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Tales of the Karoo platteland and a recipe for all-day venison: take a sneak peek into Tony Jackman's foodSTUFF


The cookbook as memoir, or memoir as cookbook? With foodSTUFF, maverick food writer Tony Jackman presents us with a refreshingly original take on life and food.

He relates every heartache, every joy, and does not shy away from imparting the pain of loss of a family member or his troubled relationship with his father.

The stories of his journey towards adulthood are counterbalanced by rich tales from his life. foodSTUFF has many meaty recipes, spicy poultry dishes, some of Jackman’s eccentric signature dishes, and desserts he likes to spoil his friends with.

Jackman, known in particular for his article “Sliced & Diced” in the Weekend Argus, invites you into his world, from humble beginnings in an English working-class family to an illustrious career as an unapologetically eccentric South African foodie, playwright and author.

foodSTUFF tosses together tales from a rich, nomadic life with masses of meaty recipes (Obies oxtail potjie, beef fillet with melted French Brie, parsley-crusted rack of lamb); spicy poultry dishes (tamarind duck curry, chicken coconut curry); a handful of signature dishes (spanspek soup, bacon-and-beer braai bread); and the desserts with which Jackman likes to spoil his friends (the chocolatiest chocolate tart ever, lemon syrup cake, pears in Chardonnay Pinot Noir with a Parmesan wafer).

Get a taste for Tony’s book with this excerpt and recipe…

The T-shirt was black and bore an image of tall buildings, the Empire State at the centre. The legend: ‘I lost my heart to NYC.’ This tiny main-street fashion store was an odd place to find this wayward item of clothing, for we were not in Manhattan but in Calvinia, Northern Cape, South Africa.

As if to illustrate the irony, a blowsy woman pointed to the T-shirt my wife was eyeing and declared, ‘NYC? What’s NYC?’

Yep, you’re in the country now, and not everyone who lives here has ventured much beyond Nieuwoudtville, the world’s flower capital, 70 kilometres away. If you think this is a swipe at local habits, the truth is that the more you travel, the more you find that there are people everywhere, NYC included, who choose to keep it local and aren’t overly interested in anything beyond the highway that leads out of town.

When we lived in West Sussex we knew a woman who had never been to London, barely 100 kilometres away. We met a horse-and-cart driver in Kilkenny, Ireland, who had never been to Dublin or Galway. Nor did he want to. Many Yorkshire folk, members of my family included, either never go to London or, like my cousin Molly, went once and vowed never to go back. And local is, as we like to say, lekker, whether local means Brooklyn, Midhurst, Bradford or Calvinia.

So when in New York City, Rome, wherever, I like to do things the local way, and when in a place like Calvinia I seek out the local meat. There’s an annual meat festival here to celebrate the top-class lamb from this sheep-farming region of the Hantam Karoo. This is the western reach of the vast plains that sweep much of the interior of South Africa, and in March it’s hot and still, with a Karoo breeze picking up late afternoon to cool your evening around the braai.

On that morning, we left the local fashion boutique and wandered into the butchery next door where beautifully prepared cuts of meat were set out in a bank of fridges. The pork and beef are brought in, I was told, but the lamb was all local.

There were legs, shanks, slabs of rib, and lambs’ necks.

The last time I’d cooked lamb’s neck whole, I’d underestimated the cooking time or, more truthfully, run out of time. And there’s no point in cooking lamb’s neck at all if it isn’t allowed to become fall-off-the-bone tender. It’s impossible to gouge the meat out of the knobby bones if it’ even remotely tough. But when it is super soft – as it should be – you can pick up the bone and suck out the juicy contents. A bib would not be out of place.

Next door to the butchery was an old-fashioned bottle store with a wooden counter where an old feller, looking the worse for wear, packaged up the bottle of Tassenberg red I’d selected. Around the corner there was another bottle store where I bought a bottle of red fortified wine labelled Travino Matador, which the shop assistant said was a red muscadel. According to the label it was wooded, which immediately intrigued me.

At the Hantam Huis, which for years had surely been the best country store in the land, we bought a jar of tomato konfyt. They made the best breakfasts anywhere, complete with top-end boerewors and skilpaadjie (caul-wrapped lamb’sliver) and wonderful stoneground porridge served with fynbos honey.

Just outside the kitchen door of the house at which we were staying was a well-established rosemary bush, which I had partially denuded on earlier visits, and some sprigs of this, combined with the Tassies, the wooded fortified red, and some fresh garlic and ginger I had bought, became the makings of a slow-cooked pot-roasted lamb’s neck that I left to simmer away for the rest of the day.

My base was the Boekehuis, a very old Karoo house with creaking floors and the presence of spirits unseen.

You’re alone in the house for a week and when you climb into bed and turn out the light, you pull the bed sheets up over your chin and open your eyes wide like a child who’s been warned about the tokoloshe. There are curious scurryings of what you hope are tiny birds’feet on the corrugated-iron roof. The walls make hushed, mysterious noises.

It’s all strangely welcome, because this is a house to write in and it sharpens you up, a creaky house where I wrote two plays and where my wife wrote her novel. Where David Kramer has spent long days and nights writing, where Helen Walne wrote her searingly honest The Diving about her brother’s suicide and where many great South African works first found their pages.

It’s a house in which you can write of dark and uncomfortable things.

The Boekehuis is part of the life’s work of formidable and elegant Alta Coetzee and it is my favourite house anywhere other than the homes in which I have lived. It’s a house where you welcome the drawing in of the night so that you can light a fire in the old black kitchen range and put a pot on. Where you open a bottle of aged Cabernet Sauvignon and glug-glug-glug it into a glass, where the wine goes to your head as you pore over your research material to absorb what will turn into words the next morning. Where once, after I had finished a draft of my first play, Alta’s one-of-a-kind doctor-wine connoisseur husband Erwin cracked open a bottle of Cristal to toast my work. So here’s a toast to Alta and Erwin Coetzee and their benevolent charity to writers. I might sommer drink the whole bottle.


Whether you’re in the Hantam Karoo, the Klein Karoo or the Moordenaars Karoo, if you don’t hunt game you need a mate who does – someone who lives on a farm or shoots buck in the wild
to sell the fine meat to fancy restaurants.

Once in a while, they will pop by to hand you a bag with something intriguing in it. A haunch of warthog, a loin of takbok (fallow deer), or a quartet of springbok shanks. This is a more-or-less recipe for whatever venison has been bestowed on you.

Cut into small pieces and treat in the way the French and Italians do, which means cooked slowly forever at a bashful temperature.

Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil until lightly golden. Add the cans of tomato and braai relish, wine, apple jelly, coriander, turmeric, Worcestershire sauce and sherry. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the cubed meat and stir to coat. Add the chopped parsley. Bring back to a very gentle simmer, cover, and allow to burble away for several hours. This needs to be very ‘stewy’, with the meat disintegrating so that it almost becomes one with the developing sauce.

About an hour before it’ s likely to be ready, stir the cornflour and milk together until no lumps remain, then add a little at a time to the pot, stirring with a wooden spoon. Cover again and allow to simmer until done.

Serve with buttery mashed potato.

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs olive oil
1 x 410 g can
chopped tomatoes
1 x 410 g can braai relish
(chopped tomatoes and
onions with chilli)
1 large glass dry white wine
1–3 Tbs apple jelly
(or similar)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
dash Worcestershire sauce
splash of sherry (or port)
salt and pepper to taste
800 g lean venison,
cut into small cubes
handful parsley leaves (stems
removed), finely chopped
1 Tbs cornflour
2 Tbs milk

Book details

"All the recipes in Johanne 14 carry memories of comfort" - a Q&A with Hope Malau

Chef Hope Malau grew up in Klerksdorp in the North West Province eating traditional Sotho food prepared by his dad, who worked in a mine kitchen. Instilled with a deep love for cooking from an early age, Hope went on to study at the Professional Cooking Academy in Rustenburg before garnering experience at various restaurants in Cape Town. Hope is currently the food editor for DRUM magazine and has also won the prestigious Galliova Food Writer of the Year for the past two consecutive years.

Here he discusses his childhood memories of family meals, the traditional South African food scene, and why he is so attached to any Magau recipe…

You grew up eating traditional Sotho food prepared by your father. Would you cite your family as the main inspiration behind your love for all things culinary?
Yes, especially my granddad. He loves food because his body demanded good food and we adapted the same love. The memories of watching him cook and placing me on his lap to feed me while chatting about the goodness of what he has prepared. We were friends in a sense of he would take me everywhere to experience the cultures and community we were surrounded by in the township. Then experiencing food from my granddad’s work place in the mine kitchen and seeing the man wearing chefs-white got me more curious about food. When I got the chance to be a chef I worked hard at it and still am.

What made you decide to publish a book consisting of home-cooked meals in South African townships?
I didn’t publish it; Quivertree fell in love with how passionate I was about simple South African and almost-forgotten food that celebrate culture, community and family of black township South Africans. I’m glad that Quivertree Publications turned me into an author of this great book.

What are your thoughts regarding the current local cookbook-scene?
I’m glad that my book has knocked some interest into traditional South African food. I’m hoping that Johanne14 becomes that book that ignites excitement in young people about cooking.

Would you like to see more books devoted to traditional meals prepared as a family?
Yes, we need to show tourist how we celebrate as South African families, what brings us together.

If you had to pick a favourite recipe from Johanne14, what would it be and why?
That is a tough question as all the recipes in Johanne14 carry memories of comfort. But if I have to choose I would choose Megau a lot of people have forgotten how Megau used to create Ubuntu and taste different from store bought. You’ll understand me more by reading through the recipe in Johanne14 about Ubuntu.

Johanne 14

Book details

Clover Tradisionele Suid-Afrikaanse Gunstelinge bevat resepte vir bunny chow, marog, smoorsnoek, isidudu en meer!

Clover Gunsteling Suid-Afrikaanse Kos
Suid-Afrika is ’n wonderlike vermenging van kulture en nêrens is dit meer duidelik as in die interessante verskeidenheid tradisionele kosgunstelinge nie. Die kombinasie van inheemse kulture en honderde jare se immigrasie beteken dat Suid-Afrika een van die wêreld se mees kleurryke en diverse kostradisies het.

In Clover Tradisionele Suid-Afrikaanse Gunstelinge deel ons iets van die verskeidenheid – soos ’n Bunny Chow, romerige marog, smoorsnoek, soetsuurlewer, vetkoek, isidudu, mashonza (mopaniewurms), wildspastei en botterhoender.

Met Clover aan die stuur, val die kollig natuurlik op Cloverprodukte wat op slim maniere inkorporeer word om smullekker resepte te ontwikkel – van ligte etes tot hoofgeregte en ietsie soet. Marlo Carstens het elkeen van die resepte getoets en toeganklik gemaak.

’n Persentasie van die boek se verkope word aan die Clover Mama Afrika-projek geskenk.


Herverpakte uitgawe van Vuurwerke binnekort beskikbaar

VuurwerkeIn dié herverpakte sagteband uitgawe van die topverkoper Vuurwerke deel die bekende en ikoniese Jan Braai sy kennis van vuurmaak en vleis met al sy aanhangers.

Jan het al met duisende Suid-Afrikaners regoor die land gebraai en verstaan wat mense wil weet oor braai.

Die boek bevat Jan se duidelike en deeglike instruksies vir die braai van steak, hoender, lamstjops, sosaties, boerewors en beesstert-potjie.

As jy dit eers bemeester het, kan jy die braairibbetjie, lamsboud of spitbraai takel. Om nie te vergeet van die ou gunstelinge soos braaibroodtjies, stywe pap, mielies en selfs ’n nagereg of twee nie.

Jan Scannell – beter bekend as Jan Braai – se groot passie is vleis en vleisbraai. Jan het Nasionale Braaidag eiehandig ’n jaarlikse Kuier en kosfees gemaak deur Erfenisdag nie-amptelik te herdoop tot Braaidag. Die een aktiwiteit wat alle Suid-Afrikaners saambind is immers om kos oor oop vure te kook.


Book launch - Johanne 14: Real South African Food by Hope Malau

Johanne 14 explores the secrets of simple, home-cooked meals in South Africa’s townships.

Told through the eyes of award-winning food writer Hope Malau, the book features authentic, traditional dishes cooked with love, and acknowledges the ability of countless unsung kitchen heroes – the mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings – to make culinary magic with often very little.

It is a vital glimpse into South African township life; moreover, it is a celebration of culture, resilience, human spirit, community and family – through the shared meal. A head of cabbage can be cooked in so many different ways; it is inexpensive and goes with anything or nothing at all.

You can eat it raw, boil it or fry it, combine it with any other vegetable and it will give you a wholesome meal every time. Hence it was dubbed Johanne 14 – if you have cabbage you should not let your heart be troubled.

Chef Hope Malau grew up in Klerksdorp in the North West Province eating traditional Sotho food prepared by his dad, who worked in a mine kitchen. Instilled with a deep love for cooking from an early age, Hope went on to study at the Professional Cooking Academy in Rustenburg before garnering experience at various restaurants in Cape Town. Hope is currently the food editor for DRUM magazine and has also won the prestigious Galliova Food Writer of the Year for the past two consecutive ye

Event Details

  • Date: Thursday, 08 June 2017
  • Time: 6:00 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books, The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre, 53 Rustenburg Road, Melville | Map
  • Guest Speaker: Dorah Sithole
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

    Book Details

"The book is to show us who we are and what South Africa is about" - Hope Malau, launch of Johanne 14

On Thursday the 18th of May, Quivertree Publications hosted several guests at the Lunch Launch of Hope Maulu’s Johanne 14. Guests were wined and dined while embarking on a culinary journey through the townships of South Africa. Linda Mali of Edgars Club Magazine facilitated the conversation on the book that she described as being, “more than just a collection of recipes.”

The rich aromas of African cuisine filled the air at Quivertree. Guests were abuzz and pleasantly greeted with an option to taste home-made Ginger beer, Mageu, or both. The smells and tastes were reminiscent of hearty family Sunday lunches.

Malau, who grew up in Jouberton, Kleksdorp, explained that the book brings about an understanding of how the township works. The title, Johanne 14, came about because he loves the scripture John 14, “you should not let your hearts be troubled if you have cabbage in the home,” he chuckles. The award winning chef goes on to explain that cabbage is a staple in the township because “it only costs R5 a head,” and is so versatile, supposedly taking away the troubles of everyday cooking, he has come to call it Johanne 14.

From a young age, the food writer was exposed to different tastes and styles of cooking. He spent a lot of time in a mine kitchen where his father worked and took a liking to the chef. Living in a diverse mining community, Malau experienced foods from all over South Africa. He fondly remembers his mother and grandmother going to cook at community functions, “Where are you going, Mama?” he would ask, “I’m going to peel [vegetables],” and he wouldn’t see her for the rest of the day. “Whether you knew the family or not, you had to help,” he recalls.

Out of over 60 recipes that the book showcases, Malau says his favourite is the tripe because, as his wife describes it, “It goes down.” He goes on to say that while he included mostly simple recipes, there are a few that are “bonding experiences with multidimensional flavours” such as the cow trotters. “I did not want the book to be too finicky” Malau explains, “The book is for everyone. To show us who we are and what SA is about. It’s about making a lot from a little [and] taking that little bit of money that you have and making it taste magical.” This is evidenced is the use of unconventional ingredients such as Cremora coffee creamer in samp, to mention a few.

Quivertree ended off the launch with a taste journey through the pages of Johanne 14 and the streets of South African townships that had many of the guests sharing their own experiences with food and life in South Africa and Africa as a whole. Malau says the book is a celebration of who he is. – Kasuba Stuurman, @kasuba_sun



Johanne 14

Book details