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National Braai Day 2018

Today is Heritage Day, also known as National Braai Day.  South Africans country-wide are celebrating their cultural heritage by spending time with friends and love ones around a braai!. There are of course no rules when choosing what you are going to braai – whether it is tjops, wors, chicken, ribs, fish or fillet!.  You can braai whatever lights your fire!  

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Coffee-Rubbed Rib-eye Steaks

Coffee Ribeye

Rib-eye, also known as Scotch fillet in Australia and New Zealand, is a beef steak from the rib section. Rib-eye steaks are naturally fatty and one of the more tender cuts of beef.  It should be seared at a very high temperature to seal in natural juices and fat and then cooked on a lower heat to the required doneness.  Perfectly cooked rib-eye steaks are full of flavor, moist, and melt in your mouth!

500 g rib-eye steak
olive oil

Coffee Rub
5 ml mustard powder
30 ml ground coffee
5 ml paprika
15 ml sugar
5 ml garlic powder
5 ml ground ginger
2.5 ml chilli powder/cayenne pepper (optional)
15 ml freshly ground black pepper

Grilled Pineapple Rings
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, and sliced into 1 cm rings
olive oil
chilli flakes (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, combine all the coffee rub spices together.
  2. Lightly coat the ribeye steaks in olive oil. This will help the rub to stick.
  3. Generously apply the coffee rub to the beef massaging all the spices into the steaks.
  4. Brush the pineapple rings with olive oil, sprinkle with chilli flakes, if used and season with salt.
  5. Grill the ribeye steaks and pineapple rings on a hot fire or griddle pan, turning to cook on both sides to your preferred doneness.
  6. The pineapples should be nicely caramelised.
  7. Leave the meat to rest for half its cooking time to ensure it is moist, tender and juicy.
  8. Season the steaks to taste with salt.
  9. Plate the ribeye steaks alongside a stack of spicy grilled pineapple rings and serve with a loaf of freshly baked bread and a fresh salad of your choice.

Servings: 2 people

Cooking guideline based on 3cm thick steak
: rare: 4 minutes on each side
, medium-rare: 5 minutes on each side
, medium: 6 minutes on each side (recommended), 
well-done: not recommended.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Karan Beef.

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Whole Fillet Of Beef Stuffed With Exotic Mushrooms

Whole Beef Fillet

Fillet is the prime, most tender and most expensive cut of beef.  Because fillet is boneless and without fat, every gram is edible!  Also see the recipe for Make-ahead Fillet Of Beef With Mushroom Sauce.

1.5 kg whole of beef fillet
olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed or 10 ml crushed garlic
15 ml/15 g butter
250 g exotic mushrooms
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs, leaves only

  1. Add a splash of olive oil to a hot pan and fry the chopped onion until translucent, then stir in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Set aside to cool.
  2. Trim away the silver skin and cut off the tail end of the fillet so both ends have an equal thickness (cook this end bit for a sneaky chef’s snack or save it for later)
  3. To form the stuffing pocket in the fillet, slowly slice lengthways down its centre taking care to not cut all the way through the meat.
  4. Season the fillet well (including the pocket) with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Fill the pocket with the butter, cooked onions, exotic mushrooms and thyme leaves and tightly tie about 6 pieces of butcher’s string around the fillet to secure the stuffing.
  6. Grill the fillet over a very hot fire, searing it on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. Then move the fillet over to slightly cooler coals and braai for 20 to 25 minutes, turning it occasionally to evenly cook the beef to medium-rare. A thick piece of meat may take a little longer but keep your eye on it so it doesn’t over cook, medium-rare is recommended. Brush with olive oil if necessary.
  7. Leave the meat to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it into thick rounds. Remove the string before serving.
  8. These heavenly stuffed medallions of beef can be served with any side dishes of your choice. Crispy roast potatoes and a fresh salad would be delicious accompaniments to finish off this meal.
Tips: Soak the butcher’s string in water to prevent it from burning during cooking.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Karan Beef.
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Tomato & Onion Sauce

tomato sauce

This sauce is very versatile and will not last long, so you might want to double the recipe!

5 ml canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 medium red apples, grated
5 ml crushed garlic
3 medium tomatoes, finely diced
125 ml tomato sauce
250 ml water
5 ml salt
20 ml treacle or Demerara sugar
20 ml Worcestershire sauce
20 ml mild mustard sauce

flatleaf parsley, finely chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and stir-fry the onion, apple, garlic and tomato until cooked – about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on a low heat until reduced.
  3. Serve with braaied meat, pasta, etc.

Add 250 g sliced mushrooms.

Recipe adapted from Gabi Steenkamp’s Barbeque Sauce.


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Braaied Corn On The Cob


This truly South-African side dish will be a hit at your next braai.

8 cobs of corn, husks & silk removed
60 g melted butter
30 g fresh basil, torn
2.5 ml brown sugar
2.5 ml garlic & herb seasoning
1 ml paprika
freshly ground black pepper

knobs of butter
fresh basil, torn

  1. Combine the melted butter, basil, sugar and spices in a mixing bowl.
  2. Place each cob of corn in it’s own sheet of foil.
  3. Brush each cob of corn generously with the butter mixture.
  4. Wrap each cob tightly in the tin foil.
  5. Place the corn cobs on the braai and cook for about 20 minutes, making sure to turn the cobs often or they will burn.
  6. Transfer the corn to a serving dish and place a small knob of butter and a little fresh basil on each cob.

Serves 6

Wrap 1 or 2 pieces of rindless bacon around each of the cobs before you wrap them in foil and roast on the grill over the fire for about 20 minutes.


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Fruit & Veg Chicken Sosaties


These colourful sosaties can be prepared in advance and can be served as a starter or main course at a braai.

1 kg chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
2 large red sweet pepper, cut into chunks
2 large onions, cut into wedges
1 x 800 g tin pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved

125 ml reserved pineapple juice
60 ml soy sauce
50 ml honey
60 ml vinegar
10 ml sesame oil
2.5 ml ground  ginger
60 ml olive oil

Grilling Sauce
60 ml reserved pineapple juice
30 ml honey
15 ml olive oil
5 ml soy sauce

  1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a mixing bowl and set it aside.
  2. Cut each chicken breast into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
  4. Combine the ingredients for the grilling sauce in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.
  5. Once it starts to boil, turn the heat down and simmer for 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Soak the sosatie sticks for at least 30 minutes before using. Or use metal skewers instead.
  7. Cut the sweet pepper into bite-sized chunks and the onion into wedges.
  8. Thread the ingredients onto 6 or 8 sosatie sticks, leaving about 4 cm at the blunt end of the sosatie stick to make holding easy.
  9. Transfer the sosaties to a airtight container and brush each sosatie with the grilling sauce.
  10. Heat the grill to medium-high heat.
  11. Lightly oil the grill grates and place the sosaties on the grill.
  12. Cook over medium-high heat, turning and brushing with pineapple grilling sauce often, for 12 to 15 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

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Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Pork Fillet


Pork fillet is lean, delicious and much more affordable than beef fillet.  Here I stuffed it with dried pears and blue cheese, but you can use any filling you like.

2 x 750 g pieces pork fillet
500 g rindless bacon strips

250 g gorgonzola or blue cheese, crumbled
400 g dried pears, roughly chopped
30 ml chives, snipped into 3 mm lengths

10 ml canola oil
2.5 ml beef stock powder
30 ml cake flour
375 ml milk or half milk and half dry white wine

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 º C.
  2. To make the stuffing, crumble the cheese into a medium mixing bowl and set it aside.
  3. Chop the pears roughly on a chopping board and add the pears to the bowl.
  4. Add the chives and mix well with a large spoon.  Set it aside.
  5. Line a roasting tin with a Wizbake Baking Sheet and place a few silicon food ties on the sheet.
  6. Place about ten strips of bacon on the food ties so that the bacon overlap a little.   See photo below.
  7. Place one of the fillets on the bacon and remove or add bacon if necessary.
  8. Season the fillet with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Spoon the stuffing onto the fillet and flatten it with the back of the spoon.
  10. Place the 2nd fillet on top of the stuffing and enclose the fillet with the bacon strips.
  11. Close the food ties to secure the fillets.
  12. Brush the outside of the “roll” with a little olive oil and roast for 50 to 60 minutes.
  13. To make the gravy, pour the pan juices into a measuring jug and fill it up to 375 ml with milk or half milk, half white wine.
  14. Add the stock powder and flour to the saucepan and add a little of the liquid.
  15. Stir with a spatula to get rid of any lumps.  Add the rest of the liquid and stir to mix well.
  16. Bring the mixture to the boil while stirring or until the sauce has thickened.
  17. Season to taste and transfer the sauce to a gravy boat.
  18. Reheat the pork in an oven preheated to 160 º C covered with foil.





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Sweet & Sour Chicken And Bacon Bites


These bites will disappear in an instant.  It also tastes great as leftovers.

600 g boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
125 ml canola oil
30 ml lime juice
a few drops Tobasco or other hot sauce such as Sriracha sauce
500 g rindless bacon strips
125 ml brown sugar

  1. Combine the canola oil, lime juice and Tobasco or Sriracha sauce in a large Ziplock bag.
  2. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bag.
  3. Once all of the chicken pieces are in the bag, turn the bag to coat the chicken with the marinade and place in the fridge for about 1 hour, turning after half an hour.
  4. Soak toothpicks in hot water to prevent them from catching fire if you plan to grill the bites in the oven.
  5. Cut each slice of bacon into two or three pieces (it must be big enough to wrap around the chicken pieces).
  6. Wrap the bacon around each piece of chicken and secure with a wooden toothpick.
  7. Brush the bacon with a little olive oil before coating it with brown sugar.
  8. Braai on a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is crispy.  Alternatively, pre-heat the grill and grill the bacon bites on a roasting pan about 10 cm from the grilling element.
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Grilled Pineapple With Coconut Sugar

Pineapple grilled on a braai is one of my all-time favourite desserts.  Using coconut sugar gives it an extra tropical taste.  Coconut sugar, also know as coconut palm sugar, tastes like caramel flavoured sugar, not like coconut!  It is produced from the sap of cut flower buds of the coconut palm.  The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 and is therefore considered to be healthier than refined white sugar  that has a GI of 60 and brown sugar that has a GI of 64.  It can be used as a 1:1 sugar substitute for coffee, tea, baking and cooking.  Coconut sugar has a high mineral content, being a rich source of potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron.  It also contains Vit B1, B2, B3 and B6.
1 or 2 fresh pineapples, trimmed, cored and cut into wedges
30 ml coconut sugar or regular brown sugar (see notes below)
2. 5 ml ground cinnamon
a few drops water
  1. Preheat your braai to a medium-high heat.
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and a few drops water in a mixing bowl and brush it onto the pineapple pieces.
  3. When you are ready to braai the pineapple, lightly oil the surface of the grill.
  4. Braai the pineapple for approximately 15 minutes, searing all sides.
  5. Serve on it’s own, or with cream or ice cream.


Substitute the pineapple for peaches that has been pitted and halved for an equally delicious dessert (see photo below).


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Spatchcocked Chicken

“Spatchcock” (poussin in French) is also the traditional word for a juvenile chicken.  Spatchcocks were generally butterflied during preparation to speed up the cooking time.  The word therefore refers to both the bird and the manner in which it was traditionally prepared. Spatchcocking yields a perfect roasted chicken that will cook 15 minutes faster than a whole chicken. It also exposes more skin, which crisps up nicely.

 1.5 kg whole chicken
15 ml olive oil
1o ml garlic & herb seasoning
  1. Prepare a braai for indirect cooking.
  2. To butterfly the chicken, lay the chicken breast side down on a chopping board with the tail end facing you.
  3. Use poultry shears (kitchen scissors will also do!) to cut out the back bone. Do this by cutting through the ribs to the left of the backbone.
  4. Also cut to the right of the backbone and remove the backbone and the tail.
  5. Remove the breast bone next by cutting it loose with a utility knife.
  6. Rub olive oil into the chicken on all sides.
  7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper or spices of your choice such as garlic and herb seasoning.
  8. Place the chicken breast side down on the rack of the Weber over a drip pan . Tuck the wings in and cook covered with the vent open until nicely browned – 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 75 degrees celcius in the thickest part of the thigh.
  10. Check to see whether it’s cooked by inserting a meat thermometer or by placing a skewer in the thicker part of the leg.The juices should run clear, i.e. not look pink.
  11. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let it rest 10 minutes. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and transfer to a serving dish.
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Mushrooms With Blue Cheese & Bacon

This vegetarian recipe can be served as a starter or side dish.

12 whole Portobello mushrooms
125 g Cream Cheese, plain or flavoured
50 g Blue Cheese or Gruyere, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices rindless bacon

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Wipe the mushrooms with absorbent kitchen paper and remove the stems.
  3. Combine the cream cheese, blue cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  4. Divide the cheese mixture evenly between the mushroom.
  5. Cut each slice of bacon in half so that you have 12 pieces and wrap a piece of bacon around each mushroom.
  6. Place a toothpick into the mushroom where the bacon ends overlap.
  7. Pack the mushrooms in a single layer on a roasting pan and roast for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and the filling bubbly.

4 servings.

The mushrooms can also be cooked on a braai.