I love to braai. I will happily cook for 20 or more people for Sunday lunch, and a fire is always part of the cooking process. After lunch, chunky logs are added to make a bonfire for everyone to enjoy.
Fresh herbs are an important part of any good cook’s arsenal, and I grow many of them to use in my kitchen. This is something I constantly encourage people to do on my shows, in the magazines and in the talks that I give. Remember even a few herbs grown in pots on a kitchen windowsill can make a huge difference to your cooking. One of my favourite recipe’s is lamb chops accompanied by pap and sauce. Simple, but delicious!
Herb-crusted lamb chops
- 8 lamb rib chops
- Salt and pepper
- Dijon mustard
- For the crust:
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 stalks rosemary, leaves only
- 1 bunch thyme, leaves only
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the crust, mix all the ingredients together in a food processor. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place on the braai for 5 minutes, until browned on both sides. Take off the heat and brush each chop with Dijon mustard. Dip into the crust mixture, place on a baking tray and put into the over at 180 °C for 4 minutes. Serves 4.
Krummelpap and Sauce
Krummelpap (a crumbly version of mealie meal pap) and a simple sauce of tomatoes, onions and mushrooms is a favourite accompaniment to meat or fish on the braai. Krummelpap can also be made successfully in a microwave.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup mealie meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 onions, sliced
- 6 tomatoes, grated
- 250g button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato pureé
- ½ cup white wine
- ½ cup chicken or beef stock
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
For the krummelpap, bring the water to the boil and add the mealie meal and salt. Stir to mix, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir with a fork until crumbly. Cover again and simmer on a very low heat for 40 minutes. For the sauce, heat the butter in a pan and add the onions. When the onions are soft, add mushrooms, tomatoes, wine, stock, parsley, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serves 4-6.
Rosmarinus officinalis is very easy to grow and has a multitude of uses for the braai. While it is usually used as a flavouring agent for all types of dishes, particularly meat and potatoes, branches can also be stripped and used as skewers for meat or vegetables to impart that extra bit of flavour.
- Plant rosemary in full sun for best results.
- It can be grown in most soil types as long as it drains well.
- Shelter plants from frost in very cold regions.
- Provide room for growth, or you will need to keep it trimmed.
- It is virtually indestructible in the garden.
- Rosemary is a good choice for coastal gardens as it can cope with the salty air.
- It will grow in poor, stony or chalky soil.
- It can be trimmed into a hedge.
- It is a good companion plant to carrots, beans and cabbages as it repels aphids and discourages snails, slugs, caterpillars and cutworms.
- It grows well from hardwood cuttings.
How to use
The leaves are rather tough, so it’s best to strip the leaves and chop them finely if adding to dishes. As a general flavourant, use whole sprigs added to roasting vegetables or meat such as chicken or lamb, so that the sprigs can be removed after cooking. It’s great for marinades, vinegars, oils and dressings. Small amounts can be used in baking for cakes and biscuits or for apple sauce and sorbets. For a fragrant winter braai, throw a few sprigs of rosemary on to the fire.
Braaied biltong and cheese rolls
A variation on sarmies for the braai. Butter slices of bread on the outside, sprinkle the inside with shaved biltong, and grated cheese, then roll up. Toast these on the braai for a few minutes on all sides and serve. Delicious.