A feast fit for a president

Source: Epicurious
Source: Epicurious

Not sure how to spend your down time this Mandela day after 67 or more selfless minutes? You could invite a few people over to enjoy one of Nelson Mandela’s favourite dishes, a few of which were documented in Anna Trapido’s book, Hunger for Freedom. You can celebrate the great man with your time, why not prolong the festivities by preparing some of his favourite meals.

Tripe, edible offal from the stomachs of cattle, was known to be one of our first democratic president’s favourite dishes. It’s an ideal dish for cooler days as it is a slow cook and will fill your kitchen with its warmth and fragrant aroma.

Tripe

Source: becou.com

Source: becou.com

Ingredients

  • 500g ox tripe, thoroughly cleaned and cut into strips or cubes
  • Ox intestines, also washed thoroughly and cut into pieces
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1 tablespoon sunflower/canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Aromat
  • 4 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method

In a large pot, throw all the meat and season well. Combine the rosemary and thyme into a bouquet garni and throw into the pot. Throw the garlic and onion in and cover well with water. Season with salt, pepper, curry powder and Aromat and let simmer on low to medium heat for 3 – 4 hours, constantly checking for water depletion and upping when necessary.

Serve with hot pap or dumplings.

Preparation: 25 minutes

Cooking time:  < 4 hours


If you want to have some quality time with the boys or girls after a long day of painting classrooms and fixing fences. You can take the opportunity to channel your inner George Bizos and make some Oregano and Lemon Lamb. Bizos was said to be great at braais and Mandela known to always be eager for seconds.

Oregano and Lemon Lamb

Source: Epicurious

Source: Epicurious

Ingredients

  • 1 whole lamb
  • 1 litre freshly squeezed lemon juice, free of pips (do not discard the squeezed lemon wedges)
  • 1 litre sunflower oil for initial marinade
  • 2–3 litres sunflower oil to add to basting whilst cooking
  • 1 cup extra virgin cold pressed Koroneiko olive oil
  • 3 cups Greek dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of salt per kg of lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Method

Rub the lamb with the squeezed-out lemon wedges. This will clean the lamb of any blood clots (in particular those at the neck) and infuse the meat with citrus flavour.

Make a marinade by combining the lemon juice and oils (1 litre sunflower, plus 1 cup olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper).

Wire the lamb to the spit firmly so as to ensure that the stomach cavity is facing upwards. To help the lamb stay in position, start wiring up the lamb from the back legs. Use the slit in the shank ligament of the hind left forequarter and slot the right leg into the cavity this creates, and secure with wire. Put 2 or 3 pieces of wire between the ribs, the vertebrae and the spit. Tie the neck and front legs to the spit. Make sure the lamb is secure as any limb coming loose in roasting becomes unmanageable.

Massage the outside of the lamb with marinade, putting salt from the bottom of the marinade into the fatty parts, and then pour half the remaining marinade into the belly cavity, making sure all the lemon juice at the bottom of the marinade is used. Sew up the belly cavity and secure the spit so as to leave the belly facing up. Use a blanket stitch with crochet cotton and needle to sow up the belly. Cover with silver foil and leave to marinate overnight at ambient room temperature. Retain the remaining marinade, making sure a minimum of lemon is left in it to baste the lamb while cooking. Add additional sunflower oil to the remnants of the initial marinade for the basting.

Ensure that two fires are made, at each end of the lamb (fore and back legs). The middle or flank does not need much cooking, and heat from the two fires is sufficient. Avoid flames coming into direct contact with the lamb as this tends to burn the meat. Seal the lamb initially on a very hot heat, using wood and lots of charcoal in your initial fire. Brush the marinade on to the lamb while cooking to keep it moist, using a pine tree branch as a brush (Bizos says “this is important because my father and grandfather did and it does give a slight pine taste”)

Ensure that the lamb is constantly turning.

Fat dripping or frothing means that the lamb is cooking. Bizos advises putting “a pan under the middle of the carcass (between the fires) and put some bread to toast – delicious as a snack replete with lamb fat drippings”

Add logs to each end as you progress. Depending on the size of lamb and your spit mechanism or firebox set-up, cooking should take 4–5 hours.

Test for readiness by inserting a carving fork into a hind leg, and pressing against the leg with the back of a carving knife. Lack of blood means that it is ready.

Catering establishments may chop up the lamb on a board. However in an intimate, friendly setting, carving it slowly whilst on the spit and coming back for more is the Bizos way. Indeed, aficionados tend to hover around the lamb, making requests for favourite tidbits as the carving goes on.


Lastly for someone who is looking to have a little sweet snack to nibble on, a good choice would be some juicy koeksusters. Our first democratic president was said to love those prepared in the kitchen of Mrs Verwoed.

Koeksisters

Source: Chirundu

Source: Chirundu

Ingredients

Syrup

  • 1kg granulated sugar
  • 800ml water
  • 30ml golden syrup
  • 15ml lemon juice

Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil for one minute. Add the golden syrup and boil for a further 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice. Take off the heat and cool overnight in the freezer. The outer crunch is entirely dependent on the syrup being ice cold.

Dough

  • 600g cake flour
  • 30ml baking powder
  • 2ml salt
  • 50g butter
  • 375ml milk

Method

Sift together the baking powder and salt.

Rub in the butter until it looks like biscuit crumbs.

Cut in the milk. Knead dough lightly, wrap in cling film and rest for 2 hours.

Roll the dough to 5mm. Keep dough covered with a damp cloth.

Cut into 5cm x 1cm strips. Wind the left strip around the right. Pinch ends together, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Deep fry, drain and plunge into ice cold syrup.

Note: In order to keep the syrup ice cold, work with the syrup sitting in an ice bath or have 2 bowls of syrup and keep one in the freezer so you can alternate as the syrup gets warm.

 

 

 

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