MILK + CHAMPAGNE - THE LUXURIES OF LIFE

Milk and Champagne go together like bread and wine. It must be because they are both so “wholesome” - and the fact that conversation always happens around them. (Need I say more.)

By Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen

True family moments

We used to have dairy on our farm in South Africa and the nostalgic memories of getting up in the early mornings to milk the cows still linger on my mind. So, on a recent visit to my family and the open air of the Southern African midlands, we celebrated life with some wonderful food by everyone, including food by my two grandmothers, my lovely mother and myself.  A short, simple menu with a few bottles of French Champagne, a shot of Home-brewed “mampoer” and my grandfather's pipe turned into a memorable and, might I add, quite a talkative lunch!

We started with thick slices of fresh farm bread and farm butter, accompanied by preserves from every season. For those who are not familiar with our family routine, there is a constant cook-off around who supplies the most delicious meal, jam, or a simple afternoon snack. It's almost like being in a hotel with a floating buffet triggering your senses all the time!

Bobotie baked in “blik bekers” (Tin cups) with a sweet peach chutney and to finish off ice cold mulberry syrup milkshakes.

Oh! And don’t forget the Melkkos!

“Melkkos” is a South African classic that would normally be served on cold rainy nights or lazy Sunday evenings for dinner. Directly translated to Milkfood from Afrikaans, it is a simple dish made by rubbing butter into flour, slowly cooked in cinnamon-infused milk, producing a silky porridge with some lumps ensuring a bite of texture. 

A few dustings of cinnamon sugar to finish it off is the norm, but there is quite a variety of infusions like this one I found on the lovely Colleen Grove’s blog, Brownie Girl, which goes full out with some orange peel, cardamom, star anise and vanilla pod.

My grandmother's Melkkos recipe

Serves 4

Difficulty: Too Easy

Ingredients

  • 1 litre full cream milk
  • 125 ml cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cinnamon sugar

Method

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt, and add the butter. 
  2. Use your fingertips to create breadcrumb like lumps. (A food processor also works well for this.)
  3. Heat the milk in a casserole and just before boiling point, add the flour crumbs to the milk gradually, stirring constantly.  There will be lumps but the more you stir the smoother it will become. 
  4. Adjust the heat to medium and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with cinnamon sugar.

To visit our farm in Mpumalanga, South Africa visit the website at www.melotivalley.co.za