Sweet side of Bonteheuwel's most celebrated chefs

2017-04-01 10:58

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Cape Town - Two aunties whose passion for huiskos saw their debut cookbook make the Nielsens bestseller list for non-fiction, are branching out to help amateur bakers make everything from Malay koesiesters to classic bread pudding.

Bonteheuwel pensioners Florence Schrikker, 64, and Koelsoem Kamalie, 69, recently launched Soettand (Sweet Tooth), a collection of their favourite childhood sweet treats.

"Expect an assortment of outydse lekker goeters (old-fashioned nice things), some with a modern touch. We can’t let the old recipes die out," Schrikker insists. 

From doek pudding to bollas, the dynamic duo put together more than 100 pages of their favourite puddings, pastries and biscuits, with easy to follow instructions.

Soettand comes a year after the release of award-winning Kook Saam Kaaps (Cook Cape Together), which led to them getting their own cooking show, Flori en Koelsoem se Kosse (Flori and Koelsoem's Food), on Via.

- Read: Bonteheuwel oumas' cookbook a hit

They will soon start shooting for the second season, which will feature the recipes published in Soettand.

Schrikker speaks fondly of the treats she enjoyed as a child while growing up in Brooklyn. 

Money was tight and the family didn’t have a fridge. They would ask neighbours for ice, and use it to keep the jelly mixture cool so it could set.

When they had a few rands extra, her mother would make doek pudding, which contained pricier ingredients, like fruitcake mix and nuts, wrapped in muslin cloth or linen and baked in a pot with hot water.

"The lid was weighed down with stones to keep the heat in, and we would wait in anticipation as it cooked on a low heat for three to four hours. It was like a delicacy in our home. It was expensive, so there was one piece for everyone," she recalls.

Rich history

Kamalie, a devout Muslim, included in her submissions the recipe for Gedatmelk - a sweet, milk-based drink served after prayer meetings – as well as step-by-step instructions on how to create the perfect Hertzoggies and tweegevrietjies.

Tweegevrietjies, Afrikaans for two-faced, have a rich history which goes back to the 1900s, Kamalie says.

They evolved from the Hertzoggie, a favourite cookie of politician General JBM Hertzog, baked for him by his supporters.

Hertzog is said to have promised the coloured community equal rights, and women the opportunity to vote in the 1920s. 

When he failed to deliver on equality, they used the pink and brown icing on top of the Hertzoggie to signify their unhappiness.

"Hy was regtig 'n tweegevriet ding (He was really a two-faced thing)," Kamalie says, describing it as a "protest tartlet".

The two were discovered when Kamalie’s son contacted Radio Sonder Grense and encouraged them to get in touch with his mother if they wanted delicious recipes. Kamalie then became a regular on Amore Bekker’s afternoon show, Tjailatyd, where her delicious dishes made her a hit with listeners.

Schrikker joined the show a year later when Bekker asked for a pickled fish recipe and Kamalie referred them to her Christian friend from the Bonteheuwel Diabetics Club.

'Sometimes I feel like Michael Jackson'

A lot has happened for them in the past year, Schrikker says about their newfound celebrity status.

"Sometimes I feel like Michael Jackson. People know me now – ek kan nie eers meer in die pad loop nie (I can’t even walk in the street anymore)," she quips.

"When strangers greet me, I get so confused because I don’t know if it’s a fan of the show or if my age is catching up with me."

Seeing their faces on TV was an overwhelming experience, Kamalie admits.

Used to cooking in her spacious kitchen with her trusty Hart pots and age-old cooking utensils, she found the studio and the fancy cookware daunting. 

"I remember how nervous we were when we shot the pilot episode and we stepped into the grand kitchen with the fancy glass pots. I told Flori, 'Dis kak potte, ons bring next time onse eie goed saam’ (These are kak pots. We should bring our own stuff next time)," Kamalie recalls.

"I didn’t realise that we were wearing mics and the crew could hear everything we were saying! They laughed so much and bought us Hart pots to cook in."

Photographed cooking last year (Tammy Petersen, News24)

'I am still the same'

Schrikker loved filming the show, saying that both of them were encouraged to simply be themselves.

"I think that’s why people liked us so much – we were completely natural. We don’t have airs and graces – we are the ambassadors of Bonteheuwel," she says.

After filming, Kamalie and Schrikker can take the food home, while the crew is also allowed to dig in.

Schrikker’s biggest hit with the team was her fried potato skins, thickly coated with a mixture of spices, and then deep fried.

"It was my mother’s recipe. You can eat it as is, or put it on a bun. Kort en kragtig (Short and sweet) – lekker Friday night food."

Both Kamalie and Schrikker are diabetics, but insist a sweet treat every now and then won’t do too much harm.

"Nice things are allowed, but in moderation. Soettand’s recipes are rich and delicious, so moenie die hele ding eet nie [don’t eat the whole thing]," Schrikker jokes.

They agree that, while they enjoy their newfound fame, they will never lose their humility.

"Yes, I am still the same old Koelie – I won’t ever change, even if I am on TV," Kamalie says firmly.

Read more on:    cape town  |  culture  |  good news

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