Coming up roses

in steempress •  last year  (edited)

It's been a hectic time around here and I confess that I'm just beginning to catch up. That said, we have another busy weekend ahead, but I'll save that for after the fact.

The busy patch saw three major annual events in our village, three weeks in a row. A trail run and a mountain bike race which was preceded by Poetry in McGregor. Our village was, to put it mildly, bursting at the seams. Although we are heading towards summer and one of the weekends is "officially" considered the beginning of spring, the weather gods didn't think so. The poetry weekend was windy - the wind howled to such an extent that The Husband literally clamped my cloth to the table at the market. Courtesy of the wind and the dust, my fair skin received a free, natural exfoliation and I didn't have to cultivate that "windblown look"! The mountain bike race was wet and muddy....and cold, but the weather for the trail run was mostly glorious!

As I started this post, we had just enjoyed come through one of the coldest days of the year and were again surrounded by snowy mountains and rain.

This photo was taken from our veranda, yesterday, through the rain at about 5.45 pm.

The rain and the cold are good. The last few winters have been too warm and the pests have been awful. Although the farmers probably don't need the cold, now, especially not a late frost which could have a serious impact on the grape (and wine) yield for 2019.

There was frost, and those mountains looked like this, this morning.

Impact on the grapes? Don't know yet. Actually, we have enjoyed (really!) the wettest winter in about four years and nature is saying thank you.

Anyhow, as usual, I digress from what I did want to talk about. Last weekend we had some respite, but it was also a little nervewracking. I was going to catch up with someone that I had last seen more than thirty years ago. We had lived next door to each other for a year at university, and were in the same class for one of our subjects for three years, but had really had not had much more than a passing acquaintance. We've actually got to know each other better since we've been friends on, yes, Facebook. Over the years we've discovered much in common - not just Rhodes University.

Like vintage things like linen, china and lace; pretty, fragrant flowers, including roses, eclectic decor tastes and, of course, cats. These dog roses from our garden have gone to hers in the hope that they will grow.

Anyhow, the face-to-face stuff is different, especially when there are spouses and they are present. Also, the last time this type of "re-connection" happened, the ultimate outcome was an unmitigated disaster. Still smarting from that, as I will be for some time, a repeat performance didn't bear thinking about and, with hindsight, and partly because of what I have now realised, was unlikely.

Ahead of Ms Friday's arrival, she and "him" were chasing flowers and then she posted this on Instagram:

Photo: Ms Friday

The subsequent exchange went something like this:

"Waterblometjies!" I exclaim. "On the menu for Sunday Supper this week..."

"Aah, I thought these might be ..."

"Should I try to get for when you are here?"

"I have actually never eaten them! Would love to try them - if it's not a hassle."

So the die was cast. With a twist: she is vegetarian and, traditionally, waterblommetjies (water flowers is the literal translation) are cooked as part of a lamb or mutton bredie (stew). My culinary skills would be somewhat challenged as I wanted to do something that retained as much of the traditional flavours as possible.

Waterblommeties are indigenous to the Western Cape of South Africa and grow in the natural waterways. This year they have been abundant because of the equally abundant rain.

The traditional bredie includes white wine, coriander seeds, cloves and garlic as well as potato - either cubed or sliced. Of course, no stew would not include onion, so that goes without saying. There are a number of equally traditional variations of the bredie and the most common of these is a tomato bredie a dish regularly served up when I was at boarding school, and if I remember correctly, at university, too. Then there's a green bean, butternut and cabbage variation. I have made the butternut and green bean ones and I have also dreamed up my own vegetarian waterblommetjie dish. But not this time.

Before getting to what I did for Ms Friday, here is what I did for the traditional Waterblommetjie Bredie*

Traditional Waterblommetjie Bredie

Serves 4 - 6 (depending .....)
1,5 kg thick rib of mutton - I used neck and had the butcher cut it into slices rather than cubes
2 litres waterblommetjies + 1 tablespoon salt for soaking
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large sour (Granny Smith) apple, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cloves (whole)
4 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
450 g potatoes, thinly sliced
250ml each water and dry white wine
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper
oil for frying
  • The night before making your bredie - which I did in my slow cooker - pick the flowers from the stems - if they've not already been picked. Then soak them in salted water overnight. Drain and wash thoroughly under running water to remove any sand, grit or other nasties.

Waterblommetjies swimming in salt water overnight
  • Place in cold water, bring quickly to the boil and then drain. Set aside.
  • Season the slices of meat with salt, pepper and sugar** and brown before placing in the slow cooker layered between the slices of potato and apple
  • Brown the chopped onion, adding a little oil if necessary. Then add the spices and then deglaze the pan with the water and white wine.
  • Finally, pour the liquid into the slow cooker - it probably won't cover the contents. If you have a slow cooker that allows less water, don't add more. If you have to add water, you may need to thicken the stew before serving it. Not ideal if you want to keep it wheat free as I did in this instance.
  • Cook for 4 to 5 hours before adding the waterblommetjies and cook for about another hour or until they have softened quite a bit.

Vegetarian Waterblommetjie Bredie

These quantities fed about four of us
3 robot peppers ( 1 each, red, yellow, green), chopped
4 courgette, sliced
1 large tomato, skinned and chopped
1 tin (410g) butter beans, drained
1 litre waterblommetjies + 1 salt for soaking
1 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cloves (whole)
2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
2 potatoes, cubed
125 ml each water/vegetable stock and dry white wine
½ tsp sugar
salt & pepper
oil for frying
No, my challenge, here, was not to "kill" the vegetables, but to somehow develop the flavours so that there was at least some sense of the traditional flavours.
  • Follow the same process for the waterblommetjies as for the traditional bredie.
  • Sauté the onions in the oil and then add the spices followed by the vegetables and liquids. Bring to a light simmer and then turn off and allow the flavours to develop for a few hours.
  • Then re-heat and transfer to a casserole dish to which you add the waterblommetjies and then place in a moderate oven for about an hour.
Both were served with plain white rice (which, I confess, I loathe) and butternut roasted with wild rosemary as well as a cucumber sambal consisting of grated cucumber, salt, vinegar and dill.

And then...

By all accounts, the bredies were a success but not the real focus of the evening which came to an end at the witching hour. I forgot to take photographs of the main course, so that picture is of last week's Boontjie Breedie (green bean bredie) but when all is said and done, I do have a wonderful memory of a great evening. With lots of nattering between "him" and The Husband, and, of course, Ms Fiday and I and wishes for doing it again.....

Oh, and much more tangible: homegrown, homemade chilli powder from "him" and a lovely new Friday Bag as a mate to my five-year-old one!

* This recipe is my own and combines a few recipes that I found on the internet and in my copy of Magdaleen van Wyk's The Complete South African Cookbook
**I left the sugar out the first time I made this - it was an unexpected mistake I won't make again

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When last in the Cape it was one of the first things I looked for, fresh waterblommetjies to cook up, what a treat. We do get tinned off the shelf, nothing beats fresh.

Vegetarian dish sounds like it was a hit, although still prefer it with meat @fionasfavourites

Snow and rain has been a treat, we have had some lovely cooler days to enjoy before we go into the sweltering hot summer again.

Yes, I think the meat option is a better one. Not having grown up with waterblommetjies, @joanstewart, I think I can take or leave them. Personally, my personal favourite of the bredies is butternut!

I can't wait for summer. I've had enough of winter although I cannot complain about the amount of rain, I do hate the cold. Two nights ago, we went down to -1!

This post is sponsored by @SteemitBloggers in collaboration with @appreciator. Just keep up the good work.

very wonderful article, i love your waterblommetjies recipe. very nice presentation my friend fionasfavourites and god bless you.

Thank you so much, @ykdesign

I love 'waterblommetjie bredie' @fionasfavourites! It seems sacrilegious to make it without mutton though...

Found your post on #steemitbloggers

Thank you for stopping by, @reonlouw. I agree that the mutton version is best, but I was quite happy with the development of the flavour in the vegetarian option. I do have to cater for veggies for my Sunday Suppers @ The Sandbag House! LOL

Well that sounds like quite the eventful... anticipation! It sounds like it all went well in the end, though. You sound like a very thoughtful and accommodating host.

Yes it did, thank you.

That’s a great story . You are a busy woman . It’s great the way you hope for the cold and the rain . We in Ireland are quite the opposite 😂😂 #steemitbloggers

Hahaha! @blanchy we have had a drought here - the worst in living memory - so we have been quite obsessive about rain and water. That said, I actually hate the cold. I do, however, love a good summer thunderstorm. One of the things I miss from when I lived in Johannesburg.

Thanks for stopping by!

howdy from Texas fionasfavourites! what a marvelous post with so much interesting information and educational too! I laughed at this line "free, natural exfoliation " lol. and I've never heard of bredie so this was very informative, great job!

Thank you for stopping by @janton. Glad to have given you a giggle! A "bredie is really just a stew or casserole. I will do a bit of research on the etymology of the word when I next post a bredie recipe.

howdy there fionasfavourites! well you are very welcome, the post was so much fun, educational and informational!
Bytheway I think you are in South Africa, are you in a relatively stable area or is there such a thing anymore? It's a safe area in other words?

That question deserves a longer answer than the very short "Yes" and "Yes" of the moment. Please remind give you a "proper and we when I have a bit more time @janton?

well howdy back fionasfavourites! oh absolutely, I imagine that you are super busy so just whenever you have a little time I'd be honored to hear from you and don't worry I'm patient.

The Vegetarian dish sounds like something i have definitely to try :-)

Let me know how it turns out? I think it would work without the waterblommetjies.

I liked the photos of the view from the veranda. Pictures taken from a single point? They are very different !!!

Yes, @amalinavia, they were. Two differences: I was on the veranda for the first one which was at dusk. The second I was at my fence, looking in the same direction about 2 hours after sunrise. Light makes all the difference!

  ·  last year (edited)

That's an interesting recipe. I wonder if I could obtain waterblommetjies here in the US. I love trying foods from different places, particularly when the ingredients are things I've never had the chance to try before. #steemitbloggers

Thanks for stopping by @mattifer! You may be able to. I know that there is at least one South African speciality store some where in New York. Not sure if it's NYC or the state. If you find them and give it a go, let me know how it turns out?

I certainly will. I live in Cleveland, a city known for it's diversity in food. I bet I could find some here if I searched. Would they be dried or canned in the store? I don't think fresh will be an option.

Canned is how you would expect to find them. I gather you can get them here - canned. Let me know if I can help?

Will do, thanks! Do they go by any other names? That might be helpful.

Will do, thanks! Do they
Go by any other names?
That might be helpful.

                 - mattifer

I'm a bot. I detect haiku.

Not that I am aware of, @mattifer. There is a link to their botanical name above. I guess if you were to ask for South African water flowers and then use the Afrikaans term, you might get somewhere (phonetic pronounciation something like this v-arter-blom-a-kies - with a South African accent! LOL)

That will prove to be MOST helpful, I'm sure!

I'm curious about this waterblommetjies... first time seeing and hearing of it
I was so looking forward to the picture of how the main dish turned out... haha
Next time perhaps
It's always the company :)
Thank you for sharing @fionasfavourites

Again, something new I learned from your post @fionasfavourites! what a fine host you make too ;)

Aren't expectations just a killer?! :)

Ah @lynncoyle1! Hello! Glad you learned something. I have a somewhat more stressful evening ahead. Again university friends, but this time not much in common and they are coming to McGregor JUST for Sunday Supper. So, no pressure... 😉

How are the two of you?

hahaha and was it up to you to keep the conversation going? and not the least bit forced either I bet haha Like I said, you're a great host :) How did it go?

We are doing pretty good actually; got a new place with a big pool which is great for both Brian and I, he still has good days and bad ones too, but we try to celebrate the good and ignore the bad as best as possible :) Some days are harder than others, like today, lots of pain, but fingers crossed that tomorrow is better! Thank you for asking.

Ha! No, she did most of the talking and I was right: our life paths so different since uni - our planets have certainly moved into completely different realms! Not much in common. Her husband whom I also remember, much more levity and potential fun and conversation. Oh well! Thank heavens for other diners and the warmer weather which made it possible to slip out and leave them to their own conversations!

I will, eventually write about this evening.... ;)

I am glad to hear the new place is good - for you both. Hope the pain is less tomorrow and take care of your selves...

Looks very interesting @fionasfavourites. Looks like you had a great time :)


We did, Thanks!

Congratulations! Your post has been recommended by @goldendawne to be the Global Homestead Collective's promoted post of the day. We invite you to use our tag #ghsc! Come join us on discord!

Much appreciated. I will certainly pop over to your discord channel and thank you for the acknowledgement and invitation

Much appreciated. I will certainly pop over to your discord channel and thank you for the acknowledgement and invitation. And special thanks to @goldendawne

Great! Look forward to seeing you there!


God, that sounds delicious. I love lamb. And stew. I really love lamb stew. Lamb stew with a nice glass of red wine. My mouth is watering. I'm starving .. to death. What's in the fridge? Hot Pockets. Not the same.

Tell "The Husband" I don't like him. Let him eat Hot Pockets.

Quill ... the Starving Poet.

Hahaha! Well, when you're next in the area, be sure to let me know. I'll feed ya!

The Husband doesn't care who hates him, he says, but asks, "What are 'Hot Pokets'"?

I love it - have not made it for some time but will do so as Jaynie loves it too. Your recipe is a little different from mine but sounds delicious so I shall give it a try. Does the sugar make a huge difference?

Yes, it does, @lizziesworld. Not sure why. Perhaps it's the wine. I'd be interested to know how your recipe is different.

I shall have to dig out my recipe, but from what I can remember, I didn't use apple - I used lemon juice and some chicken stock and lamb knuckles.