The apricots are beginning to ripen here in the Okanagan and so a few days ago a friend I and headed to our favorite picking site. The area is the site of the first apricot orchards in the Penticton area and many of the trees have long been abandoned. The owners of the land are either absentee owners or owners who cannot be bothered with the old trees and fruit. Luckily for us, this situation provides free fruit for us each year and I always look forward to seeing these old trees showing their strength by producing fruit long after anyone has pruned, watered or cared for them in any way.
As you can see in the picture above, I was able to climb one of the trees to get at the really good fruit that remained intact after the deer harvested the low fruit. It made me feel like it was really summer as I stood in the tree balancing while reaching for the best of the golden fruit., just as I had when I was a kid raiding the neighbours trees. I picked about 30 pounds of apricots and am in the process of dehydrating a second batch.
Today I am going to make apricot chutney which I love with Babotie , a South African sweet curry dish made with ground beef that I serve in the winter. I am looking forward to sharing it with my children so they too can prepare the comfort food of their childhood when they are away at university this winter or living in the north. The recipe for this favorite meal came from a family friend that we spent many a weekend and holidays with. They had three girls all about the same age as our three children and as we shared our lives, traditions and many meals together we came to have favorite foods we shared. One of the couple being from South Africa and wanting to enjoy some ‘comfort food’ from home caused Bobotie to be a regular on our menus. Preparing and eating Bobotie brings our family back to a time when we shared many good times together sleigh riding, hiking, skiing, swimming, bike riding and sharing special events and meals together with our good family friends.
I found a simple recipe for chutney on My Recipes that I will use but one of my favorite sites for preserving and canning these days is Food In Jars, so I looked up apricots and came across a unique way to use apricots. Check out the description given for roasting apricots with honey and spices and then preserving that mixture in jars. I am going to give it a try and afterward will post the quantities and names of spices I choose to use. For now, here is my Bobotie recipe and you can find the chutney recipe by clicking on the My Recipes link.
1 kg ground beef
1 slice of bread
1 cup milk
1 medium onion
1/2 c raisins
1/2 cup blanched, sliced almonds
3 tsp. apricot jam
3 tsp. fruit chutney
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. herbs
2 tsp. curry
1 tsp. tumeric
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. oil
4 bay leaves
Place milk in a shallow bowl and place slice of bread in to soak.
Chop onion and saute briefly in large frying pan.
Add beef and continue to stir until it begins to brown.
Add spices and mix thoroughly.
Add jam, chutney and jam, raisins and soaked slice of bread.
Stir mixture until all ingredients are well blended.
Place beef mixture into oven proof casserole dish with lid.
Add eggs to milk left from soaking bread and whisk. Pour over top of beef mixture, sprinkle almonds and lay bay leaf on top.
Cover and bake at 350F until custard is set.
Remove lid and allow the custard top to brown by cooking a further 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve with rice and peas.