South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is Africa’s largest and most developed economy.  It’s main exports are gold, diamonds, metals, minerals, cars & machinery.  It is an extremely diverse nation, home to hippos, penguins, zebras, dolphins and of course ‘the big five’ (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and White/Black rhinoceros).  It hosts four of the seven fastest mammals in the world, namely the wildebeest, the African lion, the springbok and the cheetah.
A turbulent political history, dominated by apartheid from 1948 to 1994.  Racial segregation had been in place for centuries but a new policy, started in 1948 made it stricter and more systematic.  The people of South Africa were divided by their race and were forced by law to live apart from each other.  In 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid.  The multi-racial democratic elections in 1994 were won by the African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela and he became the first President of South Africa and also the first black president.   Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership of anti-apartheid activism in 1993.  The apartheid system was banned in 1994.
There are many inviting tourist highlights for visitors to South Africa; The Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, Kruger National Park, The Garden Route, Cape Town, Johannesburg to name a few!
South Africa’s Garden Route is the longest stretching wine route in the world.  Route 62 is 850 km long from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.  There are over 560 wineries in the Cape area.
It also has the highest commercial bungee jumping bridge in the world at Bloukrans, which is 216 metres long.  It’ll set you back £39.50 for the privilege.
When it comes to the food, again it is very diverse with influences from the Dutch, French, Indians and Malaysians.  Some of the recipes I came across were
Bobotie (meatloaf with egg based topping), Chicken Curry Potjie, Buttermilk pudding and Koeksisters (sweet twisted pastries).  I decided to cook Sosaties (grilled lamb kebabs).
Rating: 8/10.
Prep time: 40 minutes + 24 hours marinating time
Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes
Sosaties:
500g trimmed lamb leg cut into chunks
200g dried apricots
8 metal or wooden skewers
Sosatie Marinade:
1 tbsp apricot jam
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp crushed garlic
6 cloves
3 bay leaves
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp malt vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh ginger
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 cup water
Place all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well together.
Add the lamb to the marinade and mix well.
Cover and leave in the fridge for 24 hours (or more). Stir the lamb 3 or 4 times during the marinating process.
If using wooden skewers, soak in water for a couple of hours before using.
Soak the apricots in warm water until they plump up.
Remove the lamb from the bowl and thread it on to the skewers alternating pieces of lamb and apricots.
Reserve the marinade.
Preheat the grill or BBQ and cook the sosaties for 10 – 15 minutes, turning regularly so they don’t burn.
Meanwhile pour the marinade into a saucepan and heat until almost boiling.
When serving pour the hot marinade over the sosaties and serve.
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Sosatie ingredients
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Lamb marinating in sosatie marinade
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Marinated lamb in sosatie marinade
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Lamb Sosaties
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Hippo
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The Cape of Good Hope
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Cape Town
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Stellenbosch
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