Lizet Hartley

Mucking about with Merlot

Mum was an amazing woman – a tea, poetry and Chopin nocturnes kind of a woman. But since her grand piano didn’t fit in the kitchen, she felt neither did she. So I guess it was inevitable that I could legally drive a car before I could successfully boil an egg. In my world olive oil came from pharmacies, its uses strictly medicinal, and Aromat was the only thing you needed in your spice rack, other than salt.

And so I started my exciting food journey, totally clueless.  Cooking, tasting, classes but, most of all, reading. Because if one can read, one can cook. Not fancy, gourmet Michelin-star stuff of course. Just plain food – the kind you want to cook and eat again and again.

I cook soul food, comfort food and, most importantly, CHEAP FOOD. Because, see, I’m just a little bit cheap. Not the red lips/high heels/Sea Point Main Road kind of cheap. Rather the kind that buys tekkies at Pep and gets a borderline-weird thrill at the thought of a buy-1-get-1-free special on pumpkin.

As much as I love reading cookbooks, I like experimenting with my own recipes even more. I’m a real ‘what if’ cook. What if I make pizza dough but use wholewheat flour instead of just plain? What if I swop mozzarella for goat’s cheddar? What if I top it with rocket with just a hint of walnut vinaigrette? And add toasted walnuts for good measure. Will it work?