If you're a food nerd like me you would have noticed the beautiful Taste magazine that Woolworths brings out. The magazine is an awesome balance of recipe ideas and advice, new happenings in the SA food scene and absolutely stunning photography. I'm not the only one who thinks so and the mag was recently named "Magazine of The Year" at SA's Advantage Admark Awards.
So, you can imagine how stoked I was when the team decided to bring out the Taste Cookbook, which has brought together hand-picked recipes from the magazine's three editors. The book is split into three sections as a result, with the recipes being an extension of the editors' personalities, food philosphies and style.
"Smart and sassy" is Abigail Donnelly's section. Think of this as the funky, edgier part of the book. These recipes are head-turners. If they were a person they would be chilling in Kloof Street's Vida, checking out A-Store and wearing skinny jeans. She has taken common ingredients and given them unique twists and tweaks and the food is extraordinary. My favourite was the beef and strawberry carpaccio.
Maranda Engelbrecht's "gourmet glamour" chapter showcases food as an art. She takes ingredients and dresses them up to create unbelievable dishes. I would say these are a bit more advanced, but even if you don't feel like cooking them (which is a pity) you can't help but wonder at the way everything is presented. Her food is the girl who puts on an expensive dress and goes dancing. The standout meal for me here was the lobster salad with rooibos, gooseberry and wasabi butter.
"Everyday easy" is Phillippa Cheifitz's chapter and is a bit simpler. The dishes are clean and unpretentious and the flavour combinations are a bit more traditional. I absolutely love the vibe she has gone for though. Sometimes keeping things simple is actually difficult and she has adopted the philosophy of taking away an ingredient to add to the dish. (Did that make sense? Am I getting a bit too deep here?) Anyhoo...her cooking is the girl next door. The beautiful girl in a pair of jeans drinking a bottle of beer in a pub. Favourite recipe? There are lots but probably the chilli-garlic linguine with seared tuna.
So, how much for this bad boy? R300. For me, it is definitely worthwhile, as it saves me the mission of paging through old magazines to try and find a recipe that I remembered. Check it out if you have time. If you don't dig it it will make a red-hot gift for someone who does.