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South African

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Marietjie grew up with this attractive cheese and condensed milk tart, topped with apricot halves, that perfectly combines sweet, tangy and savoury tastes.

It looks just like sunny side up eggs. Marietjie's sister, who declared this to be her all-time favourite tart, was known to eat it for breakfast. She also made it a standard item on her birthday where, together with chocolate cake and a savoury tart, it was offered to guests who dropped by any time between morning tea and afternoon tea time.

Frikkadelle are South African meat balls. They can be as simple or grand as the occasion demands, and this recipe is definitely on the lavish side (but easy to make): the combination of perfectly flavoured frikadelle, served in a heart-warming tomato, onion and wine sauce, will tame the coldest and wettest of winter nights.

Slaphakskeentjies is an old fashioned traditional South African salad recipe that stood the test of time. These delicious small pickled onions, in their tangy, piquant sauce, can be served with a variety of meat-based main dishes.

Because peeling onions can be time-consuming, this recipe is for a small batch, but you can easily doubled or triple the ingredients if you need to.

An easy and simple pasta salad that goes well with "braaivleis" (barbeque), picnics or when camping out. The salad can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Paptert (porridge pie) is a delicious modern addition to South African braaivleis (barbeque).

It's looks a little bit like a lasagne, but is made from maize porridge (mieliepap) and a very generous vegetable filling to ensure a rich, moist and admittedly decadent savoury tart. Leftovers will keeps well in the fridge until the following day, but should be served warm.

Because pickled fish should be marinated in the fridge for two days, it is a great dish to make in advance for a long weekend, or any other day that you won't have time for cooking.

There are many recipes for this flavoursome dish, most of which tend to use lots of vinegar and curry. In this recipe, Marietjie reduced the vinegar and curry. The result is milder, but it's still got lots of zing.

If you're looking for a South-African dessert or afternoon tea-time treat that can be made on either the stove-top or in the microwave oven, instead of being baked in a conventional oven, you will find this unbaked milk tart to be quick, easy, creamy and delicious.

Passionfruit adds a lovely new twist to a traditional lemon meringue pie. This lovely new variation was recently introduced as a promotional recipe by Nestle South-Africa, for their Full Cream Sweetened Condensed Milk. This is our adapted recipe.

Unbaked, refrigerated squares or balls that are made from dates and crushed biscuits are a South African favourite. They can be flavoured with vanilla or brandy and can be cut into squares or rolled into balls. They are usually covered in desiccated coconut to make them less sticky, and some recipes add more butter to make them softer, but the basic recipe remains the same.

This lovely creamy oven baked fish is guaranteed to warm up a cold winter's evening, especially if combined with fresh salad, a bottle of Riesling, and good company.

We found the original version of this recipe in a book called "Voortrekker Resepte", published in 1988 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the "Groot Trek" in South Africa. We adapted it a bit to suit our family, but this recipe is still fairly close to the original:

Melkkos is a comforting milk and cinnamon dish that can be served as a light breakfast, lunch or evening meal. The name "melkkos" (which means "meal made from milk") doesn't do justice to this wonderful dish that will warm up even the most dismal of winter days.

This simple sago pudding is just as satisfying as sago pudding with meringue topping, but somewhat easier to make. Jaco considers it to be one of Marietjie's top puddings.

Combining cinnamon and apricot jam, this sago pudding is creamy, comforting, and quite representative of South African cooking.

This recipe's secret to success is to allow sufficient time for the sago starch to become translucent, before baking it at a low temperature.

Easter biscuits lock the spicy flavour and taste of hot cross buns into a crunchy texture. As they will keep fresh for a few days and do not break easily, Easter Biscuits are great for Easter-weekend trips, picnics, and lunchbox treats.

This recipe is for the South African version of Easter Biscuits, which contains mixed peel and more spices than the New Zealand version in the Edmonds Cookery book.

Orange juice rusks not only have a refreshing citrus flavour, they are also ideal for people with lactose-intolerance when made with dairy free margarine.

Koffiekoekies (coffee biscuits), with it's coffee-fudge filling, was Marietjie's father's ultimate favourite biscuit.

Indeed, these biscuits are regarded as a bit of a luxury in South Africa because they are delicious, and also because it's hard work to make them. But the result is such a delightful mixture of textures and flavours, that it's well worth the effort.