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Paprika and Cheese Potatoes

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 10.15.13During the collection of recipes for the book Shisanyama, I received a number of versions of baked and braaied potatoes with cheese. This is my version, drawing inspiration from various solutions to the same problem, which is how to do some nice potatoes and cheese on the braai. To my mind, it’s always easier to get potatoes soft with a bit of boiling in a potjie, as opposed to trying to bake them soft from scratch. By using your cast-iron potjie, you limit dishes and impart maximum flavour.

 

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

1 kg bag of baby potatoes
2 tots olive oil
2 tots butter
1 onion (chopped)
1 bell pepper (green, yellow or red, seeded and sliced into strips)
8 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 tsp salt1 tsp pepper
300 g Cheddar cheese (grated)
½ tot paprika

WHAT TO DO

  1. Wash the potatoes, add them to your potjie and boil in water until soft.
  2. Now drain the water from the potjie but keep the soft-boiled potatoes in the potjie. Add the olive oil, butter, chopped onion, bell pepper strips, garlic, salt and pepper to the potjie and now stir-fry everything for a few minutes until some things become caramelised and golden brown.
  3. Now use your wooden spoon or braai tongs and press on some of the potatoes so they burst at the seams, allowing some extra flavours to develop and penetrate the potatoes. Stir-fry for another minute or three.
  4. If things at the bottom of the potjie get sticky and want to burn, add a bit of water, olive oil, beer, wine or stock and scrape lose anything sticky.
  5. You now add the grated cheese and sprinkle paprika on top of that. Close the lid of the potjie and take the potjie off the fire. Add a generous helping of coals onto the lid of the potjie – as much as you can fit onto the lid – and wait a few minutes for the cheese to start melting. Once the cheese has melted, your potatoes are good to go!

CHOCOLATE RISOTTO

Ep_22_Resep_03This is one of those “excuse me?” recipes. People will think you have made a mistake when you tell them you are serving chocolate risotto for dessert. But don’t be dissuaded by their disbelief, because serving this will make you stand out as a culinary genius – this recipe is a real showstopper. It’s simple, easy to make, and most importantly, absolutely decadently delicious.

WHAT YOU NEED: (Feeds 6)

2 tots butter
1 cup risotto rice
2 tots cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
500 ml fresh cream
1 tin coconut milk
250 ml milk

For serving:
1 chocolate slab of your choice
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Any type of cookies, biscuits of wafer chocolates like Nutty Crust, or chocolate fingers like Kit-Kat or wafer biscuits.

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Place all the ingredients for the risotto into your pot – you are basically making a soup with all the ingredients – and then add the risotto. Stir and mix everything together. The cocoa will drift a bit on top, but as soon as you add heat, everything will mix together.
  2. Place the potjie on the fire and start cooking the risotto over very mild and medium heat. You do not have to stir all the time, but with ingredients like milk and cream, you need to stir more often than not.
  3. Let this slowly cook and simmer, stirring more often than not, for 30-40 minutes. If you think you need a bit more liquid, add a bit of water. The risotto will become thick and creamy once cooked and ready.
  4. While the risotto is still cooking, roast your coconut in a pan for a few minutes until golden brown. Now, grate the chocolate over the risotto, the same way you would do with parmesan cheese if this was a savoury recipe.
  5. Dish up the risotto into your dedicated bowls or cups and sprinkle the roasted coconut over and serve with a cookie or biscuit of your choice.

BANANA BREAD POTJIE

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 18.15.15In a world of uncertainty, there are always things you can be sure of. Bananas becoming too old to eat before you’ve got to them is one of those certainties. This might happen at home in your kitchen, but very often also happens in one of your food crates while touring or on holiday. When those brown spots of age appear on your bananas, this is your cue to make and bake a banana bread potjie – something absolutely fantastic.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 1 loaf)

6 ripe bananas
1 cup butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups white bread or
cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tot milk

WHAT TO DO

1. Start off by peeling the bananas, cutting them into smaller pieces and mashing them with a fork.

2. In your no. 10 flat-bottomed potjie, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. This mixing can be done with a fork or a wooden spoon.

3. Now add the mashed bananas and lemon juice and mix well until you have a smooth batter.

4. Add the flour and baking soda and mix that in. Lastly add the milk and mix that through to form a smooth batter.

5. Put the lid on your potjie and bake the banana bread with the potjie on a stand on medium-hot coals, with some coals on top of the lid as well. It should take about 50 minutes until cooked and golden brown but if the heat is too high, it might be quicker, so check after 30 minutes so it does not burn.

6. Serve chunks of banana bread generously lathered with butter

Steak with marrow bone sauce

_BP_3883
This recipe is a nice party trick to serve with your steak at the next braai. Instead of the usual pepper or cheese sauce, use the rich taste of marrow to compliment your steak.WHAT YOU NEED: (Feeds 4)

4 marrow bones, cut lengthways
Salt
Pepper
For the sauce:
1 Onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup beef stock
2 tots dijon mustard
1 tot sherry or sweet dessert wine
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and pepper to tasteWHAT TO DO:

  1. Light a big fire and start prepping your marrow bones. Braai the marrow bones with the flesh side down for 3 – 4 minutes. Turn the marrow bones around and braai with the flesh side upwards. Season with salt and pepper and braai until the marrow starts to bubble and cook.
  2. Remove from the braai and scrape braaied marrow from the bones into your pan.
  3. Heat your pan and fry onion&garlic until soft with the marrow.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and add the dijon mustard and muscadel or sherry. Let this simmer for a  few minutes.
  5.  Add 1/2 cup white wine  and 1/2 cup beef stock and let this sauce simmer and reduce until nice and thick and rich, while you braai your steak.
  6. Slice your steak into strips and serve the steak dressed with the sauce.

Pot roasted buns

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 13.03.03POT-ROASTED BUNS

We all agree on the cult status of braaibroodjies, or as the Queen refers to it, South African fire-toasted braai sandwiches. But there are also two other major players in the braai-bread market. They are of course roosterkoek – bread rolls baked on the grid – and potbrood, which is a bread baked in your potjie on the fire. What follows below drew inspiration from various submissions. And so, for our next magic trick, we’re packing the flavour right into the dough and we’re giving the rolls the brilliant benefit of some potjie taste!

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 8)
1 onion (chopped)
1 packet (200g) bacon (chopped)
500g white bread or cake flour
1 packet (10 g) instant yeast
1 tot sugar
½ tot salt
1 cup Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tot fresh oregano (chopped)
1 cup water (lukewarm)
2 tots olive oil
1 cup fresh cream
butter (to serve)

WHAT TO DO

1. Heat some oil in your fireproof pan and fry the chopped onion and bacon until cooked. You can also do this step on the stove in your kitchen.
2. Place the flour, yeast, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and mix until well combined. Add the bacon, onion, cheese and oregano, and mix well.
3. Add a little bit of lukewarm water to the mixture and mix well, adding a bit more water at a time until you have what resembles a dough. You will need roughly one cup of lukewarm water for 500g of flour, but add a little more if you need to.
4. Use clean hands to knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes until it is soft and elastic.
5. Place the dough mixture back into your mixing bowl, leave it in a warm place, for example, the general vicinity of the fire or covered with a cloth in the sun. Leave it to rise for about 30 minutes.
6. After half an hour, knock down the dough, kneading for another few minutes.
7. Add olive oil to your no.10 flat-bottomed potjie, making sure the bottom and all the sides are coated in oil.
8. Shape the dough into balls, somewhere between the size of golf balls and tennis balls, and pack them into the potjie in a single layer.
9.Pour the cream over the dough balls and sprinkle any extra grated cheese you coincidently have lying around over that.
10.Now put the lid on the potjie and bake over medium coals, also adding a few coals to the top of the potjie lid. Don’t be overly aggressive – bread has a tendency to burn.
11. After about 40 minutes, carefully lift the lid, making sure that no ash or coal from the lid falls into the potjie. The bread should be golden brown and baked. Serve warm from the fire, lathered with butter

Chocolate Braaibroodjies

Screen Shot 2018-10-25 at 11.30.44So we all agree that a braaibroodjie is probably the best meal in the world. Then it just makes sense to make a dessert braaibroodjie.  Now you can have braaibroodjies for starters, main meals and dessert.

WHAT YOU NEED: ( makes 8 braaibroodjies)

16 slices of white bread
Soft butter to spread on the bread
1 jar Nutella or chocolate spread
2 x 100g slabs of hazelnut chocolate, chopped finely
1 cup pecan nuts, chopped finely
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Butter the outsides of all your bread slices. Turn the bread around and spread Nutella over the inside of 8 slices of bread.
  2. Cover the Nutella slices generously with chopped chocolate and pecan nuts.
  3. Cover the bread with the other slice of bread and braai in a hinged grid over medium heat. Turn often to make sure the chocolate melts evenly, and the outside of the bread is nice and toasted.
  4. Just before they are done, mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle the sugar over the  toasted bread. Toast on the fire again on both sides for 1 – 2 minutes.
  5. Serve the chocolate braaibroodjies with ice cream, or just as is!

 

Mieliepap Fish cakes

Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 08.23.48The mieliepap adds a great crunch and texture to this recipe. You are welcome to use any type of firm white fish, even left over snoek from your braai can work.

WHAT YOU NEED:

500 g fresh fish
3 spring onions
1 tot fresh parsley, chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 potatoes, cooked and mashed
Salt and pepper
1 cup maize meal

For the sauce:
250 ml french style mayonnaise
3 medium size dill gherkins, chopped\
1 tot chives, chopped

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Season your fish with salt and pepper and braai over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes until the fish is cooked and flaky. In a pot, cook the potatoes, leaving the skins on, until very soft
  2. Let the fish cool down while you mash your potatoes and season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Flake the fish and add to the mash potatoes. Add the parsley, lemon juice and zest and mix well to combine with a wooden spoon. Taste again to see if you should add more salt and pepper.
  4. Sprinkle a clean surface with your maize meal and place a scoop of the potato and fish mixture on the surface. No dust the tops of these potato scoops with more maize meal.
  5. Use your spatula to flatten the fish cakes and grill them over flames on your fire on your cast iron plate in a bit of oil over medium heat until the maize meal is brown and crunchy.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce and serve the fish cakes with the sauce.

MUSHROOM BURGERS

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 11.57.08This is a revolutionary burger. It’s the vegetarian meal that meat-eaters love. I like to make them using those
normal supermarket hamburger rolls with no substance, as it keeps the focus on the mushroom.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)
6 giant mushrooms
6 soft hamburger rolls
plain cream cheese
feta cheese (I like the kind with bits of black pepper but any type will do)
garlic butter

WHAT TO DO
1. Slice the rolls and spread cream cheese onto the bottom half of each roll.
2. Braai the mushrooms on medium-to-hot coals until nicely browned and fairly soft, for a total of about 6–8 minutes. Braai them for 3 minutes with the bottom (black) side facing downwards. Then flip them over, scoop a bit of garlic butter into each and then braai with the top (white) side facing downwards until they are soft. They turn quite easily and if you are gentle they will not break apart, so either an open or hinged grid is fine.
3. Put one mushroom on each prepared roll and crumble feta cheese over that.
4. The burgers can be eaten immediately and juices from the mushrooms will seep into the roll as you eat.

WHAT TO DO FOR GARLIC BUTTER
Very simply you mix chopped garlic and butter. If you have parsley on hand you chop that and mix it in as well. For 6 mushrooms you’ll need 1–2 tots of butter, 1–2 cloves of garlic and ½ tot of parsley.

Tomato Risotto

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 14.14.18This is comfort food at its best! Serve it as a main meal or as a side to your boerewors or steak braai. Also note that I make this risotto in my own way, you first make a soup full of flavour, then add the risotto rice, and then let it simmer until thick and creamy.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1 tot olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tin tomato puree
1 tin cherry tomatoes
500 ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup Risotto rice
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Heat the oil in your potjie and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the tomato puree and cherry tomatoes and this simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock, season with salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes for the flavours to develop.
  3. Add the cup of risotto, stir, and cover with the lid.
  4. Let this pot simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until the risotto is thick and creamy and all the liquid is absorbed. You have to ift the lid and stir every 4 to 6 minutes, to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the potjie.
  5. When you are happy with the consistancy of the risotto, add the cheese, and mix well.
  6. Serve with fresh basil, black pepper and your favourite braai food.

 

Mieliepap Tert

Screen Shot 2018-09-27 at 15.03.19The traditional recipe for the iconic mieliepap tert consists of layers of pap, tomato, cheese and other delicious ingredients like bacon, mushrooms.  In this case, I just mixed it all together, let the flavours combine, and in such a way you create this amazing flavour of pap and all the other ingredients together. Give it a try next time you are having.a braai.

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the pap:

2 cups maize meal
3 cups water
salt

For the rest of the mixture:

1 tot olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 packet streaky bacon
1 punnet mushrooms, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup cream

WHAT TO DO:

  1. First prepare your pap. Mix the pap, water and salt together, let the pap simmer on low heat for 30 minutes with a lid, stirring every now and then until the pap is cooked and a nice texture. Set aside.
  2. In your black no.10 potjie,on the fire, heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the bacon and fry until cooked. Then add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes until soft and cooked.
  3. Now add your cooked pap, break it up into pieces and mix everything together in the potjie.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stir, then add the cream and grated cheese. Mix it lightly together and cover with the lid. Add coals on top of the lid and let the potjie bake over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with your favourite braai meat and enjoy!

MY FIRST FAVOURITE PASTA

My first favourite pastaDuring my formative years of high school, my father expected me to start taking over part of the braai duties, like making the fire. As I progressed in my braai career, I was later even allowed to turn the grid, on his instruction from a chair of course. At that time my mother also started teaching me a few kitchen fundamentals, like how to make a lasagne. During this era of my life, one of our family’s favourite restaurants served a pasta that I absolutely loved. So much so that at that young and inexperienced age I embarked on a research and development project to recreate that dish at home.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4–6)
500 g pasta
1 tot olive oil
1 tot butter
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 packet bacon (250 g, chopped)
1 punnet mushrooms (250 g)
4 chicken breast fillets
salt and pepper
1 cup cream
fresh green herbs (chopped, optional for serving)
lemon wedges (to serve, optional)

WHAT TO DO
1. Place your classic three-legged potjie on the fire and boil the pasta in salted water until 80% done. The trick here is to not boil it all the way, as we’re going to add it back to the meal later for a second round of cooking. Drain the partly cooked pasta from the pot and preserve some of the liquid in a cup.
2. Put the potjie back on the fire and add the oil, butter and chopped onion. Sauté the onion for a few minutes until it starts to get a nice colour.
3. Now add the chopped garlic, chopped bacon and mushrooms to the pot. Depending on the size of the mushrooms and how much you like to make extra work for yourself, you can either chop or not chop them. Stir-fry until the bacon and mushrooms are cooked.
4. While the bacon and mushrooms are cooking, scrape some coals from the fire and braai the 4 chicken breast fillets. You can season them with normal salt and pepper or your favourite braai spice. Chicken breast fillets take about 6 to 10 minutes to braai, so this meal is going to come together very nicely at the end!
5. Back to the pot: Once you are happy with the bacon and mushrooms, add the 80% cooked pasta from step 1 back to the pot and add the cream to it. Stir through paying specific attention to the fact that the pot should not run dry and burn. If at any stage the pot looks a bit dry, add some or all of the pasta water you preserved in step 1.
6. Once the chicken breasts are braaied, remove them from the fire and artfully slice them diagonally into strips. Now mix the chicken breast strips into the pasta.
AND…
If you’re so inclined and attuned to the finer details, the meal can be finished with a drizzle of high-quality South African olive oil, fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice.

SHERRY BOEREWORS SLIDERS

Sherry Boerewors slidersA ‘slider’ is the culinary term for a miniature hamburger or more accurately, a small piece of meat served on a mini bread roll. Forming and braaing miniature little patties always seemed like far too much hard work to me, as both the preparation and the braaing would be complex. Boerewors was an easy solution to this. My other problem with sliders is that they are sometimes heavy on the bread and light on the meat. Again, this is something we can solve by simply not closing them with another piece of bread, thereby upping our ratio of meat to bread. Sherry, the original Old Brown type, is a very good value-for-money product to braai with, and one of the core ingredients of this recipe. The sweetness of the sherry complements the spiciness of the boerewors perfectly.
WHAT YOU NEED (makes about 30 pieces)
1.2 kg boerewors (medium thick)
2 cups sherry
1 tot olive oil
1 tot butter
3 onions (finely chopped)
3 cloves garlic
1 long fresh baguette
skewers

WHAT TO DO
1. Cut the boerewors into pieces of about 6 cm each.
2. Put the pieces of meat into a bowl and pour the sherry over them. Cover the bowl and let the boerewors marinate in a fridge for a few hours.
3. Remove the boerewors pieces from the sherry and skewer them. It doesn’t matter how many skewers you use as it’s not a case of a skewer per person. Do not discard the sherry.
4. When the fire is lit, heat up a fireproof pan or potjie and sauté the chopped onion in the oil and butter for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
5. Pour all the sherry that the boerewors was swimming in into the pan or potjie with the onion and garlic and bring to the boil. Stir regularly and let this cook and reduce by half.
6. Put the marinated boerewors skewers in a hinged grid, close the grid and braai over hot coals for about 8 minutes until done. Give each side at least two looks at the coals, meaning you need to turn the grid at least three times in total.
7. During the braai, you or one of your braai party members can cut the baguette in thin slices (we want maximum meat-to-bread ratio so keep the slices thin).
8. Arrange the slices of baguette on a platter and give each piece some of the sherry and onion sauce.
9. When the boerewors is ready, take it off the fire, pull out the skewers and place a piece of braaied sherry-infused boerewors on each prepared slice of baguette.

CINNABUNS

GBP_9624WHAT YOU NEED:

For the dough:
500 g cake flour
1 tot sugar
1 packet (10 g) instant yeast
Pinch of salt
1 cup lukewarm water

For the filling:
1/2 cup tots soft Butter
2 tots Cinnamon
2 tots Soft brown sugar
1/2 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 tots honey

For the sauce
:
1 tub (250 g) cream cheese
1/2 cup milk (depending on how you like the sauce to be)
1 cup icing sugar


What to do:

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and yeast together. Pour the lukewarm water over the flour and start to knead the mixture until you have a soft elastic ball of dough.
  2. Place the dough in a warm place and let it rise to double the size.
  3. Dust a clean surface with flour and knock down the dough for the 2nd time. Use your rolling pin or any heavy object and roll out the dough into a big rectangle.
  4. Spread the butter over the dough, followed the cinnamon, sugar, nuts, raisins and finally drizzling some honey all over.
  5. Use your hands and neatly roll op the rectangle, making sure to keep all the stuffing inside.
  6. Cut the long log into smaller rounds, and place into your potjie that has been prepared with butter,oil or non stick spray.
  7. Bake on the fire o medium hear with coals at the bottom and on top for about 30 – 40 minutes. until cooked inside.
  8. Mix all the ingredients together for the sauce , and drip over the cinnabns.

BRAAI FREEDOM FIGHTER

Freedom FighterThe Braai Freedom Fighter does not play games. It’s a robust burger with little interest in debate and it dominates your plate. You use 100% pure red meat (steak) to make the burger patties, and the sauce is made with the finest red ingredients known to braai kind – significant figureheads like red onions, red bell peppers, paprika, cayenne pepper and tomato. Even the stock we use to bring it all together is beef stock, stock from a red-blooded 100% red meat animal. If the ferocity of the Braai Freedom Fighter scares you, enjoy it with a dollop of fresh sour cream, as the two complement each other very well.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

1 kg steak mince
4 hamburger rolls (buttered)
1 tot olive oil
2 red onions (sliced or chopped)
2 red bell peppers
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped)
1 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper
2 tots paprika
2 tomatoes (chopped)
1 tot tomato paste
½ cup beef stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black
pepper sour cream (for serving; a 250 ml tub is more than enough)
parsley (to garnish)
WHAT TO DO
1. Heat the oil in a potjie and fry the onions and peppers for about 4 minutes until they start to soften, then throw in the garlic. Onions take longer to cook than garlic, so always fry onions before adding the garlic. This is general advice and is not only applicable to this recipe.
2. Add the chilli powder and paprika and toss to release their flavours. Then also add the tomatoes, tomato paste and beef stock, and mix to combine them all. Bring to the boil, close the lid and simmer until you start to braai the patties. Basically you want to let it simmer so that the flavour can develop while the fire burns down and you can start to braai. Check every now and then to stir the potjie and make sure it doesn’t cook dry. You want the sauce to thicken but you don’t want it to burn.
3. Making and braaing 100% beef patties is comprehensively described for hand-chopped burgers (page 28). In the case of the Braai Freedom Fighter I usually go for homemade machine-minced meat. It’s a little less effort than hand-chopped mince but the Braai Freedom Fighter sauce is so dominant that you will barely notice the difference. Otherwise get good mince from your butcher.
4. Form the 1 kg of fantastic mince into four patties using your recently washed hands and braai over very hot coals for 8 minutes, turning only once. Grind or sprinkle sea salt and black pepper on both sides just before, or during the braai. The patties get no other binding ingredients or seasoning.
5. When you start braaing the patties, take the lid off the sauce and let it reduce to your liking, adding extra heat under the potjie if necessary to get it reducing more rapidly.
6. During the final minutes of the braai, toast the insides of the cut and buttered rolls on the grid over the coals for bonus points.
7. Assemble the burgers: Roll, patty, Braai Freedom Fighter sauce, dollop sour cream, chopped parsley.

ITALIAN BRAAI BRUCHETTA

GBP_9669Serve this Italian inspired meal as a snack before you start to braai your main course. This recipe is super easy, but looks very impressive. Friends and family will all be impressed and asking you for the recipe.

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the olive oil spread:
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly
Few sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Salt
2 tots Olive oil

For the tomato salad
500g cherry tomatoes chopped roughly
1 tot Olive oil
1 tot Balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bunch of fresh basil

For the tomato skewers:
500 g tomatoes
Skewers

French Baguette bread
2 wheels (200 g) feta cheese

WHAT TO DO:

  1. Place the garlic, thyme and salt into you mortar and use the pestle to make a smooth paste. Add the olive oil and mix well. I you don’t have a mortar and pestle, chop everything together as finely as possible and add to the olive oil.
  2. Spread the bread slices with garlic olive oil and lightly toast the bread slices on a grid over hot coals with the oiled side down.
  3. Place the mixed tomatoes on the skewers and braai over hot coals until roasted and charred.
  4. Make the tomato salad by chopping up the tomatoes, seasoning with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Build your braai bruchetta’s by starting with the toasted bread, top with tomato salad, feta cheese en the roasted tomatoes

 

THE SMASH BURGER

GBP_9641This burger is going to be your favourite hamburger recipe, even if you don’t know it yet. The smash burger method is the secret to crispy edges and a juicy burger.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when making your smash burger:

  • You need something to smash the burgers with. A heavy spatula made from metal will do the job.
  • The less you handle or touch the meat, the better. You want loose ground beef. The more you mold it, the more packed it will become and that is not what you want to achieve. You want the edges of the burger to be edgy and crispy.
  • All you need to add to the beef mince is salt and pepper, nothing else.
  • Use good quality beef mince, with a good percentage of fat, as the fat adds flavour to the burger.
  • Use a cast iron grill pan that you can place directly on the fire. You need a flat surface, that can handle very high heat.
  • Use good quality cheddar cheese and soft burger buns and make the special burger sauce in the recipe below.

WHAT YOU NEED: (feeds 4)

1kg good quality beef mince
Salt and pepper
4 soft hamburger buns
8 slices of good quality cheddar cheese

For the sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise  (French style)
1 tot tomato sauce
1 tot Dijon mustard
1 gherkin (normal-sized, chopped)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper

WHAT TO DO:
  1. Prepare your sauce first: Add all the ingredients to a bowl and blend with your stick blender, or strong arm and whisk, until smooth. Alternatively add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. And then your last resort will just be to chop everything really finely and mix together.
  2. Divide your mince into 8 heaps, do not handle the meat too much. Use your recently washed hands and lightly form the meat into a ball and remember to keep the edges of the meat edgy and loose.
  3. Place your cast iron grill pan directly onto the flames to get a nice hot surface. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the pan.
  4. Place your 8 balls of meat on the hot surface and smash them with some pressure with your metal spatula, just once, making sure they are nice and flat and the same all over.. Season with salt and pepper..
  5. Flip the patties over using your spatula to scrape it loose from the grill pan and season the other side with salt and pepper.
  6. Braai the other side for 3 or more minutes, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty in the last minute of the braa and take it off from the pan to prevent over cooking.
  7. Prepare your burgers by placing sauce at the bottom of the bun, then a cheese patty on top of the sauce, followed then by another cheese patty, and then more sauce if you want. Serve immediately

MACARONI AND CHEESE POTJIE

Macaroni and cheese

People refer to certain meals as ‘comfort food’, which is strange because I find eating most foods comforting. Nonetheless, some foods are more comforting than others, with a macaroni and cheese potjie right up there. You can either serve this as a main course, or as a very impressive side dish to braaied meat like steak, lamb or chicken. If you’re serving it as a side to meat, add a crisp green salad to complete the meal.

WHAT YOU NEED (serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course)
500 g macaroni pasta
water and salt (to boil the pasta)
a bit of olive oil
2 tots butter
2 tots cake flour
1 litre milk (4 cups)
400 g mature Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
a little bit of ground nutmeg (optional)

WHAT TO DO
1. In a big enough potjie over a hot fire, bring 5 litres of water with about half a tot of salt to boiling point. Add all of the macaroni to the bubbling water and cook for exactly 7 minutes. The noodles will still be slightly undercooked, but they will continue cooking later when baking in the sauce. Drain off all water immediately and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to prevent the macaroni from sticking together.
2. Return the empty potjie to the fire (not too hot), then add butter and wait until it melts. Add the flour and stir for about 1 minute.
3. Now add the milk bit by bit, stirring continuously. You will notice how the butter and flour mixture first grows and absorbs all the milk you add, and how this thick paste then starts turning into a sauce as you add more and more milk. If you add the milk too quickly, lumps will form. If at any time you notice lumps forming, first stir them vigorously into the rest of the mixture before adding more milk.
4. When all the milk is in, bring the sauce to a slow simmer and add the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper (and nutmeg), and stir well.
5. Now add the cooked macaroni to the sauce, stir to coat the pasta well, then remove the potjie from the fire and cover with a lid until serving time. As the pot will keep its heat for a few minutes, you will be able to quickly braai some steak over very hot coals in this time. Just before serving the pasta, give it another quick toss.
6. If you have cheese left over, sprinkle the grated cheese on top of the meal in the potjie, close the lid and let the cheese melt by placing some coals on top of the lid.

AND …
For bonus points, you can braai strips of bacon on a grid over the coals (yes, this is possible) or in a pan. Chop them up when they are nice and crispy and mix into the potjie with the pasta during step 5.
The quality and taste of the cheese used will influence the end product. For a recipe like this, I would suggest using Cheddar that was aged for at least 3 months. Using more mature Cheddar or even a variety of mature cheeses like Cheddar, Parmesan, Pecorino, Gruyere and blue cheese will increase the depth of flavour.

JAN BRAAI FAMILY MUSTARD

family mustard

This is a real family recipe, from my own family. My grandfather used to make this mustard, which we had with any and all braaied meat, but to my mind it goes best with steak and pork chops or pork ribs, be they spare ribs or baby back ribs. I have fond memories of summer holiday braaied ribs and putu pap for breakfast with a generous helping of this mustard. The other thing it goes very well with is any leftover braaied meat in a sandwich the next day. My grandfather taught the recipe to my father, who taught it to me. For some inexplicable reason, I’ve never included this recipe in any of my prior books but here it is now, probably fitting to sit in this book, which really is a collection of family recipes from all across South Africa.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 1 jar)
1 cup smooth apricot jam
1 tin (50 g) or ¾ cup hot English mustard powder
1 tot oil
1 tot grape vinegar
1 tsp salt

WHAT TO DO
1. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and mix everything well. The mustard powder, as well as the apricot jam, has a tendency to make small lumps. You need to stir and press on all the lumps till they are gone.

2. Put the mustard into a glass jar with a sealable lid and let it rest in a cool place for a few days. You can start using the mustard with braaied meat on the same day, but it’s better after a few days.

AND …
No one in my family has any idea how long the shelf life of this mustard is. In three generations, we’ve never made a batch that wasn’t finished before it went off.

ROCKET SIRLOIN WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION

Rocket sirloin with balsamic

Serving steak exactly like this was not my idea. It was during a ski holiday in Austria, with a snowstorm raging outside making the actual act of trying to ski completely impossible, that I took refuge in a wooden hut with a nice warm fireplace. It turned out that this hut had more than one fireplace, and the cook used one of them to prepare food or more accurately, to braai steak. This is how that steak was served.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
4 sirloin steaks (about 300 g each)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
2 tots honey
coarse sea salt
1 punnet fresh rocket leaves (80 g)

WHAT TO DO
1. Prepare the steaks: If they were in vacuum packs, remove, wash under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towel. Now put them flat on a chopping board and use a sharp knife to trim the steaks of all excess fat and sinews. You just want the actual pieces of meat. Now taking extreme care, butterfly each steak. That means cut them open exactly as you would do with a hotdog roll, almost all the way without breaking through at the other side. Now open the steaks and press on their ‘spines’ so that they are stretched open on the cutting board. Effectively they should now be double their original size and half their original width. Use your meat mallet and give the steaks a once over. Be firm, but not too aggressive.

2. Make the sauce: In a small pot or pan, mix together the vinegar, wine and honey. Heat and bring to the boil. Now let this mixture boil and reduce until it starts to thicken. Do not leave the sauce unattended as it can burn easily, so you need to keep stirring and checking while it simmers. Remove from the heat when you are happy with the consistency. The more you reduce it, the thicker and more syrupy it will become but the less sauce you will have. Make the call and pull the plug around the halfway mark between starting the reduction and a dry burnt pan. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, try adding more honey next time.

3. Braai the steaks: Just before braaing them, toss some coarse sea salt on the steaks. Now braai over very hot coals for about 6 minutes in total. You only need to turn them once, so go 3 minutes on the ‘insides’ and 3 minutes on the ‘outsides’. Remove from the fire and let them relax and rest a bit. 4. Build the work of art: Pour some sauce on the ‘inside’ of each steak, pile on a generous helping of fresh rocket leaves, and then close them back to their original form. Drizzle with the remaining sauce on top

MIELIEPAP WRAPS

Mieliepap wrapsThese mieliepap wraps are very easy to make and you can fill them up with anything you feel like straight from the braai. We stuffed them with braaied steak and a coleslaw.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1/2 cup maize meal
  • 1.5 cups cake flour
  • 1 tot olive
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water

WHAT TO DO

  1. Mix all the ingredients together with your wooden spoon and make sure all is combined.
  2. Make a long sausage type roll. Divide the roll into equal parts with a sharp knife.
  3. Make little balls, prepare a surface with flour and roll out the balls until round and flat like a pancake.
  4. Heat your pan on the fire, toast the wraps on each side for 10-15 seconds until lightly browned and cooked.
  5. Braai your steak to your preference and serve the steak topped with coleslaw inside the freshly baked wraps.

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