Sandy's Kitchen

Lifestyle//

The braai // a fire that burns deep in the hearts of all South Africans.

We are celebrating Father’s Day with more than just a meal, we’re honouring these special men in our lives with an intrinsically South African way of life – a braai. This deeply ingrained tradition that is forged over a hot bed of coals, and the hungry smell of sizzling boerewors has a soft spot in my heart – my rugby playing / watching dad never did have a son, but rather three daughters, whom he honed and coached in the art of braaing – we were taught from an early age how to stack the wood, how to read the coals and ready them for the meat – when to turn, and prick the boerewors, while the fat on the chops crackled in perfect unison. And so, in his honour, and all the other South African dads out there, we present the braai.

Do.

Although braaing is still very much a male dominated South African social custom, remember this, ‘He who holds the tongs, holds the title of braai master!”

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This home cooked table setting is a perfect medley of South African colours and materials. The starting point for any great table arrangement is the table; exposed or clothed – this is the foundation to your planning, the background template on which you will create your masterpiece – so choose wisely! Here, I have chosen a heavy weave of Hessian cloth combined and offset with local Shwe Shwe fabric (brought from the downtown Jozi market). The Hessian offers neutral tones, while the Shwe Shwe hints at a home-grown style.

Each place setting is made up of large round beaded/woven African placemat, giving a fresh take on the old fashioned ‘under plate’ (available from Amatuli 011 440 5065) Prominence is given to the overlaid bold placemats – a fiery blaze of orange colour (placemats can be hired from Tablecloth Hire in Johannesburg: 011 262 0048 / Cape Town: 021 510 3000) The crockery is a mix up of delicate orange and leopard print trimmed plates with rustic wonky ware which adds to the light-hearted and relaxed mood. The napkins are large thick wattled red and white stripe dishcloths (available from Woolworths) – extra-large napkins always look better on a table setting. In order to keep to local is lekker theme, bring in personal touches, whether old family photos or ornaments that would work well in the setting – I have blended in a hive of potted plants, from, a chilli bush, purple cabbages, succulents and a bushel of thyme. I’ve popped in a potjie, a steak knife block, tins, and my old faithful wooden dog that keeps watch over the spread to come. Don’t be afraid to display your foodie products on the table, (gone are the days of decantering everything) the latest bottles and label designs are slick and cutting edge, and can actually add more flavour to the overall table design – I’ve included the handcrafted chilli oil. I love their paper packaging, and it gives the table an extra little zing! I have added a selection of delicious Darling Brew Craft Beers (021 286 1099) stacked in a small galvanised tin, after all what is a braai without beer?

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Flowers are always a necessary addition to any table setting – their colours, textures and arrangement can add so much to already dressed table. The arrangement I have chosen to accompany this setting is loose, informal with a home picked aesthetic. A wild arrangement of proteas, pin cushions, and cabbages spill over the vase, and pick up on colours that are used in the table setting. Rethink your fillers, stay away from baby’s breath, instead use a variety of green foliage, and other fillers, like Pennigum, Privet berries and Blue Hybrid Delphinium

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The art of the perfect braai.

“There can only ever be one braai master, and he/she doesn’t need or want your advice.”

  1. Nothing beats a real wood fire – be sure to avoid resinous, treated or softwoods.
  2. Buy the best quality meat money can buy, and let it age for a few days in your fridge before the big braai – don’t forget to remove the meat from the fridge way in advance to bring it to room temperature – that way you will ensure a much tastier and more tender piece of meat.
  3. Only when the flames have died down and the coals are white-hot in colour do you start braaing. To test if your braai is cooking ready, hold your hand above the coals for 10 seconds, if you have to pull away, it’s too hot. If you can comfortably hold your hand over the coals for longer than 10 seconds, it’s too cool, in this case, either lower the grid, or add more coals to make it hotter. And of course, if it fits the 10 second rule, well, get braaing, positioning your braai grid about 10cm above the coals.
  4. Remember different types of meats have different cooking times, to make sure that all the meat is cooked simultaneously put the chicken on first at the edge of the flame – then on goes the meat, boerewors or porkers next, then chops and lastly the middle is kept for the steak. Avoid turning your meat to often (except if its boerewors) as it will dry it out. Always allow your steak to rest, once it has been cooked.
  5. There’s nothing worse than a greasy grid post braai – for an easy cleaning braai hack, cut a lemon in half and rub it on the grill while it’s still hot, and it will quickly lift the grease right off.

    Eat.

    Grilled Steak with Parsely Parmesan Salad

    Ingredients:

    • 500g rump steak – try and get one that is well aged
    • 6 T good olive oil
    • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 handfuls of assorted lettuce leaves (I mix some wild rocket into this)
    • 100g Parmesan, shaved
    • 1 avocado peeled and sliced
    • 4 T fresh lemon juice
    • 2 T seed mustard
    • 2 T chopped Italian parsley

    Method:

    • Once you are ready to braai your meat, rub your steak with 2 T olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Do make sure that this is only done once your meat has come to room temperature – it really does help make your meat a little more tender.
    • Braai your steak to your desired doneness, 4-5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing – always remember that your meat will continue cooking for a while longer once it has come out of an oven or off a flame, by doing this you allow your meat to relax and you end up with a far more tender piece of meat.
    • Meanwhile, toss your lemon juice and remaining 4 T olive oil in a medium bowl with the seed mustard and Italian parsley, season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice, if desired (remember the empty jam jar trick!!).
    • Pile your salad leaves on your plate of platter, top with sliced steak, avocado, shavings of Parmesan and a drizzle of dressing.

    Serves 2

    Dad's BRAAI SARMIES / braaibroodjie

    This simple, yet scrumptious recipe, is very much a nostalgic part of my youth – cooked by my dad, in a roostie (braai grid) over a makeshift braai on the beach in Arniston. As the coals cooled, and the sun set, we sat happily munching on deliciously cheesy toasted sarmies. Before you start, a couple of tips from the sarmie braai master himself, my dad;

    1. Always butter the outside of the sandwiches, this will prevent them from sticking to the braai grid.
    2. Make sure to use grated cheese – cheddar is fabulous as a filling – you will need something to ‘glue’ the two halves together, otherwise they fall apart.
    3. Watch them like a hawk so that they don’t burn!

    Ingredients

    • 4 slices of white bread
    • 2 tablespoons of softened butter
    • 1 tomato sliced
    • half a medium onion, very thinly sliced and sautéed
    • grated semi-hard cheese like a young cheddar
    • 4 slices of country ham
    • 4 rashers of cooked streaky bacon
    • 2 preserved figs thinly sliced
    • salt and pepper

    Method:

    • Spread the outsides of the bread with the butter, this helps with browning and prevents the bread sticking to the grid.
    • Add thinly sliced tomatoes, onion, country style ham, bacon, sliced fig and grated cheese, season with salt and pepper.
    • Press the 2 halves of the sandwich together before grilling. Make sure the fire is cool enough not to blacken the sandwiches before the cheese has had time to melt.
    • Turn when the bread starts to brown and remove when both sides are browned evenly.
    • Enjoy !

    Serves 2 or 1 hungry person

    Shakshuka

    Ingredients:

    • 2 T olive oil
    • 2 T Harissa paste
    • 2 T tomato purée
    • 2 large red peppers diced
    • 1 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 2 tins of cherry tomatoes
    • 6 eggs
    • 120g crumbled feta
    • A handful of torn fresh basil
    • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method:

    • Heat the olive oil in your skottel over a medium heat, or large frying pan over some coals, add the harissa, tomato purée, peppers, garlic, cumin and a pinch of Maldon salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
    • Stir and cook on a moderate heat for a few minutes or until the peppers have softened. Add the tinned tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes or until you have quite a thick sauce. Taste for seasoning.
    • Make 6 little wells in the sauce. Gently break the eggs and carefully pour each into its own well. Use a fork to swirl the egg whites a little bit with the sauce, taking care not to break the yolks.
    • Add your feta and basil and simmer gently for 8–10 minutes, until the egg whites are set but the yolks are still runny.

    Serves 6

    French trimmed Lamb Cutlets with Sauteed potatoes and Puttanesca sauce:

    Ingredients:

    • 6 French trimmed lamb cutlets (of just good old normal lamb chops)
    • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
    • ½ cup black olives, pitted and roughly torn
    • 1 T capers, roughly chopped
    • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1 T balsamic vinegar, plus more to serve
    • Olive oil
    • 4 large potatoes – peeled and cut into chunks
    • 1 handful basil leaves, roughly torn
    • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method:

    • Prepare your braai.
    • Remove your lamb cutlets from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
    • To make the Puttanesca sauce, place the tomatoes in a bowl and add the olives, capers, red pepper flakes, balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and stir. Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
    • Season with pinch of Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside. As it sits, the acid and salt will draw out moisture from the tomatoes, creating a lovely saucy texture.
    • Bring a medium pot of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes, until they are par-boiled and slightly softened. Drain.
    • Place a large frying pan over the heat and when nice and hot add a good splash of olive oil.
    • When the oil is hot, add your potatoes and cook until golden and almost tender. Remove from the heat.
    • When your braai is ready rub your lamb cutlets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
    • Cook to your liking, I like my lamb to be slightly pink.
    • Remove from the heat and leave covered with tin foil to rest.
    • Return the potatoes to the heat and pour over the Puttanesca sauce .
    • Toss well to combine. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
    • Add basil.
    • Serve warm topped with your lamb cutlets.

    Serves 3

    “Hot sauce must be hot. If you don’t like it hot, use less.” 
    ― David Tran 

    Dad’s Chilli sauce : A simple, but firey chilli sauce.

    Ingredients :

    A handful of mixed chillis – red and green (make sure that they are not too hot) -seeds removed
    1 ginger root – scrubbed clean to remove “skin”
    Equal quantities of olive oil and soya sauce

    Method :

    Chop you deseeded chilli finely – a great tip when removing the seeds is to do it under running water. Finely grate your cleaned ginger. Mix the two together and place in a jar. Cover with equal quantity of olive oil and soya sauce

    Sandy’s Kitchen
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    Jaq’s Chilli
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    The Local Grill, 40 7th Ave, Cnr 7th & 3rd Ave, Parktown +2711 880 1946

    Founded in 2002, The Local Grill in Parktown North, is one of the finest steakhouses that Jozi has to offer – with a ‘food to fork’ ethos, their beef is ethically sourced from the best farming practises and handpicked from local farmers, it’s aged on their premises and cut to order.

    The Local Grill now offers a a one-stop gourmet braai store – with the best in braaing cookware and accessories, with the added convenience of purchasing instore or online the finest  cuts of meat. https://www.localgrill.co.za

    The most exciting addition to the Local Grill family are the two fabulous Beef workshops; the Beef  Appreciation and the Beef Experience. For a great night out get a group of 8 – 12 friends, family or colleagues  the Local Grill offers an amazing night of beef appreciation, from; a comparative beef tasting, the ageing processes, different cuts of meats as well as the best grilling tips that would make any braai master green. 

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    Mzoli’s Place, NY 115 Gugulethu, 7551, Cape Town, +27 21 638-1355

    Mzoli Ngcawuzele is the man behind Mzoli’s butchery. What started in 2003 as a meat market from his garage in Gugulethu, has since evolved into one of the hippest meat hangouts on the block – this extremely popular butchery cum restaurant draws the crowds – Mzoli’s is all about meat – with no frills attached. It works like this, you chose your meat from the heaped choice of trays, theres, boerewors, chops, mince or steak – you certainly won’t go hungry. Your meat is then piled high onto a smaller metal tray together with small container sized delicious barbeque marinade – tray in hand, you meander through a warren of corridors to find yourself in a haze of smoke, amidst a bundle of burning braais. The braai masters are at the ready, with eight braais on the go, and as many braai-ers they are cooking up a storm – the meat is cooked to perfection, its hot, juicy and delicously dripping with the Mizoli marinade.

    You have the choice of an enormous serving of good old fashioned South African pap (R10 gets you a single portion which should suffice for 3 people or more) and an equally massive side portion of delicious bean salsa (for an additional R10). Cooldrinks are for sale on the premises, but to properly quench your thirst, pop into the house /shebeen next door where you can buy yourself a couple of local quarts and really get down to business. Enjoy your meal served sans condiments at Mizoli’s red clad restaurant which is adjoined to the butchery. Mizolo’s is a must, it’s a taste of real South African braai, with real meat, real men and real beer.

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