Heritage Day. A time to reflect on everything that South Africa has to offer. For some, it’s a harp on the negatives. The taxi strikes, corruption in government and all the other things that make Carte Blanche on a Sunday night just that little more depressing. Side note: Howzit to Derick, Bongani and Devi! (I saved Devi for last because this is a respect thing. She is the fiercest of the trio so I saved the best for last. Please don’t cut me!)
For me, Heritage Day is about the best of the motherland. When I sat down and thought about what I could possibly write that would encapsulate the way I feel about this place (the only home I have ever known), I couldn’t help but feel that I would never be able to do it justice.
Ah, justice. Right about now the skeptics probably read that word and thought that it’s just another thing in a long list of things that South Africa will never really have. If this is you, stop reading. I would hate for you to pass a kidney stone when you are forced to read how positive some of us are about this country. In fact, just save yourself your mental rant and go back to filling out your visa applications for Australia. (I hear the weather in Brisbane is JUST like Durban…)
Anyway, back to what makes this place “simply the best” (in a Tina Turner kind of way). For me, it is simply summed up by this list…
- Petrol attendants at my local Engen. They tell me to have a nice day and genuinely mean it. This one gets me every time. I once gave Leonard from Durban North a BarOne as a tip and I thought he was going to cry he was so happy. I guess it’s true what they say; it really is the little things… Plus, who doesn’t love a BarOne?!
- Boerewors. There’s absolutely nothing like it. Any non-vegetarian who has ever been away from South Africa for any long period of time knows what it’s like to experience worsdrawls. I cannot stress this enough, a good boerie roll is absolute magic. Throw on a little Chakalaka and… Okay, I have to stop. This is making me emotional.
- Our traffic lights. Where else can you experience driving, danger, charity and a flea market all at one time? It’s a different kind of excitement. Oh, there’s someone at my window. Is he going to ask me for money, rob me or sell me an iPhone 5 charger? It’s quite exhilarating to say the least and as far as our beggars go, their talents in mimicking birth defects are unparalleled. Stephen Spielberg, eat your heart out…
- Amusing rugby rants on any and all levels. When the Springboks lose (insert some snarky comment about the World Cup, Japan or sushi here) you can expect outpours of all kinds. Whether it’s Facebook statuses, calls to radio stations or emotional outbursts in the line for the till at your local Checkers, it becomes a lot like a passive-aggressive episode of Boots & All. (Minus Naas Botha). I’m going to go out on a limb here but we must be the only country in the world where 1 in 3 people are a clearly a rugby commentator, ref, strategist and/or coach. And that’s actually okay because you know what, it means we care and when it comes to rugby, we care a KAK LOAD!!!
- Good-looking women (and men). Ask any foreigners who have ever made the smart (and some would argue, brave) choice to visit our country… our nationals are certified belters! (That’s “hot” for those who don’t speak the lingo). Our stekkies, tjerries, aunties and dollies are some of the finest in the world. For reals. Also, they’re actually nice people.
- A night out on the jol. In South Africa, everyone knows everyone. And even if you don’t when you arrive, you will after your first Castle Lite. We are a nation that’s as friendly as we are fun and we’re always up for meeting new faces. Just don’t insult our country; we can do it at whim whenever and however we please. But if you do it, prepare for a good shambokking!
- Our slang. If you’ve never heard us tune about a parra pozi when our tannie moered her chom for soeking kak at graft, then you simply haven’t lived, boet.
Ah, South Africa. There’s just so much to love about this place. It’s our home, our life, our comfort and our strife all at the same blerrie time. Yes, there is a lot we could change for the better but in all honesty, we just don’t give South Africa enough credit. Recently, I was privileged enough to have contributed to a book that celebrates this great nation the way that it deserves. “Absolutely Awesome South Africa” is Derryn Campbell’s follow up to her best-seller, “Awesome South Africa” and it brings the best that SA has to offer with a dose of good old local humour. It launches mid-October, so do yourself (or an expat friend) a favour and go out and get a copy. It’s a feel-good book about feel-good people, in a feel-good nation and what’s not to love about that? It’s pretty lekker!
This week’s recipe is for my White Chocolate Cremora Tart. Made with our finest local coffee creamer (no lies), this one is alarmingly like a cheesecake with no actual cream cheese in it. Trust me, some people who ate it even thought it was a cheesecake. The plus side is that it’s cheaper to make than a cheesecake and lets be real here, in South Africa, laanies are always looking for a good deal! Eeeeeeey man!
This one’s for Kyle and Lyle, GO THE BLADDY BOKKE! For Derryn Campbell and her work that made a nation’s people fall in love with its homeland all over again and for Sasa Maj, my South African queen! It’s also for every single South African who is “searching for the spirit of the great heart” you are what makes this place home. Don’t give up on your love for your country.
Yours in Baking, Bitching and South African gees (because “xoxo” was too mainstream and because in the words of Toto, “I bless the rains down in Africa.”)
White Chocolate Cremora Tart
For the Base:
1 packet of Tennis Biscuits
100g of Salted Butter (melted)
For the Filling:
1 cup of Ice Cold Water
500g of Cremora Powder
2 tins of Condensed Milk
1 cup of freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
5ml Vanilla Extract
100g White Chocolate (melted)
10g sachet of Gelatine Powder
30ml of Water
- In the bowl of a food processor, make the biscuit base by blitzing the biscuits and mixing with melted butter.
- Press into the bottom of a springform tin (standard size will do.) Should you want to make a crust around the outside as well, go for it!
- Sprinkle the gelatine over the 30ml of water and leave to get soft.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the ice water and Cremora and beat for a minute until combined.
- Add the two tins of condensed milk and beat for about 6 minutes until it gets thick.
- Add the lemon juice and vanilla and beat for another minute.
- Add the melted white chocolate and beat until mixed.
- Pour into biscuit base and place in the fridge to set for 4 hours.
- Top with whatever you damn well please!
Health Hack: National pride knows no alternative; best you loosen your belts!