Sunday, 27 March 2011

Ben's Built-in Braai - Chapter 4

Three days into the English spring and we had been blessed with days of defiant sunshine. Ben and Tersia had finished painting and paving around their braai and saw it fit to invite us and some other friends around to celebrate.

Ben excelled himself and yet again proved how rich and diverse every day South African outdoor cooking actually is. Armed with a bag of lumpwood charcoal and a load of beautifully seasoned English ash we were in for a treat that none of us could have predicted.

In the true traditional way, he started with a selection of sausages, in this case there were three; venison, champagne and pork, and pork chorizo (my favorite), all sourced from our mutual friend and local butcher Clint at Denshams in Witney. Topped up with some corn on the cob and salad, this also served as the main meal for the small army of children who had been occupying themselves building a den of some sort.

King prawns marinated in garlic and lemon juice followed, served with a lemon mayonnaise and cooked on Ben's new Jamie Oliver perforated grilling plate.

Ben had both the braii and the Weber going as the main course included an intensely flavoured pork fillet filled with a herby smoked oyster stuffing that needed to be quickly baked in a hot kettle barbeque.

His venison loin chops were melt in your mouth stuff and were topped with a warm, sticky, home made barbeque sauce. Most bizzarely, the main course was also served with cheese, tomato and onion toasties, gently cooked over the dwindling embers in the braai tool. This was an unexpected treat and one I would highly recommend.

A generous salad of mixed leaves, avocado and olives made the perfect accompaniment to the main meal, both refreshing and robust.

This was a beautiful example of using fire at its best. Grilling sausages at a fairly high temperature over hardwood embers initially, followed by marinated prawns, then the venison chops cooked more gently, and finally the toasties. The Weber did its own separate job and sorted out the quickly roasted stuffed pork loin along side.

Tersia's radioactive waste pudding was another surprise. Crunchy green minty stuff chopped up and laid over the top of 'Tennis' biscuits (yes, and I don't know where that name came from from either, please enlighten me if you do). I've never had anything like this before. Intensely sweet and distinctively flavoured, I can see why South Africans hanker to re-live this experience. Well done and thank you to both of you.

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