Remember the rows of salted snoek drying on the fence? The practice is at least 300 years old on the West Coast. It figures: snoek we have, salt we have. (salt pans at Velddrift). The winters here are stormy and it rains continiously. This is the time when the hearty dish of smoorsnoek is prepared. The dried salted snoek is soaked overnight to get rid of the salt and to miraculously restore the fish. The next day the fish is cooked in a little water for 15-20 minutes and 2 cups of the stock reserved. It is turned out on a tray and fine combed with two forks to get rid of all the bones, then cut up into cubes.
This is the way the dish is prepared: Fry a few onions and some cubed sweet peppers for colour. For a bigger family, half a shredded cabbage is added while the onions are frying. Add the cubed snoek, the stock and some cubed potatoes. Add pepper but no salt. Serve with rice. We always want something sweet with smoorsnoek and the famous South African chutneys are perfect with this dish.
In my painting I have used the very authentic hundred-year-old West Coast kitchen that I saw in the old schoolmaster's house a few days ago.