My family joined friends for a holiday at the Wildcoast in early December.  The wonderful thing about going on holiday with others is that you have the opportunity to learn new ways of doing things, and especially the fact that you’re all cooking together, you can learn new little tricks and spice up your own menu – when everybody chips in and does their share, it makes the holiday so much more enjoyable.  The ingredients we would normally take on holiday are usually quite simple, so after the first day there, we realised we were in for a treat.

Our very first day was a magical one indeed, and the menu for the first night even more so.  We all tried our hand at some fishing, and I’m proud to say my husband and eldest son Bryce (8), with not much previous experience, were the first to catch a fish.

Bryce got involved in “doing what has to be done” to get the fish ready for dinner, and then helped Dad to fry them in butter for roughly 3 minutes on each side.  This was served with a simple, but delicious garlic and butter sauce – that the children were able to easily help with.

Bryce enjoyed getting his hands nice and red, peeling off the skins of the beetroot we had with the dinner.  The beetroot had been previously boiled in about 3cm’s of water, for 30 minutes. Thabo (3), could help out by adding a blob of butter, and wrapping tin foil around the butternuts before putting them in the fire.  This method takes 45 minutes for the butternut to cook in the fire.

Gemma (10) had snuck off earlier in the day with the girls to make a belated birthday cake for her dad. This was a chocolate box cake.

  • 175g or softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g  self-raising flour, sifted
  • 50g  of cocoa, sifted
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Grease the tin with a little extra butter and cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the base of the tin.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or a hand-held mixer for 1 minute, or until just combined.
  3. Pour mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake for about 45-50 minutes.

The ganache poured over the cake was simply cream and melted chocolate pieces mixed together.  Simple, but once again delicious.

Not to forget, our oyster starters.  These were a bit difficult for the children to help open, but nonetheless, they experienced a new taste and texture.


Besides, learning basic new skills in the kitchen, I think each of my children took something special from this experience. Bryce showed co-operation and patience while fishing, and gutting.  Gemma showed independence, by going with the older girls to bake the cake.  And Thabo enjoyed being there to help in his own way as much as he could.

The menu for the evening was therefore:


Oysters served with lemon.

Main Course

Fresh Bronze Bream, fried in butter, served with a garlic and butter sauce.

Sliced roasted butternut seasoned with butter, salt and pepper, fresh off the fire.

Fresh slices of beetroot.


Moist chocolate cake with a delicious ganache glaze.


So, in the middle of the Transkei, 250km’s from the nearest big shopping centre….away from the hustle and bustle of city life, living the simple life, our family and friends bonded over the most amazing three course meal that one would pay several hundreds of rands for in a restaurant……Little Gourmet Chefs in the making!

Contributed by Debbie Deutschmann from  Clamber Club Babies – Westdene Bloemfontein
Tel: 079 882 3651