Tasty Tortoise Recipes

One of our garden residents

One of our garden residents

In Sedgefield we’re a bit obsessed with our tortoises. We even have street signs specially made to remind people to drive slowly so as not to flatten these plodding road crossers.

It’s not unusual to see someone screech to a halt on the verge, rush out, and carry a reptile to the other side of the road (ok, I’ve done it myself – more than once).

 So I was a bit surprised when reading a book on Cape Cookery to see four recipes using tortoise meat. The recipes are by our famous Afrikaans poet C Louis Leipoldt, and were written close to a century ago, making it unlikely that we’ll see Tortoise Kebabs at the local butchery any time soon.  But, just in case you and your tortoise are the only things to survive Armageddon I’ll post one here.

Tortoise In Jelly – extract from Leipoldt’s Cape Cookery

‘A rich jelly is made with seaweed boiled in a strong bouillon; a greased mould is coated with this, and sliced hard boiled eggs are set in the coating when it is nearly stiff.

There follows a layer of braised tortoise meat, with pepper and salt, and preserved pickled gherkins, sliced lenth-wise.

The remainder of the jelly is poured over and the mould is put in a cool place till the contents are firm. It is then turned out on a layer of lettuce leaves, garnished with young radishes and carrots and served with a sour sauce.’

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