Nessie Naidoo shares her favourite recipes in ‘Easy Cooking’


Nessie Naidoo is pictured at the book signing for Easy Cooking at Exclusive Books in the Liberty Midlands Mall, Pietermaritzburg. Photo: Supplied

BORN and raised in Pietermaritzburg, Nessie Naidoo, was inspired to cook by her parents, Jah and Sundree Naidoo, and has now chosen to share some of her favourite recipes in Easy Cooking (Shuter & Shooter).’s ESTELLE SINKINS spoke to the Montrose resident about the book and her love of cooking and baking, which she says ‘relaxes, motivates, inspires and rewards her like nothing else does’.  

Your book is packed full of useful recipes – why was it important for you to share these with people?

I initially started this journey to help out my daughter, Thashni, and nieces and nephew, who have all left home. They in turn shared the recipes with all their friends and the idea of a book was borne. As I started getting feedback, I realised that I could help and encourage people to cook. Added to this, the gratification of cooking up a storm and sharing with others makes me feel good, and gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Is it important to you that young people learn to cook?

Yes, I do think it’s important. It is healthier than any other option as you are in control of what you put into your meal. Cooking is almost therapeutic; something important to consider in the increasingly fast paced world in which the youth have to survive. My motto is: ‘Slow down and smell the food.’

What would you say to someone who says: “I don’t have time to cook”?

That is the beauty of this book. The recipes are easy to follow and the ingredients are easy to find. I also show you how to use store bought ingredients to turn out a scrumptious meal with very little “cooking” involved. So in no time at all you have a delicious meal before you.

What is your earliest food memory?

I cannot single out a particular memory per se, but I do remember that we were always well fed! I also remember that birthday parties, and other celebrations, were always accompanied by large spreads of food. Even when we went out on a picnic, we would catch the crab and my dad would clean it and cook us the most delicious crab curry on the gas stove!

What was the most important lesson that your parents taught you about food?

To share it with those you love and with those less fortunate than you.

Do you have a favourite dish?

If I had to choose one, I would say Pavlova.

Do you have a favourite chef?

Funnily enough I love Gordon Ramsey for his meticulousness and Nigella Lawson for her casual style of cooking.

You’ve travelled and enjoyed food around the world – can you share some of your favourite dishes and the countries you discovered them in?

Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore introduced me to their wonderful dishes, many of which are in my book – spring rolls being my favourite.

Many of the desserts were inspired from my visit to Paris, especially apple tart and pears in red wine, while Italy and Spain delivered the delights of pasta and pizza. My favourite pastry from Italy is the Cannoli. I haven’t mastered the recipe yet, but when I do you will be the first to know!

The spiral doughnuts from Prague and Budapest were to die for! Pot Pie and Banoffi Pie were my go to dishes in London; and it was in New York that I discovered the Quesadilla even though it is a Mexican dish.

And then curries of course, which come from Incredible India.

  • Easy Cooking is available at Exclusive Books in Pietermaritzburg, Durban and Clearwater Mall in Johannesburg; at Book World at Cascades; and at the Shuter’s online store. You can also buy the book from

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