The influence of Dutch, English, German and French cooking cannot be denied on South African eating habits. With the many wars between small principalities and struggle for religious freedom many Europeans decided to leave their homeland and settled in what is now known today as South Africa. Easy, it could not have been, but they brought their cooking habits and their sense of frugality with them, some of which we still use today.
On the flatlands of the Western Cape they build themselves farms that still exist today, mostly vegetable, stock and wine farms. In the Eastern Cape a group of German immigrants settled and many of the people you find there is of German descent.
The food we now buy in our supermarkets, although we don’t often notice it, but these foods come from European cultures that immigrated to South Africa. But the food that we do recognize from that comes from another country has always been from German origins.
I am talking about rye bread; pumpernickel and sour dough bread, in my mind’s eye we already eating it with cream cheese, ham and a pickle. There are however a vast array of meats, preserved vegetables and cake to be had.
The Christmas Ham served with creamy mustard Mayonnaise could be of a German recipe. The spicy cookies that served with coffee or tea and presented in a little box and given as a present is very special. Apple, mincemeat and nut strudel is another favourite if only it did not take such a long time to make it.
Food of European people were often preserved I suppose because of their cold winters and the people needed to work on the farms or fight in wars. Naturally sauerkraut is a favourite with German-South Africans and goes very nice with a German beer.
Honey is found all over South African and is well-liked in the food culture of South Africa. Different kinds of honey are produced in the following areas for example:
Hopefield, Vredenburg and Piketberg is well known for the sandveld honey. Here fynbos will be the bee’s main plant for the producing of the honey.
In the Karoo thornbush –honey is cultivated from the thornbush.
To the eastern side of the Cape, South African honey is produced from flower farms in the Caledon region which we know as the Strandfontein.
To the west at places like Citrusdal and Clanwilliam we get honey produced by the bee’s using citrus blossoms as this is an Orange producing area.
In the Klein Karoo where much of our stone fruit grows like peaches, apricots and plums, I expect the honey is from the blossoms of these trees. All South African honey tastes different; you can actually taste honey of fynbos and citrus and notice the difference.
South Africa no doubt has a large array of different honeys, and we have only mentioned a few.
Honey can obviously be used for many purposes eg.
- To put in your tea for sweetening purposes
- To bake delicious bread
- Honey be mixed with lemon juice for medicinal purposes
- Can be used as a face pack
- For baking purposes (cake and biscuits)
- For sauces eg Ina Paarman’s salad dressing
This is not only a South African recipe, but everybody in almost every country in the world and especially mothers and housewife’s sometimes needs to stretch her budget to feed her family.
Everywhere in our country, South Africa this is becoming more of a fact. Years ago when Mr Clive Weil and I am referring to round about 1987 printed a little booklet with recipes in four languages.
I still have the little book with the compliments to Mr Weil and “Nasionale Tydskrifte” in Cape Town. I will now give you two South African recipes.
- 500 grams Macaroni
- 1 Onion Chopped
- 50 grams margarine
- 40 ml flour
- 500 ml Milk
- 1 Large tomato peeled and chopped
- 1 X 300 gram can corned beef
- 50 ml chopped parsley
- 50 ml hot chutney
- 10 ml mixed herbs
- Salt and Pepper
- 125 grams grated cheddar cheese
Cook macaroni as directed on the packet. Drain water.
Meanwhile fry onion in margarine until tender.
Add flour and stir.
Gradually add the milk, stirring until mixture is thickened and boils.
Add remaining ingredients except the cheese.
Bring to boil.
Mix sauce with hot macaroni and turn into a greased oven proof dish.
Sprinkle cheese over and bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 min
Serve 6 – 9 people
Black Forest Trifle
- 2 x 497 gram cans condensed milk
- 2 X 250 smooth cottage cheese
- 125 ml lemon juice
- 1 Chocolate Swiss roll (you buy them at your local Checkers store)
- Cherry liqueur, brandy will also do
- 1 x 425 can black cherries
- 100 gram flaked almonds
- Chocolate Flakes
- Cream for decoration – This is optional
In the mixing bowl combine condensed milk, cottage cheese and lemon juice until smooth.
Slice Swiss-roll into 1 cm slices.
Place a layer of cake in a glass dish.
Sprinkle with liquor, cherries and almonds and cover with some cheese mixture.
Continue in the fashion ending with cheese mixture.
Decorate with chocolate flakes and cream.
Chill about 3 hrs before serving.
Serves 6 – 8.
This dish is an ideal South African dessert for Christmas
This delicious South African dish is reasonably inexpensive since the main ingredient of this meal is pumpkin. Try and find a sunny place where you can grow this vegetable. It is a standby all-year-round.
Make pumpkin fritters the way grandmother used to do and serve them piping hot. These South African made fritters can be eaten as a desert or with your main meal as an enhancement.
The famous South African boer pumpkins are kept on the roof of the farm house. You can imagine how handy these pumpkins are when you need something for a Sunday afternoon meal.
Pumpkins are founded all over South African e.g. Western Cape, Karoo, North Western Province, Orange Free State, and the old Transvaal, today it’s called Gauteng. Pumpkins are especially found in dry areas and are therefore reasonably cheap. Most house wife’s have their own recipe since pumpkins can be cooked in many ways. Here is such a traditional South African fritter recipe.
Recipe for Pumpkin Fritters
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients to make South African pumpkin fritters
- 450 g peeled pumpkin
- A pinch of salt and sugar
- 60g flour
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 2 eggs
- Milk (optional)
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) sunflower oil
- 45 ml (3 tablespoons) butter
- Lemon wedges for garnish
For the cinnamon sugar
- 100g sugar
- 5 ml (1 teaspoon) cinnamon
Steam the pumpkin over boiling water in a vegetable steamer with little salt and sugar until it is just done.
Mix the pumpkin, flour, baking powder and eggs to form a batter of dropping consistency.
Add a little milk if it’s too stiff
Fry spoonful’s in the mixed, heated oil and butter in a big heavy-based oil frying pan.
Drain the fritters on brown paper.
Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and serve hot with wedges of lemon on the side.
In South African we have a large selection of meats to choose from. It could be beef, mutton, lamb, pork or chicken. They are all farmed all over this great country, but lately we also have farms that produce venison for commercial use. When I was a child my grandfather and all the farms that were nearby had the yearly shoot somewhere in June/July, but I guess it was not an easy thing for him to do – the hunting season always happened during our winter school holidays, now can you imagine and he had only girls for grandchildren. There would always be a few tears before and after the kill.
The following South African recipe is for Pot Roast Leg or Shoulder of Lamb
This recipe will serve 4
- 1 small leg or shoulder of venison layered with bacon
- 1 Carton of 500ml buttermilk
- 500 grams of mixed dried sherry
- 2 Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Onion halved lengthwise and sliced
- 10 Juniper berries bruised
- 30 ml (tablespoon) of Oil
- 2 plumb garlic cloves, bruised, peeled and crushed
- 1 carrot, scraped and thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 250 ml (1 cup) meat stock
- Fresh or dried out naartjie peel
- Place the meat in a enamel casserole dish and pour the butter milk over the meat.
- Cover the dish with cling warp and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
- Spoon the dried fruit, wine, cloves and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to stand overnight.
- Remove the meat from the marinade, wipe it clean and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season well with salt and paper and rub juniper berries in all over.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy based saucepan and fry the onions, garlic and carrot for 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat and keep it aside for now.
- Fry the meat in the same saucepan until browned all over. Return the onion mixture and add the leaves.
- Pour off the liquid if any from the dried fruit and add it to the stock.
- Add the stock mixture to the meat.
- Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Add the little bit of water or more stock if you think it is necessary.
- Add the soaked fruit cinnamon, cloves and naartjie peel and pot roast uncovered for a further 30 min.