One Sunday, Ouma sent me over to borrow an onion from Aunt Ella. I walked into the gloomy hall and through the kitchen, but Ella was nowhere to be seen. From the back stoep I shouted, “Coo-eee”, and from the depths of the garden there came an answering “Coo-eee”. There I found her – in the topmost branches of a naartjie tree, baby sparrow in hand. She was about to restore it to its nest. Tree-climbing was Ella’s forte. The sight of her bloomers under a knitted brown dress haunts me still.*
This was my very first remembrance of the tangerine in Robertson, my hometown.
This over familiar fruit, usually eaten fresh, can be transformed, with imagination, into a sublime dessert.
Sweet wine infused tangerines
- Six sweet Satsuma tangerines
- High quality Hanepoot or straw wine (I used Muscat D’Alexandrie from Villa Esposto, Vredendal)
- Whole cloves
- Ground cinnamon
- Double cream yoghurt with whole vanilla seeds
- Place naartjies in an oven proof dish.
- Inject each naartjie with 10-15ml sweet wine.
- Pierce each naartjie with two to three whole cloves.
- In a mortar, crush six cardamom pods and remove husks.
- Sprinkle naartjies with ground spices.
- Cover with foil.
- Bake in a moderate oven (160-180 C) for one and a half to two hours.
- Let cool to room temperature.
Scoop two tablespoons of yoghurt into a dessert bowl. Cut caramalised naartjie in half and serve on a bed of the yoghurt.
* Excerpt from Forever Green: Plants in the dream time, by Dave Pepler 2009.