Capetonians can experience four seasons in one day. In fact, if Cape Town is in the mood, possibly five.
There is a local saying that goes “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.”
The up side of a moody city is that, although it is spring, you can easily end up with a cloudy cool day that demands a hearty meal that oozes comfort. (and offers the perfect excuse to laze on the couch, guilt-free). The down side; well… hapless, underprepared tourists caught in a quick-as-a-flash temperature plummet.
This recipe is exactly what the (cape) doctor ordered on days like this. It is a traditional South African dish made from flowers that grow around this time of the year in the lakes and dams. The flower is called the waterblommetjie (Afrikaans) with the direct translation meaning ‘little water flower’. It grows similar to a water lily and can be found at any good local farmers market.
This dish combines a rich lamb stew and vegetables with the crowning ‘waterblommetjie’ as a fragrant element that ties all the flavors together beautifully.
I am in love with it not only because it is insanely good, but is a great comfort food, and of course, who doesn’t love eating flowers? I mean you might as well be a unicorn!
This dish is consciously seasonal and well worth the effort.
I must admit it was my first attempt at playing with a traditional South African recipe and I was blown away with the results.
In Afrikaans there is a perfect phrase to end off a perfect meal…magies vol en oogies toe.
Tummy is full and eyes are closing...
I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.
Serves 6, cook time: 1 ½ hours
- 1 kg lamb(knuckle or neck)
- Cake flour to dust meat.
- Olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ cups lamb stock
- 2 tablespoons soya sauce
- 1.5 kg waterblommetjies
- 500 grams baby potatoes
- 1 ½ tins of apricots (save the rest for dessert!)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon, zested
Dust meat with flour. Add a glug of olive oil to your casserole dish and bring to a high heat.
Brown the meat in batches until golden brown. Do not add it all at the same time as you wont get that perfect golden colour!
Add the onions and fry until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a further five minutes.
Add the coriander, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and fry for a further two minutes.
Add the lamb stock and make sure you deglaze the bottom of the pot to get all the flavour. Add the soya sauce.
Close the lid and reduce the heat to a medium heat and let cook for 40 minutes.
Mix in half of the waterblommetjies and cook for a further 20 minutes.
Add the potatoes, apricots and the remaining waterblommetjies and cook for a further 30 minutes on a low-medium heat.
Add the lemon zest five minutes before serving.