Who could deny that an outdoors braai is way better than an indoors oven roast? Well, some may say you’d better do it outdoors otherwise you’ll burn the house down and to be honest, there’s most certainly a grain of truth in that line of thought. However, apart from protecting the roof over one’s head the food just tastes about 327.3975% better!
BRAAI!! One of the best outdoor persuits mankind has ever developed!! FUN!!


Chicken Like Nando’s?

I’ve had a craving for Nando’s for a while now. We do have a franchise a few miles away but I’m never there so my craving remains… until you find a recipe to make your own. So, the internet’s box of tricks again came up with the goods. Do click here to see the recipe I based my makings on.

I had a bright moment and part cooked the chicken on the braai in the foil tubs (covered with foil). This meant the pieces were evenly cooked through so they didn’t need too much fiddling on the hot coals!!

Lessons Learned?

  • when I do this recipe again I’ll have the pieces smaller and won’t part cook them quite as long at this time
  • I’ll make the hot mix hotter… there was too little Tabasco and chilly in this mix!
  • as always… try and marinade the meat as long as possible… in this case 24 hours would have been better than the 15 I had at my disposal…

The 21st Braai!

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!! 

Blow lad... blow!!

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…

Another wonderfully laden grid!!

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!

How to Fill a 44 Gallon Drum?

No… this isn’t a trick question… it’s a statement of fact! Proverbially filling the drum means getting the whole grid covered with the effects of the braai. Yep, the puritans are going to tell me that pork and lamb shouldn’t be on the same grid… nor should pork chops and bbq ribs mix. Well, we’re still more than alive! Oh well puritans… this is how we filled the drum last weekend!

A drum full... thanks GLW for the pics!

PS – Thanks GLW for the photo… as always, someone’s got to flip the burgers while someone else does the fun bits!

PSS – Soon the Pappy’s Day meat will be prepared… promise there’s an interesting variation on a theme lurking!

Charcoal and Wors

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.

Boerewors and charcoal...

To visit the SA shop’s web page please click here… and their FB page here… now, let’s see if they’ll like our FB page…

New Ideas for a New Year

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…

Back in the day... this was the kids delight...

The ingredients… note the mustard, red sprinkle material and sauce from some county in England…

The ingredients... note the red sprinkle dust... for background heat!

Chop the steak fine…

Chop the steak fine...

Milk and cheese starting to blend… add a dash of background heat… or a dash and a half…

Don't forget the background heat!!

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…

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!)

Add the steak...

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.

Rich and creamy... tasty, I promise you!

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… )

Thick, tangy and ready for a bit of oven love!

Now for the tricky bit… the puff pastry and the shaping of my version of what a jambon could look like…

At less that a Euro a roll this stuff's a bargain!

Doesn’t look too good, does it?

Will that be any good??

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… )

Bring on the oven love!! Tanning quite nicely, don't you think?

Out of the oven… the first batch look a tad rustic but passable… don’t you think?

Yum yum!! Looking goooood!!!

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…

The proof, they say, is in the eating!!!

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!

Rules of Engagement?

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!

Braai time... Christmas Day 2010, Kilcock, Ireland. Santi in the snow!!