Home Cooking, Herman Lensing

To Herman, Home Cooking is like Rachel from Friends. To me, it’s about memories, old and new.

Home Cooking

Home Cooking  is Herman Lensing’s sixth cookbook and follows the highly successful Dit Proe Soos Huis (Human & Rousseau), published in 2019 and 2020 winner of the SA Boekprys best nonfiction title. Home Cooking  tells the story – in his own words – of Herman’s 34 years. Unlike his previous books, this one also sees him sharing friends’ recipes, as well as many he discovered during his journeys throughout South Africa.

There are more than 80 recipes, from breakfast to main courses, from side dishes to meat dishes, from cakes, biscuits and rusks to desserts (such as trifle, ice cream and even bazaar pudding). Each chapter reflects Herman’s love of food and people, accompanied by entertaining anecdotes. The recipes are totally unpretentious, featuring ingredients that are available anywhere in the country. Home Cooking invites you into Herman’s kitchen, to prepare food anyone can cook.


Chapters are divided into:
  • Side dishes – time to shone
  • Bread, butter and jam
  • It’s cold food!
  • Mmm … marvellous meat!
  • Come for breakfast, stay for lunch
  • Biscuits and rusks – just like Ouma’s!
  • Sweet, sweeter, sweetest
  • My friends’ food
  • The final course
Recipes that caught my eye:
  • Slaphakskeentjie-style vegetables (p30)
  • Rosemary butter (p45)
  • Northern Cape fig jam (p46)
  • Bacon-and-beer potbrood (p50)
  • Farm bread with quince jam (p53)
  • Tongue with mustard sauce (p58)
  • Hartenbos pea salad (p69)
  • Lamb ribs with salsa verde (p80)
  • Pastorie chicken (p88)
  • Bobotie meatballs in a creamy sauce (p92)
  • Creamy sautéed kidneys on toast (p101)
  • Snoek fishcakes with summer sauce (p105)
  • WAA custard biscuits (p128)
  • Condensed milk cake (p142)
  • Busy-Bee ice cream (p146)
  • Chocolate-and-orange-sauce pudding (p154)
What I made:

I made the pastorie chicken which was not a success, following the recipe cooking times. After 20 minutes in the oven the chicken was basically raw. It took another 40 minutes to get it to 65º Celsius (chicken fully cooked should have an internal temperature of 72º Celsius). The flavours were great so I will work on the cooking times to get it perfect. The condensed milk cake was delicious, and such an easy bake. It took longer in the oven than the recipe called for as well which makes me wonder about Herman’s oven temperature reading. I have tested mine with a digital thermometer and it is accurate.

Condensed Milk Cake
Condensed Milk Cake
My impressions:

Each recipe holds a memory for Herman and this really comes across in the feeling of comfort throughout the book. The photos are lovely and I really liked the rustic layout.

Publishing information:
ISBN 9781485900887
Format Trade Paperback
Published November 2021

Penguin Random House South Africa sent me this copy of Home Cooking to review.

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11 thoughts on “Home Cooking, Herman Lensing

  1. Interesting ! My only but hugely beloved book on African cooking is from the !960s absolutely fantastic Time-Life series ‘Foods of the World’ . . . ‘African Cooking’ which still has my favourite bobotje recipe in it 🙂 ! With over 800 cookery books on my shelves a book moratorium naturally has been in place for a long time, but I must admit to curiosity !! Being largely a savoury cook the recipes for tongue, kidneys and fish cakes interest above all . . . hmm ?

    1. I would love to see your recipe book collection! We are in the middle of watching the British MasterChef the Professionals so I skipped your email this morning, not wanting any spoilers 🙂

      1. I did think of that and tried not to provide more than a few ‘vague’ ones 🙂 ! But most friends on my lists would not be in your situation of being able to view it all , so – more than fair enough !!! Do not miss the semi-finals either . . . one of the restaurant visits a;so is rather special 🙂 !!!

        1. We are in finals week, down to the last 4 having just watched the Chef’s’ Table. Dave loves this version so we watch it the same night it is aired here.

  2. It’s funny. I don’t think I have used a cookbook in many years. I seem to browse the internet, Instagram, and blogs for recipe inspiration. Years ago, I used to read cookbooks like a novel and had many cherished cookbooks where the author shared memories and background about the recipe. Those were always my favorites. I also enjoy the chapter titles- often very clever such as ” come for breakfast, stay for lunch.” Great review. Thanks Tandy

    1. I cannot remember the last time I had to buy a recipe book – I am so blessed to have a wonderful collection just from doing reviews 🙂

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