So you all know that we are massive Justin Bonello fans and we have been following his food shows avidly for years… seriously the best television that South Africa has to offer!!! Well Ultimate Braaimaster last year was a crackling success and this year is so much more-ish. The book to emerge from the series is The Ultimate Braai Master, Road Less Travelled – Justin Bonello with Judges Bertus Basson and Marthinus Ferreira, written by Helena Lombard. Don’t think just another fantastic braai book… this is actually a travel book and a peak at a look at hidden gems of South Africa that are only a road trip away. Meet the people behind the teams, follow in their footsteps and discover their hopes and dreams.
For our overseas followers a braai is a national past-time… you might call it a barbecue, you might call it cooking outdoors… but in South Africa it is considered to be a way of life and something that South Africa is unified about… we have a national holiday – National Braai Day… and as a nation gathering together and visiting around a fire and cooking a feast – well there is nothing better…
Ultimate BraaiMaster… The Show
We don’t just watch the show, we follow it… in fact giving the chance I think we literally would follow it – who wouldn’t want a road-trip across our incredible country… A number of teams, carefully chosen and put through a rigorous selection are whipped around the country on an epic adventure… 80 000km in 62 km. Roughing it and toughing it…
Each new location, means a new terrain, a new climate and new challenges… a team will be eliminated and the group will round up their kit and move on. The challenges get harder towards the end of the series, and the braai-masters get so much better… and of course the rewards get better too. It is so easy to say from the couch that “I could do this…” how hard can it be to go skiing and ride a Lesotho pony the next, catching fish in a crocodile infested river… and collect food off the rocky shores of the Wild Coast… which isn’t called the Wild Coast for nothing. From the couch it all looks so easy, but I guarantee it is one of those things that isn’t quite as easy as it all looks!!!
The book is a showcase of the epic adventure… fabulous and beautiful photography from all over the country… and it is packed with recipes from the show, packed!!! Now the Ultimate Braaimaster has brought your idea of what you can or can’t cook on a fire to whole new level. Things you never ever dreamt you could braai on a braai – no problem!!! Chelsea buns, potato pie… waffles!!! This book is packed with things that will help you to become an ultimate braaimaster – we passed on how to cook an entire goat, and if we could find our garden spade we would have made breakfast on a spade… We tried our usual number of recipes, a cross section of starters, mains and desserts… recipes that we had to try and recipes that we were brave to try. Now just because the folk in the book cooked everything on open fires – doesn’t mean that I have to. There are no prizes for me at the end of the race, no car, no pot of money and no spot prizes either. The only prize for me is getting dinner on the table timeously – for my gang to get to bed. So I am not ashamed to say that I use and love the ultimate braai recipe books – but I very often use my mixer, my food processor and my oven to get dinner on the table. I am indeed the ultimate lazy braai master. That being said… there are limits and somethings totally have to be cooked on a fire, without exception, braaibroodjies for one and boerewors for the other.
- White Bean and Smoked Feta Soup: Let’s just say this was not a mighty success…and one of those “bravery type recipes” and I blame it on the fact that we didn’t cook it on a fire. Our soup wasn’t soupish enough and my kids that love and adore anything with beans in it… all turned up their noses… Just so that you know that every recipe in every recipe book that we try doesn’t always work and this recipe will never appear on the family menu!!! But from there everything picked up and the tastes and flavours just get better and better!!!
- Potato Pie: This creamy recipe with sliced potatoes… went right onto the family recipe board… yum, yum and yum again!!! I’ve said it once and I will say it agina why have we not made pies before… so quick and easy and so delicious, and so worth while!!!
- Fried Bread: You know a recipe is good when your family demands it every lunchtime for a week… and you comply!!! We have been eating yummy fried bread all week and it is so easy to make (Click on the link for the recipe)… seriously two seconds to prepare and then forget about it for an hour… add your toppings and you are done!!!
- Southern-Style Slaw: Who can resist extremely colourful food. In the eyes of my family a recipe with tons of colour and lemon juice among other things, is a winner!!! And “look away all you ultimate braaimasters…” this literally took five minutes to prepare… in the food processor!!! I cannot imagine doing this by hand next to a braai… but in the kitchen with a machine… buzzzz and it was done!!!
- Double Chocolate Chelsea Buns: If you stop reading this post and click straight over to the link… I will forgive you just this once – awesomeness in capital letters!!! Let’s face it what could go wrong with two slabs of chocolate and a lemon glaze. There are more than a few people in our house who have popped these on the calendar as their birthday breakfast for 2014… no harm in planning ahead.
- The Giant Braai Broodjie: If you are South African then you have to have grown up on braai broodjies – basically toasted sandwiches cooked over a fire – but let me explain: they are so much more than a sandwich, so much more than a toasted sandwich. The smokey taste from the fire, the slow melt of the cheese and the smell of the onions cooking away safely inside them, hmmmmm. And you don’t need to cook anything else on a fire in order for it to be a braai. I am the ultimate lazy braaier, have been known to light a fire mid-afternoon so that we can have a braai-broodjie snack. Well you can imagine when we saw a recipe for giant braai-broodjies, really awesomeness on a fire.
- Hassleback Spuds: These are good… really good and who doesn’t like a little shiny parcel on their plate. Let me say, they need a bit of practice to get them right. Firstly just slicing the potatoes to pop your goodies into them doesn’t work, because as soon as you try and pop cheese and goodies into the slit, the potato snaps… here is my top tip… cut out a skinny little wedge. It works and you will be happier for it, trust me on that!!!
- Banana and Ham Jaffles: Oh where have I been, I haven’t had jaffles since I was a child and there were summers that that was all we ate, we lit a small fire every single lunch time to toast a scrummy jaffle with whatever we could find to put inside them. Well welcome to the world of ham and cheese and banana… a little rocket and chilli for a little surprise and you are so good to go. Really you can pack anything into your sandwich and into your jaffle… pop it onto the grid if your fire is raging and straight into the coals otherwise. So raid your granny’s kitchen and find all the waffle iron’s you can – because they will transform your summer!!! Or your winter… just think, chocolate and marshmallow jaffles – I know, thank me later!!! But first enter our GiveAway!!!
And the se7en + 1th…
We have a copy of this fabulous cook book to GiveAway to a lucky reader…
This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of Monday, 2 December 2013, and we will draw and publish the winners after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. This GiveAway is open worldwide. If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away.
Previously With Justin Bonello
We really want to thank The fabulous Ultimate Braai Team and we want to thank her publisher, Penguin Books South Africa, for providing us with a copy of the book to review and another copy to GiveAway to our readers. We were not paid to write this post and the opinions expressed are as usual entirely our own.