Dutch Pea Soup in South Africa

Pea Soup is an original Dutch stomach filling Winter food.

There are different ways of making it but basic ingredients are split peas, onions and/or leech,  carrots, sweet potatoes, selery, turnips, leg of pork (schenkel. Eventually add herbs and spices to add additional hints of personalised flavour.

Vegetarians: skip the leg of pork and also the smoked sausages (see below).

For 10 liter soup (you can put portions in the freezer) bring 2 kilogram of split peas to the boil and let it simmer for approx. 30 minutes. Keep stirring every now and than. Than let it cool of. In the meantime boil the leg of pork for about one hour until it’s well done. Remove the bones and mix the fine cut meat and the water to the pea soup. Bring this mix to the boil again and while stirring add slowly the ingredients; herbs and spices in the final stage. As soon as the spit peas are fully dissolved the soup is ready. Some chefs add smoked sausages (in South Africa named ‘Russians’) but although South Africa produces excellent honest (merely ‘free range’) meat countrymen still have to find out how to make smoked sausages. Until so far and known to us there is only one butcher in Swellendam (Van Eeden) whose ‘Russians’ approach the pure quality of a real smoked sausage. BTW the amount of each ingredient can be adjusted to own personal insight. With a bit of experimenting everyone can make his/her own personal Dutch Pea Soup; you don’t have to be a ‘Hollander’ for that….; Double Dutch like us here in Stanford, South Africa, will also do.


Dutch Apple Pudding

When the Dutch came to South Africa a few centuries ago they took with them the ‘Potjie’ but seemingly forgot to take the recipe for apple pudding. A new generation did not forget and last night we re-introduced this delicious Winter desert with three South African friends here in Stanford in the Western Cape. And this is the basic recipe which you can alter (more or less of the different ingredients) just to make it to your own personal taste.

What you need and do (4 persons) is 6 apples of which you take the skin off and the crown out. Put these each on a teaspoon butter on an oven tray. Take per apple 1 spoon sugar/cinnamon mix (50/50) and fill up the crown. Top each crown off with another teaspoon of butter. Drip a bit of pure lemon juice on top of each apple. The tray goes into a pre-heated oven (180 degrees C or  356 degrees F) for approx. 40 minutes of which the last 5-10 minutes combined with the grill.

For the custart: 6 spoons of custard, six spoons sugar, one sachet vanilla suger and a small handfull of grated lemon skin plus 6 dl milk. Mix it and keep on stirring on the fire until it’s getting stiff.

The final touch: Pour the custart over the apples and serve. Within 5 minutes the tray and the plates are empty. Promise!!!


NOTE: The Afrikaners may have forgotten the recipe for the apple-pudding but the Dutch forgot all about the ‘Potjie’


One of the good old Dutch traditions Afrikaners took with them in the 17th century to South Africa is the ‘Potjie’. In the Netherlands this tradition got lost in history but the contemporary Dutch, like us, in South Africa love Potjiekos. Once you experienced the basics of how to make a ‘lekker’ potjie you start to experiment with your own recipes. Not a single potjie has to be the same. Potjiekos is a social event and like a Japanese tea ceremony one needs to take time before enjoying the food.


For us Winter is the time to make a potjie. Although officially it’s still Autumn in the Southern Hemnisphere it felt like Winter yesterday and we made the first Potjie of this year; celebrating the good life here at the edge of a village named Stanford.

Oh… uh…. The residues: ash and charcoal ….; ash goes with the compost and the charcoal is an excellent medium to add to the soil mix for Pachypodium-, Adenium-, Adenia  – and other caudiciform species.