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Number 149

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September 15th , 2007


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

New subscribers and everyone else, get your eBook at the Freebie link below.

I have just returned for a photographic workshop at Letaba in the Kruger Park, hosted by go! magazine.
Click here and here to view two of the pics I took on the workshop. If you are interested in wildlife photography, get yourself on the next workshop!

Summertime! Braai time! Pot bread time! The recipe theme for this issue is pot bread, scroll down and choose a recipe and enjoy!

Just to let everyone know that I reserve the right to use anything that arrives in my email inbox either on my website or in my newsletter, unless it clearly states that I am not allowed to do so.

The South African Lotto has closed for a while, why not take a chance on the UK Lotto? This weekend the jackpot was 8 million pounds, that's about R112 million!!!! Click the UK Lottery banner to the right 

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The Americans call it 'moonshine', to the warm-blooded Irish it is 'Poteen' and the Swiss call it 'Kirsch'. In South Africa, it is 'Witblits' in the Cape and to Transvalers it is just 'Mampoer'. Mampoer and the variety of names given to it are the names of strong, homemade distilled brandy made from fruit.

Mampoer is uniquely South African. Its legend is so entangled in the South African folklore legends that it is difficult to distinguish between facts and fables.

What makes Mampoer so unique is the fact that it is distilled on the farm according to handpicked recipes and very special processes. The secrets of distilling this potent ‘brandy’ are carried over from generation to generation and this adds to the mystery that surrounds it.

It is not certain where the name ‘mampoer’ originated. Many stories and anecdotes which are being told and which are still in circulation as well as the closely guarded secret of the refined recipes, contribute to the fascination of the mampoer legend.

It is alleged that mampoer was named after Mampuru, a Pedi Chief who instigated the murder of his half-brother Sekoekoenie. It is alleged that, General Joubert's men probably obtained liquor from Mampuru and Mapog. It is believed that this liquor was distilled from Maroelas, which was plentiful in the area.

The test to determine quality of mampoer is very simple. Pour a small quantity on a flat surface and light it. If it all burns off with a clear blue flame, it is unadulterated and full strength. This is why Mampoer is sometimes also called 'fire water' - it causes the first-time drinker to catch his breath with his first sip.

A simple recipe for making mampoer: Take your drums of ripe yellow peaches (don't worry about any worms), mash them up and leave them for 14 days. The fruit ferments and gives off a lot of gas. When the bubbles subside, the mash is ready to distil. Don't leave the mash too long or it will go sour and you'll end up with peach vinegar.

Heat the mash in the still to just under boiling point. The alcohol boils off before the water and is trapped by a condensation pipe. The condensate is collected in a bucket and, for really top quality mampoer, it may be redistilled. The residue of the distillation process (known to whisky distillers as the feints) makes an excellent liniment and mosquito repellent.

The farmers in the Marico district (North West Province) where mampoer distilling is part of everyday life, have to sell their mampoer discreetly - mampoer distilling for retail sale is still illegal. This goes back to 1924 when the government passed a law giving KWV a monopoly on brandy production.

All stills had to be marked and registered with Customs and Excise, and detailed records kept as to the amount and strength of any liquor produced. Farmers were allowed to produce liquor only from fruit grown on their land. Portable stills were outlawed: they had to have a minimum capacity of 680 litres and had to be built on a cement or brick foundation.

Recently exemption was however given to agricultural museums and colleges to distil brandy, and two institutions have taken up the offer. In the Cape, the Kleinplasie farm museum in Worcester makes Witblits and in the Transvaal, the Willem Prinsloo Agricultural Museum, near Pretoria, distils mampoer.

A Mampoer tour from the town of Zeerust also takes tourists from farm to farm, where they can sample the home distilled, clear spirit or spend a night to enjoy the Groot Marico hospitality.

Mampoer has long ago become part of South Africa’s cultural heritage. To the people who distil and drink 'mampoer', it has become a way of life.

From: Encounter South Africa

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Ray's cam

Do you want to see some really nice photographs? The do yourself the favour and go view Ray's Cam. Ray sends out a weekly email with a link to his latest photos. Ray lives in Melbourne and his photos are mainly of that area of Australia. Subscribe to his list and get your weekly dose of good photography.

Kitch 'n' Zinc

I happened to find this really nice Blog, please click on the link below and go browse around.....

Following with thanks from Brian at Kitsch'n'Zinc

50 ways to love your liver

I wonder why we tend to shy away from those parts of the animal that we aren't too comfortable with. I don't think it's because we are squeamish, I think it's simply because " variety meats " or " offal " doesn't have the right ring to it. South Africans are great red meat eaters, they love steaks and are only happy when charring some hunk of meat, optimistically called steak, by the the guy in the white coat at the supermarket, who may or may not be a butcher. We have fillet, sirloin, rump, T bone, rib eye steaks, all of which are quite straight forward. Then there's point steaks, tenderised steaks, breakfast steaks, minute steaks, two minute steaks, frying steaks, grilling steaks, club steaks, chuck steaks, Holland steaks, bolo steaks, flat rib steaks, flank steaks, wing rib steaks, to name but a few. The common denominator is the word " steak " - call anything a steak and they'll form a queue.
So I reckon the time has come to be much more creative with the names we use for offal. After all, up to 30% of the dressed carcass weight of the cow is classed as offal and you can rest assured that sure as hell they're not throwing all that away. There's also a limit to how much they can get your dog to eat so it stands to reason that you're probably already eating much more offal than you think. It's lurking away in all sorts of products and it's about time for it to come out of the closet. Set the offal free and let's all enjoy some tasty meals.


It's spring and one of these days we will be experiencing hot summer days. The freebie for this issue is an eBook full of lemonade recipes, right click here to download it.

Alberton Licencing Department

The above department had a robbery on the 1st of August. Up until the time of writing, 6th September, they had still not reopened. There is a sign on the gate saying that they are working on getting their systems running again. I think someone forgot to make backups??? Anyway, thousands of car licenses as well as drivers licenses are expiring and people are unable to get new ones.

Yup, we have to live with this is the New South Africa. The weird thing is that most of the people who are directly affected will STILL vote ANC in the next elections?? They sure are suckers for punishment!!

Health tips

This is going to be another regular feature......

Saying 'no' to cravings just makes you want them more. The trick is to learn to stop after a few bites. Next time you get a craving, allow yourself a certain small number of bites of the food that you desire. This is your 'pause point.' Once your reach your 'pause point,' stop eating and assess whether you are still craving the food or are just mindlessly eating it. Take this time to put the snack away and see if you can stop the impulse.

From: Bewell

One Ticket is All It Takes

The UK Lottery never pays less than £3 million every Wednesday and Saturday (± R43 million) with frequent rollovers. Click here to play! This past weekend one lucky winner walked away with just under 5 million pounds, thats about R75,000,000. Now that's a whole lot of zero's. You can't win it if you aren't in it!

Never buy another recipe book again!

My Recipe CD has now been updated and now includes 50 Recipe eBooks as well as 8 Bonus eBooks (4 eBooks on making, marketing and selling crafts for profit) Click here to take a look and also download your free Low Fat recipe eBook (that works out to about R2 per recipe book! sheessshhh!)

Hello Peter,
Just to let you know that I received my recipe CD today in the mail and I'm over the moon about it.
I'm going to spread the word to others to order copies too. It's most certainly worth every cent..........
Thanks again,

Glenacres Superspar Recipe

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

500ml Self Raising Flour
1 Large Onion, Chopped
3 - 4 Green Chillies, Chopped
125ml Fresh Coriander (Dhania), Chopped
2tsp Cumin (Jeerd)
Salt to Taste +/- 2 1/2 tsp)
Oil for Deep Frying

1. Mix all the ingredients, except the oil, into a batter
2. Heat the oil and drop teaspoonfuls into the hot oil
3. Fry until puffed and golden
4. Drain on kitchen roller towel

Another Wacky Sarmie

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

Rusty - Port Shepstone

During the 1940's SA and the world experienced a severe economic depression. Flour and all the goodies for making bread were in short supply and cost an arm and a leg.

My mother, as did many others, made mealie pap and poured it into bread pans. Once the pap had cooled and set she then turned the 'pap loaves' out and sliced them as she would normal bread.
We all got pap sandwiches filled with cooked green beans, beetroot fresh fruit or anything else from the previous night's dinner table that could be salvaged to fill sarmies.
To this day I make 'leftover ' and fruit sarmies. The only difference is that I use bread instead of mealie pap.
My kids think I'm weird. Who knows maybe I am.
A Blast From The Past

Source: Sunday Times

1952: The Defiance Campaign against Apartheid is launched. The Mau Mau rebellion triggers a state of emergency in Kenya. Readers Digest warns of a link between smoking and cancer, thick smog in London kills thousands. The original Matchbox car is created, Johannesburg's Jan Smuts Airport opens. The first Holiday Inn opens in Memphis.

Really, really old recipe

This dates from the late 1800's

Tomato chutney

Take 2 lb. peeled tomatoes, ½ lb. brown sugar, 1 pint vinegar, ½ lb. sultanas, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 sliced onions, 1 tablespoon salt, cayenne to taste. Boil gently, stirring occasionally

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.

For the next few issues I will be featuring the Small Five starting with the Elephant shrew, next was the Leopard tortoise then the Ant Lion.

Redbilled buffalo weaver

Very similar in habit and appearance to the White-billed Buffalo-Weaver. The female and juvenile birds are quite distinctive being brown above and spotted or streaked below. The Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver builds massive thorny nests in acacia or baobab trees and these are used as communal roosts. They are noisy and gregarious birds, frequently found feeding on the ground alongside starlings.

Looking for Gift Ideas?

Do you have family and friends all over the world? Does it cost you a fortune to buy and mail gifts to all of them? Why not buy one Recipe eBook and email it to everyone! Just think about the savings on postage! For my selection of eBooks (and CD's) just click here.
Afrikaans Newsletter

Subscribe to my Afrikaans newsletter . Visit my Afrikaans website
Potjiekos recipe

Another new feature, from now on I will feature a potjie recipe with each newsletter. For those of you who are not familiar with a potjie (cast iron three legged pot) you may use a dutch oven.

Mutton Potjie

45 ml oil
1 kg mutton chops
12 baby onions peeled
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
10 ml mixed dried herbs
250 ml dry white wine
12 baby potatoes, peeled
250 ml beef stock
65 ml flour

Heat oil in a large heavy based saucepan or drie-voet, fry mutton until browned, season to taste while frying, remove and keep warm.
Add flour to remaining fat in saucepan, making a roux. Add the beef stock to make a sauce and pour over the chops.
Arrange potatoes, baby onions, spring onions and carrots in layers over the meat, sprinkle with herbs and pour white wine over.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer gently for about 1 hour.
Serve with pap.

Smile a While

Someone out there either has too much spare time or is deadly at Scrabble.
(Wait till you see the last one)!

When you rearrange the letters:

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When you rearrange the letters:



Chives belong to the same family as onions and garlic. You get an onion chive and a garlic chive.
Chives are perennials and like rich soil and sun, but can withstand partial shade.
Seeds are sown anytime from August - April. Plant 20cm apart when big enough to handle, and clumps will form lasting 4 to 5 years.
The flowering heads can be picked in summer and added to salads, while the more mature flowers make a delicious vinegar. Chives can be dried, but are more delicious when eaten fresh.
Chives attract bees to your garden

Chives have a blood cleansing, tonic effect and improve the appetite.
Chives ward off colds and flu.

Chives can be used to flavour any savoury dish. Add chopped chives to dishes such as stews and soups in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Chives are delicious with egg and cheese dishes.
Use chive flowers in salads or to make vinegar

The FunkyMunky Herb eBook is now available. 48 popular herbs, descriptions and uses with photos. Immediately available, will be emailed to you. Only R50 , send me an email for payment details.
I'm very impressed with what I've read so far. What I really like is that your book is a combination of medicinal and culinary advice, unlike many other herb books I've read.
And the format is great - thanks very much. I have an ambitious project to make a herb garden this year - so your section of herb gardens will come in very handy - Shelagh
Zimbabwe update

I used to have a regular feature on my website that I called the Zimbabwe Letters. sadly my contact "went silent" and I didn't have a source any more. I am looking for another source (any volunteers?).

I am giving the Zim crisis a lot of coverage as it is important that as many people as possible read about whats going on over there:

Violence looms as Zimbabwe runs out of food - except for the elite
Jan Raath in Harare

The OK supermarket in Mbare township is so empty that your voice echoes off the high warehouse roof. On row after row of white shelving, wiped clean each day, sit a dozen cabbages. The bakery has ten plain scones. That is all the food there is in the largest supermarket serving tens of thousands of people in the oldest, and teeming, township in Harare. One night last week, Rosa, a church volunteer, scoured Mbare for supplies to make the daily ration of maizemeal, the national staple, and some green vegetables, to be cooked without vegetable oil and often without salt. She found two loaves of bread. "How do I feed the 14 people in my house with two loaves of bread?" Rosa asked. "Sometimes there is nothing and you go to bed with no dinner. We are living like orphans." Her neighbour’s breast milk for her one-year-old daughter dried up recently, she said. "She couldn’t find fresh milk or sterilised milk anywhere. So she feeds the child on Mazoe." It is a brand of orange cordial.

Then household basics such as meat, chicken, cooking oil, milk, maizemeal, margarine, sugar and soap vanished into the black market. In the past couple of weeks it has become almost impossible to find beer, cigarettes, tea or baked beans in shops. Outside the OK in Mbare rows of women stand behind little stools, each bearing a long bar of carbolic soap, packets of cigarettes or bottles of vegetable oil. "These are the policemen’s wives," Rosa said. They gain their name from the latest phase of Zimbabwe’s descent into hunger and chaos: thousands of vendors have been arrested and their goods seized in Mr Mugabe’s attempt to smash the black market. "The policemen grab the goods, they give them to their wives and then they come and sell here," said Rosa (not her real name - nearly everyone is too afraid to be quoted in Mr Mugabe’s Zimbabwe).

The black market too is starting to dry up. "Now people are buying because they don’t know when they are going to see them again," a supermarket chain executive said. The two main supermarket chains in Zimbabwe are each due to lay off 1,000 workers this month. The country’s main bakery closed one of its largest outlets yesterday because of lack of wheat – a shipment of 36,000 tonnes is being held in a Mozambique port because the Government cannot pay for it. "Manufacturers are going to run out of stock to produce with," the executive said. "There is a very strong possibility that food will disappear completely." At a commemoration last month of the 20th anniversary of the death of the Zimbabwean writer Dambudzo Marechera, author of The House of Hunger, the snacks comprised small squares of dry bread and glasses of water. Last week, another retail executive said, a Cabinet minister telephoned a supermarket chain manager and asked for beef. He offered to pay more than ten times the official price that he was instrumental in setting.

Schools reopened this week amid deep anxiety among parents of boarding pupils that their children will not be fed. Reports this week have said that prison authorities have stopped feeding prisoners and asked their relatives to bring food. The conspicuously wealthy ruling party elite feels none of this. Joice Mujuru, the Vice-President, has just seen her daughter married in celebrations that included chartering an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737 for $10,000 (£5,000) to fly guests to a lavish ceremony at a five-star hotel at Victoria Falls. Annual inflation in July, a month after the crackdown began, hit a record 7,600 per cent. Last week the value of the Zimbabwean dollar on the black market fell to a new low of £1 to Z$500,000. Mr Mugabe’s most recent act was to freeze wages and give new sweeping powers to the state commission that alone can sanction wage and price increases. "We wonder on what planet President Mugabe lives," said Wellington Chibebe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. "He has never slept on an empty stomach, he has never walked from State House [his official residence] to his office, and he has never experienced water and electricity cuts."

Zimbabwe's precarious survival
By Sue Lloyd-Roberts

Harare - With the Zimbabwean economy in ruins, it is the people leaving the country who are helping those who have remained to survive.

For a country which is in a state of economic collapse, there is a surprising amount of movement in Zimbabwe today. Drive through the darkened streets of Harare at night - for there is no electricity - and you see hundreds of people walking purposefully at two and three o'clock in the morning. They are the few who need to get to work - only one in five of the adult population still has a job. They take up their positions on street corners waiting for a passing car or pick-up truck. There is no petrol, and regular bus services are already a distant memory. "I sometimes wait four or five hours to get to work," said one office worker. "But even the bosses don't complain." Everyone in Zimbabwe understands life is difficult. A couple of hours later, as dawn breaks over the capital, many people - the mothers and unemployed - start forming long, silent queues that wind around entire blocks of the city. There is a rumour that bread could be arriving in the city today. Five hours later, people are still waiting. Policemen arrive, apparently helpfully supervising the queue and giving a surreal air of normality to the city scene. "They just pretend," said one man in the queue with five children at home to feed. "They get the first news if a lorry is on its way with bread, sugar, or mealie meal and they jump to the top of the queue and loot the food."

Once one of the richest countries in Africa, Zimbabwe has become a barrow, bucket, and bag economy. You see people walking for miles, wheeling barrows, buckets on their heads, and plastic bags in hand. Like the "bag ladies" in the former Soviet Union, they are always on the ready just in case something turns up. But it seldom does. People are starving. The evidence is in the hospitals where tiny, wizened babies lie dying in their cots while their mothers look on helplessly. One mother cradles a child who is losing her hair and her skin, a sign of the most advanced form of Kwashioka or vitamin deficiency. It is certainly the first time I have seen this condition in 20 years of reporting on the developing world. "Zimbabwe once offered the most comprehensive medical service in Africa," a doctor explains. "It is now becoming a textbook case of medical horror." Many children arrive with grandmothers. Grandmother or child-headed families are a growing social phenomenon in Zimbabwe today, often the result of the Aids epidemic. In other cases - if parents still have the energy and the means - they flee abroad to look for food and to send back money. Buses loaded with people and luggage wait for days around the petrol stations on the roads leading out of the country. When fuel eventually arrives, they lurch off, swaying precariously under the weight of so many passengers, on the five-hour journey to the border with South Africa. Zimbabwean immigration officials do not bother them and, on the South African side, they can be paid off with bribes. For those who do not have the money and who have to duck through the bush, there is a greater risk.

Gangs wait on either side of the river for the groups of desperate refugees. "They had guns and knives," one girl tells me. "There were 15 boys and five girls in our group. They killed one boy when he refused to give them his shoes. They raped all the girls." Still, they arrive in South Africa at the rate of thousands a week. The many victims of political persecution will never go back while Robert Mugabe is alive. Others just come for a few weeks to make enough money to take home. I met two teachers. Liliana told me she worked as a domestic cleaner while Patience told me she worked as a prostitute. "What else can I do?" she said. "My husband is dead and I have three children back home to feed." It is a situation that suits the governments on both sides. Among the refugees, there are doctors, engineers, agricultural experts, just the kind of people who are needed by South Africa's growing economy. Zimbabweans have long since given up hope that the South African leader - Thabo Mbeki - will put pressure on his old friend, Robert Mugabe, to reform. And as for Robert Mugabe, an opposition politician in Harare says: "This makes him a very, very happy dictator. He gets rid of his opponents and they in turn send back money to their families in Zimbabwe and that keeps things ticking over." Anyone expecting a swift conclusion to Zimbabwe's agony will be disappointed. Thanks to the ingenuity and tolerance of people still in the country and the remittances sent back by those who have left, Zimbabwe's death throes could last a long time yet.

From ZWNews, To subscribe, please email
This South Africa - interesting facts and information 

The A to Z of South African culture (each newsletter features a letter of the alphabet) see archive

B is for Battles
Two globally important wars took place on South African soil in the 19th and early 20th centuries: the Anglo Boer War and the Anglo Zulu War. In both, small indigenous populations fiercely opposed the heavy might of the British Empire, winning important battles before the vast imperial military machine brought them to submission.
In the Anglo Zulu War, Zulu impis armed only with spears famously took on and trounced British forces armed with the most modern firepower of the time. The British were only able to defeat King Cetshwayo kaMpande's nation after British troops were rushed to South Africa from around the Empire.

The Anglo Boer War is considered the world's first modern war. Guerrilla tactics, camouflage uniforms, concentration camps and attacks on civilian targets, all the ugly signatures of 20th century warfare, were first used in that campaign. The war killed 22 000 British soldiers, 7 000 Boers, 24 000 black men, women and children, and 22 000 white women and children, many of whom died in almost 200 concentration camps.

Go to Source:
The all-in-one official guide
and web portal to South Africa.  
Recipe Requests

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

Add your suggestions to my Elephant Stew and Wacky Sarmies recipes.
Featured Website

Every issue I feature an interesting website with South African links. This is a really nice and informative site, check out the downloads!

The Recipes

Biltong pot bread

50 ml melted margarine
500 ml lukewarm water
1 kg cake flour
300 g finely carved beef biltong
10 g instant yeast
10 ml salt

Mix the melted margarine and lukewarm water. Combine all the dry ingredients and biltong. Add the margarine mixture and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Leave for about 10 minutes. Punch down and place the dough in a greased, flat-bottomed cast-iron pot. Leave in a warm place to rise until double in bulk. Place the pot on a grill over medium coals and place a few coals on top of the lid of the pot. Bake for about 1 hour or until the bread is done.

Flat pot bread


800 ml white bread flour
7 ml instant yeast
2 ml salt
15 ml olive oil
50 ml fresh mixed herbs such as thyme, oreganum, rosemary and parsley
1 small onion, chopped and sautéed in oil until soft (optional)
350 ml lukewarm water
olive oil
15 ml coarse salt

Mix flour, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a hollow in the middle and add the olive oil, half the herbs and onion. Mix to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and not sticky. (Small air bubbles will appear on the surface when the dough is pressed between your hands.) Place dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place until double the volume (about 1 hour). Punch down lightly, but don't knead all the air out. Shape into an oval or ball and leave to rise again for about 7 minutes. Spray a shallow cooking pot with non-stick cooking spray or lightly grease with butter. Place dough in pot, cover and leave to rise until doubled in volume. Press remaining herbs onto dough surface, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Preheat oven to 200 ºC, or bread can be baked over the coals (place the pot over a coal-filled hole in the sand, and cover the lid with coals). Bake for 25-30 minutes until cooked through, and bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Oat bran pot bread

250 ml oat bran
750 ml wholewheat flour
5 ml salt
5 ml bicarbonate of soda, sifted
10 g instant yeast
250 ml grated potato
500 ml buttermilk, slightly heated
60 ml soft brown sugar
1 extra-large egg, whisked
sesame or poppy seeds for sprinkling on top

Grease a small cast-iron pot with butter or margarine. Combine the oat bran, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, instant yeast and grated potato in a large mixing bowl. Beat the buttermilk, sugar and egg together and add to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly to form a thick batter. Turn into the prepared pot and sprinkle with the seeds. Cover the pot with the lid and leave in a warm place to rise until double in volume. Place the pot on bricks over hot ashes and place a few hot coals on top of the lid. Regularly place hot coals on top of the lid to ensure the temperature remains constant. Bake the bread for about 1 hour until it sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Alternatively, bake the pot bread in the oven. Preheat oven to 190 ºC and bake the bread uncovered for about 45 minutes until done.

Pot bread

1 kg cake flour, white bread flour or wholewheat flour
15 ml salt
10 g instant yeast
lukewarm water
15 ml margarine

Sift the dry ingredients together. Add sufficient lukewarm water to form a stiff dough. Knead the margarine into it piece by piece. Knead until the dough is elastic. Grease a number six black pot and its lid with margarine. Place the dough in the pot, cover and leave in a warm place until the dough has risen and fills the pot. Place the pot over warm coals (the fire should not be too hot) and place a few coals on the lid. Bake for about an hour or until the crust is golden. Turn the pot every now and then.

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