food, Recipes

Life's a beach for Neil Roake


Neil Roake is famous for his top-selling three part cookbook series. Roake is a prolific local chef who is dedicated to serving the best ingredients in fuss-free combinations. Life's a Beach Cottage is Neil's third book, which focuses on outdoor entertaining.

His culinary inspiration is drawn from extensive travelling. Sometimes food ideas are jotted onto a used napkin or even a t-shirt. Roake has taken those ideas and transformed his cookbook series into a passionately pursued brand. Fans can even rent out his cottage based in St Helier, KZN.

In December 2016's issue of House and Leisure, we get an inside look into Neil's home in Glenashley, Durban with its laid-back chic character. To give you a taste of his cooking style, we've listed three recipes from his cookbook:

Dutch Babies with bacon & banana

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-35-43-pm Image Credit: Neil Roake


4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour, sifted

½t ground nutmeg

1t butter

Pinch of salt

for the bacon and bananas

4 large firm bananas, each chopped into 4 even pieces

120g streaky bacon (about 8 pieces), cut in half down the centre

Maple syrup to serve


Preheat the oven to 245°C. Put a cast iron, non-stick frying pan into the oven to heat. Whisk the eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg and salt until a smooth batter forms. Remove the frying pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 220°C. Add 1t butter to the hot pan and swirl to coat the base. Add half the batter to the frying pan and place back in the oven. Bake until puffed and brown (about10-12 minutes). Wrap the bananas in the bacon, skewer with a toothpick and, over a medium heat, chargrill them on a griddle pan until the bacon is crisp. Keep warm in a warming drawer. Serve with maple syrup and Dutch babies.


Flatleaf parsely and Anchovy Bruschetta

Image Credit: Neil Roake Image Credit: Neil Roake


100g white anchovies, chopped roughly

30g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

¼ red onion, finely chopped

Freshly cracked black pepper

2T olive oil (extra virgin for sure)


Mix all the ingredients together. Give them a last chop on the board to amalgamate all the flavours. Pile 1T onto each prepared ciabatta slice, top with half a white anchovy and a slice or two of red onion. Done and delicious.


Beef Ribs with Ginger, Coconut & Sichuan Pepper Corns

screen-shot-2016-11-10-at-10-36-22-pm Image Credit: Neil Roake


1 ½ kg short ribs, cut sideways into 10cm chunks

1T vegetable oil

1L water

2 beef stock cubes

2T Sichuan peppercorns

4cm knob ginger, peeled and sliced

400ml coconut milk

1 cup oyster sauce

1T black pepper

2T fish sauce

To serve:

Fresh ginger, sesame seeds and coriander


Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the ribs and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until browned. Add the water, stock cubes, Sichuan peppercorns, ginger and coconut milk. Put the lid on and simmer gently for 2 ½ hours. You now need to cool the liquid down in order to remove the immense amount of fat that would have formed as the meat cooked. The quick way is to place the whole pot into the freezer for 15 minutes. The fat will float to the surface and congeal, making it easier to scoop off.

Once you have removed the fat, place the pot back on the stove and add the oyster sauce, black pepper and fish sauce. Simmer gently over a medium heat for an additional 45-60 minutes.Remove the ribs from the sauce and set aside. Now place the pot back over a high heat and reduce the sauce until thick and glistening. Just before serving, pop the ribs back in the pot to heat, and serve when heated through. Top with some freshly julienned ginger and sesame seeds. Fresh coriander would also be good.


For more information on Neil Roake please visit:

Publishing house: Jacana

See Neil Roake's Durban home in HL December 2016.