‘Light hearts, full stomachs’

Author and television personality Joanna Gaines. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Author and television personality Joanna Gaines. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Anyone who has watched HGTV knows Joanna Gaines.

The unflappable designer co-hosts renovation show Fixer Upper with her joker husband Chip.

Gaines (42), a mother of five, makes interior design look easy, but that is not all she does.

THE BOOK: Magnolia Table, Volume 2, by Joanna Gaines, published by William Morrow, RRP$59.99.
THE BOOK: Magnolia Table, Volume 2, by Joanna Gaines, published by William Morrow, RRP$59.99.

Together with Chip, she founded Magnolia, a home and lifestyle brand in Waco, Texas, in 2003 and alongside the couple’s home stores, Gaines is editor-in-chief of lifestyle magazine Magnolia Journal and an author.

Her first cookbook went to number one on the New York Times bestsellers list. Her design and children’s books have also been big sellers.

Gaines’ latest project is Magnolia Table, Volume 2, a cookbook with an emphasis on cooking for gatherings.

"It is around food ... that comforts us in bad times and enriches the good times.

"All I’m really hoping to convey is that food matters."

Gaines says hosting a gathering is not about appearance or aesthetics, but about the way people feel in her home and around her table.

"I want them to leave at the end of the night with light hearts and full stomachs."

The book is full of inspiration; whether it’s brunches, side dishes, dinner, desserts starters or salads.

She also includes handy seasoning guides and substitutions as well as "scratch made" recipes for for pastry, doughs, tortillas, noodles and sauces.

Waffles with strawberry butter 

Serves 6

Prep 15 minutes

Cook Less than 45 minutes

cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

¾ tsp kosher salt

⅓ cup sugar

2 large eggs, separated

2 cups milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For serving

strawberry butter

vanilla maple syrup


1. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray and heat it to medium-high.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

4. In another large bowl, stir together the egg yolks, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

5. For each waffle, spoon half a cup of batter on to the waffle iron and cook until the waffle is golden and releases easily, 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot with strawberry butter and syrup.

Chicken Florentine

Serves 4

Prep 15 minutes

Cook 40 minutes

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

(about 170g each)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2¾ tsp kosher salt

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

½ cup minced shallots (about 2 large)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup good-quality dry white wine

1 cup heavy cream

4 cups baby spinach (about 85g)

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

For serving

½ lemon, cut into 4 wedges


1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the pepper and 2 teaspoons of salt. Dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess. Working in batches as needed, place the chicken in the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 73degC, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool and set aside.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter in the same skillet. Add the shallots and garlic and saute, stirring often, until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring often, until the mixture can coat the back of a spoon, 5-8 minutes.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the spinach and remaining three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Stir until the spinach is wilted.

4. Cut the chicken against the grain into diagonal strips 2.5cm wide, 5-7cm long, and return to the skillet. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with the lemon wedges.

5. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

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