I took this photo a few years ago… on St Patrick’s Day. As a South African, living in Ireland, I couldn’t resist combining something representing the liquid heritage of both countries… you guessed… Guinness and Pinotage… both winners. Remember… don’t mix them… you’ll be rather ill if you attempted to drink that concoction!
Well, actually we had 2 braai’s… one on Friday night and one on Saturday evening for the family that couldn’t make it on Friday. As it’s always a bit of an issue when one braai’s for many folk, who bring their own meat, it’s difficult to get the evening synchronised. So, to get the ball rolling, we did chicken wings and cocktail sausages for starters. The birthday boy requested steak and marinated pork belly ribs so that followed the starters. Fortunately, most folk brought steak and chicken so it made life easier. I do notice that there’s no photo of the ribs… believe me, they went a long way to filling the grid on their own!
Later in the evening the lad had to blow out the candles!!
On Saturday evening the main course was pork chops, another of the birthday boy’s favourites. The pic shows some of the mix and match again… the ever popular spicy wings and porkies for snacks along with beef burgers for the kids. To the right of the picture are 2 beef kebabs… for birthday boy’s expecting sister. Just to the left of the kebabs are 3 large chicken breasts marinated in a Caribbean sauce, specially for birthday boy’s sister’s partner. Then some of the pork chops in their initial stages of browning…
Believe me when I say we all enjoyed the fun! Thanks to everyone for a very memorable weekend! Thanks too the GLW for all her help!!
PS – No, we ate balanced meals… veggies, potato bake, bread, salad… even cake for dessert! We’re more Paleo that carnivore, that I promise!
Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a tribe who never stooped so low as to throw patties onto the coals. Well, they were misguided… some of the time. There are many other tribes across the world who specialise in the art of throwing said patties onto the coals.
Now… by definition there is a distinct excuse for the first mentioned tribe. They will freely admit that there is nothing wrong with said art of patties on the coals… they qualify the practice by saying when you do partake in the activity then you must call what you’re doing a… wait for it, a…
On the other hand, the Saffer tribe will claim that you are not allowed to braai burger patties. It is tribal tradition to do all sorts of meat and even vegetables on the braai but never are you allowed to do porkers and burgers on the braai.
OK, so what am I trying to say. Yesterday I broke the tradition. We inaugurated the 44 gallon drum braai by placing said patties on the coals. I will qualify, let’s just say it was a bit of cross cultural interaction. I will further qualify by saying this batch of patties was special. Real beef, made by a caring butcher.
And in that lies the justification for doing burgers on the braai. Not one of the patties broke asunder or turned to leather. Each and every one of them turned out as one would expect to find in the best burger joints… succulent and tasty! Yes, I did devour one… pity I only managed to get my hands on the last one for I tell you… the next time Fergie Lover pitches up with another batch of burgers I will gleefully slap them on the coals again…
I will add… there was much other meat on the braai as well… steak, lamb ribs, chicken wings, pork chops…
I’m often asked about both charcoal and wors. Where do we get either, especially in winter in Ireland. The boerewors is made right here in the Green Land. The charcoal is imported… from South Africa. No, I don’t use so much that I get my own supplies in… maybe one day when I own my own braai eatery I’ll have to do so. The product is supplied here by a SA Shop but it’s produced in SA, using invader species. Do click here to visit their site.
For years we were lucky enough to have a South African shop right here in Kilcock but alas, the dreaded recession stole that from us. Now we have to travel a little further if our old friend CV isn’t coming in this direction with a delivery.
OK… enough background. My GLW was doing a bit of promotional photograph to share with CV when I was last braaiing, so that gave me an excuse to do a bit of happy snapping myself. There you have it… SA charcoal and wors (made here) using a tradition SA recipe. Tasty!! Very tasty… the wors we used on the day was a total beef mix, no pork used in this one.
Here in Ireland we’re blessed with getting some really great (not so healthy) treats at most deli’s and filling station snack shops. Jambons are by a long way my favourite!! By a very long way. Fresh, just out the oven, they are absolutely marvelous! Lately, we’ve been getting Friday treats at work. It did not take me long to insist on getting savouries as well. JAMBONS!! I insisted. Judging by the rate at which they disappear on Friday mornings I’d venture a guess that they’re quite a few folks favourite as well.
But… you know me by now. Once something catches my fancy I want to add my twist. That led to another quest. Many, many… many years ago… when General Tyres was still Corporal Tyres, we found a recipe for Welsh Rarebit in a children’s cookery book we’d acquired. Believe it or not… we still have the book so, I decided to dash on and make my own version of jambons. Not following the normal route but making a Welsh Rarebit crossed between the one in the children’s book and this one by HF-W found on the Beeb’s site.
Then… just another slight twist… I added a bit of background heat, as my friend Rick Stein (I wish) is fond of saying. so, let me give you the bits as they fit together. Oh, before I forget… I used finely diced steak as the filling compliment… yes, I told you I like putting my own spin on things…
To begin with… a pic of the ingredients from the book… look-see, the illustration is in Afrikaans…
The ingredients… note the mustard, red sprinkle material and sauce from some county in England…
Chop the steak fine…
Milk and cheese starting to blend… add a dash of background heat… or a dash and a half…
Add the flour/ milk paste and continue stirring while the sauce thickens. Also add the mustard and Worcestershire Sauce, a good teaspoon of each. Continue stirring to prevent lumps…
At this point I couldn’t quite decide if I should first fry off the steak a bit or add it directly to the sauce and leave it to simmer while thickening. I went with the second option, reasoning that I didn’t want to add anything fatty. Also, as the steak was so finely chopped it would surely not need much heat to be safe for human consumption (I usually eat my steak off the braai pretty underdone so I stuck with my gut feel!)
Stir a while longer before taking off the heat. Look back at the top photo… you’ll see points 5 & 6, which of course, I’d missed earlier on. So, there I was… having to put the mixture aside for a while.
A few hours later… the mix has really thickened nicely. I’d had a few suspicions passers-by who suggested I was attempting to poison them. (Senior Son is notoriously difficult to please… he pulled up his nose and mumbled some pleasantries… )
Now for the tricky bit… the puff pastry and the shaping of my version of what a jambon could look like…
Doesn’t look too good, does it?
Soon after… looking better in a bit of heat… (do add a bit of foil to the bottom of the oven in case your darlings burst… )
Out of the oven… the first batch look a tad rustic but passable… don’t you think?
The first sampler soon tucked in… and the skeptics lined up for more… and more… I had to rapidly do a second batch. I’ll add, at this time we were also busy doing our traditional New Year’s braai… multitasking, yes, we can…
OK… I fluked a winner, that’s for sure.
A few lessons? Add a bit more background heat… and more steak. Or chicken, lamb… ham, bacon… whatever! Judging by the results I know I’m going to be busy on weekends… perfect breakfast… wouldn’t you say?
Think of it this way… the ingredients for 4 batches couldn’t amount too much more than € 12 to €14… that could keep them quiet for a wee while!
PS – Guess what? While I’m working away at my first day back my family are enjoying this mix on toast… ah well, we do it for love, don’t we?
PSS – I’ll put all the pics in a gallery… then you can read the captions… maybe the main reason is because I like galleries!! Have fun, enjoy the second day of the New Year… and yes, I’m planning a potato bake… pasties… more fun!
Continuing from the first post… where does one begin to tell the story? Conversely put… how does one eat an elephant? That’s easy as you all know… you eat the beast little by little… bit by bit. That’s how I’ll relating the tale here at BB&B.
Tradition is a strong reminder and binder. It reminds us of home and binds us to what was once that home. I am as South African as you will ever find. So many generation back that even the Portuguese sea captains and French Huguenots come into the equation. Maybe that’s why I love the ideas of France and Portugal so much. OK, enough history.
Tradition can also become a way of life. Tradition can translate to others as well. My Good Lady Wife wasn’t born on the African continent yet braaiing is absolutely normal for her and the rest of the family. I dare you… ask the good lady what she wants for Christmas fare and you’ll soon be put right… the roasts on the braai! Yes, I kid you not!
I’ll take it a step further… picture this. Our 5-year-old grandson, born and bred here in Ireland… has never set foot on any portion of Africa, never-mind South Africa, yet… when the other day he accidentally overheard mention of ‘braai’ his ears pricked up and he enthusiastically asked…
“Are we having a braai?”
No, he didn’t ask if we were having a bbq… he asked if it would be a braai! Even the very little ones know and appreciate the great tastes associated with braaiing.
OK… I’ve waffled on enough for today. I’ll leave you with one of my favourite braai photos… yes, Christmas in the snow… a labour of love. Read more about it here. Until next time… may the coals be just right and the lamb tender!
Where to begin? Well, for a site that’s meant to extol the virtues of the braai one must surely be tempted to get cracking with the fire first! OK… then we’ll begin at the beginning. The fire. The fire is the heart and soul of any good bbq. Imagine going to all the trouble of going off to the butcher to collect a few choice cuts of meat. The stuff’s not all that cheap you know, especially if you have half a tribe of hungry, growing sons and now grandsons.
In my home country, South Africa, braaiing is a way of life so when one uproots and moves halfway across the world to Ireland something must be carried along and yes, something may also be lost. Here on the Green Island where life is easy for beef, poultry, lamb and swine the meat is great but the weather not always so. That means braaiing opportunities are rather few and far between… if you let a bit of weather get in your way.
We braai rather often, including doing the Christmas roasts on the bbq (almost) every year since we arrived in 2001. Yes, even the year it snowed, click here for proof! The problem with out of season braaiing is the lack of charcoal. We used to get our charcoal from a local SA shop which has now moved on because of the tight economic times. Now, of late, I’ve been experimenting with local hardwoods. Not altogether as successful as I hope but with a bit of planning one can get a fair result.
So… that’s where we’ll begin… with the fire…
I’ll elaborate as time goes by about some of the reasons for the creation of this blog. I hope this new blog turns into a showcase for all sorts of braai related products and even the odd recipe or idea for cooking or meat preparation.
So long for now, may the fire burn brightly and the coals be great!