Read more: guinea fowl,how to cook,venison,wild bird stew,red wine sauce,fried bream,grilled bream,okavango bream,okavango,botswana,botswana cooking,african cooking,african food,african cuisine,african dishes,pork ribs,how to cook pork,how to cook ribs,how to cook pork ribs,how to cook guinea fowl,how to cook perfect,perfect,tender,spatchcock,spatched,braaied,braai,barbeque,barbecu,barbecued,barbequed,prawns,peri peri prawns,peri peri chicken,mozambique food,mozambique cuisine,air gun hunting,air rifle hunting,gutting February 2012 | African Style Cuisine

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Rich Meat Soup

Winter is a couple of months off here in the tropical regions of Africa and I have started thinking of Soups. My wife loves soups and I sometimes put one together from whatever is in the fridge and freezer. A general can make soup out of just about anything. Really. Bones, fish, root vegetables, there are really few rules. There is one little secret that I have worked out over the years. A rich tasty soup or a gravy or sauce for that matter, is often rich in oils and fats. Yup, if it going to be really tasty, it might also be a bit fatty. Not always though. You can skim a lot of the animal fats off and use vegetable oils or olive oil to act as flavour carrier.
here is a basic rich vegetable and meat soup. Real comfort food!
Ingrdients: whatever you have but this works:

 2 large onions chopped,
2 large carrots grated.
2 cups of cabbage finely sliced.
Half cup of olive oil or light vegetable oil.
About half a kilo of beef shin or chicken bones or whatever other meat or bones you might have. Beef blade is good. So are marrow bones. If you like pork, then pork trotters without the hoofy bits are fantastic and rich.
It should end up thick and semi transparent. Something like this:

Friday, 24 February 2012

Creamiest Butternut Soup

My wife loves butternut soup. I am not as keen, but made a version I like. It is pretty rich and I guess that is why I like it!
Take a large butternut.....

Dont worry about peeling it or de-seeding it...we want every bit of butternut flavour there is. Chop it up as small as you are in the mood for and put it into a large pot of water or a pressure cooker. Add a large chopped onion, 4 pieces of garlic smashed in their shells, a teaspoon of coarse black pepper and salt to taste. Because its butternut, add butter of course! 2 large tablespoons.
In a pot simmer for 2 hrs.
Pressure cooker, which I prefer, 1 hour.
Then use an egg beater, whisk or whatever you have and liquidise it all. Strain in a sieve.
Now add 250 ml of fresh cream. Reduce the liquor by simmering to about a liter and half. Less if the butternut was small. Start tasting and adjusting. A touch of paprika and nutmeg is very good. tspn of sugar if its a bit bland. A dash of white wine or vinegar if it still doesnt taste right. The soup should be thick and creamy. Garnish with a little chopped basil or parsley.Serve it with chunks of fresh bread of course! It should look something like this...

Perfect spatched chicken on the braai.

A very good Italian friend Vito, inspired me a lot in perfecting this method of cooking chicken. He was a natural braaimaster! It is all about low heat and turn, turn, turn. It must not burn. He consistently braaied perfect chicken. Tender, cooked right through and not burnt. It took a lot of hard work though! My way you dont have to turn turn.
Start off with a raw chicken. You can buy one ready spatched but thats for woosies! Put the chicken on a board on its breast. Sharp knife or better still kitchen scissors and a firm hand start the cut like this:

Then pull it apart and press it open. Use a sharp knife to cut down the centre, inside,  at the back of the breast.  Not right through-just to crack through the bone and cartilage. This is to help it flatten. Not many people know this, but I steal with my eyes and once watched a butcher doing it! You can also insert a skewer as you see in the pic below. This keeps it all nice and flat.
Then any mixture of FRESH herbs you like. Fresh basil, garlic, a little rosemary, all chopped fine and mixed with a little mayonnaise, yoghurt, olive oil or all 3 if you feel like it. Go mad. Experiment. It eont be bad I promise. I always put as many fresh chillies as I think I can get past my wife! Toss it all in a large bag and leave it in the fridge for as long as possible.

Then....GET THE HEAT RIGHT. Get your braai coals well burnt. Should be plenty of them so the heat lasts. Test it by holding your habd over the heat. You should be able to do about 2 to 3 seconds.

Place opened side down on the grill. Now for the secret to tender, succulent braaied chicken! Cover the chicken with silver foil! Roll the edges or crumple them to form a stiff edge so you can lift the foil off and on often for checking and basting.

If it is too hot, and its causing too much flare ups then simply take it all off the braai, have another glass of wine and wait 20 mins. Do not be impatient. Heat is everything. After cooking 20 minutes turn it over skin side down and cook for another 20 min. A total of 45 min should be good. If it looks like its burning then your fire is too hot. Its all about temperature.
Here it is.....

Afro-Italian charcoal grilled steak

An aged Italian gentleman inspired this...I was doing some work for him at his holiday home on the coast in the East Cape, and at the end of a long day as the sun dropped over the horizon,  he pulled out a brown paper packet from his car containing some aged rump steaks, and promised me a special treat....

 The basic ingredients consisted of a strong olive oil, fresh ground black pepper, rosemary sprigs picked off the shrub next to the braai/barbeque and 6 or 7 pieces of garlic. These he smashed in their skins and added to the bowl of steak rosemary and olive oil. He also bashed the rosemary a bit before putting it into the bowl. All this was tossed and left for an hour whilst some hot coals burnt down from some acacia hardwood.

The result was the finest steaks I have ever eaten. So simple. The key is to let either the garlic or the rosemary dominate the flavours. That means put in less of the one. He used more rosemary, and not only whipped the braai grid with a rosemary branchlet but also threw a few leaves onto the hot coals whilst he was grilling the steaks. This has got to be eaten rare or medium. If you like it grey and well done just go and chuck a frozen burger patty in the microwave! You will probably enjoy it more.
A bit of explanation...Smashing the garlic and leaving it in the skin, traps the volatile oils so not all of it escapes during the cooking. This is the same reason that you add a very little raw garlic to garlic dishes at the end of cooking. Secondly, bashing the rosemary releases some oils and makes them availabe to infuse.