Tag Archives: South African

The Biltong adventure

I am so excited.

You know how there are extreme sports? The ones where you’re risking your life making jumps down a rocky, snowy hill and such?

Well I’m about to initiate myself into what I call extreme cooking. Dangerous, adrenaline-inducing, hazardous, risky–and I’m taking you on my journey, like it or not.

Look what came in the mail for me!

Biltong seasoning.

It came from a store called “The African Hut,” and their customer service rep has a lovely South African accent. Which is just as it should be, since this seasoning is going to be an intrinsic part of a South African treat.

My brother-in-law Mike is from South Africa, and his dad has been making biltong for years. I tasted it while on a road trip with Mike and Heidi, and promptly helped devour a whole bagful of it.

Think beef jerky, but a little different. Smaller pieces, incredible flavor. And homemade.

Are you scared yet?

Yes. I will be purchasing raw meat, slicing it up, seasoning it, and drying it out.

As long as I don’t give myself food poisoning, everything will be fine and dandy. And since I regularly submit myself to the risk of salmonella due to my unfettered love of cookie dough, cake dough, and any kind of dough (amen), my body is used to the danger.

As soon as I make a successful batch, I’ll post the instructions for y’all . . . probably followed by a million disclaimers. Such as 1) Prepare this at your own risk 2) Some government agency probably says something about the risks of cured meat 3) Please don’t get sick 4) Please don’t make this or consume it if you have a funny feeling in your big toe 5) It’s not my fault 6) Nothing is my fault.

The plan is to use the Biltong seasoning, and also to try and create my own seasoning. Because I understand that not everyone wants to drop $50 to buy a seasoning to make a potentially risky meat snack that they may not even like. I’ll include a thorough comparison of the two results.

Hold onto your hats, folks. And if you stop by our apartment unannounced, please be prepared for a potentially frightening vision–little strips of animal flesh hanging up everywhere.

Malva Pudding


This dessert is a little jewel. My brother-in-law Mike made it during our Thanksgiving festivities in Kentucky.

It’s kind of like a very moist cake. Picture a Tres Leches cake, but more thin and–dare I say–more delicious? I haven’t decided if I dare or dare not, since I love a good Tres Leches Cake.

This is a South African dessert. Mike happens to be from South Africa, and this recipe has been passed along through the generations. You are making a historical artifact, essentially, and engaging in a cookery lore that has been fine-tuned to hit your taste buds just so.

I had the honor of holding the original, 200-year old recipe card in my own hands, and kissed it with my own lips.

Well, that was the interesting version, but the real version if that Mike hopped on the worldwide web and found this recipe on food.com. Heh heh.

But whether it came from the in’ernet or came from his South African grandmother’s sticky recipe box on a hand-written card with the marks of love, age, and flour all over it, it’s equally delicious.

If you’re dubious about the ‘moist’ part (as I was–I hate anything that remotely rings of sogginess), take your doubts and give them a swift kick in the groin. They have no place here. Here, only deliciousness reigns.


(Serves 6)

For the pudding

3/4 c sugar

2 eggs

1 TBS apricot jam

1 1/4 c flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS butter (generous TBS)

1 tsp vinegar

1/3 c milk

For the sauce

3/4 heavy whipping cream

7 TBS butter

1/2 c sugar

1/3 c hot water

2 tsp vanilla

Let’s get started!

First, find two strapping young men to do the work.

And don’t come out until you have that pudding on a plate!

Then, go watch funny youtube videos with your sister . . . .

. . . and let the magic unfold in the kitchen ‘by itself’ so to speak.

Now get your oven preheating to 350.

Grease an oven dish (a 7×7 square Pyrex dish works, or a circular one like Mike used). Baking spray never hurt anyone if you don’t feel like getting down and dirty with the butter dish.

Beat together the sugar and the eggs until the mixture is thick and yellow.

Add the apricot jam, and mix it in.

Melt the butter, and add in both the butter and vinegar.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; add it to the wet mixture along with the milk and give the whole thing a good beating.

If your mixer has a really deep bowl, be aggressive with your spatula. You don’t want flour hanging around the bottom of the bowl.

That’s what happened to Mike, and he was obliged to pour the batter back into the bowl from the baking pan and remix it.

I’m sorry I had to point that out, Mike, but you may have just saved our readers from making the same mistake! It’s called a ‘moral’ and I always have to include one in my ‘story.’

Pour the whole mixture into the greased oven pan.

Bake that baby until the pudding is golden brown and has risen (somehwere between 30-45 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the sauce: melt the butter and mix all the ingredients together. Very straightfoward.

As soon as the pudding comes out of the oven . . .

. . . pour the sauce over it as evenly as possible.

Let it stand for a few minutes before serving. This gives the cream time to invade every inch of this amazing dessert.

It really should be served warm, so gather everyone together. C’mon Dave and Erica! Let’s boogie!

Time to serve it up, whether Erica and Dave are willing to stop suggling or not.

Every bite caused my senses to celebrate this thing called ‘dessert.’

This South African treat is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Malva Pudding