TV star brings Dani to book


WHEN Dani Tucker began combining her mother Shally’s recipes into a collection, little did she know that it would become an actual printed cookbook.

Shally, also known as Sharon, died aged 53 after a battle with a number of auto-immune diseases, including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Dani said: “When my mother died, a friend of hers took me home from the hospital.

“I’d not been back for some time and my plan was to run in, grab some clothes to wear to the funeral and head directly to my parents’ home.

“But as I walked into my house, I saw my mother’s handwritten cookbooks on my dining room table .

“I’m not saying that it was fairies or anything like that, but to this day I have no idea how those books arrived in my home, but I now know why they came there and I knew I had to do something with them.”

In tribute to her mother, 33-year-old Dani published The Social Kitchen: Food for Family and Friends (£25).

The book features recipes, stories and even some of Shally’s crafty ideas — all of which built the foundations of the Social Kitchen in which the Tucker family grew up.

The former Federation of Zionist Youth member added: “My mum was South African. She came to England when she was 19, which meant that every meal was a big thing. We had big Shabbat dinners and there would always be people round.

“My parents always felt that there must have been other South Africans living in London who didn’t have family here, so we always had those people round as well.”

Dani and her sisters, Megs and Ryan, each write about their mother in the book, explaining how Shally trained as a chef in South Africa, where she met husband Lawrence.

The couple moved to London in 1979 to work.

It was here that Shally met internationally-acclaimed chef Prue Leith.

The pair worked together at the Kuwait Investment Office.

And, Dani admits, if it wasn’t for Prue then The Social Kitchen would not be what it is today.

She said: “There was a solid year after my mum died that I was talking about doing the book but I wasn’t qualified to do it.

“I managed to find contact details for Prue and explained who I was and who my mum was and asked for advice.

“Within two hours I got a reply from her telling me to make an appointment with her secretary.

“She was so lovely, but did put the fear of God into me . . . she told me that writing a cookbook was not going to be easy.

“I thought it was going to be this very glamorous thing, but Prue guided me and told me that I needed a chef, a photographer etc.”

Dani was still a bit lost as to how to start the process, but it became apparent that Prue had already done that for her.

She explained: “I started getting these emails that Prue was sending to editors of food magazines to introduce me, explain what we were doing and telling them what we were looking for.

“If it wasn’t for Prue the book would not be in this form — she was a pivotal cog in this book.”

The book has now become a permanent legacy for Shally, one which Dani’s sister Meg uses every day.

She said: “We feel like she is there every day when we cook with it.

“It feels like we are passing on what my mum loved to do which was exactly what I wanted to do when I decided to do this book.”

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THE Jewish Telegraph has four copies of The Social Kitchen to give away.

To enter, tell us which BBC Television food programme featured Prue Leith as a judge?

Send your answer to Social Kitchen competition, Jewish Telegraph, 11 Park Hill, Bury Old Road, Manchester M25 0HH or by June 16.

Please include your full name, address and email address, where applicable.

Soy Salmon

THIS is a great dish for a party, as you can cook it earlier in the day and serve it hot, cold or at room temperature.


  • 115ml light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
  • 3 tbsp date syrup or golden syrup
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp good-quality vegetable oil
  • Zest and juice of 4 lemons
  • 1 side of salmon (about 1kg)
  • 100g sesame seeds
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • Salt and black pepper


Put the soy sauce, syrup, sugar and oil into a roasting tin or a baking tray big enough to hold the salmon. Stir in the lemon zest and mix well, then add the side of salmon.

Get your hands in there and rub the sticky marinade all over the fish so every inch is covered.

Leave the fish, skin-side up, in the marinade for at least two hours, or overnight in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.

Turn the salmon skin-side down and pour the lemon juice over it. Scatter the sesame seeds and half the spring onions on top and season well with salt and pepper.

Bake the salmon in the oven for 20–25 minutes until just done. Serve hot or cold with the remaining spring onions and a drizzle of extra soy sauce. Serves six to eight.

Chicken Sosaties Kebabs

Sosaties is a traditional South African dish, often made with lamb. Recipes vary but usually include apricots and red peppers as well as the meat.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 6 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp allspice
  • 60ml balsamic vinegar
  • 5 tbsp apricot jam
  • 3 tbsp chutney
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 700g chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 4 red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 400g bag of dried apricots
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks 


Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and gently cook the crushed garlic.

Mix the curry powder, ginger, sugar and allspice in a bowl, then add them to the pan and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the vinegar, jam, chutney and 240ml of water and crumble in the stock cube. Bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes, then take the pan off the heat. Leave the sauce to cool.

Take six long skewers and thread on alternate chunks of chicken, red onion quarters, apricots and red pepper. Put them in a dish, pour the cooled sauce over the top and leave the kebabs to marinate overnight in the fridge.

Next day, remove the kebabs from the marinade and grill them on a barbecue or in a griddle pan until the chicken is cooked through. Serves six.

Shally’s Sticky Toffee Pudding


  • 225g Medjool dates, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 275g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Brandy sauce
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 60ml brandy
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


Put the dates in a bowl with the bicarbonate, cover them with 300ml just-boiled water, then leave to soak for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 210°C/Fan 190°C/Gas 6–7.

Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly until really light and fluffy, using a hand-held whisk or a food mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the golden syrup and the date mixture. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold them in gently. Grease a 2-litre ovenproof dish. Pour the batter into the dish and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

While the pudding is in the oven, make the brandy sauce. Put the sugar, brandy, butter and vanilla in a saucepan and add 200ml water. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then let it all bubble for 5 minutes. When the pudding is ready, pierce lots of holes in the top with a skewer. Pour the sweet sauce over the top and then serve at once. Serves eight to 10.


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