Tortoises and Tumbleweeds (Journey through an African Kitchen) – Lannice Snyman

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I am pretty much a novice to the world of cookbooks and hence was a little hesitant to do a book review earlier. But finally I have decided to start (not that I have become an expert, but I have been reading quite a few in the past year equipping me with a new found confidence).

So here is the first one that I have decided to review…..

I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading ‘Tortoises and Tumbleweeds’ and cooking from it too. The author has beautifully captured the country and its rich, vibrant and varied culinary history. There is a good selection of both traditional and modernist African dishes, most of which can be easily replicated in your home kitchen.

Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, this book captures the true essence of the South African countryside and takes you on a culinary trip introducing you to the tastes, flavours and cooking practices of the region.

Personally, being an Indian, this book has introduced me to the heavy influence and contribution of the Indian cuisine to the South African table. There was a heavy influx of labourers and migrants who came to the region during the colonial rule and went on to stay even when the rule ended. And this resulted in the introduction of spices and spice blends to the region, a prime example being garam masala. And so in the book, you can find recipes for samosas, biriyani, lamb rogan gosh etc – much to my delight!

The book also illustrates the influence of other cuisines like Malay, Portugese, Dutch, British etc…each of these lending a culinary ‘something’. This has made the South African cuisine a gastronomic amalgamation of so many different flavours and ingredients.

‘A complex rainbow nation’ is how the author refers to her birth country, which truly captures the culinary history of this great country.

The photographs and the food styling are done beautifully – earthy, rustic and colourful. A must buy and must read for anyone interested to learn more about South African cuisine.

Would you be interested in trying out the recipes from this cookbook? Check out ‘Eggs in Tomatoes'(https://skinnychefdecuisine.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/eggs-in-tomatoes/)

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