Chef Paul Newman of Thyme at Errichel, Aberfeldy, shares his recipe for the classic South African comfort food, bobotie.
The darkest hour is before the dawn.
In January 2021 this seems so true. Our struggles are not yet over, but there is a glimmer of light and hope – with the rollout of vaccines and better treatments as we continue to battle against Covid-19.
One day things will feel different, but for now, while we coorie down, staying safe at home, we must try to enjoy the simple things in life.
A brisk walk, a favourite takeaway coffee, set some manageable goals for what you want to achieve over the coming weeks. Write, read and, of course, eat well!
In January I always crave curry – perhaps it’s the taste of the exotic, the sensation of warming spices, flavours that can make your imagination take you off to some tropical location. Happy memories to ponder on or things to look forward to. So today’s recipe is for a South African classic and Cape Malay comfort food at its best: bobotie.
To serve 4-6, you’ll need: 2 onions, finely chopped; 25g butter; 2 garlic cloves, crushed; 1kg lean minced Scottish beef; 2 tbsp Madras curry paste; 1 tsp dried mixed herbs; 3 cloves; half tsp ground allspice; 2 tbsp peach chutney (I use Mrs Balls chutney but you can use any fruity chutney here); 3 tbsp sultana; 6 fresh bay leaves for garnish.
For the topping: 300ml full-cream milk; 2 large eggs; salt and pepper to season; pinch of turmeric.
Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/350F/ Gas Mark 4. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and beef and stir well, crushing the mince into fine grains until it changes colour. Stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 of the bay leaves with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.
Cover and simmer for 10 mins. Tip into an ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep). Press the mixture down well and smooth the top. You can make this and chill 1 day ahead.
For the topping, beat the milk and eggs with seasoning, Tip: Add a little sprinkle of turmeric to add some colour and extra flavour, then pour over the meat. Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 mins until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.