A maiden launch to remember

We attended the launch of TheFoodFox.com founder Ilse van der Merwe’s first cookbook Cape Mediterranean: the way we love to eat, published by Penguin Randomhouse SA. Not only did we get the chance to try some exciting dishes from the book (prepared by the author herself) but we also walked away with one of the most exciting and thoughtful goodie bags we’ve ever received, which is saying something.

We left the event tummies full and smiling, material bag in hand crammed with a whole host of goodies which included the recipe book, Lemongold seedless lemons, D’Aria wine, Barker & Quin tonic water and a piece from Mervyn Gers ceramics, to name but a few items.

“Writing a cookbook (hopefully one of many to come) has been one of my biggest aspirations for many years. In June 2018 I finally approached the legendary Linda de Villiers from PRH with my concept. Apart from agreeing to publish my book, she and her team have made this process the smoothest and most pleasant that I could have ever wished for and I am so grateful for their belief in my concept. It was a privilege to produce this book with my incredibly talented friend Tasha Seccombe who photographed & styled while I cooked and co-styled – I couldn’t have done it without her. With ceramics, fabrics, background textures and props provided by our friends from HertexHertex HAUS, Mervyn Gers & Southern Art Ceramics, this book has a very unique local look and feel.”

The recipes are a celebration of local, seasonal produce, and sheds a modern light on a few familiar Mediterranean classics, while adding some fresh ideas for easy home entertaining. In contemporary South Africa, especially in the Western Cape, so many of us love long lunch tables that start with breads and spreads, going into smaller bites or tapas, onto generous salads and vegetable dishes served alongside beautiful roasts or freshly grilled seafood. We savour the process of coming together around a table, many times next to a fire, sharing conversations and creating new memories. Cape Mediterranean focuses on these gatherings, not heritage food nor nostalgia.

Cape Mediterranean cooking is a South African style of cooking and entertaining influenced by one of the oldest and arguably also the healthiest cuisines in the world. It has developed naturally within the Western Cape due to its Mediterranean climate and the abundance of classic Mediterranean-style local produce.

Food blogger Ilse van der Merwe was recently seen as the presenter and content producer of Klankbord, a popular Afrikaans food and music TV series on Via, DSTV channel 147. She is a true enthusiast of the culinary world and all its magical chambers. Eating great food makes her happy, cooking is her favourite way of spending her hours, writing about food is something that comes naturally and talking about food fills her with passion. Her blog – TheFoodFox.com – has been online since 2011 and has a loyal following. Ilse also does recipe development, food styling and cooking demonstrations.