Award-winning celebrity chef Siba Mtongana opens up to us about her love for food, and shares her valuable life lessons. By Bridgette Matjuda Pictures: thesibaco.com
What are your hosting suggestions on appetisers, cocktails, light and main meals this season?
When hosting a large crowd, design a menu that allows for most of the work to be done ahead. Make sure that the meals are simple and easy, but tasty and presentable. This season, I am getting creative with my light, fresh salads, by braaing certain elements. Yes, you can braai veggies and fruit! I also love the idea of creating meals that are portioned out, which I call floating butler meals.
Suggest a three-course meal for a couple on a date night.
• For starters, choose seafood because it is a great aphrodisiac. My choice would be prawns or oysters served with a beautiful pomegranate dressing.
• For mains, order salmon or baby sole with a braaied green salad and crunchy baby potatoes.
• Dessert calls for something more decadent. One of my current favourites is the Dark Chocolate Bark. This is melted dark chocolate mixed with nuts and berries, and set to the shape of your choice.
What is your ultimate treat on a hot summer day?
Freshly squeezed green juice with a shot of ginger topped with lemon or litchi sorbet. This juice is refreshing, delicious and full of wholesome goodness!
Suggest three healthy snacks that are quick and easy to make for children on holiday.
• Frozen grapes or berries on skewers.
• Raw coconut and date chocolate (truffles).
• Peanut butter popcorn balls.
What is your favourite drink when relaxing at home?
I am a specialist when it comes to mocktails (alcohol-free cocktails) and cocktails.
I love a Rooibos-based drink mixed with some of my favourite flavours. This is also great for the kids as it is alcohol-free.
Which meal do you love to make for your family?
I love cooking anything with seafood. My kids’ palates are quite developed, and they are not picky eaters. They love prawns and calamari, so I play around with these ingredients. We currently love a seafood and pasta mix.
Share your top five life lessons.
1. Listen to your mom because she always knows best. The older I become, the more
I have come to realise this.
2. Prepare well so that you are ready for the moment, be it in the kitchen, at home or school.
3. I laugh a lot! Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life can be challenging, and it is easy to get caught up in the chaos. I am focused on enjoying my journey and all the goodness it brings with it. Life is too short to only focus on a single-end goal.
4. Sometimes we need to make sacrifices in the present to reap the rewards later. Not everything in life is fun and easy, but if you can push through the tough times, the light at the end of the tunnel will be brighter than you ever anticipated.
5. Surround yourself with the right people – those who uplift, motivate and support your journey.