Featured Food

Break the summer heat with Spekboom Ice Cream

Sally Andrew
Written by Mickey Mentz

Extract from The Milk Tart Murders, A Tannie Maria mystery, by Sally Andrew

Dear Tannie Maria,

Thank you for the information about Caroline’s Home-made Chocolates. It was a lovely drive to Barrydale. The front windows of my bakkie are always open so Mildred can poke her head out and delight in the breeze flapping her ears. I also enjoy the wind in my hair.

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When I slowed down to negotiate the curves of a mountain road, Mildred jumped straight out of the window. Fortunately, she is a nimble goat, and was unharmed. But when I tried to coax her back, she was reluctant to leave the spekboom that she was nibbling.

I even put her lead on, but she bit right through it and ate a hole in my skirt. I eventually persuaded her to get back in the bakkie with the help of some boeremusiek on the car radio and a juicy spekboom twig.

When I wound up her window, she set up a bleating that drowned out the boeremusiek. We came to a compromise with a seat belt and a half-open window.
Anyway, the chocolates were marvellous. (Caroline even gave me a recipe for one of
them, not that I’m likely to make them, I’d rather drive to Barrydale.)

They were a delicious offering to my new farmer friend without me having to cook anything clever. The raw salad recipe was wonderful too. But we didn’t get to eat much of it, as it was devoured by his donkey while we were distracted for a moment. Mildred was not pleased. She destroyed three of the farmer’s pot plants.

Well, as you may gather, Mildred and I did go to the man’s farm and meet his donkey. A rather lovely donkey he was. But I must confess that, despite the momentary distraction, I do prefer the company of my goat. Men and their donkeys seem to come with too much baggage.

So, what I was wondering is, do you have any recipes with spekboom leaves? I have
bought a few trees from the nursery. Mildred likes them just as they are, but I find them a little sour on their own, and I wonder if you have any recipes that I might enjoy?

Yours appreciatively,
Goat Lady

Dear Goat Lady
I was wondering how you and Mildred were doing.
I am relieved you both came to your senses.
Here is an excellent recipe for spekboom ice cream.
With very best wishes
Tannie Maria

Main Picture: Anouk Vos

Sally Andrew
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(Makes about 1 litre)

1⁄2 cup spekboom leaves, loosely packed 3 T lemon juice

2 t finely grated lemon zest
2 eggs, separated

1 × 385 g tin (11⁄3 cups) condensed milk 2 cups whipping cream

• Set aside 2 T of the spekboom leaves for garnishing. Blend the rest of the leaves together with the lemon juice and lemon zest into a green slime. Put it in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.
• In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then add the condensed milk and whisk again.
• Whisk the cream until it’s thick. You can whizz it in a blender, but stop before it turns to butter.
• Whisk the egg whites until frothy.
• Whisk the green slime into the condensed-milk mixture.
• Use a flat spatula to gently fold the thick cream and then the frothy egg whites into the pale- green
• Freeze for at least 8 hours.
• Garnish with the 2 T fresh spekboom leaves.


• Every plant is different. If it has been nibbled (or picked) a lot, then it gets bitter as it makes more tannin to protect itself. Taste a leaf before breaking off a twig of leaves. Pale-green leaves usually taste better than dark-green.
• If you pick a twig (instead of picking individual leaves), then plant it when you are done. Stick it into damp, drained ground in a sunny spot, and don’t water it for two weeks.
• If your cream becomes too solid, use a whisk instead of a spatula to combine it with the green mixture.
• Some people (in Calitzdorp) add 2 T gin to the spekboom mixture, others pour port onto the ice cream. But I like the subtle flavour of the spekboom.
• You may be tempted to add a greater quantity of tasty spekboom. Don’t – it turns to glue. The amount in this recipe gives it a lovely, slightly chewy texture.
• If you don’t have spekboom, you can try other flavours. Increase the amount of lemon juice and zest to make lemon ice cream. Or stir in 1⁄2 cup dried fruitcake mix, and sprinkle on 3 T good- quality instant coffee. Or add 1⁄2 slab (50 g) chopped chocolate and 2 T brandy. You might get a fright when you taste any of these ice creams – they are verskriklik lekker.

Barrydale Hand Weavers

About the author

Mickey Mentz

From my Barrydale base, my goal is to tell the stories of people and places on the picturesque R62. Ek het oor die jare 'n cappuccino verslawing ontwikkel en my honde se name is Bella en Obi.

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