A Taste of South Africa


Imagine if you will, an evening in the country (and I mean country), gathering with a lively crowd of food lovers to savour the tastes of South Africa.
That's what I got to do on Monday night, thanks to the lovely Chef Rossy Earle.
Rossy invited a group of us, including chefs, bakers and food writers to join her at her rural home, and she would make us dinner. Now that's an offer you just can't refuse.

We started out with an assortment of cheese, South African ostrich paté and some delicious (read: addictive) kale chips that Joel made. Once we'd all had our appetites whet, and our whistles wet with a lovely Tokara red, we sat down to a conversation-filled dinner.

The first course was a groundnut soup that was full of peanuty, spicy flavour. This creamy soup has its roots in Ghana, but is also very popular throughout the continent, including in South Africa. Interestingly, this soup was introduced to South America (where Rossy is from) by Spanish and Portuguese colonialists. Different countries each have their own spin on it, including using different proteins. In this case, Rossy topped the soup with the biggest shrimp I've ever seen, which I sadly couldn't eat. I've never cursed my allergy more.


The main course, accompanied by a saffron rice and a green bean, chickpea and cherry tomato salad, was the traditional ZA dish, bobotie, particularly associated with the Cape Malay region. Often served with Sambal, Rossy opted for a sweet, home-made mango and marañón (cashew fruit) chutney. This casserole is pure comfort food, with its savoury mixture of ground beef, lamb and boar, and eggy topping punctuated with slivered almonds.


After dinner we veered from the South African theme by toasting with a rich, ruby port. Christine has brought a pastel de tres leches for us to share, which she got from Elizabeth Rubeme's soon-to-open bakery, Amaranto Café. Well, if everything Elizabeth makes is as good as this cake was, I think I'll be a regular customer. The icing was light and tasted like marshmallow. The cake itself was über moist and creamy and melted in your mouth, and the flavour was fantastic. It's probably the best tres leches I've ever had.

I have to thank Rossy not only for  feeding our bodies with a delicious meal, but feeding our hearts and minds by assembling an interesting, interested, and funny group of people with whom to share it. After all, a large part of how fondly you remember any meal is the company you break bread with. I'm already looking forward to the next time.

Canned peachesPickled radishesPickled vegetablesCitrusOur hostess and chef, RossyMary LuzCarmine is the chef at The Big RaguRelishGroundnut soupThe main - South African bobotie with green bean, chick pea, and tomato salad, and saffron rice.MarioJoel aka Foodie411Christine aka Mama CoopPouring the portGesondheid! Now you know how to say cheers in Afrikaans.Besides working with hubby Carmine, Barb is partner in CakeStar.We laughed... a LOTPastel de Tres Leches

Bobotie Recipe

Rossy has shared her recipe for her version of the bobotie. Thank you, jefe.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground wild boar
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lg onion diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 slices white bread, crust removed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp curry
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup raisins or sultanas (I omitted them as I don't like cooked raisins - yuck!)

Method

Preheat the oven to 300°F

Combine ground meats well. In a separate bowl, soak bread in milk.

In a large pan, sauté onions in butter & a splash of olive oil until translucent. Add garlic & ground meats. Cook until slightly brown then add each of spices, brown sugar, raisins, almonds, then season with salt & pepper.

Squeeze milk from bread & add bread to meat. Mix well while crumbling meat as much as possible. Save the milk to be combined with the eggs, cream & more milk. Keep milk mixture separate in fridge until ready to use.

Press meat mixture into a 12" pan or casserole dish. Bake uncovered for 30 min. Then pour milk/ egg mixture over to cover entire surface. Top with bay leaves Bake another 30 minutes until top looks golden & set.

Serve with chutney & yellow rice.

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