I started my culinary journey way way back in 2015.
It was a rocky start, back in those days, I would stay up till 2 or 3 in the morning, cooking and baking up a storm. Now I prep the night before and cooking goes quickly once I get home.
I didn’t really think that, 6 years on, I would still be on this culinary journey. This journey first started off as a means to get away from all the stuff that was happening in my life. Cooking allowed me to be in control, even if my life at the time was spinning out of control.
I could control the strength of a dish, the sweetness of a dish. I could control the temperature. I recently read an article in the Sunday Times that stated people were turning to cooking, during lockdown as a means to have some stability in their lives and although in 2015 I didn’t think of it that way. It certainly was. Cooking taught me disciple, it taught me to trust myself again and most of all it taught me self-confidence.
I am by no means a professional I still make flops. Just the other day, I forgot I had banana bread in the oven, it was only when my mother asked me what was burning did I remember that I had something in the oven. The verdict the banana bread was extremely caramelized, but nothing a knife couldn’t fix. Cutting off the burnt parts and eating the rest of the loaf, never killed anyone.
I’ve also learnt that when you really want to cry and don’t want anyone to know. Cooking has the perfect solution for that. Cutting onions allows you to cry without anyone thinking that there is something wrong.
A few weeks back, that whirlwind of disorder tried to creep back into my organized life and I won’t lie, I did let it get to me. I didn’t bother cooking, let alone looking at a recipe book. I had zero inspiration to write something and well I questioned what I was even doing and then when it seemed like I was finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
I was blindsided by the world that we call retail.
I got screamed at by a customer because I wanted to help and then the person still had the cheek to tell me they are going to tell me father…oh wow… I am grown up women, telling on me to my father, wow I am just shaking in my boots. Then another one went off in another direction and instead of keeping on the topic they went personal and starting bring my ethnicity into the matter and well I again went into the what am I doing here phase.
And yes I know, I should not take things personally, but this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Then if that wasn’t bad, I got laryngitis and went hoarse and can’t stop coughing. I have thrown away the medicine spoon and am currently swigging cough mixture straight out of the bottle. Boy am I a wild child or what???
I was going to shut everything down and just crawl into the corner and wait for the next phase of my life to happen, but while looking through my blog posts, to see how it started to where it is now. All those recipes, all those adventures and antics, trials and tribulations, there was no way I was going to let a little drama derail everything.
To get back on the horse. I went into the archives and looked to see what was the very first thing I ever tried to make.
That would be chillibites, not from scratch, I used the box mixture. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday. We were all hovering around the stove to watch the first chillibite go into the hot oil. I remember the funky shapes they all were and for some or other reason the onions sticking out at odd angles and back then I didn’t own an ice cream scoop. Back then I tried to make balls with two teaspoons.
5 years later. I wouldn’t be caught dead with chillibite box mixture in my cupboard (I now hide it in the freezer) and now I use ice cream scoops instead of teaspoons.
I came across this recipe in a Cape Malay cookbook and I was excited to try these out. I have never made or tasted a daltjie that contained a potato. Okay maybe I have tasted one, and didn’t even know there was a potatoe in. My palate wasn’t always able to taste different flavours and different layers of things. Well, to tell you the truth, it still can’t taste layers. I either like the dish or I don’t like it. Simple dimple.
These daltjies were a blast to make. A lot of the prep time was spent reminiscing about the past, hence when they went into the oil, the oil was not hot and some came out wonky. Nothing my parents couldn’t stomach and the rest as usual was packed up for my dad’s lunch the following day and no one complained of food poisoning. Not yet anyway.
Here’s too many more recipes.
- 1 x cup chana flour.
- 1 x tbsp. cake flour.
- 1 x onion, grated.
- 1 x potatoe, peeled and grated.
- 1 x tsp jeera powder.
- 1 x tsp cayenne pepper.
- ½ x tsp salt.
- ½ x tsp turmeric.
- 1 x tsp baking powder.
- 2 x tsp red chilli flakes.
- 1 x cup spinach, roughly chopped.
- ½ x cup water.
- In a bowl add all the dry ingredients.
- Toss everything together to coat.
- Add a little water at a time to mix, till you have a nice stiff batter.
- Drop in a scoop full of the mixture at a time, into hot oil.
- Allow the daltjie to brown evenly all around.
- Before using a slotted spoon to remove the daltjie from the oil and drain in kitchen towel before enjoying.