So it is the middle of winter over here and we are longing for summer… I know we can’t complain, the sunshine is glorious and the days are slowly but surely getting longer. But it is cold and our outdoor loving spirits are longing for summer. Anyway, to celebrate the middle of winter we gathered some friends and tackled a heap of recipes in this book: Jan Braai’s FireWorks. Now for our overseas readers a braai is a national tradition – a sport in fact, you could say it is a barbecue – but it is a whole lot more rugged.
Most cook books we review sit on our reading pile for a couple of weeks and slowly but surely family members add post-it-notes to recipes they would like to try. Well this book was different, it kept vanishing and then there was a hunt for it and we would find it roaming the house… lurking under pillows… packed in backpacks… in the tree house!!! This is a book that people in our family want to read… forget about looking at it, there are certain potential braai-masters here that want to learn the art of braaing. This book is the ultimate guidebook to braaing. Everything you need to understand, clearly written and well organised. The author, Jan Braai, has a funny turn of phrase and his book is packed with South Africanisms…
The Things We Really Liked About This Book…
It has absolutely everything you need to know from basic to advanced cooking… how to get your coals just right and how to master a steak. How to make your own marinades and how to cook almost everything on a fire – not just meat… vegetables, bread, dessert. This is not just a book of recipes… there are a whole lot of introductory pages, including the Jan Braai Rules. Otherwise little bits of interest – braai history, pantry tips and so on.
He describes the ultimate braai kit… full of gadgets and goodies to send any impending outdoor chef into whirl of delight. Notebooks have been primed with “essential requirements” and certain folk have braai tongs top of their wish lists!!!
There are quite a few out doors types in our house that were dying to dive in and get cooking… the recipes are easy to follow and use easy to find ingredients and I loved the measurements: A cup, a tot glass and a teaspoon. We received tot glasses as a wedding gift and we finally have a use for them!!! No cups and quarts and careful weighing of ingredients. This is rough and ready and perfect for my potential braai-masters.
Se7en + 1 Recipes We Tried…
- Steak Prego Roll: This is such an impressive little feast… and such an easy recipe!!! Well worth mastering because you never know when you made need to impress a visitor!!!
- Peri-Peri Sauce: The Peri-Peri sauce was the marinade for the steak with my chilli loving kids tossing in heaps of chopped chillies – to make it stronger!!! I have to say I loved the sauces and cannot be more thrilled to have a recipe for Madagascan Green Peppercorn Sauce, mushroom sauce, mustard sauce and more!!!
- Chicken Pieces, Sliced and Spiced: Well this was yummy, I never do more than sprinkle salt and pepper on our chicken… but for the tiniest bit more effort, you get the most fabulous, good-looking, flavours… well worth it!!!
- Boerewors Rolls With Tomato-Chilli Relish: Do I have to mention chilli again… This relish made far more than we needed for our Boerewors rolls, we ate it the next day with pasta and everyone raved about it!!!
- Coal Baked Potato and Onions: Have to say that I haven’t baked vegetables on a fire since I was a kid, completely forgot all about them… but that’s what I mean, this book will show you everything you need to know about braaing. So easy just wrap them in foil and place them on the coals I have to say while the potatoes are great, nothing really beats the brilliance that is a fire-roasted onion.
- Mielies or Corn: Mielies cooked over an open fire may well be the ultimate luxury… the question in our house is always: with the leaves on or off… turns out: cook them with the leaves on… and they steam inside. However you cook them, don’t even think about having a braai without serving these with lashings of butter and salt.
- Traditional BraaiBroodljies: All right, if you braai nothing else again – ever. We have been making them since we were kids, but every braaier has his or her own final recipe… I have to say that the Jan Braai suggested chutney we used chilli jam and our sandwiches were perfect. Don’t worry about the raw onions, they cooks until they are soft and delicious!!!If my children have learnt nothing else then they have learnt how to make these sandwiches on a braai and I can quite imagine them setting up a fire and organising a couple of delicious braai-broodjies for an afternoon feast!!!
- Braai Banana and Caramelised PineApple: A braai wouldn’t be a braai without a dessert and banana boats sure do fit the bill. It doesn’t get much easier than tossing a banana on a fire, adding some greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey. Have to say if you haven’t grilled pineapple slices in the great outdoors then you need to get those fires going and do it!!!
And the se7en + 1th recipe:
In a nutshell, Jan Braai has written a great handbook for braaing, I can confidently leave it lying around and know that my kids will grow up with the necessary skills to conquer any braai event they attend!!! There is lots to learn in this book and if you were always a little curious about this strange South African tradition or you always wanted to know – what more could you cook over coals… then this is a fabulous book!!!
We would like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for giving us a copy of the book to review. We were not paid to write this post the ideas and opinions expressed are as usual entirely our own!!!