In which I talk to Nozi, in Zimbabwe, about the food that she grew up with… and you can see below some examples of recipes that she sent to me.
Examples of Zimbabwe food:
I have had this book for a long time. I think it was my mother who gave it to me, within the first couple of years of my moving out of home. I haven’t cooked everything from it – nowhere near it. Everything I have cooked has been good, and – as is appropriate for a Women’s Weekly publication – is straightforward to create. It’s not a particularly adventurous book, but that’s ok – that’s not what it’s aiming to be
The book is arranged by key ingredient – asparagus, beans, lettuces, silverbeet – so pick what you’ve got in the house and go from there. Each section has information about how to boil, steam or microwave each vegetable. There’s only a few recipes for each vegetable, but it’s a good variety and means that it’s not overwhelming.
Some of the recipes I’ve tried:
Bean, hazelnut and roasted capsicum salad: I am a sucker for any salad that instructs you to put nuts in it.
“Roman style” green beans: means prosciutto and mushrooms and pine nuts.
Moroccan carrot salad: dates, almonds, coriander, cumin…
Malabar mushroom curry: ginger, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, coconut cream…
Bombay potato masala: onion, garam masala, tinned tomato, lots of other spices…
… I’m not very adventurous when it comes to choosing actual vegetables. So I have never used the recipes for jicama, or chokoes, or even witlof. But I like that they’re in here.
In which I admit that I am not at home, but more importantly I talk to Anthony of the BEST butcher’s: Nino’s and Joe’s.
This book has been a part of my life for my entire life. My mum had it, and sometimes baked from it. When I left home, my mum got me a copy… but it was the new version:
And… I did cook from it, but it never felt like the proper book. Then when my Nana moved into a smaller place and wasn’t cooking any more, I was lucky enough to inherit her copy; I gave mine to someone else who didn’t mind the cover as much.
At one stage I thought I would try to cook my way through the whole thing, but that kinda petered out. Nonetheless, I have cooked a lot of the recipes. And they are fine. So very fine. The recipes are easy to follow, they use straightforward ingredients, and they are invariably delicious. The book is straightforward and – look, it’s a Women’s Weekly book. It’s trustworthy. It’s arranged by ingredient – almond, chocolate, peanut, walnut) – which is brilliant for this sort of book. Pick your star ingredient, then pick your recipe, and go. Also, calling this a biscuit book is selling it short. There’s lots of slices, there’s meringue, rum balls, chocolate crackle… look, if I was forced to have only one book for cooking sweet things, this would probably be it.
A sample of the recipes, alphabetically: Continue reading “Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits”