Blommetjies & Braais

August 12th, 2011 § 1 comment

We had a day of winter last week so I bought a bag of waterblommetjies at the Spar. It felt like bredie time. And with such an oldskool dish I consulted my newly acquired C. Louis Liepoldt cookbook Kos vir die kenner, a book with over 1000 recipes that proves that at least one Afrikaner knew what mirepoix was in the 1930’s. Afrikaners, nay all white folk, may have benefited from Apartheid economically but culturally, it dumbed us down something awful. Like rocks on an island.

Savvy as Leipoldt was, cousin J warned that his book had to be taken with a pinch of salt. ‘Some of his combos are dreadful.’ Waterblommetjiebredie is a dish best prepared with restraint. Don’t innovate or deviate. It’s just blommetjies, lamb, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Maybe potato. She’s the queen bee of bredies. Leipoldt provides a few options and recommended the addition of anchovy, which I fell for. He advocates the use of suurings – those soft little wild stems with pink flowers that we used to eat as kids, before toxic sourworms hit the scene – to add zing to the stew. It rained cats and dogs so instead of picking suurings, I zested a lemon and added a bit of juice later.

But the blommetjies… Leipoldt wouldn’t have touched the gnarly old Spar blommetjies. My buds looked like cold-chain cadavers but at least they were picked early enough (pre-bloom). Soak them in vinegar water, rinse under a fast-flowing tap, top and tail the gnawed, tough bits and they should do.


Cap Classique

I mashed four anchovies into bubbling butter and added six cuts of skaapnek. Then a few diced potatoes and lastly, the blommetjies, lemon zest and seasoning.


Browning nicely


This was supposed to be dinner on Thursday but turned into lunch on Friday, thanks to my careless management of gas reserves… Left in the oven overnight and given a slight boost on Friday, the bredie arrived in style. On Thursday evening the anchovy seemed over-powering and I regretted adding it – fishpaste stew, I thought – but given enough time, the lamb and blommetjies worked their magic. If there’s one thing that should never be el dente, it’s a waterblommetjie. If you’re not low on gas and should Eskom not oblige with a power cut, my uncle nukes them in the microwave (10 minutes for every 500g) to break down those fibres. Or just give them time.

Now, I know how good food photographs badly, so I asked one of my favourite cherubs to add necessary distraction.


Ella Appelwang


This is Boland coolinaria at its best. Make hay while the sun shines folks. They’re not around for long. Get the freshest blommetjies before they flower and dig in.

That brief spell of winter was followed by insanely good weather and a long weekend. I was lucky enough to hook up with Sakkie and Prinses in Struisbaai. Yes, the good food people who blasted me into this year on the back of a suckling pig and bakkie-loads of Pinot Noir.

First up, an odd-looking fish. Just like well-loved people, it has many nicknames. Miss Lucy, Magistraat, PW Botha (sloping profile meets uncompromising jaw)… a red stumpnose and also on the SASSI Red List: overexploited, 1 per person. But we were four and it was already dead when they found it. That’s what I said to myself as I reached for the salad.


PW, wat dink jy van Pik se nuwe boek?


As the first morsel hit my tongue I tasted crayfish. Prinses, wise woman of the sea that she is, just nodded. Because it does. Which is probably why it’s on the red list. It is delicious. We had it with little sweet potatoes and a green salad. Perfection. The SASSI sms service is awesome. Just sms the name to 0794998795 and within seconds you know if it’s cool, relatively okay or downright wicked to eat the fish. We went haywire and checked on everything from elf to sable antelope. SASSI is sassy. Do use them.

Come Sunday, it was blue sky braai time. There’s something about braaing on the front lawn with a view of the road and the wide open ocean that makes you feel like you’re in a Kobus song, plus grateful that you’re probably too old and just too far away to be dealing with Sunday at Oppikoppi. Vleis for starters and mains, braaibroodjie for dessert. Nes dit hoort.


Live and let braai


With Sakkie manning the braai deck, we had a medley of meat to look forward to.


Ribeye and marinated chunk o' pork

Prinses and I slap & tickled a fancy loaf of rye into the ultimate braaibrood.


Die Arrarat van braaibrode


I looooove braaibroodjies. Hence the XXX fascination with this beast.


Ooze your daddy?


The day ended in a pinot-fueled fork flashin frenzy. As any good braai should.


Fork it!


And Douw, the evergreen salad man, you’re the oasis in our carb & protein desert.  If anyone’s still reading I’m going to sneak a pic of my favourite dawg (besides Milly, of course) – Jack Steyn – I’m holding out for the two-legged version of this gentleman. Jack, I just love your grace and big dude unruffled spirit.


Mr Cool on the right


And that, my friends, was the weekend.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

§ One Response to Blommetjies & Braais

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *