brand anne


Mother of two, living life in small-town South Africa

Wonderbag recipes: links

So tomorrow I plan to cook rice in my brand-new Wonderbag, using Veggie.Buntch’s useful ‘I love the Wonderbag‘ posting as a guide.

Then there’s this interview with Margot Janse, on how to cook samp — or African risotto, as she calls it. I am super-excited to be attending her demonstration as part of the Cook Franschhoek festival in June.

And then there’s this recipe for a vegetarian curry, from a workshop run by Veggie.Buntch’s Laura Cooke and filtched off the latest newsletter from Natural Balance (which I hope they don’t mind me reposting here):

Green Vegetable Curry With Fried Haloumi

You need:

1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
2-3 packets haloumi
2 medium tomatoes, diced for garnish.
1-2 onions
1 punnet baby corn
1 punnet mange tout
1 punnet mushrooms
1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 punnet baby marrows
2-3 garlic cloves
1 tbs fresh ginger
Olive oil

Green curry paste:

6 spring onions, chopped
4 – 6 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2-3 limes, zested and juiced
2 cups fresh basil
2 cups fresh coriander
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbs olive oil
1 tbs coconut milk
1 tbs fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbs coriander seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste

Curry paste: Mix all ingredients together in a blender until a fine paste. It will taste very strongly of lime but will soften in the sauce.

Haloumi: Cut haloumi into 2 cm x 2 cm pieces. Fry in a non-stick pan on either side, no oil is needed. You may have to do this in a few batches.

Curry: Fry the onion, ginger and 2 tbs curry paste in a small amount of oil until translucent.
Add coconut milk, veggies and coconut cream. Bring to a boil and keep at a high heat for about 5-10 minutes. Pop in the Wonderbag for an hour. The curry will be hot enough to serve, but you can bring to the boil again if veggies are not soft enough for your taste. Add additional curry paste to taste. Stir in the fried haloumi. Serve with rice and fresh tomato sprinkled on top.


Filed under: Food, Recipes, Wonderbag

Becoming Capetonian

Today, I bought a Wonderbag on my way to the Recycling Depot. It all felt very Capetonian.

My best intentions usually come to naught. But I do plan to make my own bread (according to Rob O’Donoghue’s recipe sourced from rural Eastern Cape women), my own yoghurt (inspired by my ex-neighbour, Harold Gess, the beautiful thermometer I bought from the Rhodes’ Chem Lab for R27 and a glorious posting on and to cook samp just like Margot Janse.

Filed under: Cape Town, Food, Wonderbag

How to make a South African ‘quiche’

It was Hikaru and Suretha’s birthday party last weekend and they asked me to bring a quiche. Quiche? Erk. Never made a quiche. So I was a bit nervous (and it’s always a little intimidating cooking for those girls, who are both superb, experienced cooks). So I pulled out a recipe that I’d torn out of Home magazine a while back for butternut cheesecake. (Disclosure: I am an obsessive collector of magazine recipes.) Boy oh boy. It was dead easy and delicious. And a big hit with the vegetarians at the birthday party. (Even my children ate it.) I can’t seem to find the recipe online, so I’ll just sketch it for you here:


To do first: Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Butter a medium-sized, deep springform pan.
For the crust: Crush half a packet of ProVita (or digestive biscuits) and mix in some melted butter. Press into the base of the springform pan. I used the back of a spoon to do this. Put in the fridge.
For the filling: Chop up some butternut (or open a packet) and two onions and a clove or two of garlic. About half a large roasting pan’s worth should do it. Add some fresh sage leaves and drizzle over olive oil. Roast at 180 for about 30 minutes or until soft. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, mix 1 tub of creme fraiche and 1 tub of cream cheese. In a separate bowl, beat four eggs. Add to cream mixture and mix well.
Put it all together: Now put a layer of cooled butternut mixture into the pan. Then top with about 1 round of crumbled feta cheese and add egg/cream mixture.
Place in centre of oven and cook for about an hour, or until quite golden and set.
To serve: Garnish with some fresh sage leaves and allow to cool a little before slicing. It is also good at room temperature. I wish I’d taken a photo.

Filed under: Food, Personal, , , , ,

Just add cook

I love English instructions as written by non-mother-tongue speakers. My deliciously eccentric mother-in-law recently returned from Italy and brought us back a packet of pasta sauce as a memento (Dehydrated vegetables. Have you ever?) The instructions on the back are hilarious:

Receipt: pour the content of the packets on a slau firefor about 15min. After the water ie evaporated add 5/6 oil tablespoons and fry for 2/3 min. The add cook for 20/30 min. More. Meanwhile, cook spagetthi al dente, drain and stir in the pan on a hot fire.

Talking of recipes, we had our dinner club this weekend, hosted by Olaf and Michelle. It was an amazing evening and I had a blast. With a Chinese theme, Olaf pulled out all the stops (four-dish main course) and we laughed and laughed and laughed. I made Wonton Soup, which was delicious. My fresh spring rolls were a little less spectacular (and, in truth, much too Thai to be passed off as Chinese…) There’s something very calming to folding little dumplings while listening to music from a past life, like Morcheeba. Apparently “wonton” is derived from the Cantonese word and translates to “swallowing clouds”.

Wonton Soup
From Chinese and Asian Confident Cooking
Serves 6*

  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms
  • 250g pork mince
  • 125g raw prawn meat, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp finely sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 to 2 packets wonton wrappers
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced, for garnish

Soak mushrooms in hot water to cover for 30 mins. Darin, squeeze to remove excess liquid. Remove stems and chop the caps finely.
Thoroughly combine mushrooms, pork, prawn meat, salt, soy, sesame oil, spring onion, ginger and water chestnuts.
Fill wonton wrappers: put a teaspoon of filling into the centre, moisten two edges with beaten egg, fold in half diagonally and bring the two outer points together. (Not nearly as complicated as it sounds and the wonton wrappers are much more resilient than rice wrappers, for example.)
Cook wontons in rapidly boiling water for about 5 minutes. Bring stock to boil in separate pan.
Remove wontons from water with a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl. Garnish with extra spring onion and pour the simmering stock over. Serve immediately.

* The 250g pack of wonton wrappers contained about 30 wrappers. I made one-and-a-half times the recipe, but used two packs of wonton wrappers – around 64 wontons.

I’ll be posting some more recipes and pictures to the BFM Dinner Club group on Facebook sometime this week.

Filed under: Food, Personal, , , , , , ,

Mealie bread: a taste of childhood

Now that I live in Grahamstown, I am learning to cook. I have to. I bake biscuits (gasp!) when friends come for tea. I make things to take along to other people’s parties. The other day I even made mayonnaise. From scratch. These are the lengths that deprivation has led me to. If I still lived in Joburg I would have just stopped off at Koljander, the world’s best tuisnywerheid in Melville, or at Woolies. Sigh.

One of my kids’ party standards these days is mealie bread. Taken from Gabi Steenkamp’s Sustained Energy for Kids, I’m gobsmacked at how many times I get asked for this recipe. I think there’s something about mealie bread that reminds people of their childhood. Anyway, it’s dead easy and worth sharing (even though it’s made in the microwave, which I usually avoid). It’s also eaten and enjoyed by everyone else’s kids except mine. The trickiest part is finding a microwaveable ring dish.

Microwave mealie bread
From Sustained Energy for Kids

  • 2Tbsp (30ml) cake flour
  • ¼ cup (60ml) sugar – or even less
  • 150ml mealie meal
  • 100ml oat bran
  • 7ml (1½ tsp) baking powder
  • ½tsp (2.5ml) salt
  • 1Tbsp (15ml) canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup (125ml) skimmed or low-fat milk
  • 1 tin (410g) creamstyle sweetcorn
  • 1 tsp (5ml) chopped parsley (I usually skip the green bits if making it for children.)
  • Paprika for sprinkling microwave dish

Grease microwave ring baking mould with a paper towel dipped in oil. And sprinkle a little paprika into the mould (I have never bothered to do this).
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, mix the oil, eggs and milk together well and add to the dry ingredients.
Add the sweetcorn and the parsley, if used, and mix well.
Spoon into the microwave ring and microwave at 70% power for 12 minutes. Then at 100% for 2 minutes.
Allow to stand for 10 minutes (to finish cooking).
Turn out, slice into about 20 slices.

Filed under: Food, Kids stuff, Motherhood, Personal, , , ,

Fizzy orangeade

I can pretend to be interested in things like newspapers, media, and other heavyweight issues but, really, all I care about is food. Since moving to Grahamstown three years ago, I have become seriously obsessed – especially as there is no Woolies food (gasp!), and a seriously inconsistent supply of even the most basic ingredients. Last week, there was not a single packet of frozen peas to be had. And I wasn’t even looking for petit pois.
Frozen peas. It has come to this.
Anyway, seeing as though I spend a large part of my day thinking of, reading about and preparing food, I thought I’d start including it on my blog. (Also, my deadline for my latest freelance job is looming large so I need some distraction.)
My children have been off from school since their teacher fell ill in June (yikes!), so we’ve been spending quite a lot of time playing with friends, eating and drinking. Today, Nina made some lemonade (her own recipe with a found “squishy” lemon from the garden) and then we all made fizzy orange using Tessa Kiross’s recipe. It was seriously delicious and the children – all five of them, age three to eight – loved it. We dubbed it orangeade.

Tessa Kiros’s Fizzy Orange
Makes 5 small cups

  • 4 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • One long strip of orange rind (peel of one orange)
  • 4 Tablespoons tap water
  • Juice of 4 oranges (just over a cup)
  • 2 cups ice-cold sparkling water

Put sugar, orange rind and water into a small pan. Bring to boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves completely. Boil for a few minutes so that the rind flavours the syrup.
Add freshly squeezed orange juice and let that bubble for about 5 mins, or until it looks slightly denser. Pour into a jug and let it cool completely.
When you’re ready to serve, pour in sparkling water and mix well. Add ice if you like.
Tessa recommends that you add spices, such as a vanilla bean or a small stick of cinnamon, if making it for adults.
PS: By the way, stumbled across another great foodie blog today: David Leibovitz’s ‘Living the sweet life in Paris‘. His latest posting features Joanne Weir’s Cucumber and Feta Salad. Definitely on my “make next” list – depending, of course, if I can source feta/cucumber/fresh dill…

Filed under: Food, Kids stuff, Motherhood, Personal, , , , , ,