Siba Mtongana is a multi award-winning celebrity chef, mom, author, and founder of the The Siba Co. You may recognise her from her cooking show “Siba’s Table” on Food Network in which she’s showcased local and African dishes with a twist.
Let’s Cook is Siba’s latest cookbook which features delicious, yet nutritious easy meals and treats for kids and teens. The bright book features mouth-wateringly vibrant dishes, sweet illustrations and her family which makes for a feel-good family recipe book. I love her tips, titled “Siba’s Secrets” included in the recipes which gives ideas on swaps, methods and tricks to make cooking for you family easier.
The book is split into 3 categories: Morning munchies (both weekday and weekend breakfast options), On the go (recipes that work for lunchboxes and snacks) and meals (your at home lunches and dinners). She also has her “best basics” which includes go-to recipes for sauces and dips. There’s a little something for every type of eater. You can see her degree in food and consumer science with majors in food sciences and nutrition come out in her recipes, which are packed with fruits and vegetables and are all round nutritious while still being kid friendly.
It’s a fantastic cookbook if you have kids and want nutritious but child friendly meals. If you want a cookbook that’s more about entertaining or “grown up” recipes, Siba’s cookbook “My Table” is fantastic and is packed with recipes good for at home family meals or entertaining, with so many ideas for oomphing up a summer braai.
The recipe from Let’s Cook that I’m sharing is her recipe for ratatouille. It seems simple but her homemade tomato relish adds delicious flavour to this deconstructed vegetarian dish.
Ratatouille from Let's Cook by Siba Mtongana
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 sticks celery sliced
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 medium aubergines thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
- 2 tablespoon chermoula spice * see note
- 4 tablespoon canola oil for frying
- 6 large marrows thinly sliced
- 3 large tomatoes thinly sliced and patted dry
- 4 fresh mozerella chese balls thinly sliced
- 30 leaves fresh basil
- 1 cup mozerella cheese grated
- In a large sauce pan over a medium heat, heat the olive oil and sauté crushed garlic for one minute. Add the celery and tomato paste, stir well.
- Pour in the canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the tomatoes have disintegrated. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Place the aubergine slices on a tray and sprinkle salt on them and leave for 10 minutes to draw out some of the liquid. Pat dry the slices with paper towel to remove the salt and sprinkle chermoula spice over them.
- In a large saucepan, heat half the oil and cook the aubergine in batches for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the marrow slices to the same pan and half-cook before setting aside as well.
- Pour half of the homemade tomato relish into a casserole dish and spread it out. Layer the aubergine slices upright on the side of the dish, followed by the marrows, tomato slices, mozzarella slices and finally the basil leaves, reserving some for a garnish.
- Continue layering until you have used up all the ingredients and the dish is full, then spoon the remaining tomato relish on top. Finish off with a sprinkle of grated mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Then turn the grill on for 5 minutes to slightly brown the cheese.
- Remove from the oven and leave to rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Garnish with basil leaves and enjoy!
Let’s Cook was given to us by Penguin Random House and is available here. Penguin Random House nor the author approved or reviewed this piece prior to publication. Opinions are our own. The recipe is reprinted with permission, images are our own.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.