I’m back! No, I didn’t forget about this new found hobby of mine. Instead, all of a sudden, I have a bit of a life going on (can you believe it?) and have no idea what has hit me! My usual relaxed, lay-low weekends have recently turned into holiday adventures with early mornings and late nights. Shane and I joined some friends on a holiday; travelling from Durban, through Swaziland to reach the other end, where we came back to South African soil, and made our way near The Kruger National Park. We spent a few days driving through The Kruger viewing as many animals we could find (I almost saw the big five but had to settle for the big four). The last day of our stay, we decided to go across the border into Mozambique; after all it was just a few kilometers away. Our mission was to eat prawns, find Tipo Tinto Rhum and see their sea.
The food experience was great! I ate a lot of biltong (a type of dried meat) of many varieties. We had a bon fire most nights and juicy steaks, boerewors (South African sausage) and pork rashes cooked over the braai (barbeque), accompanied with pasta salad, fruit and rolls. When we crossed the border into Mozambique, we headed straight towards the sea side area of Maputo. As we drove around, a bit lost and disorientated, we saw locals flame grill whole flat chickens over a half drum braai (barbeque) on the side of the road. Some men sat selling beers in a cooler trolley; something you would normally see make its rounds on South African beaches with cool drinks or ice-creams. We eventually found ourselves at one of Maputo’s oldest restaurants, Costa do Sol. With the ocean view, we ordered one of their seafood platters and two plates of prawns for the table. It was all lightly charred and smoky, we couldn’t go into the kitchen and see how they cooked their food, but we assumed the seafood was cooked over an open fire grill; much like those flat chickens that were cooked on the side of the street. The seafood was fresh, authentic to Mozambican culture and definitely more-ish! I have never tasted seafood like this before; this food experience is one for the books.
After a week back at work from this mini holiday, I found myself travelling three hours to St Lucia (North of KwaZulu-Natal) the following weekend. It’s strange; once you have done a long nine/ten hour trip on the road, three hours doesn’t seem that bad. With the perfect scenery and company, I once again spent an evening eating plenty of prawns and washing them down with tropical cocktails; you know the kinds that have the colourful swivel sticks and umbrellas anchored with fresh fruit.
These last two weekends have been a great adventure on the road. I have eaten great meals in abundance, and I can safely say I have seen just as much as I have eaten; which is a lot! Not taking away from the lovely and delicious meals we’ve been devouring on our weekends away; I could not help but look forward to the meals I knew I was going to have back home. There is something distinctly different between home cooked meals and restaurant meals. Although the meals I went home to were nothing out of the box, extravagant or even exciting like the ones I had during my adventures; I still found myself thinking about them, looking forward to the feasts and longing for good ole home cooking! My stomach even growled once or twice upon our returning home!
Now, I am finally back; living out my regular routines and have had enough sleep! I thought I’d share a golden oldie meal my mom has been making for our small family since I can remember; curried mince. It puts a spin on the regular savoury mince meal you make during the week and is easy to whip up. Cooked in advance or quickly on the night, this dish is especially great for those busy, working-class individuals with little time! It’s economical, tasty, spicy and enjoyable. To add some extra depth to this meal and take away some of the heat, this dish is best served with all the trimmings; yellow rice, sambles (tomato/onion salad), chutney (preferably Mrs Ball’s) and banana slices.
Curried mince ingredients:
1kg Beef or lamb mince
1 Tbsp Crushed garlic
2 Large onions
1 Tin Whole tomatoes (chopped)
1 tsp Chopped chili
3 Large peeled potatoes
1 Cup of frozen peas
1 cup of Bombay delight curry powder
Fresh dhanya (coriander) to taste
1 Tbsp Sunflower oil
½ Cup water
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 Large tomato
1 Large white onion
1 tsp Chopped/minced green chili
1 tsp White grape vinegar
Yellow rice ingredients:
½ Cup white rice
1 Whole Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Tumeric powder
1 tsp Salt
Finely dice the 2 large onions and pan fry in heated oil, until translucent. Add the garlic and 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) curry powder, stir the ingredients together and allow curry powder to be absorbed in the onions for 2 minutes. Add the following one after another; chopped tinned tomatoes, chopped chili’s and 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) curry powder. Add ½ cup water and bring to boil. Break mince up and add into boiling pot; stir to mix all ingredients. Add peeled and quartered potatoes, cup of peas, the rest of the curry powder, salt and dhanya; stir to mix all ingredients. Place lid on pot and bring to boil. Turn the heat down once it has reached this stage and allow to simmer for half an hour or until the potatoes have cooked through and are soft. Occasionally stir to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pot.
Finely chop fresh tomatoes and one white onion. Add a teaspoon (tsp) of green chopped/minced chili, a teaspoon (tsp) of white grape vinegar.
Put half a cup of rice in a pot, add water until half and add a teaspoon of tumeric, a cinnamon stick and a dash of salt. Boil for 20 minutes (or follow boiling time on packet instruction). Remove the cinnamon stick and drain the rice.
Serves 4 – 5
Extra: Add freshly sliced banana, sprigs of dhanya and chutney on top of the curried mince.