Nasturtium salad with prawn & avocado
This past weekend I hosted a dinner party. I wasn’t initially planning to serve a started because my main course of braised beef in a rich ale and mushrooms sauce was quite heavy, however I was struck by inspiration and I just had to make this dish! I deliberately kept the portion very small - just a taster of interesting flavours to come.
I am actually growing nasturtiums here there and everywhere in my garden to flush out the bugs and caterpillars, not really to eat. My mother used to force feed them to us as children to stave off a sore throat or cold - I remember disliking the taste very intensely and as a result I have never tried them since. I am not sure what motivated me to stick one in my mouth last week but I am thrilled I did… delicious! My taste buds have definitely changed over the years - some of my favourite foods now are vegetables I could not tolerate as a child.
Back to my starter.
To make this dish I first marinated the prawns in finely chopped lemon balm, French parsley, wet/green garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. I finely sliced nasturtium leaves and lettuce leaves (50/50 ratio) and also threw in a few flowers and more chopped French parsley for good measure. I dressed the leaves with a splash of olive oil and lemon juice.
I constructed the dish by making a little mound with the salad mixture and topped it off with a few slices of raw yellow courgette, a few slices of Hass avocado (South African is always best) and the prawns. I decorated the plate with baby nasturtium leaves, fresh garden peas and a nasturtium flower. If I had a squeezy bottle I might have tried to do little twirl of dressing around the plate but alas I don’t own one.
food recipe nasturtium herb salad prawns avocado
Recipe: Bobotie, South Africa’s national dish
I’ve read somewhere that every self respecting South African housewife owns and treasures a Bobotie recipe, usually passed down through the generations. I however do not possess one so I don’t know what that says about me. In the interest of keeping tradition alive I have tested a few recipes and I have finally settled on Frans Kleingeld’s winning recipe for Sarie magazine, with a few tweaks here and there to make it my own.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bobotie it is a curry dish of Cape Malay origin, a fruity kind of meatloaf with a baked custard topping. Beef or lamb mince are typically used and it ought to contain almonds. The recipe calls for apricot chutney and apricot jam - to be authentic one really cannot substitute these ingredients for any other fruit chutney/jam.
Bobotie is traditionally served with yellow (tumeric) rice containing raisins. Other accompaniments include desiccated coconut, sliced banana, Mrs. Balls apricot chutney, and a tomato and onion salad. For a lighter meal I serve it on its own with nothing but a big green salad to keep it company.
Bobotie recipe (serves 6-8 people)
You will need:
2 thick slices of brown bread
375 ml milk
25 ml olive oil or sunflower oil
10 ml butter
2 onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
30 ml curry powder, South African Rajah (medium) curry powder is best for authenticity
5 ml garam masala (optional tasty addition)
15 ml apricot jam
30 ml apricot chutney (Mrs. Balls is best)
25 ml brown vinegar
5 ml lemon juice
15 ml Worcestershire
15 ml turmeric
1 kg lean beef mince (lamb is also sometimes used)
100 ml seedless raisins (I usually halve this quantity or omit as I don’t like raisins)
100 ml flaked almonds
10 ml of salt
8 small bay leaves or lemon leaves
Preheat oven to 180 ° C.
Break bread into pieces and soak it in milk. Heat oil and butter in a pan and fry onions and garlic together until soft and translucent. Add curry powder, garam masala and jam and mix well. Add chutney, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and only half the turmeric.
Express milk from bread but don’t discard the milk. Add bread to onion mixture and mix well. Add mince, raisins, flaked almonds and salt. Mix well and cook over low heat until the meat just begins to color. Remove from heat. Beat one egg and mix into the mince mixture. Transfer into an ovenproof dish or baking tray.
Arrange bay leaves or lemon on top and push them in a little to ensure they stick. Beat two eggs with the remaining turmeric and milk. Pour slowly over bobotie. Place dish in roasting pan half-filled with water (bain-marie) - this will keep the dish moist. Bake for 1 hour.recipe food frugal food