Cookery books heap in my kitchen cupboard. Some carry the scars of years of service whilst others have slipped to the back of the pile – lost and unused. But ‘bitten.’ by Sarah Graham is at the top and it’s only been with me a year.
The reason? It’s easy to read and has plenty of pictures. They’re not grand or fancy and in all of them the food looks possible. The recipes are straightforward and many come with tiny paragraph stories to tempt you to give them a try.
Here’s one such starter:
“This is a Graham family favourite … almost priceless, especially when lovingly cooked by Rob’s chic and cheffy Aunty Sue on their little farm in Stellenbosch just outside Cape Town.”
Who’s not going to try the recipe after that? Perhaps I’m biased, and here I have to declare an interest – I’m connected to this ‘in-law tribe’, and family, food and fun are its key ingredients.
So, for me, ‘bitten.’ probably does have a bit of an edge as far as shelf position goes but its real plus point is that it never gets carried away with fancy ingredients. It does not ask harassed chefs to hunt down trotters from the left-footed pig of Upper Saxony, nor to rush for the recent harvest of wild black strawberries from Latvia.
The toughest challenge to date has been to bruise some lemon grass. I skipped that and the recipe for grilled soy and honey salmon still worked its magic.
Moving on to desserts there’s a recipe for ‘ginger, cranberry and almond semifreddo’. A name to make the time-challenged nervous perhaps but the introduction does away with all that.
‘Semifreddo in Italian literally means ‘half cold’ and it’s kind of half ice cream too … I’ve left out the faff of beating eggs … Oh, and did I mention that it takes about 7 minutes to make?’
The whole book is like this – warm and direct. It’s packed with recipes tested by husband Rob and each designed to give hope to those who want to serve great food in snatches of time. ‘bitten.’ is definitely worth getting your hands on.
(‘bitten.’ is published by Random House Struik (Pty) Ltd 2012 and can be found on Amazon in both hardback and kindle versions). Sarah’s website is http://afoodieliveshere.co.za/. The blog carries the news that her second book ‘smitten.’ has just been published.