FOOD

F O O D JAC DE VILLIERS

F O O D FOOD is a collection of some of my favourite food pphotographs taken for various magazines. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with two of the best chefs South Africa has produced, namely the Michelin Star chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen and winner at The World Restaurant Awards, chef Kobus van der Merwe – with whom I produced the book Strandveldfood It’s been a joy to work with such young, clever and dedicated craftsmen. Jac de Villiers

Winemaker Walter Finlayson cooking abelone ~ Food Illustrated magazine

Portia de Smidt cooking bean stew at het Africa Café ~ Bon Appétit magazine

Moerkoffie at Porter’s market, Fork restaurant, Cape Town ~ Bon Appétit magazine

Tapas at Anatoli Restaurant, Cape Town ~ Bon Appétit magazine

Lecca il Gelato, Stellenbosch ~ Food & Wine magazine

Vegetable Biryani, Eastern Food Bazaar, Cape Town ~ Bon Appétit magazine

Atlas Trading, Cape Town ~ Bon Appétit magazine

TV chef Andreas Viestad’s Baked Figs with Mascarpone and Pomegranates ~ Taste magazine

S a n d b r e a d i n t h e K a l a h a r i Michelin Star chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen bakes ‘sand bread’ in the Kalahari Desert. Photographed for JAN The Journal

Butternuts ~ House & Leisure magazine

Oysters ~ House & Leisure magazine

Squashes ~ House & Leisure magazine

Clementines ~ House & Leisure magazine

Sweets ~ House & Leisure magazine

CAPE TOWN FOOD A food book produced by Philippa Chefitz and photographed by Jac de Villiers The herb garden at the Castle of

Good Hope

Guinea fowl with red cabbage casserole

Snoek cleaning, Kalk Bay Barbecue with a view of Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles

Fish & vegetable parcel

Roasted prawns with chilli oil and coriander

Ondersteun Handelaars at Salt River Market

Flat roast chicken with lemons & rosemary

Braised lamb shank with pinotage

Giovanni’s, Green Point

Rose Corner Café, Bô-Kaap

THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE WORLD An hour’s drive from Kamieskroon, we come across it by chance, up a rough road in Namaqualand, as pitted as gorgonzola, in the middle of the Brokenveld – a real geological term for the rugged topography of this area – a place that has changed little little since the Jurassic period. The rocks here are between 600 and 1500 million years old. The sign reads, “Nourivier (Narrow River) – Traditional food, tea and coffee” Namaqualand in the Northwest Cape on the borders of Namibia is unknown and uncared about because like a butterfly its time of beauty is so fleeting, a springtime of flowers more beautiful than anywhere on earth, that rise after the spring rains in a crush of colours of neon intensity. The countryside, even in this short, lush season after the spring rains, is flinty and elemental, a semi desert, a dolerite escarpment with folds of limestone that look like pancakes, knobs of rock balancing one on another, veined with milky quartz arteries that shine like rivers. You can pick up a handful of stones that resemble rich jewels. It was in these Southern African coasts with its capricious, sometimes violent climate, that the first Portuguese explorers had their first glimpse of the people of the area. These people were wiry yellow-skinned who called themselves Khoikhoi which means men of men. They shared the land with a smaller, even wirier people whom they called San and from whom they were descended. It is with the San that human story of Southern African really starts. The descendents of these people still live in this part of the world, their style of living has changed little and because of frequent drought conditions poverty is often extreme. The menu at the restaurant at the end of the world is not for sissies or anyone worried about cholesterol. much of it is plucked from the veld and the flavours are fugitive and a little untamed which sometimes takes a bit of getting used to. The basis of the food is mutton, sometimes lamb, freshly slaughtered from the roaming flocks dimly visible on the escarpment. The menu changes according to what is available but we eat wildebrei, a mutton stew made with hotnoskool (a type of wild asparagus)

If you are a mutton stew aficionado this is the best in the world. It coats your mouth with a thin delicious layer of pure fat. There was a big potjie or pot of afval (offal), with whole sheep’s head. Afval (offal) is a specialty of the area, a culinary trick that requires experience, if it is not to taste like the inside of a hangover. Served with rooster brood, bread made on the fire, singed with black stripes, it is durable and filling. Another specialty of the region is a pofadder, called after the deadly South African snake, approached tentatively by squeamish tourist thinking it is the real thing, made from sheep’s intestine, it is stuffed with heart, lung and kidneys. Pudding is frequently a simple homemade apricot jam and bread. The meal ends with a cup of suringmelk – a celadon coloured concoction with a thick barium-meal consistency made from the yellow flowered oxalis plants and goat’s milk. The cooking is done by the women from the nearby village of Nourivier in a kookskerm which is a hut used as an outdoor kitchen made out of dry, flammable bushes such as the milk bush and kraal bush, the floor smeared with a mixture of dung and clay. There is a clay oven a few metres away for making bread. “We grew up on this food”, says Hanna Witbooi, one of the village women, “every season is different, just depends what is ‘hier rond’ (roundabout). We could go into the velt for a day’s walk and not even take any food with us. Just find it there. Bessies (rhus undulata) are my favourite. they come out around November, at first butter yellow turning slowly to bright red. Oh then they taste so, so sweet.” The whole meal cost R45 a head and for an extra R100 you can stay the night in a small Voortrekker (the original pioneers) wagon or hut made out of reed mats, an experience not for the faint hearted but for seekers of real solitude there is no equivalent in the world. These days the global search is for something new, unsullied, and away from the franchised horizon that has given so many destinations a tiringly familiar iconography, a place that epitomizes the pleasure of simple things. The Restaurant At The End of the World encompasses all these elements with a casualness that in itself is seductive. Lin Sampson

Visi magazine

Koeksisters H U I S K OM B U I S THE FOOD OF AN ABSENT COMMUNITY As a child in the early nineteen-sixties, I often accompanied my father to a fish market in an area of Cape Town known as District Six, located in the heart of the city at the foothills of Table Mountain. It was a mixed race neighborhood, established about a hundred years earlier as a community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans and immigrants. Fifty years ago on February 11, 1966, the nationalist government of the day passed a law declaring District Six a whites-only area. Their houses were subsequently bulldozed and they were relocated twenty-five kilometers outside the mother city to a windswept sandy scrubland known as the Cape Flats. Cape Town not only lost a vital chunk of its population and architecture, it lost its soul. Today a few mosques and churches dot this wasteland where once a spirited community lived. According to ex-resident Ruth Jeftha, “District Six was all about food – we didn’t have much, but food brought us together. If you had kids to feed you would go to your neighbour and ask for food.” Linda Fortune remembersthe smells of District Six: “I used to walk up Hanover Street on my way home and could identify what different people were cooking. I truly miss the food, the smells of District Six.” Huis Kombuis (Home Kitchen) is a term coined by a group of twenty-two ex-residents who participate in a memory workshop program with team leader Tina Smith, curator of the District Six Museum. It’s a design project where storytelling, performance and traditional craftwork involving embroidery, sewing and applique work are used to document the culinary life of the era. A couple of years ago Tina Smith invited me to work with her on a food book with the working title, ‘Huis Kombuis – The food of District Six’. It includes the testimonies of her group, their recipes as embroidered artworks, and as stylized food photographs – as well as their portraits, each holdig a favourite object that links them to District Six. It is e a unique cookbook in the sense that it records and celebrates the food of an absent society. . . Jac de Villiers

Ruth Jefta and her family Fish smoortjies

Fatima February with the street sign where she lived Bobotie

Marion Abrahams-Welsh with her Spode plate Sago pudding

Moegamat Benjamin with his ‘klopse’ umbrella Tomato bredie

Aunt Molly Abrahams with a decanter from the Crescent Restaurant Date & wallnut loaf

Isobel Smith with her Ann Fischer portrait Jelly

Nativo wines jacdevilliers.com

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