New Cookbook: Homegrown by Bertus Basson + Recipes

Words: Julie Velosa

Bertus Basson’s name has become synonymous with modern South African cooking and his latest cookbook Homegrown is the natural evolution of this philosophy. In it, we get a glimpse into Bertus’ upbringing, his childhood and his food journey. You may even be surprised to learn that wasn’t that into food as a kid. In Homegrown by Bertus Basson he shares a couple of recipes that have been staples in his restaurants, one of them being Tannie Hetta’s Apple Tart – something that we’ve experienced first hand ourselves. It’s named after Bertus’ mother who’s recipe it was to begin with. It’s become so famous that it’s even printed on a tea towel.

The book is beautifully shot, with recipes for everyday dishes as well as a few more complex ideas that will stretch your culinary skills. There is a definite local theme throughout and recipes showcase homegrown ingredients such as pilchards, as well as traditional dishes such as baked Melk Tert and frikkadels. It also shows Bertus’ family in a relaxed environment, doing what they do best – cooking and spending time together.

If you’re a cook who’s comfortable cooking the classics but also excited by the idea of pushing your culinary boundaries then you’ll love cooking along with Bertus in Homegrown.

Bertus Basson Homegrown: ISBN 978-1-928247-08-1
Price R330 available online at

Try these two exciting recipes that feature in Homegrown and click below to win yourself a copy!

Tannie Hetta’s Apple Tart

Bertus Basson recipe Apple Tart

Serves 4 – 6

4 large green apples
750ml water
250ml white wine
150g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, crushed
2 star anise
3 eggs
70g milk
60g butter
140g sugar
130g flour
10g baking powder
pinch of salt
250g cream
250g sugar
1 vanilla pod, scraped

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Peel, core and quarter the apples.

In a pot, bring the water, wine, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and star anise to the boil. Add the apples and weigh them down with a saucer so they remain immersed in the syrup while they poach for 15 minutes.

As a word of caution, some apples cook faster than others, so be careful not to overcook.

Remove them from the heat and leave to cool and infuse in the poaching syrup.

Whisk the eggs and milk together. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale. Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl. Now beat in a bit of egg mixture, then some butter mixture, then more egg, alternating between the two. Beat between each addition until it is all combined.

Pour the resulting smooth batter into your baking tin. Lay the cooled apples on top and push them into the batter. Bake at 180°C, until golden brown (about 30 minutes).

While the apple tart is in the oven, combine the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan. Simmer until all the sugar is dissolved. Pour the resulting hot syrup over the apple tart as it comes out of the oven.

Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

Beetroot Amasi Cream Cheese Salad

Bertus Basson Beetroot Salad

Like most South Africans I grew up eating pickled beetroot from a jar. It never rocked my world. The real revelation for me as a young chef came when I ate beetroot with sour cream for the first time – I think it was in London. I loved how this sweet, earthy root was offset against the acidity from the sour cream.

A thought about the unique flavour of amasi (fermented milk – a poor man’s food) and beetroot led to the creation of one of the early hit dishes at Overture. We served dried amasi with different styles of beetroot.

1l amasi
a squeeze of lemon juice
12 assorted baby
heirloom beetroots

Line a conical strainer with a clean muslin cloth or a thin tea towel. Pour in the amasi and refrigerate overnight.

The liquid will drain off slowly leaving the delicious, creamy, acidic whey or milk solids behind. It’s very much like making labneh or ricotta.

Remove the cloth from the strainer, place the milk solids in a bowl, season with salt and lemon juice. The amasi cream cheese also flavours really well with a pinch of roasted, crushed cumin seeds.

Simmer the beetroot in salted water. Once soft, remove from the heat and allow the beetroot to cool in their cooking water.

Peel the beetroots, the cooking should have loosened their skins. Depending on the varietal, quarter or thinly slice them.

We would quarter the solid coloured ones and thinly slice the variegated or candy-striped ones to vary appearance and texture in the salad.

Dress with a spoonful of mustard dressing (see page 192) or a vinaigrette. Serve with dollops of amasi cream cheese among or around your artistically arranged beetroot.

At Overture we added complexity with beetroot puree, beetroot powder and dried beetroot shavings. None of this is essential, the crux of the dish is earthy beetroot with amasi.

Bertus Basson Homegrown Cookbook

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  1. Ek het “homegrown” bestel en nog niks het gearriveer nie! Weet nie waar om navrae te doen nie – hoop julle kan help asb!! PO Box 9087 CINDA PARK 1463

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