Cape Malay cuisine as the distinctive regional cuisine of Cape Town, but there are, of course, older culinary influences that date back well before the Dutch imposed their victualing station at the foot of Table Mountain in 1652. The problem is, it's hard to experience them today as there are no written records from that time (save rock paintings) and most of the indigenous Khoekhoen and San people were either slaughtered, assimilated, enslaved or chased off, their cultures upended or destroyed and most of the old traditions lost.
some musical threads that have been re-constructed, but the culinary ones are harder to trace. One interesting exception is the waterblommetjie, which is the flower of the Cape Hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos), which grows wild in vleis and on riverbanks in the Cape. This 'heritage food' was harvested seasonally from time immemorial, and today appears on winter menus, most often in bredies, soups and curries - which also form part of Cape Malay cuisine. Waterblommetjie tastes like artichoke leaves and stems, and some say a bit like green beans or the stalkier end of asparagus. I've taken to roasting it in the oven in a heavy cast-iron pan after tossing in olive oil - herbs or garlic will mask the lovely taste, so just plain is best (for me).
Slow Food convivium in Cape Town is organising a farm visit, lunch and picking excursion on 21 August. It should be an excellent opportunity to get to know this delicious vegetable in the wild, and to chow down on some lekker kos. Check out all the info on their blog.
Images: Slow Food Mother City
Some five years into the life of Afrika T, I now find myself unable to keep up with contributions at a level that I and you have come to expect from this blog. Partly this is because of other activities in responsible tourism (see example here, and another here), partly from other projects in sustainability (see examples here and here), and partly for reasons that are more personal.
I am certainly still active online and in responsible travel, so feel free to comment on existing posts here, to follow me on Twitter, and to note what I've been reading online via Delicious. I also hope to return to Afrika T, so am not bringing the blog to a halt, just declaring a hiatus of indefinite duration...
Thank you for your support over the years, and, if you're a newcomer to the site, may it still prove valuable.
5 December 2011