Something’s cooking

Something’s cooking

Portugal-born Joao da Fonseca, a.k.a. J’Something, is known to millions of fans for his award-winning hits as the lead singer and songwriter of South African band Mi Casa, ‘My Kitchen Rules SA’ Judge and restaurateur.

J’Something worked with Quivertree Publications to produce a very exciting and highly anticipated book – ‘Something’s Cooking’ – a cookbook for home cooks by a home cook, with a side aspiration for more serious foodies.

From just one “accidental” foodie post on Instagram to his own cooking shows broadcast across the continent and now author of his very first cookbook, J’Something is living proof that dreams do come true when one is truly passionate. His food philosophy is simple: it all begins with love. ‘Something’s Cooking’ is packed with delicious recipes, ranging from everyday family dishes to treats J’Something cannot live without.

“When I cook I dance, so I want people to do the same thing. Each chapter has one of my favourite DJs who has curated a playlist that ties into that chapter,” says J.

Let’s get the scoop from J. himself:

Where do you get your information or ideas for your book?

I get most of my ideas from my head and from the people I have around me. I don’t go too far for creativity, otherwise it loses its authenticity.

What was one of the most surprising things you learnt in creating your own book?

How much editing goes into making a book.

What do you think makes a good story and what makes your book different from any other cookbook?

I think a good story is a true story – and one that is true to the author. A bad story is when you try to copy someone else’s story. My book is different for many reasons, but most importantly it’s MY book; it’s about me and my food journey.

Let’s cook with J!

Mount fritter

This dish was inspired by my love for Mexican food and my love for vegetarian friends Donovon and Michelle. It is jalapeño-and-corn-fritter stacks with black bean paste, seriously delicious guacamole and a light fresh salsa.

Ingredients for the fritters:

2 whole mealies

15g butter

40g jalapeños, de-seeded and finely diced

60g self-raising flour

1½ tsps. baking powder

½ tsp salt

35g butter

1 large egg

¼ cup full-cream milk

1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

For J’s guacamole:

1 whole avocado

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsps Tabasco sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

½ red onion

½ green pepper, de-seeded

1 tsp white spirit vinegar

For the black bean paste:

1 can black beans

½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp cayenne pepper

1 clove garlic

½ tsp salt

Juice of 1 lime


For the salsa:

1 roma tomato

½ red onion

handful fresh coriander

1 clove garlic, chopped

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

3 tsps white wine vinegar

4 tsps tomato juice

Juice of 1 lime


To serve:

1 jalapeño, sliced

Fresh coriander

1 spring onion, sliced


Method for the fritters:

  1. Cut the kernels off the cob then fry lightly with the 15g butter in a pan, mixing in the diced jalapeño.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the self-raising flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the 35g butter and rub through until well mixed, with a crumb-like consistency.
  4. Make a well in the middle and add the egg and milk.
  5. Mix together well and add mealie-and-jalapeño mixture.
  6. Mix all together until well combined.
  7. Heat the oil and deep-fry batches of about 30g (2 tablespoons) of batter per fritter until all fritters are done. Set aside.


For the Guacamole:

  1. Peel the avocado and place it, along with all the other ingredients, into a blender. Blend until smooth, then decant into a bowl and set aside.


Black bean paste:

  1. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.



  1. Chop up and mix together the tomato, red onion, coriander and garlic.
  2. Season with salt and pepper, and then toss.
  3. Mix together the vinegar, tomato juice and lime juice to make a dressing. Season with salt and ground pepper to taste.
  4. Toss the dressing with the tomato salsa and set aside.



  1. Plate the fritters and top with the guacamole, black bean paste and salsa.
  2. Garnish with a few slices of jalapeño, some fresh coriander and a few slices of spring onion.