Recipes: Cooking with Love by Trish van der Nest

This entry was posted on 06 July 2022.

‘Cooking with love’ aptly describes Trish van der Nest’s approach to food. This passionate foodie loves nothing more than to see family and friends gathered around her table, eating a meal she has prepared. 



Roasted Tomato & Yoghurt Salad


“My friend, Leigh Eastwood, is a marvel at making up recipes. Her version of a Greek salad entails roasting the tomatoes, olives and feta, and serving it at room temperature. It’s very delicious! This version is not unlike Leigh’s hot Greek salad, but with a slight twist.”


Serves: 4


400 g rosa tomatoes

2–4 whole garlic cloves, peeled

1–2 tsp chilli flakes

2 Tbsp dried origanum

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

500 g double cream yoghurt or labneh (see Notes)

Finely grated zest of 2 limes

Salt flakes or coarse sea salt

Fresh origanum or basil, for garnish


Place the tomatoes, garlic, chilli flakes and dried origanum in a roasting dish. Add a splash of olive oil and roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20–30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Spread the yoghurt or labneh over the base of a shallow serving dish.

Scatter over the lime zest and the salt.

Spoon over the warm tomatoes, together with any liquid from the roasting dish.
Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.


To add colour, use multi-coloured rosa tomatoes, or half each of red and yellow cherry tomatoes.
Instead of yoghurt, use 500 g bought or homemade labneh.



Chicken with Olives, Dates & Caper Berries


“My friend, Jilly Lester, calls this dish ‘wedding chicken’ because it is perfect for feeding a crowd. It is one of those recipes that never fails to please, yet each time you eat it, it tastes slightly different. The inspiration comes from Yottam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Simple.”


Serves: 4–6


8–12 chicken pieces, bone-in and skin-on

200 g pitted green olives, drained

200 g whole pitted dates or pitted prunes

200 g jar caper berries in vinegar

1 cup (250 ml) white wine

Fresh parsley and/or origanum, for serving


Place the chicken in a roasting dish with the olives, dates or prunes and caper berries. Pour over the wine and the liquid from the caper berries and set aside to marinate for 2–3 hours.

Roast in a preheated oven at 180°C for 60–90 minutes, turning the chicken two or three times, until the skin is browned and the meat is tender. Garnish with chopped parsely or origanum before serving.



I like to use chicken thighs and drumsticks, but choose whatever portions work best for you.

Use caper berries, not capers. Caper berries have a subtle, pickle-like sour flavour, which counteracts the sweetness of the dates or prunes.




Pan-Fried Peppercorn Fillet Steaks
with lentil and feta mash


“This has always been a winner in our home. Prepare the mash first, so it is ready and waiting before you start to cook the steaks.”


Serves: 6



4 Tbsp whole black peppercorns, lightly crushed

2 Tbsp olive oil

2–3 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp salt



1–1.5 kg beef fillet, cut into 6 steaks (each ± 3–4 cm thick)

Butter, for frying

250 g fresh shallots, thinly sliced

250 ml pouring cream

2 Tbsp dry sherry or marsala, see Note



5 large potatoes, peeled and quartered

3–4 Tbsp butter

½ cup (125 ml) milk, warmed

400 g can lentils, drained

125 g feta, crumbled

Salt and black pepper to taste


Combine the marinade ingredients in a non-reactive dish. Add the steaks and turn to coat, pressing down lightly so the peppercorns stick to the meat. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

beef fillet

When ready to cook, heat some butter in a large pan on medium and fry the shallots until golden.

Remove the steaks from the marinade. Place in the pan and brown on all sides. Cook for a total of 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning once.

Turn off the heat and add the cream and sherry or marsala to the pan. Stir through and leave to rest for 1–2 minutes, until the sauce thickens.



Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, then drain and return to the pot.

Add the butter and warm milk and mash the potatoes until smooth.

Stir through the lentils and feta, and season to taste (feta is salty, so taste before adding salt). Keep warm while you prepare the steaks.



Marsala, a fortified wine from Sicily, can be either dry or sweet. If you don’t consume alcohol, just omit it.

This recipe been adapted from 101 Greatest Recipes: Delicious Dishes from Our Food Editors by Abigail Donnelly, Hannah Lewry and Phillipa Cheifitz, published for Woolworths Taste magazine in 2009.


Extracted from Cooking with Love by Trish van der Nest, out now.


Right this way for cosy eating with three mouth-watering recipes from Dinner at Matloha’s



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