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South African

A baked orange pudding is a tangy, traditional, and highly addictive affair. This recipe ticks all the boxes: it is zesty, has been handed down the generations, and has been proved to impress friends and colleagues alike. It is sticky too, on account of being baked in its own sauce.

When you sandwich tangy, tropical guava custard between a slice of Swiss roll and a layer of unbaked cheesecake, you get a guava tart. We guarantee it will make your toes curl.

Crunchies – the well-loved South African biscuits that remind of Anzac biscuits, or even British flapjacks – comes in many variations, but this recipe is for a somewhat thinner, crunchier version.

Caramel apple tart – apple slices nestled on cake batter; baked and then smothered in a creamy syrup – might well be one of South Africa's most popular apple tart recipes. It is delicious served hot or cold, and with or without custard or vanilla ice-cream.

Custard dumplings, while not as famous as traditional South African Souskluitjies (dumplings), are delicious (especially on a cold rainy day) and easy to make. The only downside we can think of is the fact that they disappear very, very quickly. It is the sort of dish that makes you watch your fellow table-mates very closely.

Peppermint Crisp Balls are truffles, or chocolate balls, made from South African Peppermint Crisp bars. These wicked balls will get you out of trouble when you have to deal with a desperate craving for Peppermint Crisp Tart, but just do not have time (or the inclination) to build the full-blown traditional tart layer by layer. If you don’t like lots of cream, Peppermint Crisp Balls might even be a better option.

“Lemoenstroopkoek” means “orange syrup cake”, but because this cake contains dates, we think it should be called an “Orange and date cake”.

Marietjie’s father – who had a sweet tooth – loved this cake for his birthday. Because his birthday coincided with their annual winter holiday on the farm, baking this cake became part of the routine holiday preparations. These days Marietjie bake it on her father’s birthday to treasure his memory.

Ouma Babsie, Marietjie's grandmother, braved a sweltering hot kitchen to bake large batches of these spicy, wine-flavoured biscuits in her wood-burning oven before the start of the festive season. They lived on a farm in the North-West Cape on the Orange River. The outside temperature soared to 40° Celcius or more during summer, so it was no mean feat on Ouma Babsie’s part. Marietjie has fond childhood memories of helping with the baking, which included hearing many stories of the old days.

Everybody knows bobotie is a meat dish – after all, the dish was invented hundreds of years ago when the old people were looking for ways to prevent meat from going off. But when a vegetarian friend visited recently, we wanted to make something special. We tried lentils instead of minced meat, which was bit of a paradigm shift for The Guardians of The Traditional Bobotie, but it did come out really lovely.

If you like crunchy biscuits, you will most probably love these cereal biscuits as much as we do.

It is not easy to describe a frozen Peppermint Crisp tart. You can think of it as crunchy, mint ice cream, or as peppermint ice cake, or as slices or heaven, or perhaps slices of pure evil. It depends on your point of view. Perhaps you should try it and see for yourself.

This is an old fashioned recipe, which Marietjie loves. Her mom used to bake these biscuits, with the help of a cookie press, in large batches, but Marietjie adapted it for a smaller, family-sized batch.

Old-fashioned cup-cake recipe with currants and nutmeg.

We love sharing milk tart with our friends, but because it’s a bit unpractical to take a milk tart to a finger-food pot luck meal, Marietjie started filling small home-made tartlet cases with her standard milk tart filling. The plate is always empty when it’s time to go home.

Ystervarkies are small cubes of cake that are dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in coconut, to resemble hedgehogs. (“Yservarkie” is Afrikaans for “hedgehog”.) South African lamingtons are much smaller than the Australian and New Zealand versions, usually measuring only 3 or 4 cm square.

A delicious chicken pie that combines delicate flavours and colours: small pieces of pink ham and slices of white-and-yellow egg are gently tucked into a protein-rich mixture of shredded chicken and home-made chicken stock, thickened with sago to be moist but never soggy. You won’t find any vegetables in this king of pies; they are served on the side, together with a crispy garden salad.

We made these easy apple tartlets with a simple apple filling and tasty squares dough, using a silicon tartelette container. It was a bit of an experiment, but they came out beautifully, exactly like the apple tartlets we grew up with as children.

Tasty squares, an old-fashioned South-African slice, might have its roots in Holland.

This is more or less the recipe that Marietjie’s mum baked, but we prefer to go light on the cloves and almond essence.

A pudding that’s allowed only once every four years? Yes, that’s right. In honour of leap year, we made South African leap year pudding.

Rich, festive, fabulous, and expensive, a biltongpotjie is special dish for a special occasion.

Condensed milk biscuits are well-known in South-Africa. They are similar to New Zealand condensed milk biscuits, but contain egg.

The dough is soft and very pliable, which means you can shape your biscuits with a cookie press, or even a meat grinder with a cookie attachment, if you are so lucky to own one.

If you are a fan of Milo, you will most probably love Milo biscuits. They are crunchy on the outside, soft and Milo-ish inside, and goes very well with a glass of cold milk.

A bottle or two of tangy beetroot is a very handy thing to have in the pantry when you need to conjure up salad in a hurry. This spicy beetroot salad, also known as pickled beetroot or even beetroot relish, is a favourite in both South-Africa and New Zealand.

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 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.

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.

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.