Simply Seasonal by Ilse van der Merwe

Simply Seasonal is a vibrant, visual recipe guide inspired by nature’s endless bounties. Choosing to cook and eat seasonally places a fresh spotlight on what’s being produced in our immediate surroundings. It encourages us to buy local, making us aware of what smaller producers are offering in our neighbourhoods. Seasonal ingredients are given star status in the over 80 recipes, which range  from starters to side dishes and from main courses to desserts. Each recipe is accompanied by a glorious full-colour photograph. Discover the seasons wherever you live and keep home cooking simple, local, joyful and unapologetically personal.

Ilse says “There are many ways to enjoy this beautiful, indigenous, seasonal Boland water plant. Although I love a traditional bredie, this Asian-inspired tempura recipe wins my vote. Even my 10-year-old daughter couldn’t get enough, and she’s a picky eater!”

Waterblommetjies – photo by Dine van Zyl

Ilse van der Merwe’s Waterblommetjie Tempura

Serves 6 as a starter/snack

2 egg yolks
30 ml (2 tablespoons) lemon juice
10 ml (2 teaspoons) Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
125 ml (½ cup) canola oil

Soy Dipping Sauce
45 ml (3 tablespoons) soy sauce
45 ml (3 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
15 ml (1 tablespoon) finely grated fresh ginger
2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) sesame oil
1–2 spring onions, finely sliced

Waterblommetjie Tempura
500 g fresh waterblommetjies
70 g cake flour
60 g (1/4 cup) cornflour
salt and pepper, to taste
about 180 ml (3/4 cup) soda water
canola oil, for deep frying

Ilse van der Merwe of The Food Fox

For the aÏoli, blend the yolks, lemon juice, mustard and garlic in a small blender with an open spout (or tall cup with a stick blender) and season with salt and pepper. Add the oil in a thin stream while blending continuously, until a thick mayonnaise is achieved. Set aside.

For the soy dipping sauce, whisk all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

For the tempura, rinse the waterblommetjies under running tap water, then bring about 1 cm of water to a simmer in a wide pot. Add the rinsed waterblommetjies, cover with a lid, and steam for 10 minutes. Remove from the pot and drain off the excess water. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, mix the cake flour and cornflour, season with salt and pepper, and add the soda water. Mix with a fork or whisk – some lumps should remain.

Heat 4–5 cm of oil in a wide pot to 180°C (most of us don’t have a thermometer for this, so test a few drops of tempura batter to see if it sizzles). Dip each waterblommetjie into the batter to cover all sides, then place carefully into the oil. Fry in batches on both sides until golden (they won’t get very dark because of the cornflour) and fully cooked, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot, with the aÏoli and the soy dipping sauce on the side.

Ilse van der Merwe’s Waterblommetjie Tempura

NOTE The two dipping sauces are a must, but if you’re only going to make one sauce, make the soy and ginger one. (You can also use store-bought ponzu sauce as is, as a substitute for the soy and ginger dipping sauce.)

Simply Seasonal is published by Penguin Books – CLICK HERE

Read more about Ilse van der Merwe, The Food Fox – CLICK HERE


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