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Struik Lifestyle

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Sarah Graham Treats Audience to Cooking Demonstration at the Launch of Bitten

Sarah and Robert Graham

Sarah Graham’s Bitten, released by Struik Lifestyle last month, is the first cookbook by a South African food blogger to be published. The rather delectable launch was held at the most ideal venue for a cooking demonstration, The Good Food Studio at the new Pick n Pay in Sandton. Guests were treated not only to great wine and tasty samples from Bitten, but were thoroughly entertained for some three hours.

Rinette Verster introduces Sarah GrahamBittenThe launch put Graham in the spotlight and she conveyed her anxiety about cooking in front of an audience, something she had never done before. She was, however, completely charming. Graham has put many of the recipes in the book to the test through her husband Robert’s rigorous scoring system.

A “conscientious taster and eater”, Robert Graham’s dedication to the cause is realised in the recipe “Why he married me Bacon Pasta”, while Sarah claims to have married Robert for his brandy flambéed, gorgonzola and crushed pepper fillet (also in the book).

Bitten is unique in that it is presented in the chatty and informal style of a food blog and includes five recipes from some of Graham’s South African food blogger contemporaries. Despite the book’s casual approach to cooking, literary buffs would be equally impressed with Graham, who has a natural flair for language and an expansive knowledge, particularly on the food industry ethics. The book, like her blog, is aimed at young people who love food, are health conscious and never seem to have enough minutes in every day. Graham says, “I have a compulsion for cutting down the number of steps in my cooking.”

She also advocates, “finding a blank canvas like a sweet pastry”, that can be used as a base with many variations, like the lemon tart that guests sampled for starters. Graham describes the filling of the lemon tart as, “very rustic, accommodating for any impatience,” cautioning however that even though, “you want to take shortcuts with food you don’t want to disrespect it.” A second course of salmon tarts with cream cheese, horseradish and watercress was followed by gruyère and sweet potato fish cakes with a watercress pesto.

Graham started her own very successful food blog, A Foodie Lives Here, in 2010. She admits that she is not a classically trained chef but sees this as an advantage as she has the freedom to try things out in her ignorant naivety and through Robert’s diligent tasting. While not everything passes the test, like the fish with granadilla sauce she once served, Graham shares her method of eat by trial and error on her blog and, now, in Bitten, an “unintimidating and uncomplicated,” yet utterly delicious and healthy recipe book.

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