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A cut above a dancing coal

‘You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I was to say to you

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Come on baby, light my fire’

The Doors

 

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There is something about a fire, and the atmosphere it gives to a party…with braai day around the corner and the Springboks ready for the field…it is time to get the fire started.

One can talk for hours about how to build the perfect fire, how to choose the perfect wood, what the perfect temperature is to ‘’braai’’, on and and and…

For me it comes down to choosing a fun crowd, good food and don’t forget the ice!  It takes about 2 hours for a tray of ice to freeze – SO BE PREPARED!!

The days of putting out an oily packet of chips in a plastic container are gone.  It’s time to try something new and wow your guests.  Bruschetta with fried tomatoes, basil and feta or anchovies, olives and origanum.  Make your own dips or make a nice flavoured salt for roasted cashew or almond nuts. Even the old famous ‘’braai broodjie’’ can be made into a gourmet explosion.  Use a whole ciabatta loaf and top with onion marmalade, tomato and mature cheddar cheese.

Always remember:  don’t interfere with captain ‘’braaier’’.  He (sometimes she) knows that you are hungry and that you don’t want a well cooked steak.  Keep calm and have another cold beverage.

Like legendary Koos Kombuis says:  ‘’die hele lewe is ‘n bring en braai’’

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Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again.

Passionfruit Lemonade

This is refreshing when served iced cold and can be a great ‘’ice breaker’’ to start a braai.  I don’t like carbonated drinks – so I prefer lemonade made with still water.  You can add mint or fresh raspberries if you want to be fancy, or gin in the summer if you want to add an extra kick.  Sugar is a very sensitive topic of discussion these days – listen to your palate and adjust your sugar crave accordingly.

Ingredients:

1 cup                    White sugar

1 cup                    Water

1 cup                    Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)

4 cups                  Water to dilute

40g                       Passionfruit

 

Method:

Bring white sugar and water to the boil until all sugar is dissolved and add lemon juice, water to dilute and passionfruit.  Cool down and serve ice cold.

 

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 “ Gee daai bek jam’’

 

Chicken wings with Yuzu and Apricot glaze

Yuzu is a citrus fruit from east Asia.  It is sour and salty in one!  You can get it from any Chinese groceries shop.  I don’t like to marinade the chicken wings in the sauce – but rather brush it over while it is cooking on the fire.  This ensures a great colour and no bitter burnt taste.

Ingredients:

100ml                   Yuzu

4 tbsp                   Apricot Jam

1 tbsp                   Lemon juice

1 tbsp                   Soya sauce

1 tsp                     White sugar

 

Method:

Heat all the ingredients together in a pot until apricot jam is melted. If the glaze is too thick – add a little more lemon juice or yuzu.  ‘’Braai’’ the chicken wings and brush with Yuzu and Apricot glaze.  Season with salt and pepper – not too much as the yuzu is already salty.

 

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Koekelekooo

 

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Chimichurri

Chimichurri  is lovely to serve with fish, chicken and lamb.  If it was up to my husband, Nikki, he will eat this every day – on anything from sliced bread to baked potato…even in his porridge.

Ingredients:

1 bunch               Parsley with stalks

2 cloves               Garlic

½ teaspoon        Salt

1 teaspoon           Black pepper

½ cup                  Red wine vinegar

1 tbsp                   Wholegrain mustards

¾ cup                  Good quality Olive oil

½                         Red chili

 

Method:

Blitz all the ingredients together  – easy as 1,2,3,…

 

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’Swartpot’’ Balsamic onions

IF there is any leftovers…slice it up and serve it with mature cheddar cheese on a toasted sandwich.

Ingredients:

45ml                     Oil

500g                     Baby onions – cut the top off and peel, but leave one layer of skin on.  This will prevent the whole story of falling apart

5                            Thyme stalks

Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp                   White sugar

20ml                     Balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp                   Butter

 

Method:

Heat oil in ‘’swartpot’’ and add onions – flat side down.  Brown the onion for about 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to very very low and put the lid on the pot.  After 30 minutes the onion should be half-cooked.  Add the thyme, salt, pepper, white sugar and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 30-40 minutes over very low heat, with the lid on.  When the onion is soft – add the butter and serve.

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Use sunglasses when peeling a onion or put onions in freezer 15 minutes before you use it to prevent those tears from running down your cheeks.  If this does not do the trick – breathe through your mouth and stick your tongue out!!

Nectarine, Fennel & Goats cheese salad

Ingredients:

1 packet               Micro leaves/ Rocket

1 log                     Goats cheese, broken into big chunks

Fennel bulb, thinly sliced

Nectarines, sliced into thin wedges

 

Method:

Layer your salad – starting with the micro leaves or rocket.  Top with goats cheese chunks, fennel and nectarines.  Repeat layers 3 times.  This salad does not need a very potent dressing – drizzle with olive oil.  I have some of the passionfruit left over from making the lemonade and I mixed that with a bit of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of black onion seeds.  Plain, simple and delicious.

 

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Sweet potato with sesame & ginger salt

Ingredients:

8                            Whole sweet potatoes, wrapped in tinfoil

2 tbsp                   Salt

2 tbsp                   White and black sesame seeds

1 tbsp                   Finely chopped fresh ginger

1 sprig                  Rosemary, chopped fine

1 tbsp                   Black pepper

2 tbsp                   Butter

 

Method:

Place the tinfoil wrapped sweet potato into the fire and leave to cook – this will take about 40 minutes. When you are ready to eat:  Open the tinfoil, make a cut in the sweet potato and put a dollop of butter on top and sprinkle with sesame & ginger salt.

 

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Good quality sea salt contains many essential minerals for the body. The best type of sea salt should be slightly wet… from it’s original source.   Did you know you can use tinfoil to polish your silver? Line a pan with tinfoil, fill it with cold water and add two teaspoons of salt.  Drop your silverware into solution and let it sit for 3 minutes.  Rinse off and dry.

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Doughnut Marshmallow S’mores

This is heaven!!

Ingredients:

10                          Ready made frosted doughnuts ( I got mine from woolies) – cut in half

1                            Wholenut chocolate slab

20g                       Almonds and pistachio’s, chopped fine

20g                       Dried figs, chopped fine

5                            Marshmallow’s – braaied over the coles

 

Method:

Mix almonds, pistachio and dried figs together. Melt wholenut slab and dip half of doughnut into chocolate and roll into nut mix.  Set aside.  Braai the marshmallows and stick it inbetween chocolate coated and frosted doughnut.  You will want s……more

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‘We didn’t start the fire. It was always burning since the world’s been turning. We didn’t start the fire. No we didn’t light it, but we tried to fight it’ – Billy Joel

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