Monday, July 21, 2008

How to make Biltong

Biltong is one of the most delicious foods on the planet. It can be made from a variety of different meats, but for my batch, I used silverside beef. You can make biltong with beef, game or even ostrich. Some people like to avoid red meat, in which case I'd recommend ostrich, although I've never tried it.

What you'll need for the box:
  • large cardboard box
  • wooden rod approx. 1cm thick (long enough to go through the box from side to side)
  • clean wire
  • pliers
  • boxing tape
  • fine mesh (we used thin rubber matting)
  • small lamp with 60watt lightbulb
  • a sharp knife
  • pen & ruler (if you want to be neat)
Firstly, measure a comfortable distance for the rod to skewer the box. Try and keep it level so the pieces of biltong don't slide. I use the ruler and pen to mark precise points for the holes. Be sure to make all holes a tight fit to keep any nasties (like flies) out.

Once the rod is in, cut a few holes about 7cm in diameter and tape the mesh over them. Make a small incision at the bottom of the box and feed the wire through for the lamp. I took the plug off to feed the wire through a smaller hole and put the plug back on afterwards.

And, thats the box.

What you'll need for the biltong:
  • about a kilogram or more of silverside
  • a nice sharp butcher's knife
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander (more like half a cup if whole, but grind it before use)
  • half cup of brown sugar
  • teaspoon of ground pepper
  • tablespoon of coarse salt
  • vinegar (I prefer the brown)
  • chilli flakes (optional)
First, cut your meat into about 1 inch thick strips. I like to have a thin strip of fat on each piece. Sprinkle some vinegar all over each side and leave it while you prepare the spices.

I throw all the spices into a flat dish and stir it all up. Then dip the meat in the spices as if you're crumbing a piece of chicken. You can do half of the meat, then put the chilli in and you'll have a split batch. Just remember which is which. Place all the spiced meat in the fridge for about 2 hours.

While the meat is in the fridge, take the wire and pliers and make little hooks. I cut them at 10cm lengths and make one end small enough to hook the rod, the other a big hook to pierce the meat.

After the 2hrs, you can pierce the thinner end of the meat with the hooks and hang the biltong (NOT touching each other) on the rod. Turn the light on, and close the box. I just place 2 books on top to keep it closed.

Put it in a dry room, and if you have dogs, keep the room closed!

After 3 or 4 days you can take a piece off and give it a test. I like mine to still be a bit wet inside, but some people prefer it dry.

Enjoy, and thank me later...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bunny Chow

An authentic Durban chow this. Named bunny chow from Indians called Banias in Grey Street that first started making bunny chows in apartheid times. I won't go into that though, but this is a really lekker chow ... ek se, ma cuzzie!

1 Loaf of White Bread
400g Lamb Knuckles (use another meat if you don't like lamb)
4/5 Courgettes
4/5 Patty Pans
Heaped teaspoon of Curry Powder
1 Large Onion
4 Medium Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves chopped
3 Large Potatoes peeled and quartered
Tomato Sauce
Sachet of Brown Onion Soup Powder
Vegetable Stock Cube
Garlic Salt

Add a little oil to a large pot and brown the meat on a high heat. Remove the meat and add the onions with the curry powder, garlic salt and chopped garlic. Once the onions are soft, add the meat back to the pot with a little water. Mix it up.
Throw in all the veg (potatoes, courgettes, patty pans, tomatoes) and mix it all in with a few tablespoons of chutney, a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce, a cup of boiling water with the veg stock mixed in.
Give it all a good stir and turn the heat down. Put a lid on and allow the curry to slow cook for about 1.5 - 2 hrs. Add the soup powder mixed into a cup of boiling water and leave for a further 10 minutes.

Cut both quarter ends of the bread off and scoop out the inside and place on the side of the plate. Ladle in as much curry as you like into the hollow and drizzle some sauce over the removed bread.

Serve with a spoon and get messy with your fingers.

Pickled Fish & Salad

Here's a delicious, healthy, easy to prepare meal. Literally opening a few tins and making a salad and 'tater salad.

Can of pickled fish
Can of baked beans in tomato sauce
Quarter Cucumber
2 medium Tomatoes
1 medium/large onion
Lettuce of your choice
Pickled onions
3 medium Potatoes
Dried chilli flakes
Your choice of Bread

Peel, quarter and boil the potatoes till firm but cooked. Allow to cool while preparing everything else.
Chop half the onion finely and the other half in half rings. Slice the tomatoes into thin pieces or wedges and slice discs of cucumber. Wash some lettuce and lay a bed to place the onion, cucumber and tomato on top.
Dish up the desired amount of pickled fish and baked beans next to the salad on each plate along with a pickled onion or two each and cover.
Add the finely chopped onion to the potatoes and spoon in a few tablespoons of mayonaise until everything is covered upon gently stirring.
Dish up the potato salad with all the rest, and devour with the bread of your choice.

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Ultimate Boerewors Roll

Boerewors rolls, or boeries, are the staple diet of many a South African. Throwing a piece of braaied boerewors into a buttered roll, then squirting some tomato sauce and mustard in, couldn't be easier, or tastier. We intend to take this to the next level.

Hotdog Rolls
Mello 'n Mild (American Mustard)
Smooth Chutney
Avocado Pear

Make a nice hot fire with your choice of wood, charcoal or brickettes. Once it's ready to cook, throw some boerie on the grill and turn when necessary till not pink inside, but still juicy.

While the boerie is cooking, you can cut the onion in half and slice thinly. Fry these in the pan till soft but with a little bit of crunch and flavour remaining. Slice the tomato and cucumber. Peel and slice the Avo. If the boerie cooks quicker than the prep time, keep it in a closed container to keep warm and juicy.

Butter as many rolls as necessary and place some cucumber, tomato and onion in each. Place a roll length of boerie in the roll. Layer a couple of pieces of avo over the boerie and squirt in a good dose of chutney and mustard.

Devour and repeat! This meal goes well with beer, or if you want to go the whole hog, some brandy and coke goes down well with it.

This picture doesn't serve any purpose besides whetting your appetite a little bit more. How can you resist?!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

South African Ostrich Nachos

Here is something we made as a bit of an experiment. Well, I use "we" sparingly since I was busy doing some work while Michelle prepared most of it. The ostrich mince can be swopped with beef mince if you're not a fan, but I think the ostrich is the healthier "other red meat".

400g Ostrich Mince
1.5 Large Onions
Garlic Cloves to taste preference (we used 6 small ones)
Half Green Pepper
Half Red Pepper
Half Yellow Pepper
2 Small Tomatoes
1 Chilli (more if you like it spicy)
Peri Peri Powder
Cumin Powder
Tomato Sauce
Cheddar Cheese
Cottage Cheese
Large bag of Chilli Big Korn Bites

Dice one large onion and the garlic and fry them in a little butter. Dice a quarter of each pepper and add to the onion and garlic. Cook till the onions are transparent. Add a tablespoon of Cumin to the mix and then sprinkle some peri peri and coriander in.

While you're wating for the onions to cook, start preparing the salsa by dicing the tomatoes, another quarter of each pepper, half an onion and the chilli. Add some salt and pepper to taste and mix in a bowl.

The onions should be done by now, so add the mince and a cup of water (enough to prevent it from burning). Cook until you're satistied the meat is done (20-30mins).

Lay the chips on a plate, spoon the mince over the chips, then add some salsa on top of that, some cottage cheese, a few more chips, grated cheddar cheese and some more cottage cheese if you like.

Pop the plates under the grill to melt and slightly brown the cheese. Remove and serve.

Awesome with guacomole and sour cream.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Here is our second installment in so many days. Something a bit easier to cook than last night but really tasty and if you're moderate with the cheese and bacon, it's healthy too.

3/4 Bacon Rashers
1 Tin of Tomatoes
3/4 Garlic cloves
Pasta (we used Granoro Tagliatelle from the local Spar)
Parmesan Cheese

Fry the bacon in a pan with a little butter till crispy then remove it and place in a paper towell lined bowl to absorb the grease. Leave it to cool while you cook the rest.

Chop the basil and parsley into chunky sized pieces. Peel and crush (or finely chop) the garlic. Add the tin of tomatoes to a saucepan over a medium heat along with the garlic, basil and parsley. Simmer for about 20-30 mins.

While the sauce is simmering, cook your pasta as per instructions. Remember to not over-do it and use salt to add some flavour. I also like to throw a little olive oil into the pasta in the colander when draining to prevent it sticking (adding it to the water while cooking does nothing, so don't bother).

Cut the bacon up into thin slices, throw into the mix and stir it in.

Dish up the pasta first and throw the amount of sauce on top to your liking. Sprinkle the Parmesan over to taste and devour.

This goes well with a glass of red wine, or two if you're not driving, or three if you're not driving nor working tomorrow, or more if you've had a bad day and not driving nor working tomorrow. If you feel bad, don't. I buy Tassies by the box...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Roast Lamb Shanks & Veg

This is the first of our recipes and a bit of an experiment both in the cooking aspect as well as the photography and publishing.

2 medium sized lamb shanks
6 cloves of garlic
4 medium potatoes peeled and halved
Dried rosemary
Half cup of red wine
1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Chutney
Robertsons Seasoning Salt

Peel and cut 2 of the garlic cloves into thin slices and make small holes in the lamb shanks with a sharp knife. Insert the slices with some of the rosemary into the holes. Sprinkle some seasoning salt and more rosemary over the lamb shanks. Heat a pan with butter and brown the meat.

Mix the wine, chutney, Worcestershire and soy sauce together.

Preheat a baking tray in the oven with a little bit of butter (180 deg. c) and when the meat is browned, place it in the tray alongside 4 un-peeled garlic cloves and the potatoes. Pour the remaining butter from the pan over the meat and veg followed by the wine mixture and place the tray in the oven.

Cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, turning and spooning juices over everything at 30 minute intervals.

Serve with peas, red wine and some gravy if you like.

We'll try to post something new as soon as possible. Perhaps a braai recipe or maybe a potjie.

Kicking things off

This blog has been setup by my fiancee and myself to publish what we prepare as everyday food. Sticking to foods available in South Africa, the recipes here should all be possible to do for anyone living here, and probably just fine for most parts of the world.

Most cook books and websites offering recipes offer strange localized ingredients that we struggle to find in shops, so we thought it would be handy to show things that are pretty accessible in SA.

I hope you enjoy, and the first post will be landing either later this evening (GMT+2) or some time tomorrow. I'm already drooling over the thought of this lamb shanks recipe.