When we were living in South Africa in the late 80s, just before Mandela was released, we became friends with Johan van Heerden and his French wife Jacqueline. Johan continues to be one of South Africa’s leading sculptors.
One Sunday they invited us for lunch and Jacqueline had made a delicious bread which she served with home made pâté. When I asked for the recipe, she said it was too embarrassing to give it to me, because it was SO easy! I told her it was just the kind of recipe I like – something which looks and tastes fantastic, but takes less than five minutes to make.
The basic recipe is just buttermilk, self-raising flour and salt, but you can add anything which takes your fancy to make it more interesting. It’s best eaten the same day.
500g self raising flour, sifted
600 ml buttermilk
1 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients. Put 2-3 Tbs water into the packet and shake to remove any remaining buttermilk stuck to the sides and add this to the mixture. Mixture should be like a stiff scone mixture. Add any extra ingredients – see below.
Spoon roughly into a greased metal ring mold or a loaf tin for 45 mins at 180°C – don’t smooth it over. A ring mold is best because you get more crunchy edges. Eat the same day or freeze. Delicious toasted.
Don’t be tempted to take it out too early – it may look cooked on the outside but might still be raw in the middle. If after 45 mins you’re not sure, stick a toothpick in the middle and check that it comes out clean.
- use wholemeal self raising flour instead of white or half and half
- add 1 Tbs honey or sugar and some dried fruit and/or nuts
- add 2 Tbs olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed garlic
- add chopped sun-dried tomatoes or olives and grated Parmesan
- sprinkle the top with sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds
- add some porridge oats or bran or poppy seeds