A South African New year

It is almost New Years eve and I am very excited. I am excited about what 2015 will bring. I am thankful for the year that’s passed but cannot wait for 2015.

It is summer in South Africa and it is HOT.

My hubby and I are going to spend a quiet evening at home and wait for the new year.

We will have a braai. But not any kind of braai we will have a snoek braai. A snoek is a fish that is found in the waters of the Southern Hemisphere.

Here is a snoek braai recipe


  • 1  snoek
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 150 ml apricot jam
  • 100 ml butter or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon


Using a small pot on the fire, or on a stove, lightly fry the onions.  Then add the apricot jam and lemon juice.

A snoek should be braaied ‘open’. Smear the skin side of the snoek with oil so that it does not stick to the grid and now place in the grid, skin side down. Grind salt and pepper onto the flesh side of the snoek and lightly pat it onto the meat. Pack tomatoes on the open snoek. Then add the apricot jam and onion mix.

Place the grill on a medium fire.

Braaiing time is about 15-20 minutes. If the flesh flakes, the snoek is ready.

Snoek is traditionaly eaten with soetpatats. (sweet sweet potato)


Sweet potatoes




  • Peel sweet potatoes and cut into  blocks
  • Place butter and sugar in pot over medium heat.
  • Stir continuously till the sugar is lightly caramelised
  • Add sweet potato pieces, sprinkle with salt to your taste.
  • Turn the pieces once after about 15 – 20 min

Happy New year from South Africa!Flag_of_South_Africa.svg

Take a look at this Pinterest board it has a lot of pins and ideas for new years eve.

Christmas in South Africa…Recipes…Beer braai chicken

Beer braai chicken

Preparation time: 10 -20mins
Cooking time: 45-60 mins

  • Salt and other seasoning
  • 1 Can of beer
  • 1 whole chicken
Drink half of the beer and place the chicken on top it, standing up on the coals. It takes about an hour to cook. Sometimes the flesh on the thighs appear pink this is because some smoking takes place.

Cut up the meat and enjoy!

Boerekos: Bread part 2



This is the second post about bread. See the first post here.

A braai is nothing without a beer bread or braaibroodjie. Below you will find a beer bread recipe.

Every South African is familiar with Vetkoek. In different cultures it has different names but the essence is the same. My mom used to make it for us often and we ate it with jam or mince.

Beer Bread.

500 gram Self Raising flour.
1 large egg.
1 tin of Beer. Any kind will do.
2ml salt.

Mix everthing together and bake in an oven for 1 hour.

Add the following for variation.

Cheese alone or with chopped fresh herbs.
Cheese and bacon.
Garlic and herbs.
1 tin of whole pitted mealies (corn).


Keep some of the bread dough of yeast bread and form small balls about half of your handpalm. Spray with cooking spray and cover with cling wrap. Allow to double and fry in deep oil about the temp as used for chips/fries.

Enjoy with jam.

For more about Boerekos please click here. 

Boerekos: Bread


The bread of today will never taste like the bread of way back. They had to grind the grain by hand and used a sweet potato yeast. That was a long procedure to make the yeast and the bread soon got a sour taste. But the families and the appetites were big. They usually baked at least half a dozen a day. The bread was baked in an outdoor oven. The girls in the house usually started early morning.

Bread and beskuit (rusks) recipes are more or less the same. Rusks have added sugar and aniseed.

But let us start with the bread with a modern recipe.

First a few tips.
1. The bread and the yeast must be fresh. Use all purpose flour or bread flour.
2. Mix the yeast with luke warm water and not hot water.
3. Let the bread rise in a lukewarm place out of a draft.
4. If you want to add raisins etc to the bead use more liquid.
5. Preheat you oven to 200 degrees Celsuis and turn down to 190. Heat are lost when you put bread in the oven.
6. Use a food processor or if you are going to bake often buy a small breadmaker. You don’t have to get your hands dirty. The bread tastes the same.

1kg flour
2 packets instant yeast
10 ml salt
15ml sugar
625ml lukewarm water.
5ml vinegar
15ml sunflower oil


1. Put the flour in a mixing bowl and mix the sugar and yeast well together with a wooden spoon.
2. Mix the lukewarm water and vinegar and add to dry mixture.
3. Start kneading with hand or machine and work the sunflower oil in until the dough is elastic and does not stick to your hands.
4. Make a round ball and cover with cling wrap after you sprayed the top with cooking spray.
5. Cover with blanket and allow to double in size.
6. Knea down carefully and place in sprayed pan. Pan only be half filled. Cover again with cling wrap after cooking spray on top. Cover with blanket and allow to double again.
7. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place pan/s in middle of oven and turn oven down to 190 degrees.
8. Bake for 40 minutes. Turn bread out. It must sound hollow if you knock on it. If not return for another 10 to 15 minutes.
9. For soft crust cover with damp dishcloth while cooling.

For more about Boerekos please click here. 

Boerekos: Bean soup

With heritage day still fresh in mind we will continue to discuss South African food using the heritage of the different cultures.

Boerekos was the traditional food of the European farmers of way back. This means the food that they ate daily on the farm and was grown on the farm. Everybody worked hard and had a healthy appetite. They believed rather cook too much than too little so there were always food for unexpected guests.

We will start with soup. Not thin soup but a pot of thick healthy soup ate with home baked bread and thick butter. There were coal or wood stoves and the soup simmered slowly. Most likely the whole day.

Bean soup

The French Hugenotes brought Bean soup to the Cape. It had to be cooked with pork boontjiesopmeat preferably bacon. We still cook it the same way today but the modern sugar beans only soaked for an hour and the first cook only 20 min.

Way back the beans were soaked overnight and drained. It was then covered with fresh water, cooked and drained. This is important to prevent embarrassment due to gas forming.  Fresh water was added and the slowly cooked. The following is added for taste. Onions,  potatoes, carrots, pepper, pimento  and cloves.

Salt are always added last otherwise the beans does not cook soft if added earlier.  The beans must always cook slowly for the skins not to come off or the beans to burst.

For more information about SA food please click here

If you would like to read about Boerekos specifically click here.

Braai day vs Chesa Nyama day

Heritage Day 2014It was heritage day in South Africa yesterday. Some people call it Braai day. I saw a lot of controversial discussions on Twitter and other social media regarding this issue. Some people seems to be offended  about the fact that some people call it Braai day, they seem to think that it takes something away from Heritage day. I thought about this and here is my response. I’m giving MY opinion on why I support both.

South Africa has many different cultures and it is very diverse. I teach children that speak (among others)  the following languages at home: Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, Tswana, Pedi, Shona, English. How do you celebrate everyone’s heritage at once and give everyone ample opportunity to display their rich culture. One thing we have in common is that all of us have to eat and most of us like to cook outside on the fire. Some of us call this event  Chesa Nyama and others calls it Braai.  It creates opportunity to talk around a fire about what is important to me and what I can learn from your culture? I That is why I support both. I see nothing wrong with attending a cultural celebration (where everyone gets a chance to display something about their culture) and having a Chesa Nyama afterwards.  Maybe we should stop calling it Braai day and then start calling it Chesa Nyama day and then alternate every year. Yesterday was Braai day and next year we will have Chesa Nyama day. Maybe this way everyone will be happy?

I am so lucky to live in South Africa and be part of this diverse melting pot of cultures! I am positive about our country and it’s future and am happy that we can celebrate our heritage.

Meat (3)

Meat was in abundance in Africa. The men and children worked hard so cholesterol was not really a factor.
A traditional meal would be meat, rice, potatoes and 2 vegetables.

In the coastal areas it would be mainly fish or chicken. Where there were catlle farming it would usually be lamb. On game farms or when they were on trek mainly venison. Wors where also made. The people also enjoyed biltong.

Fish were baked or used in a casserole. Fishcakes or Fishbobotie or Fishpies were made and a lot of fish were canned with or without curry.

Fish were packed in salt and then dried. These were called bokkoms.

Spices used to prepare fish dishes were currypowder, salt, corriander, chilly, onions, ginger, garlic, pepper, tumeric, lemon.

On cattlefarms everything of the animal was used. Offal were a delicatessen for some. Cold ox tongue, steaks, oxtailsoup, etc. Leg of lamb was roasted on  Sundays.

The meat was mainly minced and wors was made. Pies, frikkadelle(meatballs) and meatloaf were popular.

Casseroles were made when they had a permanent house and potjiekos while on trek. They had only the one pot and everything was cooked in it at the same time.

When pigs were available it was used as other meat but the skin was minced and fried in a pot over slow heat. The fat fried out and the kaiings was left over. This was a delicatessen and used over mealieporridge (pap)  or as a smear with butter on bread.

If you want more information or a recipe please ask because the subject is so vast.

Boerewors (4)

For a deep study of the history of food in SA I want to commend the book of H.W. Classens. Die geskiedenis van Boerekos. The publisher is Protea Boekehuis. Pta 2006. It is a short version of a thesis for a D Phil degree at the university of Pretoria.

We are on the subject of meat and have discussed Biltong.
Another treat is Boerewors on an open fire. Barbeque is different than a Braai. A Braai in SA is a man thing with Castle Lager in the hand. A braai will be before or after a rugby match.

Coming back to Boerewors. The Persians 500 BC already made a type of sausage. But it could never have tasted like Boerewors and everybody believes that they have the secret recipe.  National competitions are held yearly to find the best Boerewors.

And then the Braai of the wors. First they make a  fire with the best wood. (Also a man secret). Then the gathering of men with beer in the hand staring in this fire.

When the fire is nearly ready the discussion about the heat is started. Hands are held over the fire. Usually it is decided it is still too hot and then they wait and stare again. As soon as the leader decides the fire is ready there is a call for the wors to be brought to the fire while everybody still stares. The wors is placed on the fire the way the leader preferred. Every man has a very specific way of putting meat on the fire.  Now for the next stage.

This is also a very important ritual.  Only the leader has tongs. The other form a closed circle around the fire and stare. Every now and then the leader will poke the wors or move it slightly around. It will be turned once and a piece will be lifted from the fire and with great concentration tasted for readiness. As soon it is ready a call will go out for a container.

Everyone gather round and eat this great South African dish.

Vegetables in the early Cape (5)

Jan v Riebeeck planted acres of vegetables but the climate did not suit all of it.

When the people went on trek they took dried vegetables such as dried peas, pumpkins, rice, dried fruit with them. Further they lived on plants from the veldt. Veldkos.

Where the settled they started planting and sowing again.

Traders made a living by taking spices, rice, sugar, material, buttons and thread. Blankets, home medicine and what he could lay his hands on that people might buy. They bought what they needed and waited about 6 months before they saw a trader again.

The South African people learnt that Africa is not for sissies(the faint hearted). They adapted and learnt from each other.

All this is reflected in their food. General South African cooking now also developed in local tastes and food cultures. Family secrets are not shared easily.

Enjoy your journey of discovery and feel free to ask if you need to know anything else.

Biltong and Rusks (2)

The way to the East to buy spices passed the Cape. Many sailors died due to a lack of fresh food anvocd Jan v Riebeeck was send by the VOC to start a halfway station and to produce fresh food for the ships to take in. The Dutch were now in control of the Cape and the elite ate food as  prepared in their motherland.

Poor v Riebeeck had a struggle. They planted vegetables and trees that could not grow in our climate. It was wet and windy and the local Khoi San refused to trade cattle with them. Later when they had cattle the Khoi San stole it. But the area had wild animals in abundace but they did not know how to hunt. They only managed to get some fish and wild ducks.

Later they inhabited more land and started more farms. Living improved. Slaves were brought in .

But alas nothing lasted and as Brittian ruled the waves they conquered the Cape and now the Elite ate Brittish cuisine.  Some families refused to be under British rule and the Great Trek began. The way people ate changed now to food that could last and this is where we will start. Biltong and Rusks ( beskuit) were made because it could last.


Biltong can be any tipe of meat cut into thin pieces and covered with salt and dried in the shade until dry. If spices like corriander and pepper was available it was added. These recipes were passed on and many families have so called family secrets .


Rusks were made like bread and if sugar was available added to make sweet rusk. Aniseed is also popular. The milk obtained after butter was made is also used. The so called buttermilk rusks. The rusks was formed in little balls and left to rise. When baked it was split and dried in the oven. Regarding the fact that they had outside ovens and large families it was quite a task.