A celebration meal - recipes

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Copy of ST AD Dora Sitole and Phumzile L 99

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Dorah Sitole (and daughter Phumzile) start to make the fish curry. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

The Angela Day kitchen recently hosted Dorah Sitole, a notable SA foodie.

Dorah has many accolades to her name including being awarded the inaugural SA Chefs President’s Award for her contribution to the country’s hospitality industry in 2006.

This former market researcher from Soweto was introduced to the world of food when she went to work for what was known as the canned food advisory service.

It was there that her passion for cooking developed, and she enjoyed the different aspects of the job such as contributing to food pages and teaching.

Then Dorah joined True Love magazine as food editor where she stayed for 21 years. She now freelances as a food writer, food stylist, recipe developer and teacher.

Dorah has travelled widely in Africa and is the country’s foremost expert on African cuisine. Every area on the continent has its specific key ingredients, she says, but garlic, ginger and chillies feature prominently throughout Africa as do spices such as cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander and turmeric.

Copy of ST AD Cheese cake berries 44

Baked cheesecake with berries. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

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Of these, it is ginger and garlic, along with butter and olive oil, that she can’t live without.

Dorah also believes that true African cooking has never been given a chance or been taken seriously and throughout her career she has striven to bring this cuisine to the fore.

“African cooking has also changed over the past decade, with people moving to cities where more convenient and new ingredients have been introduced to traditional cuisine,” she says.

Of all the countries she has visited, Dorah loved Zanzibar where she found the food awesome and the people kind and welcoming.

When Dorah arrived at the Angela Day Kitchen with her daughter Phumzile it was clear that each had great admiration for the other’s cooking. Dorah tells me her daughter is a good baker and that the cheesecake we were preparing is normally her domain.

Phumzile in turn raves about her mom’s fish curry, which is one of her favourite dishes. When cooking for her family Dorah tends to cook more homely comforting dishes but when entertaining she loves pushing the boundaries by experimenting with different flavours.

Dorah shared these four recipes with me. After trying a piece of the cheesecake, I have to admit it is one of the nicest I have ever tasted.

PUMPKIN SOUP

Serves 4-6

1 onion, chopped

45g butter

1 carrot, diced

1 stick of celery, diced

1 potato, peeled and diced

1 leek, sliced

500g diced pumpkin

5ml curry powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 litre of vegetable stock

125ml cream

30ml pumpkin seeds, toasted

Sauté onions in butter until soft, add carrots, celery, potato and leeks, then cook for 5 minutes.

Add pumpkin, curry powder and seasoning, fill the pot with vegetable stock, bring to the boil and turn heat down to a slow simmer.

Allow to cook for about 20 minutes until pumpkin is soft. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. To create desired consistency, you may need to add some more stock or allow to reduce a bit for a thicker winter soup.

Stir in the cream and serve sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds.

EAST AFRICAN FISH CURRY

Serves 4

45ml oil

500g hake or Cape whiting steaks

2 red onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

15ml grated ginger

2 chillies, chopped

15ml curry powder

45ml curry paste

10ml turmeric

65g can of tomato paste

4 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

6 curry leaves, optional

salt and pepper to taste

250ml coconut cream

coriander for garnishing

Heat oil and brown the fish steaks on each side for about 5 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

Add onions, garlic, ginger and chillies to pan and sauté until onions are soft.

Add curry powder, curry paste and turmeric and cook for 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except coriander, and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Return fish steaks to sauce, bring to boil and then turn down heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked.

Gently fold through coriander leaves.

Serve with Basmati rice.

GREEN BEANS WITH ASPARAGUS AND MUSHROOMS

Serves 4

200g green beans, topped and tailed

125g asparagus, trimmed

125ml vegetable stock

250g button mushrooms, halved

400g can of chickpeas, drained

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

30ml olive oil

chopped fresh herbs

Place green beans and asparagus in a pan, add stock and bring to boil, then simmer covered until vegetables are tender.

Stir in mushrooms, continue to simmer until just tender. Add chickpeas and seasoning. Heat through.

Place on a warm serving dish and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs just before serving.

BAKED CHEESECAKE WITH BERRIES

200g plain biscuits, crushed

3ml cinnamon

15ml sugar

125g butter, melted

500g creamed cottage cheese

2 eggs

125ml sugar

250ml cream

30ml lemon juice

30ml flour

10ml custard powder

pinch of salt

Topping:

250ml crème fraiche

15ml castor sugar

berries to decorate

Mix biscuit crumbs, cinnamon and sugar together. Add the butter and mix well.

Press into a well greased, 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Chill well.

Beat cottage cheese and eggs together and gradually beat in the sugar. Add the cream and lemon juice and beat well.

Add flour, custard powder and salt and beat well. Pour into biscuit base.

Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 150°C and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Allow to cool completely in the tin.

Remove from tin and, when ready to serve, spread with crème fraiche and top with berries. - The Star

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