Nine years ago Danie Marais started the Waterblommetjie Festival at Windmeul Cellars on the northern slopes of the Paarl Mountain.
Fast forward to 2018, and four farms – Windmeul Cellars, Domaine Brahms, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate and Boland Cellars – will all participate in the next festival. on Saturday September 1.
The four farms each offer a unique waterblommetjie experience: Deep-fried waterblommetjie chips, roosterbrood with waterblommetjie jam, and a waterblommetjie gin cocktail at Domaine Brahms; waterblommetjie soup with red muscadel at Boland Cellars; waterblommetjie ice cream and waterblommetjie infused gin and tonic at Rhebokskloof; and the piece de resistance, waterblommetjiebredie paired with two wines, a sauvignon blanc and a pinotage, at Windmeul Cellars.
Entry is fee, but Rhebokskloof asks visitors to take a can of tinned food, which will be donated to the Haven Night Shelter in Paarl.
A whip-around the four farms last Friday afforded the opportunity to sample what each had on offer, and aside from the waterblommetjie specific items, the little ones are catered for, live music abounds, and there is a trail run for the fitness conscious.
Windmeul Cellars will also have a waterblommetjiebredie pack on offer, which includes all the ingredients for making a waterblommetjiebredie, including Danie Marias’ family recipe, which we sampled on Friday, and for those who can’t wait until the festival, here is the recipe, published with kind permission of Windmeul Cellars.
It is waterblommetjie season right now, so they are freely available at farm stalls and in some supermarkets.
Ingredients, selection and preparation
3kg lamb meat: 1/3 lamb shank, 2/3 lamb rib
2kg waterblommetjies: soaked in salt water overnight, stems cut off and cut into smaller pieces
2.5kg baby potatoes
1kg onions: sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
juice of two lemons
Heat a potjiekos pot or heavy saucepan on the fire or stove and add olive oil, followed by onions.
Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until translucent.
Remove the onions and reserve for later.
Fry the meat lightly in the pot, seasoning with salt and pepper while cooking.
Return the onions to pot, add water and simmer for an hour. Avoid stirring.
Add the waterblommetjies and simmer for 30 minutes. Check seasoning.
Add the baby potatoes and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check seasoning again, add the lemon juice and cloves and stir gently.
Cook for a further 30 minutes.
Serve on a bed of rice accompanied by a wedge of lemon.
In some households there is a vigorous debate about how long to cook the waterblommetjies.
One solution is to add half the waterblommetjies as per the recipe, and the other half when adding the baby potatoes, so that some of the waterblommetjies have more texture.
Preparation time: 24 hours
Cooking time: 3 hours
Yield: this recipe feeds 20 people but scales well to feed 10 to 12 people or 4 to 6 people by halving or quartering the quantities of the principal ingredients.