I am a very big fan of Lynn Bedford Hall, a well known South African cookbook writer who has written over 20 books. I simply love her book ‘Fig Jam and Foxtrot’, which is a ‘cookbook with a difference’.  It’s a book set around six fictitious women who live in the fictitious Karoo town of Corriebush.  The recipes are diverse and reflect each of the women’s ‘characters’ and heritage and whilst seemingly quite traditional, they have a distinctly modern twist.

one of my favourite South African cook books

They range from ‘Betsie’s’ very traditional South African dishes, to ‘Virginia’s more formal English recipes with a touch of Indian (colonial) influence. We then meet ‘Rosa’, who cooks with love and passion in true Italian style, and included is a recipe called ‘Karoo Bolognese’ which I am dying to try. Enter ‘Olympia’, who is of Greek descent, who brings delicious fresh Mediterranean dishes to the table.  Then there is ‘Sylvia’, who is not an established cook and serves up comfort everyday food. And last but not least is ‘Amatilda’, who owns the local coffee shop and brings to the book a selection of easy and delectable homemade treats.

I love the way the six different styles of food are brought together through these six characters, to create a cookbook rich in ‘personality’. Traditional and yet very modern.There are very few cookbooks that can inspire me without one single photograph of the food, and this is book one of them.  The cartoonist Tony Grogan does the delightful illustrations.

The ‘farmhouse finger rusks with buttermilk and oats’ is one of my all-time favourite rusk recipes, and I have been meaning to do a post on these. So coming up this winter for sure.

My next three blog posts are inspired by recipes in this book, and I kick off with one of ‘Sylvie’s recipes for Honeyed Ginger biscuits.  Ridiculously simple to make, these are the perfect treat if you are a fan of Nutticrust biscuits.

reminding me of nutticrust biscuits

What you need to make these biscuits:

  • 250ml (1 cup) cake flour
  • 15ml (1 Tbs) ground ginger
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (recipe called for 1 ml – but I wanted a bit more)
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) wholewheat flour (I used Eureka Mills stone-ground premium flour)
  • 125gm soft butter (room temp)
  • 5ml bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 15ml (1 Tbs) honey
  • 30ml (2 Tbs) hot water

How to make these:

  • preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F)
  • sift all the flour, spice and salt, adding the leftover wholewheat bits back in
  • add the sugar and mix in the butter until you get a crumb-like texture
  • in a separate bowl mix the honey, bicarb and water and when it fizzes add it to the mix (mine didn’t in fact fizz at all)
  • shape the dough into balls (it was quite dry and only just held together) and arrange spaced out on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet.  If I haven’t banged on enough about how awesome silicone baking sheets are, then I will do it again.  No mess, no stick, go get one if you haven’t already. The black plastic baking sheets work just as well and can be cut to size. If you don’t have this, then line or double line with baking paper
  • Press each dough ball down with a fork – you should get around 20 biscuits.  I went slightly bigger, so it’s up to you
  • Bake for 18 – 20 minutes until a nice caramel colour and then remove and cool on a rack

I loved the slightly rustic and uneven edges and the nice hard crunchy texture.  So crunchy that when you bite into them you can’t hear the TV, or your thoughts.  It’s exactly the way I like it.

crunchy golden treats to fill up the cookie jar
cooling on the rack
just perfect with a cup of tea


  1. Sam, these look to die for! Love the look of that book! 🙂 I have her “Fabulous food” book and I love reading through it and making the recipes!

  2. Sam

    Hi Ally, Thanks hun! I also have her ‘Fabulous Food’ and always find her recipe work out so well (baking). This book is filled with stunning recipes.

  3. I am so going to make these. I have a new cookie press and I think these will work perfectly. Thanks for sharing the review and the recipe.

  4. Maureen Schlenk

    these look just gorgeous. the dort is an avid baker so ill be sending this off to her to add to her rep 😉 at the moment its Nigella’s choc chip biscuits and trays of biscotti leading the pack; from almond, lemon and cranberry, to chocolate and raisin!
    thanks so much 🙂

  5. I’ve never had (or heard of) a Nutticrust biscuit, but these look and sound so intriguing. We’re renting a place before we move cross-country and search for a new home, and I can’t wait to break in a new oven, get back to baking in general! I bet these are perfectly crispy around the edges and tender in the centers — a great first cookie in a new home.



  6. Sam

    Hi Heather, these are really easy to make but are really crunchy throughout (hence like a Nitticrust). Good luck with your move.

  7. Yum! I am dying to read this book now Sam. Any ideas where one can pick it up?

  8. Sam

    Hi Jac’s, Ive seen in Exclusives and Im sure in CNA. Other wise if you order off Exclusive Books online (you save around 25%) and the delivery to your nearest store and phone you when it arrives for you to collect. There is also a sequel ‘Return to Corriebush’, which I am very keen to get now.

    s x

  9. Sam

    Hi Maureen, these are a real winner, butnext time I am goign to make them a bit smaller so wont feel as guilty when dipping my paws into the cookie jar 🙂

  10. Sam

    Rose, you will lvoe this recipe. Its really one of the easiest around. Let me know when you make them. S x

  11. I love Lynn Bedford Hall too – such a prolific writer. I used to do photography for her in the 1970s when she had a weekly column in [I think] Pretoria News. She is so talented and so modest and such a brilliant cook and food writer. So agree with you about Fig Jam and Foxtrot, lovely story for a book. Unsung heroine of South African food over more than 4 decades!

  12. karien buter

    made these cookies – they have become such a winner amongst my friends and the weans.

    fabulous cookies

  13. Sam

    Thanks Karien, isn’t it just the best ever recipe. I’m smitten.

  14. Ursula Tearnan

    I’ve long been a fan of Lynn’s. I made these honey ginger biscuits and they’re delicious. Can’t go wrong with any of her recipes.

  15. Making these tomorrow 😀 <3 Thanks for sharing hun!

  16. Sam

    Hi Kirsten, let me know what you think?


  17. I just love Lynns recipes. I moved house and lost my recipe book in the move does anybody have her Apple Struddle recipe. Its the best ever.

  18. Sam

    Thanks Anna, I will look out for the strudel

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