By Louise Liebenberg
THIS week I dipped into yet another cookery book aimed squarely at those for whom the kitchen is unfamiliar territory, for instance school leavers or young adults having to hunt and gather for the first time.
The difference is that ‘Help! There’s a Stove in my Kitchen’ does not just cover the basics, but also has plenty of recipes for more impressive dishes that really are “cunningly simple”, as author Annabel Frere puts it.
Put a plate of pork fillet in mustard cream served with a dollop of butternut mash and some Asian-inspired steamed veg in front of any dinner guest and they should surely be impressed. Unless of course they’re one of those painfully pernicky “food experts” you see on shows like ‘Come Dine with Me’!
Most of Annabel’s dishes are quick, easy and affordable, but don’t come across as boring or old-fashioned.
Yes, this is one “beginner’s” cookery book that is definitely worth shelling out for. Scroll down on the blog today as we test one of Frere’s very do-able recipes – and deliver The Global Table verdict!
Help! There’s a Stove in my Kitchen, by Annabel Frere, is published by Struik Lifestyle. The recommended retail price is R160 and it is also available in Afrikaans.
Recipe: Cucumber Soup
Annabel describes this chilled green soup as a “fairly chunky, cool, refreshing” dish. It serves 2 to 3.
1 chicken or vegetable stock cube or 1 Tbsp stock powder; 1 Tbsp boiling water; 1 cup cold water; 1 large cucumber, washed and diced; 1 cup plain yoghurt; 1 mint leaf, chopped; 1 tsp garlic and herb seasoning; salt and pepper to taste; extra mint leaves for garnishing
Dissolve the stock cube or powder in the boiling water and then top up with the cold water. Blitz everything in a blender and chill in the fridge. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.
The Global Table verdict
This soup was surprisingly delicious given how simple the recipe is. It has a beautiful, vivid green colour is very refreshing if properly chilled – I might even serve it in a soup bowl with some ice cubes added for an additional chill factor!
This dish will certainly serve any cook well as a summer starter. We followed the recipe fairly closely but used a sachet of Ina Paarman’s concentrated chicken stock instead of the stock cube or powder; when preparing this for vegetarian guests I’ll use a good-quality vegetable stock powder like Ina Paarman’s.
We also upped the amount of chopped mint, using about four decent-sized leaves, as both Salvelio and I enjoy a somewhat more minty flavour. We did not have garlic-and-herb seasoning on hand and so used half a teaspoon of mixed herbs along with one medium-sized clove of fresh garlic, which we crushed before adding to the blender with the other ingredients.
I will definitely make this dish again as it reminded me of the lovely green gazpachos they used to make at the PE Golf Club in Mill Park, Port Elizabeth, when I was a girl. My dad Mike Liebenberg used to take us there for lunch ever so often. I haven’t been back in many years and wonder if the food is still as good as it was back then?