Monday, 9 March 2009

Do Do That Kudu That You Do So Well...

Been thinking a lot about Africa recently - particularly the southern part.  I was so sad to hear of the death of the wife of Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend. She has been his loyal supporter through such difficult times, and it must be devastating for him to be bereaved like this. The people of Zimbabwe - all of them -are certainly in need of our prayers right now.

kuduThen one of Peter's slides on Saturday evening was of a kudu - and that reminded Bob and myself of wonderful South African meals we have enjoyed at a restaurant in Ellesmere Port which we have visited a few times.

It is called "Jabula" and jabulaamong the interesting food we have sampled there, Bob once ate Kudu. When I went with Liz, I tried crocodile bites! But I think one of my favourite dishes from that part of the world is Bobotie - a sort of South African Shepherd's Pie.

Last night I was reading one of my latest library books - and there was a recipe for Bobotie - so I decided we would have it for our meal tonight!

ramsay home made

The book is Tana Ramsay's "Home Made" [yes, she is Gordon's wife] Someone - Liz I think - said she found her recipes OK, but not particularly innovative, and I am inclined to agree - it is a good "serviceable" cookbook- and probably very useful if you are a Mum with a young family. There are plenty of photos and family stories- and the recipes are set out well. My only slight criticism is that I like it when a recipe says "Good served with broccoli,or a crisp green salad" or something, so I have some ideas about what to put with it [or whether it is stand alone] and it doesn't do that.

TR says she thinks you should use recipes as "The skeleton of a dish" - and will happily substitute if she doesn't have the right thing to hand - and she doesn't get hung up on quantities either. I approve of that sort of flexibility. The bobotie recipe needed "2tsp garam masala, ½tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 2 cloves, and 2 tsp allspice" - but I don't have all those in the cupboard, because I am not over fond of spiced stuff. Similarly I didn't have 3 tbsp of mango chutney either. But I did have some 'Sainsbury's Mild Curry powder' which lists its ingredients as

Coriander Seed, Chili pepper, cumin, oregano, salt, garlic, Turmeric, Garlic Powder, Salt, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Bat Leaves, Mustard Flour, Cloves, Mace

That seemed to cover most of the spices needed [what on earth are 'bat leaves' though??] so I used 3 heaped tsp of the powder, instead of 6 separate spices. And I found a jar of mango pickle lurking in the cupboard- that looked very strong [blow-your-socks-off-strength] so I reduced the quantity there to 2tbsp. My pack of mince was less than hers [she used 500g] but it still worked out as very generous portions. It worked surprisingly well, and Bob really did enjoy it.

TR's quantities are for 4, so I made mine into two Pyrex dishes and will freeze one for another day. I was very satisfied to see that the finished dish looked just like TR's picture. Poor Bob - he didn't get to eat anything until I had photographed my bobotie and waved the recipe book at him [oh, and I served it with broccoli]

So here is the recipe, adapted from Tana's

BOBOTIE - similar to Mrs Ramsay's

I slice bread torn into bits, soaked in a little milk

1tbsp oil

2 medium onions

2 cloves garlic

2cm root ginger

3 heaped tsp Sainsbury's mild curry powder

1 tsp dried herbsIM003273

375g minced lamb

1½ malt vinegar

50g dried apricots [chopped]

50g sultanas

25g flaked almonds

2tbsp mango pickle

3tbsp chopped parsley

2 bay leaves


250ml milk

4 medium sized eggs

4 thin slices of lemon.


Preheat oven to 180°C

Mash the soaked bread with a fork, set on one side.

Peel and finely chop onions and garlic, cook in oil for 5 minutes till softened. Stir in curry powder and herbs, cook 2 minutes.

In separate pan fry mince, break up lumps. Drain off excess fat. Add to onion mix, along with bread and milk and vinegar. heat through, mixing well. Stir in sultanas, apricots, almons, chutney, parsley, bay leaves.

Tip mixture into an oven proof dish [or two!] press down firmly.

In a jug beat together milk, and eggs, season with salt and pepper. Pour over top of mince, and lay lemon slices on top. Bake 30-35minutes till top is set and golden.


[I do hope Gordon doesn't swear all the time in front of his children]

Also today I came across a cookbook in Borders which only came out this week [just in time for Mothering Sunday, I guess]

vicars wife cookbook

On the back it says something like "If you don't like being around food, you shouldn't marry a vicar!" I definitely go along with that - so much of the life of the church seems to revolve around communal meals [ever since the wedding reception at Cana in John 2]

Elisa Beynon, the author [whose husband isn't currently working as a vicar, apparently, he is running "New Word Alive"] was doing her shopping in Waitrose [Anglican clergy obviously earn more than Baptists!!] back in 2007 when she picked up a leaflet about a food-writing competition. Which she entered and won [along with £20,000 and a book contract] Anyway, Nigel Slater was one of the judges, and I love his food writing - so I shall put this one down as "a book to get from the library sometime"

Is there a gap in the market for "The Pastor's Wife's Cookbook" do you think - for those of us who buy our ingredients at Sainsbury's and Aldi rather than the more upmarket Waitrose? I am not sure that many members of our congregation would go for "guacamole-encrusted tuna" or "a hot haloumi salad" or "raspberry revenge with pink champagne"!!


  1. Interesting post about all the different dishes you've tried. Good for you on making something new and spectacular. We're kind of stuck in a rut here. Teriyaki Baked Salmon for tonight with tater gems and green beans.

  2. Bat leaves - what is meant to happen when you take the roof off your church!

  3. Cookbook sounds like a good idea :-)

  4. Hello

    I loved your Pastor's wife coments! Fair point - I do include a few decadent ingredients in my book amongst the stews! My husband found your site and I wanted to encourage you to get writing!

  5. Thanks for all these comments - but I suspect The Rapture will happens before THIS pastor's wife gets a cookbook published!!


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