Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Preparations

Christmas time means lots of fruit and vegetables

I love Christmas. I love the preparations and secret gift-buying and wrapping that goes with Christmas. And while most people are wilting in the hot African sun at this time of the year, I thrive on it. Oh I feel a little hot, but it doesn’t get me down. The weather, school holidays, shops lit up, bright and colourful with Christmas decorations, families visiting together; all reminds me of my childhood.

This weekend my older son, daughter-in-law and our precious grandchildren are visiting us. They are unable to join us at Christmas time, so we’re enjoying quality time together. This morning my grandchildren and I will decorate the Christmas tree and string up the lights. Yesterday I wrapped the gifts so that I can sneak them to my son without the children seeing and he hides them in his car.

South African Soetkoekies (sweet biscuits) ready for the oven

Last night I baked South African Soetkoekies. (Translated Sweet Biscuits) while my husband made a delicious stir-fry for dinner. (I was too busy baking to photograph his dish!) Soetkoekies are crispy biscuits which need to be dunked in a cup of tea. However, because of the amount of real butter, it is a delicious, creamy and sweet biscuit.
Baked to a golden brown crispness,
Soetkoekies are delicious dipped in tea

I cannot remember the name of the friend who gave me this recipe. All I remember is that the year was 1979 (my younger son was born that year, and I had him in a carrycot when I had tea and biscuits with this lady) Another thing I know, is that I have baked these biscuits many times a year for the past 29 years and every time they are a success.

Soekoekie Recipe
3 Cups of Sugar
4 Cups of Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
½ lb (250g) Butter, frozen
1 Egg
½ Cup Milk

Combine sugar, flour, salt and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Grate in butter. Rub with finger tips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg in ½ cup milk and add to biscuit mixture to bind. Add a little extra flour if too sticky (but take care not to make dough too dry). Roll out biscuit dough thinly, cut with a wine glass and bake on a greased baking tray at 180°C (350°F) for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on the biscuits in the oven; they are ready when they are golden brown.


  1. I'm a fan of butter so these look and sound divine!

  2. These cookies sound delicious. I will try your recipe. Nothing better to get the spirit than to start baking cookies.

    I must ask; How do you celebrate Christmas in hot weather? I know that's how it is in the southern hemisphere but it would seem odd.

    Very best to you

  3. Yes, flmom, we only have real butter in the house, to eat, bake and cook with. It's far healthier than the vegetable hydrogenated margarines we get here. If you watch your butter portions, it's quite figure-friendly as well. I simply LOVE your recipes and manner of baking. Where on earth do you get all the organic ingredients? We don't even "pass go" in South Africa when it comes to such food. I've managed to get rye-flour, polenta and rice flour. I can also get hold of soya milk. Other than that, our meat (which I don't eat) and all other staples are bog-standard fare. I often use honey as a sugar substitute - but there is probably an organic honey - oh no, don't tell me, there is??? Thanks for popping in. Hugs Jo. Oh and, re the cookies which I baked on Thursday evening: there is not ONE left in the house. I'll have to bake again before Christmas...

  4. Thanks Dedene, they are delicious cookies. We wouldn't know ourselves if it was cold here, I'm sure. It is high summer when we celebrate Christmas and as in the case here in our home, our entertainment area which leads out into the garden. This in turn, is shaded with huge trees and the water fountains and waterfalls tinkle over the rocks, creating a cool and tranquil setting for any eating and enjoyment outdoors. Hugs Jo


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