Bobotie – a 19th century recipe for baked mince.

We had this tonight – part of the mince recipe challenge. Very good indeed. I had two helpings. The recipe looks a little odd, but trust me, it is fine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 thick slices of white bread
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2oz raisins or sultanas
  • 25g flaked almonds, or chopped almonds
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp madras curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mixed herbs
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 beaten eggs

METHOD:

  • Take the crusts off the bread, and soak it in the milk. Squeeze the milk out of the bread, and keep it for later.
  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Peel and chop the onion finely
  • In a large pan, fry the onion in the oil and butter until it is softening but not brown. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the bread, sultanas, beef, almonds, vinegar, sugar, curry powder, salt, herbs, pepper, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the beaten egg. Mix this all together well, and spread it into a greased oven-proof dish.
  • Mix the remaining egg with the reserved milk, and pour it over the top of the mixture.
  • Bake at 180C for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cut into portions to serve. This is apparently good cold the next day. It is delicious warm. We had this with toast and some braised cabbage.

Spiced port and wine sorbet

I made this one Christmas, but had to leave before it was served. I got rave reviews. Never made it since, but I think I will soon. Because of the alcohol, it is easy to serve and doesn’t go icy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 175g sugar
  • 175ml water
  • 275ml red wine (such as a rioja)
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 orange
  • 1 1/2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp ruby port
  • 1 egg white

METHOD:

  • Make a syrup. Add the sugar to the water, bring to boiling and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge
  • Use a shredding tool or small knife to remove strips of zest from the orange and the lemon. Halve the fruit and squeeze out the juice.
  • Put the wine, spices, orange juice, lemon juice and zest in a saucepan, simmer for 5 minutes and then cool.
  • Once the wine is cold, add the port and put this in the fridge to chill
  • When the syrup and the wine are well chilled, add 225ml of the syrup into the wine mixture, and put this into an ice-cream machine and churn for 8 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, beat the egg whites with a whisk, until foamy, and add that to the ice-cream maker, and keep churning for another eight minutes.
  • Put the sorbet into a rectangular plastic box, and store in the freezer for up to a month.

If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, put the port and wine mixture in the freezer for a couple of hours, and then beat in the egg-whites, and return to the freezer. Take it out every hour or so for the next six hours, and give it a stir.

Nigella’s sticky toffee pudding

A friend told me about this recipe. She makes it gluten-free. You’ll need a 23 cm square baking dish. This should serve nine people. Serve with additional cream, or ice-cream, or clotted cream…

INGREDIENTS:

For the sponge:

  • 200g dried dates, chopped
  • 200ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp black treacle
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g plain flour (gluten free if you wish)
  • 2 tsp baking powder

For the sauce:

  • 150g unsalted butter at room temp, soft
  • 300g dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 200ml double cream

METHOD:

  • Heat the oven to 180C
  • Grease the dish
  • Make the sponge first. Put the chopped dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, stir and leave to stand for 10 minutes
  • Cream the butter and treacle together, then beat in the sugar. You could use a food mixer for this.
  • Beat in the eggs slowly a bit at a time, then gently mix in the flour and baking powder to make a smooth cake mixture.
  • Gently stir the dates, and then pour the whole lot, water and all, into the batter and gently mix in.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35 minutes.
  • MEANWHILE make the sauce. Melt the butter sugar and treacle over a very low heat in a heavy pan.
  • Once the butter is melted, stir gently until everything is melted, then stir in the cream and turn up the heat until it is bubbling hot.
  • As soon as the sponge is out of the oven, stab it with a knitting needle and pour about a quarter of the warm sauce over the pudding until the whole thing is covered with a sticky glaze
  • Leave the pudding to stand. Then take it to the table, warm but no longer dangerously hot. Serve with the sauce in a jug, and with cream or ice-cream.

Braised red cabbage with apples and spices

The best recipe. There are many others. It is worth following this Delia Smith recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 kg red cabbage, chopped
  • 500g onions, finely chopped
  • 500g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 nutmeg, grated
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 15g butter
  • salt and black pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the oven to 150C
  • In a large casserole dish, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage, then salt and pepper, then a layer of onions and apples, sprinkled with garlic sugar and spice. Continue to repeat these layers until everything is in the dish.
  • Pour over the vinegar, and dot the butter over the top.
  • Cover the dish tightly and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours. Stir and check a couple of times.

This dish reheats well, and it also freezes OK. We usually only have this at Christmas, with ham.

Parmesan-baked parsnips

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas but I serve this all-year round. I keep the pre-prepared flour and parmesan in the freezer for when I need it.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 kg parsnips
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  • vegetable oil and butter

METHOD:

  • Combine the flour, parmesan, salt and pepper.
  • Peel the parsnips, and quarter them lengthways, then cut each length in half.
  • Boil the parsnips for around 3 minutes and drain.
  • As soon as you drain them, when they are still damp and sticky, roll each parsnip in the flour mixture. They can be stored like this until you are ready to put them in the oven.
  • Heat the oven to 200C.
  • Grease a roasting tin with vegetable oil and add a knob of butter for more flavour. Heat in the oven until the fat is hot.
  • Add the parsnips and roll them around in the hot fat, before putting the tray in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and continue to roast until all crips and golden, for another 15 minutes.

Venison or beef with port, guinness and pickled walnuts

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas recipe book. It is also available widely online. It is delicious. I serve it with mashed potato, or with potato mashed with celeriac.

The quantities below serve 10-12. It is easy to halve the quantities.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.75 kg venison or beef, cut into flattish cubes around 3cm across
  • 1.2 litres of guinness
  • 275 ml ruby port
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 400g jars of pickled walnuts, drained and quartered
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • The night before, put the meat in a large plastic container with bayleaf, thyme, port and guinness. Seal the top and give the mixture a good shake. A good technique is to put the ingredients in a bowl with a small plate on the top to ensure all the meat is immersed.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven to 140C.
  • Melt half the butter/oil in a casserole dish and heat gently. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade for later. Pat the meat dry before frying off in small batches, until it is browned. Take the meat from the pan as each batch cooks, and set it aside.
  • Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan, and melt together over a moderate heat until it starts to bubble. Add the onions and brown this for around 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to fry for another couple of minutes
  • Return the meat to the casserole dish, stir in the flour, and then pour in the marinade, add the walnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the casserole to a simmer, then put the lid on, and transfer the whole thing to the warm oven for 3 hours.

Tangerine Marmalade

After Christmas, I have been taking stock of all our left-overs. We must have been expecting a frenzy of people wanting tangerines, gin & tonic, and fresh ginger.

I made this mixed fruit marmalade with all the citrus fruit. Still to work out what to do with a huge bag of fresh ginger.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Tangerines, Limes, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit, combined = 1.4 kg
  • 1.4 kg jam sugar
  • 2.8 litres of water

METHOD:

  • Peel the tangerines, and slice the peel into thin shreds. Put this in a wee muslin bag
  • Chop all the fruit up coarsely, with the peel on – slicing it works well.
  • Put the wee bag of peel and the fruit into a large pan with the water, and bring to the simmer, cook for 2 hours. Remove the wee muslin bag about half way through.
  • Strain the mixture through a jelly bag, and measure the juice – if it is more than 1.4 litres, put it into the jam pan and bring to the boil and reduce.
  • Add the sugar, dissolve it, and bring to the boil. I use a thermometer to get to jam temperature, then I hold the stirring spoon horizontally to see if the drips start to set and combine together (flake test)
  • Skim off any foam, add the shredded peel, and let the mixture start to cool. Pour into clean warmed jars. (I warm the clean jars in the oven).

Chille con Carne

I didn’t make this tonight, but I have tested this recipe often enough to know that it is the best. It is from The Organic Meat Cookbook by Frances Bissell. I’ve had this book for a while, and just about everything that I have made is delicious. This recipe can be made with beef mince, or with finely chopped venison. I don’t like minced venison, just doesn’t work well.

This can be served with rice or bread, with yoghurt as a side dish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 680g minced beef or diced venison
  • 2 cans of red kidney beans, or 450g dried beans, scalded and then soaked overnight
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 280ml stock
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped coriander or parsley

METHOD:

  • In a large casserole dish, fry the onion in the olive oil until it is golden.
  • Add the mince or finely diced meat, and cook until browned. Stir in the spices so the meat is well-coated.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock and beans, and enough water to ensure all the ingredients are covered.
  • Simmer very slowly in the oven for 3-4 hours.
  • Check the seasoning just before serving, and garnish with chopped herbs.

Minced Meat Curry

One of my stand-by recipe books is a rather unglamorous and battered book, called the Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook. In my quest to cook about 40 different recipes with beef mince, I tried this, and it was delicious. I served it with plain basmati rice, and used up some coconut milk that I had, rather than following the recipe exactly.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmerig
  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

METHOD:

  • Heat the oil, and gently fry the onion.
  • As it becomes well cooked, almost beginning to brown, add the garlic, ginger, chillies and the spices, and stir together until well mixed.
  • Add the meat and continue to cook over a low heat.
  • Once is browned, add the tomato puree, and the coconut milk, mix together and bring back to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for around 1 hour.
  • Add the peas and cook for another 10 minutes before serving.

Turnip Soup

I have lots of turnips still standing in the garden, the last of the winter vegetables. They are fantastic things, yellow and spicy and fresh after a long winter. My only gripe about turnips is finding ways to cook them. Usually I mash them with potatoes, or, more recently, I have been dicing them and roasting them for 20 minutes in olive oil and pepper. Tonight I discovered why I had found so little in the way of recipes in my books and on the web: the English think they are swedes, and the French and the Americans seem to think they are called Rutabagas. Anyway, no matter what they are called, tonight I tried out this soup. It is from Lindsey Bareham’s incomparable recipe book, ‘A Celebration of Soup’.

 INGREDIENTS:

  • 75g organic butter
  • 2-3 shallots, finely chopped,
  • A bunch of parsley
  • 450g diced turnip (about one large, or 2 small), home grown
  • salt and pepper
  • 1.1 litres of rich stock (I used some game stock, but ‘Marigold’ stock is fine
  • A pinch of saffron, if available (optional)
  • 100ml double cream

Method:

  • Heat the butter in a large pan, and soften the shallots in the butter for about five minutes
  • Add the parsley stalks (or dried herbs, if fresh parsley is scarce) and the turnip along with a pinch of salt. Stir, and make sure everything gets well coated in butter.
  • Cover the pan and simmer on low for about fifteen minutes.
  • At this stage, the turnip is tender and sweet and could be served as a vegetable dish in its own right.
  • For to make the soup, add the stock and saffron, bring to the boil, and simmer for 30 minutes
  • Blend the soup with a soup wand, and reheat.
  • To serve, whisk the cream with the finely chopped parsley, and swirl into the soup.

I served it with brown toast. However, you could make croutons, and the book suggests polenta chips: small slivers of cooked polenta, coated in oil and grilled to create a crunchy exterior. Very good indeed.