They reckon that wearing a facemask in your home is a great way to stop you from going through your own food supplies. This article won’t help, though. While you might not be able to visit the Swartland right now, we’ve assembled a quartet of recipes by local specialists that’ll tide you over until you can.
Yes, the Swartland is famous for wine, but we approached the foodies because many of our “wino’s” are putting their feet up after close of harvest last week. We think it’s also an important reminder that we’re a food-growing region too. The olives here are magnificent.
Now, the brief to our talented food-wizards was that dishes must comprise ingredients we’re likely to have in our kitchen cupboards. And, we should be able to pair it with wine (local, please).
We think they excelled triumphantly!
Dessert wine with Cremora tart – Johan Simons, Dragonridge
“I make a skinny tart, with a lot of base and less topping,” says Johan Simons.
That’s it. We’re talking Cremora tart.
“Served with dessert wine, it’s a big surprise and a cheerful dish. We make it for all our foreign guests as a traditional South African thing.”
Johan and Diana bought their farm in the Joubertskloof outside Malmesbury in the late 1990s. They established Fynbos Estate, an enterprise that also has a nature reserve, guest accommodation and function venues; and the organic-certified Dragonridge Wines, after Johan’s life-long ambition to make wine.
One of the side benefits of allowing a telecoms company to erect towers on a nearby hills was free internet on the farm. That’s what brought Johan to the tart recipe. “I spend a lot of time online. I play bridge with my friends in New Zealand, Osaka, Greece and Sweden. I was looking for a recipe and there was this Chinese woman making Cremora tart. I thought, that’s unusual. She made it and said she got it from a South African woman in Hawaii.”
The ingredients are simple enough. For the base, you need one packet of Tennis biscuits and about 1/3 cup of butter. For the filling, two cups of Cremora “coffee creamer”, one cup of water, one can of condensed milk and ¾ cup of lemon juice.
Make the base by melting the butter and mix with well-crushed biscuits. Press the mix into a tart dish with sides. Next, in a separate dish, combine the remaining ingredients. The lemon juice will thicken it all up. “I like to use a little more juice to make it more lemony,” says Johan.
Pour the filling onto the base and pop into the fridge to chill. “The whole thing from start to eating will take you an hour!”
As for the wine, Dragonridge still has stock of its own straw wine, made in 2015. But among the Swartland region’s producers there’s also the version produced by Chris and Andrea Mullineux of Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.
Swartland Red Jerepigo Biltong Salad Blini – Pauline Schreuder Catering
The official tasting note for the Swartland Red Jerepigo squares the old South African favourite with “a decadent dessert or a ripe and flavourful cheese”. But there many more possibilities, declares Lolandri van der Merwe.
She’s a partner in the 42-year-old, Moorreesburg catering enterprise of her mum, Pauline Schreuder. Together they came up with the easy-peasy Biltong Salad Blini – a dish that’ll know the socks off your locked-down family. It’s also easy to adapt.
To make 6-8 blini’s – a type of crumpet – here’s what you’ll need: 1 cup flour; 1 large egg; 1 tsp baking powder; ½ tsp salt and ½ cup of milk.
To make, mix the ingredients into a thick consistency. Heat a lightly greased skillet and fry dollops of the batter.
Get fancy by adding some red jerepigo “caviar”. To make, gather 2g of gelatine, 150ml of the wine and half a Collins (tall) glass of olive oil.
Place the olive oil in the glass and refrigerate. Put the jerepigo and gelatine in a pot, bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes. Turn off the heat. As soon as it’s cool enough to handle, use a plastic syringe or pipette to draw up some of the liquid and drip it into the cold oil. The drips will congeal into tiny balls. When you’ve used up the mixture, throw the oil through a sieve to collect the caviar. Place them in a small container with some jerepigo and leave briefly to infuse.
Now for the exciting finale! Pack each blini with cream cheese, chopped veggies or salad, topped off with thinly sliced biltong, a few shavings of parmesan cheese and a few of those caviar balls. Serve with red jerepigo, of course.
Tinta rosé and a salad-leaf, ham-and-cheese bake – Bertus Bester at Allesverloren
Bertus raves about the Allesverloren Tinta Rosé, especially with this dish: a cheesy piece of heaven. “Dis ‘n heerlike bedryf [It’s a delicious concoction],” he says.
He should know. Bertus heads up the famous winery’s function and conference venue.
You’ll need two packets of chicory or cabbage leaves; a pinch of nutmeg; salt and pepper; two packs of smoked ham. For the sauce: 100g of cheddar cheese and Emmental, if you have; 50g of butter and four tablespoons of flour.
Chop up the salad leaves and fry in a little butter until slightly caramelised. Sprinkle some nutmeg, salt and pepper over. Once cooled, place salad pieces along the centre of pieces of ham and roll each into the shape of a cigar. As you go, pack them into a baking dish.
Before you start making your sauce, turn on your oven and heat to 180°C. While it’s busy, put the milk in a saucepan and add the flour and butter. Turn up the heat and whisk until it comes to the boil and starts to thicken. Add the cheese and keep stirring until melted.
Pour the sauce over your ham-and-salad “cigars” and place into the oven for 35 minutes or until baked golden brown.
Serve with the rosé wine and chips, if there are any stashed in the larder.
Chenin Blanc served with a homely cheese toastie, with a twist – Johan Hurter and Coenie Kruger, Mama Cucina Riebeek Kasteel
Stuck abroad due to travel restrictions, Johan and Coenie valiantly contributed their recommendation via WhatsApp. A message (almost breathless) dropped suddenly from the ether: “Sorry that we took so long, trying to sort things out here in Thailand.”
What followed is the recipe of a cheese toastie, with the equivalent of a bowtie and fishnet stockings: more precisely toasted ciabatta topped with thyme infused brie and a whole artichoke.
First things first: get a bottle of an old vine Chenin Blanc (a variety farmed and crafted brilliantly in the Swartland) into the fridge.
As for the food, you’ll have to start preparation of the food the evening before you want to make this.
Now, in addition to the ingredients mentioned, you’ll also need a lemon, a garlic clove, a few leaves of rocket, a red onion and a radish or two.
Start by slicing one wedge of brie into small blocks and tuck them into a dish with a lid. Chop the thyme finely and sprinkle over the blocks. Do the same with the rind of one lemon. Cover the contents with olive oil. Close the lid and let it stand overnight to infuse.
The following day, toast slices of ciabatta until crispy and rub with a clove of garlic. As much as you can, resist the urge to guzzle this delciousness now. Instead, top the sliced ciabatta with a whole artichoke and the brie mixture.
Pop into the oven and grill until the brie is melted and golden in colour. When it’s done, serve with rocket and slices of red onion and radishes.
It’s time to go forth and cook!