This is a collection of stories, recipes, anecdotes, and bits of narrative from my life. They blend my past life growing up in the heaving, urban African metropolis of Johannesburg to my present-day life along 4,700 miles of Nova Scotia coastline; much of life here begins and ends with the sea. Nova Scotia has shaped my grown-up sensibility as a wife and a mother, and also, inevitably, it has changed the way I cook.
The recipes between these pages are not a set of hard-and-fast instructions. I have never been very good at following instructions to a T, as I often prefer to put my own spin on things; this is especially true when it comes to cooking. I’m not a chef, just a home cook. I intend these recipes to be an inspiration for you to get something delicious on your plate.
The recipes that were my favorites in South Africa have been adapted to suit our life now and to include the ingredients that are locally available in Nova Scotia. In Halifax, we’re fortunate to have several great farmers’ markets, as well as direct access to small farms and community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups that deliver fresh produce to our door. Here, finding local seasonal produce and grass-fed meats and dairy is relatively easy. I encourage you to seek out these resources in your own city, as the difference in taste is remarkable and worth the effort.
A small number of ingredients in my recipes may be unfamiliar or hard to find, depending on where you live. Where possible, I have indicated substitutions. All of the recipes were photographed by me in the season in which they were made, and all of them were prepared in my home kitchen. (Not surprisingly, many of them were consumed right after, either around the small outdoor table on our deck or our dining room table.)
These are my stories, connected through my recipes.