What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mince…your new best friend

If you are already trying to be thrifty you probably know my mate mince. He is so good for so many things. I am just writing today to big up the humble mince, which for some people is just for Spaghetti Bolognese. Not so! There are so many great ways to turn mince into a great meal. If you are health conscious you can also get really nice diet or premium mince which has a lot less fat than traditional mince.

My top 3 mince meals:

1) Lasagna

2) Meatballs

3) Bobotie

Now most of you probably know how to make lasagna and meatballs. But Bobotie, I hear you ask, what is it? Pronounced ba-boor-tea, it’s a South African mince dish that my mother in law has been cooking for years.

Now don’t freak out when you read the ingredients. Yes there’s some sultanas. Yes you put a custard like mixture on top with some banana. Yes you have to mush up some bread in milk. But it’s delish! Trust me.

I was explaining the recipe to one of my friends the other day and she said it sounded like the episode of Friends where Rachel’s recipe for English Trifle gets muddled up with a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie. But seriously, stick with me and you will get a sweet and savoury mince that is totally moorish.

Ingredients –

20g butter

1 large onion, chopped

500g minced beef

1 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp minced ginger 

2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp curry powder

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

Salt and pepper 

2 tbsp apricot jam or chutney or relish (whatever is in the fridge)

1 tbsp tomato sauce

2 tbsp sultanas

1 apple, chopped

1 squeeze of lemon juice (if you have it)

2 slices of bread soaked in milk and crumbled

4 bay leaves

250ml milk

3 Large eggs

1 banana

2 tbsp desiccated coconut

Method –

Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions until soft. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and fry the mince, without oil, until golden brown.

Remove from the heat, add the onions, spices, herbs, bread, sauce, sultanas, apple, and jam. Mix well and put into a medium sized ovenproof dish. Press the mixture down with the back of a spoon.

Beat the milk and eggs together lightly and pour over the mince mixture. Thinly slice the banana and place on top of the mixture, along with the coconut and the bay leaves. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until the topping has set and is golden brown.

You can serve it with rice but we just usually eat it on it’s own

Sorry I don’t have a picture of it, but to be honest it tastes much better than it looks. If you imagine a sort of lasagna / moussaka type of look you’d be on the right track

Have you got any mince recipes that you’d like to share?

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