Well, I guess there are a couple of interpretations of the title, Love Food. That could be food to make for those you love; it could be recipes for those who love to eat food. Indeed this book offers dishes that fit the bill on both counts.
Love Food is written by Tina Bester who runs a restaurant in South Africa. She evidently appreciates comfort food, retro dishes, and that her readers, however passionate about cooking, don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen just preparing breakfast. These dishes are practical and delicious.
Talking of breakfast, Creamy Oats with Fried Banana and Cinnamon Sugar has my vote for a sweet start to a cold winter day. A great recipe to make for a crowd as the sugar can be made in advance and the bananas fried while the cereal cooks.
Another good breakfast for a group is Potato and Bacon Frittatas, a savoury alternative to the above oats although if your guests are like mine they will want both. The frittatas are individual crustless potato quiches and the majority of the cooking can be done in advance. Just pour on the eggy mixture and start to bake 20 minutes before your friends are ready to eat them.
Smoorsnoek with Crusty Bread is in the Lunch chapter but this also would work as a substantial breakfast. Interesting name, and it’s a contemporary take on a popular South African staple made with snoek. OK, so it sounds like a small furry animal with a long nose living in the veldt but it is in fact a fish and those who don’t have access to it can use smoked mackerel. It’s that enticing combination of onion, fried potatoes and smoked fish. A one-pot meal with just some crusty bread on the side.
Chicken Paprika is a great recipe to stretch a single chicken to feed 8 people. It’s rich and flavourful and will make a complete meal with a little green salad. It’s a mild dish that will be a favourite with the whole family and it makes a change from just regular roast chicken. If you are in a hurry then you could use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from the butcher or supermarket.
Love Food isn’t just about sensible savouries. There are some delightful desserts including the, pardon the play on words, Turkish Delight Semifreddo. This is a frozen confection that needs no ice-cream maker. It’s a delicate pink-rippled dessert that would be an attractive end to any dinner party or posh lunch. Its hint of rose flavour adds an unmistakable air of the exotic.
Love Food is a gift-quality cookbook that would make an ideal Valentine’s present for the love of your life. Or buy for yourself and make an impression with your new-found skills: the recipes are simple but there is no need to broadcast that fact. Great value for money.
Author: Tina Bester
Published by: Pavilion – Anova Books
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018