Since we started living out of boxes we’ve been eating more crap than normal. A time crunch in the evenings and a dodgy oven mean things like frozen chips, pizzas and waffles have appeared in the shopping trolley on a more regular basis than before. My body and taste buds are feeling the ill effects. In the midst of all this culinary hum-drum it was timely then that the lovely Elizabeth from Life on Hushabye Farm would host a blog linky to encourage us to delve into our cookbooks – appropriately called ‘the Love your Cookbooks linky’ and here’s my contribution: Babotie from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course.
Having relegated most of my books to storage I went back to this, one of my most used, most enjoyed books to try a little something new. I bought my copy of Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course about 15 years ago through an office book club. Back then I wasn’t the most adept cook and was still a veggie but I loved the fact that it had every recipe in there – from omelettes to bread; and lots of tips and techniques, all in one hardback tome. At this point the spine is a little battered and a good few of the pages are crusty with splashes of ingredients but this remains one of my most loved books.
My recipe choice is honestly limited by my kitchen. The only baking I’ve done in the last few months was a loaf of soda bread. Though I can knock up soda bread in my sleep, the stupid oven burnt one side black and yet the other side remained raw. Literally that oven bent the laws of thermodynamics just to piss me off. Happily this is a hob and then quick bung in the oven recipe.
Babotie is a pretty moorish dish that’s kind of a cross between Mousakka and a pasta-less lasagna. It’s made up of a bottom layer of lamb mince cooked up with various spices and vegetables, topped with a baked savoury custard. We tried it for the first time about 9 years ago in Capetown. We tucked into it after a day of wine tasting and our drunken tummies loved it. The boyfriend of the time even scored a free main course by managing to eat more Babotie than anyone imagined possible. Glamorous!
I loved this recipe. As a self-confessed lover of lamb I often buy the mince to try something new but tend to be a little stuck for any recipes other than Shepard’s pie, Stuffed Aubergine and Lamb Kofta. Some other Babotie recipes use raisins – which I knew I’d like but this one was more straightforward.That said if you’re someone who likes fruity curries add some dried fruit for that sweeter taste.
The Babotie was easy to make, a nice weekday dinner and went down well with Woodie who ate 2 and a half bowls and ourselves. The other pair dined on beans on toast. I know when to pick my battles. Try it. Its comforting, fairly healthy and a nice change. It goes brilliantly with a herby rocket salad and a nice glass of red wine.
For more great entries into Elizabeth’s linky check out these other entries here: