First ‘bitten’, now ‘smitten’ by Sarah

Jenny Morris

Fooding Around with Jenny Morris

The book ‘smitten’ is a continuation of the conversation started in Sarah Graham’s first cookbook, ‘bitten’. The focus this time around is on the extraordinary; the creation of uniquely quirky yet still achievable, budget-friendly and oh so delicious food to share. Think a little elegance and a lot of je ne sais quoi. This is unintimidating food with a twist that the whole family will enjoy.
The recipes in ‘smitten’ will make our busy lives easier, says Sarah. The book is a conveniently divided into categories such as Nibbles, Speedy Suppers and Feast and Slow. Whether looking to knock up a quick dish on a week night or feed a party of eight on a lazy Sunday afternoon, there is something here for everyone.
‘Smitten’ features handy hints for the novice and reluctant cook, cooking and baking tips, and kitchen and baking starter kits. Also included is a useful Meals For A Month guide that takes the guesswork out of the eternal question ‘What should I cook tonight?’ Each dish is complemented with a wine suggestion to help round off the perfect meal.

Let’s cook!

Serves 2

This is always love at first bite and honest to goodnessly delicious. These charming little mushrooms on their bed of herbed ricotta, perched atop crispy, golden ciabatta make a very handsome anytime meal. And can just as easily be fed to friends as a before-dinner snack.
– Sarah
Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

1 Tbsp. butter
1–2 Tbsp. olive oil
250g mushrooms, chopped
Generous pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1–2 tsp lemon juice
Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, for serving

Herbed ricotta ciabatta
4 slices ciabatta, or 2 rolls, halved
½ cup crumbled ricotta cheese (you could also use buffalo mozzarella)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook for 3–4 minutes, and then add the garlic and balsamic vinegar. Cook for a further 2–3 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through, and then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and check for seasoning.
2. In the meantime, preheat the oven’s grill. Place the ciabatta slices in an ovenproof dish and grill for 3–5 minutes until golden.
3. Combine the ricotta with the remaining herbed ricotta ingredients in a small bowl.
4. To serve, spoon some of the ricotta mixture onto each toasted ciabatta slice, and top with the mushrooms and a couple of slivers of Gruyere or Parmesan.
© Sarah Graham Random House Struik (pty ltd) 2013