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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).
Ginger tart is an old South African treat: it appeared in the South African “Kook en Geniet” (Cook and Enjoy) recipe book as far back as the 1950s.
Mixing sweet and savoury is typical South African: we grew up with combinations such as grated cheese and apricot jam, or cheese and golden syrup, on sandwiches or vetkoek. Although it was a little unusual at first, Jaco’s colleagues quickly became partial to these small marmite and cheese cakes, baked in muffin pans for morning tea.
A baked fruit salad pudding combines the comforting richness of a wintery oven-baked pudding with the fresh flavours of fruit salad (better known as fruit cocktail, or "vrugte-kelkie" in South Africa). It is the kind of dish that reminds you that spring is only a couple of month away!
A Springbokkie is a shooter made from Amarula Cream and peppermint liqueur. It is a very patriotic drink, not only because a Sprinkbokkie reflects the gold-and-green of South Africa’s national rugby team, but also because Amarula’s the world’s second best selling cream liqueur (Bailey's Irish Cream being the first).
Peppermint crisp shooters (peppermint crispies for short) are the liquor equivalent of the incredibly popular peppermint crisp tart. They are just as bad for you as the real tart, and just as irresistible.
If your charcoal fire is anything like ours, it’s always warm enough to braai (barbecue) just one last little something after the meat and wors (South African sausage) have been braaied to perfection. For us, that last little something has got to be braaibroodjies, because a braai is simply not perfect without these delicacies: crunchy brown on the outside, but soft and wonderfully flavoursome inside.
We re-discovered pickled curry beans when our friend Hannie, who invited us for dinner, opened a bottle of this delightfully tangy yellow-green salad. It was real tasty and is very traditional South-African.Because Hannie grows runner beans in her garden, she uses 2 kg beans to make a large batch of just over 3 litres. If you want to cook just enough for a single meal, a small 250 gram bag of green beans from the local supermarket will make about 400 ml salad.We like our curry beans to be quite spicy, but you can tame it easily by reducing the turmeric and curry.
Lala brought this lovely recipe to New Zealand from her native Madagascar and passed it on to Fiona, a mutual friend, who affectionately named it “bad breath salad”.It doesn't matter what you call it: this garlic, salami and capsicum salad is a great recipe when you found a number of capsicums (also known as bell pepper or sweet pepper) for a good price.Marietjie’s often roasts the capsicum. The result is a sweeter salad with a slightly smoky flavour.
This is Marietjie's favourite shortbread recipe. It appeared in the South African Rooi Rose magazine a few years ago, when they featured a lady that passionately loved Scotland and all things Scottish.Marietjie loves the love-heart cookie mold, but the Scottish thistle pattern is also quite popular with our Kiwi friends, perhaps due to Christchurch's Scottish heritage. The tartan used for the photo is that of the MacLeod clan.
A decent New Zealand blue cheese, such as Kapiti Kikorangi, lends itself to be served with decent crusty bread and oat biscuits, which is why we bake our own oatmeal biscuits. They go very well with blue cheese and aged cheddar, with the added bonus that they are healthier than the supermarket’s typical low-budget water cracker (more fibre, less salt and no palm oil).
Melktert shooters (better known as “melktertjies”) is quite the modern South African shooter. It smells and tastes like melktert (South African milk tart) with a bit of kick and can turn people who never bothered with shooters or cocktails before, into melktert shooter enthusiasts within a single sip.There are a few variations of this most sought-after recipe, but the basic ingredients remain the same. We settled for the following melktertjie recipe.
This fishcake recipe is easy, quick and inexpensive. It is also quite versatile: we prefer salmon, but tuna works equally well, and you can experiment freely with the flavourings. You can serve it as nibbles, a light main course (this recipe is enough for two), or use it for patties next time you make fish burgers.As an added bonus, most kids like these fish cakes, especially if they helped to make it.
One of our Rainbow Cooking readers, June Rodgers from Cape Town, kindly send us this delicious recipe that combines a lovely caramel flavour with a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. We followed June’s suggestion to try buttermilk instead of sour cream, and declare this pudding a winner. We simply love it.
The Australian Women's Weekly Test Kitchen leads the field in baking and this sponge cake recipe (from their book, Classic Cakes), proves the point: it is simply the best ever sponge cake.The filling of cream and rose-scented strawberries is our own variation.
This recipe is a great way to turn leftover chicken (and leftover vegetables) into a flavoursome, first-class dish.
Modern South African “sousboontjies” are made from a speckled bean known as a sugar bean, available in South African shops here in New Zealand.Hettie Claassens describes the interesting history of this traditional South African dish in her book "Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos". Sousbone (sweet and sour beans in sauce) was first made by the Romans, who used vinegar, spices and honey. The 13th century Arabs made a similar dish with sweetened mustart, vinegar and raisins.In the 17th century, the Dutch used prune juice and syrup or honey to make their version of sweet and sour beans, which they brought to the Cape of Good Hope when they settled there in 1652. By the 1740's it had evolved into a salad made with black-eyed beans (swartbekboontjies), butter and vinegar.
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