Hello! Where have you all been? I know, I know….only joking…tis me…I have been ignoring my duties here in my real life as a blogger whilst trying to earn a decent penny pretending to be grown up, struggling towards the end of the December work schedule that has, frankly, left me plum knackered. Still, I have dusted myself down, had a monumental sleep, ventured out into the real world, breathed it all in and here I am before you, ready to bare my cooking soul. Now, you will all be thinking….’he’s been at the wine again’…..which is true…but I feel liberated, shackles are off and I am rolling into Christmas Drive, foot off the break and in top gear.
So, what have I been eating – nothing exciting sadly – until a day or two ago – and I had these prawns served as a canapé.
So, I rushed home and replicated them. And it didn’t hurt!
A slither of patience is required…but all worth it. Simply add 200 gm of the best tail-on-king prawns you can afford – this for maybe 2 or 3 of you as a nibble cum starter – you could even pop a spoonful into half an avocado if you felt so inclined – then squeeze over the juice from 3 limes. Chop a deseeded red chilli finely and add this, plus a hearty bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped and a smidgen of rock salt and black pepper. Mix well and cover with cling film – pop into your fridge for at least 12 hours – 24 would make them sublime – then simply feast on them with a decadent glass or two of sauvignon blanc from Marlborough in New Zealand.
This is so zingy and sexy and fizzingly tasty that you will have to make it again a day or two later and find friends to invite round to indulge.
Do this as soon as possible – before Christmas – it is GOOD!
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!