Monday, September 5, 2011

South African September

Arum lilies near Darling, 2 September 2007. Photo: Maureen Viljoen

I have not been back to South Africa in the spring time since 2007. And I have missed over a decade of autumns and winters, too, with one memorable trip back in the last century in midwinter, when I was fleeing my first, bad marriage and could think of nothing else but running home. My parents were away, in the north, and  I sat that arriving night at the candlelit  kitchen table in Constantia with two friends, Marylynn and Frederic, and we ate parsley soup from the lush, green herb garden and a panful of pine rings that I had picked in the Tokai forest that afternoon. I spilled the beans and they listened with open mouths.

Visiting Karen Bekker's waterblommetjie bredie today on her Cape Town-based blog, Smashing Cape Town made me long for home. On her blog you will find a perfect picture of a perfect dish, which might be the soul of the Western Cape, the region that receives long winter rains which fill ponds and roadside ditches with water, and arum lilies, and where these waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos) sometimes grow. The fleshy flowers-turning-to-seed-pods of the aquatic plant  found their way a long time ago into bredie - the slow-cooked Cape meat dish which features one seasonal vegetable.


  1. Marie- as always you've said it perfectly!
    They are a bit pricey, but then I remember a friend's story...
    When buying some from a dusty roadside stall 'manned' by an old lady and told her the same-
    The old lady said in her Cape Afrikaans accent that maybe she would like to wade up to her knickers in the cold murky water and fetch some for herself! (add a few choice colloquial words to this) x

  2. As ek na my Ouma verlang, kook ek waterblomme - uit 'n blik uit, want hier in Jozi kry mens die goed glad nie vars nie. Ek het gisteraand die laaste kooksel vir die winter gemaak. Omtrent vinger-lek-lekker.

  3. Best mushrooms EVER! I can still see them glistening in the black pan in the candlelight. I think I can still taste them. They became my 'shroom benchmark. Yum.


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