Smorgasbord Guest Post – Traditional foods you can eat in Cape Town

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the publishing and baking powerhouse behind a series of children’s story cookbooks. A delight for all ages, it brings together traditional storytelling with activities to be enjoyed baking in the kitchen.  In this guest post Robbie introduces us to the traditional food delights that can be found in Cape Town… I can definitely recommend the bobotie which was a regular favourite of us as children.  I still make a version of it today during the winter months.

Traditional South African foods you can eat in Cape Town by Robbie Cheadle.

When I travel, eating out is a very important part of the travel arrangements. I like to plan which delightful place we will be visiting well in advance and I try to book an interesting restaurant for our midday meal at the same time. South Africa is a melting pot of colourful people from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds and there are some really delicious foods available to try.

The Afrikaans people have some mouth-watering signature foods from the very simple boerewors rolls (farmers rolls) and traditional biltong (dried, salted and spiced strips of beef or game meat) to more sophisticated dishes like waterblommetjie bredie (a lamb and pondweed stew), braais (meat cooked over an open fire) and potjiekos (a traditional stew that is native to South Africa, usually cooked in a small three-legged cast-iron pot over a fire). There are also some delicious traditional sweet treats and desserts such as melktert (milk tart), malva pudding and koeksisters (a plaited doughnut dipped in syrup). Last but not least are the crunchy rusks which are lovely to eat first thing in the morning, dipped in tea or coffee.



There are also some traditional Cape Malay dishes to tempt your tastebuds such as bredie (mutton or lamb pieces cooked with various vegetables), frikkadels (rissoles or spicy meatballs), denningvleis (a mutton or lamb dish, uniquely flavoured with tamarind, allspice, bay-leaves and cloves) and bobotie (dish made with spiced, ground meat and topped with egg custard).

Cape Malay bobotie

My favourite food to eat in Cape Town is prawns and chips and my favourite restaurant to indulge in this treat is at Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay.

Mariner’s Wharf

There are some delightful shops at Mariner’s Wharf where you can shop for all sorts of knickknacks and wonderful shells and even pearls. I bought two pieces of African beaded art, one shaped like a starfish and the other like a fish. You can learn how to make a starfish out of fondant in my new book Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town.

In Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town, the George family have a meal at Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay.

This is a short extract from Chapter 6: Out for dinner:

“Willy and I ordered milkshakes. Willy likes chocolate and I like strawberry. Dad had a coke light, he is trying to keep his weight down. He wants to look like a “racing snake” he says. Mom had a strawberry daiquiri and Nana had white wine. Willy and I also ordered hamburgers and chips. Everything else on the menu looked very “fishy” and I don’t like fish. Nana had calamari, which is bits of octopus, and dad had tuna fish. The food was very nice when it came and I ate my whole hamburger and some of my chips. While Mom and Dad were drinking their coffees after dinner, Willy and I coloured in some pictures Mom had brought for us. After a short while, Willy lost interest and started playing with some pirate flags. He had four of these. Mom looked horrified.

How had Willy got the flags? She hadn’t bought them for him. When Mom asked Willy where he got them from, he looked stubborn and stuck his bottom lip out. Eventually, Mom worked out that after she said Willy couldn’t have the flags, he went back to the bucket and put some flags in the pockets of his shorts. No one had noticed and now the shop was closed. Nana, meanwhile, had been refilling her wine glass out of the bottle and had become a bit giggly. She tried to convince Mom that it wasn’t that bad and she was so funny, waving her arms about and talking earnestly, that we all laughed. When we left a bit later, Mom had to help her down the stairs.”

About Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town

When the George family go on holiday to Cape Town, Cautious Craig cannot believe what he has to endure at the hands of his naughty and wilful younger brother, Silly Willy. Willy throws tantrums at the most embarrassing and inappropriate times, causes a commotion on the aeroplane and tries to steal a chameleon from Butterfly World. What is a poor older brother expected to do in these situations?

Buy the book with its party cake recipes:

Also by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The latest review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees and cookbook

This is a children’s story and activity book about food.

It contains two rhyming poems. The first and longest is mainly for the children. It is about Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have the magic sugar dust that can save the wilting flowers. The second is mainly for the parents reminding them that the moments spent with their children are wonderful and go by quickly.

These poems are illustrated with photographs of fondant artfully shaped like the characters in the poems.

The book ends with five recipes children can make with help from their parents: cheese bread, butter biscuits, jammy scones, rainbow cupcakes and banana bread.
Read all the reviews and buy the books:

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog:

I hope that you will head over and check out Robbie and Michael’s books. thanks for dropping in.. Sally

Table Mountain –

Music that Means Something Challenge – Day 1 – Younger than Springtime – South Pacific

Sue Vincent kindly nominated me for this challenge.  Music that Means Something to You which entails posting a song a day with the reasons behind your choice… this might include the lyrics or the style of music or perhaps an event that this piece reminds you of.

To read how it should be done here is Sue’s Day 1 – with the music and profound lyrics of Leonard Cohen.

The rules of the challenge are simple:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.

Today I nominate Tina Frisco who is a singer/songwriter who has a wonderful repertoire of music to choose from (I have listened to one of her tapes) and I hope that she will have the time to post if not five then one of two of her musical choices. Tina is hugely supportive of everyone in the community and here is one of her book reviews.

The twist in the challenge is that the lyrics should mean something….

As you can tell from the little wordcloud thingy I have knocked up my taste in music is all over the place. My key words would probably be dancing, dancing and dancing!  I have thousands of tracks now digitised onto my computer and my iPod is never far from my ears. I was probably firmly fixed in the 1970s and 1980s with my music preference but then I started working on radio from 2004 to 2011 and got renergised with current artists. Now I check the top 40 entries regularly and if there is something I like I buy and that seems to be a lot of country music at the moment.

Anyway… luckily for me I had actually posted a musical memory every week for a year which means that I have 52 of my favourite tracks and artists to choose from for this five day challenge.  And the first song that I have chosen is about falling in love for the first time at age 10 and being devastated 90 minutes later.  My first crush was on Lieutenant Cable and here is the background to our love affair.

Younger Than Springtime – 1949 Rogers and Hammerstein from the musical South Pacific

In 1963 shortly after my 10th birthday my father was posted to HMS Afrikander in Simon’s Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

We had an eventful flight from the UK in an RAF transport via Nairobi and Johannesburg before arriving in Cape Town. Because our family quarters were not ready yet we lived in a hotel for about four weeks whilst my brother and I were found schools. In the meantime my mother was introduced to the local culture by the seemingly endless number of divorced ladies who lived in the hotel permanently!

Scan4a Nov 1963 South Africa JM&S

We finally moved into our bungalow in Newlands and settled in for two years of sunshine and in my case learning Afrikaans which was necessary at the local school that I attended.

Apart from his other duties, my father was base film officer. After the weekly showing on base, he would come home with a projector and the current film, for a Sunday night curry party with naval couples who lived around us. We children were sent to bed as usual, but once I heard the sound of the projector being switched on, I would creep to the end of the corridor and sit cross legged watching through the crack in the door left open to ventilate the room. Necessary in those days when everyone smoked!

Although the narrow field of vision was not ideal, it did mean that I was able to watch the films, and during the interval when more drinks were served as my father changed a reel and people would pop in and out of the room, I would scurry back to my bedroom and pretend to be asleep should my mother check on us. As soon as everyone was resettled and the projector switched back on I would return to my position on the floor and resume my viewing.

This weekly film show created a lifelong love of cinema and of all the movies that I watched through the crack in the door one has remained one of my favourite musicals of all time.

South Pacific, music composed by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, had been written for Broadway in 1949 and brought to the screen in 1958. The story was based on Tales of the South Pacific written by James Michener who introduced the world to Bloody Mary, Liat and Bali_ha’i  providing the inspiration to Rodgers and Hammerstein for the musical.

An American nurse Nellie Forbush (Mitzi Gaynor) of the U.S. Navy falls for middle-aged French plantation owner Emile De Becque (Rossano Brazzi) when stationed on a South Pacific island during the Second World War. Apart from their problematic relationship there was also another romantic plot which captured my young imagination and heart. Lieutenant Joe Cable and a beautiful young Tonkinese girl called Liat.

Out of all the wonderful songs in the musical there is one in particular that has always stayed with me. Younger Than Springtime set the gold standard for romance as far as I was concerned as a ten year old and also inspired my first serious crush for the gorgeous Lieutenant Cable!

I still feel a stirring in my heart when I listen to this song over 50 years later and I still cry when I lose Lieutenant Cable an hour later…….

Here is that original version of Younger Than Springtime and I cannot tell you the flood of memories that watching this has brought back.

To give you a longer introduction to the wonderful film score here is a 15 minute video with some of the most iconic songs from the musical and I hope if you have never seen the original film that it will enchant you enough to get hold of a copy. There was a 2001 remake with Glenn Close but to my mind it was not as magical as the original.

Links to buy South Pacific

I am now off to delve into my memories for another four songs that bring me smiles and also tears to my eyes… thanks for joining me in the nostalgia and to Sue for the challenge. Sally



Baie dankie my vriend Linda Mooi from Sally aged Ten. Capetown 1963

My father was posted to Cape Town to Simonstown in early 1963. I was ten years old and had just spent another two years at the Garrison school in Portsmouth. The school had been a relief with its 100 pupils after the 1200 or so at Verdala in Malta and before we left a decision had to be made as to my secondary education.

The Royal Navy was prepared to pay for me to go to boarding school for the next two years, and to be fair my parents did ask for my input. My mother I think was relieved that I said that I would rather to to Cape Town with them and we all departed on an RAF flight via Nairobi (where we spent the night at a Safari hotel) for Cape Town.

There were adventures along the way but since they are not the subject of the story will leave until another time.

Suffice to say that yet again I was introduced to a new education system. Secondary school did not start until 13 in South Africa as children did not go to school until 6 or 7. The days were shorter – 8.30 to 2 or 3pm if I remember correctly, and I used to travel back and forth on my first bike. To be honest I remember that more for the scar on my knee that I still have today. I was looking at boys and rode up onto a pile of gravel by the side of the road and landed in an inelegant and revealing heap.

Of course everything that I had learned to that point was useful but the curriculum was very different. I now had to catch up three years of South African history, geography and learn Afrikaans as mandatory.

I enjoyed my time at school and I always adapted to new environments by developing the local accent. I had already learned at an early age that if you want to fit in quickly you sound like everyone else as soon as possible. In fact when we returned to the UK we went up to Preston in Lancashire for two years, and I went from a very strong South African accent to broad Lancs in the space of two weeks, much to the confusion of my family.

So I have set the scene at school but our life was very different in some major aspects.

Before we left the UK for Cape Town my father was given a relocation package that included our behaviour whilst guests in South Africa. As you can imagine this was the early 60’s and apartheid in South Africa was probably at its most fragile. We as guests were under strict instructions not to comment on the situation under any circumstances. This included us children. My brother attended an English private school in Rondabosch but I was to attend Newlands Public School and be part of the culture in all senses of the word.

I had been a baby and toddler in Shri Lanka until the age of three and was used to cuddling my Indian amah who looked after me every day and evening. I therefore was not prepared for the restrictions placed on me by apartheid. Even at the age of ten I found it unreasonable and very uncomfortable.

However, we were guests and expected to comply with the rules of our hosts and we met many South African families who were kind and generous people who had been brought up in the system, but were also restricted in what they could say and do at the time.

It was customary for the naval families to employ a local maid and my mother was sent some approved candidates.

These were the days of the resettlement when coloured families were moved out into townships. To work in the white areas, a pass was required and if you were caught without the pass you could be arrested and imprisoned. The maids lived in and would go home to the townships on their day off. If they had a generous employer they could spend the night and return the next day.

Linda Mooi – and I think I have remembered her surname right – was a slim and very pretty young woman of about 24. Over the next 18 months before we left to return to the UK she became more than a maid.

We had inherited another naval family’s boxer dog called Bosun – he was passed on as people were reposted and he knew that his role was security and nanny with young children. There was no way you could take this huge animal for a walk – he was let out in the mornings and you could hear him barking a mile away in the local park, returning exhausted and slavering an hour later with a satisfied look on his face. I dread to think what he had been up to.

When Linda joined us for her first morning – Bosun was out doing his usual morning activities and he returned and scratched the front door, being let in by my mother. We were at school by this time, but by all accounts, Linda took one look at this slobbering monster who charged into the kitchen looking for the intruder and she leapt up onto the cooker which was thankfully not on at the time.

Her gentle nature won him over within a few weeks and whilst tentative at first eventually the relationship blossomed, with Bosun following her as she hung out laundry or worked through the house.

My mother I know was instructed that on no account was she to pay any more than the official monthly wages. However I also know that she slipped money to Linda when she returned to the township where her husband and two young children had to live, and that she always returned home with a food parcel.

As far as we were concerned, Linda was our friend and babysitter. My parents had a hectic social life and without television in Cape Town in those days, entertainment for us children meant running around outside and reading.

Linda would read us stories and she knew all the voices. She had two young children of her own that she must have missed dreadfully between visits to the township, and we were the grateful recipients of her maternal instinct. When my younger brother was asleep in our shared bedroom she would come in with a tin tray from the kitchen and an old pack of cards and she taught me how to play Snap, Rummy and Poker.

When there were thunder storms or we had a nightmare she would sing to us – and I still remember one of her lullabies today and I have used over the years myself.

She hugged us, patched up grazed knees and made us laugh. At the time as children we did not see the shadows in her own life and I know the distance between her and her husband and family created some dramas during our time together, but there are a couple of things that she taught me.

One is that it is our judgement that is coloured, not the skin of the individuals that we meet, and secondly that stereotyping is one of the major stumbling block towards any peace process.

I also want to thank her for teaching me to play cards and win!

She would be in her late-seventies now and I have no idea if she is still alive in Cape Town somewhere. But she does live on in my memories. Baie dankie Linda.

Next time.. the Drama Queen is in the building!