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Ouma Babsie, Marietjie's grandmother, braved a sweltering hot kitchen to bake large batches of these spicy, wine-flavoured biscuits in her wood-burning oven before the start of the festive season. They lived on a farm in the North-West Cape on the Orange River. The outside temperature soared to 40° Celcius or more during summer, so it was no mean feat on Ouma Babsie’s part. Marietjie has fond childhood memories of helping with the baking, which included hearing many stories of the old days.

Everybody knows bobotie is a meat dish – after all, the dish was invented hundreds of years ago when the old people were looking for ways to prevent meat from going off. But when a vegetarian friend visited recently, we wanted to make something special. We tried lentils instead of minced meat, which was bit of a paradigm shift for The Guardians of The Traditional Bobotie, but it did come out really lovely.
The Dutch invented these delectable biscuits, calling it bokkepootjes (“goat feet”) because they resemble the hooves of a tiny goat. Bokkepootjes are gluten free, being made from meringue and almond meal. They are filled with butter cream, or alternatively, with apricot jam, marzepan or melted dark chocolate. The tips are dipped in chocolate. The result is positively divine.
The problem with eating blue cheese is that they are always the wrong size: too large to finish in one sitting, but too small to have something decent for a second round. These blue cheese and thyme biscuits are a sensible way out.
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