Make it tonight – Biltong salad! – Guest Post

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Make it tonight – Biltong salad!London Eye1

The delicious savoury salted and subtly spiced meat snack, unique to South Africa is enjoyed as a snack almost everywhere in the world.  While America is known for its jerky, biltong is an exclusively South African product.  Originally meat was cut up into strips and salted for preservation before the advent of fridges and freezers, but today it is even more popular than ever.  Traditionally served on its own, cut up into bite-sized strips as a snack with drinks, lately foodies have started using biltong slices in all manners of creative and mouth-watering dishes.  But when it comes to adding some delicious protein to your well-dressed greens, nothing beats a good biltong salad.

While salads have traditionally been seen as the territory of skinny females keeping a strict eye on their figures, modern salads have thrown all these misconceptions out the window.  Bulked up with filling avocado or baby potatoes, the list of ingredients that work well with the savoury spicy meat is just endless.  Just about every South African chef or food celebrity has produced at least one version of a biltong salad, and across the country restaurants and bistros inevitably list a biltong salad option along with the traditional Caesar, chicken and Greek salad choices.  The popular African food restaurant Karibu, situated in the beautiful Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, is just one of the many restaurants that have made their biltong salad a truly unique South African experience – slivers of rare biltong and peppadews (South African marinated piquant peppers) served on crispy lettuce leaves, plum tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pumpkin seeds and peppers – topped with a home-made piquant dressing and putu (crumbly savoury corn meal porridge).

You can add sliced biltong to just about any salad instead of the traditional chicken or sliced cooked beef strips.  It can even add some protein to your everyday potato salad.  But there seems to be a definite move towards making a biltong salad as a dish in its own right, as a showcase for our favourite national snack.  Most recipes start with the greens – you can opt for tender butter lettuce or crisp cos, or the peppery flavour of watercress or rocket (arugula).   Avocado is a very popular addition; the soft and creamy avo provides a lovely contrast to the meat.  Some type of chees is also in order.  Those who find the flavours of blue-veined cheeses such as Stilton or Gorgonzola too overpowering can opt for the more subtle tones of Camembert or Brie.  In the Cape wine-land areas goats cheese is also highly favoured and it works beautifully with the warm spice of the biltong.  Top this off with some toasted walnuts or pecan nuts and your favourite dressing and you have a salad that you can certainly make a main meal of.

When one considers how important the role of food and its history is in the lives of people, it is not surprising to find that recipes have the power to give those who enjoy or create them a taste of home.  Food is a link to your childhood and your birth country, and many expats have found themselves overseas, surrounded by the exotic foods of their new adopted countries and trying to bring that taste of home into their lives.  An example of just such a chef is Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen – who originally hails from Mpumalanga and runs a fabulous restaurant in Nice in the south of France.   One of the constant favourites on his menu is the Grilled Strawberry and Biltong salad.  Plum luscious strawberries are quickly grilled on a griddle pan, tossed with the greens of your choice and some slightly wet biltong.  Topped with a simple French Dijon mustard dressing, this salad is the perfect example of the harmonious marriage of Jan Hendrik’s local roots and his love of the French cuisine that he has so effortlessly mastered.  His cook book The French Affair contains many more such tempting recipes.

Closer to home we have the Namibian native Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt and her lover letter of a cookery book entitled My Hungry Heart – Notes from a Namibian Kitchen.  Namibia, South Africa’s close neighbour (in both geography and culture), shares many food histories and in this open love letter to her country of birth she memories of the food which played a part of her growing up which strikes a poignant note with both casual readers and foodies alike.  Antoinette’s Kalahari Biltong Salad varies from other traditional biltong salads in the fact that it adds papaya which brings its distinctive lightness and vivacity to the palate.  Biltong is laid out on a salad platter alongside bean sprouts, rocket, cube avocado and feta and topped with a herby white balsamic vinaigrette.

Whether you decide to go haute cuisine with contrasting fruits or keep it close to home and simple with blue cheese and avo, the biltong salad is certainly and exciting lunch or dinner option that you have to try for yourself.


Weekly Word Challenge: Food

I always wanted to put all our family recipes in a book form but never got to do it!!

Therefor I have posts on this blog of the food I like to make….

Here are a few:

Traditional South African Food

 Traditional food


Mushroom Soup

Chicken lasagna

Chicken lasagna




Almond Crackers

1 ¾ cups blanched ground almonds

1-2 tablespoons Italian or any other  Seasoning

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 egg
In a large bowl, combine ground almonds, salt and seasoning.
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and egg.

Stir wet ingredients into almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.DSC06604
Roll the dough into a ball and press between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 1 mm thickness.
Remove top piece of parchment paper.
Transfer the bottom piece with rolled out dough onto baking sheet.
Cut dough into 2-inch squares with a knife or pizza cutter.almond crisps
Bake at 170C for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden
Let crackers cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes, then serve.





Curry Cauliflower Tots


2 cups cooked cauliflower florets, finely chopped
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup onion, minced
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1 tsp curry spice
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray

To cook cauliflower, steam two cups of raw florets in a little water until tender but not mushy. Drain well and dry on paper towel. Finely chop using a knife and set two cups aside.


Preheat oven to 190 C. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.IMG_1384

Shape about one tablespoon of mixture into small ovals using your hands. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 16-18 minutes, turning half way.


Remove when golden. Makes about 20 tots.


Creamed spinach

1 small onion, finely chopped

200  g  mushrooms, chopped

25 g butter

2 tbsp plain flour

200 ml milk

2 x 200 g bags spinach

100 ml cream


1. Heat the butter in a saucepan, then add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 mins until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 mins, then slowly start to whisk in the milk. When it has all been incorporated, gently cook for 5 mins until the sauce has thickened.

2. Meanwhile, place the spinach in a large colander. Pour over a kettle full of boiling water until the leaves have wilted (you may have to do this twice). Place the spinach in a clean dishcloth, squeeze out any excess liquid, then roughly chop.IMG_2011

Stir into the sauce with the cream, gently heat, then finely grate over some nutmeg and season well.IMG_2013

Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks

I found this recipe on Pinterest and its easy to make.

Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage Steaks



1 head of organic green cabbage, cut into 1″ thick slices 1.5 tablespoons olive oil large  garlic clove salt Freshly ground black pepper Olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 180 C and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Pull outer leaf off cabbage, cut cabbage from top to bottom (bottom being root) into 1″ thick slices.

3. Rub both sides of cabbage with  garlic.

4. Use a pastry brush to evenly spread the olive oil over both sides of the cabbage slices.

5. Finally, sprinkle each side with a bit of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.


6  Roast on the middle rack for 25 minutes. Carefully flip the cabbage steaks and roast for an additional 25 minutes until edges are brown and crispy.

A very nice optional condiment would be adding balsamic vinegar on top when finished cooking.


National Braai day in South Africa – Butternut Delight –

Heritage Day (AfrikaansErfenisdag) is a South African public holiday celebrated on 24 September. On this day, South Africans across the spectrum are encouraged to celebrate their culture and the diversity of their beliefs and traditions, in the wider context of a nation that belongs to all its people.

In 2005, a media campaign sought to “re-brand” the holiday as National Braai Day, in recognition of the South African culinary tradition of holding informal backyard barbecues, or braais.


We also had a braai. I made a butternut dish my mom used to make years ago. With that we had lamb chops and boerewors. (Boerewors is a type of sausage, popular in South African cuisine. The name comes from the Afrikaans words boer (“farmer”) and wors(“sausage”), and is pronounced [ˈbuːrəvors], with a trilled /r/.Boerewors must contain at least 90 percent meat – always containing beef, as well as lamb or pork or a mixture of lamb and pork, the other 10% is made up of spices and other ingredients. Not more than 30% of the meat content may be fat. Boerewors may not contain any “mechanically recovered” meat, this is meat derived through a process where meat and bone are mechanically separated.DSC06342

My sister made a beautiful spinach salad to compliment this meal.

 photo 6

Butternut Delight

2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
4 teaspoons butter
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Place butternut squash halves on a large baking sheet flesh side up. Place 1 teaspoon butter in the middle of each squash. Season with salt. Roast 25 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender.



1 onion cdiced

1 green pepper diced

Half a punnet (or more) mushrooms, chopped

200 gr bacon. diced

2 cloves of garlic , crushed

about 150 ml cream



Fry onion, green pepper and garlic in some butter.

Add the mushrooms and  bacon to the onion and fry until cooked.

Add the cream and let it it reduce for a while.
Cut the butternut halves lengthwise , spoon mixture onto the butternut, grate some cheddar cheese over it. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and bake for about 10 minutes.

Brussels sprouts – my way

The most common method of preparing Brussels sprouts for cooking begins with cutting the buds off the stalk. Any surplus stem is cut away, and any loose surface leaves are peeled and discarded. Once cut and cleaned, the buds are typically cooked by boilingsteamingstir frying or roasting; however, boiling results in significant loss of anticancer compounds. To ensure even cooking throughout, buds of a similar size are usually chosen. Some cooks will make a single cut or a cross in the center of the stem to aid the penetration of heat.

Overcooking will render the buds gray and soft, and they then develop a strong flavour and odour that some dislike. – Wikipedia

It is exactly for that reason that I make it my way……and my family love it!

half a punnet of mushrooms or more

1 onion chopped

500 gr of Brussels Sprouts

olive oil and butter

Salt and Pepper

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves.
Cut the Brussels sprouts and half a punnet (or more) mushrooms in quarters.


Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat and lightly stir fry the onions and mushrooms.

Add the Brussels Sprouts.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook Brussels sprouts 3 to 5 minutes to begin to soften.

Add roughly chopped almonds just before its served.