Growing up in Africa dinners were very unsurprising. Monday was some sort of pasta, Tuesday lamb and veg and so it it went on. Friday was always fish and chips. Saturday was always a roast. The roast was a little stressful as my father coming from England wanted roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and gravy like his mother made! My mother found this quite difficult and there was no Aunt Bessie’s frozen roast potatoes. Sunday was my dad’s turn to cook and this was either a braai (bbq) or a steak. You only got the steak, no vegetables or sides, maybe a piece of white bread with margarine on it. I guess my mom used the same menu every week so she knew what to buy. Whilst my mom was great with different types of meats the vegetables were awful usually boiled to oblivion and I hated them. It did not help that my father and brother only wanted to eat meat and potatoes.
Looking back I realise whilst the vegetable options were limited my mother did explore some exciting dishes. We had tripe and onions along with steak and kidney pie. My favourite was this amazing chicken casserole with baby mushrooms. I have recently found my mothers handwritten recipe book I am going to try make this.
My mother may have had to cook every evening but she was very good at trying new things from quiche lorraine, cakes, sweets and she even did cake decorating with these amazing iced flowers. I found her recipe for a Zoo cake she did for my brother and one of my earliest memories was a cake she made that looked like a white wicker basket with flowers in it. I had a look at her handwritten recipes and noticed she has names in brackets written by the recipe, Joan, Freda and Susara all family members who must have given her the recipe. I have not inherited any of my mothers skills in the kitchen.
I do like to cook and love having dinner parties. Yesterday I went out and got lots of fresh vegetables with some meat to cook with.
I was trying to decide whether to make a ratatouille or a lamb dish.
I decided to have a glass of wine and make my famous North African Lamb. It is famous mainly because it is really the only thing I cook regularly. I have friends who have been fed this several times as I have forgotten they have tried it. I have friends who hate garlic, chilli and ginger and they have valiantly eaten this dish. I love it! It takes a lot of preparation and it is very soothing with some music and wine. I found this new artist called Dean Lewis I really like his music!
You need to skin the tomatoes and de-seed them. You also need to prep the aubergines with salt to get rid of the bitter juices, grind some spices in a pestle and mortar. You also need to make sure you do not cut your finger off with your newly sharpened knives!
Yesterday was a good day to make the lamb as I watched my neighbours coming and going and chatting to each other.
My kitchen looks out onto the main road and whilst on lockdown I have stood at the window rocking gently drinking wine and hoping to escape this was slightly different.
Cooking and looking out the window is a much more fruitful occupation.
I think the end result was good. I had the lamb with some couscous and broccoli. Unfortunately I was also talking to a friend whilst eating it and dropped my headphones into my glass of wine, oops!
The weather is good today and I have already been for a walk. I have two weeks before going back to my job and am going to seize every day. I am so grateful to be healthy, safe and surrounded by amazing friends. Love ya all!