Stuff About Food by Jenny Morris

Stuff About Food by Jenny Morris

foodSTUFF is Tony Jackman’s refreshingly view of life and the food that goes with it. He relates every heartache, every joy, and does not shy away from imparting the pain of loss of a family member or his troubled relationship with his father. The stories of his journey towards adulthood are counterbalanced by rich tales from his life. foodSTUFF has many meaty recipes, spicy poultry dishes, some of Jackman’s eccentric signature dishes, and desserts he likes to spoil his friends with.

Jackman, known in particular for his article Sliced & Diced in the Weekend Argus, invites you into his world, from humble beginnings in an English working-class family to an illustrious career as an unapologetically eccentric South African foodie, playwright and author.

foodSTUFF tosses together tales from a rich, nomadic life with masses of meaty recipes (Obies oxtail potjie, beef fillet with melted French Brie, parsley-crusted rack of lamb); spicy poultry dishes (tamarind duck curry, chicken coconut curry); a handful of signature dishes (Spanspek soup, bacon-and-beer braai bread); and the desserts with which Jackman likes to spoil his friends (the chocolatiest chocolate tart ever, lemon syrup cake, pears in Chardonnay Pinot Noir with a Parmesan wafer).

Buon appetito…

Tony Jackman is a journalist, columnist, playwright and occasional restaurateur who writes with knowledge, wit, irreverence and an abiding love and respect for family, friends, humanity, liberal values and the right to express controversial opinions unfettered. The son of British expatriates who sought a life under the sun, he grew up far from the Yorkshire moors that are the home turf of his cousins. Yet his ‘Yorkshirenessa’ remains a part of his make-up, his stoic outlook on life and his sense of getting on with things despite the odds. An accomplished truant while at (or not at) high school, he elbowed his way into journalism despite closed doors and, over decades, moulded himself into the writer he wanted to become. Unable to afford university, he decided to find an education by watching, listening and observing everyone and everything from which he could glean knowledge and understanding. Tony is Chief Sub-editor of Daily Maverick, South Africa’s leading alternative online newspaper, to which he also contributes columns. He is married to the journalist Diane Cassere, father to Rebecca and stepfather to Jessica and the late Niccy. He lives in Grahamstown, the Eastern Cape’s creative city.

I have always loved ready Tony’s columns over the years and Im delighted that he has written this book, I can’t put it down.

foodSTUFF is published by Human and Rousseau

Let’s Cook!



Hops and smoke on a still Karoo night.

Malted temptation. By the time the bread had baked for an hour and I took the

lid off, I could sense Satan on my shoulder and for a moment wasn’t quite sure

whether the curls of smoke around me were emanating from the coals or

were the harbingers of Hell. Had I gone too far this time?

The shifts and shuffles of a crescent-moon Karoo night can play tricks on

you. But your palate takes your mind back to the aromas emanating from the

pot over the coals. Bacon and beer.

The smokiness of the pork rashers combined with the maltiness of the ale.

Add the smoke from the braai fire, some herbs plucked from the garden, and

an onion to sweeten it up, and you have the makings of something very special

to go on the side of the fire as you prepare the chops and wors.

500 g self-raising flour

2 Tbs sugar

. tsp salt

1 x 340 ml can of beer

80 ml cold water

1 egg, beaten

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 Tbs rosemary needles,

finely chopped

8 –10 rashers

streaky bacon

Line up all your ingredients on the kitchen table, grab a big bowl, and find a

suitable cast-iron pot. A potjie (not too big) will do, but my heavy ovenproof

casserole dish did the job just as well.

Sift the self-raising flour into the bowl and stir in the sugar and salt. Make a

well in the center and pour in the beer and cold water. Add the egg, then

combine quickly with a big wooden spoon. It will form a wet, sticky dough that

will stick to your fingers. That’ s okay.

Add the finely chopped onion and rosemary needles, combining well with

the wooden spoon. Grease the inside of the cooking pot, and line it with the

streaky bacon, with the strands hanging over the edge of the pot. Spoon in the

dough, then pull the bacon strands over the top to cover the dough.

Cover with a lid and cook on a potjie stand or on two layers of bricks, with

coals constantly beneath. If you use only one layer of bricks, there will be too

much heat and the bottom of the loaf will blacken. Put some coals on the lid as

well, replacing them every now and then with hot ones.

After about 1 hour, turn the bread out on to a wire rack. Rip off chunks by

hand and serve with real butter and whatever’s just been cooked on the braai

grid. Toast the angels, not the other guys.