African soul food

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African Soul Food


My family of African beaded giraffes at the cooking school

My memories of Africa sometimes creep unknowingly onto my plates.  Often I’ll look down at what I have created and there are definite nuances of my African heritage displayed on the plate before me.  My memories of long hot gorgeous days, burnt amber sunsets and tribal singing often pop into my mind unannounced. African singing is uplifting. I will never forget the early days of my cheffing career in some busy kitchen surrounded by kitchen staff all working together in harmony, and how they would often just burst into song with the deep rich tones of the men melting into the harmony of the sweet and trembling highs of the woman, sounds that only tribal songs can deliver,  and how Africa then beats through your very soul.

There is much more to this amazingly diverse country bursting with cultures and passion and spirit than most people understand.  I often get asked what African food is, and my answer is never a short one.  African food, to me, is a melting pot of the rainbow nation that makes up its people.  The wildness of Africa that has married and stewed it’s way into the various cultures that have called Africa home for many decades and even centuries.  Indian, Malaysian, Greek, Italian, German, French, Asian, name but a few of the people that now call Africa home, and with that comes a very exciting fusion of food.

My last journey back to African was late last year and I found myself yearning to be back in the bush where I remember my earliest childhood memories of spotting elephant, zebra, giraffe and rhino off the back of a Landrover. I think a game drive in African is something that everyone should experience just once in their life.  But if you can’t take a trip to Africa in the very near future why don’t you let me take you on an African culinary adventure right now…


This gorgeous piece of art was hand made in Durban with wire and beads.  I use it to store my eggs and it is my pride and joy!

African Beaded Chicken egg holder

katja anton Photography

African  baked brie with honey and green chilli

This fabulous African cheese fondue is so easy to make and can be ready in less than 10 minutes. Yes, we all know that beautiful Brie is French, but I have given it an African flair…

Take one round of camembert or brie and place on an ovenproof plate or saucer.  Make a paste of 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon green chilli chopped and quarter teaspoon curry powder.  Smear the cheese with the paste and then bake in a hot oven of 200c for about 8-12 minutes or until the cheese is now melted inside.  Serve hot with water biscuits or crusty bread. Leave the chilli out of the recipe if you prefer.

Drain pipe beef

African Mud-pool beef stack with chilli and lime burnt butter, pumpkin mash and petal bling

The thing about this recipe is it is super easy.  It’s perfect for entertaining or just a weeknight meal in that it can all be prepared on the grid over an open-flamed ‘braai’ or BBQ.  It can also be done on a griddle pan over your stove top if you prefer, but be sure to cook these hot and fast so you get those ‘zebra stripe’ lines on both the steak and the zucchini.

Serves 4

600-800g sirloin, porterhouse, fillet or rump steak.  Season well with salt and pepper. Cook to order hot and fast!

2 medium zucchini cut into strips lengthways, griddle on each side until tender

2 cups pumpkin cooked in microwave until soft, add 1 teaspoon butter, half teaspoon curry powder and season to taste.

fresh baby spinach and fresh edible petals like nasturtiums

Balsamic glaze/reduction for garnish

Chilli and lime burnt butter 

2 tablespoons butter in a pan, heat until bubbling and then wait for the bubbles just to start turning golden.  Remove from heat and add 1 chopped chilli and the zest and juice of a lime.

To assemble:

Place a delicious dollop of the pumpkin mash dead centre on your plate.  Now wrap the mash with the zucchini to make a neat vegetable stack.  Top with some spinach leaves and then the sliced rested beef.  Drizzle stack with some of the chilli and lime burnt butter and then garnish with petals (if you have them).  Lastly drizzle a thin circle of balsamic glaze/reduction around the outer rim of the plate and then thin out with a spatula or back of spoon.  Serve hot or cold!


Prosciutto roses with spiced yellow tomato and apricot chutney


African inspired chocolate bark with red rose petals and blue cornflower


African style love heart of balsamic glaze, lemon scented olive oil, biltong dust and chilli with pistachio

You don’t need a recipe for this, just instructions on how to create this fantastic dipping sauce on your plate.  You will need a flat plate, tile or platter.  Drizzle a love heart of balsamic glaze on the plate, fill with the oil making sure you don’t break you own heart:) Now sprinkle with some finely chopped or grated beef biltong/jerky, some chopped chilli and chopped pistachio…dip your bread into this wonderful creation!

More recipes to follow in my next edition of African soul food…[polldaddy poll=7341105]

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