A brand-new, tome of a cookbook arrived in the post from NB Publishers this week. There was great excitement in the Meyer-Liebenberg household, as this was not just any cookbook… It was the long-awaited, recently-released and completely revised edition of ‘Cook & Enjoy’ or, as it is known in Afrikaans, ‘Kook & Geniet’. And, at 568 pages, it’s every bit as authoritative as SJA de Villiers’s original classic ever was. The publishers even kept that familiar compact hard-cover format, giving one an immediate sense of nostalgia (and the comforting knowledge the book would probably kill anyone it is thrown at). First published in 1961, ‘Kook & Geniet’ was the domestic science Bible that taught countless South African women how to cook. My maternal grandmother was one of those women. She really was a terrible cook in her day, but I do believe the gems she gleaned from ‘Kook & Geniet’ helped keep my grandfather, and later my mom and uncle, from starving. My mom, a very modern woman even by 1960s standards, had never fancied herself the ‘Kook & Geniet’ type and while her affinity for food and culinary creativity later turned out to be far greater than my gran’s (except for baking beautiful boerebeskuit, that is) Mom could never quite bring herself to abandon her ‘Kook & Geniet’. There were two well-used copies in our childhood home; Ouma’s and Mom’s, and today I have one and my sister in Holland has the other. Sis has Mom’s, no doubt still covered in funky 1960s floral Contact; while I have Ouma’s, held together by masking tape so the food-splattered pages don’t fall out. It really is a classic that should be on every South African cook’s bookshelf, and the new edition is a worthy successor to the eight that went before it. De Villiers (I believe she is still alive) should be proud to know that yet another generation of South Africans is about to embrace her life’s work. ‘Cook & Enjoy’ is published by Human & Rousseau and is available at most bookstores, and online, at R275. – Louise Liebenberg
Recipe: Luxury Toasted Muesli from ‘Cook & Enjoy’ (revised edition)
Paging through the new ‘Cook & Enjoy’, this recipe from one of the early chapters (and there are many, including the quaintly titled ‘Cooking with Leftovers’ on Page 465!) immediately caught my eye. I’ll save the skaapkop and jam-making for another day.
400g (5 cups) oats (large flakes); 150g (1 cup) almonds, roughly chopped or whole; 100g (1 cup) pecan nuts, roughly chopped; 100g (3/4 cup) linseed; 75g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds; 50g (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds; 35g (1/4 cup) sesame seeds; 125ml (1/2 cup) honey; 5ml (1 tsp) salt; 125g (1/2 cup) butter; 150g (1 cup) seedless raisins.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350F). Combine the oats, nuts and seeds in a large mixing bowl. Heat the honey, salt and butter in a small saucepan over low heat or in the microwave oven until the butter is nearly liquid. Do not allow the honey to boil. Stir until it is blended and the salt has dissolved. Add the honey mixture to the oat mixture and stir well. Spoon into a large, shallow oven pan. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Toss the mixture 2 or 3 times while baking. Leave to cool, mix with the raisins and store in an airtight container. Serve with fresh fruit or berries or stewed dried fruit and Bulgarian or Greek yoghurt. If preferred, drizzle with honey.
The Global Table Verdict
This recipe is a classic; I was so impressed by it that I simply can’t see myself buying shop muesli ever again. The home-made kind is infinitely more delicious and affordable, and probably a lot healthier, so there’s really no excuse. The recipe is a winner – the muesli turned out crunchy and golden, and was so delicious on its own that I even forgot to add the raisins at the end. However, if you have a smallish oven, as we do, you will need to bake the muesli in two batches. Keep a close eye on it, especially towards the end of the baking time, as it does burn easily. I’m sure SJA de Villiers would forgive you for adapting the recipe to suit your taste – I threw in some raw cashew nuts for even more crunch. Make sure the nuts you use are unsalted.