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Launch: A hat, a kayak & dreams of Dar by Terry Bell (7 November)


In 1967, Terry and Barbara Bell embarked on a crazy misadventure – to paddle away from exile in London back to Africa (to Dar es Salaam in fact). Terry, best known as a journalist and labour analyst, reveals himself as a humourist in A hat, a kayak and dreams of Dar, his hilarious memoir about the trip. The Bells decided the book had to include Barbara’s recipes for the food she cooked along the way after wine journalist John Platter pressed them for the story of how they cooked in a kayak for over a year.

Palesa Morudu will interview Terry Bell at the launch at Love Books, Bamboo Centre, Melville, Jhb on 7 November, 6 for 6:30.
John and Erica Platter will chat to Terry and Barbara at Ike’s Books, Florida Road, Durban, on 14 November, 5:30 for 6.

This is the recipe for Barbara’s “Consolation” Island Mushroom crêpes, cooked on a convenient island that they “happened” to camp on in Paris. You can read about how they came to be doing that in Chapter 8: In the wake of Robert Louis Stevenson. (“Why pay for an official campsite?” asked Terry.)

Consolation Island Mushroom Crêpes

This was the second meal on “our island”, after the visit to the famous Les Halles market and after we discovered the theft of our tent. We bought six freshly-cooked crêpes at the market and this is the recipe for the mushroom filling.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of finely chopped marjoram or oregano or heaped teaspoon dried mixed herbs
goodly (about 5/6 tablespoons) glug of red wine
500g thinly sliced button mushrooms
2 tablespoons plain flour
½ mug/cup chicken stock
grated cheese for sprinkling
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil, then add onions and garlic and cook gently until pale gold. Add herbs and then pour in red wine. Cook until wine evaporates. Add mushrooms and cook until they start to ooze juice. Continue to cook until all but about 2 tablespoons of juice has evaporated. Sprinkle flour over,stir and then add chicken stock. Bring to boil, stirring, then cook for about 10 minutes until thick and creamy. Heat crêpes, fill with mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

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