NOTHING says Cape cuisine like bobotie. In one word, in one dish, is summed up the essence of colonial food at the southern tip of Africa. In one dish you have all of our combined history, the spiciness of our cultures, the fruitiness of our natures, the nuttiness that it takes to forge a life at the Cape with all its weather, idionsyncracies and lust for life.
IF SPICES were cars, vanilla would be a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air with off-white hubcaps, rare yet funky, stylish but not flash. Vanilla doesn’t need to take life too seriously. It’s there for the ice cream at the beach, the woodiness in the wine. Vanilla parks with a view of the ocean, listens to the flap of the gull’s wing, watches dozily as the surfer glides home.
Cape of spice. Cape of fruit. At the Cape, we have an abundance of both, so when faced with neatly trimmed organic pork chops and an empty frying pan, it’s time to raid the spice rack. But don’t get carried away. Pork, despite coming from such a huge beast, has a delicate flavour, and does not benefit from spices being chucked at it with wild abandon.
Boeber is as ‘Cape Town’ as Cape brandy tart, the Cape Doctor, over-priced fancy-schmancy restaurants and claims that ‘it has never rained like this/blown like this/been so hot at this time of the year before’.
I reckon we’re made of tamarind and mustard seed, coconut and aniseed, most of which went into the Indian-inspired dinner I put together last Friday evening.