Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fruity Mieliepap Muffins for Freshly Blogged

I was really excited to see waterblommetjies on the ingredients list for Week 3s challenge; slightly more intimidated by the mielie meal (corn meal). Waterblommetjies are a winter delicacy local to the Western Cape. Usually served as part of a lamb stew they are strange looking flower buds from a pond growing plant. In taste they are somewhere between a green bean and an artichoke, best with plenty of lemon  and not cooked to a mush!

Mielie pap (a thick cornmeal porridge) is such a traditional staple in South Africa that I’m slightly ashamed that I’d never even eaten it before, let alone cooked it! It’s served with stews, braais and simply with tomato sauces and relishes. A bit like Italian polenta, except white rather than golden, it can also be cooked, cooled and then sliced and fried. Seeing as my family hasn’t grown up eating pap, I thought I’d try to make it more interesting by turning it into filled savoury muffins to go with the braai.

Our ingredients list was: Drostdy-Hof Pinotage, ostrich sausage, mealie meal, waterblommetjies, PnP chutney, mixed dried fruit.  We were allowed to add three fresh ingredients and three spices and part of the dish had to be cooked on a fire.

Waterblommetjies, raw and steamed

I hit a major stumbling block when my local PicknPay had neither the ostrich nor the waterblommetjies. The nearest alternative PicknPay was 50km away, and my first solution, to source them elsewhere in town, wasn’t allowed – for the competition all the ingredients have to come from PnP.  Some major tweeting went on, quite a bit of tearing out of hair at the last minute. Eventually I adapted my original ideas, omitted the sausage altogether, substituted the waterblommetjies with green beans (one substitution is allowed if ingredients are unavailable) and made my dish an accompaniment to a braai rather than a complete meal. Though of course it is substantial enough  to make a full meal if, for example, you have vegetarians coming to your braai!

Another hitch was that my experienced braai-master husband was sick in bed, so I had to rely on our son to look after the fire while I ran back and forwards between mielie pap muffins in the oven and the bredie on the coals. He was also cooking the sausage, sourced elsewhere, even though that wouldn’t make it into the competition recipe.

The green bean bredie (stew) was very tasty and would have been even better with the waterblommetjies and their slightly deeper flavour. The mielie pap muffins were a hit with a few of the family and a miss with others. I liked the contrast of the rich spicy fruit filling with the light starchiness of the pap, and the golden crust from the baking added to the appeal.

My recipe on the Freshly Blogged site is here – please go and vote if you’d like to! I’m hoping to keep my place respectably in the middle of the list! The recipe as posted for the competition is below.

Fruity Mieliepap Muffins and Green Bean Bredie

The Drostdy Hof claret is one we regularly use  for mulled wine, spicing it with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg for our winter festivals. The dried fruit on the list inspired me to combine the aromas of spiced wine with the fruit as a sweet/savoury relish. Turning my mind to the mealie meal I wondered if I could jazz it up a little. The result was these fruity mieliepap muffins, with a wine spiced fruit centre. I made half the muffins with the fruit filling and the other half filled with chutney, so that each person gets one of each. Served as an accompaniment to a braai, alongside a tasty green bean bredie, they add plenty of interest to rich meats and soak up the braai juices beautifully. Waterblommetjies would work equally well in the bredie if you can get them.

Dried fruit wine relish
250g PnP dried fruit
1 cup Drostdy Hof claret
2 sticks cinnamon
5 cloves
10 coriander seeds
10 whole peppercorns

Mieliepap muffins
1 litre water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups mealie meal
½ cup flour
1 egg
25g butter
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper
PnP Chutney
Dried fruit relish

Green bean bredie
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tomatoes, diced
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup stock
Salt and pepper
500g green beans, topped and tailed

Dried fruit relish
Put the dried fruit in a small pan with the wine and spices. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook gently for 20-30 minutes until the fruit is tender. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
Once cool remove whole spices. Take the fruit out of the liquid. Chop into small pieces and keep covered until ready to use.

Mieliepap muffins
Bring the water to a gentle simmer. Add salt.
Pour the mealie meal into the boiling water in a thin, steady  trickle, stirring all the time.
Keep stirring over the heat until the pap is thick and coming away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Cover and leave to steam for 5 minutes.
Allow to cool for half an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Line a 12 muffin tin with squares of greaseproof paper or muffin cases.
Stir in the flour, butter, beaten egg, salt pepper and coriander. Mix to a soft dough.
Fill each case to halfway mark with mixture. Press in gently, leaving a hollow for the filling.
Put a generous heaped  teaspoon of fruit relish in half of the bases and the same quantity of chutney in the others.

Dollop the rest of the mixture onto the tops of the muffins, pressing carefully around the edges to seal in the fillings.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the tops are almost golden.  Allow to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve warm.

Green bean bredie
Put olive oil into a potjie pot or cast iron casserole over glowing braai coals. Add the onions and cook stirring often until they are softening. Add sugar and spice and cook until the onions are starting to caramelise slightly. Add tomatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add potatoes and stock. Cover and cook until the potatoes are still firm but tender. Add the beans. Continue cooking covered until l the beans are tender but still retain some bite.
Serve to accompany boerewors, ostrich sausage or chops, or as a vegetarian braai dish.

Serves 6 as an accompaniment to a braai
Prep time 25 minutes
Total time 1hr15min

Voting on this challenge is open until Monday 29th at 11 am. The recipe with the most votes wins a  Salton hamper but the judges decide who goes through to the next round based on the first three challenges.

Vote for this recipe and there is a Drostdy Hof hamper for one lucky voter.

My phyllo spring rolls for week 1.
My aromatic beef pie for week 2..


  1. Alas, this is one of those recipes I just look at the pictures and drool over. If I don't know what half the ingredients even are, I can be sure they're not in my grocery store... but see, now, this is just another reason why I need to visit South Africa!

    1. You are definitely going to have to come some time, Marcheline, and not just for the mieiepap!

  2. Love that shot with your house in the background - that huge African sky...

  3. The skies are one of the things I love most about being out here - don't why they are so much bigger here than in England... I mean sky is sky right?


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!