Boerekos With A Twist

Annelien Pienaar

Human & Rousseau

Review: Brian Joss

If you’ve ever spent time on a farm then you’ll remember with nostalgia those plates filled with honest-to-goodness boerekos: thick and tasty vegetable soup; lamb chops and boerewors piled onto your plate and of course, for dessert, a Cape brandy pudding or a melktert.

Now Annelien Pienaar has put together a collection of recipes that tell the story of her life and given a twist to the dishes she grew up with. Pienaar is a food scientist and blogger with more than 5 million followers. The recipes are all nutritious and easy to prepare.

The 232 page volume is divided into eight chapters: Soups and Sauces; Vegetable; Meat and Fish; Baking; Scones and Pies; Desserts and Bottling and Preserving. However, before you get started you should first read the section General Cooking Information which is packed with valuable hints and there is a conversion table, which is not always available in other cook books. She also explains how to test the accuracy of your measuring apparatus and she also looks at the various kinds of ovens and the baking equipment you may need. If you cook or bake for profit Pienaar also offers a universal formula so that you can easily do your calculations.

There’s not much that is tastier than a thick vegetable soup on a winter’s day and Vegetable Soup With A Twist will fit the bill. The twist is a spoonful of Granny Hantie’s garlic Cream while Gran’s Bacon and Bean Soup will have your guests asking for more. But Pienaar sounds a note of caution: the aflatoxin Phaseolus vulgaris which occurs on the outer skin of beans, can cause acute wind, cramps and diarrhoea, and to get rid of the toxins , the beans should be soaked overnight and then rinsed before cooking. Cold Tomato Soup is ideal for a summer’s day and with the addition of feta cheese, basil, sliced watermelon and celery stalks for garnishing make it a dish for royalty. Tucked away in this chapter is a recipe for Crispy Fried Onions that you can store in an airtight container for up to three months, and several sauces including Granny Hantie’s garlic cream and a Basic White Sauce and the secret is to use a whisk. Pienaar also tells you how to make Yellow Farm Butter and for that you’ll need a litre of fresh cream and ice cold water.

There is a host of recipes for Vegetables including Sweet Potato Puffs With Caramel Sauce or Pumpkin Souffle with Cinnamon Sugar.  Another one with a twist is Baked Baby Marrows with Caramel and ginger biscuits among the ingredients. And Dad’s Potato Parcels get bacon rashers and nutmeg. The twist in the Waldorf Salad is buttermilk or yoghurt and mayonnaise.

If you are a carnivore you can try Aniseed-marinated T-bones;  Wind-dried Mutton Rib; Beef and Beer Potjie with Dumplings and if you have a taste for fish there’s Braised Snoek Pie; Fish and Onion Rings in Beer Batter or Pickled Fish, the traditional dish for Easter which is delcious any time of the year. Dad’s Curried Tripe and Trotters and Curried Brawn and a recipe for Coriander Biltong feature in the section Meat and Fish.

The chapter, Baking, is filled with temptation: Vanilla Chiffon and Custard; Mrs Pastor’s Carrot Cake; Cream Puffs;  Koeksisters; Rocky Road Fudge,  and everyone’s favourite, Jam Tartlets. It includes as do all the other chapters, useful information: if your cake has shrunk dramatically the batter was overmixed and the cake was baked too long, for example.

Scones and Pies include Amasi and Cheese Scones; Chicken Pies with Soda Water Pastry and Quick Mince Rolls with Oil Pastry, to name some.

Last but not least is Desserts and you can make your guests’ taste buds dance with a Berry and Cream Pavlova; a Rum and Caramel Tart or a Sticky Toffee Pudding.

There is also a section on Bottling and Preserving  from Dried Peach Chutney to Green Fig Preserve or Turkish Delight Quince Jelly, and more, including Hot Chocolate with a Twist. And if you’re thirsty,Old-fashioned Ginger Beer will do the trick or that thirst-quencher of note, Rooibos Lemonade. Pienaar has also compiled a selection of menus for various occasions from Breakfasts to Picnics.

Boerekos With A Twist is must for your collection of cook books. It will be well used. The mouth-watering images are by Myburgh du Plessis and Hanneri de Wet.

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