Tuesday, June 08, 2010

South African Baking Recipes and World Cup Fever

South Africa is exploding in a fervour of flags, vuvuzelas, rainbow wigs and World Cup paraphenalia in the lead up to the big day on Friday. We’re slightly out of it here on the farm, but every time we go to town we get absorbed into the fever. The children are asking to go shopping in Spar on Friday to see all the staff in their crazy hats and wigs and feel some of the atmosphere. As a phlegmatic Britisher, I watch all this excitement over what is really just another sporting event (please don’t shoot me, I am flying the flag in the car, honest!) with slightly bewildered pleasure .

I don’t remember any of this national exuberance when Britain hosted a World Cup… or maybe we never did, it would have passed me by completely. (edited to add: My husband tells me I'm wrong, that there was great excitement and gees over the European Football cup when Britain hosted it. I must have been in Italy at the time, enjoying the emptiness of the roads and wondering where all the people were!) Here though, even people who are not remotely interested in soccer as a game are thrilled by the whole event. Perhaps it is because South Africa was so isolated for so long, that to be the centre of the world’s attention and entrusted with the honour of hosting the World Cup, makes us all feel proud and happy (I do feel proud of my adopted country too). Perhaps it is just that we need occasions like this to bring our diverse rainbow nation together in a common opportunity for hope, goodwill and celebration. Here's an article on what the World Cup means to South Africa that expresses it way better than I ever could.

So in honour of the occasion, I'm posting a round-up of my most searched for, authentically South African recipes: all baking recipes and learned from my in-laws or adapted from South African cook books when we moved here. After all my South African gees (spirit) manifests best through food!

Malva Pudding Recipe: Number one on the list of my most searched for recipes is Malva pudding, which seems to capture the hearts and taste-buds of so many visitors to South Africa. The restaurant version is soaked in a rich creamy sauce at the end of baking and is delicious and heart-stoppingly rich, but my home version is just the pudding itself, spongy and slightly caramelley with the apricot jam and served with custard. It's the kind of pudding you can throw together from store-cupboard stand-bys and still make the family happy.

South African buttermilk rusk recipe: A lot of people come to my blog looking for a rusk recipe. They fall in love with Ouma’s rusks when they come here and want to re-create them back home. Or else they are ex-pat South Africans desperate for a proper South African rusk, for which there is no substitute abroad. I can’t promise that my buttermilk rusks are exactly the same as Ouma’s, but they have been a staple in my family for eleven years now and are essential to mid-morning tea in our house.

South African Milk tart recipe: Milk tart is another dessert that you never see abroad. Our family crustless milk tart version is a whole lot easier to make than the traditional tart, as there is no pastry case and it can be whizzed together in the processor in no time: ideal for a calcium rich snack for the kids, or just comfort food for the whole family.

South African Crunchies: Last but not least the South African crunchie: I have got in a lot of trouble, both in the family and with patriotic readers for comparing it to the English flapjack, but it is true that the flapjacks (not pancakes at all) that I grew up baking in England were just like these wonderfully South African crunchy oat and syrup biscuits, except that they didn’t used to have coconut in. I make huge batches for class camps now and they always go down well.

So stock up the biscuit tin in time for the Fifa World Cup opening ceremony and then, even if you can't be here in SA yourself, it will taste like it!


  1. Oh yum! I definately want to try the baked milk tart - here on the East Coast fridge milk tarts can be bought at the local supermarkets but don't compare to the golden baked milk tarts!

  2. Looks all delicious. Keep baking and writing. Enjoying your blog immensely. Love, k xx

  3. Bless you, Kit, for including the cups/oz in your recipes... I have the darndest time trying to do Brit recipes with all the grams and etc! I've always been hell at math. Or, as you say, "maths". Ha!

  4. Marcheline, I hope I've remembered in all the recipes. Let me know if I've missed any and I'll send you the conversions. We have the added complication of UK and South African cups being slightly bigger than US cups 250ml, as opposed to 230 ml!

    Natalian - the crustless milk tart is one of the quickest and easiest of my baking recipes - perfect for afternoon snack emergencies

    Kaya - glad you're enjoying reading xx

  5. Like you, I couldn't care less about who wins what. It's hard trying to pretend that I favor one country over the other -- people expect you to support your own country and are suspicious if you don't.

    But I'm a HUGE supporter of good American cuisine: New England clam chowder, jambalaya, tamale pies, and chocolate chip cookies.

  6. It a cool day here today on the East Coast and a perfect day for a warm slice of Crustless Baked Milk Tart! Thank you so much for the recipe - it was so easy to whip together and the kids loved every slice!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!