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Zola Nene’s food philosophy is very simple – cooking is for everyone. With easy-to-follow instructions, these recipes from Simply Delicious will ensure that anyone can produce mouth-watering results.

Here are some of her favourite simply delicious recipes.

Homemade ginger beer

Nothing quenches a thirst quite like the sting of ginger beer.
Makes 2 litres

  • 150g fresh root ginger
  • 500g white sugar
  • 100g seedless raisins
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 1.5 litres water, at room temperature
  • 10g instant dry yeast method
  • Roughly grate the ginger on the coarse side of the grater.
  • Mix the ginger, sugar, raisins, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large plastic bowl or bucket.
  • Pour the boiling water onto the mixture and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour in the water at room temperature, sprinkle over the yeast and stir to dissolve.
  • Cover the bucket or bowl with cling film and leave to stand in a warm place for two hours. During this time, the raisins will begin to rise and float to the top. Once all the raisins are floating and the mixture has developed little bubbles, the ginger beer is ready to bottle.
  • Filter the mixture through muslin cloth to remove all the bits and then bottle the ginger beer (put a raisin in each bottle).
  • Store the bottles at room temperature overnight to develop a fizz.
  • Then, the following day, open each bottle to release some of the built-up gas. You can now store the ginger beer in the fridge, ready for consumption – the cold temperature will stop any further fermentation. It will keep for up to one week.
  • Serve in tall glasses filled with ice and topped with sprigs of fresh mint.

Mealie and sugar-bean soup

Green (or white) mealies are a hot commodity in the Nene household,  Green mealies are completely different to the yellow sweet corn with which we are familiar. The kernels of green mealies are much bigger, the flesh is denser and the flavour is more savoury and not quite as sweet. Eat them straight off the cob either cooked on an open fire until charred and crispy, or boiled in salted water until tender and juicy. For leftover mealies, try a simply delicious izinkobe, a fresh mealie and dried sugar-bean stew.

This recipe is inspired by that dish with just a touch more liquid and some spice to turn into a soup.

Serves 4

  • 500ml dried sugar beans, soaked in cold water overnight
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 30ml chopped fresh thyme
  • 15ml chopped fresh rosemary
  • 10ml dried chilli flakes
  • 1.5 litres cold water
  • 500ml fresh green mealie kernels
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 60ml chopped fresh parsley
  • Wash and drain the soaked sugar beans, then add to a large saucepan along with the onion, thyme, rosemary and chilli flakes.
  • Cover with a litre of the cold water and bring to the boil.
  • Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour, topping up with extra water if necessary. Don’t let the beans boil dry.
  • After an hour, add the mealie kernels and the remaining 500 ml water and cook for another 45 minutes.
    Season to taste and serve in large bowls with fresh parsley sprinkled on top.

Find recipes using stone fruit by South African foodies, Caro Alberts, Jenny Morris and Zola Nene, here.

Peanut butter millionaires’ shortbread

This recipe is a combination of two delicious sweet treats: peanut butter fudge and millionaires’ shortbread. This simply delicious sweet treat combines the two to make a new and tasty cookie combination.

makes 12 squares

  • 120g butter
  • 60g castor sugar
  • 170g cake flour, sifted

For the topping

  • 60g butter
  • 250g muscovado sugar
  • 60ml milk
  • 125g smooth peanut butter
  • 150g icing sugar, sifted
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.
  • To make the shortbread, cream the butter and sugar until pale.
  • Stir in the flour to form a soft dough.
  • Press the dough into the prepared baking tin and bake for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  • To make the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the sugar and milk and stir until the sugar has melted, then bring to the boil for 2–3 minutes, without stirring. Then, remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
  • Using a wooden spoon, beat in the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the peanut-butter mixture onto the cooked shortbread in the tin, smooth the top with a spatula and leave to cool slightly.
  • Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in a glass bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Spread the melted chocolate, reserving about two tablespoons, over the peanut-butter layer and refrigerate until set.
  • Cut into desired shapes with a sharp knife, then drizzle over the reserved melted chocolate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

About the book

Zola Nene’s food philosophy is very simple – cooking is for everyone. With easy-to-follow instructions, these recipes from Simply Delicious will ensure that anyone can produce mouth-watering results. It is all about Zola’s journey as a chef; it’s her culinary career told through her recipes, interspersed with snippets and perspectives of her life journey, including tributes to the people who have inspired and influenced her cooking style. It’s available from good book stores nationwide.