Tag Archives: nelson mandela

robben island #christmas cake

robben island #christmas cake

robben island christmas cake

Watch me make this by clicking here.

{honour + understanding}
I was so honoured when Expresso asked me to demonstrate the Robben Island Christmas Cake on the day that Cape Town are going to have a memorial service. After reading this fantastic extract below from Anna Trapido’s book Hunger for Freedom I had to try this myself. I made my version that tasted absolutely delicious … but I am sure not as good as the real deal {see my version of the recipe at the bottom of this page}.

Please read this piece below. It will make you smile and bring some understanding of the food situation Madiba and his fellow comrades faced.

Rest in peace Tata.

{extract from hunger for freedom by anna trapido}
“The monotony of the Robben Island diet was occasionally broken by the observance of religious ritual. Those priests who were brought into minister to the prisoners were legitimately allowed to bring food items in honour of specific festivals. Many prisoners, Madiba included, developed fluid religious affiliations in order to take advantage of the temporary respite from prison food. Laloo Chiba, a fellow inmate to Nelson Mandela, recalled: ‘The authorities would come around and say, “How many people are observing Eid?” And hell, everybody was suddenly converted or Hinduism or Islam or whatever it was, including Madiba and Walter Sisulu! Madiba genuinely respected all religions and he did use to attend all types of service so it was a show of respect for other people’s religion, not just about the food. But we were all born again quite often! Muslims, Christians, Hindus: we were everything! While most of the food for ecclesiastical eating came in from the outside, there are rare examples of prisoners making their own festive food. In 1978 Laloo Chiba took on the role of Chrismas cake-maker. It was not a cake in the conventional sense of the word but all those who tasted it swear that it was delicious”. {see laloo’s recipe below}

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{laloo chiba’s robben island christmas cake}
Serves 6-8
4 loaves Sasko white bread
10 tbsp cocoa powder
10 tbsp white sugar
200g currants or raisins
750ml Phuzamandla*

Break the bread into pieces and place inside an old biscuit tin. Sprinkle with cocoa, sugar and currants. Soak in phuzamandla for at least 12 hours. After 6 hours place a food plate on top of the mixture and put a stone on top of the plate in order to weight down and compact the cake. Allow the cake to solidify overnight. Slice and serve.

Phuzamandla
Makes 1L

4 cups water
½ cup mielie meal
½ cup iron fortified sorghum
4 tbsp powdered yeast

Bring the water to the boil, add the mielie meal and sorghum, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked (about 30 minutes). Leave to cool. Add the yeast and mix well. Dilute with water to pouring consistency. Strain and drink.

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my version of the robben island #christmas cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 9 slices of white bread
  • 5.5 Tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp currents
  • 500ml full cream milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp salt
  • icing sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a small non stick bread pan break three slices of bread, sprinkle with a 1.5 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp of currents.
  3. Repeat the next two layers doing the same.
  4. Push the bread mixture down with your hands.
  5. Mix the milk, eggs, vanilla essence and salt together. Pour over the bread.
  6. Bake in oven for 50 minutes.
  7. Turn out of pan, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.

robben island christmas cake

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samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation

samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation

Respect. You are in our thoughts Tata – get well soon.

Samp Curry

Click here to watch me make this.

Samptuous samp curry – Within our democracy is a technicoloured blanket of a diverse society; of young of old, of traditional and the unconventional, there is beauty and richness in our diversity and too often we fail to see the real rainbow behind our nation. Our often tainted spectacles prevent us from celebrating the bounty of our diverse heritage. Take a simple ingredient such as samp for instance…

For years, samp in its multitude of forms has fed and sustained the poorest of our nation. I grew up with samp in the Free State {yes with pap too :-)} but we normally had it with warm milk and sugar for breakfast. The traditional Xhosa dish is umngqusho, made with samp and cowpeas – this dish is said to be former South African president Nelson Mandela’s favorite meal of his childhood.

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Samp lends itself very well to absorbing flavours so to curry it for me is just a no brainer. It’s like an African chick pea that is curried. I cooked it beforehand to al dente (it still needs a bite) – and with fresh chopped coriander it’s a perfect vegetarian dish served with a roti. And it is extremely economical too!

It is a simple thing but it is often the unusual, the unsuspecting ingredients however plain they may seem that is the very dye that brings the colour to our lives and our life. We just have to look a little deeper , beyond the mirage of our own perceptions to live our lives in true colour …

Postscript – I was most fortunate to meet Mandiba once in the 90’s at a memorial function for the late Samora Machel. You see I am good friends with his granddaughter Ndileka and was very privileged to sit at one of the family tables back then. What did he say to me … this humble man? His words to me were – “Hi, so good to meet you Anél. Oh I have heard so much about you (me? – really Madiba!) and thank you for being such a good friend to my granddaughter” – well, I nearly fainted … To this day these words remain etched as a very special and lasting memory. Respect. You are in our thoughts Tata – get well soon.

Samp Curry

samp curry + mandela + humanity + humility = the true colours of our rainbow nation
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of cooked samp – the samp must not be all soft – it needs to be slightly al dente and still have a bit of biting texture.
  • 2 Large onions finely chopped
  • 3T Cooking oil
  • Spices
  • 3 Cardamom pods
  • 3t Mustard seeds (yellow)
  • 1t Fennel seeds
  • 1t Cumin seeds
  • ½t Coriander fine
  • 4t Curry powder (I use medium for this dish)
  • 1t Turmeric powder
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1t Chillie flakes
  • Other
  • 4 Large garlic cloves – grated
  • 2 Thumbs fresh ginger – grated
  • 6 Medium tomatoes – grated
  • Salt and pepper.
Instructions
  1. Fry onion till translucent in the oil.
  2. Then add all the spices as well as the grated garlic and ginger and fry slowly for about 5 minutes until all the flavours are released.
  3. Add the grated tomato and let it simmer till thick – +- 10 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add ½ cup of water and let it simmer again till thick. This way you are really creating this delicious tomato chutney.
  5. Then add the samp and heat through for about five minutes - season to taste.
  6. Serve with fresh coriander and a roti.

 

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