Playing catch up on the blog, this post was written when we started our Journey Around the World through Food Weekends...
This past weekend, we embarked on a culinary journey around the world. And we headed to my birthplace, South Africa. How did it go? Read on...
South Africa has some of the most diverse customs, people and food. You can't go wrong with a lekker 'Braai' (BBQ); almost everyone and their aunt knows how to make a good Curry; and if you haven't yet tasted a Peppermint Crisp Tart, you haven't lived!
Suffice it to say I can braai with the boys; share a Masala steak Gatsby with my chommies and steal a slice of Milktart from my sister's fridge whenever I go visit. Sloppy Joes does not even come close to vetkoek; and don't get me started on pickled fish.
Talent in the kitchen to me is adding a little of this and a pinch of that. And of course we can't forget a heaped teaspoon of this spice - yet my teaspoon is not the same size as your teaspoon. When you know that Tuesdays is Frikadel, White Rice and Tomato Smoortjie - then you grew up in a coloured home in the 90's.
Man! This post brings back memories. But I digress, I wanted to write about us celebrating our heritage through food. So anyway, I woke up on Saturday morning and Recipe book in hand, headed down to my kitchen to start on breakfast...
Now I grew up eating 'post toasties' (did I get that right?) - which was essentially corn flakes. And the way we enjoyed it was with warm milk. To this day, I can't eat my morning cereal with cold milk. But since I wanted to mix things up a bit for our 'Heritage Weekend', and we eat earl during the week, I decided to make South African Pancakes - or Pannekoek. Which one could agree is a cross between the dutch Pannenkoek and the French Crepe. I followed this recipe and they were scrumptious! I also only made half a batch, since I didn't want us wasting any food and we are only three people. Miss E enjoyed her first one as it should be eaten with cinnamon and sugar. Her second and third one, she insisted on Nutella.
Growing up, going out to eat was a luxury. It was not something we did often, instead we kept those 'restaurant' visits for special occasions. Like birthdays. And back in the day, Spur Steak Ranches were THE family restaurants. The food was always yummy and they had large portions. We often would share one or two starters and then almost always not finish our main meal, instead taking the leftovers home in what was called a 'doggy bag' (is it still called that?). And one of my favourite starters (and remember back in the day, the kids never got to choose the starter, so I always hoped my mum would pick it) was the Spur Crumbed Mushrooms. Oh, it was heavenly. Deep-fried to perfection and they always brought a white dipping sauce, that I now think may have been like an aioli?
Anyway, I searched all over the web for an original recipe, but couldn't find one (remember, I also wanted to make use of pantry items that I already had on hand.) So I just used a basic crumbed mushroom recipe and tweaked it a bit using ingredients I already had in my cupboards. Of course I couldn't just serve mushrooms either. So I made something my mum used to make ever single Sunday after church: fried chicken. Both of these complemented each other very well. And my homemade aioli dip was a huge hit with Miss E as well.
This was a no-brainer. It was always going to be a Curry. I just couldn't decide if I wanted to make vetkoek or roti to go with it. So of course I messaged both my sisters, who make both roti and vetkoek very often. It was unanimous: roti for the win. Only, I have never made roti in my life. I've seen it being made. But the method looked too daunting (almost like when I look at an overlock machine - scary). I don't know why I was so scared though - it was not that difficult.
Now this was one I didn't have too much faith in. I was hoping it would work, but my ingredients was way off on the recipe and it didn't turn out very well. I made a Milk Tart, which is a cold tart that is enjoyed all over South Africa. For some reason, my filling did not set, even though I made the tart the previous day.
We thoroughly enjoyed our South African Day and the food I prepared. And I certainly enjoyed going down memory lane with the dishes and the smells in our home.
What is your favourite meal or dish or dessert from your homeland? Do you get to make and eat it often? Let me know, I am always looking for new dishes and prepare for my family.