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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THE MONDAY TO SUNDAY COOKBOOK (article first published : 2001-12-8)

Phillippa Cheifitz is the winner of the 2000 prestigious Gallivo award, considered the "Oscar" of the South African food world. She is the author of a host of best-selling cookbooks and she has acted as the food editor of the Cape newspaper The Argus, Cosmopolitan magazine and currently House and Leisure and Femina magazines.

With her reputation as an inventive and innovative cook you can be assured all the recipes are well researched and will always be successful. It is one of the few cookery books I have come across where I can say I want to try every dish.

The famous food photographer Craig Fraser once again does an excellent job of portraying the presented dish in clean, clear photographs, giving the book a modern up-to-date impression.

In the introduction Phillippa says she wanted a book that would reflect her lifestyle. Her files were crammed with good recipes gleaned from her years working on the various magazine publications, but she has carefully selected ones she most uses as they best suit the way she eats at home: simply with the family or more festively with friends. Phillippa maintains “It takes no less time to provide a bad dish than a good one”.

Her recipes have easy to follow, explicit instructions. Each day of the week presents a selection of dishes appropriate to that time of the week. Monday is generally a family type meal whereas Saturday offers a more sophisticated party mood repast.

All recipes are well laid-out with the number of servings given at the beginning. Many of the suggested dishes are for vegetarian meals ideal after a weekend of over-indulgence - eating too much meat at a braai, for instance.

Tuesday is a grilling day, be it vegetables or fish or good cuts of meat. Grilled lamb sausage with fruit and vegetable couscous presents a lovely to look at all-in-one dish. Baked Pasta with butternut squash and tomatoe curry sauce is an intriguing dish best prepared the day before.

The current Asian craze is well represented by Thursday's dishes and Phillippa demonstrates an easy way of serving sushi. The weekend fare features puddings - chocolate pizza for teenagers or chocoholics, as well as a sublime frozen coffee tiramisu.

Oven Roasted Prawns with Mango Salsa and green rice makes a good summery alternative when turkey begins to pall over the festive season. Interesting nibbles are featured as well as a tropical chicken salad or roasted marinated fish will be good for those lazy summer days spent by the sea. In all, a good book for the dedicated cook as a Christmas present.

The Monday to Sunday Cookbook is published by Struik and the recommended retail price is R123.




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