It is said that each family has a recipe that is passed down from one generation to the next. A dish, that when made, immediately transports you back to your childhood years. Something that you can't make without missing family members far away and reflecting back on days long lost.
This is as true in my family as it is in any other, and although there are quite a few recipes that had been handed down to me, the one that makes me miss my youth the most is my Mum's potato salad. Whenever I make this salad, I am so lost in nostalgia that I can hear my sisters and mum talking and laughing around me again, can smell the woody-smoke from my dad's barbecue wafting through an open window and can feel the hot summer sun caressing my skin. This salad is the one thing that makes me miss my childhood home more than any other.
As I was walking down my local high-street this weekend, I saw a little sign in the butcher's window displaying the South African flag. Overcome by curiosity, I went inside to be greeted with an " 'ello Luv" by a burly Cockney butcher, busy wrapping bangers into packages. Imagine therefore my surprise when, my inquiry into whether they had Boerewors in stock, was met with a big smile and this butcher actually knowing what I was talking about. As he wrapped the dark red sausage into a package for me, I just knew that this was the real thing, made from 100% beef, pork fat and ground spices. I could hardly wait to get it into the frying pan! However, before I could hurry home I had just one more stop to make, the green grocers. Here I hand-picked a bag full of mini new potatoes, each no bigger than bite-size, for there was one thing I had to make today, the salad mentioned above.
Once home, I straight away started preparing the salad, for it needs to be prepared at least a few hours before being served to taste at it's best. In fact, it tastes even better the next day:) After giving this recipe such a build up, I feel that it should expend pages of instructions, but as it is, this is one of the simplest salads in the world to make. The most strenuous part is peeling the potatoes; which, once they have been boiled, requires nothing more than pulling away the papery skins with a sharp paring knife. I could also have used large white potatoes, but then I would have to first peel them, cut them into squares and then boil them. Therefore I prefer to make it with these tiny potatoes, which not only cuts down on the workload, but also gives a bit more bite to the end result, and just looks prettier. While the potatoes were cooling after being peeled, I started making the all important sauce. Combing a few large spoonfulls of mayonnaise, a spoon of milk, a squirt of tangy mustard and a small spoon of condensed milk is all that was needed. After seasoning the potatoes with a few grinds of sea salt and black pepper, pouring over the thick and creamy sauce, and sprinkling a few parsley leaves over the top, all I had left to do was to exercise some will power and not devour the salad before its had a few hours in the fridge.
As we sat down to dinner, with the kitchen filled with the delectable smell of the frying boerewors and I helped myself to a huge serving of salad, I was suddenly back in South Africa with my whole family around me again as I remembered the good old days...