Tuesday 22 September 2020

Love Bites

Proverbs 15:17 [trad version] says "Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith" - a more contemporary version says "Better a rusk shared in love than a slab of prime rib served in hate" 

Sunday was not a very relaxing day for Bob, disappointed by the failure of his attempt to livestream. He slept badly and woke late. He was not his usual cheery self on Monday morning, and we were both still in our pjs when the doorbell went at around 8.30am. There was Geoff, our dear friend from church, he was out walking the dog, and wanted to drop off a gift.

Geoff and family are South African, and he regularly bakes rusks. Whilst I was away over the summer, he gave some to Bob - and Bob adored them. Now SA rusks are nothing like the Farley's Rusks, those sweet, soft things fed to babies, and often eaten by their big sisters too [sorry, Adrian] These rusks have been around since 1690, also known by the  Afrikaans name beskuit, they arrived by way of the Dutch East India Company, as the ships stopped off on in the settlement on the Spice Route. [history lesson here!]

Geoff's rusks are utterly delicious, with healthy sunflower seeds, eggs, oats and more.These rusks are twice-baked [tweebak] and very similar to Italian Biscotti, so they keep incredibly well. They are the ideal dunk-in-your-mid-morning-coffee snack. 

Bake these on a day when you’re home for the long haul, as the second bake (when the rusks dry out) takes at least four hours. To this basic recipe, add seeds and nuts of your choice, coconut, more bran, dried fruit etc.

Ingredients [Yields 60 rusks]

  • 1 lb. butter, melted
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 lb. plain or bran-rich self-rising flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups soft brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups muesli
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup almond flakes
  • Generous pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 175˚C. Grease two 9” by 12” oven roasting pans.

Let the melted butter cool down slightly, then add the buttermilk and eggs and beat together. Mix dry ingredients well and add the butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well.

Scoop the mixture into the roasting pans. Press the dough into the pans evenly. With a knife, score the surface of the dough in each pan into 20 fingers.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. When cooled completely, cut into fingers (using the marked lines as a guide).

Arrange on baking sheets and dry out in the oven at 95 °C. Use a large spoon to prop the oven door open slightly. This allows the moisture to evaporate and will speed up the drying process. If dried this way, the rusks should take about four hours.

Store rusks in airtight containers.

Good biscuits are always a treat - but when they have been baked with love, and brought as a surprise gift to cheer you up, then they are extra special. We are so blessed to have thoughtful, loving friends like Geoff and his family.



  1. Those rusks sound delicious!

  2. I was also the big sister who ate my baby brother's Farley's risks 🙂. In fact, my poor mother was still being begged to buy them when we were at school! Same for Delrosa rosehip syrup.

    1. Oh I'd completely forgotten about Delrosa. I'm sure it was mostly red sugar water though!


Always glad to hear from you - thanks for stopping by!
I am blocking anonymous comments now, due to excessive spam!