Karoo Heartland

Thornsprings’ Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb

Thornsprings’ Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb

When you ask people to think about food from the Karoo, the first thing most would come up with is Karoo lamb. It’s because of this that we share with you a recipe for Karoo Leg of lamb, slow-cooked in Thornsprings pizza oven.

Thornsprings pizza oven Thornsprings pizza oven

Take a Leg of Lamb
20ml Coarse Salt & Pepper
20ml Cajun Spice
100ml Olive Oil

Combine the salt & pepper, cajun and olive oil and rub into the lamb
Sit for 20 minutes

1 Sachet Tomato Puree
20ml Brown Sugar
1 Tin Tomato Onion Relish
2 Cups of Red Wine
1 Cup of Water

Combine tomato puree, tomato onion relish, brown sugar, red wine, and water and pour over the lamb.
Sprinkel with more salt and pepper

2 Large Onions
1 Garlic Clove
Bunch of Fresh Rosemary & Thyme
Place garlic, onions, and fresh herbs on top of lamb
Cover and place in a pre-heated pizza oven until soft and tender – be careful not to have it on top or too close to the coals or the fire – as the oven will generate enough heat.

Serve with loads of fresh thyme – and enjoy 😉

Thornsprings slow roasted leg of lamb Thornsprings slow roasted leg of lamb  Thornsprings slow roasted leg of lamb

Traditional Roly-Poly

Traditional Roly-Poly

Most Karoo farmers’ wives probably bake a Roly-Poly pudding from memory. It’s no different with Carine van Kerken of DikkopVlakte Gasteplaas between Grahamstown and Bedford. She doesn’t have a specific recipe on paper but this one comes pretty close.


2 cups flour (500 ml)
3 teaspoons baking powder (15 ml)
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup butter (125 g)
2 eggs, beaten
milk, a few tablespoons as per the instructions below
teaspoon vanilla
apricot jam

1 1⁄2 cups boiling water (375 ml)
1 cup sugar (250 ml)
2 tablespoons butter (30 ml)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 deg F/180 deg Celsius.
Grease a suitable oven dish, like a rectangular Pyrex dish.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt, and rub in the butter.
Add the beaten eggs, and then just enough milk, tablespoon by tablespoon, to make a fairly firm dough.
Roll the dough out quite thinly — on a surface sprinkled with flour — and form a rectangle, by cutting off bits and adding it on again.
Spread the dough with apricot jam.
From one of the LONG sides, roll it up like a swiss roll.
Cut this roll into 1-inch slices, using a serrated knife such as a bread knife. The jam WILL ooze out.
Pack the slices, cut sides up, closely together, in the greased dish. Scoop the jam which oozed out on the surface you used, and just plonk back onto these rolls.
In a pot, mix the boiling water (from your kettle), sugar, butter, and vanilla and stir until the sugar dissolves.
With a tablespoon, ladle evenly over the slices of pudding, but beware: you will have more sauce than the baking dish can take. Usually, you’ll be left with about 3/4 cup. KEEP IT.
Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes.
When the sizzling pudding comes out of the oven, carefully pour the extra sauce over the center slices: I find that, when baking, the sauce tends to pool on the sides.
Now the hot pudding will absorb much of the leftover sauce in seconds. Use as much or as little as you like.
Serve hot, with custard, ice cream or whipped cream.

This pudding will definitely have you come back for seconds and perhaps even thirds if there are any leftovers at that stage.



Malva Pudding domes with salted caramel ice cream, candied ginger & salted caramel crumb

Malva Pudding domes with salted caramel ice cream, candied ginger & salted caramel crumb

Food is a very important part of any Karoo Heartland travel experience. In the Karoo, we share our treasured family recipes, celebrate Slow Food and enjoy the produce of our region around kitchen tables, surrounded by family and friends. Lamb chops, fresh produce, jams and preserves; whether gourmet or country cooking, you’ll love the way we celebrate food in the Karoo Heartland.

Mom and daughter team, Lani & Louzel, from Cradock’s own True Living Coffee Shop have been cooking up a storm on the M-Net TV Show, My Kitchen Rules – doing our Karoo Heartland in the Eastern Cape proud. Below is an example of their flavoursome cooking: a familiar favourite of malva pudding, with a modern twist.

Malva Pudding domes with salted caramel ice cream, candied ginger & salted caramel crumb

Photo: M-Net

Malva Pudding


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 30ml butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml homemade apricot jam
  • 500ml flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 30ml vinegar
  • 15ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 500ml cream
  • 500ml sugar
  • 500ml milk
  • 15ml vanilla
  • 45ml ginger brandy


Cream sugar, butter, eggs and apricot  jam.  Add flour, milk, vinegar, bicarb.
Spray the moulds with non stick spray and divide the malva pudding mixture between all the moulds.
Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes.
For sauce:  Combine cream, sugar, milk, vanilla and brandy.
Don’t let the sauce boil. Turn off and re-heat if required.

Salted caramel ice cream & salted caramel crumble


  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 4 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 1t salt flakes


Melt half the sugar to make the caramel.
Add half the cream. Spread on a non-stick baking sheet or silpat, sprinkle with salt and let cool.  When cooled, bash it in a mortar and pestle to create the crumb.
In a double boiler, combine egg yolks & remaining sugar.
Cook until thick ribbons  form.
Heat milk and remaining cream. Temper with egg mix and cook in a saucepan until thickened.
Pour through a sieve twice.
Cool completely.  Add salted caramel and add to ice cream maker to churn
Once frozen, move to freezer in the same mould shapes as you baked the malva pudding in, to get the same shape.

Candied ginger


  • 2 large gunger roots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water


Skin the Dissolve sugar in water. Bring to boil. Add ginger. Reduce to a candy. Cool.


Place the salted caramel crumb on the plate.
Prepare the malva domes by removing some of the centre of the dessert then fill it with the ice cream and place on the crumb.
Top with the candied ginger.
Pour over the hot sauce.

Recipe & photo: M-Net

Granny’s Scone Recipe

Granny’s Scone Recipe

Fresh and hot from the oven, these scones from Chantelle & Marizanne of Camdeboo Cottages and Karoopark Guesthouse in Graaff Reinet are made with a recipe passed down from their grandmother – it doesn’t get more authentically Karoo than recipes shared through generations. Happy baking!

560g (4 x 250ml) flour

2ml salt

250ml buttermilk or maas

2 eggs

40ml baking powder

80g butter or margarine (Chantelle says she always uses butter)

125ml water

  1. Pre-heat oven to 240 °C
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together
  3. Rub in butter or margarine, handling as gently and lightly as possible
  4. In a bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk and water together
  5. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients, just enough to make a medium-firm dough
  6. Pat out the mixture and cut scones 3cm thick
  7. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes

Slather with butter, jam, cream or cheese or any combination thereof! Enjoy!

ROAST LAMB – made in Middelburg

ROAST LAMB – made in Middelburg

Wrap up in the warm embrace of Karoo Heartland cooking this winter with this irresistable roast lamb recipe from Hillston Farm’s Chef Adrienne Southey. 

How to make the easiest roast leg of lamb or mutton:

(mutton has more flavour, so we prefer it, you just have to cook it a bit longer than lamb to get it nice and tender)

  • Rub the meat with 2 teaspoons of salt and some black pepper.
  • Place in a roasting dish and pour 1 1/2 cups of water around the meat. Crush 2 cloves of garlic and slice an onion and scatter over the meat along with 3 twigs of rosemary and 7 whole cloves.
  • Cover and place in the oven at 180’C for 2-3 hours until the meat looks completely irresistible. 


At Hillston Farm you’ll experience South African hospitality with a difference – farm style with a touch of class. Beautiful views, excellent photography, scenic hiking trails, more than 100 species of bird life including the rare Blue Korhaan, shearing shed tours (a former English Barracks in the Anglo-Boer War), and much more.