Simply Seasonal, Ilse van der Merwe

Simply Seasonal is my type of recipe book. As you know, I love to cook with seasonal and regional ingredients. Ilse’s favourite season is autumn whereas I love spring. This is because there is so much choice when it comes to fruit and vegetables after winter.

Simply Seasonal  is a vibrant, visual recipe guide inspired by nature’s endless bounties. Choosing to cook and eat seasonally places a fresh spotlight on what’s being produced in our immediate surroundings. It encourages us to buy local, making us aware of what smaller producers are offering in our neighbourhoods. Seasonal ingredients are given star status in the over 80 recipes, which range  from starters to side dishes and from main courses to desserts. Each recipe is accompanied by a glorious full-colour photograph. Discover the seasons wherever you live and keep home cooking simple, local, joyful and unapologetically personal.

Chapters are divided into:
  • Autumn
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • Summer
Recipes that caught my eye:
  • Olive and mozzarella bread (p10)
  • Charred corn salsa (p17)
  • Roasted onion & mature gouda tart (p29)
  • Aubergine & tomato bake (p30)
  • Cannelloni with spinach and ricotta (p37)
  • Creamy chicken, leek & mushroom casserole (p38)
  • Waterblommetjie tempura (p61)
  • Aromatic bone marrow & vegetable soup (p73)
  • Snoek with miso butter & ginger (p78)
  • All-in-one breakfast rusks (p85)
  • Chocolate buttermilk cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting (p94)
  • Smoky Lebanese-style aubergine & tahini dip (p103)
  • Baby potato salad with flaked hot-smoked trout (p108)
  • Vietnamese-style rice paper spring rolls (p111)
  • Pasta primavera (p115)
  • Risotto verde (p119)
  • Pan-fried fish piccata (p123)
  • Blueberry, lemon & poppy seed cake (p132)
  • Raspberry cheesecake blondies (p140)
  • Roasted tomato dip (p154)
  • Ricotta gnudi (p158)
  • Oven-braised BBQ pulled pork tortillas (p174)
  • Mango & passionfruit popsicles (p185)
What I made:

I adapted the olive and mozzarella bread recipe and replaced the olives with sun dried tomatoes. The bread was really good, and perfect for the soup I made the same day. The chocolate cake was amazingly delicious but too soft to cut into layers as per the recipe. The frosting was also not as soft as depicted in the book. But neither distracted from the taste and texture.

My impressions:

The book has a lovely layout and great photographs and I loved the ‘hand written’ notes on some of the recipes. Despite living very close to Stellenbosch, and Ilse, I have never seen blood oranges, which she mentions. I shall have to take a closer look for them when they are in season.

Try some of the recipes from Simply Seasonal.

Publishing information:
ISBN 9781485900801
Format Hardback
Published September 2021

Penguin Random House South Africa sent me this recipe book to review.

Take a look at what was previously posted on Lavender and Lime on June 8:

Dave and I are in England to see friends and family. I won’t be replying to comments or reading blog posts until the 17th of June. You can follow our trip by taking a look at our holiday blog.


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