It’s official, I need a holiday! It feels like the Christmas break, as short as it was, was a long time ago. You know you’re tired when Friday and Monday feel the same, your body is just exhausted regardless. I’m considering an African holiday.
I’m always curious about other people’s cultures and way of life. I find it fascinating learning the similarities and contrasts between cultures, customs and traditions, especially in the African continent. And in South Africa we have such a perfect example of how people can live in the same land but have unique cultures.
Obviously everywhere I go, I must go into the kitchens and learn to cook the different indigenous foods. Learn of all the local foods, fruits, veggies and delicacies. I don’t just want to go where tourists go and see what tourists see, I like going past those places to where everyone lives. I like eating where locals eat, drink where and what locals drink. And this almost gave me gingivitis in Thailand😁.
As I write this blog I’m reminded of an amazing experience I had in Zambia. My husband and I went on a personalised cultural tour to the local food market, where we bought local ingredients, then went to the tour guide’s house where his wife and I went on to do the cooking in the fire outside. We learnt of the different tribes and their origins, the parallels between their tribes and ours in South Africa. I even learnt there was a Nguni tribe in Zambia that had come from South Africa, KwaZulu to be exact as they ran for their lives from King Shaka. And how they speak a dialect of Zulu. Quite interesting, I could have great, great, great cousins out there…
I have not settled on my next adventure yet, but I’m curious about the situation in Zimbabwe, with a few safety concerns. Understandably so, especially since I would like to take my son with me. We have so many Zimbabweans in South Africa, I’ve had a few Zimbabwean friends and I’d like to know where they come from, how they live in their native land and what they eat as their traditional food. Because the friends I have are too modernized now ☺️. # no offense but you know you are!
Anyways, dinner tonight is not taking me to Africa, it takes me to South America with a homemade tortilla, with a recipe adapted from ‘thecafesucrefarine.com.
What do you need? Serves 4
200-250g Beef fillet
200-250g Ostrich fillet
3 rashes of back bacon
1/2 red pepper
1 whole onion
1 x Sweet potato
8 Cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper
Tortilla( makes 4-6)- 1 cup of flour(sieved),1/3 tsp of baking powder,1/3 tsp of salt, 30 ml of olive oil, 85 ml of warm water.
What to do?
Start with the tortilla.
Combine all the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, salt. If you have a big food processor you can use it, otherwise you can use a large bowl like your mama used to. Into the dry ingredients add the olive oil and mix, then add the warm water slowly combining the mixture. Until it’s well integrated into a big lump of dough.
Then out onto a clean, floured surface, and knead the dough until smooth. Portion into equal balls and place back in the bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth, rest for 15 minutes.
Then roll each dough ball flat and round for the perfect thin tortilla, on the same floured surface. I’m using my pizza cutter to get the almost perfect round shapes.
In a hot pan with a drizzle olive oil, just to coat the pan, place the flat round dough and let this cook and brown one side for about 1- 2 minutes, until you can see it lift off the pan a bit and the top side starts to bubble up. Then flip it onto the other side and this should take 30-60 seconds, then out of the pan.
It really is quick and easy. The dough is thin enough for it to cook through in a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook it as it’ll crisp up if overcooked. Don’t burn it either, it can get burnt so quickly. if you’d like to warm it up on the microwave before serving, it only takes 15 seconds. You can refrigerate these but not for longer than 24 hours, unless you freeze them in which case they can live almost forever.
The kebabs- cut the fillets into cubes and dice the bacon. I seasoned my beef fillet with salt and pepper before freezing, I have found this to enhances the natural flavours quite well. Cut the onion and pepper into squares and the sweet potato into discs that are not too thin as we want it to still be crunchy to add texture to our meal. And build your kebab alternating between the meat and the veg, topping with the cherry tomato. Season the kebabs with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper for a bit of bite. I’m not worried as my son has mommy’s sophisticated palate😝 so this is fine for him. But if you’re making this for kids too, they might not appreciate the spice.
Save the little pieces of everything left over for a salad. Every bit counts!
In a pan with olive oil or in the grill( whichever you prefer). I’m choosing the pan as I would like to finish the cooking in the oven, this is my preferred method of cooking steaks as I find it retains the juices better. Place the kebabs in the hot pan with olive oil and brown. When the meat has browned, pop into a 230 degree Celsius oven to finish cooking and for the bacon to crisp up a bit as well.
This should finish cooking in 10-15 minutes for medium rare fillets, cubed thick.
Pan sear the leftover pieces of veg and meat in hot pan with 1 tbs of olive oil, seasoning with only salt and pepper, preserving the natural flavours.
Serve on a tortilla, with the warm salad, your kebabs and top with slices of apple for extra freshness. The whole family loved it, the tortilla was so crunchy and soooo tasty. As for who wins the war, there was no consensus. I suppose we’ll have to do another battle. This is one of the best meals I’ve made this month!! The bacon just complements the ostrich fillet so well. It really does make the world go round.
Yummy, just look at my son’s face at the beginning of the post, if you don’t believe me!