Ouma’s French Makeover


The concept of wrapping meatballs in leaves originated in ancient Greece, where they wrapped them in vine leaves. Over the ages, wrapped meatballs have seen countless incarnations, the most famous local version being ‘ouma onder die kombers’, that lip-smacking south african fave involving frikkadels wrapped in cabbage. these days, i always think of my ouma maria when i wrap a ‘kombers’ around a frikkadel, and how grand she felt when she came to visit me in nice for the opening of maria, across the street from jan, dressed to the nines. a french makeover indeed! this dish is for ouma; a fancy french terrine wrapped in cabbage.


outer leaves of a savoy or Chinese cabbage

500 g good quality herb pork sausages

400 g pork mince

1 garlic clove, crushed

15 ml fresh thyme leaves

15 ml brandy

10 chives, finely chopped

100 g pitted green olives, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 – 12 cornichons


Heat the oven to 180 °C. Break the large outer leaves of a savoy or Chinese cabbage and submerge them in boiling water for a couple of minutes until soft.

Line the base of a 1.25-litre glass dish with the cabbage leaves.

Squeeze the meat out of the pork sausage casings, then add the pork mince, garlic, thyme, brandy, chives and olives. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.

Spoon half of the meat mixture into the bowl. Arrange the cornichons on top and then spoon the rest of the meat mixture onto the top. Cover with more cabbage leaves. Cover the bowl with foil and place it in an oven dish. Fill the oven dish halfway with boiling water.

Place in the oven for 1 hour. Carefully take out of the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Take the dish out of the oven dish and let it cool completely before turning it out onto a serving dish.