For this month’s spotlight, we’re visiting with one of our international members — Zurie, who logs in every day from her house and farm in a small seaside town in South Africa.
Over the years she has contributed 330-plus recipes, which range from her simple (and very popular) Microwave Magic Chocolate Mug Cake to more exotic South African dishes like her Hakuna Matata All-African Barbecue Sauce.
What’s a typical day like in the life of Zurie?
We are retired, so we don’t have to be up at the crack of dawn any more, which is great! I love to read, sketch, shop with friends and spend time on Food.com! Our coast is beautiful, still very wild and and non-commercialized, and walks are like a communion with nature.
You have quite a variety of animals on your farm — tell us about the “pesky monkeys!”
The monkeys are very cute, but so sneaky and very destructive! They travel in troops, and often try to get into the kitchen, where they create havoc if there is no one to chase them out! They also destroy the vegetable patches in the garden as they forage. For example, they dislike the taste of tomatoes, but will persist in biting into every ripening tomato, convinced that somewhere they’ll find a sweet one!
What are your husband’s favorite dishes that you cook for him? Does he ever cook for you?
My husband is an adventurous eater and will try anything, but his favorite foods are “boerekos,” which is down-home South African farm food, such as various stews and roast meats.
A few weeks ago I found my dear husband with an egg in his hand, staring at the pot of water on the hob. “How do I cook an egg?” he asked. So no, even after 44 years of marriage, he cannot cook!
Since you love developing recipes, what’s the most inventive recipe you’ve ever created?
It’s hard to remember! One is Escargots With Feta in Phyllo Pastry, but many people will not eat snails, so that one’s just for me!
Your food photography is stunning. What’s your number one tip for taking good food photos?
Have the right lighting, and for us amateurs, it means doing food photos when the daylight is good. Professionals have studios with special lighting — we only have our houses!
It’s your last meal: What are you having?
Cape rock lobster fresh from the ocean, simply grilled with butter, a slice of lemon and artisanal bread; and a dry, chilled white wine!
If we opened your refrigerator right now, what would we find?
Always eggs, milk, butter, cheeses, mayo, duck or goose fat – nothing “lite” or “fat-free” ever enters my kitchen! Also, fresh vegetables and lettuce, and spreads like guacamole and salad dressing.
What’s your most epic cooking flop? Did you cry? Save it? Or you just get takeout?
Once I wanted to impress my in-laws by contributing a golden roast goose to my mother-in-law’s Christmas Eve dinner. That goose came from the oven as tough as leather! I sniffled, yes, but in the end I pressure-cooked it, took the meat off the bones, added some sauce and pretended that that was exactly how I planned it!
Zurie’s Best: 10 Picnic-Perfect Dishes
Feast your eyes on 10 of Zurie’s fresh summer dishes along with her stunning photos — all great al fresco options for your next potluck or picnic.
Enjoy the show »