1. In Bibi’s Kitchen: The recipes and stories of grandmothers from the eight African countries that touch the Indian Ocean by Hawa Hassan and Julia Turshen (Penguin Random House)
Grandmothers from eight East African countries (including SA) welcome you into their kitchens to share flavourful recipes and stories of family, love and tradition in this transportive cookbook-meets-travelogue. Somali chef Hawa Hassan and food writer Julia Turshen present 75 recipes and stories gathered from bibi’s (grandmothers) from SA, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Comoros, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, and Eritrea with food that’s heavy on spices and flavour, accentuated with photos that mix lifestyle and food shots to evocative effect.
If you’ve got vegetarian guests for the festive season, there’s plenty here to keep them happy — and the ground chickpea stew is sure to be a winner.
2. Siba — Let’s Cook by Siba Mtongana (Penguin Random House)
It seems that 2020 has unleashed a new generation of little chefs, with many families taking the extra home-time to teach their children a few kitchen tricks. This book will take your kids’ cooking to the next level with loads of nutritious and delicious, easy to-make meals and snacks that are simple, fuss-free — and ideal for the whole family. The simple, step-by-step instructions ensure chefs in the making will be proud to present something they have whipped up this holiday.
The book is separated into sections including Morning munchies (batters, eggs, porridge and cereals); On the go (drinks, lunchboxes, snacks); Meals (lunches, dinners) and Basics. For a special Christmas morning treat we suggest making some of Siba’s Chocciest Chocolate Crêpes.
3. Dinner At Somizi’s — I Am Not A Chef by Somizi Mhlongo (CNA)
Somizi Mhlongo’s first foray into recipe books is inspired by his family’s cooking and celebrates food that is proudly South African and easy to make — a winning combo! As he points out, he’s not a chef, but he has had a love affair with food that makes for interesting reading as he shares some of his favourite dishes.
The food has been beautifully photographed and features a range of recipes for all sorts of occasions with a strong focus on local dishes. If you’re looking for a unique new year’s day lunch recipe to try, our pick would be the creamy blue cheese mogodu — a contemporary take on a traditional SA dish.
4. Dorah Sitole: 40 Years of Iconic Food by Dorah Sitole (Human & Rousseau)
Destined to become an iconic SA cookbook — featuring a broad range of recipes that echo this local food writer and chef’s versatility and experience — Sithole’s new recipe book is a true kitchen compendium. The book tells her life story through food, making for a fascinating read — whether the kitchen is your comfort zone or not.
There are so many recipes that re-interpret classics dishes by putting her own spin on traditional food, but the passion fruit crème brûlée caught my eye as an ideal summer-time dessert for the festive season.
5. Artisan Kitchen: Creative Projects for Adventurous Cooks by James Strawbridge (Penguin Random House)
I think the title says it all with this one — you need to be both creative and adventurous to implement some of the projects in this book. Think dry-curing bresaola and making your own sour dough starter from scratch.
It’s a compendium of the traditional given a contemporary twist and Strawbridge explains each recipe in three stages: The Science, The Practice and The Possibilities. This volume features 150 recipes, with endless instructions for preserving and cooking processes from fermenting to cheese-making and hot-smoking.