But when weather permits (how we love it when the sun shines!), everybody and their dog pulls out the charcoal grill, the gourmet kit or fondue pot. Friends are called, neighbors are let in on the plans, and a grill-out is planned for the back patio, the balcony or, by lack of both, simply on the stoep. The local butcher sells "barbecue pakketten", a collection of seasoned meats: pork chops, beef skewers, sausages and very often fresh sliced pork, or speklappen.
But if you're not in the mood for large cookouts, lots of meat or having plenty of people over, treat yourself to a cup of soup. Sorrel, or zuring, grows freely in fields and along ditch banks, and in the old days it was often used to make a quick, early summer soup, one of the first greens to be enjoyed. My mother remembers her grandmother gathering zuring from the meadow and making this soup. It is also known as spinach dock.
Zuring, as its name indicates, has a slight sour taste to it, but it is also very refreshing. Combine it with the aforementioned cheese sandwich, or simply with some toast, and you're set. No need to heat up the kitchen at all but for a short time to get the soup ready, easy-peasy!
Sorrel can be easily grown from seed and will do well in pots or planters. It is rich in Vitamin C and iron.
2 large handfuls of sorrel leaves
1 tablespoon of butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
Sour cream (optional)
Cut the stems off the leaves and discard if too woody, then chop the leaves and tender stems into pieces. Heat the butter in a saucepan, sauté the garlic and onion until soft. Add the potato, and the chopped leaves on top and stir for a second, then pour in the vegetable or chicken stock. Cover, bring up to a light simmer and cook for ten minutes at low heat or until the potatoes are done. Purée, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in a tablespoon of sour cream if desired.