South African Spotlight: Bobotie Recipe

After a fun and informative journey through the United Kingdom, JNR now takes a look at some of the fabulous elements that make South Africa top even a seasoned traveler’s bucket list.

Situated on the southern tip of Africa lies the multiethnic society of South Africa. It is home to eleven official languages, though English is predominantly spoken. South Africa has 1,739 miles of coastline which draws surfers, fishermen and shark divers alike. The countryside is diverse and beautiful with safari adventures and serene venues for wine tasting.

The South African cuisine is varied due to the diversity in this region. Both indigenous and immigrant food are found throughout the country and include influences from Dutch, German, French, Italian, Greek, British and Indonesian cuisine.

The recipe we have chosen to share with you today is of Cape Malay decent and is similar to a spiced meatloaf with some fun additions such as raisins and baked eggs. This dish is often accompanied by yellow rice, coconut and banana slices.  The recipe can be adopted with pork or lamb instead of the beef.

South African Bobotie

Total Time:    1 hr 45 min

Prep:     15 min

Cook:    1 hr 30 min

Yield:    6 servings

Level:    Easy


  • 2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 ½ pounds of ground beef
  • 2 slices of thick-cut bread
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • 2 tbsp of apricot chutney (can be substituted for a mixture of apricot jelly and hot chutney)
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper (ground)
  • 2 small eggs
  • 1 bay leaf


Grease and line a 9” x 13” baking dish with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions until translucent then add the ground beef and cook until brown.

Pour the milk in a shallow dish and soak the bread. Remove the bread and let the excess milk drain back into the dish. Add the bread to the beef and stir in raisins, apricot chutney, curry powder, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the baking dish.

Bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining milk and eggs.

Remove the dish from the oven and pour milk mixture over the top. Place the bay leaf on top.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the top browns.

Remove bay leaf and serve immediately.

If you would like to learn about how JNR can organize a magnificent incentive trip where participants can experience the wonders of South Africa, please email

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Peruvian Spotlight: Inventions

As we wind up our adventure through Peru, we thought it would be fun to see what this glorious country has given us in terms of inventions. Let’s start with some of the earliest people in the region, the Incan Empire:

1)    Freeze-Drying

Thought this was a clever food storage solution developed by NASA? While they do use this process to keep astronauts sated in space, you might be surprised to learn that the first records of food being freeze-dried was potatoes in the high Andes. Incas would cover potatoes in a cloth and set them outside overnight. When the frigid temperatures would drop below 32° F, the potatoes would freeze. In the morning, the Incas would use the clothes to ring out any moisture from the potatoes and repeat the process until the desired level of freeze-drying was achieved.

These ingenious Incas would use the long-lasting potatoes as lightweight food rations for soldiers and extra was kept as an emergency supply of food in case of natural disaster, crop failure or drought.

2)    Rope Bridges

The Andean Mountains are not the easiest to navigate with sheer cliffs and cavernous gorges but like many other adversities, the Incas developed a way to overcome these natural hazards. Using materials abundant to the region such as cotton, grass and wool from llamas and alpacas, the Incas created sturdy rope bridges to help them traverse gaps as wide as 150 feet. These primitive suspension bridges were attached at either side to large stone structures and were often used in the morning to avoid strong winds that could turn the bridge into a hammock.  Not ones to forget safety, the Incas would rebuild the bridges each year to prevent the natural fibers from deteriorating too badly.

3)    Terrace Farming

Flat fields are not the easiest to come by in the Andes, so traditional agriculture that prospered in other parts of the world was not possible for the Incas. Their solutions…Terrace Farming!

Large stepped levels were created on inclines and clever construction meant that adequate sunshine, fertile soil and drainage let the Incas yield large crops.

The same temperatures that made freeze-drying possible put the crops at risk. The Incas built stone retaining walls around the terraces to not only hold the farmland in place, but also to absorb heat during the day and radiate it through the soil at night to stop the crops from freezing.

To make the most of limited space, “the three sisters” planting method was invented. Corn would be planted and allowed to grow to a satisfactory height before beans were planted. The corn stalks acted as support beams for the beans cling to as they grew. The last step was to plant squash at the base of the beans and the corn. This concoction of vegetation had a symbiotic relationship with the beans adding nitrogen to the soil to increase the nutrient level and the squash acting as a mulch to prevent weeds and lock in moisture.

4)    Llama and Alpaca Breeding Systems

These animals were paramount to the Incan Empire’s rise to power and daily survival. They provided fuel, fertilizer and meat.  Their hides and wool transformed into colorful garments often worn by nobility.  Through selective breeding, these domesticated animals were the ancient version of a purebred poodle. After generations of using this method, the Incas had llama and alpacas with all the specific traits they desired such as finer, softer fibers than traditional llamas.

The Incas were not the only inventive people around. Taking a look at modern day Peruvian inventions, there is the first modern rocket propulsion system by Pedro Paulet and an urban air cleaner that was built in response to the heavily polluted Peruvian capital of Lima.

5)    Rocket Propulsion System

Pedro Paulet was born in Arequipa, Peru in 1874 and by 1895 was the first person to create a liquid-fuelled rocket engine. His innovations did not stop there however, in 1900 he built what is now known as a modern rocket propulsion system and became one of the “fathers of aeronautics”.

6)    The Urban Air Cleaner

Taking a look at innovative advancements in more recent times, a group of Peruvians seeking a way to combat the ever-increasing smog in their capital city of Lima invented the Urban Air Purifier – 20 (UAP – 20).  In February of 2009, over 100 these UAP – 20s were installed in different areas of Lima, each one having the ability to filter 200,000 cubic meters of air per day or the equivalent of what it takes 1,200 trees to do. With air pollution killing more than 2 million people annually, we can all be thankful for this advancement which absorbs carbon dioxide, filters air dust and decreases harmful bacteria.

It is safe to say that Peruvians are an inventive bunch with many of the ancient developments still present in some form of our modern life today. NASA must be especially thankful for the work of Peruvians like Pedro Paulet and their astronauts happy that they have freeze-dried food to snack on in space.

If you would like more information on any of the destinations in our focus this month or on how to organize an incentive trip to Peru through JNR, please contact

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas


JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “Rope Bridge, Peru” by Krystelle Denis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Russian Top Chef Anatoly Komm’s Crab Dumplings Recipe

To kick off our “JNR Shows You The World” in 2014 series, we will begin highlighting 11 fabulous nations and sharing some of the amazing culture and history that each country has to offer. First up, a nation that has been on everyone’s mind lately: Russia.

The countdown has begun: in just a few days our screens will be filled with snow, ice and gold medals. Our top athletes will descend upon Sochi in what promises to be another successful showing at The Winter Olympic Games. If you’re like us, then you can’t get enough of the games or facts about the host country. Lucky for you, JNR is going on a deep journey through Russian culture and we’re starting today with a look at Anatoly Komm, one of Russia’s most celebrated Chefs.

Komm is the owner and head chef of five restaurants throughout the world, but it is Varvary, his establishment in Moscow, that is getting our attention. His 15 course tasting menu costs around $400 per person, takes 18 chefs an entire day to create and uses only local produce. He draws on his education in geophysics to craft experimental “molecular” cuisine where everything he serves is a modern twist on a classic Russian dish.

Are you up to attempting one of these intricate recipes? Try this crab dumpling recipe, based on the Russian dish of Varenyky, created by Komm and featured on the website Fine Dining Lovers.


Total Time:     2 hr 10 min

Prep:     1+ hr

Cook:    1 hr 10 min

Yield:    4 servings

Level:    Expert



Sauce for dumplings

  • ½ cup Zucchini
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp White wine
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cherry Tomato
  • 1 tsp Chili pepper
  • 1 tsp Flour
  • 1 tsp Parsley
  • ½ tsp Hondashi
  • 3 ½ tbsp Fish broth

Stuffing for dumplings

  • 2.8 oz Prawn
  • 2.8 oz Crab meat
  • ½ tsp Mascarpone
  • 3 tbsp Cottage cheese
  • Salt To taste
  • 0.4 oz Salmon roe

Pastry for dumplings

  • 4 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 small Egg
  • 2 ½ cups Semolina (durum wheat flour)

Crab Meat

  • 4.4 oz Crab meat
  • 2 tsp Starch
  • 2 ½ tsp Oil

Sour cream and dill snow

  • 1 ½ cups Sour cream
  • 1 tsp Dill



Sauce for dumplings
Fry zucchini with butter, add cut tomato, chili pepper, white wine, soy sauce, Hondashi, fish both, salt and sugar.
Add flour.
Add some parsley before serving.

Pastry for dumplings
Mix all the ingredients, put aside for 1 hour.

Stuffing for dumplings
Cut prawns and crab meat, add mascarpone, cottage cheese.
Bring to taste with salt.
Make raviolis of triangle shape with ravioli pastry.
Boil before serving.

Sour cream and dill snow
Chop the dill finely, mix with sour cream, put into piping bag.
Press out some amount, freeze with nitrogen and grind before serving*.

Put the sauce to the plate.
Place boiled ravioli and fried crab meat into the sauce.
Put salmon roe on crab meat.
Decorate with cress salad.
Serve sour cream and dill snow separately.

*If you do not have nitrogen, place in freezer until frozen and then use a zester or grater to grind before serving.

Our journey through Russia continues next week with a biography of one of their most famous and talented exports: Regina Spektor.

By JNR Corp

Written by Stephanie Thomas

A Fun Pho Recipe…Just Add Lobster

One of the things that I absolutely love about working at JNR is the unique opportunity that I have to dream up clever gift ideas for program participants on a daily basis. Every day I seem to learn something new about a different culture from around the world.

This was the case when I began researching ideas for a sales incentive program that would send our client’s top salespeople to Vietnam and Cambodia. My task was to select promotional teaser items that would be sent out to program participants to keep them motivated to continue selling and competing for the top prize. Both nations have such rich heritages and histories, so it has been a truly exciting and enjoyable program to work on.

Pho was repeatedly coming to my mind when thinking about Vietnam. To celebrate the amazing Vietnamese noodle soup, I wanted to pass along a recipe that I inadvertently found that combines it with greatest food (in my humble opinion) to exist: lobster.

I give you a Lobster Pho recipe courtesy of my favorite Italian chef Emeril Lagasse and the Food Network:

Total Time:                    1 hr 10 min

Prep:                20 min

Cook:                50 min

Yield:             4 servings

Level:            Intermediate



Lobster Broth:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
  • 2 teaspoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 pounds lobster bodies and shells
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in 1/2
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns


To Assemble the Pho:

  • 12 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3/4 pound chopped lobster meat, from the tails and claws
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onion, white and green parts
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 small green chiles, sliced
  • 2 small red chiles, sliced
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
  • Mint, for garnish
  • 1 cup bean sprouts, for garnish


In a large non-tick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and cook until just beginning to color, about 6 minutes. Add the lemongrass, cilantro root and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the lobster bodies, star anise, water, carrots, ginger, cinnamon and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, skimming the top to remove any foam that forms on the surface. Remove stock from the stove and strain through a fine strainer. Place in a new stockpot and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles to the water and boil until just tender, then drain in a colander.

Stay tuned for more great recipes from our program destinations all over the globe coming soon.

Written by Kristopher Hewkin