Koekedoor Twee is kolwyntjies in high polfies

April 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Die tyd om te bak is sommer nóú nóú! Koekedoor is terug en hierdie keer draai hulle nie vatdoekies om nie. Koekedoor Een was vir my ‘n meditasie in pastelskakerings met sagte skadus wat deur meelwolkies filter, ‘n spel van soet en sout wat hom nooit verstout het nie. Tot die saggeaarde en perfeksionistiese Martjie Malan die f-bom sommer drie keer in ‘n ry gedrop het. Maar bak kán dit mos aan ‘n mens doen.

Ek was onlangs bevoorreg om die eerste 90-minute episode van Koekedoor Twee saam met beoordelaars tannie Elizabeth, Tiaan Langenegger en Mari-Louis Guy te kyk terwyl ons aan soet- en southappies uit die einste episode gesmul het.

Drie dae lank was die Cakebread Studio 'n fees van kleure en geure

So reg uit Riaan Cruywagen se kinderdae uit…

 

En glo my, hierdie is ‘n Koekedoor van ‘n ander kleur. Die Barbie-pienk en Sound of Music saligheid van die eerste reeks het ‘n gravitas bygekry wat jou laat regop sit. Koekedoor Twee se intro is so belaai met hartsnaarbeelde en dramatiese musiek, ek het skoon tranerig geraak. Goeie hel, dog ek, dis soos een van daai epiese, opswepende bankadvertensies. Of het ek straks PMS, moes ek myself vra. Any which way, dames, moenie julle pêrels stukkend druk nie!

Groot Koekedoor Mari-Louis Guy. Die lady mág maar.

Groot Koekedoor Mari-Louis Guy. Die lady mág maar.

Die kamerawerk en redigering is fokken fantasties meesterlik, met ‘n film noir spanning wat aan die ikoniese Franse fliek Delicatessen herinner. Baie dinge het in die Koekedoorstoor gespat, maar gelukkig nie bloed nie. Die span van Homebrew Films het hulself oortref. Reeksregisseur Sanet Olivier en regisseur van fotografie Chris Lotz is uitstekende storievertellers. Dis ‘n spel van lig en donker, ‘n lighartige gegiggel gevolg deur bloed sweet voor die oonde. As jy wil sien hoe ‘n tannie haarself in ‘n middelpaadjie inbak, wag en kyk maar…

Dit is wonderlik dat Koekedoor dieselfde beoordelaars behou het. Tannie Elizabeth, Mari-Louis en Tiaan het mekaar in Koekedoor Een leer ken en nou speel hulle eers lekker saam. Die bekendstelling van Koekedoor Twee het tydens ses teepartytjies oor drie agtereenvolgende dae geskied. Toe ek verlede Donderdagmiddag by die allerlaaste van die ses opdaag, was die drie aanbieders met goeie rede flou, maar ‘n lekker tequila koppie tee later was almal weer bok vir sports. Ongelukkig kon Inhoudsvervaardiger Errieda du Toit nie die bekendstelling bywoon nie. Haar koskennis en passie is die bakpoeier wat hierdie Koekedoor-beslag so hoog laat rys.

Dream Team: Mari-Louis Guy, Tiaan Langenegger en tannie Elizabeth Cloete

Three Amigos: Mari-Louis Guy, Tiaan Langenegger en tannie Elizabeth Cloete

Op die oog af lyk hierdie reeks se deelnemers na tawwer kompetisie as die vorige een. “En daar is KARAKTERS,” meen Mari-Louis, “as mens eers almal se stories leer ken raak dit baie interessant.” Daar is net een haan onder die henne en ek vermoed Wessels gaan ‘n gunsteling wees. Die pryse is, soos voorheen, groot en in die meeste gevalle kry mens die gevoel dat dit ‘n wesenlike verskil aan die bakker se lewe sal maak. En dit is tog lekker.

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Gaan Wessels die dames bat?

Benewens die spanning van die kompetisie – strope wat nie wil stol nie, loperige versiersuiker op ‘n warm sponskoek, groot gate wat kleiner moes wees – is daar die passie en liefde vir skep met meel en botter en suiker wat ‘n mens tog so boei. Ek raak sommer self lus vir bak – nee fff.. NEE – wat praat ek.

En wie weet, dalk wen Kanja nie. Net omdat sy SA se sjokolademeester is, beteken nie sy kan koeksisters en marmite koek en perfekte brood bak nie, of hoe? Met die eerste episode van Koekedoor Een was ek oortuig Martjie Malan gaan wen en toe was dit die snaakse, plat-oppie-aarde Mareli Visser wat bakpoeier in Martjie se oë geskop het. Ek sê maar net…

Kyk dit. PVR dit. Moet dit nie misloop nie. Hierdie gaan groot pret en hope inspirasie wees.

Koekedoor word Donderdagaande vanaf 14 April 2016 op kykNET (DStv-kanaal 144) uitgesaai. Die 90 minute loods-uitsending begin om 20:00; die daaropvolgende episodes om 20:30.

 

Die tien deelnemers aan Koekedoor Twee. Mag die beste koek wen!

 

Dankie aan Cakebread Studio en Errieda du Toit PR vir die puik launch. Julle rock.

 

Agter elke groot koekedoor is 'n man. Wat nie sy lag kan hou nie! Callie Maritz en Ian du Toit

Callie Maritz en Ian du Toit – want agter elke Groot Koekedoor is ‘n man. Wat nie sy lag kan hou nie!

 

Sophia en Winny –  sommer net vir die mooi. Want dis nie ‘n partytjie sonder ‘n feetjie en ‘n koningin nie.

 

 

Alex Hamilton answers the PROST! Questionnaire

April 8th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Pop artist, exhibition curator and creator of the word Hoepelpoep, Alex Hamilton also owns what may well be the world’s largest collection of vintage wall sconces. He talks about his fear of 1000-year-old eggs and middle-aged mozzarella sticks in New Mexico.

The fascinating Alex Hamilton with fascinator

Fascinating with fascinator

 What is your favourite flavour combination? Quince jelly and Gruyère cheese.

What is your most cherished food memory? Waking up to the smell of fresh mosbolletjies that my Mom had been baking since 5am.

What food scares you the most? Sea urchins and 1000-year-old eggs.

Which cheese do you most identify with? Emmentaler, because it is holy.

Who are your food heroes? My wife, Zelda.

What would you say to bacon? Bitch, get healthier.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself as a dinner party host? I talk too much.

What is the trait you most deplore in dinner party guests? Skinny girls who only pick at the salad in a smorgasbord of deliciousness.

What is your favourite food moment in a film? Babette’s feast – when they are not allowed to talk about the food but cannot hide their absolute delight with it.

 What is your most embarrassing kitchen moment? When I was ten, I tried to cook soup from an oxo block. I reduced it etc, just to spill the pot of hot liquid all over my stomach, resulting in serious burns.

 What do you consider the most overrated ingredient? Anything that can be made into a foam.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse while eating? Delicious.

What do you regret eating? Deep fried mozzarella sticks from a diner in New Mexico.

What is your current state of stomach? In perpetual need to be fed.

What is your essential kitchen utensil? Sharp pairing knife.

What is your most treasured drink? Caipirinha.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of over-indulgence? Ordering the entire menu on our last night in Mexico because it was cheap, before we had tasted any of it.

Who is your favourite TV chef? Rick Stein.

What is the quality you most admire in a steak? Tenderness.

What is the quality you most admire in a salad? The absence of lettuce.

What food or drink do you feel most guilty about? Chocolate.

What is your motto in the kitchen? Keep surfaces and the oven clean.

Don't miss his cheeky social commentary on vanity and vapid arrogance in popular culture.

Don’t miss his cheeky social commentary on vanity and vapid arrogance in popular culture.

 

*The Prost! Questionnaire is this Kitchen Vixen’s tongue in cheeky version of Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. The Prost! Questionnaire therefore belongs to me, unless Vanity Fair objects, in which case it will be theirs. 

 

 

Hoe gemaak met ‘n groot tros

April 6th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Danksy Herman Lensing weet ek ook nou. Ten spyte van die erge droogte, hang die laaste trosse van die oes swaarder as ooit tevore. Wyndruiwe is klein met dik doppe en ouskool pitte, maar word soeter gepluk as tafeldruiwe. So toe ek vandag verby die laaste kratte van hierdie oesjaar stap, gryp ek ‘n paar trosse Cabernet Sauvignon* om Herman se plat druifbrood van ‘n onlangse Inspirasiekos met Sarie-program na te maak.

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Makliker kan dit nie. ‘n Sakkie klaargemaakte deeg by jou plaaslike supermark se bakkery en die res is at your own discretion. Herman se weergawe het bloukaas, heuning, sout, peper en uitvoergehalte pitlose druiwe bevat. Ek het sy raad gevolg en ‘n bakplaat vrot van die olyfolie gegooi, die deeg dun uitgerek en toe met vingerpunte vol dimpels gedruk. My topping het bestaan uit:

Saggebraaide rooi uieringe, sagte bloukaas, ‘n handvol lekker soet Cabernet Sauvignon druiwe (suikervlak van 25 balling vs. 17 van die tafeldruiwe), ‘n paar druppels esdoringstroop, sout, peper en ‘n strooisel superfyn gekerfde jalapeño rissie. En natuurlik ‘n paar klakse olyfolie bo-oor. Halfuur in die oond teen omtrent 230 grade. Inspirasie voorwaar.

Klein en crunchy maar bitter lekker.

Dankie aan die wynmaker in Banghoek vir die groot tros

 

Dit help om so nou en dan TV te kyk. As ek nie hierdie episode van Inspirasiekos met Sarie raakgekyk het nie, sou ek nog minstens twee jaar moes wag om hierdie heerlike druiwe in bottelvorm te geniet.

 

Mari-Louis Guy answers the Prost! Questionnaire

March 29th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

 

She whirled from baking on boats to churning out cookbooks and judging the popular Koekedoor baking program. Mari-Louis Guy takes a short break from preparing an Easter feast for thirty family members to have a stern word with bacon and ponder the prevalence of all things sugary in her life.

 

Magnificent multi-tasker Mari-Louis Guy

What is your favourite flavour combination? The royal combo of peaches and cream.

What is your most cherished food memoryMy husband Chris and I travelled the American South on a pie-eating trip – we even visited Graceland. Deep dish apple pie, Shoofly pie, peaches and cream pie, cherry cobbler pie…

What food scares you the most? Eat-as-much-as-you-can buffets.

Which cheese do you most identify with? Boursin (garlic and fine herbs), an everyday hero that elevates every meal.

Who are your food heroes? Trendsetters, direction changers, food designers and stylists. Marco Pierre White was my first love. Cherished his book White Heat – wish the person that borrowed it would return it.

What would you say to bacon? Why don’t you let me be vegetarian? SET ME FREE!

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself as a dinner party host? All the attention goes to the concept, food and décor and then I scramble at the last moment to get dressed and prettified.

What is the trait you most deplore in dinner party guests? Early arrivers. Early departers. Dinner parties are like the old-fashioned debutante balls – bring your best social game.

What is your favourite food moment in a film? Jacqueline Bisset assembling her massive la Bombe Richelieu in Who Is Killing All The Great Chefs Of Europe (a 70s cult classic).

What is your most embarrassing kitchen moment? I dropped a very big, elaborate Baked Alaska right in front of the charter guests in the first minutes of the new millenium. A movie moment. Them in their finery, feathers, fireworks and the dessert on the floor. That silence before the slow clap – which never came.

What do you consider the most overrated ingredient? Wine in food. Love mine in a glass.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse while eating? None, but I do hate it when TV chefs keep saying ‘use the best quality ingredients’. Repetitive snobbery.

What do you regret eating? When I first joined yachting a fresh batch of the finest Belgium chocolates were flown in every Friday and they binned the previous week’s leftovers. I tried to rescue as many of these pretty jewels as possible by eating them. The smell of expensive chocolate still haunts me – cannot eat it at all.

What is your current state of stomach? Sugar junkie hanging for a fix.

What is your essential kitchen utensil? Radio. Talk radio – I cook with Keeno Kammies, John Maytham and my favourites Bruce Whitfield and Steven Grootte on a daily basis.

What is your most treasured drink? Dirty Martinis in Miami – (green olives stuffed with blue cheese and a dash of olive brine in the Martini)

What do you regard as the lowest depth of over-indulgence? That somehow ten minutes after the excess, I crave fruit chutney crinkle cut chips.

Who is your favourite TV chef? I’m out of touch as I have 3 small children so the Squarepants guy rules. I do love Nigel Slater – a point of calm in my stormy life.

What is the quality you most admire in a steak? Its neighbours – the sauces, the café de Paris butter, crinkly baked spud with sour cream and the salads.

What is the quality you most admire in a salad? It makes me feel like Kate Moss. Tastes as good as skinny feels.

What food or drink is your favourite guilty pleasure? I used to feel guilty about the amount of cakes and tarts that I eat. Now I feel it is my duty as a Koekedoor judge. Milktart for breakfast – why not?

What is your motto in the kitchen? I make the rules.

 

Jacqueline Bisset lighting La Bombe Richelieu

Jacqueline Bisset lighting La Bombe Richelieu in Who Is Killing All the Great Chefs of Europe

*The Prost! Questionnaire is this Kitchen Vixen’s tongue in cheeky version of Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire. The Prost! Questionnaire therefore belongs to me, unless Vanity Fair objects, in which case it will be theirs. 

Fear of banting. There, I said it.

March 15th, 2016 § 8 comments § permalink

Is it a dwarf nut cup or a polyp spliced with a humongous kidney stone? NO, it’s a banting bokdrol!

After a lifetime of never having to diet – sure, I’ve cut DOWN but never cut stuff OUT, completely – I took a daylight, panic attack-inducing look at my waist, calcualted the cost of upsizing my wardrobe and promptly messaged a friend: “Hey, could you send me the recipe for those banting cocoa things, please?”

Because if I were to really start dieting, I need to know there is a good eat-as-much-as-you-can snack in the mix.

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DO MY FINGERS LOOK BIG IN THIS??

 

A friend lost an impressive amount of weight by banting and feasting on these nibbles whenever temptation reared its ugly potato head. Her instructions were to melt some coconut oil (about 3 tbsp), add cocoa (2 tbsp), Xylitol (2 tbsp), toasted almonds (100g packet of slivers) and dessicated coconut (125 ml). Melt, mix, pop in an ice tray and freeze. She used an ice tray with funky shapes and I used one with small, pointy hollows, hence the solitaire look. Within minutes you have guilt-free approximations of a decadent treat. Like a chocolate hologram but you can eat it.

Doesn’t Xylitol just look like something Walter White cooked up in a trailer? Some people don’t like black food or orange food but I don’t want to eat anyting with an X in it. Along with xylophones, x-rays and xenophobes, Xylitol has been top of my Do Not Eat List. But now that I know it’s a sugar alcohol… well, that makes it kind of okay, doesn’t it?

If I sound angry, don’t think I’m pissed off with these cute little fake chocolates. They’re actually quite nice. I’ve had about thirteen today already. I’m just not very pleased with my (COMPLETE) inability to cut out all carbs. A year ago I joked that I did banting with a side of bread. It’s clearly not working out for me.

Oh, how we fool ourselves. “But I don’t eat much” I protest – because it simply CAN’T be the two glasses of red a night. Anything else, just, LEAVE THE WINE.

But a quick midday tally revealed:

Breakfast: 1 banana (basically belly fat in a peel); 4 dwarf choc cups (I’m going with that description); an apple (they’re CARBS for f’sakes!); coffee with Xylitol and a swig of boiling hot water with apple cider vinegar that scalded the skin off my palate. Bubbled and came off in long strips, I tell you.

As you can see I’m all over the place, too scared to commit to a decent, hunger-busting meal and instead committing the ultimate weight-loss sin: chronic snacking. Add two more dwarf chocolate cups.

Lunch: 1 triangle of my son’s leftover cheese sandwich, scoffed on the road. He cried a bit but mommy needed it more. A smallish bowl of leftover, very creamy stroganoff and RICE hahahahahaahahahaaaa banting is for pussies ahahhahahahahahhahahaaahaha and 8 more dwarf chocolate cups at last count. The nuts are really hurting the raw patches in my mouth.

Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh booohooohoooo hoohoooo WHY AM I SO FAT????? Heheeehiheeeh (ugly cry face) hooohohooo.

This crap is my mental process right now, in a nutshell, sweetenend with Xylitol.

I clearly need some exercise. Or, a glass of wine?

Hantamlam, neem my hand…

March 10th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

The hipsters can keep their bacon. My heart belongs to lamb. South African lamb from the Karoo, to be exact. Possibly the best in the world, renowned for its herbaceous, tender meat.

The Woordfees is in full swing in Stellenbosch and despite an extensive festival program, it was Bertus Basson’s tasting of Merino lamb from four districts around South Africa that caught my eye. Four legs of lamb prepared in the exact same way, alongside four award-winning Veritas wines. We had to taste and score the lamb individually and pair each with a wine. Not unlike speed dating for the taste buds.

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The legs were vacuum packed and sous vide cooked overnight at 65 degrees Celsius, with no seasoning to detract from the natural flavour of the lamb. The sliced lamb was served with Maldon salt and Bertus requested that we first taste the lamb unseasoned, before reaching for the salt.

Number 1: Swartland  To me, this represented average, good quality lamb found in supermarkets. Not particularly herbaceous, with a medium texture. I enjoyed the strip of fat but made use of the Maldon salt provided – want wie wil nou brak vet eet?

Number 2: Hantam  Ek moet bieg, dit was die woord ‘Hantam’ wat my die kaartjie laat koop het. Die Hantamland trap diep spore in die Afrikaanse digkuns en ek’s nie skaam om te erken dat ek iets wou eet wat gewei het op die bossies van hierdie sielvolle stuk aarde nie. Hoe proe die plek? Doeksag en diep lekker. Dit was my, sowel as die meerderhied van die mense in die vertrek, se gunsteling. Soet van geur en sag van tekstuur. O Hantamlam, neem my hand… 

Number 3: Steynsburg  This one was quite challenging. But in a good way. An excellent example of herbaceous South African lamb. Sharper-flavoured than the rest, with an almost goat-like, wild character. Full-flavoured, with a robust texture. This lamb had lived!

Number 4: Riversdal  Ek voel sleg om dit te sê, want my ouma is van Riversdal, maar hierdie lam was die minste lekker. Donker van kleur met ‘n draderige grein en wynig van die soetheid of subtiele kruiegeure wat SA lam so fantasties maak. Dit het, om die waarheid te sê, meer na ‘n twee-tand of volbek gelyk en geproe. Dalk het skaap se kind met die doodslag sy vesels oorkruis geskrik.

My palate is easily overwhelmed by hurried food and wine pairing. I’m more inclined to order a bottle of good food wine and drink it throughout the meal, than change drinks with each course. It all seems a bit manic to me. Every now and then a food and wine pairing is sheer bliss but for the most part, I think it’s a hit-and-miss show. My two favourite wines, the Spier Reserve Cab and the delicious Flagstone Shiraz, paired the best with all of the meat.

Rosendal Reserve Hilltop Merlot 2011  A soft, accommodating wine that did a good job of supporting the lamb.

Perdeberg Winery The Dry Land Collection Pinotage 2011 A bit of a palate stripper in this setting, as it overpowered the subtle flavours of the unseasoned lamb. I avoided it after the second sip.

Spier Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012  Paired beautifully with all the cuts. I had a perfect moment when after a bite of the Hantam lamb, followed by a small sip, the flavour of the lamb rebounded beautifully in my mouth, emboldened by the wine. Talk about feelgood mouthfeel.

Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz 2011  A delicious wine that briefly made me forget about the lamb. I drained my glass.

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The tasting was at 13h00 and I arrived hungry. At a certain point I did miss roast potatoes and perhaps a few green beans, maar dit was nie daai tipe jol nie. Bertus did serve a side of interesting facts about lamb in general, and Karoo lamb in particular.

  • The first Merinos to arrive in SA were a gift from the Spanish king to the Dutch but the poor creatures could not cope with Holland’s grim weather, so were sent to recuperate in the dry plains of the Kolonie.
  • Merinos are good all-rounders, producing abundant wool and meat.
  • As Karoo lamb made a name for itself, the question arose – what is Karoo and what is not – as lamb producers in many districts wanted their meat certified as “Karoo lamb”. The distinctive herbaceous flavour of Karoo lamb is determined by diet. Seven typical Karoo bushes occur naturally in the heart of the Karoo, and in peripheral districts the presence of at least 5 of the 7 bushes must be verified by an inspector for the lamb to be certified as from the Karoo.
  • A lamb is a lamb while it has its milk teeth. A young sheep with two permanent teeth is called a hogget (sounds quite Hogwarthian, doesn’t it) and from then onwards it’s downhill to mutton status. I can’t even write ‘mutton’ without an image of a dolla in leopard-print leggings and dikhak Louboutin rip-offs coming to mind. Sheep of a certain age need to OWN it again.

If you want to know the names of the seven bossies and the boundaries of the true Karoo, visit the Karoo Meat of Origin site. I was horrified to find that my family farm outside of the Schedule A bossie-invested heart of the Karoo (green on the map). But my cousin has reassured me they are JUST south of the boundary and their sheep dine on the required veld food. Good to know my lifelong love affair with “Karoo lamb” is not based on a misguided assumption. I would have needed counselling!

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Click on the map for a better look, or visit the site. To get back to our 4 Merinos, Swartland and Riversdal are not part of the Karoo at all, and Hantam and Steynsburg (Gariep district) are Schedule B (orange on the map). I thought the Merino tasting was an inspired idea, expertly executed. It would have been lovely to eat from the heart of the Karoo, where all the fragrant bossies permeate the meat.

The second tasting on Friday 11 March sold out before we took our first bite, so if you don’t have tickets, we should all bug Bertus Basson to do it again. It felt good to lavish so much attention on one of our greatest food treasures. The lamb must never be taken for granted.

For more on the Stellenbosch Woorfees, visit http://www.sun.ac.za/afrikaans/woordfees

 

Book Review – Wine, Women and Good Hope: A history of scandalous behaviour in the Cape

February 23rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Of all the books I’ve read on Cape history, this is the first to focus solely on booze, whoring and fraud. I was tickled to read that author June McKinnon is a granny, and less surprised that she holds a Masters degree in history.  She recounts the ins-and-outs of the Cape’s raucous citizens with detached empathy, while extracting valuable historical nuggets from the social swill.

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Starting with Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival in 1652, McKinnon runs through three centuries of high jinx and low blows, and if she sounds slightly exasperated towards the late 1800s, it’s entirely understandable.

A childhood obession with Versailles and the French Revolution taught me that 17th century Europeans could be – despite the nobility’s finery – remarkably dirty, debauched and uneducated. A group of Europeans – deposited on a foreign shore with minimal state and church interference, and emboldened by an abundance of rough, local liquor – was no operetta.

Although Jan found the first wine cultivated from his own grapes in 1659 to be “good and sweet”, his son Abraham visited in 1676 and was considerably less impressed, declaring “Cape wine tasted like the vinegar used to scour out the vats that stored the wine”.

Owner of the Cape's first microbrewery

Owner of the Cape’s first microbrewery

The book concerns itself with consumption, rather than production. From high-ranking VOC officers to slaves, farmers and an alcoholic missionary who trekked with the Voortrekkers (because none of the sober properly ordained Dutch ministers would) only to return to Stellenbosch where the vain opulence and wine consumption of the farming community lead his pious wife, Susanna Smit, to suffer a temporary loss of faith. Almost 200 years later, the affluence and excess of the Stellenbosch set would still offend Susanna’s puritan soul, although the number of drunk organists may have declined.

If you need more proof that Cecil John Rhodes was a mean bastard, McKinnon obliges. Not only did Rhodes dislike women, he “blocked every prospective law which could protect them or give them equal rights with men”. He campaigned vigorously against raising the Age of Consent Law in 1893. ” Under this law, if a girl over the age of thirteen was raped, she was deemed to have given her consent to the act, no matter how brutal.” NO MATTER HOW BRUTAL.

Rhodes refused that the age be raised to 18, declaring that “every servant girl in the country would start laying false charges against her master for rape.” Rhodes himself may have had no interest in young girls, but he very generously made allowance for his peers to use and abuse as they pleased.

Olive Schreiner stood her ground with Rhodes. “By 1892 Schreiner chose not to see Rhodes ever again because of his refusal to stop the enforcement of the Strop Bill, which would legalise the flogging of coloured servants for any number of ‘offences’, including the neglect of their duties to their employers.”

McKinnon does credit Rhodes for his attempt to abolish the tot system, albeit unsuccessfully. This she attributes to the terrible example set by Rhodes, who drank vast and varied amounts of alochol on a daily basis. Pitted against other famous drinkers, it seems Rhodes would slot in somewhere between Churchill and Stalin. Greatness, indeed.

McKinnon manages to unreel three hundred years of debauchery without sounding repetitive and very seldom resorts to judging her subjects. Rhodes being an exception, but it doesn’t bother in the least as he was such a nasty piece of work. She does not shy away from the brutal role alcohol played in the debasement and control of the Cape’s original inhabitants, which – given your ancestry – could either enrage or shame you, conscience-permitting. But Wine, Women and Good Hope also shows how mixed, mad and jolly the Cape was, veral toe die Kaap nog Hollands was (especially when the Cape was still Dutch).

Wine, Women and Good Hope: A history of scandalous behaviour in the Cape by June McKinnon is available on Kindle and at all good bookstores in SA. Also by the same author and on my reading list,  A Tapestry of Lives: Women of the Cape in the 17th Century.

 

 

 

Edible Ode To The Vine

February 18th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m back in the Helshoogte mountains, surrounded by an undulating carpet of vine leaves. Just before Christmas, I was moved to express my gratitude for once again living in this verdant valley that produces such outstanding gossip wines. In a way that required a little more effort than simply raising a glass to the lights of Paarl twinkling across the valley at sunset.

Stuff them, I figured. With rice or pork, Greek or Middle-Eastern style. Undeterred by the fact that spring was a good few months past and the leaves were somewhat mature (thick and inflexible) for this exercise, I set off into the vineyard with a plastic shopping bag, clippers and a large hat. I was a straw hamper and wavy blonde hair short of a bucolic cliché. Or a shampoo ad.

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Pick shiraz leaves, the winemaker yelled as he drove past. Because they’re the biggest. I tried to pick the softer, big leaves but by mid December they had all grown strong spines. Nevermind, we hardly ever follow the recipe in any case. I decided on Greek dolmades with a herby, rice filling, as I was in a dill-is-my-catnip phase.

After boiling the leaves in salt water with a splash of lemon, I placed half in a glass jar and stored it in the fridge*. Next year I shall brine several jars in spring, before the leaves grow built-in toothpicks.

The rice filling is fast and simple to make. I used Basmati rice because it’s my go-to white rice. Rice, olive oil, onion, lemon juice, dill and parsley. Clean, lovely flavours. I lined a deep pan with some of the tattier leaves, and started rolling. Now. This is where being Greek would come in handy.

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It takes a lot of leaf to roll one tablespoon of rice into a chaste bundle. But after a few botched attempts, I managed to churn out some decent dolmades impersonators. Plus, they tasted better than anything I’ve had in local Greek restaurants, and much much better than anything you can find at a supermarket.

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The rolled leaves are drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, covered in water and cooked over medium heat for about 40 minutes. The trick is to cover them with a plate so they don’t go floating about. An hour of simmering softened the leaves nicely but they were still strong enough to hold their shape as the rice expanded during cooking.

In our culture, vine leaves are not readily seen as food. So it felt good to make something so delicious from a resource that is generally overlooked. With nose-to-tail being all the rage, I’m doing root-to-shoot with the vine.

Because, really, what would life be without this generous plant?

*After two months in the fridge, I used the remainder of the leaves and to be honest, I prefer the freshly brined ones. Unsurprisingly, fresher is better. 

The My Greek Dish recipe lends itself well to improvisation, in terms of quantity and flavour.

Hoekom is alles wat ek bak so k@k?

October 21st, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

Dit was nie altyd so nie. Toe ek drie jaar gelede na Spanje getrek het was ek nie ‘n great bakker nie, maar bakpoeier het my ook nie bang gemaak nie. Na ‘n paar jaar van ingesonke, half-gebrande of rou brousels is ek omtrent bakverskrik en koekbedroef. Was dit die Spaanse meel, die humiditeit van die Baskland, die tien huise in drie jaar, elk met sy  eie nukkerige oond en eklektiese versameling kombuistoebehore? Wat maak dit saak. Ek is nie verniet terug in Suid-Afrika nie. Ek het meetkoppie in die hand gaan aanklop by ‘n Groot Koekedoor. The one, the only…

 

THE CAKENATOR

 

Dis reg maats. Ons eie Mari-Louis Guy, een helfde van die sexy Cakebread duo wat wonderlike bak- en kookboeke uit ooze terwyl hulle pragblaaie vol bros en sappige kos stileer, blogs skryf, advertensies skiet, kinders grootmaak, vriende vermaak en general coolness uitstraal. Het ek genoem sy’s een van drie beoordelaars wat volgende jaar op KykNet se Koekedoor haar pad deur honderde koeke gaan proe om SA se bobaas bakker aan te wys? Einste. As iemand my flenters ego kan red, is dit sy.

 

 

Spray & Cooked!

 

Ek kan boekdele oor ML skryf maar in ‘n neutedop, when life gives her lemons, she candies the peel and whips the pulped flesh into a moist, lemony confection while sipping on a punch bowl-sized margarita and yelling GIMME MORE! Sy is ‘zest’ personified en ek lief haar daarvoor. Ek ken niemand anders wat swaarkry en terugslae met soveel grasie omarm en oorkom nie. En sy kan bak, o wragtag. Mens staan nog en klets, dan rol ‘n sakkie fudge uit haar mou wat sy gou vir ‘n skoolbasaar aanmekaar geslaan het terwyl ek op die toilet sit en Instagram check.  Talk about needing help!

 

Maar eers, 'n klein koppie stilte...

 

“As ek bak, bak ek alleen. Versier doen ek met geselskap.” Ongelukkig moes ons een van haar goue reëls breek. Dit was so lekker om mekaar te sien, ons het onmiddellik vreeslik aan die skinder praat geraak en summier die prys daarvoor betaal. Ons doel was om Donna Hay se sjokolade meringue koek te bak. Omdat die señor mal is oor sjokolade en ek hom wou impress, maar ook omdat ek skeitbang is vir meringue. Al daai slap, halstarrige eierwitte. Dis my kulinêre weergawe van arachnophobia. Ek’s seker ‘n Kitchen Aid in enige kleur sal my hiervan genees, maar ek het nog nooit een besit nie. ML het ‘n pragtige ligbloue. Ten spyte daarvan het ons so baie gepraat versuim om die eiergele te klop voor ons dit by die gesmelte sjokolade gevoeg het. Nie ‘n doodskoot nie maar die koekbeslag het beslis ‘n knou gekry – minder lug as wat optimaal sou wees. En dis presies hier waar die bobaas bakster en die busker se paaie skei. ML het besluit om met die koek voort te gaan, maar het onmiddellik ook met ‘n tweede koek begin. Sy val nie sommer met die eerste terugslag plat nie. Donna was ook nie sonder skuld nie, want die resep sou kon doen met ‘n paragraaf of twee om belangrike stappe te onderskei.

DUH Donna! Paragraphs please

 

“As ek ‘n flop bak, neem ek aan dis ek wat die fout gemaak het. Baie mense dink dis die resep.”

Kom ons neem ‘n oomblik om hierdie klontjie ML wysheid te laat insink. Reg. Met twee koeke in produksie en ‘n paar wedersydse shut-ups hernude fokus het dinge begin lekker lyk.

 

Pragtig. Die meringue ook

 

 

Punt in die wind

 

ML se top tips vir lekker meringue maak:

1. Alle bestanddele moet teen kamertemperatuur gebruik word.

2. Klop eierwitte in ‘n glas of vlekvrye staal bak wat kurkdroog en silwerskoon is (geen vet of water).

3. Eierwitte MOET sagtepunt stadium bereik voor jy enigiets bygooi.

4. Die ware Jakob meringue bevat nie meelblom of asyn nie. Dis eerder ‘n pavlova, vandaar die chewy tekstuur. Yum.

 

Morsig maar mooi

KV: Ek dink al my gebak was so k@k omdat ek nooit die regte equipment in Spanje gehad het nie, bv. mens MOET ‘n skaal hê, en ‘n decent blender, en die regte bakke en dinge. Plus ek lees nooit die resep deur nie, al weet ek mens moet. En ek is sleg met reëls volg. En dan’s daar nog die verskil in bestanddele tussen hier en daar. Soos toe ek vir Ben ‘n verjaardagkoek probeer bak het. Wat is jou top tips vir bakgemak?

ML: Ek lees altyd die resep ten minste twee, verkieslik drie keer deur. Maak seker dat jy al die regte bestanddele byderhand en verkieslik afgemeet het, voor jy begin. En natuurlik, die regte kombuistoebehore maak ‘n groot verskil. Met koekbak is pangrootte BAIE belangrik. Check heel eerste dat jy die regte grootte in die huis het.

KV: Terloops, maak dit saak watter kant van die bakpapier mens gebruik?

ML: Nee. Het jy geweet waspapier is nie dieselfde as bakpapier nie?

KV: Nee. Fok.Dit verklaar seker nog ‘n paar flops!

ML: Het jy die timer gestel toe ons die koek ingesit het?

KV: Nee… Sorry.

ML: *sug* (oogrol) Kom ons voel gou. As die koek sponserig terugbons is dit reg.

Een effens oorbakte koek kry sy meringue-deksel

 

Intussen is koek nommer 2, waarvan die eiergele geklop is voor dit vermeng is, mooi besig om te rys in die oond. Afskeepkoek nommer 1 is met sy glansende meringue-deksel die oond in om klaar te bak. Met die pressure effens af, arriveer ML se broer Callie Maritz asof gestuur. Vergeet van ‘n soettand, die ou se hele lyf is ‘n suiker vortex. Danksy ‘n bier-en-banting diëet sou mens dit nie kon raai nie.

 

Kyk hoe cake hy vir my!

 

Benewens bitter harde werk en talent, vermoed ek Cakebread se sukses het iets te make met die Neil Diamond CD wat nou al jare lank vassit in ‘n stukkende CD speler in die hoek van die kombuis. Hulle weier om dit reg te maak of daarvan ontslae te raak, soos ‘n ou haaspoot wat geluk bring en herinner; hierdie is Weskus kinders wat kleintyd moes leer plaatkoek bak terwyl hul raakvatter ma die pot aan die kook gehou het.

 

Rock star plus one

Ai, as ek maar altyd met ML kon bak. Nog ‘n rede hoekom ek hierdie koek gekies het is, in Donna se eie woorde: “This cake is supposed to look cracked and uneven – don’t be alarmed if it cracks or collapses a little.” So dis ‘n redelike  forgiving resep en die kanse dat jou koek net so cracked soos Donna s’n sal lyk is, frankly, HUGE. En dit pas my.

 

Donna se koek

Ons koeke

 

Albei koeke was heerlik, maar nommer 2 was beslis ligter en lekkerder. Deels omdat die eiergele geklop is op die regte tyd en ook omdat ek onthou het om die klok dop te hou. Basiese goed. Mens moet dit net doen. ML was gaaf genoeg om nommer 2 met my huistoe te stuur en die señor was wel beIndruk. Sukses, soete sukses!

Dankie Mari-Louis vir jou bereidwilligheid om my treurige bak alter ego ‘n hupstoot te gee nie. Ek kannie wag om jou en ‘n klomp koeke op TV te sien nie!

Volg Mari-Louis op Twitter en Instagram by @marilouisguy en vind Cakebread op  Facebook. Besoek gerus haar en Callie se lekkerlees blog Kalm terwyl dit weergalm by Huisgenoot.com

Koekedoor word vroeg 2015 op KykNet uitgesaai.

 

Ek dra hierdie blog post met liefde op aan Lise Weyer-Henderson wat hopeloos te vroeg, tragies oorlede is op die dag wat ek en Mari-Louis so lekker laf gebak het. Die lewe is mooi, hard, onvoorspelbaar en eensklaps so ontsaglik hartseer. Lise was ‘n wonderlike kok, gasvrou, skepper, leermeester, ma en eggenoot wat haar hoekie van die Karoo met passie omskep het. Woorde raak weg in die groot leemte wat sy laat.

Lise en Ben op 'n lekker dag, verlede jaar

 

Hola cariños! Shall we braai?

September 23rd, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink

Yes, hello darlings! I am back in the shadow of old Table Mountain. We’ve been back for all of ten weeks now. I wish I could regale you with glamorous tales of dipping into the culinary delights of Cape Town, or basking in it’s low-slung wintry sunsets on an expensive lounger taking selfies of my sunglassed self chugging MCC.

But alas, the Vixen is now a mother and a partner and life is a Clockword Orange of trying to make ends meet. Nappy ends. Dog leash and stroller straps. Baby meals and señor-friendly suppers. Is it just me or do other mothers of really active toddlers also habitually find themselves leaving the house with their belt ends hanging loose, like some limp invitation to a deadbeat disco?

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my food mojo all but deserted me during my years in Spain. Yes, THAT Spain. Land of tapas and Adria-inspired sorcery – the country that gave France the gastronomical uppercut and now flaunts the heavyweight title on the best of the best lists. How did I manage this, one might ask. Was I just a homesick African, and in particular a dwarstrekkerige Afrikaner, who did not want to succumb to the allure of The Other? Well, yes. And no.

I realised a lot of things these past three years. Too many for this blogpost. And much of it didn’t come easy. Like that I come from a culture draped in a luxury that takes too much and gives too little. And I´m not talking about South African politics. Although I could. I’m talking about the cow. And the pig. And especially the potato. The noble tomato deserves its own post.

I’m not proud to say I was often critical of Spanish culture because it seemed too simple, too locked in tradition and peaseant-like. Coming from a new world country where strains of European culture straddled ethnic traditions to create, with all this glorious sun-drenched land bursting with undepleted earth, a flashy frenzy where only the choicest bits are deemed edible. Waste, for we want not. A bit like America-lite, and I thank God for that. That we are the lite version, if nothing else.

I missed the designer packaging and bespoke modern-madame product development of Woolies terribly. Not to mention the shelves lined with fresh herbs (which I missed more than anything, herbs, precious herbs) all year round. BASIL, ALL YEAR ROUND! My kitchen Id shriveled to the size of a peanut. I was lost in a sea of stews seasoned with bay leaves, sloppy one-pot dinners and shit-you-can-put-in-a-wrap. The latter, sadly, was the long-suffering señor’s favourite. (I’m not saying he lied to TASTE magazine about the Bolognese but he is very partial to a Mexican wrap thing.)

Now that I mention the señor, let’s just clarify. I cook at home. He is a work machine who is grateful for anything softer than a countertop to chew on when he comes home. Given their aversion to butter, Spaniards are quite happy to eat dry bread. But I don’t want to push it too far.

Inter-cultural culinary conundrums aside, I realise that having a baby (without the benefit of domestic help, or an ersatz mother, as is the case in SA) will grind many a bonny home cook to ashes in the first few years. South Africans so love to romanticize Euro-living but in reality, my time in Spain was more jabon jabon (soap) than jamon jamon…

Lesser spotted African dust devil

Just the other night I grafted some apples into the DNA of a stainless steel pot, plus had to abandon a bowl of grated potato to wrangle our lovebubble into his pajamas, only to return to a puddle of fashionably grey goop (now I know where Gwynneth got her blog name! Can I say ‘goop’, Gwynneth? Here, on my blog?) and although I have no Voortrekker blood (rough and ready overlanders who could teach the Scottish something about shafting the Queen), I bloody well fried those goop cakes just to see if temperature would redeem them to their previous state of potatoness. It didn’t.

Well anyway, where was I? AHA! Here in the Cape, where I want to be. And what a wondeful thing that is. So what now? I still have a very busy two year old and cooking a decent supper seems nigh impossible. But I do, finally, have a little garden and soon, I hope, a braai. And I think being here in Africa where open fires are not yet outlawed, I am going to go back to basics. Come summer, (which is pretty much like winter only with less rain and short sleeves YAAAY) I’m going to set up outdoors and grill away. I’m sure my son would love it. And I feel the need to start over. Small and raw. With the best this land has to offer. Real meat paired with crisp salad and sun-ripened veg*. With not too much fuss. The biggest thing the señor has taught me is respect for the product. And to always put a damp cloth under the chopping board.

So this is just a short yet rambling hola! to say we are here. The new wave Cape Spanish have landed. It’s a non-colonialism armed with soft roasted padron peppers, sharp cheese and ugly tomatoes that taste divine. I do hope we are here to stay. Our son’s first African word was ‘maroela’ (long story involving theft from CT International) and he yells PUSH without the H, so all’s good, on track – en lekker in die Kaap!

*No matter how many times you read this post backward, no subliminal banting recipes will be imparted.