Debbie Hannibal

Bangers ‘n Smash’ is not a meal you’ll find many real ‘foodies’ admitting to serving but, as my (sensibly) non-complaining husband will confirm, this was once my definition of quick and easy.

My late mother was my first culinary inspiration and, determined to recreate the flavours and fragrances of my childhood, I enrolled at Hotel School. The catering industry followed and expecting something entirely different, I was soon bored by talk of budgets and stock sheets, and subsequently lost all interest in the kitchen. Let’s call these my Smash years.

A dynamic cooking instructor, Lisa Brink, was the catalyst for ‘all things COOK’ when I attended her creative classes, and suddenly knew exactly where I belonged. I launched ‘COOK’ culinary studio in Honeydew, Johannesburg with an audience of family and friends and, within months, classes were filled to capacity.

Once ‘COOK’ was established, I contacted Lisa who’d emigrated and established a thriving, culinary school in Tel Aviv, to thank her for acting as my kitchen muse. Given our mutual love for food, crafts and, most importantly, SHARING, we soon formed a close friendship and Lisa became my virtual ‘koeksuster’.

For the past few years, virtually every waking moment has been consumed with teaching, testing, food styling, photography, updating my COOK Facebook page, pinning and helping friends throw stylish parties.

Blogging was the next logical step and, while I initially created the blog to offer added value to loyal customers, it gave me pleasure to know others could benefit from my efforts.

“Local is lekker” and the blog focuses on shopping tips, party venues, seasonal menus, and recipes. It also includes comprehensive tutorials, inspiring photographs of previous course tables/crafts, step-by-step party guides, plus a popular “Festive” category to simplify Christmas entertaining.

When I am not teaching or blogging, I am a busy mom to two energetic children (with a 9 year age gap).

I entertain weekly and regularly host impromptu gatherings where my speciality is whipping up something from the pantry. …and that doesn’t include Smash. Herbs come from my garden, I use only free-range chicken and eggs, and local suppliers are used for crafts and table settings. I fail to understand battery farming, serving crisps or snacks before a meal, and people who don’t like sharing.

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