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Christmas cookbooks: These 5 local books make the perfect gift for food lovers

Give the gift of eating!

by: Shaina Herman | 21 Dec 2018
cookbooks, south african cooking

READ FIRST: Hannerie Visser on the future of food and the FOOD XX movement

Our 2018 top picks for your festive season gifting just so happens to be five of the most talented women’s voices in home eating. With completely different focuses, each book could be your gateway to being the best gift giver of the season. 

Each of these women draws from her own South African flavour and style bringing her culinary know-how to our everyday tables. From curry to burgers, from dumplings to braai pies, these books each pay tribute to their rainbow nation roots and that’s why we love them.

Simply Zola by Zola Nene
Zola Nene is a powerhouse of joyous recipes. Her bright smile and big personality shine through Simply Zola as each recipe is another dish she loves to share. Television personality and Eat Out restaurant editor, Zola Nene is a household name for a reason. We love Zola because she brings her Zulu culture to the table and fuses the traditional with her own personal sassy tastes. She loves bright colours and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.

Her dishes for 1, like the cheesy pap with spicy tomatoes, are wonderful weeknight winners and the all-day breakfast section is a brunch bonanza. Hearty, wholesome, and spirited (with spirits), this gorgeous cookbook makes us drool from cover to cover.

Who to buy the cookbook for: The lover of delicious everything and/or your easy going friend who isn’t afraid of carbs. 

Take a sneak peek some of Zola’s recipes on Food24 

Order the book online

Just Add Rice by Ming-Cheau Lin
A fusion of learning about Asian flavours you’ve probably never tasted and diving into personal accounts of emigrating from Taiwan, Just Add Rice is a refreshing cookbook filled with moments of embracing our culture that we can all relate to; like that time your mom packed lunch with a dish the other kids just didn’t understand.  

Stories about learning acceptance of where you come from and how food defines that, Ming-Cheau Lin’s honest accounts of growing up as one of only a handful of Asian immigrants to South Africa decades ago, is both honest and heartwarming. Deliciously fresh, each page brings you closer to mastering simple Taiwanese cooking techniques.

Laid out like a school book, Ming-Cheau starts with the essential ingredients, where you can buy them, and whatever local version it can be replaced with at your local Asian market. After filling your pantry, get your hands working on those sweet-and-sour fried spare ribs, dumplings and sweet potato puffs. 

Who to buy the cookbook for: The foodie who never stops talking about how good the food is in Asia and how much they wish they could eat it back in SA. 

Sneak peek some of Ming’s recipes on Food24.

Order the book online.

Recipes by Suzelle DIY
The queen of South African DIY’s new cookbook is bright, bold and quirky, just like Suzelle herself. The bobotie balls are a new take on the traditional classic, and the book is filled with the best quick go-to meals for every night of the week; she’s making tarts, pies, green bean salads, curries and all of our traditional South African bests.

Suzelle might be our top YouTube sensation but really represents that little slice of our hearts dedicated to baking biscuits with family. Her team at Sketchbook Studios are small but mighty and lets us in on Suzelle’s unique sense of humour, not only in media but now on our tables too. 

With tips on each page, jokes for Suzelle fans, and tried and tested recipes from Ouma, Marianne and Suzelle’s entire crew, the cookbook is brimming with accessible, affordable and everyday recipes.

Who to buy the cookbook for: Family and friends (even foreign ones) who want to impress with simple South African inspired snappy, colourful, tasty and easy Suzellified recipes. And crafty tweens who are obsessed. 

Get a sneak peek of some of Suzelle’s recipes on Food24.

Order the book online

Curry by Ishay Govender-Ypma
A culinary storyteller, Ishay Govender-Ypma, captures the moments, history and local expertise of South African curry makers in her newest book Curry: Stories and recipes from across South Africa. Writing for prestigious publications, like Food & Wine, Nat Geo, and Food52, Ishay’s retelling of personal accounts in neighbourhood kitchens are thoughtful and compelling. 

Beginning with the anatomy of a curry, giving readers basic terms, spice concoctions, and vocabulary, the recipes are not just about the ingredients. The depth of traditions comes not only from who you’d expect to be making Indian inspired dishes but all types of faces, young and old, from across the country. Each page, another journey into someone’s life and home, Curry brings curry (and other recipes) to life with characters who show us that the subtle differences are what make each dish fantastic.

Who to buy the cookbook for: Anthony Bourdain fans, culture seekers and those who can never have enough curry.

Get a sneak peek of some of one of Ishay’s recipes on Food24.

Chocolate by Katelyn Williams
Just in time for Christmas and the festive season, the lusciously talented, effervescent Katelyn Allegra, aka The Kate Tin (of Top Billing and the Expresso Show), has just debuted her latest project featuring the most desirable seductive treat: chocolate. Drizzled, slathered, baked, spooned, tossed and tempered, with a starring role in each and every recipe, chocolate is the edible heart and soul of this deeply decadent page turner. 

Partnering with Cape Town-based food photographer and former Food24 blogger, Hein van Tonder (@heinstirred), the book is absolutely beautiful. And, if you haven’t checked out Hein yet, he’s also a local talent who transitioned from an accounting desk day job to food photographer. Dark, mysterious, sexy; when baking goddess Nigella Lawson finally gets her sultry hands on a copy of Chocolate, it will be her go-to chocolate bible, just like it is ours. 

Who to buy the cookbook for: The sinfully decadent, sweet tooth in your life and those who want to seriously up their dessert game. 

Get a sneak peek some of Katelyn recipes on Food24

Order the book online

This year, leave those overseas big guns on the shelf and buy these South African household names instead. Local is not only lekker, but it is also smart, sustainable and supports our diverse food community. 

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