Monday, 27 May 2013

South African Bobotie.

I only discovered South African cuisine two years ago by stumbling upon a recipe by a very famous chef who is coincidentally is not South African.   My favourite cookbook of all time, Nigella Lawson's Kitchen, had a recipe for South African drumsticks which used apricot jam as part of the marinade. I was intrigued as I never heard of apricot jam being used in a savoury dish before, especially to marinade a meat. Having made the African drumsticks, I can boldly state that African drumsticks and the use of apricot jam was delicious and I have made them several times after. I will be shortly posting the recipe for the drumsticks in the coming weeks.
The reason as to why I have gone about South African drumsticks is I was recently given a copy of Food Glorious Food and I was pleased to see a couple of South African recipes included in the book which both contained apricot jam as part of the ingredients which reminded me of my love for the drumsticks.  The first South African recipe which I thought I would try from Food, Glorious Food cook book is Bobotie and turmeric rice. I've never heard of Bobotie before this book, but having done some research it is a very popular dish in South Africa. I also like the look of turmeric rice, a vibrant yellow colour which complimented the Bobotie. My only suggestion/criticism of this dish is that it is quite involved and probably would make a better weekend meal rather than a week day meal.
Here is how my Bobotie turned out:
Baked Bobotie
I first started by frying the onions and garlic in a pan and adding the seasoning to the mixture alongside the apricot jam.
Fried seasoning
I then added the beef mince to the mixture and let this fry for around 5 minutes. I quickly seasoned the mince in the packet - I made the dish when I changed my mind about making spag bol.
Minced beef quickly seasoned.
Beef frying with seasoning.
I then placed the bread and milk in a bowl and broke the bread up with a fork. I added this to the mince mixture alongside the ground almonds and lemon juice and cooked for a further 10 minutes.

Bread broken up with milk.
I then prepared the topping and mixed together the eggs and milk and poured this over the mince mixture which I placed in a casserole dish. The recipe stated to use Greek yogurt, but as stated previously I tried to make this using store cupboard ingredients so unfortunately did not have this. I placed this in the oven for 30 minutes until baked.
Eggs and milk
Bobotie pre bake
After 30 minutes the bobotie was baked and ready to serve with the turmeric rice.
Bobotie baked

Ingredients for South African Bobotie - serves 5-6
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp medium curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp ground turmeric
1tsp ground cinnamon
2ts granulated sugar
pinch of chilli powder
pinch of nutmeg
2tbsp smooth apricot jam
2tbsp of any other fruit chutney
1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated
1tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper
500g minced beef
2 slices white bread
4 tbp milk
juice of half a lemon
50g ground almonds.

For the turmeric rice
500ml water
250 g basmati rice, washed
75g raisins
1tsp ground cinamon
25g butter.

Preheat the oven to 18-C/350F/Gas mark 4
Heat the oil in large saucepan and fry the onions and garlic until almost caramelised, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, garam marsala, turmeric, cinnamon, sugar, chilli powder, nutmeg, bay leaves, apricot jam, chutney, apple, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from the head and add the mince stirring well to coat.
Put the bread and milk in a bowl, then break up the bread with a fork. Add the mixture to the mince and mix together. Stir in the lemon juice and ground almonds. Return to a medium heat and stir until heated through. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly for 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked Taste for seasoning and ajust if necessary. Transfer to a casserole dish.
To prepare the topping, mix together the eggs, yoghurt, milk, salt and pepper, then pour over the curried mince in the casserole dish. Put the bay leaves on top for decoraton and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare the rice. Bring the water to the boil with the salt and turmeric, then add the rice and stir once to seperate the grains. Cover with a lid, reduce the heat to its lowest settinf and cook for 15 minutes. Drain in a colander, then add the raisings, cinnamon and butter, stirring them through with a fork.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Aloo Keema

As stated in my previous post, I recently received a copy of Food, Glorious Food and the second recipe which I made from this book is Misbah's Aloo Keema. Misbah is a primary school teacher who was born in Pakistan, and grew up on this dish which her mother used to make. She has recreated a healthier version of her childhood favourite and entered the dish into Food, Glorious Food. This dish was not chosen in the Yorkshire heat and lost out to the eventual winner of the show, white chicken korma (which I will blog about shortly).
I have previously made a similar version of this dish,  a beef keema but never have made this with potatoes, which was the main reason why I made this, nothing beats a twist on a classic. I thought the addition of potatoes would make this dish more substantial, and when served with naan or chapattis makes the dish considerably hearty. Not only that, but I found making this dish extremely easy, perfect for a mid week evening meal.
Here is how my Aloo Keema turned out:
Aloo Keema
I'm a firm believe in seasoning and I started by seasoning the mince in the morning before work, with garlic cloves, scotch bonnet pepper, curry powder, garam masala, salt and pepper and left to marinade as this further enhances the flavour of the dish.

Mince being seasoned.
I then began to fry the mince and onions until brown, and began to chop the potatoes.
Mince fried.
Potatoes chopped.
Once the mince began to brown I added the passata and then the potatoes and left to cook for 20 minutes.
Passata added to mince
Potatoes cooking in dish

Recipe for Misbah's Aloo Keema - serves 4
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
a tablespoon of ground ginger
8 garlic cloves, chopped
7-8 chillies (I used 1/2 scotch bonnet pepper with seeds)
400g canned tomatoes (I used passata)
750 ml water
2lbs minced lamb or mutton (I used beef)
8 new potatoes, scrubbed and halved
1tsp garam masala

Heat the oil. Add the onions and salt to taste. Fry until the onions are slightly brown. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies and fry for 5 minutes.
Pour in the tomatoes and 250ml of the water, and cook over a medium heat until the liquid evaporates, the ingredients turn into a paste and separated oil can be seen.
Add the mince and fry until it changed colour. Add another 250ml of the water and cook slowly until it evaporates. Turn up the heat and cook briskly for 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are ready. Let the water evaporate then cook for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with the garam masala and serve with rice, naan bread, pitta bread or chapattis.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Food, Glorious Food, a book review.

I recently received a cook book to review. Not any old cookbook, but a cookbook that has the same name as my Blog and Facebook page, and is based on a TV series on ITV3. Of course, the book is Food, Glorious Food and many thanks to Fiona from Octuopus Publishing for my review copy. I have watched a few episodes of the show, and to be honest, I don't think the show truly shows the diversity and imaginative recipes as the book does.  The book features dishes originating from every continent, and am quite impressed with the number of South African inspired recipes, such as Bobotie and Turmeric Rice and South African Chicken curry as it is a cuisine I an unfamiliar with, so this has given me the opportunity to try some new dishes.

I presumed the cook book would be split into chapters covering starters, mains and puddings, however the book is split into regional areas;
* South - West
* South - East
* North - East
* North - West
* London
* The Midlands

I can only imagine that the recipes were split according to the regions, as that is the style of the show. The recipes are very, very diverse and imaginative, and nothing that you will see in many other cookbooks. As each recipe is given by a contestant, all the dishes are easy to replicate in home kitchens. I also like how every recipe is accompanied by a picture of the cooked/ baked dish, and it also features a note by each contestant, which gives the reader an insight to the background of the recipe.
 So far I've made double chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache, aloo keema and South African Bobotie with turmeric rice.
Other recipes that have caught my eye are: Somerset chicken, Coconut curried whiting and shrimp gratin, meat and potato pie, fiery ginger cake and carrot cake. My only criticism to this book (which is more to do with personal preference) would be the two recipes which contains game, game pie and damson jelly and game lasagna. I am unsure as to whether these two dishes would go sell particularly  well as not everyone likes game. I strongly recommend this cook book for anyone who fancies trying a variety of new, unique and delicious recipes (that will be everyone then) as I have tried and enjoyed a few recipes that I would never usually try.
The recipe I will share with you is my first creation, chocolate brownies with chocolate ganache. This recipe is from Samantha Egan who described these brownies as the perfect combination of baking and chocolate. Now, I've made brownies on several occasions, but this recipe is unique to me as I usually do not top my brownies with anything, but this recipe uses chocolate ganache to top the brownies, which makes them super chocolatey. I will share further recipes from this book, but thought I'd get this one out the way first.
Here is how my triple chocolate ganache brownies turned out:
Triple chocolate ganache brownies.
I have also made Mishbah's Aloo Keema, which turned out to be superliciously spicy and tasty.
Aloo Keema
I also made Jane White's South African Bobotie with turmeric rice which was delicious and a new way of using mince for my evening meal.

Triple chocolate ganache brownies.
I first started by melting dark chocolate with butter and left to cool.
Dark chocolate and butter.
Dark chocolate and butter melted.
In a separate bowl, I beat the eggs with vanilla essence.
Eggs and milk

I then added the eggs and vanilla essence to the chocolate mixture.
Eggs and milk added to the chocolate mixture
I sifted the flour and coco and folded into the mixture. I then placed the mixture in a square tin and placed pieces of white chocolate in the mixture, around 10 pieces.
Brownies pre bake

I left to bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and once baked, left to cool.
Brownies baked

Once baked, I began to make the chocolate ganache, I tend to use chocolate and butter to make my ganache, instead of the more common cream and chocolate method, suggested in the book. I melted milk and dark chocolate in a bowl on top of simmering water.
Chocolate and butter for ganache

Once melted, I left to cool and thicken before spreading on top of the brownies.
Ganache on top of brownies

I placed the brownies topped with the chocoalate ganache in the fridge to set which took around 3 hours.
Chocolate Ganache set on brownies.
I then cut into square pieces and thoroughly enjoyed.

Ingredients - serves 9
135g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caste sugar
2 large eggs
1 vanilla pod, split open length ways (I used 1 tbsp vanilla essence)
80g plain flour
1 heaped tsp coco powder
25g white chocolate chunks (I used 9 pieces of white chocolate)
25g milk chocolate chunks
25g dark chocolate chunks

For the ganache
150g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
150 ml double cream
25 butter

(I used 100g dark chocolate, 50g milk chocolate and 125g butter)

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Butter a 20cm (8 inch) square baking tin and line it with baking parchment.
Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Give it a good mix to ensure all the chocolate has melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Leave for 5 minutes to cool a little.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla seed/essence. Add this mixture to the chocolate a bit at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and coco and fold together. Finally, stir in the chocolate chunks, distributing them as evenly as possible.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, or a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn on to a wire rack to cool.

To make the ganache, put the chocolate and cream (or use butter instead like I did) in a heated bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, give it a good mix then remove from the heat and add the butter mixing until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Spread the ganache over the brownies sponge, then place in the fridge to set for at least a couple of hours.

I received a copy of Food, Glorious Food for review. I was not required to write a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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