Babotie Rhapsody…


Babotie Rhapsody...

I first came across babotie when I lived in New Zealand. We lived in an odd backwater called Wanganui and curiously most of our friends were either Welsh, Serb-Croat or South African. I think all the New Zealanders had left for Europe! Any road, one of our good S.A. friends, Noleen, used to dish this up now and then and we loved it. I have never tried making it before last night but I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised that it tasted almost as I remembered it…almost. It is one of those dishes like chilli or spag bol that everyone seems to have their own version of…it often comes with a sort of egg and buttermilk topping, finished off on the oven. I cooked mine all on the top in a sauté pan. The word comes from an Indonesian dish called bobotok. Look, the point is, it is a great dish worth giving a go if you never have.

And as ever…tinker as you wish!


A knob of butter
Splash of olive oil
2 red onions chopped
2 crushed garlic cloves
500 gm minced lamb
2 carrots peeled and grated
2 tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of ground coriander
3 tsps of ground ginger
1 tsp each of thyme, rosemary and oregano
I tsp of turmeric
Tsp of cinnamon
Tsp of sugar
1 red chilli deseeded and chopped
Salt and pepper
10 gm of chopped almonds
2 slices of crusty white bread, soaked in water then drained and squeezed dry – this is the fun part!
15 ml of red wine vinegar

Heat the butter and oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, fry the onions and garlic in it til soft. Then add the minced lamb. Stir well and fry til coloured, then stir in the carrot, spices, herbs, sugar and chilli. After another 5 minutes add the almonds and a good grind of salt and pepper. Mix well to marry the flavours. Then stir in the bread and wine vinegar. Mix very well and pop a lid on for about 30 minutes whilst it cooks on a low to medium heat. Take lid off then and stir well, if it is catching on the bottom, add a knob more of butter. Check the seasoning.

You could use more curry powder if you like or more chilli – whatever rocks your babotie!

I served it on a decent chilli naan bread – or you could serve it with rice. If you can get hold of it, Mrs Ball’s chutney goes well with it. Frankly, every kitchen should have a bottle of Mrs Ball’s chutney!


Bits and bobs May round up….aubergines, Noah, rhubarb and Eggs Warhol…etc!


Bits and bobs May round up....

Well. you can tell it is half term because I am eating breakfast! And so far, despite the Noah style rainfall yesterday, it has been very pleasant thank you for asking. This is a sort of catch all post – I have been experimenting a little and eating out a little and shopping a lot. Ok…this pic


is this morning’s breakfast. It scores little, if anything, on looks… I agree…but the flavour was bang spot on.
2 eggs lightly scrambled with a slice of black pudding pan fried and then crumbled through the egg mix midway through scrambling. It mellows out the pud flavour and is immensely filling in a nice way! Anyway – there you go – it had a sort of Andy Warhol look – a good name maybe for it – Eggs Warhol.

At the weekend I marinated slashed chicken thighs in sloe gin, slivers of garlic and bay leaves for an hour. Then roasted them for about 40 minutes til crisping.


I served them with courgettes oven baked ( I had pan fried them lightly first) with snowfalls of parmesan, drizzles of olive oil, garlic and a handful of Greek Basil – I love those gorgeously aromatic tiny leaves. Oh and I also did Jersey Royal new potatoes in butter and coriander on the side too. Got to make the most of these beauties whilst they visit!

Popped into Morrison’s near Basingstoke – as it is to me – one of-if not the best – supermarkets in this whole area. Nearest I have been to a French or Spanish affair. The veg counter is a work of art and has a huge variety of veg not normally seen anywhere unless you live in Brixton or some other marvellously multi-cultural spot. Everything from these gorgeous Graffiti Aubergines at the top of the page, to eddoes, fresh turmeric rhizomes, several different varieties of chard, cassava, different gourd, about 10 different types of chillies, elephant and rose garlic, hundreds of fresh herbs – all being sprayed gently with cold air. All fresh – nothing in plastic bags! The fruit counter is equally as fascinating – plus they have a phenomenal fish counter and a butchery populated by guys who are ACTUALLY butchers and know what they are talking about! If you have to shop in a supermarket then this slice of paradise is it.


Right, enough sales talk – and I won’t even get commission!

Yesterday’s lunch was lemon sole in lemon beurre blanc sauce with spinach and new pots- again!

Not a great shot of it this – does not do it justice – still…


Last night’s supper was a version of a Keith Floyd dish that I only seem to ever cook about once a year but I love it – it is simple and has a sort of Turkish / Greek feel to it.

He just calls it Minced Beef and Spinach – but I often miss out the spinach and I also like using minced lamb, which I did last night. Being someone who can’t just follow a recipe – I have to fiddle. But is that not what it is all about?

Anyway – I did. Fiddle on!


3 spring onions finely chopped
12 okra trimmed
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp smoked paprika
500 gm minced lamb
1 cinnamon stick
1 chopped and deseeded red chilli – or you could use dried chilli flakes
2 large tomatoes deseeded and sliced
basmati rice

Stir fry the okra, onions and half the garlic for about 2 minutes in olive oil. Set to one side.

Next, in a mix of butter and olive oil, fry the minced lamb for about 5 minutes. Then add the cinnamon stick, the paprika and the rest of the garlic plus the chilli. Sprinkle in some black pepper too and a grind or two of sea salt.

I add a splash, no more of water, once the lamb is browned ( If you chose to add fresh spinach – about a half a kilo – at this point – no need for the water.)

Add in the tomatoes and the okra, onion mix. Continue to cook – it will be about 30 minutes in all. Adjust the seasoning to taste.


I then cooked basmati rice – enough for 4 – and stirred it into the lamb dish. You could serve it separately if you wish with some plain yoghurt – I like the buttery texture of stirring it all together though.


Simple and summery and perfect for supper. Right – out now to pick some rhubarb as the Ark appears to have docked for a while and the sun is considering making an appearance.

English: depiction of Noah's ark landing on th...

English: depiction of Noah’s ark landing on the “mountains of Ararat” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)