Hastings on food

2015-05-21 06:00

SALUTATIONS herbs and spices. To be a mover and a shaker in today’s world you must know your salt, wait a second, what about the all-important pepper?

Black pepper derives from a flowering vine that at a distance looks similar to basil. Peppercorns, known as drupes when unripe and briefly cooked in hot water and dried then ground, are referred to as black pepper. Green pepper would be the dried unripe fruit and white pepper the ripe fruit seeds.

It is very pervasive in the modern world and is almost always paired with salt. Additionally once peppercorns are dried pepper spirit and oil can be extracted from them which are then used in many medicinal and cosmetic products as well as alternative medicinal massage oil.

Of the six variants of pepper cracked black pepper is also known as mignonette, while white pepper consists of the seed alone. Green pepper is made from the unripe drupes and processed in a way that retains their colour. Pink pepper is actually derived from a plant that comes from an entirely different family known as the Peruvian pepper tree as this tree is a member of the cashew family and can cause allergic reactions to people with tree-nut allergy.

So after having some very peppery and spicy dreams, dear readers, when I awoke this morning I had my usual snap, crackle and pop of ageing joints. I thought how easy life is in general and how easy the youngsters of today have it with their seemingly endless list of essential lifestyle items.

I pondered on certain eras of my parents and wondered how they managed to cope with a changing world around them and quickly realised that the fifties was really the decade that laid the groundwork for much of what we have today, with its technology, sciences and inventions

It was a dark and stormy night and so began the fifties.

The SABC’s first commercial service - Springbok Radio - is launched, our air force sends a squadron to the Korean War.

H.F. Verwoerd becomes minister of native affairs and implements the forced removal of 80 000 Africans from Sophiatown to Soweto. The government acts that follow officially divide South Africans into white, coloured, Asian and native, laying the groundwork for continuous years of strife.

On 11 September, a date to become a black day years later, Jan Smuts dies at the age of 80 on his family farm near Pretoria.

Vic Toweel becomes the first South African world boxing champion. After a 12-year gap the British Empire Games (now known as the Commonwealth Games) take place in Auckland and South Africa finishes fifth on the medals table with eight gold, four silver and eight bronze.

The Comrade’s Marathon is won by Wally Hayward who, at age 42 and after a 20-year absence from the sport, is one of the 20 runners out of 29 who finish in the allocated time. The first credit card is invented.


The group areas act becomes law, Max Theiler is the first South African to win a Noble Peace prize for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.

Robert Broom, the archaeologist who discovered Mrs. Ples in 1947, dies.

The first Dusi Marathon, with four pairs of canoeists, is held and since only Ian Player stays the course and finishes, it is declared there is no winner. The Springboks beat Ireland 17-5.

Super glue, power steering and the first video tape recorder is invented.


The Van Riebeeck Festival marking the 300th anniversary is held in Cape Town.

The first regular jet flight between SA and the UK is started with 36 passengers.

Nelson Mandela is given a nine-month suspended sentence and is forbidden to leave Johannesburg for six months.

Mr. Potato Head and the bar code is patented while the first diet soft drink is sold.


The Santam Insurance Company is registered.

The Communist Party, after being banned, launches underground as the SACP.

Activist Derek Hanekom is born.

Radial tyres, the musical synthesiser, the black box flight recorder and transistor radio are invented.


Mimi Coertse starts her tutorship under Maria Hittorff.

Sasolburg is established.

The much-travelled statue of Paul Kruger is unveiled in Church Square, and George Bizos is admitted as a lawyer.

The contraceptive oral pill and solar cell are invented, while the first non-stick Teflon pan is produced.

Ray Kroc opens first McDonalds.


The Voortrekker Covenant Celebrations are held, while the ANC has its 44th annual conference.

The Black Sash, a non-violent white women’s resistance organisation, is founded by Jean Sinclair.

Gerald Coetzee, our world heavyweight champion, is born. The South African football team tour Australia and win all five games.

Tetracycline, a broad spectrum antibiotic and optic fibre, is invented.


Women march on the Union Buildings to protest the pass laws.

Mimi Coertse makes her debut at the Vienna State Opera in Mozart’s magic flute.

Lillian Masediba, the elected president of the Federation of South African Women. Albert Luthuli is arrested

and Trevor Manuel is born.

Segregation is introduced onto buses.

The first computer hard disks are used, the hovercraft and liquid paper for typewriting errors are invented.


The general assembly or the United Nations calls on South Africa to reconsider it apartheid policy.

Shark attacks near Durban become to known as “Black December”.

The U.S. and South Africa sign a nuclear co-operation agreement.

Fortran (computer language) is invented.


The last general election of the Union of South Africa takes place. Hendrik Verwoerd becomes the sixth prime minister.

Penny Coelen is crowned Miss World making her the first South African to win the title.

The political activist Mohammed Iqbal Skaik is born and Margaret Rheeder is hanged in Pretoria for poisoning her husband.

The computer modem, laser beam, hula hoop and integrated circuit are invented.


The Pan African Congress, led by Robert Sobukwe, secedes from the ANC while 11 members of the United Party, led by Helen Suzman, secede and form the Progressive Party.

Sewsunker papwa Sewgolum, an Indian golfer wins the Dutch open tournament, while Charles Swart is appointed the 11th governor general of the Union of South Africa.

The pacemaker, Barbie doll and microchip are invented.


I enter the world.

When you dip your spoon into a fiery pepper soup the components begin to dance a sort of victory celebration.


Pepper soup


•1,5kgs of boneless goat or lamb, cut into cubes

•2,5 litres of water

•3 tablespoons of spice mix

•8 lime leaves

•2 stock cubes

•pinch red chilli powder

•handful chopped dried shrimp


•Place the meat in a pot cover with 500ml of the water and a tablespoon of the spice mix

•Add the stock cubes, red chilli powder, prawns and lemon leaves.

•Allow to come to the boil

•Add the remaining water and spice mix and allow to simmer till the meat is tender

•Add salt to taste

•Serve with boiled yams, cassava or sweet potatoes

Spice mix

•60 grams Szechuan peppercorns

•50 grams coriander seeds

•50 grams cumin seeds

•50 grams fennel seeds

•25 grams cloves

•50 grams all spice

•50 grams powdered ginger

•25 grams ground cinnamon


•Dry fry the spices till the aroma come through do not overcook or burn

•Allow to cool, grind in a blender and set aside till required

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