Tag Archives: Braai

Power to the People – Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf

Amandla!

Amandla!

Even in sunny South Africa, it is scary as to how reliant we have become on a consistent supply of electricity.

For a nation that prides itself on its ability to rough and enjoy it, you’d be amazed at how quickly panic sets in as soon as the power is cut-off. Okay to be fair, even the toughest of people will balk at the thought of facing 35C temperatures without even the smallest of working air-conditioners to take the edge off of it. And of course, it is perfectly acceptable to be brought to tears when your television cuts out due to a power outage right before a Brian Habana intercept try! But no one wants to face an Atterbury intersection, let alone Grayston, to be met by a set of blank traffic lights.

But as long as you can finish drinking all the beers before they get warm, you will make it through!

The LiveInBaker was recently busy with a boredom induced bake, when much to her horror, and with a very disappointing “click”, the kitchen was plunged into darkness. We were in the middle of another Eskom black-out.

But we were prepared for this, and with a swift and rather stylishly performed pull, the cover was removed from our outdoor gas braai, the valve was carefully opened, and two burners quickly lit, combining two of the best three words starting with B (or are there actually 4 words?) – Bake and Braai!

Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf – Braai’d

Ingredients:

  • 125ml butter;
  • 200ml brown sugar;
  • 3 bananas, mashed;
  • 180ml milk;
  • 2 extra-large eggs;
  • 500ml cake flour;
  • 3ml bicarbonate of soda;
  • 3ml baking powder;
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 100g dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped up;
  • 80g Maraschino cherries, chopped and dabbed dry with paper towel

Preheat your “oven” (or in this case gas braai) to 180C and Spray-and-cook a 10×20 cm loaf tin.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the mashed banana and mix lightly.

Beat the milk and eggs together, and sift the dry ingredients together.

Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf

The moment before the power outage.

Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients. Make sure to mix well. Add the vanilla essence and fold in the chocolate and Maraschino cherries.

Turn the batter into the prepared loaf tin.

Normally you would then bake in the oven for around 1 hour.

However thanks to the wonder that is Eskom, the electricity cut out 5 minutes into said hour.

Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf

Yes, that is a gas braai in the background

However, the LiveInBaker’s abilities continue to amaze me, and as quick as a flash, she was out of the door and had the gas braai lit, with the 2 outside burners burning on a low gas setting, with the temperature gauge slowly creeping towards 180C. Before this moment I wasn’t even sure that she new where the braai was kept, let alone how to operate it.

Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf

Two slices for you and the rest for me!

Place the tin over the centre burner (so that you are cooking through induction and not direct heat), close the lid, and keep a close eye on your temperature gauge. When the top of the bread is golden brown and a testing skewer comes out clean, your banana bread is ready.

One tip we have learnt, is that you need to get the bread tin off the braai grid, as the grid itself gets hot and left the base of our banana bread a little bit more crispy than we would have liked. Next time we’ll put an inverted baking tin underneath the bread tin to get it away from this heat.

Cherry and Chocolate Banana Loaf

The finished loaf

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Beer, Braai, Bacon and Boerie – How we do Heritage Day

Sorry that you were not able to spend Braai Day with us. If you had, you would’ve had some damn good food. I’m sure your own Heritage Day celebrations where just “fine”. As fine as anything that doesn’t end with ice cream sandwiches can be!

I’m not posting any recipes this Braai Day, instead I am going to share some of my favorite recipes, spots in Pretoria giving you everything you need for a good braai, and a couple of photo’s of our exploits.

Beer and Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe courtesy of Simply Delicious

I buy my meat from Kings Meat Deli

Coals provided by some well-lit Charka Brickets

I get my Ice Cream from Royal Danish, which if you haven’t been there, is a real must! Even if you need to drive to Pretoria just to try it!

And for the photos:

‘n Lekker stukkie wors!

Getting the chicken espetada ready

Beer and Bacon Mac and Cheese

How did that sneak in there?

There at least has to be one healthy item on the table.

Royal English Toffee from Royal Danish

Closing braai day with ice cream sandwiches

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Heritage Day and celebrating the braai!

Everyone has traditions. Like in my family we believe in traditional medicine, which means that when we get a headache, we take a Disprin, because that is what we’ve done for generations.

On the 24th of September, South African’s celebrate Heritage Day, which means each South African gets to celebrate their own unique heritage. A lot of South Africans choose to do this by doing something that has become synonymous with being South African, and that is to crack open an ice-cold beer, and getting a “lekker stuk of wors” on the braai.

So in celebration of Heritage Day, here are some videos that celebrate the braai!

BraaiBoy breaks the current record for the longest braai

Know your wood from you wood with Jan and Neels

Ons gaan nou braai!” (which also explains the South African definition of “Now now”)

Bringing the girls to the braai

And have a look at my favorites from last year.

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Ultimate Braai Broodjie minus the Braai

I consider myself to be relatively tough. Apparently living in Africa will do this to you, but I rather think its more to do with growing up left-handed, in an obviously right-handed world (you try writing in a lever arch file with your left hand). So I’m sad to say that my toughness was recently really put to the test, and I had to relent to an inevitable Highveld thunderstorm, and abandon all hopes of having a lekker braai and trying out a recipe we came across for what promised to be one awesome braai bread! But looking back, I suppose it was all for the better, as having to postpone this recipe also conveniently mean’t we didn’t have to share it with anyone.

Gourmet Toasties:

Ingredients:

  •  1 Ciabatta loaf

Camembert and onion marmalade filling:

  • Walnut and rocket pesto (from Pesto Princess);
  • Fresh rocket;
  • Red onion rings;
  • Onion marmalade;
  • Rolls of soft cheese with black pepper;
  • Sliced camembert.

Firstly half the ciabatta bread (stick with your Woolies faithful here), and remove some of the inside to make a small hollow in both sides of the bread. Spread the pesto on the bottom half, add the rocket and then the red onion rings. Then layer the cheeses. Then spread the onion marmalade liberally on the inside of the top half. Cover with the top half of the bread, and press down firmly.

Wrap in tin foil, and braai over indirect heat, or bang it into the oven until the bread is warmed through and the cheeses have melted.

We went with the oven for this one, mostly due to some left over rain clouds from the previous nights thunderstorm but also due to the ovens proximity to the fridge (and cold beer). We also gave up on the idea of eating this as a side dish, and simply ate it like a toasted sandwich.

But you know what, the only people who were disappointed, where those we couldn’t (or refused) to share with!

Recipe adapted from You’s Best Recipes.

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or “like” our Facebook page.

Ps. If you haven’t had pesto from Pesto Princess yet, you’re missing out!

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Homemade Burgers, on the Griddle

There are a couple of things which took me a long time to get used to, like the fact that as a passenger I kept trying to climb into the driver’s seat; or the height of the water in the toilet bowl. But there are a couple of things that didn’t take any getting used to at all. One of these things is the American’s love of burgers. To them a burger is not only a quick-lunch you can grab without even getting out of your car, but rather something that at times can even be called gourmet. And the best thing is, they are readily available; every couple of blocks in New York City seems to contain at least one restaurant creating these masterpieces between two halves of a bun.

Back home there are burgers that can easily match the same quality, but unfortunately the availability of them can sometimes be a problem.

So instead, I’ve taken to making my own:

Ingredients:

  • 500g lean mince
  • fresh parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml bread crumbs
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Camembert cheese

For the mince, I went all out, using lean Gemsbok mince. I start by breaking the mince up into a glass bowl with my hands. I separate the parsley from its stalk and chop it up as finely as I can, which is normally not really finely at all, and dump the parsley in with the meat. Add in some freshly ground salt and pepper, just using a best guess method for quantity, and some of the Worcestershire sauce. I crack in the egg and add the bread crumbs. And then I mix everything well together with my hands.

I attempt to prep all my ingrediants before cooking, normally when the LIB bakes, I sneak a couple of tastes in

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Not all desserts need chocolate, apparently

The only certainties in life are “death and taxes”. Oh and me not classifying anything as a proper pudding, unless it actually contains chocolate in one form or the other.

But even I’ve been known to push the boundary of what meets my definition of dessert, and decided to try out something a little bit different after a recent braai. And in a complete role reversal, I took charge of the dessert (well in the overseeing of the dessert making process at least).

On the menu, cinnamon braai’d pineapple with vanilla ice cream.

Making short work of preparing the pineapple

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“Karate-water” Chicken

There are three types of drunks in this world:

1. Happy Drunks,

2. Sleepy Drunks,

3. And those suffering from dronkverdriet.

There is another drunk though, the drunk that most of us believe we will never become (and happily can deny it the next day anyway). This is the aggressive drunk. We’ve all seen them, after copious amounts of their favorite tipple, these people think that have suddenly developed some mad ninja skills, which they set out to demonstrate on anyone they can safely reach without spilling whats left of their drink!

And the number one cause of this? No, it’s not roid-rage as most of us would expect. Its our local version of the classic brandy and coke. This drink seems innocent enough, at times even somewhat refined, but when the brandy in question is Klipdrift (known locally as “Klippies”), what you have in your hand is a concentrated glass of “Karate-water” or more simply, the key to unlocking everyone’s inner fighter. Even sensible men have succumbed to this little cup of ninja juice.

For the record, I don’t drink Klippies and coke. I drink beer! however, I had a small epiphany the other day! I have for a while known about the miracle that is a beer-bird, basically a whole chicken cooked on the braai, with an open can of beer inside the cavity. To anyone who hasn’t tried this, don’t knock it. It really works. And yes when I say insert a can of beer into the chicken, if you are using your imagination, you are probably right.

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Boerewors – First Class Style!

My dedication to the Springboks was really tested this weekend, with the quarter finals game in the World Cup scheduled for 07:00 on a Sunday morning (the beers probably wouldn’t even be cold by that time). So we decided to move the customary braai forward a few hours. Seeing as though we had time, and no other mouths to disappoint, we decided to push the envelope a little.

So we swung by the our local Pick ‘n Pay; I know they don’t traditionaly have the best quality wors, but this was a spur of the moment decision. We picked up some traditional boerewors, an onion, a wheel of camembert cheese and a half-dozen soft white rolls.

I fired up the gas braai, got a little bit of olive oil onto the grills, and slapped the boerewors on. We don’t like to over-cook our wors, so I normally cook it until it will break with a simple twist of the tongs.

The LIB got started in the kitchen, cooking the onion in a little oil, until translucent. She then added in a glug of balsamic vinegar, and cooked down until there was no more liquid in the pan. At this stage the onions should be sticky and caramalized.

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Chop, Dop and Roll – part 2

I have finally recovered enough from my Malva induced coma to actually be able to sit up in front of my pc for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Which means that I get to think back on the part 2 of our 2 part Braai Day weekend.

As any “tong-master” worth half his meat knows, bread is as compulsory at a braai as a decent pair of braai tongs, a bowl of biltong and a cold six-pack are.

Everyone knows that the humble bread roll can in some cases be substituted, normally for: a brown bread roll; or maybe for a seed bun; and sometimes even, when people are feeling unusually adventurous, maybe a seed loaf.

In the interest of spicing things up a little bit, and also as October and Halloween are swiftly approaching (almost as quickly as temporary costume shops should now be popping up in NYC) the LIB decided that this would be the perfect time to introduce some pumpkin to the traditional South African braai bread.

On to the menu then!

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Chop, Dop and Roll – part 1

On account of the fact that I missed out on Braai Day (Heritage Day) last year, and seeing as though it fell on a Saturday this year, it just made sense that instead of a Braai Day, we would rather have a braai weekend (Yes I know, sometimes I even amaze myself)!

We were lucky enough this year to actually be invited to the braai’s, and at neither of these did we have to supply the meat, so instead I ensure that the Live In Baker (LIB) focused her attention on areas that she is far better suited towards, and that of course is baking.

The first item on the menu was Malva Pudding, the dessert for the first braai. The decision to make Malva went something like this:

LIB: “You know, you haven’t had any Malva Pudding since before you left for the US.”

Me: “Impossible, don’t be silly!”

LIB: “Seriously, think about it.”

Me: “That decides it, you’ll be making Malva!”

Some decisions are easier to make than others!

The LIB gives a trade secret away, "Custard is just better if it comes out of a box"

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