I have a special treat for you today as not only am I sharing a new recipe but we are also chatting to fabulous local foodie Sarah Graham! A born and bred Zimbabwean now living in Joburg Sarah started a food blog in 2010 which launched her into the food world’s limelight, but her foodie journey started long before that (more about that in the interview!).
Earlier this year I bought a copy of Sarah’s fourth and latest book called “Wholesome”. I have always enjoyed the recipe’s I have tried from Sarah’s blog (the caramel bliss bars pictured below are a fave!) and when I first heard about the book about it appealed to me immediately for a few reasons. I have always believed in balance when it comes to eating but, like many of you, have become more conscious of the implications of too much sugar or overdoing the carbs. As a result I am always looking for recipe ideas that allow me to enjoy low carb and refined sugar free food without having to go full banting. Because sweet potatoes. And honey. Am I right?
I am also becoming more and more aware of where my family’s food is coming from and the book starts off with a hugely informative section about our food sources, food groups as well as helpful tips on how to start on the path to healthier eating.
I have made quite a few of the recipes already and found them to be easy to follow and super delicious. Two of my absolute favourites from the book are the Everything Granola (it has become one of my breakfast staples and I alternate it with my chocolate granola) and the Chocolate Smoothie Bowl which has become one of my go-to recipes for when I’m on the go and need something filling and wholesome to keep me powered up. In terms of dinners the lamb bowls have been a hit at home and the chicken, butternut and feta crumble is just amazing! There are also loads of salad bowls and for the sweet-toothed among us there is a dessert and baking section too. There is something for everyone, not forgetting the little ones, with Sarah also including a list of her own daughters’ favourites at the back of the book, too sweet!
It’s not about constantly being on a diet but rather making better, more conscious decisions about the food that goes into our bodies. And if you’re looking for inspiration then “Wholesome” is a good place to start! Let’s hear more from the lady herself…
Q& A with Sarah Graham:
1.) Wholesome is your fourth book and one of the things that I love about it is that it feels so personal – you can see how much love has gone into creating the recipes. What are your personal favourite dishes from the book?
Ooh, it’s always tricky to choose because for me food is so much about the context – the people I’m feeding, the weather, the occasion. I do love the breakfasts, there are so many options that can be made ahead and made in batches to kick start happy, healthy days. I love the Courgette and Chevin Frittata and we have it often for brunch or even a midweek supper sometimes. The Butter Chicken with Cauli Rice is also a favourite, and the Millionaire’s Shortbread Tart steals my heart every time 🙂
2.) In the introduction you talk about growing up on your family farm in Zimbabwe, eating local products, home grown veggies and your mom even making her own cheese! How would you say this influenced your foodie journey.
I think that it shaped my food journey in more ways than I was even aware of until recently. I didn’t realise what a privilege it was to grow up eating such simple, local, nourishing food, and to learn to respect, love and make the most of even the humblest ingredients. We never ate processed food or food that came out of a packet of any kind, it was all in it’s natural state which was such a gift. This isn’t completely unattainable these days either, which is exciting – there are more and more organic food delivery services cropping up who will gladly bring locally sourced fresh product to your door.
3.) Tell us about a typical day in the life of Sarah Graham?
There are lots of atypical days, such as when I’m doing events or on the road filming (which is total utter chaos, but I love it 🙂 – so a ‘tyipcal home day’ is waking up around 5.54am with our girls, Sophie(6) and Isla (3), morning cuddles and coffee and getting them ready for school. The flurry of breakfast, lunch boxes, packing school bags etc, and then their Dad usually drops them at school. I head straight for my desk at around 7.15 and start on emails, recipe development for events and clients, event scheduling and planning, TV episode development and planning, social media campaigns and often meetings with partners. I also plan our weekly meals, do some meal prep, run errands and do grocery shopping. By 12.45 I head to do the school pick up, am home with the girls by about 1.30pm and give them lunch. Then we chill for an hour or so which is when they get their TV time for the day. Our afternoons are taken up with taking our dog Apollo to the park, swimming/tennis, playdates and all those other kinds of Mom jobs!
4.) What has been your favourite foodie destination and which ones are still on your bucket list?
I loved cooking in Mozambique when we filmed Food Safari, their fresh produce is incredible and so rich and bountiful. As a general food destination, Italy is probably my favourite, China the most interesting I’ve experienced, and Scandinavia and India are currently at the top of my ‘next up’ list!
5.) Which five favourite ingredients will we always find in your pantry?
Good olive oil, good stoneground flour, good quality spices for curries, tinned tomatoes, seeds and nuts.
6.) Tell us about the meals you cook at home for your family. (And if you have any tips for little fussy eaters we’re all ears! 😉 )
I guess they are all kind of represented in my books – very simple, wholesome food and lots of simple but delicious and colourful salad bowls in the Summer. My girls still eat fairly basic food, so we also have lots of good old favourites such as Roast Chicken, Mac N Cheese, Fish Pie and stews in the winter. Oh, and where would we all be without Spag Bol?!
Thank you for chatting to us, Sarah and for a beautiful, inspiring cook book – I cannot wait to try even more of the recipes!
Today I have decided to share Sarah’s recipe for chocolate buckwheat crêpes with cappuccino ganache. My family are mad about pancakes and we often enjoy them as a weekend breakfast treat. Sarah’s version are made with buckwheat flour, sweetened with a touch of honey and served with lashings of chocolate ganache and fresh fruit, delish!
SARAH GRAHAM'S CHOCOLATE BUCKWHEAT CRÊPES WITH CAPPUCCINO GANACHE
For the cappuccino ganache:
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 2 tsp rice malt syrup or maple syrup
- ½ tsp instant espresso powder
For the pancakes:
- 1 cup milk (cow or coconut milk)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- butter or coconut oil for frying
- fresh strawberries (or banana slices)
- roasted flaked almonds or chopped roasted hazelnuts or pecan nuts
1.) To make the ganache: pop all of the ganache ingredients into a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until everything is melted. Whisk until combined and smooth and set aside.
2.) To make the pancakes: place all of the pancake ingredients except the butter / coconut oil in a bowl and whisk to make a smooth batter.
3.) Heat a small blob of butter or coconut oil in a frying pan. Add a ¼ cup of pancake batter to the pan and swirl it to get it as thin as possible. Cook the pancake until it bubbles and is set on top. Flip the pancake over and cook until the other side is golden brown. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter.
4.) Reheat the cappuccino ganache gently if necessary. Serve the pancakes with the warm ganache and topped with the sliced strawberries or bananas and roasted nuts.
Reprinted with permission from Sarah Graham.