Books

Fancy a cookbook for Christmas? Here are 4 of 2017's best

These are the new recipe books that most impressed Sunday Times Food editor Hilary Biller this year

10 December 2017 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Can you ever have too many cookbooks?
Can you ever have too many cookbooks?
Image: 123RF/halfpoint
'Jan Braai Shisanyama'.
'Jan Braai Shisanyama'.
Image: Supplied

JAN BRAAI SHISANYAMA

By Jan Braai, published by Bookstorm, R345

Rating: 4/5

Just when you thought there could never be another braai book ...

This one is different as Jan Braai asked South Africans to share their best recipes, added his favourites, brought together a crowd to fund the book, and voilà.

It's not all about boerie and chops but has some good ideas for cooking just about anything over the coals.

5 Ingredients Quick and Easy Food.
5 Ingredients Quick and Easy Food.
Image: PAUL STUART

5 INGREDIENTS QUICK AND EASY FOOD

By Jamie Oliver, published by Penguin/Michael Joseph, R430

Rating: 5/5

Oliver never fails to disappoint and his latest book is right on the pulse: great for busy people and the shopping lists aren't long - they could even be memorised.

Drawbacks? Some of the ideas, although clever, are hefty on the pocket. Not all the ingredients are locally available, but in most cases can be replaced with others.

Our Friday night supper was his "epic rib-eye steak" - the picture really grabbed my attention. It was delicious but took much longer to make than the 26 minutes indicated. I used a mixture of button mushrooms and shiitakes and a 400g can of cannelini beans with their juice instead of the jar called for in the recipe.

Something's Cooking, J'Something.
Something's Cooking, J'Something.
Image: CRAIG FRASER

SOMETHING'S COOKING

By J'SOMETHING aka Joao da Fonseca, published by Quivertree, R330

Rating: 4/5

Da Fonseca - who is frontman of local band Mi Casa - has had a busy year, what with the opening of his restaurant Something's Cooking in Pretoria and being judge on My Kitchen Rules.

His first cookbook, which shares the name of his restaurant, is a good read. It is a kind of autobiography told interestingly through the food that reflects the different times of his life.

It's studded with lots of fascinating anecdotes and other titbits, describing a melting pot of flavours - his strong Portuguese influence (my favourite chapter), his traditional African connection, and a mix of contemporary ideas.

Matt Preston's 'Yummy Easy Quick'.
Matt Preston's 'Yummy Easy Quick'.
Image: Supplied

YUMMY EASY QUICK

By Matt Preston, published by Pan Macmillian, R399

Rating: 4/5

Time, or the lack of it, is the big selling feature with newly published cookbooks and Preston (flamboyant co-host of MasterChef Australia) features 127 dinners which, he claims, take 30 minutes or less to prepare.

Hah, hah, as I discovered when we invited friends over for a quick dinner and I tried his recipe for sweet potato zoodles with jerk chicken. Many glasses of wine later, the nibbles were looking as tired as they were. But as they ravenously polished off the chicken, they said it was worth the wait. Or perhaps they were being polite.

To speed up the process I fagged spiralising the sweet potato and baked it in chunks in the oven, and I skipped grilling the pineapple for the salsa.

It's a chatty kind of book with lots of hints and tips. Yummy, yes, but quick? No, Mr Preston.

WIN A COOKBOOK FOR CHRISTMAS

We've brought you a taste of four fabulous cookbooks - and now's your chance to win one of them for Christmas. Send an e-mail  to food@sundaytimes.co.za with your name, address and contact number along with the answer to the following question: How many of the cookbooks featured are South African? Please note only ONE entry per person. Winners will randomly receive a copy of ONE of the four cookbooks. Closing date is Tuesday December 12 2017 at 12 noon.


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