Chef Jenny Morris
Better known as the Giggling Gourmet, Jenny Morris is an author, magazine writer, radio and TV presenter, celebrity chef, teacher, caterer and culinary tour guide who has had an ongoing love affair with food since she was a child, when she started making mouth-watering treats for school fundraisers. It’s a love affair in the true sense of the word, one that employs all the senses.Jenny Morris is a Food Network sensation and is in demand to demonstrate her cooking skills at food events all over the world.Very recently she opened Yumcious Cafe, a restaurant in Cape Town’s De Waterkant.
Spekko asked Jenny some questions:
Spekko: What is your favourite local ingredient?
Jenny Morris: I love mangoes, beautifully sweet and fragrant, they work beautifully in both sweet and savoury dishes.
SP: What would you cook when the days are dark and everybody needs a lifting of the spirits?
JM: A delicious aromatic lamb biryani, with extra rice, mint and chilli chutney, thick cucumber raita and a bowl of lamb dhal.
SP: What is your family’s favourite everyday dish?
JM: My family are crazy about my lamb and chicken biryani.
SP: What will you eat in Paris – if budget is not an issue? (That is Paris France)?
JM: I love the French cheeses and freshly baked bread and delicious cassoulets. So it’s not about the money for me but the quantity of the ingredients.
SP: Tell us where in the world you the best meal ever?
JM: One of the most special meals I have had was in Kuwait at the home of the Prime Ministers of Kuwait’s son. He is a great fan of my television shows and always invites me to his home when I am in Kuwait. I have yet to see so many amazing rice, chicken, beef and seafood dishes, the table was positively groaning under the weight of all the different dishes.
SP: Your personal best recipe ever?
JM: Haaaaaa that’s like asking me which of my children I love the best…
But I get great pleasure from a beautifully cooked piece of salmon swimming in a creamy lemon wasabi butter.
SP: Chefs you admire: local?…….International…..? Why?
JM: Rick Stein and Reza Mahammad internationally…they have integrity, amazing food knowledge and a passion for wonderful fresh ingredients like me.
On the local front Herman Lensing.
SP: Favourite restaurant here in South Africa – apart from Yumcious?
JM: I have a few, I don’t have much free time so I tend to frequent the same places when I get a night off: (All Jenny’s favourites are in Cape Town).
- Cod Father in Camps Bay for sushi.
- Nelson’s Eye in Gardens for unbelievable consistently good steaks.
- Chuck Yang’s restaurant in Rondebosch for delicious Chinese food.
- Saigon in Kloof Street for the best ever Vietnamese food.
SP: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Do you have your dream job, or is there more?
JM: What I am doing now is more than I could have ever wished for, more than a dream come true. But more books, food TV, a few branches of Yumcious Cafe in other areas…I am going to just go where the road takes me.
SP: Your favourite food blogger?
JM: Sam Linsell – drizzleanddip.com.
SP: Your greatest achievement?
JM: As a mother I would say raising three amazing sons. In my career it would have to be the first South African chef to be signed to Food Network, my programs are broadcasted to over 140 different countries.
SP: If not cooking, what are your “hobbies”?
JM: I’m a real home body I knit and crochet and spend every free moment in my garden. It brings me peace and feeds my soul, and I absolutely love to read.
SP: Your favourite author – fiction?
JM: Diane Mott Davidson.
SP: Your pet hate in SA foodie business?
JM: Under qualified food critics.
SP: The most underrated ingredient in local cuisine?
JM: The madumbi and tree tomatoes.
Recipe from the Chef
Feta and Chicken Frikkadels in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
3 slices feta cheese, crumbled
6 chicken breast fillets, minced
375 ml (1½ cups) cooked Spekko Parboiled Long Grain Rice
1 egg, beaten
6 spring onions, chopped
125 ml (½ cup) chopped coriander
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil to fry
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
125 ml (½ cup) marinated sundried tomatoes, chopped
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
2,5 ml (½ tsp) chilli powder
5 ml (1 tsp) sugar
250 ml (1 cup) basil leaves, shredded
4 x 250 ml (4 cups) cooked Spekko Saman Brown Rice
1. Mix all ingredients for the rice balls, except the oil, together and season to taste.
2. Shape chicken mixture into balls and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and fry balls until lightly browned but not cooked through. Set aside.
4. In the same frying pan, heat a little more oil and fry the onion and garlic until transparent. Add the tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, chicken stock, chilli powder and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Place chicken balls in sauce and gently heat through for a few minutes.
6. Stir in the fresh basil and serve with Spekko Brown Rice.