Born near Johannesburg, South Africa, Juanita Nortje and her family—husband Chris, 12-year-old Ian and seven-year-old Bethany—have lived in Doha for eighteen months. The cuisine of Juanita’s home country is influenced by a mix of Dutch, Indian, French and Malay flavours and includes fragrant, spicy curries; flame-grilled meats; and earthy, slow-cooked stews. The food is hearty, wholesome and packed with flavour.
This mix of culinary influence inspires Juanita’s family at home and international favourites such as nachos and spaghetti Bolognese—the kids’ favourite—regularly appear on the family’s dinner table. Juanita has a love for strong, bold flavours and the use of local, seasonal ingredients to create traditional recipes. Her two favourite cuisines are Italian and Indian. While Juanita enjoys rustling up nourishing, hearty soups for the whole family—“I think I have a knack for it!”—her husband Chris has a natural flair for whipping up spicy Indian delicacies and sweet treats such as pancakes with cinnamon sugar. “He makes the best onion bhajis [a type of Indian fritter]!” she says.
Luckily for Juanita, a taste of home is never far away, with South African classics such as biltong (dried, cured meat), beef sausage, maize (cornmeal porridge), anchovy spread and peanut butter regularly found in her favourite supermarket SPAR. South African produce and meat are also available at most supermarkets in Qatar.