After a good Easter Break, and some well placed public holidays, it is back to work and routine!
As the days get shorter, the nights longer and colder, the yenn for comfort food seems to grow.
The evenings are definately a bit chilly to be standing round the braai, beer in hand, shooting the breeze with friends and family.
It is time to haul out the red wine, get a pot of food on the stove or in the oven, and sit under blankets round the heater or fire, but definatley indoors. For me, winter is also a time to raid the spice cupboard, make milktart, Gluhwein, curries, boboties, all those dishes that can't do without Robertson's herbs and spices!
I find in Winter, I generally use double the amount of herbs and spices compared to summer. They just seem to add depth and flavour and warmth to a dish, and besides that, if you Google certain herbs and spices, they have medicinal properties! Some of my favourite recipes, passed down from my gran to my mom and now me are below. Let me know how they turn out, and I will catch up at the end of the week again.
MILKTART (makes 3 tarts)
500 ml flour, 125 ml sugar, 125 ml butter, 1 egg, salt, 10 ml baking powder.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Press thinly into 3 pie dishes and bake at 180°C until golden brown.
1,5 litres milk, 60 ml flour, 50 ml cornflour/maizena, 375 ml sugar, 30 ml butter, 3 eggs, 2,5 ml cinnamon.
Make a slurry with some of the milk, the eggs and the dry ingredients.
Bring the balance of the milk and butter to the boil.
Pour the boiling milk over the slurry and mix well.
Return to the pot, and stir over medium heat until thick.
Add 5 ml vanilla essence, and 5 ml almond essence, mix well and pour into the bases.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
(You can use beef/mutton, just cook for a bit longer the day before)(serves 10)
1,2 kg chicken thighs, 2 large onions diced, 2 cloves garlic finely chopped, 1 tsps grated ginger, 2 chillies finely chopped, 50 ml medium curry powder, 5 ml ground cinnamon, 5 ml ground coriander, 5 ml ground cumin, ½ tin whole peeled tomatoes, 100 ml tomato paste, 3 potatoes, 15 ml sugar, 10 ml salt to taste, 5 ml freshly ground black pepper, Curry leaves/coriander.
In a large pot, sautee the onions in oil until transparent.
Add the garlic and grated ginger and fry for 3 minutes.
Add the chillies, curry powder, cinnamon, coriander and cumin and roast for 2 minutes, stirring all the time.
Add the chicken pieces, skin off, tomato concentrate and whole peeled tomatoes and mix well, stir in the sugar, salt and pepper.
Add 500 ml water and the peeled, quartered potatoes, bring to the boil, turn down heat and simmer until the potatoes start to fall apart and the liquid has reduced to make a thickish gravy.
Check the salt and sugar balance and adjust if necessary.
Serve with rice and sambals.
2 slices stale white bread (remove the crusts), 30 ml cooking oil, 1 onion, thinly sliced, 2,5 ml ground cloves, 5 ml crushed garlic, 3 ml salt, 10 ml curry powder, 5 ml turmeric, 500 g beef mince, 2 eggs, 30 ml hot water, 20 ml lemon juice, 25 ml sugar
1 egg (lightly beaten), 150 ml milk, Bay or lemon leaves for garnishing
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Soak bread in water for 10 minutes, squeeze out excess water and crumble. In a large frying pan, heat oil and braise onion until golden (about 7 minutes). Add the ground cloves, garlic, salt, curry powder and turmeric and simmer for 5 minutes. Break the 2 eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly. Mix in the mince. Add the onion mixture from the frying pan to the mince as well as the hot water, lemon juice, crumbled bread and sugar, and mix to combine well.
Spoon the mixture into a well greased oven proof dish and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Topping: Combine the egg and beat well. Pour over the bobotie. Arrange bay leaves or lemon leaves as garnish. Return to oven and bake at 180ºC for 5-10 minutes, or until topping is set.