They say you can take the girl out of Africa…..but you can never take Africa out of the girl. True I would say! When I spent a year in Scotland studying for my Midwifery course (mumbles way back in the ’70′s) I longed for the country of my birth throughout that year, even though I loved the UK, I loved the friends I made and loved the experiences and the fact that we could either catch the sleeper train down to London for a weekend or hop onto the ferry (no tunnel in those days) and visit Europe. When my children were all over in London, a lot of years later, I was continuously getting calls, longing for home, longing for Niknaks, Mrs Balls Chutney, biltong (dried beef or game strips) and boerewors (literal translation farmers sausauge), longing for wide open spaces, longing for continuous sunshine, longing for majestic mountains and azure seas with big white sandy beaches.
My guest blogger today is just such an African girl. Jeanne Horak-Druiff, better known as Cook Sister! to the blogging and media world, is a fellow countryman, born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and now living, loving, working, blogging, eating and drinking in London. Cook Sister! the blog has been featured as one of the Times online Top 50 blogs in the world and has won the title of Best South African Food & Wine Blog in the SA Blog Awards 4 times between 2005 -2010 and runner up twice during that time. So that should tell us something about the quality of the blog, beautifully set out, award winning writing style and photographs, great content and proven recipes. Jeanne is one of the old ladies of the food blogging world, having been blogging now for 7 years. A few years ago she started speaking and presenting at conferences and has presented twice at the London Food Blogger Connect and twice at the Food Blogger Indaba in Cape Town. In May this year she ran and presented (together with 3 other awesome bloggers) the first Plate 2 Page workshop in Germany, she is co-presenting and speaking at Shoot Eat Write workshop in London on 21 August and she will be speaking at Bite ‘n Write in Birmingham on 19th November. She is a well loved and well respected grande dame of Food Blogging for good reason. And so it is a great honour and privilege for me to have Jeanne as guest blogger today. Thank you Jeanne!
photograph used with permission from Simone of Junglefrog
Have you ever had the feeling that your heart lives in two places at once? I suspect anybody whose lover or child has ever lived far away from them knows precisely what I am talking about. Part of your heart lives where you physically find yourself, attached to things like friends, neighbours, pets, a garden or a house. But another part of your heart constantly lives elsewhere, stretching itself out like an elastic band, straining to be where the object of your affections is. It’s a little like that when you live in a foreign country.
When I am about to leave on a trip to South Africa and colleagues ask me where I am going, I say “home”. And when I am there, talking about plans in the coming months, I talk about “when I get home to London”. It confuses the hell out of everybody – everybody, that is, except me. For me, it makes perfect sense now to consider two places as home. One place is the land of my birth; the land where my family still lives; the land that gave rise to my mother tongue Afrikaans; the land that thrills me with its natural beauty; and where I am automatically accepted and understood there because of a shared cultural frame of reference. But the other is where I have made my life these past ten years; the land where my beloved house and garden are; where many good friends live; where I slip in amongst the locals almost seamlessly; and that often thrills me with the realisation that “I actually live here in this iconic city!”. People seem to think that living abroad as a South African must in some sense constitute a form of exile, a miserable homesick existence longing to be back in South Africa rather than abroad – but in my case nothing could be further from the truth. I have been handed this special privilege of belonging in two places at once – a rare treasure indeed – and I feel proud that I have managed to forge such strong ties with people and places in two countries that both now seem indispensible to me.
So it seems only fitting that I have become adept at creating dishes that try to meld South African and European cooking: boerewors and butternut risotto; biltong and peppadew quiche; granadilla pavlova and now, boerewors sausage rolls. Sausage rolls are pretty quintessentially English to me; whereas boerewors could not be more South African. Put them together to create a tasty hybrid to impress your family and friends – in this country or abroad.
BOEREWORS MINI SAUSAGE ROLLS
400g boerewors sausage, casings removed
1 x 375g sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- Mash the sausage meat with a fork so that there are no lumps.
- Unroll the pastry onto a silicone baking mat and slice in two lengthways.
- Halve the sausage meat and make a mound of meat down the centre of each strip of pastry.
- Brush the one long edge of each piece of pastry with a little of the beaten egg.
- Roll the pastry tightly around the meat and seal with the beaten egg. Repeat with the other piece of pastry.
- Brush beaten egg over the top of each roll and carefully transfer the silicone baking mat onto a baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 -30 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
- Remove from oven, carefully slice into bite-sized chunks and serve hot.
For you Jeanne, an African Atlantic winter sunset to thrill your African heart
Have a wonderful new week everyone.