Return to Corriebush, by Lynn Bedford Hall
Return to Corriebush was the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winner in the category Best Cookbook. Lynn Bedford Hall: When I wrote Fig Jam and Foxtrot, a collection of fictitious stories about women living in a small town which I named Corriebush, I concluded the introduction with these words: '... all the people ... have gone.
But perhaps their ghosts still wander about Corriebush, for it's a place that is not easy to leave or forget. At the time, I thought that was it. An end to my rambling through the mists of my childhood, inventing people and circumstances that allowed me to re-enter my years of growing up in a village in the Karoo; to share it, and in so doing to put it to bed. I was wrong.
Corriebush refuses to be abandoned. It demanded that I return; my six protagonists, my six whacky women, would not go away. And so here they have surfaced again: Maria and Anna, Sophia and Nellie, Amelia and Lily. Six gentle, kind-hearted but nosey women who loved nothing better than tea and gossip. They presented me with four more stories.
I have interspersed them with a collection of my recipes - some new, some revised, and some from previous works that simply did not want to be forgotten, like Corriebush. I look back now, searching for a reason - and perhaps it lies in the fact that I seemed to grow up in a never-ending summer of content. I believe that many people who have grown up in the Karoo will identify with this feeling, even if it is coloured with the sentiment that comes with the passage of time. Nevertheless, I stay with my childhood dreams and the memory of waking up each morning as the sun rose over the mountain, scalding the bushes and washing the kloofs in a fury of colour. The glow was reflected into my bedroom; it bounced off the walls and painted my eiderdown, which was covered in green chintz with those old-fashioned pink roses.
Ahead of me lay one magical hour before school started - the hour in which the town stretched and stirred into life. I would fetch my bicycle - clumsy old balloon tyres and clunking chain - and pedal through the streets that wound up to the flanks of the berg. The air was new and fresh, the oak trees thrummed with morning birds, and the town was mine alone. Down the avenue of purple jacarandas I flew, past the butcher's house — fleshy red biltong strung out on his verandah - past the ivy-smothered cottage where the mad woman lived (they said she danced on moonlit nights, stark naked under her fig tree), and when I heard the yawn of early-morning voices and shutters being opened - doef- as they hit the walls, I would head for home and breakfast.
This was how most days started, and usually ended with my parents and me taking an evening stroll through the slumbering streets, now relieved of heat and shadowed in the cool evening air. We would say goodnight to everyone sitting on their stoeps, drinking coffee, the men puffing on their pipes, quietly contemplating the swelter of the day and the welcome grumble of thunder behind the mountain. And when I slipped into bed I slept peacefully, knowing that my home town was special; the people eternal. That's how it was. And that's how it is with Corriebush.
Example: Chicken And Mango Salad
An eye-catching combination of bright ingredients goes into this salad of chicken poached in apple juice, mixed into a creamy curry sauce together with fresh mangoes, and finished off with nuts and coriander. Its as good as it sounds, is not difficult to prepare, and can be made in advance and refrigerated overnight. Serve with a rice or couscous salad and a mild fruit chutney - atchars would be too strong for the delicate flavour of this salad.
500-600 g free-range skinless chicken breast fillets
250 ml (1 cup) apple juice
2 whole cloves
a little sea salt
1 stick cinnamon
2 medium, firm but ripe fibreless mangoes, peeled and diced
chopped walnuts or pecans and fresh coriander to garnish
30 ml (2 Tbsp) oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
15 ml (1 Tbsp) curry powder
5 ml (1 tsp) turmeric
125 ml (1/2 cup) reserved chicken stock
125 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
125 ml (1/2 cup) sour cream OR thick Bulgarian yoghurt
Poach the chicken gently in apple juice with the cloves, salt and cinnamon for about 10 minutes, or until just cooked. Cool in the stock, then slice the chicken into thin strips across the grain. Strain the stock and reserve. To make the dressing, heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the onion and let it soften without browning. Add the spices and sizzle for a minute, then add the reserved stock and simmer uncovered until the mixture thickens, this happens quite quickly.
Press through a sieve, discard the onion, and stir the smooth sauce into the mayonnaise mixed with the sour cream or yoghurt. Fold in the chicken, then the mango, spoon into a glass container, cover and refrigerate. Before serving, check the seasoning and, if too sweet, sharpen with a little fresh lemon juice. Spoon onto a beautiful platter, and garnish with the nuts and a generous sprinkling of coriander leaves. Serves 6-8.
This is an extract from the book: Return to Corriebush, by Lynn Bedford Hall.
Book title: Return to Corriebush
Author: Lynn Bedford Hall
Cape Town, 2005
Softcover, 18x25 cm, 208 pages, several illustrations
Bedford Hall, Lynn im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Return to Corriebush was the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winner in the category Best Cookbook.
Fabulous Food is a collection of practical, reasonably easy, delectable South African recipes.
Fig Jam and Foxtrot is a cookbook with delicious recipes and heartgoing Karoo stories.
The Best of Cooking in South Africa is the culmination of many years of testing and tasting and reflects the very best of the author's culinary creations.