BY ADAM CAILLER
WHEN Dani Tucker began combining her mother Shally’s recipes into
a collection, little did she know that it would become an actual
Shally, also known as Sharon, died aged 53 after a battle with a
number of auto-immune diseases, including psoriasis and psoriatic
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’
“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
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
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 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.”
and visit thesocialkitchen.org
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.
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
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.
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.
Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan and gently cook the
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.
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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