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South African Comfort Food

mock ox tail

My children were driving back from Cape Town to Johannesburg where they had spent a wonderful summer vacation at the sea. I called to ask if there were any special requests for dinner on their return that night (Ok, I'll admit, it was also an excuse to check they were traveling safe!) and without so much as a pause they replied "Steak pie please"!   In this hot weather? I thought.  Somehow I'd always associated such food with cold winter nights and a fire glowing in the background. "And don't forget the glazed carrots, creamy mashed potatoes and minty peas" they added.   Well, that certainly proved one thing, no matter what the weather the nurturing, safety and security that comfort food offers is definitely soul satisfaction at it's best.

Home Steak Home!!

Oy! Clever me, I didn't discuss dessert with them.  Guess I'll just have to make another phone call a little later!
For me, comfort food takes me on another kind of journey. One down memory lane, where favourite childhood meals are revisited.   A feel good meal, packed with nostalgia, worth breaking any diet for with absolutely no feelings of guilt!

oxtail pie

Steak Pie

If there is one person who can make a steak pie, it's my friend Leigh. This is a hearty gravy-filled pie with a delicious flavour that always tastes like 'the good old days' . When I asked her for the recipe one day, she burst out laughing saying, 'this is your mother's recipe that YOU gave to ME!'  It is Nanna's Homemade Steak Pie and Minted Pea.

mock ox tail

Mock Oxtail

Why can't we get kosher oxtail?  This must be one of the most popular questions facing kosher butcher's in South Africa and many countries all over the world.    Unfortunately, for kashering reasons,  the tail is probably one of the most difficult parts of the animal to Treiber (de-vein) and during this process it could end up looking a little worse for wear!  Maybe what we're really missing is the unique flavour of this slow-cooked dish and the way the meat 'just falls off the bone'!  Hopefully this version of 'Oxtail' will offer all that and more!

smoked chick pie

Smoked Chicken Pie

Not knowing what lies beneath that lid of golden puff pastry allows pies to be wrapped up in their own mysterious delight.  And this pie is no different in that it is not a boring old chicken and mushroom pie, but a taste sensation all of its own.  Smoked Chicken Mushroom and Leek Pie is the ultimate in comfort.