6 August 2008

South African dinner

For those of you who don't know, Grant and I were born and raised in South Africa. We moved to England in November 1999 when we'd been married almost 4 years.

Every now and then we like to treat our friends to some traditional South African food. We're throwing a dinner party for two couples tomorrow evening and I've spent the whole day in the kitchen preparing the food (and framing and hanging pictures!) and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Tomorrow evening I have a client coming for her ordering session at 5:30pm (ACK!) but hopefully I'll still be left with enough time to photograph the table, food etc before our guests arrive at 8pm. I'll be posting all recipes here too - promise me you'll try some!

Traditional South African food derives from the French Hugenots, Malay Indians and Dutch. It has spicy (but not hot), tangy and sweet flavours. Almost every dish will have onions, spices such as curry, cinnamon and turmeric and something sweet (sugar, jam or fruit).

Here is the menu (and I'll be blessing the food in Afrikaans, just to add to the theme):

(Three Bean Salad)
A delicious sweet and tangy salad usually eaten at a “braai” (barbecue).


Butternut Soup
This low-fat soup is a winter favourite.


This traditional dish was brought to South Africa 300 years ago by Malay slaves. Originally this dish was prepared from the Sunday lunch leftover meat for the evening supper and baked in an anthill.

(Tomato stew)
An old Cape dish. A “bredie” gains its character from long, slow simmering until the meat and
vegetables melt together in the rich gravy. Besides potatoes and onion there is always a dominant vegetable - in this case, tomatoes.

Yellow Rice
Rice prepared with turmeric, cinnamon and raisins.


Peppermint Caramel Dessert
A rich dessert made popular by a pizza restaurant chain in South Africa.


Rooibos Tea
Rooibos (“red bush”) is a completely natural herb tea prepared from an indigenous plant which grows only in the unique climatic conditions near Cape Town. The healthiest tea you will ever drink, it is naturally caffeine-free, rich in anti-oxidants, high in vitamin C and contains minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron. Rooibos has been shown to aid in health problems such as insomnia, irritability, headaches, nervous tension, and hypertension. The anti-spasmodic agents in rooibos tea can relieve stomach cramping and colic in infants.

Guava Juice
Guavas are fruit with deep pink flesh which is slightly gritty - reminiscent of pears, but firmer.

I linked to the peppermint crips dessert recipe - this time I made them in smaller, squat little glasses and I didn't layer them as much - just biscuits (cookies), a little caramel and then the caramel / mint choc / whipped cream mixture. I'll top them with squirty cream and sprinkle some more mint choc on top before serving.

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