Seasoned with love for son

Self-published’s author’s book contains a range of her late son’s favourite recipes

Sharma Boy proudly displays her self-published cook book Grannies Kitchen
Sharma Boy proudly displays her self-published cook book Grannies Kitchen
Image: Sibongile Ngalwa

From the soups, bread, hearty meat dishes through to the scrumptious desserts – there’s no denying that the main ingredient in all of Sharma Boy’s recipes is love.

Boy, who last month self-published a cook book – Grannies Kitchen – said the inspiration behind her book had been the death of her 31-year-old son three years ago.

The last-born of three children, Ruskin, who was also fondly known as “Raeez”, died of cardiac failure.

Heartbroken after his death, Boy said it was while preparing one of her son’s favourite meals, that she decided to write down the recipe.

From there followed her idea to write a recipe book, a feat she achieved in a few short months.

Filled with a variety of easy-to-follow recipes, the book includes starters, mains, and desserts – such as apple and banana salad, chow mein, lamb curry, carrot pickle, milk tart, plus a variety of traditional Indian dishes.

Boy said 99% of the glossy pages of the recipe book were filled with her late son’s favourite foods.

The book was officially launched at PNA Stationers in Vincent a week ago.

“His death was very difficult for me because I’m one of those mothers who dotes over her kids, especially with him because we were very close,” Boy said.

“When he passed away, every time I cooked I would think about him and it was so difficult. I couldn’t eat.

“For six months after he passed away, there was a little voice inside my head which was telling me to write a book and I just kept ignoring it and shelving it.

“Eventually, I just found myself typing up one of my recipes just to see how it would look. It was all of his favourite foods that I used to make for him.

“From there I just found myself writing this recipe book. Writing the recipes down is what helped me heal.”

The book’s title was inspired by her eight grandchildren, who refer to her as granny. Boy said the book was meant to enhance the skills of seasoned cooks, as well as provide a step-by-step guide for the less so.

Boy has also launched her own spice range to complement the book.

“The spice mix is basically seven of the spices needed for some of the dishes included in the book, such as for the biriyani, which are already mixed to perfection so they are ready to be used,” she said.

Boy said the book was meant to make even the heartiest of meals a breeze to prepare.

“Cooking mustn’t be a chore, it must be an act of love ... because if you make something with love, no matter how difficult it is, it will always come out a success.”

Boy will be making appearances around East London throughout the month.

The first will be at the Hemingways Mall community market, followed by Chandlers Guest House in Selborne, and she will host a stall at the Wizards on Wheels show at Port Rex Technical High School later this month.

Grannie's Kitchen is available from PNA Stationers for R150.

Milk Tart Recipe:

BASE

Cream together:

quarter cup of sugar

2-and-a-half dessert spoons of butter

Add:

1 egg and mix well

One cup of cake flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Smooth onto a greased dish or two pie plates

FILLING

Pour 1 litre milk in a pot together with 250g margarine and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, separate 5 eggs into two dishes. Beat the egg whites until they are very frothy.

To the egg yolks, add 5 dessert spoons of Maizena, 3/4 to 1 cup cup sugar, 2 dessert spoons of cake flour, 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence and half a cup of milk. Mix very well until there are no lumps.

When the milk boils, add the yolk mixture and beat well with a whisk ensuring there are no lumps.

Turn down the heat and when the mixture thickens, remove the pot and fold in the egg whites. Pour all of this onto the batter. Spread evenly and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 180°C for about 25 to 30 minutes.

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