Traditional Roly-Poly at DikkopVlakte (recipe)

A couple of months ago I spent a night at one of my favourite Karoo farm stay spots, DikkopVlakte Gasteplaas between Grahamstown and Bedford. Although they offer self-catering accommodation in the 6 bedroom main house, we were there for a meeting the next day and the owners Tommy and Carine van Kerken joined us for a braai that evening. For dessert Carine “threw” together a traditional Roly-Poly baked pudding. She didn’t have a specific recipe on paper but made it from memory, so I went digging around the interwebs and found one to share with you today.


2 cups flour (500 ml)

3 teaspoons baking powder (15 ml)

1 teaspoon salt

12 cup butter (125 g)

2 eggs, beaten

milk, a few tablespoons, see instructions

1 teaspoon vanilla

apricot jam


12 cups boiling water (375 ml)

1 cup sugar (250 ml)

2 tablespoons butter (30 ml)

1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius.
  • Grease a suitable oven dish, like a rectangular Pyrex dish.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, and rub in the butter.
  • Add the beaten eggs, and then just enough milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, to make a fairly firm dough.
  • Roll the dough out quite thinly — on a surface sprinkled with flour — and form a rectangle, by cutting off bits and adding it on again.
  • Spread the dough with apricot jam.
  • From one of the LONG sides, roll it up like a swiss roll.
  • Cut this roll into 1-inch slices, using a serrated knife such as a bread knife. The jam WILL ooze out.
  • Pack the slices, cut sides up, closely together, in the greased dish. Scoop the jam which oozed out on the surface you used, and just plonk back on to these rolls.
  • In a pot, mix the boiling water (from your kettle), sugar, butter, and vanilla and stir until sugar dissolves.
  • With a tablespoon, ladle evenly over the slices of pudding, but beware: you will have more sauce than the baking dish can take. Usually, you’ll be left with about 3/4 cup. KEEP IT.
  • Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes.
  • When the sizzling pudding comes out of the oven, carefully pour the extra sauce over the centre slices: I find that, when baking, the sauce tends to pool on the sides.
  • Now the hot pudding will absorb much of the leftover sauce in seconds. Use as much or as little as you like.
  • Serve hot, with custard, ice cream or whipped cream.

This pudding will definitely have you come back for seconds and perhaps even thirds if there are any left over at that stage. And if you ever spend a few days at DikkopVlakte, I’m sure you’ll be able to bribe Carine into making you a batch.

A wine farm in PE?

Everybody knows the Winelands in the Western Cape based around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Then there is the rapidly developing Plettenberg Bay Wine Route.  But did you know Port Elizabeth also have a wine farm?  The Theescombe Estate Wine Farm is located on a 2-hectare smallholding in the Theescombe on the western side of Port Elizabeth.  It’s not quite a big commercial wine operation yet, but they do make wine and sell it from the farm.  But why is it called an Estate Wine Farm and not a Wine Estate?  It is because they make all their own wines on the farm using only grapes from the farm.  This means that they don’t bring in additional grapes from other farms nor do they send their grapes somewhere else for the wine to be made.  Now you’ve also learned something today.   

The oldest cake in South Africa

One of the first things Karoo Girl asked me when she heard I was going to visit her home town of Graaff-Reinet, was if I was going to go and see the oldest cake in the country.  Now I know most of Graaff-Reinet’s attractions, but the cake was a first for me.  She directed me to aunty Ira’s Antique Shop next to the Graaff-Reinet Tourism info office and that is where we headed on the Saturday morning of our visit before taking a walk around town.
Once there we took a slow walk through the antique store and marveled at all the beautiful pieces and nic nacs before I found the cake on the mantle piece in one of the front rooms.  Nothing spectacular till you look at the date 1902, making it 115 years old (this being 2017), making it only four years younger than the oldest cake in the world.

The cake was baked for the Golden Wedding Anniversary of Franz Te Water and Caroline Theodora Muller who got married on 5 April 1852 with the cake being baked in 1902.  The fancy decorations that was originally on the cake, as per the photo, is no more, but the cake is intact.  Apparently it was found in an attic in town.  Unfortunately Karoo Girl wasn’t with me to tell the whole story, which she relates as part of her walking tour of the town.  
Frans te Water and Caroline Theodora Muller on their Golden Anniversary
The cake isn’t something that is written about in guide books or tourism brochures, and the kids just had a quick look before heading outside, but I found it really interesting and definitely part of the town’s rich heritage.  It just shows that there are often so much more to discover in a place than what is in the guide books.  Look around, explore and investigate.  It’s always worth it.
I did a quick bit of research on Frans te Water and Caroline Muller and found the following:
Name Frans Karel te Water 
Born 13 August 1824 – Brussels, Belgium  
Died 18 December 1913 (89 years old) – Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, South Africa 
His first wife was Jacomina Jacoba Jansen van Rensburg, born in Graaff-Reinet 3 December 1814, they got married on 7 December 1848, but she passed away aged 36 in 1851. 
He then married Carolina Theodora Muller on 5 April 1852.  She was born in March 1828 in Beaufort West and passed away 1 June 1904 in Graaff-Reinet aged 76.
They had 9 children:
  1. Hendrina Helena Adriana te Water, b.16 May 1853, Graaff-Reinet, d. 9 Sep 1938, Cape Town (Age 85 years)
  2. Willem Jacobus te Water, b. 1855, The Netherlands, d. 1855, The Netherlands (Aged 0 years)
  3. Thomas Nicholas German te Water, b. 6 Jun 1857, Graaff-Reinet, d. 23 Oct 1926, Cape Town, (Age 69 years)
  4. Adriana te Water, b. 15 Jan 1859
  5. Frans Karel te Water, b. 1 Sep 1860,  d. 22 Sep 1890  (Age 30 years)
  6. Willem Jacobus te Water, b. 17 May 1862
  7. Karel Theodorus te Water,  b. 24 Aug 1864
  8. Palmyra Hortense Felicite te Water, b. 20 Nov 1866
  9. Jacoba Muller te Water, b. 26 Jan 1869, d. 1965  (Age 95 years) 

Township take-aways

I was going through some older photos of mine and came across this one I took in New Brighton a while back.  This lady sells roosterkoek and vetkoek from a container near the Red Location Museum (which is currently still closed) and when I worked for Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and got to go to the museum often I always stopped here from either.  About 5 years back she used to sell the roosterkoek for R1.50 plain and R1.80 buttered.  The mini verkoek was only 20c each and the local kids would come with R1 or R2 and walk away with a hand full.  Writing this my mouth is actually watering and I’m wondering if she’s still there.

#ECMeetUp food

I attended the third Eastern Cape blogger meetup event at The Plantation this morning and there was food.  I mean it was great networking, meeting fellow bloggers, awesome talks and… food. Ok, so I’m not going to post about the event and all the great bloggers who attended, but I am going to show you the food The Plantation dished up for us.  The first thing you saw when you arrived was the pancake table.  Pancakes coming straight off the pan to be topped with all this. 
I decided to mosey over to the Mastertons Coffee table first for a cappuccino and only then back to the pancake table to join the line over there.  I wasn’t the only one to have sweets for breakie.
The pancake aftermath.
If breakfast had starters then this was it…
… and this.
And finally breakfast.  If you are curious about what was going on at the event, who was there, what we did and more, then go and check out the #ECMeetUp hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Pizza, World Famous in Nieu-Bethesda

The Karoo Heartland village of Nieu-Bethesda is weird and quirky, but in a nice way.  It has a lot of interesting nooks and crannies which include a couple of fascinating attractions, authentic Nieu-Bethesdian accommodation and slightly off the regular type of mainstream restaurants and eateries.  When you pass a little restaurant with a sign saying Bruno’s Alfresco Pizzeria with the added tagline of “World Famous in Nieu-Bethesda… then you know you want to check it out.  It also helps that I really love pizza.


So the quirkiness of Bruno’s start with the fact that they are only open on a Friday evening.  At first I was surprised but then I understood why.  Nieu-Bethesda isn’t the busiest of villages and there are a number of spots to eat at so they avoid being empty most nights and became the Friday night hangout.  Bruno’s really is as authentic Southern Italian as you will get and with the eccentric Italian Swiss chef and owner Brunno at the wheel you, you are assured of the best thin based pizza in town.  World Famous, in Nieu-Bethesda.
As we were a decent sized group in town for a meeting the Monday morning, a special request to open on the Sunday night for us was granted and I was glad it was.  Not a lot of pizza places around where you can stand at the kitchen chatting to the cooks preparing the pizza or where you can peek into the pizza oven just before sticking your camera halfway in just to be shoo’d away because it’s time to take the pizzas out.  No well drilled conveyor belt from a fast food pizza joint in the city.  No, local ladies making the pizza just the way they were trained by Bruno.  Mine was delectable.  Their special for the night, Kudu Salami Pizza.  Highly recommendable if you are in town.  
But, and this is a big but and I can’t deny, that wasn’t all.  Bruno had a surprise up his sleeve.  I heard rumours of a secret underground wine cellar.  Just stories or the truth?  I was told to ask Bruno himself, so I did.  He chuckled and there was a glint in his eye.  Yeah! Let’s go.  The wine cellar isn’t just a regular spot to store wine.  It literally is an underground space that feels like it’s straight from a movie set.  Bruno had it built as a wine cellar but after a flood filled it up with water a few years ago he hasn’t really kept wine down there.  He did show us a little something standing around the one corner and we got to taste the fruits of this little something afterwards.  Or rather what came from the fruits that went in there.  I can understand why he doesn’t sell it.  It’s a special little something for special visitors and we were special.  We got to see his wine cellar on a personal tour after all.   

Fresh fish on the PE Harbour

We’ve never been to the fish shops on the harbour to buy fresh fish but a Saturday or two ago, in search of finding something else to make for dinner than just the usual stuff, we decided to go and have a look.  We landed up in Fisherman Fresh (throw a left as you enter the harbour at the Baakens entrance and follow the signs).  An amazing selection of fresh and frozen fish and other seafoods and so much cheaper than our local supermarkets and the Fruit and Veg down the road from home. We ended up having a snoek braai that evening and tried gurnard rather than hake for a change. Definitely a winner in my book and I will be back for sure on a more regular basis for more.  The service and advise we received was also top notch so if you haven’t been and like to make your own fish, this is the place to go and buy it.

A romantic evening at The Plantation

When you are young and in love you go out your way to be romantic.  Flowers, movies, open the door, whispers in the ear, special dinners and and and.  When you get slightly older and have kids, just spending a little time together on your own without the kids is seen as romantic.  For us it is anyway.  Now when you get to combine both of these, you know you have a winner on your hands.  And a winner I was at the first #ECMeetUp a little while ago when I won an evening at The Plantation here in Port Elizabeth.  Just the fact that the Damselfly and I could spend some “us” time was enough, but little did we know what Sarah and Ralph has in store for us. 

The Plantation is a wedding and conference venue just off Sardinia Bay Road which means that it is surrounded by indigenous coastal bush giving it a real romantic forest feel.  As there was no wedding on the weekend we chose to stay, we were given the honeymoon suite in all it’s stunning splendor.  Iffy weather that weekend meant that we could only go for a short walk through the bush before the skies opened up again.  It did mean though an evening of snuggling up under the duvet in front of the television (also romantic in mu book) just chilling away from the KidZ in each other’s company.

On arrival our picnic dinner was waiting for us already and if the weather played along we would have been able to throw the blanket open in the garden and enjoyed it there.  Instead we threw the blanket open on the bed which, as it turned out, was a good second option.

Sarah and Ralph really went all the way with cold meats, cheeses, biscuits, breads, pates, salads and more along with a bottle of chilled sparkling wine.  This was followed by not one, not two, but three different desserts.  Everything nicely presented and tasting divine.  Now that is how you spend a romantic evening with a loved one.  BUT… that wasn’t all…  

We didn’t even have to get up to go for breakfast the next morning.  
Breakfast came to us, delivered to the room in two sessions.  

The first “course” consisted of crumpets with strawberries, syrup and cream along with our coffee which was followed fifteen minutes later by a warm breakfast and a message of “Take your time.  No need to rush and check out.”  Just what we wanted to hear although the KidZ had phoned already to hear when we would be home…

Disclosure: I won the evening at The Plantation as a prize in a competition at the #ECMeetUp bloggers event so I didn’t pay to stay.  There was absolutely no expectation from them for me to write a blog post, but how can I not after enjoying our stay so much?