Tag Archives: harissa


3 May


freekeh and trimmingsFreekeh, the new kid on the old block has joined Kamut and Farro in my kitchen. Despite its unusual name, Freekeh is not an odd-ball successor to the Pharao’s throne. This toasted green wheat is a serious contender though to lift quinoa from its seat as ruler of trendy ancient grains with super powers.

An ancient Middle Eastern grain, freekeh was first mentioned in a 13th century cook book.

Ancient and new, it captures the flavour of fresh young green wheat in the roasted grains. Even if you suffer from trend-fatigue or are cynical about ingredients claiming to be the holy grail, freekah is a taste from the past worth all the hype.

As a hunter of pleasure and gatherer of old knowledge I was delighted to receive a hamper from The Really Interesting Food Company  (TRIFCO) the same day I heard there will be another season of Fargo, my favourite movie-turned-television-series.

It was a thrill  to unpack ingredients I’ve up to now just read about, never touched or smelled before, including a covetable jar of Piment cheveux d Ange, angel hair chili strands from France. It looks like the well-built red-head cousin of saffron with the dark, pleasantly dusty smell of ñora peppers.  And not only one box of freekeh, but two varieties.  It took willpower to wait till Freedom Day to start cooking from this treasure chest.

New old

Exploring a new ingredient or new way of doing things is a natural high for me. It rekindles curiosity, challenges the mind and stimulates creativity. If your cooking love life is jaded, trying something new can perk things up quite a bit. Those from my generation are reminded of  9 ½ Weeks and what can happen in the kitchen with some inspiring ingredients at hand.

I’m not talking TPM (total pantry makeover). Maybe a favourite dish just needs a new hairdo to  rekindle the flame, or lift the hemline a little to turn your walk into a swagger. Put aside the old woolly slippers and slip into those fabulous tackies made from recycled tannie-tapestries. Old becomes new.  The comfortable becomes the exotic,  the swoon-worthy.

Practising what I preach I used Freedom Day to try out the new love toys, investing a whole day in the new relationship. The first step in getting properly acquainted with Freekeh is how to pronounce it (‘free-ka”) and knowing what’s behind the name.

The name freekeh comes from the Arabic al-freek, which means “what is rubbed”, a nod to the rubbing of the wheat grains to rid them of their shells. 

Freekeh ticks all the boxes,  from being low carb and low GI to its high fibre content. Picked and roasted when the grain is still green, it retains more of the good stuff – protein, vitamins, minerals. It’s also free from GMO, colouring, additives and preservatives.

*See below how it’s produced and the role of fire.

The taste:  I’ve been to enough health shops to know that ‘health products’ can taste like (if you’re lucky) toasted  cardboard. Freekeh may well be healthy, but it’s also true deli-stuff.  Healthy AND delicious it tastes of its history, smoky, nutty, Middle-Eastern, wholesome. Crunchy.

It tastes like a big hug from Yotam Ottolenghi would feel like, I imagine. Nearly as delicious as the stampkoring (cracked wheat) I grew up with, and which my mom served with skaapboud and stewed peaches. But as we know, nostalgia is the best seasoning.

Moroccan soup with freekeh close up.jpg Fear not the long rinse cycle nor soaking

I tried my hand once at baking with kamut. Not much luck. I do use farro (spelt) on occasion, an ancient wheat similar to barley. I was taught a delicious farro caprese salad by the Pietrelli brothers of the Italians restaurant Zibaldone. Farao is great with porchetta (rolled pork with fennel). All the rinsing, rinsing, soaking and lengthy cooking time dampened my enthusiasm somewhat for this Italian treat.

What a relief to find a great substitute in Freekeh. I simply stirred  through the Italian flag flavours of Caprese – cubes of fresh mozzarella and beefy tomatoes with plenty of torn basil.  Well seasoned, it’s then moistened with lots of olive oil and a few drops of Modena balsamic vinegar.

Both the Greenwheat wholegrain or cracked freekeh is easy and quick to cook in the  microwave (10 minutes cooking on high and .5 minutes resting time) or 45 minutes on the stovetop. I went for the microwave option, saving time for a  Freedom Day power nap.

What has me as excited as watching Fargo is the grain’s soup and stew potential. Soup is the food of my inner child. I love making it, eating it and sharing it. I GET soup, and I think soup GETS me. The fact that this ancient new kid on the block could improve my old faithful, much-loved Moroccan chicken soup says a lot.

The freekeh-fied version of my favourite Moroccan chicken soup has more texture and nuttiness, worthy to be crowned with chermoula-spiced, buttery freekeh crumbs. So happy am I with the end result that the updated version will be included in my new cookbook TUISTAFEL.

Seeing that Greenwheat Freekeh is a 100% Australian grown wheat (and the Aussies developed the technology that I can have it on my shelf in Welgemoed) I incorporated Australian Gourmet Traveller’s idea to top the soup with wafer thin beetroot slices and fried mint. A touch of North Africa, a nod to Down Under and a thumbs up to the Middle East.

With my soup genes inherited from my maternal grandfather Oupa Boy Moller, I dedicate the soup to him – he was a wanderer and a dreamer and would have loved the ancient side to the grain.


This freekeh-fied version of my favourite spicy Moroccan chicken soup has a wonderful texture and nuttiness, worthy to be crowned with chermoula-spiced,  buttery freekeh crumbs. So happy am I with the end result that the updated version will be included in my new cookbook TUISTAFEL.

  • 50 g butter
  • 250 ml uncooked Greenwheat Cracked Grain Freekeh
  • 450 g chicken breasts, in strips
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 7,5 ml cake flour
  • 15 – 30 ml harissa (I love lots)
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • Optional: 400 g can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and black pepper

To serve: chermoula-freekeh crumbs, thinly sliced raw beetroot, sour cream or thick yogurt, flash fried mint leaves and angel hair chilli (if available). Also some lemon slices for those who prefer it to sour cream.

Chermoula-freekeh crumbs

  • 50 g salted butter, room temperature
  • 30 ml fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 5 ml ground cumin
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
  • 7-10 strands angel hair chilli, if available, or saffron
  • 2 ,5 ml turmeric (if not using saffron)
  • 5 ml paprika
  • Rind of ½ lemon
  • 250 ml cooked Greenwheat cracked grain freekeh (until such time you can source freekeh, use dried bread crumbs)


Cook the freekeh: Place 250 ml Greenwheat Freekeh, 500 ml boiling water and 5 ml salt in a deep microwave bowl. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on high. Keep covered and leave to sit for a further 5 minutes. Reserve 250 ml cooked freekeh aside for the chermoula crumbs and keep the rest for the soup.

Make the soup: Melt butter in a large pot, add the chicken strips and saute while stirring with a wooden spoon until it just starts to brown, around 5 minutes. Remove chicken with slotten spoon and keep aside.

Add the onions and garlic in the same pot, and cook over low heat till soft, but not browned.

Add the flour and stir till it starts to brown, then stir in the harissa paste and cook for 1 minute, then gradually add the chicken stock, tomatoes and chicken strips. If you wish to add chick peas, add it now. Simmer with lid on for 15 minutes, add the cooked freekeh, still reserving 1 cup for the chermoula crumbs. Add more stock if too thick. Simmer for 8-10 minutes. Season to taste.

While the soup simmers:

Make chermoula freekeh butter – whip together the butter, coriander, garlic, angel hair chilli, cumin, lemon rind and paprika till smooth. Stir in the freekeh.

Flash fry the mint leaves in medium hot oil for a few seconds, drain on kitchen towel. Discard leaves that turn brown, it should still be mint green.

Serving: Ladle the soup in warmed bowls, add a dollop each of the chermoulah freekeh crumbs and sour cream. Round off with a few slices of very thinly sliced beetroot and a few leaves of crispy fried mint.


The people from The Really Interesting Food Company (TRIFCO) really know their freekeh from their farro. Get more info on their gourmet products at  www.thereallyinterestingfoodcompany.com

  • Wheat is harvested while still young, green and soft and sorted into piles that are set on fire so only the chaff and straw burn, but not the seeds. The high moisture content of the seeds protect them from burning. Once the green wheat has been roasted, it undergoes further sun-drying to guarantee greater uniformity of flavour, colour and texture.
  • Freekeh can be used as a substitute for any other grain in sweet or savoury dishes, such as soups, salads, casseroles, risottos, desserts and pastries.
  • Although freekeh has been produced by hand in the Middle East for many centuries, Greenwheat Freekeh in Australia is the first company to modernise and mechanise the production of roasted green wheat.

Photography by Ian du Toit, styling by Errieda du Toit.

Vote for this recipe on the Facebook page of Freekeh South Africa.

Soppot – bymekaarkomplek van alle dinge

18 May

‘n Amerikaanse rubriekskrywer van ouds, Judith Martin, het só oor sop gepeins: “Is daar ’n gawer, meer aanpasbare vriend as sop? Is daar enigiemand wat verder uit sy pad sal gaan sodat jy heilsaam kan eet, maar ook op die oorvloedigste tafel sy man sal staan en die punteneurigste gas tevrede stel?”

Sop doen altyd sy lojaalste bes, dit maak nie saak watter onwaardige bestanddele jy daarop afdwing nie. En dan vra sy tereg: “het ‘n steak al ooit aan jou deur kom klop as jy platsak is of siek in die kooi lê?”

Harissagegeurde hoendersop met chermoulagebotterde krummels in my ouma se borde. Dis nou wel nie die tradisionele hoendersop van ons jeug nie, maar ‘n antidote teen winter-blues en koudkry soos min. Indrukwekkend.

Op ‘n druppend-koue wintersdag sorg ek dat die brood warm uit die oond kom en die wynglase vol bly. En dat daar ‘n mega-pot vol sop is as trooster, warmwatersak vir die siel en almal se vriend.

As ek aan sop dink, draai my gedagtes altyd by my vriend  en kunstenaar Theo Kleynhans, sopmaker extraordinaire.  “Sop is een van daai oergoed van die wêreld,” vertel hy. “Iets wat aan jou binnewand en aan jou genetika krap. As mens goeie sop eet, is dit soos om te onthou waar jy vandaan kom.”

Oor ‘n skeppie wortel, preie en aartappelsop -met ‘n sprinkel gekapte haselneut – vertel hy my, “met sop is daar nie wegkruipplek nie – as dit afskeep is word jy uitgevang.  Vir iets soos sop wat allerweë as sussende trooster gesien word, is sop eintlik nie vergewingsgesind nie.”

Sop dra ‘n groot verantwoorderlikheid, as ek die filosowe reg lees. Sop is waar alle dinge byeenkom – die omnium gatherum, volgens Marthinus Versfeld, ons  land se eie Sokrates. Hy skryf in ‘The Philosopher Cookbook’ dat jou eie wêreld in geen van jou ander potte met soveel harmonie bymekaar kom as juis in die soppot nie.

Wat van fyn kookkuns-sop? Ag nee wat, maak Theo beswaar. En hy kan van fyn kook. In sy jong dae het hy by die Groot Sjef Garth Stroebel sop se gastronomiese kant  goed leer ken. “As ‘n sop eers deur ‘n moeseliendoek gedruk moet word; of sop so deursigtig is dat dit met die lepel weg van jou af geëeet moet word, laat dit my koud en kriewelrig.”

Dus: ongekunstelde sop is sop vir kuier. Hy maak ‘n broccolisop met twee tots brandewyn en ‘n tot old brown sherrie wat jou drie dae laat huil as dit op is. Dan gooi hy geroosterde neute ook oor wat jou nog meer laat snik van verlange as die soppot sy bodem wys. ‘n Resep kan hy my nie gee nie, dit word soos sy kuns met geïnspireerde hale van die kwas gemaak, nie met soveel lepels dit en koppiesvol dat nie.

Ek hou van hitsige soppe uit die warm lande – Mexico en Noord-Afrika. Soppe wat stewig genoeg staan vir die winter se wyne:  Merlot, Pinotage, Cabernet. So ook romerige soppe, seekossoppe met gemmer gegeur, ander met vars sampioene geskep. Kortom, enige sop wat uit die kok se hart eerder as uit blikke kom, is welkom in my sopkommetjie.

Hier is ‘n paar resepte wat ek die afgelope winters bymekaar gemaak het. Doen moeite daarmee – onthou sop wat afgeskeep is, blaker dit uit aan die wêreld en sy maat.

Kyk uit: Volgende week vertel ek van brode wat geestesgenote vir sop is.

Meksikaanse ‘hiert jou rissipit sop’ met tortillas en sterk cheddar. Suurroom staan in om te lawe. Ag ek speel, dis nie so chili nie – jy’s in beheer van die byt.

Mexikaanse sop met rissies en tortilla skyfies

Hierdie Mexikaanse gemengde bone en rissiesop met tortilla tjips het behoorlik winterstewels aan. In die styl van chilli con carne sit jy dit voor met goed beleë cheddar, tamatie- en koljander salsa, gebreekte tortilla tjips vir kraak en suurroom vir lafenis. 

45 ml olyfolie

350 g beesvleis, in blokkies gesny

2 uie, fyn gekap

2 knoffelhuisies, fyn gekap

2 vars groen brandrissies, fyn gesny

5 ml rooipeper

10 ml gemaalde komyn

2 lourierblare

1 blik gekapte tamaties

900 ml goeie biefaftreksel

2 x blikkies gemengde bone

Bossie vars koljanderblare

Sout en vars gemaalde swartpeper

Tortilla skyfies, gerasperde kaas en suurroom vir opdiening


Verhit die olie in ‘n groot kastrol en braai die beesvleis tot goudbruin.

Voeg die uie, knoffel en rissies by en braai vir nog 5 minute.

Voeg die rooipeper en komyn by en braai vir nog ‘n paar minute.

Gooi die aftreksel, lourierblare en blik tamaties by, prut vir ongeveer 1 uur tot die vleis baie sag is.

Voeg die bone by en prut vir nog 30 minute.

Roer die vars koljander by net voor opdiening en sit voor met tortilla skyfies, gerasperde kaas en suurroom.

Marokkaanse hoendersop met chermoula-gebotterde krummels. Bedien met suurlemoenskyfies.

Marokkaanse Hoendersop met Chermoula gebotterde krummels

Die Marokkaanse harissa-gegeurde hoendersop maak mens eintlik vir die halsbandjie: pikante chermoulabotter met broodkrummels, gegeur met koljander, knoffel, komyn, paprika, rissie, saffraan en skil van 1 groot suurlemoen, word oor die sop gestrooi. 

50 g botter

450 g hoenderborsies in repies gesny

1 ui fyngekap

2 knoffelhuisies gekneus

7,5 ml meelblom

15 ml harissa

1 liter hoenderaftreksel

400 g tamaties fyngekap

400 g blik kekerertjies,  afgespoel (jy kan ook botterbone byvoeg, soos ek gedoen het vir die sop op die foto)

Sout en varsgemaalde swartpeper

Suurlemoenskyfies vir opdiening


50 g gesoute botter by kamertemperatuur

30 ml vars koljander, fyngekap

2 knoffelhuisies, fyngekap

5 ml gemaalde komyn

1 rooi rissie ontpit en fyngekap

‘n knippie saffraan

Gerasperde skil van ‘n halwe suurlemoen

5 ml paprika

1 koppie droë broodkrummels


1. Smelt die botter in ‘n groot swaarboom pan. Voeg die hoenderrepies by

en braai vir 5 – 6 minute. Roer met ‘n houtspaan tot dit begin bruin word.

Verwyder die hoender met ‘n gaatjieslepel en laat staan eenkant.

2. Voeg die uie en knoffel in die pan en kook stadig vir 4 – 5 minute , tot sag maar nie bruin nie.

3. Roer die meelblom by en roer aanhoudend tot die mengsel begin bruin word.

4 Roer die harissa by en kook vir nog 1 minuut. Voeg die hoenderaftreksel geleidelik by

en kook vir nog 2 – 3 minute en die sop effens dikker word.Roer die tamaties by.

5. Voeg nou die hoender en die kekerertjies by. Plaas die deksel op en kook oor lae hitte vir nog 20 minute. Geur met sout en varsgemaalde peper.

6. Maak intussen die Chermoula botter. Plaas die botter in ‘n bakkie en klop die koljander, knoffel, rooirissie, komyn, safraan, suurlemoenskil en paprika by. Sodra die mengsel goed gemeng is word die broodkrummels bygeroer.

7. Skep die sop in warmgemaakte sopbakkies.Skep ‘n klein skeppie Chermoula botter-krummels bo-op en laat staan vir ‘n paar minute. Bedien met suurlemoenskyfies.

Marleen se Gemmer, Klappermelk- en Mosselsop

10 g Fyn gesnyde knoffel

70 g Fyn gerasperde vars gemmer

2 uie grof gekap

250 g botter

250 ml meel

6 blikkies klappermelk

500 ml melk

500 ml Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc

1 kg mossels sonder skulp

1 kg mossels met halwe skulp

4 opgesnyde preie

Sout en peper na smaak

Braai knoffel, gemmer en uie in die botter tot deurskynend en roer dan die meel by.Voeg die klappermelk, melk en wyn by en laat dit kook.Voeg al die mossels by en kook 5 minute of tot gaar.

Braai 4 opgesnyde preie eenkant en voeg dan by die sopmengsel


Bedien met Diemersdal Merlot

(Bedien 4)

2 groot uie, gekap

1 knoffelhuisie, gekneus

3-4 vars tiemietakkies

250 g bruin sampioene

50 g porcini*

1 k room

1 k rooiwyn

sout, peper, neutmuskaat & suurlemoen na smaak

Braai gekapte ui, knoffel en tiemie tot goudbruin. Voeg sampioene by en geur met sout en peper om ‘n aftreksel te vorm (die sout trek vloeistof uit die sampioene). Voeg room en rooiwyn by en kook 5 minute. Verpulp en gooi terug in die pot. Indien die sop te dik is, voeg nog room of melk by of meng ‘n eetlepel koekmeel met ‘n bietjie rooiwyn by die mengsel om dit dikker te kry. Proe en voeg suurlemoen en swartpeper by indien nodig. Sluit af met neutmuskaat. Bedien met vars brood.

*Indien jy nie vars porcini sampioene kry nie, kan jy dit vervang met ander wilde sampioensoorte (byvoorbeeld shiitake of oestersampioene), vertel Ladine Louw van Diemersdal. Of gebruik gedroogde porcini wat jy vir ‘n rukkie in kookwater week.

Lamskenkel, keker-ertjie en lensiesop

Die ideale maat vir De Grendel Merlot. 

2 koppies keker-ertjies (chickpeas)

2 koppies rooi lensies

1 kg lambskenkels

1,5 l water

10 ml sout

2,5 ml swartpeper

45 ml olyfolie

1 groot ui, gekap

2 knoffelhuisies, fyngekap

4 koppies spinasie, gekap

¼ koppie suurlemoensap

Soteer die uie, knoffel en lamskenkels tot die uie deurskynend is. Voeg water, lensies, kekerertjies en geurmiddels by. Prut sowat 2½ uur tot die skenkel van die bene afval. Voeg die spinasie by en kook 15 minute. Voeg suurlemoensap by. Geur na smaak. Bedien met die lamskenkel aan die kant of opgesny in die sop. Bedien met Marokkaanse platbrood.

Die chermoula gebotterde krummels van die Marokkaanse hoendersop resep is ook heerlik bo-oor hierdie sop.

{SOP, SIP EN BROODFEES, 2 en 3 Junie}

Weer die koue af saam met die wynplase in die Durbanville Wynvallei wat vanjaar die wynroete se vierde ‘Sop, Sip en Brood’ naweek aanbied. Elke wynplaas skep unieke sop-, brood- en wynervarings vir ‘n onvergeetlike besoek aan die vallei.

Vir nadere besonderhede oor Durbanville Wynvallei se Sop, Sip en Brood – wintergeleentheid, besoek www.durbanvillewine.co.za of skakel 083 310 1228 of epos info@durbanvillewine.co.za. Bespreek by die onderskeie plase

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