Janette Mocke, who lives in Kraaifontein, has been baking ever since she was a child.
She published her first book, Easy Party Treats for Children, in 2012, to considerable acclaim, and it sold more than 12 000 copies in English and Afrikaans.
With the hit that it was, she has subsequently appeared on a number of television programmes, including Pasella, Expresso and Hectic Nine (SABC 2). Her recipes have also been featured in lifestyle magazines, along with her explanations of why they are so popular.
What started out as a pastime of baking cakes for family and friends, has become more than a full-time career.
The turning point, according to her online biography, came when she was unable to find anyone to make her own wedding cake.
Undaunted, she undertook the task herself, and the cake was such a success that she turned her hobby into a thriving business, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Book number 2, More Easy Party Treats for Children is now out on the shelves and it’s easy to understand why the recipes are so popular:
They are targeted not only at children, be they toddlers or teens, but at the child in adults, grannies and grandpas.
And they’re ideal for family bonding in the kitchen in the most fun way possible.
The colourful treats dazzle the eye and set one thinking “how easy is that” as you spot a chocolate bar or a wafer biscuit or a liquorice allsort which are all cleverly used to put together an easily recognisable toy like a train or a sheep or a wise, unblinking owl.
In the introduction to the second book, Ms Mocke tells readers she is passionate about turning everyday sweets and biscuits into something special and that’s exactly what she does.
Think of Smarties for the train wheels and lollipops covered with a simple fondant to make a “one eyed monster”; while finger biscuits are easily turned into “finger monsters” with the use of coloured chocolate, rainbow vermicelli, black and white fondant and a non-toxic marker pen (the latter one of the key items in Ms Mocke’s kitchen staples).
While recipes do get more complicated as you flip the pages, once your children or grandkids get the hang of a basic brownie recipe, or, how to coat anything from a marshmallow to doughnut with chocolate, for example, they’ll be amazed at what they can produce: from a brownie map to a superhero stack, which is basically mini doughnuts coated with coloured chocolate and hundreds and thousands and chocolate balls.
As Ms Mocke says in the introduction to this colourful book, aside from the readily available ingredients, such as jelly sweets and Marie biscuits and ice cream cones, “with basics like fridge brownies, cupcakes, Rice Krispie squares, which can all be prepared in advance, all the treats can be assembled quite quickly once you have the ingredients to hand”.
With the grey weather on its way, she has the ultimate boredom-bustingsuggestion: “Choose a theme, prepare some icing or melted chocolate, put out a variety of sweets and biscuits and let them have fun!”.
It’s a winning recipe, as they say in the classics…
* More easy party treats for children is published by Struik Lifestyle.