Tried and tasted by Bok legends

The new Springbok Kitchen cookbook is now on the shelves.

By Louise Liebenberg

SPORT and food are two things that unite South Africans… and a new cookery book cleverly recognises this while also raising funds for charity.

Springbok Kitchen, aptly subtitled “Celebrating the love of food, family and rugby”, was written by former sports journalist Duane Heath, whose brother Warren Heath took the pictures.

It is a collection of treasured recipes of 40 past and present rugby legends who have swapped their jerseys for chef’s aprons.

 Chapters include The Warm-up (soups, rusks, breads and muffins); First Half (mains from the braai); Second Half (mains from the kitchen); Extra Time (cakes, puddings and biscuits) and, finally, Sin Bin, with fridge treats like Rugby World Cup legend Os du Randt’s peppermint crisp fridge tart!

You don’t usually think of Bok captain John Smit in a food context, but here he is, sharing his favourite recipe for butternut soup. Or, how about trying 1995 World Cup-winning Kobus Wiese’s Karoo lamb shanks, or 2004 IRB world player of the year Schalk Burger’s banana loaf?

I tested former Bok flyhalf Naas Botha’s New Zealand cottage pie, the recipe for which will be shared on The Global Table blog today (along with my verdict on Naas’s cooking skills!)

The recipes are easy and have a strong South African flavour, for instance in the form of Toks van der Linde’s biltong pot, Bob Skinstad’s “famous springbok pie” or JP Pietersen’s Durban-style chicken breyani. Even the Eastern Cape’s own Odwa Ndungane shares his recipe for tripe and onions with samp and beans.

Warren’s pictures make the dishes look delectable and provide an intimate glimpse of the Boks away from the field and the glare of the media as they relax at home with their families.

Springbok Kitchen is published by Struik Lifestyle and retails for R180. Proceeds will go to the Chris Burger / Petro Jackson Players’ Fund assisting victims of serious rugby injuries.

The Global Table tries out Naas Botha’s New Zealand cottage pie from Springbok Kitchen. Picture: Salvelio Meyer

Test Recipe: Naas Botha’s New Zealand cottage pie

Naas Botha was a Springbok flyhalf from 1980 to 1992, and scorer of 312 points in 28 Tests, according to Springbok Kitchen. I tried his recipe below for dinner last week… scroll down for The Global Table verdict!

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 onion, chopped; 1 Tbsp (15ml) canola oil; 500g minced beef; 2 Tbsp (30ml) cake flour; 1 Tbsp (15ml) tomato sauce; 2 Tbsp (30ml) chutney; 3/4 cup (180ml) beef stock; 4 large potatoes; a knob of butter; a little milk; salt and freshly ground black pepper; grated cheese (for topping)

Naas’s Method

‘Preheat the oven to 180 degree C. Saute the onion in the oil until light brown in colour. Add the minced beef and brown. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Add the tomato sauce, chutney and stock, and stir well to make sure the flour has blended in. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently – add more stock if the mixture becomes too dry. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Boil the potatoes in water, then drain and mash them with the butter and enough milk to make them creamy. Season to taste. Transfer the mince mixture to a pie dish, then spoon the mashed potato on top. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!’

The Global Table Verdict

At first I thought, ugh, this recipe is not going to work – there are too few ingredients to make the mince sufficiently yummy and I also like my cottage pie with some veggies included – carrots, celery… However the end result was downright delicious and I actually think now the simplicity of the recipe is a decided plus, as it’s one of those things you can easily whip up when the fridge or pantry are rather bare.

I followed the recipe to the letter except that I’d darn well run out of chutney, argh! But I came up with a clever substitution – some sweet chilli sauce and a teaspoon of brown balsamic vinegar! Sounds hideous, I know, but it actually did work fine and next time I’ll just do the proper chutney thing. There definitely will be a next time too, as this dish was extremely quick and easy to make.

My only suggestion is that you change the order a bit – I would actually put the potatoes on to boil before I start the mince, because the mince actually goes surprisingly quickly. You can then preheat your oven about 1o minutes before the mince is done and you are about to make the mash.

Re the mash, I used more than just a knob of butter – I used about three but didn’t think Naas would disapprove too much! Also, to make the mash a little more luxurious I mixed in a bit of cream instead of milk – don’t do it if you’re dieting! I found it served four but best have a side salad or some steamed veggies to go with it too, for the ‘honger magies’ in your household!

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