Sarah Graham blogs for us

By admin
06 June 2013

Foodie, author and cooking show host Sarah Graham shares her passion for food with us.

Nostalgia. It's a beautiful word to me; it means memories savoured and treasured. Stored away in your heart so you can call them up and reminisce at your leisure. And for me, nostalgia and food are inextricably intertwined. When we’re in the kitchen, we bring memories with us, happy and sad, and sometimes poignant. Food adds colour and character to our lives, and to our stories.

Memorable meals with friends and family mark places in time, significant events and happenings. I love that three-dimensional element food carries with it. There are so many recipes that are part of our food heritage here in South Africa, that make me proud, and that make me fondly remember meals around full and happy tables growing up. Besides being delicious soul food, they’re dishes that have come to unite our beautifully diverse culture and for me that’s always worth celebrating.

I’m not talking about revolutionary or gastronomically ground-breaking food, but food that’s precious, and very much belongs to our South African-ness.

Two food writers summed this all up far more eloquently than I ever could.

"The gentle art of gastronomy is a friendly one. It hurdles the language barrier, makes friends among civilised people and warms the heart." - Samuel Chamberlain

And one I think especially embodies our spirit of ubuntu and togetherness here in South Africa is this one.

"Just because you have four chairs, six plates and three cups, there’s no reason why you can’t invite twelve people to dinner.

Alice May Brock

While preparing for my TV show [bitten, Sarah Graham Cooks Cape Town] a few months ago, and planning all the recipes, I remembered and explored so many old South African favourites. From good old, humble but gloriously wonderful malva pudding to classic Cape Malay bobotie, bunny chows, braais, bredies, samp and beans, milk tart and so much more.

If you ask me, we have a real arsenal of big bang-for-your-buck recipes that’s definitely worth writing about. That’s also one of the reasons I’m so passionate about food blogging. In many ways blogs are a way of recording and treasuring our food stories. Very often people will add their own anecdotes to the recipes, making new memories for our generation, feeding a new appreciation for South African food. It’s a beautiful legacy that’s being written up and is freely available for anyone to read, anywhere, anytime.

So here, just for you, is my mother’s malva pudding recipe, with a little Amarula twist of my own thrown in. It’s from my cookbook, bitten.

Proudly South African malva pudding

Serves 8

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45-60 minutes

Now THIS is the stuff memories are made of. I grew up on Mom's homemade malva pudding, fresh out the oven after a roast Sunday lunch. If you're not in the know malva pudding is an ubiquitous South African dessert originally of Dutch origin, and it's comfort food personified, as good as a hug from Mom herself. (Well, almost!) I’ve added my own touch to this one by including very special Amarula liqueur, which gives it a sneaky little kick.


250 ml (1 c) cake flour

5 ml (1 t) bicarbonate of soda

a generous pinch of salt

1 egg

250 ml (1 c) sugar

15 ml (1 T) apricot jam

15 ml (1 T) melted butter

5 ml (1 t) vinegar or lemon juice

250 ml (1 c) milk


50 ml cream

100 ml Amarula liqueur or regular cream

125 ml (½ c) milk

250 ml (1 c) sugar

125 ml (½ c) hot water

125 g butter


1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and line a baking dish with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, cream the egg and sugar, then add the apricot jam, butter and vinegar or lemon juice.

4. Add the milk and flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat well. It will have quite a loose consistency, but that guarantees a lovely sticky pudding.

5. Pour into the baking dish, cover with tin foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until lightly golden.

6. To make the sauce, melt all the ingredients together and pour over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven.

7. Serve with whipped or double cream or vanilla custard.

Note: You can make this in advance and freeze, thawing and reheating before serving. You can also freeze leftovers for use at a later stage.

You can read more of my ramblings on my blog

You can buy my cookbook, bitten., in major bookstores in South Africa and online via my website

Watch my TV show, bitten ? Sarah Graham Cooks Cape Town, on Sundays at 4 pm on SABC3.

-Sarah Graham

* Sarah is a food blogger, cookbook author and cooking show host

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