Review: Myrna Robins
BRUNCH ACROSS 11 COUNTRIES: Recipes of a private chef, by Alix Verrips (Human & Rousseau)
With a some autumn long weekends to savour, brunch comes to mind as the perfect meal. Whether on a country excursion, lazing at home, or entertaining friends and family, there’s no better time to combine breakfast and lunch into a long, langorous and relaxed meal, preferably relished outdoors.
All of which makes this new title from local publisher Human & Rousseau both timely and inspirational. Alix Verrips is an adventurous chef who now enjoys life in Knysna, raising money for children’s charities. But she has amassed a wealth of global gastronomic experience of the most delicious kind during her 15 years as chef on luxury yachts. Having cooked for celebrities, royals, rock stars, ambassadors, statesmen and politicians on the world’s largest yachts from Alaska to Australia, she presents readers with a treasury of recipes that evoke memories of cultures and countries. Special occasions and exotic ports inspired fare that contribute to irresistible brunch menus.
American Independence day calls for red, white and blue parfaits and beef sliders with blue cheese followed by a berry-filled pie, all accompanied by a seriously super-charged Bloody Mary. By way of contrast, a pheasant shooting party in the British shires features bubble and squeak, toad-in-the-hole, kedgeree and currant scones.
Add spice to your brunch with a Bahamian feast, starring a colourful spread of chicken souse, sweet potato fish cakes sauced with Creole aioli and chicken and sweetcorn congee. Chinese New Year in Sydney harbour, the Monaco Grand Prix, a Greek Isle cruise and a stay in Capri have all produced menus that are mouthwatering and recipes that I intend to try.
Other exotic fare was inspired by time spent in the Emirates, Mexico and Mallorca, while the home country is celebrated with a brunch in the bush. All those longing for that nostalgic experience of a portable feast after an early morning game safari can cook up bobotie cups, biltong, mielie and cheese muffins and malva pudding cupcakes with salted caramel sauce, washed down with gin-spiked rooibos and naartjie iced tea.
Beautifully illustrated with some tempting food photographs, this is a collection that will not collect dust on the kitchen shelf.