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Why do people love crème brûlée so much? We think it is how you have to crack through the crispy sugar-topping to get to the heavenliest of all custards. It is a very elegant desert, and usually expensive when you order it in a restaurant – but is actually very easy to make. Especially this recipe, demonstrated by the French pastry chef Guillaume Nicoli on NZ television, as it does not require the use of a bain-marie (water bath) to cook.
This Kiwi favourite – called yo-yo biscuits because they look like the toy – are egg-free and made from custard powder. When made with real butter, they are guaranteed to melt in the mouth. A number of cafés in New Zealand sell enormous yo-yo biscuits, but we prefer them smaller.
Ouma Babsie, Marietjie’s grandmother, lived in Onseepkans in the Boesmanland in the North-Western Cape. Because their farm was on the banks of the Orange River it produced top-quality fruit, which Ouma Babsie bottled for the winter months. Her bottled quince left a lasting impression on Marietjie: slices of rosy pink quince preserved in heavy syrup was not something that was easy to come by for city dwellers.
There are two peach trees in our backyard. They produce luscious, juicy sweet yellow peaches, enabling us to make the best peach chutney every autumn, using this recipe.
There is nothing as refreshing as cold ginger beer on a scorcher of a day! Ginger beer is a traditional drink as well. It was quite popular – and made frequently – in the days before fizzy drinks became readily available, especially on New Year.
Buttermilk pudding is a very traditional baked pudding in South Africa. It is a light pudding, with a creamy spongy texture, and we love it.Although buttermilk pudding is great on its own, the orange sauce described in this recipe is a perfect companion if you feel a little more adventurous. 
Marietjie’s mum used to say "I love you as much as fig jam" when she liked someone a lot, and she was right: green fig preserve is lovely with wholegrain bread and butter, irresistible on a cheese platter, and goes very well with buttermilk pudding. The whole preserved figs are also delicious on their own, especially when lovingly served up on cake plates with tea or coffee, as they did in the Old Cape.
There are many recipes for boerewors, but this recipe for traditional boerewors from Sannie Smit, is a simple basic recipe to start from.
These biscuits do not require cooling down after baking; they are pure bliss hot from the oven. In fact, they are a bit like a cup of thickly brewed Mexican hot chocolate: creamy, chocolaty, and lightly spiced with cinnamon and a dash of chilli.
Marietjie's mum enjoyed sewing and during the 80's she attended Knitwit classes for home dressmakers, which taught quick and easy ways to work with knit and stretch fabrics. They also exchanged fast and easy recipes, and this recipe was known as Knitwit Bran Rusks.
While it is expensive to buy Dukkah in the shop, it is quite economical to make at home. This dukkah is from Julie le Clerc’s book Taking Tea in the Medina. It is a mild blend, and our whole family loves it.
Instead of using ready-made curry mix, this recipe for Cape Malay lamb curry combines basic spices (ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves) into one of South Africa’s best curries. The long list of spices may let it sound complex, but is surprisingly easy to make.
“Shall I bake a cheesecake?” Marietjie asked, and proceeded to spread her recipe books on the table. She could not quite find what she wanted and started to devise a new recipe on the spot. Jaco had his doubts, but can now report that he worried too much. His wife’s new recipe turned out to be just right in his view – and he’s been looking for the perfect New York style cheesecake for a very long time.
An Alsatian bit Marietjie when she was only nine years old. A good friend of Marietjie’s mother brought a plate of homemade meringues as a get-well-soon gift and that is exactly what Marietjie did: Betty-June’s meringues were that good. Her meringue recipe stood the test of time, and become a firm favorite with our own daughter and her friends here in New Zealand.
A firm favourite with kids and peanut butter lovers alike, these nutty biscuits make great lunchbox treats, but are at their best when served with milk or coffee.
This creamy lemon spread will add a soft citrus-zing to cakes, shortbread, scones, pancakes, meringue: the list goes on and on. It is especially good (well, good in a naughty way) when combined with whipped cream to fill tartlets.As with all classics, there are many ways to made lemon curd. This recipe is our favourite.
Although you can cook it in a microwave, a butternut is at its best when oven-baked for about two hours at 160°C: it will be colourful, soft, easy to peel and de-seed, and wonderfully flavoursome. And you can use it to make a lovely velvety butternut soup.
Lepelsteeltjies is another much loved South African combination of savoury and sweet: they are tiny biscuits made from cheddar cheese, with a wee bit of apricot jam in the centre.They are not easy to pass by: the only safe way to store them is behind lock and key. Luckily, lepelsteeltjies will get stale if you leave them too long, so you’ll have the perfect excuse to liberate them.
Every winter, our friend Hannie organises a mid-winter pumpkin feast to lighten the winter greyness – if only for one weekend – and her colourful, sweet pumpkin fritters are one of the star attractions.Recipes for pumpkin fritter sauce often use more sugar, but Hannie’s cinnamon caramel sauce is just right. In fact, it is delicious.
The French, without doubt, makes the best onion soup in the world: it is a perfect combination of smooth textures and flavours.While every region and bistro across France has its own version of this classic dish, very few non-French restaurants seem to be able to make a decent bowl of French onion soup.We cannot understand why, because it is a simple enough dish to prepare at home, as we do on cold and wet winter nights (that is, frequently).
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