country’s finest chefs, the affable Bonello has a way of engaging with viewers that has won him numerous fans around the world. For his South African reality cooking contest, the Ultimate Braai Master, he travelled 8 000km from the banks of the Orange River border with Namibia, to the Karoo, Lamberts Bay and the Transkei’s Wild Coast with his two new best cheffing friends – Bertus Basson of Overture outside Stellenbosh, and Jozi’s own, Marthinus Ferreira of DW11-13 – and contestants in the reality show.
In typical Bonello style, recipes are aimed at the home cook: nothing’s particularly challenging, but some recipes just work. Bertus’s mom’s recipe for apple tart, baked over medium-hot coals, reveals the Stellenbosch master’s true inspiration, while Ferreira’s Greek-style braaied lamb which, while requiring some prep work, is accessible to even those who burn water. Bonello holds his own with a snoek with spicy chimichurri salsa.
Then there are the contestants’ own creative offerings.
Filled with handy hints for the braai – the “ultimate” South African pastime – and original recipes, it’s a refreshing approach to the same old chops-and-wors rut many of us tend to fall into. It’s also the perfect cook’s revenge: buy it for the “braaier” in your home. Who knows, they might just be inspired to go a little further than just slapping meat on the coals. - Saturday Star