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La Motte - Spring Recipe from Chef Chris Erasmus – Steamed Artichokes

Chef Chris Erasmus of Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant shares a green recipe for summer from the Cape Winelands Cuisine recipe book (page 165).

In Van Riebeeck’s time, artichokes were in abundance at the Cape and used in many recipes, adapted for the modern-day kitchen and palate. This recipe for Steamed Artichokes with fennel is not only healthy and delicious, but also seasonal and fashionable.


  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) mustard seed
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander
  • ½ tsp (2,5 ml) freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp (2,5 ml) grated nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) sugar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) vinegar
  • ½ cup (125 ml) dry white wine
  • 8 artichokes, cleaned and placed in lemon water
  • 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable nage (stock)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat a stove-top casserole dish or saucepan, add the olive oil and sweat the onions, fennel, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes.

Add the mustard seeds, spices, sugar, vinegar and wine. Place the artichokes on top and steam with the lid on for 5 minutes, to retain good colour.

Add the vegetable nage, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and the artichokes tender. Check seasoning.

This recipe is also included as part of the collection of traditional recipes in the beautiful cookbook Cape Winelands Cuisine, published by La Motte and Human & Rousseau at the end of 2011. The book is available from the La Motte Farm Shop as well as leading book-shops.

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