Updated: Aug 21, 2018

My sisters and I schedule a few days each year to concentrate on keeping our ties. Easy, you say? Not so when we are spread out some 5000 miles. Each year we try something different and often to great lengths for our personal milestones. S4 had a milestone a couple of years ago that rocked my world. She chose springtime in Cape Town,South Africa. This began my love affair with all things South African, Trevor Noah included, and the maddening desire to return.

Food, of course, defines a culture like no other and Cape Town did not disappoint. We dined in Moyo's treetop buffet (sadly no longer open), *Ferryman's Pub at the Victoria & Albert Wharf and even a 10 course seaside fish bake that was, due to eating 10 courses of JUST FISH with a seashell on the beach, faintly reminiscent of Gillian’s island. The fish, of course, stands out for its freshness and who wouldn’t want to dine in a tree top? But what do the neighbourhood folks eat? In the USA it’s meatloaf, in Great Britain, shepherd’s pie and in South Africa it’s BOBOTIE (be’bueti).

Bobotie is a popular dish made with minced meats and an egg custard topping and there are as many variations as there are kitchens. This dish is old and well travelled. Similarities can be found between this dish and foods from Ancient Rome and C. Louis Leipoldt, a writer and gourmet, published a recipe for this dish in 1933, with its origins in 17th century Europe.

However the origin of this recipe is probably Malayan. The first recipe in print was Dutch, in 1609. It was made with a mixture of mutton and pork and many varieties have grown from that. Leipoldt’s recipe listed a variety of minced meats, breadcrumbs, milk, butter, curry sauce and the egg/milk custard.

I used a simple recipe from to test this out on my daughter and her family. I limited my ingredients to those on hand and had minimum expectations as the reviews for this recipe said that cook times and ingredient ratios were off. This is true, but here goes anyway, with a few tweaks to help you along.


2 Onions, chopped

2lb. Ground could mix this up with sausage or veal

3 slices. Texas toast...not toasted...thick bread slices 1 1/2-2”

3/4C raisins

1Tbs. Apricot jam

1Tbs. hot chutney...I used mild as I’m a big baby

1/2 tsp. Curry powder...I threw in a bit more

1. Bay leaf

Salt and pepper to taste

2C. milk, separated

2 eggs

* the published recipe called for 1 cup milk and 1 egg but that was not enough by a long shot. My above proportions were not generous so if you really want the custard to present and stand out start with the 2-2 and multiply to your taste

Preheat oven to 350*

Lightly grease a 9x13 pan....I used a glass casserole dish

In a skillet sauté onions in a bit of oil, add beef and cook until brown

In a shallow bowl or dish, soak the bread in 1 cup of the milk, squeeze out the excess and save

Mangle the bread and add to the beef along with the raisins, jam, chutney and curry


Pour the mixture into the dish and bake, uncovered one hour. ( I found this to be too long, the meat began to dry...would be best to cover with foil)

Whisk the milk, reserve milk and eggs. Pour over the meat mixture, lay the bay leaf on top and bake an additional 30 minutes and until the custard has a nice browning colour.

In my opinion this recipe is not enough of a stretch and is basically a deconstructed meatloaf with a sweet touch. It was a bit dry but was very good cold the following day, just like meatloaf! I plan to do the Leipoldt recipe from 1933 at a later date so look for updates.


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About Us


Fearing the empty nest? Don't! Since my children have flown the coup, I have had time to refocus on my passions of travel, art, and writing.  This little blog is a handy tool that helps me share what I have learned with others.


I grew up in the States, but have lived a large chunk of my adult life in the UK. I now split my time between London and South Africa as well as chasing the sun around the world. 


 When my nest emptied, I began to plan my trips according to my own schedule, indulging in going solo. Once one gets used to traveling solo, it can be a very freeing experience. I seek out interesting, informative and unique experiences, and proffer advice with my network of readers.  I also have a lot of fun!


 Spa retreats and personal growth travel are core to what I do.  If there was a master's degree in the art of booking massages, I would be a scholarship student! I also plan to conquer Europe one city break at a time and with all that effort, I need as many beach holidays as possible. 


So please enjoy reading my tales of travel. I hope you are encouraged to get on that plane and perhaps have a few giggles along the way.


When my large family was quite young, we lived in several international postings. In an age before Google Translate,  I negotiated the grocery stores of foreign countries in search of tasty ingredients. I soon became an expert at discerning information from food labels and also learned to cook healthy, quick meals from local sources. 


From this experience, I became quite the foodie, even before 'foodie' was a word. And now as an empty-nester and devotee of food travel networks, I  interpret those old recipes into smaller, even tastier versions. 


Being an editor and food/wine travel columnist,  I travel the world sampling indigenous recipes which I share on Old Bag on a Plane. I also love wine!


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