Sunday, March 19, 2017

Kima - Ahmed Amin, Author


(Pronounced ba-boor-tea, the national dish of South Africa is a delicious mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy golden topping, not dissimilar to moussaka.)

2 slices white bread
2 onions, chopped
25g butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg packet lean minced beef
2 tbsp Madras curry paste
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
3 cloves 
5 allspice berries
2 tbsp peach or mango chutney
3 tbsp sultana
6 bay leaves

For Toping:
300ml full-cream milk 
2 large eggs

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour cold water over the bread and set aside to soak.
Meanwhile, fry the onions in the butter, stirring regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and beef and stir well, crushing the mince into fine grains until it changes colour. Stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 of the bay leaves with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.

Cover and simmer for 10 mins. Squeeze the water from the bread, then beat into the meat mixture until well blended. Tip into an oval ovenproof dish (23 x 33cm and about 5-6cm deep). Press the mixture down well and smooth the top. You can make this and chill 1 day ahead.

For the topping, beat the milk and eggs with seasoning, then pour over the meat. Top with the remaining bay leaves and bake for 35-40 mins until the topping is set and starting to turn golden.

Kima - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of:  Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; and A Book and A Dish

'I was alone, sitting under a tree, when I saw for the first time, a strange bird.  At first, I thought it was a raven, but it turned out, after I understood what the birds were calling him, that he was a Black Seagull.  He was as tall as you two, but that wasn't the strange part.  What was odd, was the birds asking him an unexpected question'.... 'They asked him if he could look into their future, and tell them how long can they stay here and make their living.  And he said, for six nights you can live free, and for two other nights you will have to hide, for I see clouds, rain, and lightning approaching from afar...'

Many years earlier when Kima was much younger than she is now, she learned she had a special gift.  She could understand what animals were saying as they communicated with each other.  This was also when she met the Black Seagull who could see farther than anyone else and by doing so he could predict and warn the animals of what was to come.  Now in her older years, Kima has met Alex and Alice after Alex finds a beach full of dying whales.  These two youngster will find that they have the fate of themselves as well as the animals on their own shoulders.

I can best describe this story as a Fable.  You travel with the Black Seagull, a Gray Wolf, a Dolphin named Shells and a Whale as they try to prevent the destruction of their planet as they know it as well as their species.  But what will cause this destruction?  The best answer is 'Man.'

Are we, as humans, really causing the destruction of the animals we share the planet with?  I found my answer to this question at the very end of this book when Author Ahmed Amin talks about the annual event of the whales that have been committing 'suicide' on the beaches of South Africa since 1928.  The cause?  Possibly magnetic fields created by humans.

The book was sad yet happy as most Fables are and ends with a lesson that we all need to take notice of.  Very enjoyable reading.

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