Pickled Fish Salad for Easter

April 15, 2014 in seafood

pickled fish

Pickled fish is such a tradition here in the Cape this time of the year or around Easter and if you travel through the streets there is always an aromatic cloud of curry flavors hanging in the air! I love it!

I like to keep thinks simple, so I wanted to make a quick Pickled fish salad. I wanted the flavor and idea of eating pickled fish without the schlep of slicing 10kg onions and filleting fish! I bought yellow fin tuna a while back and thought it would be perfect for my pickled fish Salad. This is my lighter version of this Easter Classic!

Pickled Fish Salad

pickled fish

Mussels in a rich tomato sauce!

April 11, 2014 in seafood


Mussels are staples in my West Coast Paella or Seafood potjies, but my son’s absolute favorite is mussels in a creamy, garlic sauce or soup. Even as a little boy, he never fell for the fish fingers or chicken nuggets, but ordered this in restaurants often! All you need for a delicious, quick midweek meal or maybe a starter to a meal with friends, is bowl of mussels in a fragrant tomato sauce, a freshly baked ciabatta and voila……. a table full of happy quests licking their bowls and fingers, probably asking for seconds! For a fragrant tomato sauce, you have to look no further. I was lucky enough to get hold of chef Michael Broughton’s recipe.

Mussels in rich tomato sauce


What food inspires you?

April 8, 2014 in baked goods


After I have written my cookbook, Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen, the one question that I was asked most is: “Nina, what inspires you to cook and try out new recipes and where do you get all the recipes from?” This question had me thinking and here is what inspires me to cook….


What inspires you to cook, is it ingredients, TV, recipe books?

This is what inspires me…….



Samosas with spicy apple filling!

April 1, 2014 in baked goods

sweet samosas

Around this time of the year however, there is a slight chill in the air and we all have Easter in mind and with that all the warm spices and fruit you will normally find in Hot Cross Buns.  I wanted to put those flavors in little sweet samosas to enjoy with an strong espresso or maybe a cup of tea around teatime, just to ease of the chill a little. If you are very adventurous, you can try your hand at making your own sweet samosas from scratch, but I used ready made samosa wrappers or pur as it it is also known as. I have two words of advice when making sweet samosas or savory samosas….. make sure you fold it properly, so that the filling does not leak into your oil and maybe more importantly… MAKE ENOUGH! These sweet samosas are so addictive and literally fly off the plate!

Samosas with spicy apple filling

sweet samosas

The dream that came true – My Easy cooking

March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen is a recipe book, yes, but it also reads like a story book, every recipe comes with a memory or story that I have around that particular recipe.  I don’t think my stories are unique, I think most people with an Afrikaans background will have similar stories.  So if you read it and it evokes those wonderful childhood memories in you, cherish them and share them with your children, how else will your family’s legacy live on? Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I could write a book, let alone a recipe book, but I guess if it was meant to be part of my journey here on earth, it was bound to happen.  May I share the process with you…

easy cookingPensive me…….

The writing

I think the fact that I was blessed with a happy childhood, filled with food memories, helped  a lot! The stories were always there, I had to just unleash them! It was quite a lonely journey at times, after all writing a book is not exactly something you can discuss with everybody or share online, so every day  it felt like I just eloped into my creative cave, only to surface at night when I had to start the family meal! In my mind however, I never surfaced from that cave so I think my family at times experienced me as “not interested” or “otherwise occupied”, but I pray they will forgive me! In February last year, my family went to Knysna on a waterpolo tournament and left me at home to finish my book. On their return, my son had an aortic aneurism and you can imagine what happens to ones creative juices in times like these. Three of the chapters in my book, I wrote with the help of Ritalin and the grace of God …..  it never crossed my mind that I could ask for an extended deadline…… (I will however never tell which three it was!)

The editing

May I at this point just say….. if you think a teacher’s red pen on a Gr 12 essay is bad news, I pray you never have to deal with a chapter to proof read that has gone through the scrutinizing eyes of the proof readers. Oh my gosh, if your self esteem is not good, this will send you over the edge. I did learn so much from this process and I think my writing, my spelling and my ability to format recipes have improved quite significantly. I could never have done it without the amazing team at Random House/Struik. Always ready with words of encouragement, praise and recognition! Linda, you and your team are truly amazing! Thank you so much!

easy cooking

Annelize Luckhoff and Helen Henn

The design

I think we all have recipe books with many little scraps of paper with recipes written in mom or granny’s handwriting and I wanted to capture  “that feel” in Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen. After just 1 meeting with Helen Henn, the designer from Random House Struik, she knew exactly what I wanted and slowly and with so much care and patience, she created what you hopefully have in your hands  today. Like Herman Lensing so rightfully commented………….. “an heirloom ( ‘n erfstuk!)”. Thank you Helen!

easy cooking

Donna Lewis

The photos

What will a cookbook be without drool worthy photos! Donna Lewis needs no introduction and she is the much sought-after photographer for Taste Magazine, Fresh Living and Sarie and trust me, she knows all about drool worthy photography! She was my first choice for a photographer and the day she became part of this creative machine, was one of the happiest days of my life. In true Donna fashion, she would start each shooting day with: “Come on people, let’s make some magic” and then preceded to do just that. Thank you Donna, for putting my dream in visual form for everyone to enjoy!

Yvette Pascoe, the food stylist came on board, thinking she will help with cooking, cleaning and assisting. Yvette, or better known to my husband as the asparagus whisperer, you made magic for Donna and I could not have done it without you, yet your humility and passion for the industry is something I will cherish forever. Thank you!

easy cooking

The location

The day I walked into Annelize Luckoff’s house for one of her stunning mosaic artworks, I saw a bowl of fruit on a cupboard in one corner of her kitchen and knew instinctively: “This is where I want to create this dream!” The problem was, how to ask someone if  it will be ok to take over their house for three weeks….. with props, food, cooking, people, stylists, lights etc?  Without hesitation I asked and without hesitation Annelize said “YES”! Annelize’s house is something to behold and everyone who attended my Market Day book launch will agree, you can spend an entire day just drinking in every beautiful corner of that house. Annelize was like a mother hen, quietly going about her own business, but come tea time, she would stop the entire crew for a tea break on her beautiful stoep. Tea served in beautiful vintage teacups and Morning Glory muffins to die for. Amazing! Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen is what it is, because of you and your family! Annelize, you and your family have written in my heart forever and I cannot wait for the next book and to use the other beautiful items in your house!

easy cooking

My Family

My Family

How can I even begin to think that I could do this with any one of you! Des, you and the children are my anchor and safe landing space and  “Thank You” does not seem enough, but I am forever grateful for everything you guys do and mean to me! My greater family…… I am so grateful to be a part of this amazing institution called “A Family!”


The Book

This book was not written  with foodies in mind. Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen was written for the novice cooks, the insecure cooks, the aspiring cooks and the time-is-my-enemy-cooks. The recipes are easy, affordable and made with ingredients that are easily available. A book that you will hopefully use daily and a book that will become an heirloom even in your home! My favorite recipe in the book is without a doubt the Roasted Pork Belly, simply because it is so easy and simple, yet so flavorful and  delicious!

Easy Cooking from Nina’s Kitchen is available at all major bookstores, yes, even Woolworths!


Also available in Afrikaans as:

Maklike Etes uit Nina se Kombuis


You can order online at:

Exclusive Books:




Chinese Style Crayfish with only 2 ingredients

March 25, 2014 in seafood

Chinese Style

Would you believe me if I tell you that this delicious Crayfish recipe has only 2 ingredients? Yet it is perfectly balanced – sweet, salty, sour and the heat from the ginger and chili is just perfect. You can try the same method with fish, chicken and even prawns – just one warning, keep the serviettes and “jammerlappies” at hand.

Chinese Style Crayfish

Chinese Style

Plum Tarte Tatin with a tea infusion!

March 20, 2014 in baked goods

tarte tatin

Tarte tatin does not always have to be made with apples, it can be oranges, pears, peaches and even savory tarte tatins are quite the hype these days. This  onion tarte tatin is gorgeous to say the least , not to mention this divine tomato tart. So there you see, it can be sweet or savory, it is divine either way!

tarte tatin

Yesterday I attended a launch for  Carmien Tea  at Studio Rose in Durbanville where I had the good fortune to sit next to Mientjie Mouton, founder and Managing Director of Carmien Tea. You can read all about the rich history of this well-established brand on their website, but what I found most fascinating yesterday was how well the tea pairs with food. Of course we had the main Kokkedoor Nic van Wyk as our chef, but for someone like me who do not consume wine, it is such a fantastic alternative. The tea that I fell in love with was the flower tea and  it took my family exactly 1 day to fall in love with it too. Ice cold in the fridge…. it really is good!

While sipping at this delightful tea, I thought about a plum tarte tatin. I am not sure why the thought came to my mind, but I am so glad it did. I poached the plums in the flower tea and a little bubbly and then used it for my tarte tatin.

Plum Tarte Tatin

Plum Tarte Tatin

West Coast Paella

March 18, 2014 in seafood

Paella, is my saving grace when a hungry crowd arrives on my doorstep.  The base of the paella is after all rice and we all know, rice is a rand stretcher!

Spicy paella can also be as expensive as you want it to be, if you add prawns or crayfish, imported saffron and expensive Spanish chorizo, of course it is no longer an affordable way to feed a crowd. If  you read more about the history of paella, you will find that is was never meant to be a show-off, grand dish, but rather a way to feed big crowds at celebrations, festivals and family gatherings. There are 3 kinds of paella, a Valencian Paella, a seafood paella and a mixed paella! The main ingredients are of course, traditionally bomba rice, but saffron and olive oil play a large roll too.

spicy paellaI wanted to make my own version of a spicy paella, using everyday ingredients that you can find at any of our local supermarkets. Furthermore, I wanted to give the paella our own unique South African twist and because one of my favorite places in South Africa is the West Coast, I wanted to celebrate this region in my dish.

spicy paella

West Coast Paella with Mussels and Angelfish

spicy paella


Low-carb Beef Tamales and grilled corn!

March 12, 2014 in beef


The idea came to me as  I drove home, what if the mealies  feeds both sides of the family, those who still eat carbs and those of us who follow the low-carb diet? I have this obsession with spicy food and specifically Mexican food at the moment and I have always wanted to make tamales. Tamales however is made with masa, a starchy corn-based dough, so not a good idea on a low-carb diet, but I like the idea of each person eating from his little “parcel” made with mealie leaf wrappers.


So I cooked my beef mince in the wrappers and made mealies with chili butter for the carb lovers….. same vegetable, used in two ways to feed my family! Win – win! If you don’t share my love for mealies or could not care to make these low-carb tamales, simply cook the beef mince and serve in on rice or mashed sweet potatoes.

Low Carb Beef Tamales


Creamy Chicken livers with a little kick!

March 10, 2014 in Chicken

campfire cooking

Who likes chicken livers? Me, me, me! My husband too, but luckily my children don’t! So when I make chicken livers, I have to share it with only hubby and not two others. You either love it, of you don’t! I think it is the grainy texture that puts most people off, but I love it!

campfire cooking

We make this dish often at Hermanus, in  cast iron pan on the open fire. One of those kind of dishes, that you can literally eat from the pan with just a fresh bread to scrape out every morsel of creaminess!

Creamy chicken Livers

campfire cooking

If you like Chicken livers, try this Easy Chicken Liver pate!

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