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DIY: A Family-Affair Recipe Book

There’s nothing more satisfying than earmarking recipes, but when it comes down to planning the week’s meals they often seem a distant memory on a shelf very far away from the couch. Use these tips to sort and store your recipes: 

Haul out your pile of MyKitchen magazines that have collected over time. Go through them and earmark the ones that you want to make again, or could imagine preparing in the future.  

You can either scan the recipes and create a digital recipe book or stick with paper. Photocopy or tear out the pages and slip them into a flip file. You get to see both sides of the page easily plus you can wipe off any oil marks, sauce splatters or flour. If you like, paste them into an A4 spiral notebook to make a recipe scrapbook.  

If you want to make your cookbook kid-friendly, consider laminating the pages. This means your kid can work with the sturdy (and waterproof) recipe page easily, and it will still be it intact at the end of the day. Use a whiteboard marker to make notes to help them.  

Keep a pen and notepad nearby when you’re cooking. Jot down any grand ideas or successful experiments or substitutions for next time. Just remember to add them to the relevant recipe later.  

If you’ve made a recipe for the first time, give it a review. Write down what you liked about the recipe, what occasion it would be perfect for, or even what you didn’t like. That way you can evolve the recipe when you make it again.  

Categorise your recipes based on the type of meal, the main ingredient, method or even the cooking time.  

Consider using colourful sticky flags to divide the recipes. Next time you need supper inspiration, you can easily find the recipe you need. Once you’ve accumulated enough content, adding section dividers to your cookbook will also save time when you’re looking for a specific recipe.  


Add to your cookbook collection  

Thrive – Nicci Robertson Nutritionist

Nicci Robertson starts her recipe book by acknowledging that although eating should be one of life’s pleasures, it isn’t always that way for many people. Using her own personal experience, she guides readers through 80 recipes that are healthy, but which totally ‘break the diet rules’. – R380  

The complete Chinese takeaway cookbook – Kwoklyn Wan

Celebrated British chef Kwoklyn Wan has gathered 200 of his dishes into this, his complete round-up of recipes collected during a lifetime of cooking in Chinese kitchens. To top it off, he has thrown in easy explanations and foolproof tips and tricks. – R520  

Let’s Cook – Siba Mtongana

In this true family affair, Siba invites kids to take charge and develop skills in the kitchen. The easy, delicious and instructional recipes range from lunchbox staples to yummy snacks – with a little help from mom and dad, of course! – R290  

Our Italian Legacy of love – Chiara Viljoen, Ryan Viljoen and Luciana Treccani

In this book, the brother-and-sister duo behind Joburg’s Café del Sol have generously shared classic dishes handed down by their ‘mamma’ and ‘nonna’. – R400  

Onwards – Karen Dudley

A heartfelt story of how life changed for Cape Town chef Karen Dudley after the pandemic shuttered her much-loved restaurant, The Kitchen. She details how she rediscovered food and flavours and connected with her community again during such a turbulent time. – R360   


Waste not, want not

Butter is expensive on a good day, so stash the wrappers in the freezer for when you need just a little bit. Use them to grease a cake tin, or place over bakes as they come out of the oven to add gloss.  

Otherwise, spread them over potatoes, corn or other veggies as they go into the oven – the butter will drip down, plus the cover will protect it from direct heat. Once clean, use the wrappers to bundle up leftovers or to separate layers of patties, cookies or even veggies.  


Other Need To Know Skills  

Peel garlic faster by pressing down on the clove with the flat side of a knife. This will break it and loosen the skin.  

Make seeding easier by rolling the whole chilli between your fingers to loosen the seeds inside. Cut off the stem, push the seeds out and use chilli as needed.  

Keep a bowl of ice water with a squeeze of lemon close by when you slice, grate or peel apples. Add them to the lemon water to prevent them from oxidising and browning.  

Revive old yeast by letting it stand in sugar and milk for 5 minutes. It’s still active if it bubbles. Take care to make the milk lukewarm – too hot and it will kill the yeast. 


Words by Sjaan Van Der Ploeg
Photography: Adobestock 

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