The author writes from her farm, Joubert-Tradauw, and from her deli, Alfesco Deli and Wine Cellar all near Barrydale. .
The defining feature of this book is probably its photography. Photographers Sean Calitz, Matthys van Lill and Andries Joubert bring a rich variety of pictures both food and landscape to the book.
She starts with Tapas, or “boere tapas” as she calls it. The Creme Fraiche tartlets with figs and thyme looked delicious, as did the chickpea, cottage cheese and spring onion balls, but it was the easy oven-baked frittata that drove me into the kitchen to play with my food. As Joubert suggests, I used her recipe as inspiration rather than ingredient for ingredient.
Joubert moves on to comfort food and it is no surprise that breads, including roosterkoek and vetkoek feature predominantly in this section, together with soups, This is followed by a section entitled “Fresh” which looks at salads and light meals.
The section entitled “Gatherings” starts with a recipe for bobotie with a fruit compote. Joubert makes use of two ripe bananas as part of the recipe. It all looks very good and I’m, like many other South Africans of my generation, quite fussy about bobotie. The recipe in this section which most intrigued me was Trinchado beef bredie. It uses less cream than the average trinchado recipe and Joubert’s suggestion to pair it with port induced some enthusiastic mouth watering reactions.
The next section is entitled “On the coals” and includes braais and potjies. Koftas, livers (the famous South African “skilpadjies”), mutton rib, pork chops and pork belly all had me hungry. Potjies are not my thing to make, but I enjoy eating them. One can, of course, adapt potjies to indoor cooking as well without any serious loss of flavour.
The sweet section has Gradma Rina’s creamy orange sago pudding (just in time for winter here) and one of my favourites, french crepes with orange sauce. The French chocolate coffee cake with green figs looks sinfully delicious. Macadamia, pecan nut and cranberry nougat sounds wonderful,and koeksisters are included.
The final section is called “Something extra” and it features chutneys, pastries, cream sauce, pitas, pesto and more.
Joubert gives one the impression that she is a skilled and gracious hostess and one longs to visit.
Some of my readers like to know what I plan to do with a recipe book. Sometimes they live in my kitchen, or at least on a bookshelf in my home. This one will be given to the friend of whom Taste the Little Karoo so strongly reminds me. I’ve already set up arrangements to pop in for tea. It is a book that deserves to be used by someone who will lovingly recreate these recipes, adapting them yet again to his personal taste.
Taste the Little Karoo is a beautiful book with some truly interesting takes on traditional South African cuisine.
Also Available in Afrikaans as Proe die Klein-Karoo.
- Title: Taste the Little Karoo
- Author: Beate Joubert
- Photographers: Sean Calitz, Matthys van Lill and Andries Joubert
- Publisher: Stryik Lifestyle, an imprint of Penguin Random House
- Year: (This edition) August 2016
- Format: Paperback
- Recommended Selling Price: R300.00