Posts Tagged 'South African'

Beskuit – South African rusks…

Frank loves South African food, a trait for which I am very grateful. Or shall I say: for which he is very grateful. I’m not sure what I would do if he didn’t like it! When we first started dating I bought him some biltong, which is similar to jerky, and he loved it. (I also gave some to a British colleague who said “what is this disgusting stuff?” to which I replied “if any other South Africans see you pulling that face or hear what you just said you’ll be getting a beating. Just so you know.”)

One of the most traditional South African foods is the humble rusk. Historically, rusks evolved, along with biltong, during the latter country’s early pioneering days as a way to preserve bread in the dry climate. It was also extensively used during times of war or when travelling long distances.

In the UK and Australia they are fed to babies, but our rusks are crunchy and delicious and designed to be dunked into a piping-hot cup of tea or coffee. (But not for too long, you don’t want mush on the bottom of your mug) They aren’t too sweet, and everyone who tried them loves them. Especially Frank! When I made the first batch of these babies Frank was sneaking them out the oven and munching them before they were dried.

I’m lucky enough to work with a South African guy whose mother has passed down the family rusk recipe to his beautiful wife. She, in turn, passed it to me as my family doesn’t have a rusk recipe that I know of. And now I pass it on to you! If you have any South African friends, making these will bring back their memories of home. And if you are South African, these are much better than Ouma rusks!

Beskuit – recipe from Estelle Meyer

1 kg self raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups of bran
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sultanas
500gms butter, cut into cubes
500ml cultured buttermilk
3 eggs
2 cups sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the butter. (If you’re in a hurry, you can melt it first).

Mix together the eggs and the buttermilk and add to the dry mixture, mixing thoroughly with your hands.

Put mixture into a bread/loaf pan, and bake for an hour, until golden.

Cool in pan and reduce oven temperature to 100C, then cut mix in slices like bread. Cut those slices into thin strips and place on baking paper directly on the oven racks and leave to dry for 3 hours.

Can be stored for up to two weeks in an airtight container, but I doubt they’ll last that long…


Hertzog cookies

Please don’t get me wrong, I love Australia. But when I’m walking down the street and I hear a South African accent, I realise just how much I miss home. I’m not sure if I miss the lifestyle I had there; but I miss my friends and family, and that feeling of “familiar”. We moved around a bit as a kid, so in total I have grown up in three towns and lived in three countries, and yesterday I had a minor crisis that I might end up forgetting my roots.

But really, the South African in me is as strong as ever! I speak Afrikaans to Frank quite often (and he has the grace to nod and give me what he thinks is the correct answer, even though he doesn’t speak the language. Although I think he nods and gives what he thinks is the answer whether I’m speaking Afrikaans or English…) and I regularly lapse into South African expressions, which tends to cause a bit of confusion. For example:
– Loll to Frank: “wow, he’s not the brightest khoki in the box, is he?”
– Frank to Loll: “yep, he definitely isn’t the brightest cookie in the box.”
At which point I was on the floor laughing at the fact that Frank thought I was just saying “cookie” in an Afrikaans accent! (For those who aren’t South African, a khoki is a felt-tipped pen.)

So, to celebrate our rich South African culture (and to make Frank a little chubby), I decided to make something I haven’t eaten in years: Hertzog cookies. These jam and coconut tartlets are known as Hertzog koekies in South Africa, and are part of every South African housewife’s traditional recipe collection. They were named after General J.B.M. Hertzog, prime minister of the South African Union in 1924.
These cookies are fairly easy to make, and taste amazing. I’m going to make another batch as soon as I can!

Hertzog cookies – recipe from Margaret Ramsbottom’s “Cooking is fun”

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup castor sugar
125g margarine/butter, softened
3 large eggs, separated
4 tbsp water
½ cup apricot jam
1 1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced
Sift Flour, baking powder and salt together. Add castor sugar and rub in butter.
Beat egg yolks and water together and add to dry ingredients, mixing to a soft dough.

Roll dough out thinly and press out circles. Line a greased muffin tin with circles. (I used a mini-muffin tin, but it’s best to use a mince-pie/patty pan tin)

Spoon a teaspoonful of apricot jam into middle of each circle.

Beat egg whites until soft peak stage. Add the white sugar slowly, while still beating. Fold in coconut and spoon the egg mixture onto the preserves.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
Turn carefully onto a wire rack to cool.

Sausage and mash, South African style

It’s always slightly nerve-wracking when you start dating someone, when you start to discover the things they like and the things the don’t like. And what happens if they love something you dislike? Or they think you’re weird for owning a onesie? Or worst of all, they don’t like baked goods?

One of my friends doesn’t like any chocolate except white chocolate, he hates vinegar (in his own words, if Cindy Crawford asked him for a kiss after eating salt & vinegar chips he would shove her and run) and doesn’t eat too many vegetables. And as much as I love him as a friend, he would drive me nuts if I ever had to cook for him.

When I first met Frank I was interested to see whether he would like the same things I do. In South Africa we eat a farm-style spiced beef sausage called boerewors. It is a part of all braais (barbeques) and is one of the first things South Africans away from home will request (and the first thing we miss). Needless to say, if Frank didn’t like boerewors it would be like disliking a part of my history. *dramatic* One day in London we passed a South African stall that made boerewors rolls (boerewors on a long roll with fried onions and tomato sauce) and I suggested that Frank try one. Once he had one bite he was hooked! And so was I… 😉

When we were shopping last month Frank discovered an Aussie company that makes boerewors like the stuff you get at home. He was practically hopping on the spot! It tastes delicious, and we buy it once a week for dinner. As I seem to be making South African food lately I thought I’d share this one with you. If you have a South African shop in your area, or a Woolworths if you live in Australia, give it a try. You won’t be disappointed!

I baked my boerewors as we don’t have a coal barbeque. South Africans will be very disappointed to read that, but it’s the best I can do. I teamed it with sweet potato mash as the sausage is very rich and the sweet potato works well with the spices. Topped off with a batch of steamed veggies, it makes a lovely mid-week meal.

Boerewors and sweet potato mash – a lollcakes original

1 pack farm-style sausage/boerewors
2 sweet potatoes
pinch ginger
pinch cinnamon
salt to taste
pinch chilli flakes
25ml butter
50ml milk
vegetables or salad to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced, place boerewors on a tray. DO NOT prick the skin, it keeps the moisture in the sausage.

Cook boerewors for 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. While the boerewors is cooking, chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Mash with the rest of the ingredients, and serve with the sausage and vegetables/salad.

Traditional Malva pudding

Traditions play a big part in our lives. Each family has their own traditions that are handed down to the next generation, and the same with every country.

When I lived at home we always ate dinner at the table. My mom insisted as it gave us a chance to talk about our days. This has been passed on to me, and I now make Frank eat dinner at the table instead of in front of the tv. (Much to his horror…) Another tradition my mom and I have is to say “love you lots” to each other at the end of every conversation. I said it so many times that I said it to a friend on the phone one day by mistake! It was a great tradition to let each other know that we care, even if I may have said it to randoms by mistake every now and again.

Frank’s family has started a new tradition which I love. The tradition is for the whole family to go away for a weekend once a year, and instead of buying each other gifts the money goes towards the house we rent. This year’s family weekend was last weekend, and we went to Berry. We stayed in a fabulously quirky house and spent the weekend relaxing and catching up. To make catering easier each couple took two meals to cook over the weekend. And since it was a traditional weekend, I decided to make a traditional South African dessert as one of our meals. I got the recipe from my line manager, who got it from an old Aunt back home, and it tastes just like I remember!

According to Wikipedia, ‘Malva Pudding is a sweet pudding of Dutch origin, usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream. It is made with apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture. It is often found on the dessert menu of South African restaurants.It is of distinct Cape Dutch origin with many unique additions which may differ from one area to the next’. All I know is that it is South African, and it is delicious!

Malva Pudding – recipe origin unknown


1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp apricot jam
1 cup flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp margarine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream (not whipped)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup hot water
5ml vanilla extract

Beat the egg and sugar well in a mixer. Add the jam, sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Melt the butter add the lemon juice and milk. Add liquids to egg mixture alternately with the flour. Beat well and bake in a covered dish 180C for 45 minute to 1 hour.

Melt together the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding as it comes out of the oven. Pop back in and bake for 20 mins, until sauce has caramelized. Serve with ice-cream or cream if you wish!

South African fudge

I love fudge. In fact I would go so far as to say I am obsessed with fudge. But not just any fudge, South African fudge! This fudge doesn’t taste anything like the fudge you get in the UK/US, it is sweet and soft and granule-y in texture. It has a beautiful hint of condensed milk, and demands that you eat at least two pieces in a sitting. (I’ve been known to eat 6 at a time, but don’t tell my mom…)

My South African colleague brought in a small tub of fudge last week, purchased at his local South African store. Once I realised there were only 4 pieces in the tub, and 13 people in the office, I ran around trying to steal fudge out of people’s hands. Which is when he issued the challange: South African fudge is impossible to make unless you are over 45. Now normally I would agree with him, because fudge is generally tricky to make unless you’ve seen it been done before and actually know what they mean when they say “the soft-ball stage”, but this time I decided to challenge it as I am into challenges lately!

After googling many recipes for South African fudge, I settled on one that claims to be foolproof. And I am very happy to report, it is exactly that. Without knowing what to expect, I managed to make a delicious batch of the fudge I remember from my childhood.

Stored, and ready for hiding from me.

The recipe I used is from Lynda at Food, Fun & Farm life in East Africa. ( It is a little different to any other recipe I’ve found, but it’s those differences that make it so delicious.

Foolproof South African Fudge

1,5 kg Sugar
45 ml golden syrup
1 x 390ml tin condensed milk
1 x tin water (refill the empty condensed milk tin with water to measure)
100 g margarine
1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
250 ml flour

Mix the flour and sugar together. Melt syrup, condensed milk, water and margarine in a large (preferably non-stick) saucepan. Add the flour/sugar mixture to this, stirring continuously. As soon as the mixture starts to bubble, add the cream of tartare and stir quickly to blend. Turn the gas down to medium and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes. (It is important that the mixture simmers constantly for the full 20 minutes.) Remove from the stove, pour into a clean bowl  and add the vanilla essence, stirring to blend. Now beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for about 10 – 15 minutes and it will start to thicken as it cools. Once it begins to thicken (to the consistency of thick porridge) pour it immediately into a greased baking tray and allow to cool and set before cutting into squares.


This fudge is great as a little gift – just pop a few pieces in a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. I have chosen to just scoff the whole lot myself! (Frank has stated that it’s too sweet for his Australian taste, so more for me…)

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