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Bolognese Quesadillas

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 12.51.15I used Denny Bolognese sauce for this recipe, but you can always just use left over bolognese, or make it from scratch. This was one of my favourite meals that we prepared on the TV show. It is so easy and extremely delicious.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 2 tots tomato paste (50 g)
  • 1 packet Denny Bolognese sauce
  • 1 tin Red Kidney beans, drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 300 g mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 10 – 12 tortilla wraps

WJAT TO DO:

  1. Heat the oil in your potjie and fry the onion and garlic until soft. Add the beef mince and fry until brown.
  2. Add the tomato paste and let this mix and fry for a few mintues making sure everything is well mixed together.
  3. Next add your Denny Bolognese sauce and the beans, and let this simmer for 15 – 20 minutes on low heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Build your quesidilla: Fill half of the wrap with a layer of bolognese, then top with cheddar cheese. Close the wrap, so now you have a half circle. Then fold the wrap again, now you have a quarter  circle. Carry on with the rest of the wraps
  5. Carefully arrange the wraps on your hinged grid, and braai over medium coals, and turn often. You need to approach them the same way as you would a braaibroodjie.
  6. They are ready to serve once the outside is toasted and crisp and the cheese melted on the inside.
  7. Add fresh chilis with the cheese is you are feeling adventurous.

 

 

 

Posted in Beef, Recipes | Leave a comment

GNOCCHI WITH BACON AND CHEESE SAUCE

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 07.43.50The inspiration for this recipe comes from Guido, who as you might guess from his name, is Italian. Guido once served me a brilliant bacon and blue cheese gnocchi – so brilliant that I had to go back the next day to have it again. As Guido is not on standby at my house to make this every day, I had to start making it myself. This meal works very well as a substantial starter for a fancy and expansive braai meal, where the mains would be meat served with a side of vegetables or salad. However, it is a delicious recipe, quite rich, and robust enough to stand on its own as a main meal, which is how I usually enjoy it. 

WHAT YOU NEED:

FOR THE GNOCCHI

  • 1 kg (about 6)potatoes (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tsp saltwater
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups white bread or cake flour

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 tot butter
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 packet(200g) bacon (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 block(125g) blue cheese
  • 300g white Cheddar cheese
  • fresh parsley (chopped, to garnish, optional)

WHAT TO DO: 

  1. Peel the potatoes and then quarter them.
  2. Now cook the peeled potato chunks in salted water until very soft. Essentially, they need to start cracking. Then drain them and mash them very finely with a masher or a fork. Let the mashed potatoes cool down. It doesn’t need to be ice cold – just cooled down completely; cool enough that it doesn’t cook the egg in the next step. We’re talking about a cooling period in the region of half an hour, not half a day. Add the egg to the cooled-down mashed potatoes and stir it in with a fork until everything is mixed.
  3. Now wash your hands and add one cup of flour, then properly mix it into the mashed potatoes with a clean hand. Next, add the other cup of flour and properly mix that into the mashed potatoes as well.
  4. Once you have a firm, soft piece of ‘potato dough’, take a ball or chunk of dough at a time and roll it into a sausage shape on a floured cutting board. Basically, each piece should look like pieces of lily-white, thin boerewors.
  5. Now cut the potato dough sausages into smaller pieces of about 2 cm each and gently roll each piece in flour. You need to coat each piece lightly in flour, otherwise they will all stick to each other.
  6. Get a pot of water boiling on the fire. We will later use this pot of boiling water to cook the gnocchi.
  7. Get another sizeable fireproof pan or a potjie on some flames and add the butter, oil, onion and bacon to that. Fry and toss the onion and bacon until you like the look of them and then add the garlic.
  8. Soon after the garlic starts to brown, move the potjie or pan to an area with slightly less heat and add the cream, blue cheese and Cheddar cheese. Theoretically, you could grate the cheeses but that is actually too much work and just means you have to wash the grater. Simply use the same knife you used to chop the onion and garlic and chop these cheeses into little blocks with that. Use a wooden spoon and stir everything. 
  9. As soon as the cheese is in the pan, add the gnocchi to the boiling pot of water you got going a while ago. The gnocchi will cook very quickly, in about a minute or two. Each individual one will start to float on the surface as soon as it’s ready.
  10. Scoop the cooked gnocchi into a strainer, and from there into the pan with the sauce, or simply use a slotted spoon and take them straight from the boiling water into the sauce. 
  11. Once all the gnocchi are united with the cheese sauce, gently toss everything so that all the gnocchi is coated with sauce and now let it simmer for a minute or five until you’re happy with the look of it. In other words, until you’ve poured a few glasses of wine. 
  12. Serve garnished with parsley, or simply serve as is.

 

 

Posted in pasta, Pork, Recipes, Sauces | Leave a comment

LAMB KOFTA BURGERS

Screen Shot 2019-10-12 at 07.30.41This burger recipe has all the good qualities of a kofta. This will be a great addition to your usual burger braai.

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the patty:

  • 1kg beef or lamb mince
  • 1 tot paprika
  • 1 tot cumin
  • 1 tot coriander
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • Fresh coriander, chopped finely
  • ½ red onion, grated

For the sauce:

  • 500 ml Full cream yogurt
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cucumber chopped
  • 1 tot freshly chopped mint

For the burger:

  • 4 burger rolls
  • Salad leaves
  • Chopped tomatoes

WHAT TO DO:

  1. If you have a mincer available, use meat like brisket and make your own mince. Otherwise just use good quality beef or lamb mince to make your patties.
  2. Mix together all the spiced, onion and fresh herbs with the meat and make sure everything is well mixed.
  3. Use your recently washed hands to form 6 – 8 patties, depending on the size of patties that you want.
  4. Braai the patties over hot coals until medium done.
  5. While the meat is on the braai, prepare your sauce by combining the yogurt, cucumber, onion, garlic and mint. And season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Build your burger starting with the roll, then salad leaves, your spiced patty, yogurt sauce and top it off with fresh chopped tomatoes
Posted in Beef, Lamb, Recipes | Leave a comment

POT ROAST CHICKEN

Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 11.52.32For this version of braaied chicken you’re going the decadent extra mile. You’re not just braaing it on a grid or baking it in your man-oven, you’re roasting it in your potjie. We’re talking whole chicken cooked in a potjie with loads of garlic and white wine, cream and herbs. When you’re done you might feel the urge to do a little victory dance, but don’t. Those are for rugby players when they score tries, and they’re usually embarrassed about it a few years later.

WHAT YOU NEED(serves 4)

  • 1 tot olive oil1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 packet smoked streaky bacon (about 200–250 g, finely chopped)
  • half a bulb of garlic (skin the cloves but leave them whole)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium-sized whole chicken
  • 1 tot brandy
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup cream (125 ml)
  • mashed potatoes or cooked white rice(to serve)
  • 1 tot fresh parsley (chopped, for garnish)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat the oil in your potjie (a classic shape no. 3 is perfect) over a hot fire, then add onions, bacon, garlic, carrots and celery. Fry for about 5–10 minutes until it all starts to brown.
  2. Add the thyme and the chicken and fry for another 5–10 minutes, browning the chicken slightly on both sides. Here and there the vegetables and bacon should also be turning brown in the bottom of the potjie.
  3. Now add the brandy and scrape the bottom of the potjie with a wooden spoon to loosen any dark bits sticking down there. Those sticky bits create flavour but you need to scrape them loose to unleash said flavour. Let the brandy boil rapidly for a few minutes until it evaporates, then add the white wine, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and simmer (breast sides of the chicken down) over low heat (coals, not flames) for 1½ hours. Turn the chicken breast side up for the last 15 minutes of this time.
  4. Now pour in the cream, and bring back to a simmer. Cook for another 15 minutes uncovered, then remove from the fire and let the meal rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
  5. Serve on mashed potatoes or white rice garnished with chopped parsley.

    AND …If you serve it with whole sprigs of thyme, as I did for garnish in this photo, remember to move them to the side before you eat the chicken. You wouldn’t eat whole sprigs of fresh thyme on your chicken as the woody parts are too hard to chew

 

Posted in Chicken, Recipes | Leave a comment

BEAN BOLOGNESE

Screen Shot 2019-10-05 at 11.35.50

My family started making spaghetti Bolognese on the fire during camping trips in Botswana and Namibia when I was a teenager. The secret to a great Bolognese sauce is to simmer it over low coals for quite a while. When camping in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the problem with cooking something that smells this good, simmering and releasing flavours, is that a pride of lions might smell it as well and pay your camp a visit, as happened to us one evening. We ate in the car that night.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 6)

  • 2 tots olive oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 celery stick (finely chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
  • ½ tot mixed dried herbs (or 1 tot finely chopped fresh herbs like basil, thyme and parsley)
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tin red kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 tin black beans (drained)
  • 2 tins tomatoes
  • 2 tots tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tot lemon juice
  • salt (to taste)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 500 g pasta (like tagliatelle or spaghetti)
  • Parmesan cheese (or Cheddar cheese, shaved or grated, to serve)

WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat oil in a potjie over a medium-hot fire. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and gently fry for 5–10 minutes until the onion is soft and shiny but not brown.
  2. Add the garlic and herbs to the pot and fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir well. Use your spoon to scrape and loosen any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the wine is almost completely reduced.
  4. Now add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put the lid on the pot and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 10–15 minutes to ensure that the sauce doesn’t cook dry and burn. You need low heat and a gentle simmer – exactly the opposite of braaing steak. If the pot runs dry, add a bit of water.
  5. After 1 hour of cooking, add salt and pepper to taste; take off the lid and simmer uncovered while you cook the pasta in salted water in a separate pot.
  6. When the pasta is cooked and you’re happy with the Bolognese sauce, serve as you see fit. I usually see fit with a bit of shaved Parmesan or grated aged white Cheddar.

 

AND …

 

Pasta, like spaghetti and tagliatelle, takes about 7–8 minutes in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water to become al dente, which means ‘just cooked with a slight bite to it’. For 500 g of pasta you need about 5 litres of water and ½ tot of salt. Don’t overcook pasta or it will become a soggy mess. When it’s done, drain the water off and immediately drizzle the pasta with olive oil to stop it sticking to itself.

 

 

Posted in Recipes, Vegetarian | Leave a comment