Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Steak on your Plate

Yesterday, 2 February, marked a very important day in the history of South Africa. It has been 20 years since F.W. De Klerk made the speech, which would see the beginning of a new South Africa, and the beginning of democracy in a country that had been colonized by the Portuguese since the 16th century and by other tribes from the Niger River Delta 2500 years before that. Not forgetting the bushman, who were here long before anyone can remember.

As not to steal the thunder from Mr De Klerk and bore everyone with the history of South Africa leading up the speech (25000 years is a rather long time to cover), I thought I would use this as a forum to celebrate the South African Nobel Laureates, of which Mr De Klerk is one.

South Africa has 9 winners starting with Max Theiler in 1951.

Max was born and educated in South Africa, he graduated from UCT in 1918. He left South African to study further in London and later moved to the USA, where he spent the rest of his fruitful days. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.

1960 saw Albert Lutuli being awarded South Africa's first (of 3) Nobel Peace prize's, for his role in the non-violent struggle against apartheid. He died in 1967, at the age of 69, after a fatal car crash near his home. He was succeeded as President of the ANC by Oliver Tambo.

It would be another 19 years before another South African would become a Nobel laureate. This would be another South African born and educated here, but who would leave and reach fame off this country's shores. Allan MacLeod Cormack, who became an American, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his work on developing the X-Ray.

My favourite laureate was awarded our second Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984. Desmond Tutu, our Rainbow Warrior, was the first black South African Arch Bishop of Cape Town. Who will forget watching his tears as he listened to the testimonies of the victims at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990's, or him walking down Adderley Street in his Springbok rugby jersey after we won the World Cup of Rugby in 1995!

Nadine Gordimer, a writer and political activist won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991. She truly showed how mighty the pen can be, her stories dealt with moral and racial issues during the apartheid era.

And enter stage right 1993, arguably two of the most famous South Africans - one of which has won more than 250 awards over 4 decades. I guess he is our most famous citizen and still to this day, almost every international celebratory or politician puts meeting Mr Nelson Mandela top of their "things to do in South Africa" list!
The other winner that year was F.W. De Klerk, and while he no longer enjoys the spot-light as much our Madiba, his leadership during those early days, working towards a peaceful transition to democracy in South Africa, can never be discounted.

Sydney Brenner, Nobel laureate number 8, was the winner in 2002 of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. A biologist, born and educated in Johannesburg, his parents were both emigrants to South Africa. He was one of the first people to see the model of the DNA structure. You would need your doctorate to understand all the work he did, but from the little that I understand - CSI would not be as interesting without his work!

Our latest winner in 2003 is J. M. Coetzee. He is now an Australian, who lives South Australia. He has won 2 Booker prizes and the Nobel Prize for Literature. His first Booker Prize was in 1983, for The Life and Times of Michael K and the second in 1999 for Disgrace, which was made into a movie starring John Malkovich.

So there you have the complete brag list of South African (and a few ex's) Nobel Laureates. It is a list which makes me proudly South African.

But all this talk of people achievement brings me back to one universal truth in life - everyone wants "steak on the plate" and not "pie in the sky". But with these wonderful Steak and Kidney Pot Pies, you can have steak and pie on the same plate! I have kept the flavours very simple, to bring out the taste of the meat, rather than drowning them out too many herb and spices.

Steak and Kidney Pot Pies

500g Stewing Steak (I used goulash)
200g Kidney (Lamb or beef)
Flour for dredging
1 Onion, peeled and sliced
½ Teaspoon Dried Ginger
1 Tablespoon finely chopped Fresh Thyme (reduce this if using dry Thyme)
A generous sprinkling of White Pepper
Oil for frying
250 300g Puff Pastry
1 Egg

Dredge the steak and kidney in flour - shake off the excess.
Fry the onion until soft and browning.
Add the meat and fry until lightly browned.
Add the spices, and combine.
Turn the heat to lowest setting, add a little water and simmer for about 1½ hours.
You need to keep adding water and stirring - don't add too much water at one time.
By slowly adding the water, you braise the meat (so it becomes tender) and get a nice thick rich gravy.
I like lots of gravy - but you can adjust this according to your preference.

Once the meat is ready, place into little oven proof pots and top with a pastry lid big enough to go down the sides by about 1cm.
Cut slits in the pastry lid to allow the steam to escape.
Brush the pastry with a beaten egg and bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.
Serve with either vegetables or salad.

1 comment:

Elle said...

My meat and potatoes guy would love these. That crust looks so flaky and good. Mmmm.

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water."

It is not your business to succeed, but to do what is right : when you have done so, the rest lies with God.
C.S. Lewis

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