Num Num

eat. cook. write.

May 24, 2014

Yum-mo (or what I'm all about these days)

My great big exciting news is that I've launched a cookbook this year (2014). It's called Yum-mo: Fun Fresh Food for students and beginners. It was hauled off a ship in the docks of Cape Town harbour at the start of May.

And now it is in major bookstores (real life bookstores) for people to pay R200 for. And cook from. They pick up my book (which is adorned with the face of Martha, a friend of mine) and then they read those words I wrote back in 2012 during my final, buzzing, dancing year at Rhodes. And my sister goes into bookstores and rearranges the displays so mine is on top. It's marvellous.

And they make decisions about what to cook. They buy things I recommend. It all blows my mind.

And that, dear folks, is the reason why I am never on black pepper plum anymore. I thought of exploding this blog - but no. It's a sweet, virtual monument to three years worth of rambling, cooking, tasting. It stays.

But if you want to see my student/ beginner/ everyone cookbook (and it really is for everyone - the recipes are often classics with twists. They're food you can eat every day) then move along to my website at (where you can order it) or like the Facebook page.

Some pictures:

That's me and the main commissioning editor, Daleen, on the day I first saw the book. I was so delighted I danced in the elevators on my way up to the twelfth floor of Media 24. 

This is an example of some of the beautiful photography in the book. Photographers Andrew Brukman, Chris de Beer and Sara Garrun did a beauty job. I styled (or learnt to) and it was quite a journey. 

Here's a photo of stage two of the launch, when there was a lucky draw to win books. The students of TUKS University's Honours Marketing Management class made it all happen quite magnificently.

That's me, signing a book. I've never felt so swish in all my life.

And that is le front cover. Beautiful.

January 20, 2014

Delicious Dinner: A menu

This blog isn’t even a blog anymore, a pity. It’s a rusty old archive of things I cooked and words I wrote in orders and ways that sometimes make me cringe when I read them.

It is useful, though. I love how it takes me on a food-memory excavation, the click-through I can do of things I made and loved.

In this spirit, I might posthumously write up some menus and recipes I’ve done this summer. The favourites, a kind of note or memory-boost to my future self. So that next year, when I sit at this old Hermanus kitchen table, I can click through and take courage.

Notes on Last Night


Biltong cheese straws (Home-made rough puff pasty with egg-wash, and on the other side – blue cheese melted with butter and soy sauce, with fine biltong sprinkled over). Delicate and moreish. I'm not in blog-mode currently so I forgot to take a picture. 

Parmesan crisps with Jane Coxwell’s guacamole and pomegranate seeds. They look like little frogs on parmesan toadstools, and they taste incredible. I mourn every guac I made without fresh ginger in it, thanks to Jane. (Whose cookbook, Fresh Happy Tasty (see here is one of the very best books you can spend money on).


Crayfish salad with vanilla linguini, tomato, basil, thyme.
Steam crayfish in wine, bay, fennel. Cool, remove tails. Clarify butter, whisk in lemon juice and thyme leaves, coat the crayfish in this. Make vanilla linguini and cook until just done. Fork into centre of plate. Take some beautifully ripe tomatoes, and peel (blanch for only 10 seconds, refresh). Cut into petals. Deep fry skins for garnish. Plate: linguini. Torn fresh basil. Crayfish tail, tomato petals, drizzle some left over lemon butter sauce over. Sprinkle with picked thyme leaves and pop tomato skins on top.

Main course

Miso-marinated beef fillet
I crusted it in sesame seeds – a bad idea. Seeds burn and you can’t sear the meat properly. Still delicious, but leave the seeds off. Fry in sesame oil. Serve with jus that has miso, soy and drippings from pan.
Shoestring sweet  potatoes – a bit labour intensive without a deep fryer. I got over shifting pots of oil around to avoid burns and did half the sweet potato in the oven, so that there were some roasted bits and the crunchy thin chips on top.
Roasted pumpkin with lime, pistachio and cinnamon butter. This was the best idea I’ve had in ages. Pumpkin is so good. It’s so so good. I roasted it until soft, and the butter was comforting but fun at the same time.
Rocket broccoli
From another must-have cookery book The Kitchen by Karen Dudley (see here). I had to go to Banks in Woodstock this week, so I went it to buy a famous Love sandwich (gammon! yes!)  and I met her, Karen.  I just held her hand like some groupie and told her thanks for the recipes, which are a private chef’s godsend. She smiled and laughed and asked for my details so she could pass on work.
The recipe involves boiling (or blanching) broccoli and dousing it in a sauce made of rocket blitzed with olive oil. It’s so simple but it works.


I made a recipe from Taste Magazine (the Jan/ Feb issue had loads of delicious things in).
Ginger mousse (which is airy, and actually more like a panna cotta cut into cubes – Italian meringue and cream folded into a gelatine mixture)
With almond biscuits (the recipe calls it’s crumble, but it’s more shortbread. I added fine ginger and cinnamon and cut them into triangles)
And geranium syrup (sugar syrup with geranium simmered in it, which also means you can now garnish with beautiful purple flowers)
And strawberry coulis and fresh strawberries.
The recipe calls for vanilla ice cream too, but I thought there was already enough going on.

With coffee

Blackberry macaroons

I’ve been trying for aeons to get perfect macaroons, with varying degrees of success. This time I used the basic Ottolenghi recipe, added some blackberry essence and purple colouring. For the icing, Philly cream cheese with soft butter and vanilla, with fresh blackberries. It was perfect because they weren’t too sweet but the fresh berries made them a little jammy. I’m about as proud of them as a momma-bear of her cubs.