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This is a cookbook about a gastronomic cycling adventure. One that takes you through six distinctive, vibrant, and historic culinary regions of the world (Western Europe, Central Europe and the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa, The Horn and Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa). It is a cookbook that provides you with over 65 exciting, easy to replicate, and diverse recipes drawn from and inspired by the dishes we experienced and came to love in the 26 different countries that we travelled through on our long way home to Cape Town, South Africa.

 

Part travelogue, part recipe book; Spices & Spandex tells the story of our journey and the extraordinary culinary worlds in which we became immersed. Surviving on our limited wits, our friendship, a healthy amount of good-fortune and the unrelenting generosity of countless strangers, this book provides a very human and engaging travel narrative to supplement and enhance the traditional cookbook formula. For anyone interested in diverse global recipes, cultural studies, engaging travel writing and inspiring photography, or those drawn by the allure of unique unconventional adventure; then this book has something for you.

 

The book will be illustrated throughout with our own beautiful images from the road and our own unique food photography (see below for some examples). It will be around 330 pages long; it will have a hard cover for extra durability and quality, and will be designed to be both a stunning coffee-table book to dip in and out of, as well as a practical, hands-on recipe guide forany messy kitchen worktop. There will also be an beautifully designed, enhanced digital E-BOOK; compatible for all tablet devices that will bring an exciting and highly interactive dimension to your reading experience. 

 

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( A few draft pages from the book. From recipe development, cooking, food styling and photography, writing, page layout, design and illustration – all is done by the author. This whole project is very much a labour of personal love and creative experimentation. There’s still lots of tinkering and development to be done, but these are a few early conceptual spreads. ) 

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Throughout this book we will travel at street level, focusing on the local: the backstreets, the vendors, the artisans. The strangers that welcomed, housed, and fed us as we travelled south.

The menus we read and longed to be able to stop and afford to indulge in, and the flavours and ingredients we bought so often in many of the different markets and bazaars we came across.

 

This book is about the meals that sustained and excited us, and about introducing the incredible array of characters that taught us how to craft them. Badry the Bedouin and his unbeatable breakfast Ful Medames; Sylvan the Juggler and his campfire saffron curry; Rabi the performing Botanist and her childhood favourite chapatis; Hassan the long-distance Truck Driver and his beautiful one-pot chicken kabsa – to name but a few. All these characters took us in, in their own inimitable ways, and gave such colour and enrichment to our experiences.    

 

It is a book about the physical and mental challenges of cycling across three continents and about embracing the unknown. It is about relishing the opportunities and inevitable complications that arise through total exposure to and immersion in foreign and exotic environments. It is about being forced out of our comfort zone and learning to be creative with limited resources.

 

 

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Whilst on the road we cooked using only the equipment and utensils we could carry on the back of our already woefully overloaded bicycles and the ingredients we could find and forage on that particular day. We began our journey with a semi-trusty meth stove which was, in turn, supplemented by some blunt chopping knives from Italy, a few battered old pots bought from a market in Ethiopia, a wooden spoon from Kenya, enamel plates from Rwanda, a coffee pot from Turkey, and a heavy metal wok from Tanzania. Needless to say we revelled in each and every opportunity when we were afforded the luxury of cooking in a stranger’s semi-equipped kitchen.A controllable heat source, an oven, or even

running water became the height of sophistication.

 

However, you don’t have to be sitting around a couple of old pots over an open fire, be alone in the middle of the desert, or be slogging your way over a mountain range to enjoy what this book contains. Spices & Spandex bring all this to you in the familiarity of your own kitchen; we have simply put our own little spin on some of the recipes to best suit easy replication. This book provides you with the opportunity to discover and cook something that might previously be completely foreign to you;

the opportunity to begin your own culinary journey.