As abundant in flavour as it is in heritage, the Cape West Coast has a taste all of its own. Traditional Weskus fare might be simple, but it is done well – snoek grilled over the coals, caramelised sweet potatoes, waterblommetjie bredie, fresh black mussels with butter and lemon, and Velddrif’s famous bokkom all contribute to the unique appeal of this stretch of coastline. Exploring the small fishing town of Velddrif can be an adventurous pastime if you know where to look and what to eat! I sampled the local delicacy known as bokkoms and incorporated them into a recipe of my own creation.
Bokkom pâté with Cape gooseberry chutney and roosterkoek
Prep time: 2 hours including soaking time | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves: 6 to 8
For the pâté
3 large bokkoms, cleaned and filleted – about 200g in total
500g full-fat smooth cream cheese
10ml fresh cream
Half an onion, peeled, grated and excess liquid removed
1 clove of garlic, peeled
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed
10ml freshly ground coarse black pepper
5ml dried chilli flakes
The zest of a lemon
10ml fresh lemon juice
For the gooseberry chutney
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
100g golden raisins
75ml apple cider vinegar
75ml white wine vinegar
5ml cardamom pods
5ml black peppercorns
5ml coriander seeds
500g fresh Cape gooseberries, shelled and washed
125g caster sugar
For the roosterkoek
1kg white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
10g instant yeast
500ml lukewarm water
15ml melted butter or olive oil
Place the bokkom fillets in a shallow bowl and cover with the milk. This will draw out any excess salt and rehydrate the dried fish to give it a plumper, softer texture in the pâté. Allow to soak for about an hour and a half. In the meantime, make the chutney and the dough for the roosterkoek.
For the gooseberry chutney, sauté the onion in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until soft then add in the raisins and the vinegars. In a mortar and pestle, crack the cardamom pods and extract the fine black seeds within. Combine these with the black peppercorns and coriander seeds, and stir through the onion mixture. Add about a third of the gooseberries to the mixture and combine. Add the salt and sugar and bring to the boil then reduce the heat and allow the chutney to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent it from sticking. Stir through the remaining gooseberries, turn up the heat and let the mixture boil for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened and clingy. Remove from the heat, ladle into sterilised glass jars and serve at room temperature.
For the roosterkoek, combine the flour and salt and sprinkle over the instant yeast. Add just enough of the lukewarm water to create a pliable dough. Knead until elastic, then fold together and brush with the butter or olive oil and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. On a floured surface, knead out the excess air and separate the dough into small balls. Flatten them slightly and cook on a griddle over medium coals until done. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To finish the pâté, drain the bokkom fillets, discarding the milk, and rinse under cold water. Put all the pâté ingredients in a food processor and blitz on high until the mixture is smooth. Spoon into two bowls and serve immediately with the warm roosterkoek and Cape gooseberry chutney.