Cookbook Review: Scrumptious Food For Family & Friends By Jane-Anne Hobbs

“The best home-cooked food is all about simplicity, freshness and flavour.  It’s honest food, cooked with love, generosity and an open heart.” Jane Anne Hobbs, author of the cookbook Scrumptious food for family and friends…..

First and foremost, the cookbook itself is SO beautiful, I didn’t want to mess on it when trying out recipes.  Therefore, I made copies of the recipes I wanted to try out so that I could mess on them…crazy right!

The recipes on the cookbook are delectable, but at a first glance one might be quick to say “they are long”.  Do not let the length dissuade you.  I’ll tell you one thing, from a product developer’s point of view…..every raw material that goes into a formulation, no matter how big or small the quantity, has a function whether it’s to add flavour, balance the pH, improve texture, mouthfeel, or even extending shelf life.  The end results always speak for themselves!

Nowadays, people are in a rush to get the cooking out of the way failing to understand that cooking can be integrated into activities such as spending time with the family, having a chilled Sunday afternoon with friends etc.  Scrumptious cookbook provides one with recipes that can be prepared and enjoyed at such occasions.

Another thing I love about this cookbook is the author’s forthright and engaging writing style.  The detailed description of the method gives one an indication that the recipes have been tested several times.  When a recipe has been tried and tested numerous times you find that manifested in the detail and description of the preparation method.

Few words cited from the foreword by Lynn Bedford Hall “……Scrumptious is a book which encourages home cooks to cook with care and patience, to focus on flavour, pay attention to detail and to bin all thought of twirls and towers to dolly up the dish.  Taste, here, is paramaount.”

Jane-Anne Hobbs describes the recipes in the cookbook “My recipes have modern elements, reflecting new ingredients and trends in food, but you will also find many dishes that express a yearning nostalgia for the food I enjoyed as a child.”

Scrumptious Food for Family and Friend cookbook is available for sale at Exclusive Books as well as online.  Also check out the blog, Scrumptious, for more recipes and reading material from the author.

The Bunny Chow with Butter Chicken is one of my favourite recipes in the book.  This is how the recipe is explained in the book “A hollowed-out half-or quarter-loaf of white bread brimming with a hot, highly spiced Durban-style curry is one of South Africa’s most cherished street foods.  In this, my not-at-all-authentic version, I’ve used a fragrant, sinfully rich filling based on a butter chicken formula.  The spicing here is quite gentle, the way I like it, so add some fresh green chillies if you’d like to give the dish a bit of a kick.”  Hope you enjoy!

Bunny Chow with Butter Chicken

Serves: 8

12 skinless, deboned chicken breasts

3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3Tbsp (45ml) finely grated fresh ginger

juice of 1 lemon

1½tsp (7.5ml) chilli powder

For the marinade

1½cups (375ml) thick natural yoghurt

1 tsp (5ml) ground cumin

1tsp (5ml) ground coriander

½tsp (2.5ml) turmeric

½tsp (2.5ml) salt

1Tbsp (15ml) sunflower oil

For the sauce: 

1kg ripe, juicy tomatoes, peeled

3Tbsp (45ml) tomato paste

1tsp (5ml) fenugreek seeds, coarsely crushed

1 stick cinnamon

1tsp (5ml) ground cumin

1tsp (5ml) garam masala

½tsp (2.5ml) turmeric

salt and milled black pepper

1½ cups (375ml) fresh cream

5Tbsp (75ml/75g) cold butter

For Serving:

8 large crisp bread rolls

Melted butter, for brushing


  1. Cut three of four deep slashes in the chicken breasts and place in a bowl with the garlic, ginger, lemon juice and chilli powder.  Rub the mixture into the chicken, pressing it well into the slashes, and set aside for 30 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.  Pour this over the chicken breasts, mix well, cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours (but no longer than 3 hours).
  2. Heat the oven to 200۫C.  Lift the breasts from the bowl and, without wiping off the marinade, place in a single layer in an ovenproof dish.  Bake for 7 minutes, turn down the heat to 170۫C and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, or until there is no trace of pinkness when you cut into the flesh of the chicken.  Set aside.
  3. To make a sauce, whizz the tomatoes to a coarse slush in a food processor and place in a large, shallow pan, adding the tomato paste, fenugreek, cinnamon, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and salt.  Cook over a brisk heat for 8-12 minutes, or until the pulp has thickened slightly and reduced (when you pull a wooden spoon through the sauce, it should leave a gap that closes reluctantly).  Stir in the cream, reduce the heat, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Cut the tops off the rolls and hollow out the insides, leaving a 5mm ‘wall’.  Brush the cut edges, lids and sides of the rolls with a little melted butter.  Place the rolls and lids on a baking sheet and bake at 190۫C for 3-5 minutes, or until the edges are golden and crisp.  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, stir it into the sauce and cook over a very gentle heat for a few minutes, until the chicken pieces are heated right through.  Cut the cold butter into cubes and stir them, one by one, into the sauce.  Once all the butter has melted, season with pepper (and more salt, if necessary) and add a spritz of lemon juice to sharpen the sauce.
  5. Pile the chicken into the warm rolls and top each one with a lid.  Serve immediately.


About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 6 )

  • Wow Thuli! Thank you so much. How kind of you. I really enjoyed your review x Love J-A

    • @Jane-Anne, you are welcome darling! I love the recipes, the pictures and more especially, your writing! @Usha, thank you for your comment m’am! 🙂

  • Hi Thuli–lovely review and wow the pic is beautiful

  • Carol Ryan

    Umm…. I think the Marinade recipe is wrong…. It should read 1 1/2 cups thick natural yohurt and not garam masala. Garam masala should read 1 1/2 teaspoons….. this is all according to the recipe book I proudly own 🙂

    • Hi Carol,

      Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve fixed it 🙂 Glad you also own a copy? Which recipes have you tried out from the book?

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