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Newsletter #120 - March 8, 2006


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Greetings everyone!  And a special welcome to all the new subscribers!

As promised, I am featuring some potjiekos recipes in this issue. For those who don't know, potjiekos is prepared in a 3 legged, cast iron pot, usually outside over coals. It is much more sociable than a bbq as everyone van sit and chat around the potjie while it simmers to perfection. Potjiekos is big in South Africa with potjie competitions held regularly. One usually experiments till you have the "perfect potjie" which you then enter for competitions, hoping to win a prize or two. I am not quite sure about this, but I think potjie cooking is somewhat similar to crockpot cooking in the States, although I still have to see a crockpot. Perhaps someone can clear this up for me? Please email me.

When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave.

Frightened, the priest ran and got the town magistrate.

When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, "Ah, yes, that's Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, being played backwards."

He listened a while longer, and said, "There's the Eighth Symphony, and it's backwards, too. Most puzzling." So the magistrate kept listening, "There's the Seventh... the Sixth... the Fifth..."

Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate. He stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, "My fellow citizens, there's nothing to worry about. It's just Beethoven decomposing."

The manager of a large office noticed a new man one day and told him to come into his office. "What is your name?" was the first thing the manager asked the new guy.

"John," the new guy replied.

The manager scowled, "Look, I don't know what kind of a namby-pamby place you worked at before, but I don't call anyone by their first name. It breeds familiarity and that leads to a breakdown in authority. I refer to my employees by their last name only - Smith, Jones, Baker - that's all. I am to be referred to only as Mr. Robertson. Now that we got that straight, what is your last name?"

The new guy sighed and said, "Darling. My name is John Darling."

"Okay, John, the next thing I want to tell you is..."

Never buy another recipe book again.
I have put together my South African Traditional Recipes in English and Afrikaans plus another 36 recipe eBooks on one CD. Click here to take a look and also get your free Low Fat recipe eBook

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Are you using Internet Explorer? Why not give Firefox a try?  I notice that my spyware intrusions have reduced drastically since using Firefox!

I have already mentioned the origin of the hamburger and Coke. I tried to also find the origin of another American institution, the milkshake. It would appear that the first reference to the term "milkshake" appeared in print in 1885 and contained some whisky. The malted milkshake includes a malted milk powder (contains dried milk, malted barley and wheat flour) which was invented in 1887 by William Horlick. The drink was designed for invalids and children. Original versions of the drinks were more of an egg nog version than what we are used to.

Walgreens invented the malted milkshake in 1922. Customers stood three and four deep around the soda fountain to buy the "double-rich chocolate malted milk."

What else is unique to America? The hotdog? Hmmm, now who made the first hotdog? And why was it called a hotdog? Anyone know? Email me and get a recipe eBook!

Why not subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter?

Here is an interesting article from www.southafrica.info   I will be using more articles from their interesting website in future letters. Do yourself a favour and go browse around their great site.:

The braai is where the paths of black and white intersect gastronomically most often. Meat roasted over an open fire and mieliepap served with tomato, onion and chillies, as a gravy or a relish - it is a shared taste.

So is the national love of dried meat in its current form, biltong.

Who first preserved excess meat from the hunt by smearing it with spices and hanging it out to dry? In this semi-arid country, the San would almost certainly have dried a portion of meat from each kill as insurance against lean times.

Black Africans have traditionally preserved extra meat by drying it in strips, a handy shape for dropping into the stew. The Dutch brought the recipe for tassal meat from the Old World, rubbing strips of meat with salt, pepper and coriander, covering them with vinegar to preserve them. They later added saltpetre to the mix, sprinkled vinegar over and hung the meat up to dry. The Voortrekkers made of this customary food a delicacy, using venison, beef, ostrich - whatever they could find.

In South Africa, it is unthinkable to set out on a family vacation without a supply of biltong; and watching rugby - either on television or at the grounds - is not the same without the stuff in some form, in strips or in slices.

There are many variations. Sometimes, in the old Dutch fashion, the meat is dipped in vinegar, with saltpetre and brown sugar in the mix. If it's venison, often juniper berries and ground spices are rubbed in. The meat is hung anywhere from five days to a fortnight, and it lasts a very long time.
From: http://www.southafrica.info

Ever tried Rooibos tea?

As promised, another Rooibos recipe

Iced tea

3 rooibos tea bags
1 litre boiling water
30 ml honey
65 ml lemon juice
ice cubes
lemon slices

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for about 5 minutes. Remove and leave the tea until lukewarm. Add the, honey, stirring until dissolved. Add the lemon juice and chill until ice cold. Serve with ice and extra lemon slices. (To make a clear iced tea, steep the tea bags in cold water in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Remove the tea bags and serve the tea on ice or use to make a fruity punch.)

Glenacres Superspar newsletter recipe.

Pizza anyone? A favourite take-out in South Africa I personally love a pizza every now and then!


1kg Chicken
1 lt Water
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
250g Wholemeal Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Curry Powder
190g Softened Butter
1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
1 Onion, Chopped
1 Carrot, Diced
100g Mushrooms, Sliced
1 Tbsp Finely Chopped Parsley
1 Tsp Basil Leaves, Torn
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 Egg Yolk

1. Place the chicken, water and 1 tsp salt in a pan and bring to boil
2. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour
3. Make the dough by mixing together 200g flour, baking powder, salt, curry powder and pepper
4. Add 125g of butter and the egg and knead to form a soft dough
5. Loosely wrap the dough and set aside in the refrigerator to rest
6. Grease a pie dish with 15g of the remaining butter and set aside
7. Melt the remaining butter in a pan and fry the onion until transparent
8. Add the carrots and mushrooms and fry for 10 minutes
9. Remove the chicken from the stock, discard the skin and remove the meat from the bones
10. Stir the remaining flour into the stock, and pour over the vegetables
11. Stir in the chicken, parsley, basil, cayenne and season to taste, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly
12. Transfer to the prepared pie dish
13. Roll out the dough to fit the dish, and brush the top with egg yolk
14. Bake at 200°C for 25 minutes until golden

Glenacres Superspar sends out a really nice newsletter full of super recipes. To subscribe, click here and send the blank email. 

Another Wacky Sarmie

Go take a look at my Wacky Sarmies page, there are some great sarmie ideas!

Dave, Port Elizabeth, SA

I haven't seen it here yet, you are all missing the bestest wacky sarmie ever. ( Iagree, this gets 10 for it's bestestness! - Peter)

¼ White and Chips.

1 packet slap chips from the Fish and Chip shop (lots of salt and vinegar)
¼ white bread (very fresh, just cool enough to hold is best)

Make a pocket in the ¼ white, smear with butter and stuff it with the slap chips.

This is best eaten with a ½ liter of fresh milk. Take a bite, chew 3 times and take a sip of milk from the bottle. Continue to chew as noisily as you like. It's lekker!

A Blast From the Past

1913 - The Natives Land Act is passed, white miners strike on the Rand, first crossword puzzle,  Grand Central station opens in New York, Chelsea flower show is held for the first time, Mary Phelps Jacob invents the bra,  Henry Ford installs the first moving assembly line, Pretoria's Union Buildings are completed, the Springboks complete a 5-0 tour of England and France. 

Source: Sunday Times.

 Interested in Traditional South African Home Remedies? (Boererate).

My Afrikaans eBook, Boererate has now been completed, click here for more info.
We are currently working on an English version.   


My CD, containing both Boererate (sorry, in Afrikaans only at this stage) and Boeremusiek (traditional South African folk music) is now available.

Click here for details and to order.  

Bush Buzz
Nature is wonderful. I envy the jobs of the game rangers and their wealth of bush knowledge. I have often wondered where one can read up on all the interesting facts. I would like to make this a regular feature of this newsletter, if you are able to contribute or would like to comment on the contribution below, please email me.

The Wildebeest is a fascinating animal. A personal dream of mine is to witness the annual migration in the Serengeti

The largest mammal migration in the world is that of the Serengeti wildebeest. Huge scores of these antelopes congregate on the East African savannas, a sight which few who have seen will forget.

Several races of wildebeest (also called gnu) exist. The species that forms the large herds of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem of Tanzania and Kenya is known as the western white-bearded wildebeest (C. t. mearnsi). The brindled or blue race occurs south of the Zambezi River; the eastern white-bearded race inhabits Kenya and Tanzania east of Gregory Rift.

The head of the wildebeest is large and box-like. Both males and females have curving horns that are close together at the base, but curve outward, then inward and slightly backward. The body looks disproportionate, as the front end is heavily built while the hindquarters are slender and the legs spindly.

The wildebeest’s hide is gray with several darker vertical stripes. It has a dark mane and a long tail. Newborns are yellowish-brown, but reach mature coloration in about two months.

Wildebeest occupy the plains and acacia savannas of eastern Africa.

In the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem the animals make an annual migratory circle of 300 miles. The migration starts after the calving season in May on the short grass plains in the southeastern Serengeti. Wildebeests move west toward Lake Victoria, across the grass savanna to the open woodlands, then turn north into the Mara. In November they begin the return trip to the south. They are relentless in their advance and will cross rivers and lakes in such huge masses that many are injured, lost (especially in the case of calves) or killed.

Wildebeest are continually on the move as they seek favorable supplies of grass and water. Active both day and night, they often string out in long single columns when on the move.

During mating season wildebeest form smaller breeding groups of up to 150 animals within the massive herds. The most active bulls establish and defend territories that females wander through. Males display various mating behaviors like bucking and galloping; rubbing their heads on the ground, spreading secretions produced by the preorbital and interdigital glands. They also urinate and defecate in certain spots and roll in it to demarcate property.

When neighboring bulls meet they go through a highly ritualized “challenge” in which they scrape the ground with their hooves, buck, snort and fight. The typical combat position is on their knees, facing one another, with their foreheads flat on the ground – they knock heads and hit at the base of the horns but seldom injure one another.

Strictly grazers, wildebeest prefer short grass. They are unable to go without water for more than a few days.

Wildebeest females give birth to a single calf in the middle of the herd, not seeking a secluded place, as do many antelopes. Amazingly, about 80 percent of the females calve within the same 2- to 3-week period, creating a glut for predators and thus enabling more calves to survive the crucial first few weeks. A calf can stand and run within minutes of birth. It immediately begins to follow its mother and stays close to her to avoid getting lost or preyed upon. Within days, it can run fast enough to keep up with the adult herd.

A calf eats its first grass at about 10 days, although it is still suckled for at least 6 months. Even after weaning, many remain with the mother until the next year’s calf is born. At that time the young males are driven away, but the females often remain in the same groups as their mothers.

Wildebeest are the preferred prey of lions and spotted hyena. They find strength in numbers: large herds mean smaller chances of being preyed upon. If a calf loses its mother it will follow whatever is closest – a car, a person or occasionally even a predator, but in the latter case, probably not for long

The Herb Section - SUNFLOWER

The Giant Sunflower, so familiar in our landscape, is indigenous to Central and Southern America. It was cultivated there, by the Indians more than 3000 years ago. It was introduced to South Africa as a food crop for livestock and poultry. The kernels of the sunflower seed, in the centre of the flower, are extremely nourishing, comprising of 25% protein and containing many vitamins and minerals. The seeds are an important source of cooking oil, and are used in the manufacturing of margarine.
When harvesting, pick off the side buds for the pot when they reach 2 - 4 cm in diameter, but allow the main flower to dry completely before reaping.
Sunflowers and potatoes stunt one another's growth. Cucumbers grow well next to sunflowers. Bees love sunflowers because of their nectar and pollen, and the birds love the seeds. Plant sunflowers as a screen - they make a spectacular annual hedge that you will enjoy for months.

Domestic uses:
Sunflowers draw a large amount of potash from the soil, and when the stalks are dried, and burned, the ash makes a good fertilizer.
Poultry are very fond of the dried sunflower heads, and this is a special treat for them.
The yellow petals can be used to made yellow dye.
An infusion of the young sunflower will kill flies, when wiped or sprayed on windowsills and windows

Cosmetic uses:
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin F and other substances, which nourish the skin

Medicinal uses:
Sunflower leaves have been used as a remedy for malaria, and in Italy, parts of the plant are used as a diuretic and stimulant

Culinary uses:
Sunflower seeds are delicious raw, or roasted in home-made breakfast cereals, such as muesli.
To make an energy giving sweet for hikers and runners, grind hulled sunflower seeds with equal parts of sesame seeds and mix to a stiff dough with honey. Pinch off small balls and roll them in honey.

 More links to herbs on my Herb Page   

Thanks to everyone who has mailed us fridge magnets depicting your State, City or Country. If you collect fridge magnets, I will gladly swop with you!
email me and we can make arrangements. Thanx a lot!

My website highlights:
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The Ultimate Recipe book on CD!
Visit my Afrikaans pages
South African food and products overseas? Click here!

Read the Zimbabwe Letters


Looking for a specific South African recipe? Email me and I will do my best to find it for you!


Every issue I feature an interesting website:

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When you have had a look at the recipes below, click here to visit the main recipe page on my site. 

Any comments, positive or otherwise on this Newsletter will be appreciated!

That's it for now,
Take care,

If you are ecer in the Ceres area why not take a break and enjoy a great cuppa coffee!...and send friends and family back home an email greeting!


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The Recipes
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Breyani Potjie

15 ml oil
250 ml buttermilk
10 ml red masala
7 ml turmeric
5 ml cinnamon
10 ml ground coriander
10 ml ground cumin
1 (or more) green chillies, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 2 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
400 g (1 can) chopped tomatoes
1.50 kg chicken pieces, skinned and boned
675 ml uncooked rice
3 ml turmeric
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
500 ml brown lentils
30 ml oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
125 ml chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade.
Place the chicken pieces in a non-metallic bowl, pour the marinade over, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile cook the rice with the turmeric, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and salt until done, then drain.
Cook the lentils in water until soft and drain.
Season with salt and set aside along with the rice.
Heat the 30 ml oil in a large cast-iron pot and fry the onions until soft.
Add the potatoes and fry until golden brown.
Add the chicken pieces and marinade, fry until the meat is lightly browned on the outside and simmer until done.
Remove the chicken pieces from the pan.
Arrange alternating layers of chicken, rice mixture and lentils in the pot.
Pour over the stock, cover and steam over very low heat until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
Serve with a yoghurt sauce.

Curry potjie

30 ml oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
5 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
20 ml masala
7 ml turmeric
5 ml ground coriander
5 ml ground cumin
5 ml garam masala
a pinch of chilli powder
1 bayleaf
1 stick cinnamon
500 g lean mince
125 ml chutney
1 large tomato, skinned and chopped
3 potatoes, cubed
2 large carrots, sliced
salt and milled black pepper
125 ml meat stock
500 ml broccoli florets or frozen peas or corn
125 g lentils, cooked and drained

Heat the oil in the potjie and fry the onion, garlic and ginger until soft and flavoursome. Add the spices, stir and cook for about a minute. Add the mince gradually and fry until browned. Add the chutney, chopped tomato, potato cubes and carrots, season with salt and black pepper and add the stock. Cover and simmer slowly until the vegetables are just done, stirring occasionally. Add the broccoli, peas or corn and the lentils. Heat until the broccoli is just done adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve with rice and pickles.

Chicken and sweet potato potjie

2 large onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
8 chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
5 large sweet potatoes, skinned and sliced into rings
8 carrots, scraped and thickly sliced
200 g dried apricots (optional)
250 ml white wine
10 ml soy sauce
75 ml soft brown sugar
75 ml tomato sauce or mustard
10 ml basil

Sauté the onion, celery and garlic in a little oil till soft. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, add and fry till brown. Arrange the vegetables in layers on top of the meat and end with a layer of apricots if using. Blend the white wine, soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato sauce and basil and pour over the, dish. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer till the chicken and vegetables are tender and done. Do not stir the potjie, just scrape the bottom of the pot every now and then with a spatula to ensure that the food does not stick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with pot bread. Serves 8.

Lamb shank potjie

2 kg lamb shanks, cut into long pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
30 ml butter
30 ml olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
30 ml cake flour
250 ml dry white wine (you may need more)
500 ml chicken stock
125 ml chopped fresh parsley
10 ml dried oregano
60 ml lemon juice
3 egg yolks

Season the shanks well with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter and oil in a cast-iron pot and brown the shanks.
Remove from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, sauté the onions and celery until soft.
Add the cake flour and heat for a few minutes, stirring continuously.
Add 250 ml of the white wine, bring to the boil and cook until the liquid has reduced by half.
Add the stock, parsley and oregano.
Return the meat to the pot, cover and simmer slowly for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender (add more white wine if the pot seems dry).
Remove the meat from the pot.
Beat the lemon juice and egg yolks with 125 ml of the meat sauce.
Remove the pot from the heat and stir the egg yolk mixture into the sauce.
Return the meat to the pot and mix.

Venison potjie with dried fruit

25 ml oil
1 kg venison, such as springbok, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
5 ml whole cloves
5 ml mustard powder
5 ml dried (or 10 ml fresh parsley)
5 ml braai spice
salt and milled black pepper
340 ml beer
500 ml Coca-Cola
75 ml Worcestershire sauce
1 can pineapple pieces in juice
250 g mixed dried fruit
125 ml chutney
50 ml natural yoghurt

Heat the oil and brown the meat in batches. Don't do too much at once as the meat will draw water. Remove the meat from the pot. Fry the onion and garlic in the remaining oil, adding more if necessary and add the spices. Stir-fry for another minute. Add the meat, beer, Coca-Cola and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Cover and simmer over a low heat for about two hours or until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and cook or another hour. Stir in the yoghurt shortly before serving. Serve with rice or mealie pap and a salad. Serves 4-6.

Samp and bean potjie

500 g samp and beans
30 ml oil
500 g stewing beef, cubed, or lean beef mince
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 onions, chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
30 ml mild curry powder
2 bay leaves
30 ml masala for breyani
6 dried curry leaves
salt and ground black pepper
400 g chopped tomatoes
750 ml beef stock

Soak the samp and beans overnight, or in boiling water for a couple of hours. Rinse, place in a pot or pressure cooker, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer, or pressure cook until the samp is soft (about 25 minutes in pressure cooker). Drain and season with salt. Set aside. Heat the oil in a cast-iron pot, and brown the beef a little at a time. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Sauté the garlic, onions and green pepper in the remaining oil until softened (add more oil if necessary), add spices and continue cooking for about one minute to draw out the flavour. Add the tomatoes, browned meat and cooked samp. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add 500 ml (2 c) stock, stir and cover. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender. Add more stock if the mixture becomes too dry. Serve with a green salad.

Spicy seafood potjie

20 ml olive oil
30 ml butter
2 large onions
10 ml garlic, crushed
10 ml ginger, freshly, grated
20 ml seafood spices
250 g fresh black mushrooms, sliced
410 g Mexican tomatoes
375 ml fish stock
125 ml Old Brown Sherry (optional)
15 ml brown sugar
15 ml sweet soy sauce
30 ml fresh basil, roughly chopped
30 ml fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 kg fresh white fish, filleted, or frozen hake steaks
500 g fresh or frozen prawns, shelled and cleaned
1 kg frozen marinara mix
2 lemons (juice only)
250 ml thick cream
10 mussels in their shells

1 In a large potjie, heat together the oil and butter. Add the onions, garlic, ginger and seafood spices and fry for 2 minutes. 2 Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, fish stock, sherry, sugar and soy sauce and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. 3 Add the basil and half the parsley, then remove three quarters of this mixture from the pot and layer it, alternating with the seafood. (Start with the white fish, then the prawns, then the marinara mix.) 4 Add the lemon juice, secure the lid and allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes without stirring. 5 Just before serving, add the cream, mussels and the remaining parsley and heat through for about 5 minutes. Serve with white rice and a green salad. Serves: 6-8 Preparation time: 40 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour




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