Bobotie:

Bobotie: – a South African traditional dish.      

(A bit like a funny light curry with an omelette on top……)

No self-respecting South African household/family does not own (and treasure!) a favourite Bobotie recipe.

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins       

Course:        Main

Serves:        6

Rating:         2: Easy, but there’s a bit of messin’ about.

For 6 people, find:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 or 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1kg good quality lean beef mince
  • 1 thickish slice of white bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon medium curry powder (or half a jar of tikka masala paste)
  • 2 thumb-sized lumps of peeled root ginger, shredded/grated/finely chopped or otherwise smashed-up
  • 2 large carrots, shredded/grated/finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, shredded/grated/finely chopped
  • 100g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
  • 200g cup seedless raisins/sultanas
  • 2 tablespoons strong chutney
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 bay leaves

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, when warm-ish, stir in the onions. Cook over medium heat until transparent.
  • Add the beef mince. When a liquid appears in the pan, pour it off into a cup, cool it, discard the fat and use the jelly/stock for something tasty.
  • Cook the mince until lightly browned and crumbly.
  • Soak the bread in half the milk, squeeze out excess milk and mash the bread  with a fork, pouring the squeezed-out milk straight back into remaining milk. Set the milk aside.
  • Add the squeezed & pulled-apart bread to the meat mixture.
  • Add curry, sugar, salt, pepper, turmeric, vinegar, raisins, chutney to the beef mixture. Mix it up’n’make it nice.
  • Spoon the resulting awful-looking mixture into a greased baking dish, and place bay leaves on top.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes in preheated 350°F oven.
  • Beat egg with remaining milk and pour over mixture approximately 25 – 30 minutes before end of baking time.
  • Serve with steamed rice (traditionally turmeric yellow) and extra chutney.
  • South African comfort food!
  • See also the veggie version.

Bobotie – An alternative recipe

  • 25g Butter
  • 1 Large onion, chopped
  • 500g Minced beef
  • 2 Garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2cm Fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tsp Garam masala
  • ½ tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 2 Cloves
  • 3 Allspice berries
  • 1 tsp Dried mixed herbs
  • 50g Dried apricots, chopped
  • 25g Flaked almonds
  • 3 tbsp Chutney
  • 4 tbsp Chopped parsley
  • 4 Bay leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 250ml Whole milk
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 50g Sultanas

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Heat the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions until soft. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and fry the beef, without oil, until golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the onions together with all the other ingredients except the milk and eggs. Mix well and put into 4 x 300ml ovenproof bowls or a large ovenproof dish. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon.
  3. Beat the milk and eggs together lightly and pour over the mince mixture. Bake for 20–25 minutes for small boboties (and 30–40 minutes for a large one) or until the topping has set and is golden

Basil’s Exceptionally Easy Square Balls:

Basil’s Exceptionally Easy Square Balls:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins       

Course:        Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         1: Easy-peasy

This recipe is a super-simple one, just using the mince as it arrives in its plastic tray.  You don’t mix it with anything at all, you simply cut it into squares!  Try it, with an open mind and an open mouth.  See how it compares with the most carefully constructed Spanish meatball recipe of the highest celebrity chef.  It won’t be that much lacking, I’ll bet!

And it’s cheaper.

And it’s quicker.

And it’s easier.

And it’s less complex!

To feed four, find:

  • Large pack (500g) lean mince (Beef, lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, traffic warden) as you get in supermarkets. (You can get mince from a butcher’s, and it’s probably better mince, but this is the super-easy version….. you’ll see…… read on…….
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • A little oil (not ‘engine’, ‘massage’, ‘baby’ or ‘body’)
  • 1 large onion – I like big red onions, but use what’s to hand.
  • Garlic….. I like garlic, so I use 3 or 4 cloves.  Use as many as you think.
  • A stock cube of whatever variety.

You can use part white or red wine for the stock, especially if you have a bottle that has been opened a fair while.  Recycle it into here….. 

I’m all in favour of a bit o’recycling.

  • Seasonings & fresh herbs if you have them.  Basil is the one that you really want.
  • A little coarse sea salt, if you have it.  If not…..
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Ceramic oven dish.

Method:

  • Cut the slab of mince into 8 squares. (If you wish, you can roll the squares into balls, but this is the ‘square balls’ version…… of course, if you get a bag o’mince from t’butcher’s shop, you’ll have to roll it into balls.  Doesn’t matter; both shapes taste similar, I believe..…)
  • Put a little oil in the frying pan and set the balls to cook over a medium heat. Don’t disturb them too much as they might start to fall apart, but they must not burn.
  • Chop your onion and garlic finely and fry the onion off a little with the squares/balls; retain the garlic until the liquid goes in, so that it does not burn and turn bitter. Turn the squares/balls when they have taken on a little colour (browned a bit underneath…… don’t expect the top to turn blue or anything!)
  • Open the chopped toms and chuck ‘em in….and the garlic. That’s it, just chuck ‘em all in – this is only cookin’, not a friggin’ religious festival!
  • Make the stock by crumbling the cube into a cup and adding half a cup of boiling water to it. When it is dissolved, pour that in. (If you are using wine instead of water, put that in cold and crumble the cube on top before……
  • Mixing! Move it all around a bit.  If the frying pan has a lid, pop it on now.  I used a pan with a steel handle, so I just popped it into the oven.  Don’t do that with a plastic handled pan!
  • After about 20 mins, taste and season as you wish.
  • Tear up fresh basil leaves and stir those in just before serving.

Serve two or three squares/balls per person, and with anything else that you like!

I like roasted potato wedges or a jacket.

For weight-aware people, use this Frylite/one-cal spray stuff for all frying and roasting.

Meatloaf:

Meatloaf: 

(That’s Meatloaf the dish, not the performer – I can’t bring myself to call him a singer – ‘no, I won’t do that!’)

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         2:  Moderately easy

This is a good way to use up left-over meats.

Find:

  • 400g mince (beef/lamb/pork/turkey/donkey/postman/lawyer/estate agent/parking attendant….NOT politician, it would be too bitter)
  • 2 slices bread for fresh breadcrumbs (See Tricks’n’Tips)
  • Mick’s Terbs (See Tricks’n’Tips)
  • 1 egg
  • Dollop whole grain mustard
  • Onion
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Food processor
  • Loaf tin

Method:

  • Make the breadcrumbs. Put the mince in the food processor, or cut the steak up to allow it to process easier, trimming off any fat or other unwanted bits at the same time.
  • Roughly slice the onion. Put both into the processor and blitz for a time.
  • Add the breadcrumbs, herbs, mustard, egg and seasoning, then blitz again for a while. You are trying to aim for a mixture that will force nicely into a heavily oiled (or, better still, a greaseproof-paper-lined) loaf tin.
  • Put the loaf tin onto a baking tray and cook at gas mk 5 for 40 minutes.
  • Turn out the loaf and allow to cool a little before cutting, otherwise it will crumble.

Serve with mash and veg – and a good gravy

Cottage Pie:

Cottage Pie:

(Cottage pie is the one that has ‘tiles’ of potato on the roof.  It is made with beef mince, not lamb).

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      1 hr.

Course:        Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

Find:

  • Mince mixture as above for Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob
  • Potatoes for the topping
  • Grated cheese for the topping
  • A splash of milk
  • Seasoning
  • Any extra veg as desirable

Method:

  • Peel the potatoes and slice across to get oval discs about 5mm thick, enough to cover the size of oven dish you plan to use (which is why the amount of spuds is not mentioned above).
  • Put them into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil for a few moments, then drain and put aside.
  • Follow the above for the Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob mixture. Add any other veg you would like; there are few rules.
  • Pour into the oven dish. Use the discs of potato to assemble a roof for the cottage pie.
  • Season the roof with black pepper and salt, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and splash the milk over it all.
  • Bake in a medium oven for half an hour.

BASE ITEM….Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

BASE ITEM….Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main/Part of any of them

Serves:        4

Rating:         2: Easy

 (Base mixture for Lasagne, Bolognaise sauce, etc.)

Find:

  • Small pack beef mince (400g)
  • Onion
  • 1 carrot (size as you wish)
  • ½ a green pepper (or could be other colour)
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Optional – 100g chopped bacon bits (streaky is nice)
  • Optional – Red wine if you have it

Method:

  • Break up the mince with a fork into a lightly oiled pan and fry over a high heat to colour the meat. It will produce an amount of fat which should be poured off and dealt with as in Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Turn the pan down to a medium heat.
  • Chop the onion, carrot, bacon, pepper and garlic finely and soften with the mince for 5 mins.
  • Add a can of tomatoes, pour in a glass or so of red wine and add a good squeeze or dollop of tomato puree. Season well with black pepper as the tomatoes will certainly benefit from it.  Leave the salt until you taste it later – the bacon will add a certain amount.
  • Put the pan onto the lowest heat, lodge a lid half-way on and just simmer for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  • Season the mixture to taste and use it to make whatever dish you are doing. It is ready for both Lasagne and Bolognese as it is now.
  • This will also be suitable for serving with baked spuds; it can be spiced up for couscous or served with white rice. It is also ready for the filling for Cottage pie and can be used for Cottage Skins.

Chilli con carne:

Chilli con carne:

PICTURE 25

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      30 mins +.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate

Find:

  • Small pack beef mince (400g)
  • Onion
  • Red capsicum pepper (or could be other colour)
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans (contents thoroughly rinsed with cold water through a colander to get rid of all of the red crap that you’ll find in the can…….)
  • Dried crushed chilli flakes (more convenient and easier to control the heat than fresh chillies)
  • Tomato puree
  • Red wine if you have it
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • A baked spud for each person, or a batch of rice, using Delia’s method.

Method:

  • Break up the mince with a fork as it drops into the pan and fry over a high heat to colour the meat. It will produce an amount of fat which should be poured off and dealt with as in Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Turn the heat down to medium.
  • Chop the onion, pepper and garlic finely and soften in the pan with the mince for 5 mins – don’t allow the garlic to burn or it will turn bitter (and possibly even twisted as well….).
  • Add a can of tomatoes (chopped, preferably, but using normal will only require a swift thrashing…) and the thoroughly rinsed red kidney beans.
  • Pour in a glass or so of red wine and add a good squeeze or dollop of tomato puree. I use a chilli mill, grinding dried chilli seeds; it really does the biz without the need to mess about with fresh chillies.

If you MUST use fresh chillies, go to the loo FIRST, as even when you have washed your hands, the chilli residue that soaks into your fingers could easily cause you to have ‘an amount of discomfort’ in certain parts of your anatomy if you should not take the utmost care – and that applies to either gender.  Also, don’t try to put in contact lenses after dealing with chillies.  Alternatively, you could just call in the bomb disposal experts to deal with the chillies whilst you sit & watch. 

  • Leave the salt until you taste it later. Put the pan onto the lowest heat, lodge a lid half-way on and just simmer for about 30 mins, stirring as necessary to avoid it sticking.
  • Accompany this with Delia’s white rice or a baked spud and a salad.

Baa-Baa Burgers:

Baa-Baa Burgers:

PICTURE 24

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      10 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

For 4 people, Find:

  • Lamb mince, a supermarket pack of 400 to 500g.
  • 1 Onion (I like red, you can choose your own colour – perhaps blue?).
  • Extras, like herbs, pine-nuts, sun dried tomatoes….?
  • Oil (Avoid Teak, 3-in1, Engine, Baby…..)
  • Seasoning
  • Large-ish mixing bowl (mine’s plastic)
  • Frying pan
  • Your hands; washed

Method:

  • Finely chop the red onion.
  • With a fork, break up the lamb mince as much as possible into a bowl with the onion.
  • Mix it all together, firstly with a fork. Then use yer clean mitts (your well-cleaned hands, to the uninitiated) to really scrunch up the mince & onion together.  Season it well – add plenty of ground black pepper (beware of using white pepper), a good amount of sea salt and a pinch (or two… or three… or however many you wish) of dried Mick’s Terbs…… oh yes, sorry, mixed herbs (see Tricks’n’Tips).  Mix/scrunch in really well.
  • You can put in other things as well, like roasted/toasted pine-nuts or finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, etc, should you wish.
  • Go on – use your initiative – but just don’t put everything in all at once, like I did when I was learning to cook. It was ‘orrible when I did that.
  • Now, this is a great opportunity to really let out the inhibitions. Really scrunch it up to your heart’s content – it is important to mix it all in well.
  • Form the mixture/scrunchture (is that a word?… I don’t think so – but it ought to be) into balls, making multiples of four if you have four people (multiples of three if you have three people, etc) out of the amount you have there in the bowl. Really press the mixture into those balls.  Use lots of pressure.……. go on, squeeeeeeeeeeeeze!
  • Ok, so now you need to flatten the balls into a sort of thick burger shape (yes, thick – duh). Really try to make the burgers stay stuck together.  It has to be thick.
  • Make ’em into the shape of sheep….. Everything will then be SHEEPSHAPE! (Aw….forget it!)

If it all goes ‘tits up’ (an oft-used technical term within the high-class catering industry to denote a plan that has not quite worked out correctly), put the whole lot back into the bowl, sqidge it all up again (an oft-used technical term within the high-class catering industry to describe…….) and add an egg that you have broken into a cup and mixed up with a fork, so that it’s all…. er….. mixed; then go back into super-scrunch/sqidgey-hand mode.  The egg will make it a little more fluid – a softer mixture.  Try making the balls again, then the burger shapes.  This time it’ll all be great.  Trust me.  They do benefit from having about 30 mins+ in the fridge after shaping, if you can do it – especially if they’re for the barbecue….

  • When you have the number of burger shapes you want, put a frying pan on the heat and put a little oil in it.
  • Put the burgers into the frying pan and as soon as the sizzling starts, turn it down to almost minimum.
  • Keep the burgers just sizzling a bit for about five minutes or so, or longer if necessary. What you are doing is forming a crust on the bottom (that is THE bottom, not YOUR bottom), so that they will stay in the burger shape when you gently turn them over using two utensils – two forks, a fish slice and a fork, a big spoon and a fork…… whatever.

GENTLY I said.

If they break up, you’ve been too brutal – then you’ll just have to serve up Crispy Fried Lamb Mince Pieces (see the section called ‘Oh Bugger…. PANIC! ’ in Tricks’n’Tips). 

  • Fry for another five minutes on the other side until they are thoroughly cooked.

(I said COOKED not F……; you want a crust, not a cinder!).  Serve with…. er…. anything

  • The excess will freeze well, so you can make ‘em, cook ‘em and freeze ‘em to eat at a time later on. Good economy.  More money for the pub.

Pasta Bolognese:asta

Pasta Bolognese:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

This basic mixture is a very good one for many mince-based meals.

Find:

  • A batch of cooked pasta
  • Small pack beef mince (400g)
  • Onion
  • 1 carrot (size as you wish – you’ll find that large ones are bigger than small ones….)
  • ½ a green pepper (or could be a different colour)
  • 100g chopped bacon bits (streaky is nice)
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • Dollop of tomato puree
  • Red wine if you have it
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan

Method:

  • Break up the mince with a fork as it is dropped into the pan and fry over a high heat to colour the meat. It will produce an amount of fat which should be poured off and dealt with as in Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Turn the pan down to a medium heat.
  • Chop the onion, carrot, bacon, pepper and garlic finely and soften on a low heat with the mince for 5 mins.
  • Add a can of chopped tomatoes, pour in a glass or so of red wine and add good squeeze or dollop of tomato puree.
  • Season well with black pepper as the tomatoes will certainly benefit from it. Leave the salt until you taste it later – the bacon will add a certain amount, and you can’t take out salt once it’s in.
  • Put the pan onto the lowest heat possible; lodge a lid half-way on and just simmer for about 30 mins, stirring as necessary to avoid it sticking to the pan.
  • Season to taste and use it to make whatever dish you are doing. It is ready for both Lasagne and Bolognese as it is now.
  • Spaghetti is the traditional one but I personally find it too messy.
  • Use whatever pasta you like – dammit, you’re eating it.
  • Serve it up, eat it, enjoy it.