Picture it. The early morning bustle of heels and hopes along Barcelona side streets; the swish of sunshine-kissed swells knocking up against the shores of Basque Country and the clanking of small plates and Cava flutes across the market bar tops and old town coves of Seville. This is what you’ll find inside every bite of Chantal Lascaris’s Spanish inspired cookbook – All Sorts of Tapas. But wait – that’s not all you’ll find. Add a bit of Rooibos, a few peppadews and a good flick of chutney – and you’ve got yourself a Spanish kitchen with some true South African ngca!
Hailing from the success of her debut homegrown cookbook – All Sorts of Salads, fans of the #justmakeyourlifeeasybabe, have come to expect nothing less than simple, nutritious and more-ish recipes from their most loved fashionista-turned-farm-girl-turned-cook of the Franschhoek Valley.
After selling her clothing business in 2011, Chantal pursued her love of health and fitness and qualified as a Pilates instructor. Her quest for a healthy lifestyle led her to experiment with food, and the rest is a result of that journey. Today, Chantal Lascaris is a South African-made home chef promoting her recipe books whilst running a small farm in Western Cape. She has published a string of popular go-to cookbooks in South Africa, including All Sorts of Salads, All Sorts of Healthy Dishes, the Mediterranean Way, All Sorts of One Dish Wonders and of course, the newbie – All Sorts of Tapas.
Incidentally, tapas originates from the Spanish word ‘tapa’ meaning ‘lid’ or ‘to cover’. One might think that this has a deep and layered mystical meaning to it but as it turns out, a ‘tapa’ was simply used as cover to protect the drinks against flies. Yes, flies! Eventually, these ‘tapas’ would be used as more than just lids, but as providers of tasty appetizers to accompany a cold drink.
New adventures for the whole family
When it comes to preparing tapas at home for a family, Chantal has you covered with all sorts of fun, healthy, simple and delicious recipes. In her new book, celebrating the world of Tapas, she weaves in rich Spanish culture with fresh, homegrown South African ingredients. She gives us the opportunity to get real in the kitchen and to trial different dishes all while opening our hearts to new adventures and creating foods that are healthy, honest and happy – fit for the whole family.
Chantal is not about fuss, and she’s not about frill – “Leave that to the chefs,” she says. She does practical and healthy – with a pinch of pazazz. She does fun, simple and delicious- all sorts ofdelicious. Chantal has quickly popularised her unpretentious methods of meal-making – and South Africans across the country are rushing back for seconds.
Having revved up her fashion career back in the early days, Chantal took the high road at 40 years old, and decided it was time to drop the spindle and pick up the teaspoon. A lot of teaspoons and cups and pinches and dollops – by a self-made foodiepreneur that wanted to prove to herself that running a house, a marriage, and career could still make way for wholesome, happy family tables any day of the week.
SA’s celebrated salad queen, with her enticing new book, All Sorts of Tapas, is not only revered for her variety of choice in her simple, scrumptious everyday recipes, but perhaps best loved for her down-to-earth methods and fail-first attitude.
“Cooking is all about experimenting – something as women we don’t always make space for. We think we’ve failed before we’ve even begun. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get it right, to be perfect, that we begin to see the kitchen as a drag, a burden, another Tuesday night with brain fog on the menu,” says Chantal.
In true trial-end-error style Chantal took to her humble winged kitchen for many months and worked it, tweaked it, tested it, tried it and made sure she absolutely loved the taste of it – before handing her 76 Spanish inspired recipe secrets to South Africa on a plate.
So why Tapas? What is the secret magic to Tapas that delights the world over, and plays such an integral part in our society? The answer: four things, according to Chantal:
- Tapas are trendy
Despite the new normal of ‘keeping distance’, the iconic sharing tapas lives on! Restaurants and bars across the globe serving tapas-style food continue to pick up steam, becoming one of the most-loved culinary traditions in Spain, and in South Africa – and now, thanks to All Sorts, in your home too.
- ‘Tapas’ is Africa-terranean
Steeped in the deep delight of Spanish tradition – many will argue that Tapas originated from the Guadalquivir kitchens of Seville. And it probably did – but what’s interesting is that Tapas has spanned its horizons to African influence too, that sees spices like bird’s eye chilli and cumin and mint making their appearance – which are all firm favourites in All Sorts. Added to this commonality, is the kindred love of family-time shared by both the South African and Spanish cultures; the importance of breaking bread together and lazy Sunday lunches in the home, is what sits close to every South African’s heart.
3. Tapas are healthy
With Tapas, there is a lot of choice amidst the bite-size enjoyment, that keeps things interesting, wholesome, lean and delicious. And Chantal’s nutritional twist to this expectation is no exception. Anything from salami, egg and chip pintxos to a selection of cheeses, and pistachio cheese puffs, Tapas can be made up of any number of healthy ingredients and flavours.
- Lastly, there’s no angry way to say Tapas
And, there is no angry way to say ‘Rooibos’ either. Bring the two together and what do you get – a deliciously unique pick-me-up plate developed, twisted and designed by Chantal Lascaris – the Rooibos Panna cotta Tapas. A must!
With her focus on culinary consciousness the convenient way – this South African cook is taking South African urbanites by the carpools and laptop bags and placing emphasis on less pressure more palate.
Chantal is famed for taking the load off every busy mom, working mom, career woman and student, supporting the desire to keep things simple and to create a nutritious and delicious meal night after night, with all the joy and without the grudge!
“Cooking for the family or ourselves doesn’t need to be an art form, it’s about simple pleasures with big flavours,” says Chantal.
With small plates, big flavours and your NBF named Chantal, you now get permission to ditch the metrics for flavours and forget about perfection in the kitchen. The All Sorts Collection leads you to courage in the kitchen, love in the prep and flavour in every bite. You’ll rediscover yourself – and believe in yourself as a professional cook. You’ll make wholesome choices; you’ll get to (actually) find the ingredients you’re looking for and – you’ll fall in love with your own food again.
Because – there’s only love and honesty in Chantal’s kitchen – and you can bet your last peppadew pintxos you’ll taste it.
- Pick up your copy of All Sorts of Tapas at Exclusive Books, Takealot, Loot and Readers Warehouse. The book will also soon be available through Woolworths.