Jade de Waal – the Masterchef finalist with the wicked accent, bubbly personality and creative take on food – talks to ELLE DECO about her latest book, Food Jamming with Jade, the concept behind it and how to throw one killer dinner party.

“You could say that food jams are really just an excuse to meet amazing people. What started as a get-together with friends, where cooking their own meal was only half the experience, soon became a monthly event collaborating with sommeliers, illustrators, photographers, foodies and many more amazing minds. Food Jams recipes are original recipes written by myself (and sometimes a co-host) and are filmed for a made-for-web cooking show called Eat Your Heart Out. Each recipe is based on staple ingredients, keeping in mind that you want to eat good food, on a budget, using limited cooking equipment – all within a set timeframe,” explains Jade.

One of Jade’s many collaborations for the book was with curator, photographer and owner of pop-up restaurant Beijing Opera, Yang. Together the two created an Asian-inspired evening of note. Here Jade shares some decor ideas and recipes for creating an Eastern dinner party of your own.

Images: A simple table in all white serves as the perfect foil for the beautiful, art-like Asian dishes.

50 round wonton wrappers, defrosted

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, for frying



2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

small thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, finely grated

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

5 to 6 medium dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, stemmed and finely chopped

1 Tbsp sesame oil

400g frozen peas, defrosted

pinch of salt


1 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp soy sauce

  1. To make the filling, sauté the garlic and ginger gently in the vegetable oil in a small saucepan.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sesame oil, turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  4. Bring water to a boil in a pot and cook the peas for only 1 minute. Remove quickly and refresh the peas under cold running water.
  5. Leave the peas to cool and drain and then use any device to mash them into a smooth puree with a teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt added.
  6. Add the mushroom mixture to the pea puree and mix together.
  7. Fill the wonton wrappers and fry the dumplings as per Yang’s pork-a-fella recipe.
  8. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and serve with the dumplings.

50 round wonton wrappers, defrosted

2 Tbsp vegetable oil, for frying



1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp cooking wine

1 tsp cornflour

½ tsp white pepper

1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

small thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, finely grated

4 spring onions, white and green parts, finely chopped



500g pork mince

½ tsp salt

200g cabbage, finely shredded

1 egg white (optional)



1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

3 Tbsp soy sauce

½ tsp dried chilli flakes


  1. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the pork mince for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. To make the filling, add the salt to the cabbage. Squeeze the excess water from the cabbage to get rid of as much moisture as possible.
  3. Blanch the cabbage in salted boiling water for 1 minute.
  4. Drain and add the cabbage to the pork.
  5. Mix the filling in a circular motion, in one direction, to release the natural gelatin from the meat. This will serve as a ‘glue’ to keep the ingredients together. You can also add an egg white to ensure the consistency of the filling is smooth and blended.
  6. Fill the wonton wrappers by placing a teaspoon of the filling mixture in the centre of each. Lightly wet the edge of the wrapper, fold over through the middle and press to seal. Make 4 to 5 little pleats in each dumpling and set aside. Repeat for the remaining dumplings.
  7. In a small nonstick saucepan, place each dumpling with pleats facing up and fill the saucepan halfway with boiling water. Cover with a lid to steam for 3 minutes or until all the water has evaporated.
  8. Once all the water has evaporated, pour the vegetable oil into the saucepan and loosen the dumplings very gently with chopsticks or a pair of tongs.
  9. Fry the dumplings over medium heat for 1 minute, while moving them around gently, until crispy at the bottom.

10. To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients and serve with the dumplings.

50 square wonton wrappers, defrosted

vegetable oil, for deep-frying

sweet chilli sauce, for serving



300g shredded spinach, washed and drained well

120g cream cheese

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp salt

  1. To make the filling, combine the spinach and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl together with the garlic and salt.
  2. Prepare the wonton wrappers by dipping your fingertips in water and running them along the edges of the wrapper.
  3. Place a teaspoon of filling in the centre and fold diagonally into a triangular shape.
  4. Heat a small pot half-filled with vegetable oil to 180C.
  5. Deep-fry until golden brown.
  6. Serve with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.

Extracts from Food Jamming with Jade by Jade de Waal (Human & Rousseau), R240.

Photography by Irene Kim

Compiled by Estee Kershoff