Filled with stunning photography and delicious recipes to boot, the Surf Cafe Living cookbook is one of our ultimate faves. Throughout the book, we follow Myles and Jane Lambert, a couple who are living the handcrafted dream in their renovated home on Ireland’s Atlantic coast, as they design and create their perfect home by the sea, run their busy yet relaxed coastal cafe and take care of their new shop.
What makes this book stand out is that it makes you want more than just the food – you can’t help but feel envious when you see the incredible 100-year old cottage they’ve transformed into a contemporary beach house with a beautiful mountainous backdrop or hear about the early morning surfs and sensational sunsets. Jane and Myles also talk us through constructing fire pits, harvesting herbs and upcycling hessian sacks into cushions, and their spirit is infectious. This really is is an all round ‘make your own lifestyle’ book, which is why we love it so much.
When it actually comes to the food, it doesn’t disappoint there either. Talented chef Myles takes you on a culinary journey through the seasons, with easy-to-make, tasty dishes. Think spiced butternut squash soup and coconut Thai crab cakes for mains, then cakes, tarts and macaroons for dessert. We’ve chosen one of our favourite baking recipes to share with you today – the koeksisters. If you’ve never heard of them before, then here’s a little breakdown – they are essentially pretty plaited dough cakes, which taste like super-sweet doughnuts. They are very popular in Cape Town, where Myles is originally from, and he swears by them for a much-needed sugar rush in the winter months. Give them a whirl yourself with the recipe below.
- 480g (4 cups) plain flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 125g (½ cup) butter
- 375ml (1½ cups ) iced water
- 800g (4 cups) sugar
- 375ml (1½ cups) iced water
- 1 teaspoon golden syrup/honey
- Pinch of cream of tartar
- Juice of one lemon
For the koeksisters
- Sift the dry ingredients, rub in the butter and mix in the iced water to make a soft dough.
- Roll out to a thickness of 1cm (half an inch). Cut the dough in strips and plait.
- Deep fry until golden brown, remove and dip immediately in ice-cold syrup. TIP: The oil must not be too hot, or the koeksisters will brown too quickly on the outside while remaining raw on the inside.
For the syrup
- Mix all the ingredients and slowly heat until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for two to three minutes.
- Leave to cool, and store the syrup in the fridge or freezer until it is needed. Koeksisters can also be frozen if you can’t get through them all in one go.
- Serve cold and remember to dollop with fresh honey. Delish.
For more great recipes from the coastal cafe, get yourself a copy of ‘Surf Cafe Living’ by Jane and Myles Lambert, £17, from thesurfcafecookbook.com