I often was lyrical about books I review. And I truly believe every word I say. If I don't like a book I don't review it. A 'must have' sounds so much like a clich? that I hesitate to use it. However, with Feast of Flavours my accolade is truly meant. If you are a South African and do not cook from this book, you are missing a big part of your heritage. For people of my generation and older, the recipes will take you back to your mamma's kitchen. Remember a time when many households had a cook in the kitchen? Samp and beans is not only an African tradition. As a child I was often fed whatever the local fare was. Lochner gives all these old fashioned truly South African foods a new lease on life. Who does not water at the mouth at the thought of Mealie crumpets or Pumpkin fritters?
He has developed a magical soup with marrow dumplings, I don't know what it will do to my waist, but the taste sensation whisks you off to a world of sheer indulgence - an unearthly experience. And once your taste buds have had their magical trip, you can anticipate the next culinary journey - Fried filled covered with sweet, fresh, juicy, plump figs, sprinkled with Gorgonzola and grilled until the cheese melts into the figs.
You will notice a lot of Malay influence, with Bobotie, Sosatie, Curried fish and Koeksisters. (Although I have to admit that it is so much easier to buy your koeksisters from Woolworths rather than spending hours making your own. I don't know how they do it, but the crunchiness of their koeksisters is consistent.)
I mentioned traditional fare, but Lochner is a brilliant artist, bringing a modern touch and a slight twist to many favourites. Baked fowl in sea salt crust is an old Mediterranean tradition, but he does it with guinea fowl. Once again I ask: can we not try this with Hadeda? Is it legal to Kill Hadeda? They eat all our 'Parktown prawns', which leaves our garden infested with snails.
Not all recipes are of Dutch and Malay origin. There is a fair mix of updated African eating. Putu venison pie is a prime example of mixing traditional South African foods. His Crayfish bisque, he believes, has roots dating back to the Khoi tribes who made some kind of soup with crustaceans.
But if you are like most people I know, you will savour best the pudding section. Dutch apple pie, Vinegar pudding (doek poeding), Baked figs with almonds. They are all there waiting for you. And how about a Chocolate-maize pudding?
This is an easily manged book of only 113 pages and profusely illustrated with step-by-step pictures in full colour, providing enough to inspire without overwhelming you with choice.
Winter is here and if you do a lot of exercise, you can surely indulge in one of these meals every night. That's my story and I am sticking to it.