Rhona van Heerden of the travel and food blog What To Do In The Garden Hood is one of my favourite people in the whole world! Even if we weren’t cousins I’m pretty certain we would have been great friends. 🙂 She has such a creative and free spirit, she’s innovative and has a great appreciation for nature – especially the Garden Route – and all it has to offer, and it shines through every blog post she publishes.
Rhona is also a qualified chef, which means she really knows her flavour profiles; her recipes are inspired by seasonal produce, they are family-friendly and utterly delicious. If you ever find yourself in the Garden Route, be sure to contact Rhona for a cup of coffee and a big slice of milk tart – she is super fun to hang out with and can give you some pointers on where to go and what to do in the area.
Explain your blog in three words: Down to earth.
What’s your favourite savoury ingredient to cook with? Onions – any form or type of onion family. It is the base of 90% of all my recipes, soups, stews, sauces or other savoury dishes. Even cold dishes, raw, cooked or fried… love it.
What’s your favourite sweet ingredient to cook with? Hmm… good ‘ol vanilla I think. Big fan of vanilla! So subtle, but also so influential in many sweet dishes.
What’s your favourite kitchen tool? So my chefs knife and my kitchen tongues are having a battle for cooking hierarchy here. They both form part of my limbs in the kitchen.
Who is your culinary icon? This is a tough one. I have a few who are very inspiring for their own reasons and diversity. I couldn’t choose, but I will narrow it down. My Grandmother, who is the queen in the kitchen preparing the best traditional South African foods with a smile and a whole lot of heart to any crowd, always a gracious hostess. Then probably Anthony Bourdain, the brutally honest master chef that was part of the transformation of the culinary world way back when a sprig of parsley was considered the only garnish necessary. Lastly Nigella Lawson, I mean seriously, she has a way of gliding through a kitchen and combining simple ingredients to create a meal to die for.
What is your favourite recipe book? At the moment my favourite recipe book is Soups and Breads by Jane Price. Great recipes of all types of soups and of many different styles, cooking difficulty and cultures. I can eat soup every day, and this book really has a the best comfort recipes.
What meal or snack is your guilty pleasure? My ultimate guilty pleasure snack is a sort of “trail mix” if you will. I usually buy the mixed roasted salted nuts with dried cranberries from the shop and mix in bite size pieces of biltong or droëwors. Can’t get enough of it!
What dish do you want to master but can’t seem to get right? Oh man, I would say a proper pecan nut pie. Mine is always too runny or too hard. It is tricky getting the filling to a perfect consistency! Baking is not my forte.
What was last night’s dinner? Grilled cheese sandwich with some atchar and avocado. I know, not very balanced, but we had a large Sunday lunch of lamb shoulder with veggies and roasted potatoes. 😉
What’s your secret talent? I have the amazing ability to hang a spoon off my nose for a number of minutes… I am hoping that this will be my safety net for income if all else fails!
Chilli Con Carne Loaded Sweet Potatoes – What To Do In The Garden Hood
Good ‘ol Lamb and Bean Soup – What To Do In The Garden Hood
Cardamom and Orange Egg Custard Tarts – What To Do In The Garden Hood
You can find Rhona here: