Car-chasing dogs and writing a cook book…

15 01 2011

It’s kind of like a dog chasing after a car – when it catches up with the car it has no idea what to do next…

My situation, that is. My BOOK situation. The one that has eclipsed so many nights with endless scribbles and scrawls and voice memos of ideas, and robbed me of much jolly good sleep. The one that has now become the precursor to much cooking and baking and feeding and tasting and oohing and aahing and turning up my nose in abundance. This situation of a random proposal that I sent to RandomHouse/Struik publishers here in Cape Town months ago, and which suddenly reared it’s almighty daunting head out of the blue and said ‘Yes Please’ and left me stammering and stuttering and fluttering… and HERE. With a book to write. And an overwhelming number of blank pages. And a deadline. A large, looming deadline. So if you’ve been wondering why there has been such a lack of inspiring new anything posted on this blog lately, that would be it. See? I have been a tad distracted. I am finally getting it together though, and as of next week should be juggling life (which now includes being pregnant) and my day job and blogging and book writing with aplomb. I hope. So watch this space.

Oh, and if you ever want to have anything to do with the incredible beetroot risotto I cooked last night, or the nectarine and goats cheese salad the night before that, you’re going to have to get in line – at my parent’s house, or my friends the Traffs, because between them they are going to be buying all and any copies of the book that go on sale. Just in case.

If you’d care to know…
Deadline for manuscript: 4 April 2011
Then: Food Photography; Design; Printing (up to 3 months)
Hitting Shelves: Around April 2012

Wish me luck!

Post Script – 2 weeks later, 25 Jan 2011
Things are progressing well… yesterday I cooked my way through 5 options alone. Some of my favourites so far are a smoked salmon pasta with an exquisite secret ingredient; bobotie samoosas; malva pudding also with its own twist; happy-making papaya sorbet, a glorious pear & ginger tart and some very bella bruschetta.

Post Post Script – Another 4 weeks later, 28 Feb 2011
Holy Cow. I am starting to feel like I am on a runaway freight train. Who said the last month was allowed to go by that fast? It has not been uneventful let me tell you. For one, cookies seem to be my new nemesis, I just can’t get the exact combination right for that melt-in-your-mouth buttery loveliness that I am looking for. Even when my Mom shipped in for a week to come and visit (I don’t think she had in mind that her trip to Cape Town would entail not leaving the kitchen night or day, sorry Mom!) we still battled on against evil cookie monsters giving us a hard time. I think we’re close though. Then there have been various cakes, muffins, stuffed chicken, racks of lamb, prawn curries, tomato tarts, salmon tartlets… the list is seeming endless, and food combinations churning through my head at odd hours are starting to give me insomnia. Am I loving this? You bet I am. Not once yet have I stood in the kitchen, ready to cook yet again, and thought ‘I don’t want to be here’, and for that I am enormously grateful. That said, the 4th April is starting to feel very loudly nigh.

Post Post Script – Another 3 weeks later, 3 weeks to go – 15 March 2011
I think I’m almost done cooking and recipe-testing now, save about 12 recipes or so, but that’s a walk in the park when you’ve been cooking up to 4 things a day for the last couple of months! Am starting the ever-yawnful editing process now. Golly me it’s rather tiresome. Besides being nervous that I have measured things correctly, ordered words correctly and included enough exciting options for everyone, I am getting quite excited about the 4th April and the chance to move out of my kitchen and back into my life!

Post Script – Light At The End Of The Tunnel – 6 More Sleeps
Wow, there was one point when I wasn’t sure I’d get here… HERE being the point where I have butterflies in my stomach because I can say ‘this time next week I’ll be done’; and go to bed at night without recipe gremlins keeping me awake; and ponder and muse about what I’ll do when I’m bored soon… Yip. I. Am. Almost. Done. We’re on the home straight. And it feels pretty magnificent I must say.

On Saturday we had a Grand Tasting Affair, 14 fabulous friends, 9 courses from the book and 8 glorious wines brought to us by our legendary friend Allister Kreft of UnderTheInfluence

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the treats we enjoyed:

Beer-basted Prawns | Not Your Average Fish Cakes, with a special pesto | Spring Risotto | Lamb Burgers, with a spicy relish | Mustard-Crusted Roast Beef Fillet | Mini Bunny Chows | Figs, done my way | Watermelon Sorbet and then it all ended with Poached Pears with Vanilla Cream

Not a bad way to salute what’s been a pretty amazing culinary journey so far…

Fellow Foodie Bloggers
I’ve also been in touch with some of SA’s most exciting foodie bloggers, to ask them to guest blog some of their favourite recipes in the book. I am super excited about this part as it will really bring more focus onto this whole other food blogging world in SA and beyond, and the diversity of talent that’s out there. The gallant participants, in no particular order (except alphabetical), are…

Alida Ryder, Simply Delicious Blog
Andy Fenner, JamieWho Blog and now Aficionado
Jane-Anne Hobbs, Scrumptious Blog
Nina Timm, My Easy Cooking Blog
Sarah Duff – Veggie Delish Blog



11 responses

15 01 2011

Congratulations…gosh on everything! How exciting…pregnant with child and pregnant with book. Awesome stuff. The next food and wine bloggers indaba is happening on Sunday 20 Feb at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek. Please pop over to read about it..I will update again on Monday with the Agenda and some more info.

15 01 2011

Oh PS…sorry my trigger finger was too quick on the send button. Abigail Donnelly and Phillipa Cheifitz will be talking at the Indaba about how to get your work published in magazines and how to turn your writing into a book!! Among other interesting speakers we also will be having food styling and photography workshops and a writing workshop.
All the best,

16 01 2011
Babs Graham

CONGRATULATIONS – baby and book! All very exciting!!

16 01 2011

You can do it, of all people!! Both birthings (!) will be amazing and bring you lots of joy! I pray for wisdom (ideas) and strength (energy) for you!

25 01 2011

Wow, congratulations! Such fantastic news about the book and the baby! Very happy for you 🙂

25 01 2011

Thank you!! See you tomorrow 🙂

3 02 2011

Congrats on being pregnant – something lovely to look forward to after all the stress with the book. I’m sure you’ll make a rip roaring success of both book and baby.

4 02 2011

Thanks Marisa! And I hope you enjoy the risotto if you try it! Have a fab weekend.

30 03 2011

This is all such awesome news. Congratulations for getting this far. So so interested in your book and I am sure it is going to be fantastically successful. All the best for the rest xx

30 03 2011

Thank you Colly! You are too kind 🙂 It’s been an amazing experience… will keep you posted on the progress x

18 04 2011

All done, Se?? You will be with us soon. Can’t wait to catch up!

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