Cape Town - Jean Nel is out to prove that there isn’t much that can’t be prepared on the fire. In his first book Braai the Beloved Country, he has shared his favourite braai recipe secrets.
Nel has drawn on his 15 years spent cooking, training and catering, and applies it to the beloved braai.
“I was a serious chef who didn’t really braai before…
“I left serious cooking and I’m glad I never have to do that again,” he jokes.
Nel, who braais about five times a week, offers braai lessons, and is also the official Weber coach.
He stresses that South Africans have moved on from simply throwing meat on the grill and marinating it with beer.
Whether it’s meat or vegetarian dishes, starters or fish, there are ways to make it look and taste five star.
It’s possible to do gourmet food on the fire and among his favourites are leg of lamb and roast vegetables.
The book also includes a section on how to smoke your own salmon and pair it with braaied avocado.
Nel is passionate about the braai. “What draws people to the braai is the bonding around the fire.
“It’s here to stay and we as South Africans will make sure of that,” he says.
Prawns with lemon butter and peri-peri
24 prawns, deveined
6 red chillies, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
59ml white wine vinegar
125ml olive oil
30ml chopped flat-leaf parsley
Lemon wedges to serve
Add chillies (remove seeds for a less fiery peri-peri), garlic, paprika, white wine vinegar, olive oil and parsley into a small pot and simmer for three minutes. Cool slightly and blend in a food processor until smooth. Cool completely. Place in a small bowl, alongside braai.
Toss deveined prawns with 45ml of the sauce. Throw prawns on an oiled grid and braai for 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning. Brush with any remaining peri-peri sauce.
* Braai Note: Leftover peri-peri sauce will last up to a month, refrigerated.
Lemon butter prawns:
60ml lemon juice
Rind from 1 lemon
100g soft butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15ml chopped flat-leaf parsley
5ml finely chopped rosemary and thyme
Salt and pepper
In a small pot, add lemon juice, rind, olive oil, butter, garlic, fresh herbs and seasoning. Simmer for 2 minutes until the butter is melted.
Toss prawns with the lemon and herb butter.
Throw on the braai, and braai 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning.
Brush with remaining lemon butter.
Braaied Pear, Biltong and Feta Salad
4 pears, quartered
250g feta cheese, crumbed
100g wet biltong
1 packet wild rocket
1 spring onion, chopped
honey to drizzle braaied pears
salt and freshly ground
olive oil to brush pears
balsamic vinegar to drizzle over salad
Quarter pears. Brush with olive oil and braai on a medium heat until caramelised. Take off the braai and drizzle with honey. Mix the feta cheese, rocket and spring onions together in a bowl. Drizzle with more olive oil and season. Add pears and some balsamic vinegar.
* Braai Note: Serve a beautiful wedge of blue cheese instead of feta.
There is no need to be afraid of the kitchen when you have confidence and really good ingredients. This is the philosophy of accomplished chef Pamela Shippel-Granoth, author of Kirstenbosch Tea Room Cookbook.
The book celebrates Shippel-Granoth’s 10 years in the Tea Room as owner and chef, and has more than 90 recipes from the restaurant’s menu.
These are divided into the Hot Kitchen, Cold Kitchen, From the Coals and The Bakery.
The final chapter, My Kitchen, reflects on Shippel-Granoth’s personal favourites, giving insight to what she serves her guests at home.
Moroccan dishes would be the answer, as it’s what she enjoys.
After being in the industry for 40 years – from teaching to running an upmarket catering company overseas – Shippel-Granoth says she has enjoyed her time at the Tea Room.
“I love the ordinary, every day, down to earth food and the big portions. It’s casual dining,” she says.
The recipes range from the very simple to those that are a bit more complicated.
But this need not put off any would-be cooks.
“There’s no such thing as a flop, only an unexpected result. But if you use really good ingredients, there is very little that can go wrong,” advises Shippel-Granoth.
Date and apple muffins (No added sugar)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml boiling water
280g cake flour
2 tbsp baking powder
200g grated Granny Smith apples
1 tsp vanilla
Finely chop the dates and sprinkle the bicarbonate of soda over. Pour on the boiling water and stir. Leave to cool.
Sift the cake flour and baking powder together into a mixing bowl and stir in the bran.
Mix these last four ingredients together. Add the cooled date mixture. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, taking care to not overmix.
Spoon into muffin pans and bake at 175°C for about 20 minutes or until dark brown.
Makes 12 muffins
Shakshuka tomato sauce:
3 large onions
60ml olive oil
2 tins chopped Italian tomatoes
3 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs cumin
11/2 tbs fresh sweet paprika
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
chilli to taste
3 cloves garlic
extra olive oil
Dice the onions. In a large, shallow pan, fry the onions over a medium heat until glossy. Increase the temperature and allow them to turn golden.
Use any form of red chilli: chopped fresh chilli, chilli sauce or paste of your choice, to taste. Make sure the cumin and paprika is pure and fresh.
Crush the garlic – use fresh garlic, not store-bought chopped garlic
Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Check seasoning and set aside.
When you are ready to eat, heat the tomato sauce and crack the eggs into the sauce, making a well for them with a spoon. Cover and simmer gently until the eggs are just cooked. Drizzle olive oil over. Sprinkle on plenty chopped, fresh parsley and eat with fresh crusty bread. Serves 4
* Variations: Add any diced vegetables such as red pepper, mushrooms, baby marrow, eggplant to the onion when frying. Continue as above. - Cape Argus