Celebrate International Women's Day with these recipes by top female chefs

Za’atar and cheese scones by the Chilli Chocolate Chefs Faatimah and Zainab Paruk. Picture: Supplied

Za’atar and cheese scones by the Chilli Chocolate Chefs Faatimah and Zainab Paruk. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 8, 2024


March 8 is International Women’s Day, which celebrates “the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women”.

This International Women's Day, we are raising a toast to the bold and the beautiful. New-age women are picking up their kitchen knives, breaking through the culinary boundaries of a traditionally male-dominated industry and cooking up a storm.

They say a woman should be two things: classy and fabulous, just like these recipes.

Pepper-crusted ostrich fillet by Angelique Fassom. Picture: Supplied

Pepper-crusted ostrich fillet by Angelique Fassom


250g ostrich fillet

Mashed potato

80g sautéed spinach

50g roasted baby onions

50g sautéed button mushroom

Chef’s red wine jus

2 tsp olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

175ml port

175ml red wine

1 rosemary sprig

1 bay leaf

800ml beef stock

2 tbsp butter

Pinch of sugar


Pepper crust the ostrich fillet and cook to the desired temperature, best served medium rare as ostrich is a lean meat.

Place a basting spoon of mashed potato on the centre of the plate, place sautéed spinach on top.

Slice ostrich fillet and place next to mash then add sautéed pearl onions and mushrooms, drizzle with chef jus.

Chef’s red wine jus

Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the shallots until golden and caramelised, about 10 minutes.

Add the port, wine, and herbs, and simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half.

Pour in the stock and cook until reduced by half again, then strain, discarding the shallots and herbs.

Transfer the sauce to a new pan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, then season to taste.

Nectarine and sorghum salad by Mokgadi Itsweng. Picture: Supplied

Nectarine and sorghum salad by Mokgadi Itsweng

Makes: 4 – 6


1 cup sorghum grain (soaked for at least 2 hours) or 1 cup pearl barley

200g rainbow baby carrots, washed

200g broccoli tender stems

1 tbsp olive oil

4 nectarines, pitted and cut into halves

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp coriander, chopped

2 tbsp mint, chopped

2 tbsp parsley, chopped

50g sunflower seeds, toasted


½ cup orange juice

½ cup lemon juice

60ml olive oil

½ tsp cumin

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp garlic, crushed

1 tsp ginger, grated


Preheat oven to 200ºC

Cook sorghum in 4 cups of water for 90 minutes at medium heat until the sorghum is soft but still chewy. If the water dries out before the sorghum is cooked, add an extra 2 cups of hot water.

Drain the grain and allow it to cool.

Place the carrots and broccoli on a baking tray drizzle with olive oil and grill for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

While the vegetables are grilling, heat a griddle pan until smoking. Brush the nectarine halves with a little oil and grill the nectarines on the flat side for 2 minutes, until nicely caramelised, but still firm. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving

Make the dressing by mixing all the dressing ingredients in a blender, and setting aside.

To serve, mix the drained sorghum, herbs, and half the dressing.

On a platter, layer the dressed and herbed sorghum with the grilled veg and nectarines.

Drizzle the remainder of the dressing over the salad and top with roasted sunflower seeds.

Za’atar and cheese scones by the Chilli Chocolate Chefs Faatimah and Zainab Paruk. Picture: Supplied

Za’atar and cheese scones by the Chilli Chocolate Chefs Faatimah and Zainab Paruk


350g flour

4 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

100g butter

150g grated cheese

2 tbsp crushed garlic flakes

2 tsp fennel seeds

150ml milk

2 eggs

Za’atar spice


Heat the oven to 180ºC.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and break it into small pieces.

Add in the cheddar, garlic flakes, and fennel seeds.

Whisk the eggs and milk and form a light dough. Do not over-mix.

Lightly flour the tabletop and place dough.

Cut into rounds and place on baking paper.

Brush scones with egg and sprinkle with za’atar and extra grated cheese.

Bake until golden.

Serve warm with butter.