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Prickly Pears and Pomegranates

Join Bernadette Le Roux and Marianne Palmer in an adventure into the past of the Camdeboo farm women, and their farm feats.

by: Food: Kerry Gibbs | 04 Dec 2008

”On Cranemere, the same sort of life has gone on for over a hundred years and the sound old cycles continue: food still comes from the veld, the storerooms are full; there is hard work, good cheer, and a good cook is still paramount, as she has always been." Eve Palmer

Prickly Pears and Pomegranates is a tribute to the Palmer women and their meals that have graced the Cranemere farm table for six generations. Family recipes from different cultures have been moulded by the Karoo weather and available resources on the farm into a diverse range of delicious feasts for family and friends.

Written by Bernadette le Roux (ed. of Conde Nast House and Garden) and Marianne Palmer Prickly Pears and Pomegranates tells a history of women who, despite the harsh Karoo conditions, created delicious tastes and memories in the kitchen.

The different heritages of the Cranemere women have created a multifaceted family cookbook. The family cooking tree starts with Fanny Mawby Palmer who introduced English and Eastern practices to the Karoo. Katinka Uhlig married Fannie’s son, and though not one of the best cooks, with her German tastes, she added another dimension to the Cranemere table.

Sita Osmond from Scotland, who was said to walk around the farm, climbing over fences exposing her stockings, (very unlady-like at the time), was renowned for her pastries and pickling skills. Marriane Palmer with her Afrikaans heritage and the skill to transform simple recipes into gastronomic surprises has been featured in magazines and gourmet festivals.

The book provides a vast selection of recipes using unique ingredients such as: persimmons, prickly pears, Jerusalem artichokes and boysenberries.Bernadette has included distinctively Karoo recipes, such as the guineafowl gougere; a ring of choux pastry filled with guineafowl goulash; lambs tail and yummy rum-battered figs stuffed with chocolate and soaked in rooibos.

If you are planning on having guests for the night, the Sleep Over Ruby Jelly would be perfect, using an entire bottle of wine ensures that anybody sampling this delicious pudd will be spending the night. (Have anybody in mind, hint hint)

For all those preserve lovers out there, there is a lovely collection of marmalade, chutney and jelly recipes.

Filled with family photos and pictures from Craig Fraser Prickly Pears and Pomegranates is an aesthetic journey into the past and present. It is a book filled with classic Karoo recipes that have been tried and tested for over sixty years that can now grace your family’s table and the future generations' after you.

The kids will love this Crushed Pomegranate and Rosewater Ice cream as a summer treat.

6 pomegranates
2T rose water
4T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2T castor sugar

Homemade vanilla ice cream: (Makes 1 litre)
5 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups full-cream milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla pod, split open lengthwise
2 egg whites


For the crushed pomegranates
Remove the pomegranate seeds and mash them into a bowl. Drizzle with rose water, lemon juice and a sprinkling of sugar and chill.

For the ice cream
Cream the egg yolks with the sugar. In a saucepan, heat the milk, cream and vanilla pod until just below boiling point. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into the milk-and-cream mixture. Bring up to just below boiling point again, remove from heat and mix with egg-yolk mixture, stirring continuously.Pour into a glass bowl set over a pot of boiling water (taking care not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it thickens. Do not allow to boil. Pour through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the custard. Pour mixture into an ice-cream machine and proceed according to the manufacturer's instructions.

To serve
Scoop ice cream into bowls and scatter with crushed pomegranate seeds.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Also try:
Almond & Chicken Salad With Buttermilk Dressing
Karoo Springbok in Phyllo Parcels with Quince Jelly.

- None


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