I'm delighted to introduce our guest for the day, Stan Trollip, one-half of the writing team Michael Stanley. And what could be more appropriate for Thanksgiving Day than a blog with a recipe in it? Over to you, Stan.
My co-author, Michael Sears – not the Black Fridays one, but the one from South Africa - and I have had many surprises since we decided in 2003 to see if we could write a novel.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, other than have HarperCollins offer us a two-book contract, concerned our main character.
We were told to write what we knew. Since both of us were professors, our protagonist was going to be a professor of ecology at the University of Botswana. He appeared on page one, smartly deducing that the human body that was being eaten by a hyena had been left there purposefully. Since this smacked of murder, we had to persuade a detective in the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department to drive the four hours from Gaborone to where the body had found. We chose an Assistant Superintendent to do this – a David “Kubu” Bengu. He jumped in his Land Rover with his sandwiches and soft drinks, as well as tapes of his favorite operas. And off he went. What a surprise we had when he arrived at the crime scene and announced that he had taken over as our main character.
“No!” we said. “Professor Bongani Sibisi is our protagonist.”
“No!” Kubu retorted. “Forget about him. I’m your man from here on out.”
And so he was.
We were gobsmacked. We had thought, as the authors, that we had control of what happened.
Kubu, it turned out, is a large man. His nickname comes from the Setswana word for hippopotamus – the third most dangerous animal in Africa, behind mosquitoes and humans. Like his namesake, he likes to take things slowly, but is very dangerous when aroused.
Probably because both Michael and I enjoy food and wine, so does Kubu, to such an extent that his loving wife, Joy, is forever trying to get him to diet. Joy’s concern for Kubu’s health is also shared by many of our readers, and we’ve received several anxious emails worried that if we don’t change his eating habits, Kubu may have a heart attack.
However, one email – from a reader in Belgium – suggested that we compile a small recipe book of food and drink that Kubu enjoys. In fact, the reader also suggested that we call it A Taste of Africa -a KUkBUk, a pun that Kubu would have enjoyed. So we did that, initially releasing it as an e-book. I think we sold about five copies – in reality, who wants to cook using an e-reader? So, a few months ago, we released it in paper form, and it has started selling quite well. In fact, we sold just about 180 copies while promoting our latest Detective Kubu mystery, A Death in the Family.
Some of the recipes include bobotie – a curried ground lamb casserole, steak with monkey-gland sauce (no monkeys are hurt in the preparation of this delicious dish), and the tasty desserts of melktert and malva pudding.
Here is the recipe for the latter: Malva Pudding – a traditional farm dessert.
For the pudding:
1 cup (225 gms) caster sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mls) apricot jam
1¼ cups (285 gms) cake flour
1 teaspoon (5 mls) bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons (30 gms) butter
1 tablespoon (15 mls) vinegar
½ cup (120 mls) milk
For the sauce:
1 cup (240 mls) cream
4 ounces (120 gms) butter
½ cup (60 mls) sugar
½ cup (60 mls) brandy, water or orange juice (brandy is best!)
To make the pudding:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
- Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
- Beat the caster sugar and eggs until fluffy, then beat in the jam until creamy.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the vinegar and milk.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk mixture. Mix thoroughly.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish and bake for 30 minutes.
To make the sauce:
- Melt all the sauce ingredients together and pour over the pudding when it comes out of the oven.
Since both Michael and I are South Africans, we decided to put back into the continent some of the great pleasure we’ve derived from it. So all proceeds of sales go to a marvelous charity based in St. Paul, Minnesota, called Books for Africa. Last year, it sent over two million books and hundreds of computers to numerous countries in Africa. The money we raise will help pay to send a container to Africa, containing over 20,000 books. So far we’ve raised nearly $900 and would love to reach a target of $1000.
The book is available at Amazon and Createspace for $5.00. If you don’t cook, please make a donation directly to Books for Africa.
Stan Trollip (half of Michael Stanley)
(Both of whom are pictured here. Stan is on the right, without the beard.) -- Marcia