What is a weekend without a braai?!! I know in our household, it would just not be possible. That fire is lit for any occasion, and very often.
Something happens to a man when he stands in front of a fire and you put a pair of tongs in one hand and a beer in the other. Not quite sure what it is, but he seems to be transported onto another level. The chest puffs up a bit, he stands taller, he rocks from side to side, waving the tongs around and says: “ Nou braai ons lekker, boet!”
Seems to be a very happy place for most South African men. Just watch them around a fire. There is a code of conduct here, you never mess with another man’s fire! You could kiss his wife, but hey, the fire!!! No no, this is out of bounds! This is a sacred rule they learnt from their Dads when they were little kids, as when a male at a braai doesn’t have a mate around, any other male presence around the fire with him would do, so any boy children are roped in. There needs to be a pack of them for it to be really successful, this is not a solo thing. They are the hunters returning from the field with the catch of the day, while the gatherers are chatting over chilled glasses of Sauvignon Blanc doing the prep of the salads in the kitchen. This is tradition. Do not try to change this system, it works!
And then, when the meal is produced, so proudly: “Now look at that, hey! What a feast! Isn’t that amazing?” they say. And now you must praise loudly and go into raptures about how incredible they are, and what a meal this is!
Never mind that you did the shopping, and you have been preparing the marinades and the sauces for hours, putting it all together and out at the fire, ready to cook. No credit for that, love! This is just what we are supposed to do!
And we grab another glass of vino and smile to ourselves, life is so simple when you know how to play it.
Enjoy this Heritage Day with two of our favourite gourmet braai recipes.
MEDITERRANEAN POTATO SALAD
1 kg baby potatoes
2 t salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 jar of small capers
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill
4 hard boiled eggs, cut into quarters
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/2 t sugar
1/2 c olive oil
1 t Djion mustard
salt & pepper
Boil potatoes in salted water, but don’t let them get too soft.
Cool and peel, then slice in half.
Mix the dressing well, and pour over the warm salad.
Add the capers, olives, herbs (keep a few back to the top) and onion and toss together.
Check the seasoning and then let it stand to absorb the flavours for an hour or so.
If too much oil has been absorbed, then add more.
Top with the eggs and the rest of the chopped herbs.
BRAAI: SEAFOOD PARCELS
Serves 6 – 8 people
800g firm white fish fillets, sliced into cubes (can be an assortment)
12 deveined prawns with the shells on, cut in half lengthways
400g baby calamari, sliced into thin rings
(You can also add in a cup of mussels or clams)
Tin foil to make parcels
3 thumbs of fresh ginger thinly sliced
1 cup of coriander
1 lime slices
2 sticks of finely sliced lemongrass
Chili Ginger and lime sauce for seafood parcel
2 t grated ginger
1 t grated garlic
2 deseeded chopped red chillies
1 1/2 T sesame oil
2 T peanut oil
1 lime, juice & zest
1 T fish sauce
1 1/2 T soy
1 t brown sugar or palm sugar, grated
1/2 t hot chili flakes
Mix these together well in a bowl.
Add in the roughly chopped ginger and lemongrass.
Add the fish to this, and coat well.
Take a double square of foil and put the fish with the sauce in the centre of the foil.
Top with the coriander and the lime slices.
Make sure the parcel is closed very well.
2 T Capers
1/2 a cup of pitted Olives
1 cup of halved baby tomatoes
1 packet of baby spinach
Handful of each: basil & flat leaf parsley
4 cloves of sliced garlic
3 T of olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
Salt and Pepper
Take a double square of foil and put the fish in the centre of the foil.
Add in the ingredients above and then drizzle with olive oil and season well.
Make sure the parcel is closed very well.
Now place the parcels on a heated Weber and close the lid.
They need to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.
Do not overcook the fish.
If you don’t have a Weber, you can do this on the open braai, but make sure the fire is not too hot.
You can serve these with steamed rice to mop up the juices.
Upon reflection, it is such a difficult thing to pinpoint the moments that made these two incredible experiences that we have just hosted at The Beach House Collection, in Yzerfotnein, so special…. there were SO many!
Was it the magnificent beach house venue? Was it the food prepared with love? Was it the perfect mix of fabulous people? Was it the connection that happened between the people? Or in the case of the SOUL FOOD RETREAT, was it our amazing resource, Gabi Lowe? Was it the energetic connection that happened subconsciously between the people during the yoga & meditation session with Dominique?
I guess it is a combination of all of all of these things.
It had been my vision for a while to create this new side to the business, FOR THE LOVE OF LIVING experiences that would be more than just the evening FOR THE LOVE OF COOKING INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES at Ginger & Lime, as it seemed that our guests were ready for this. Gabi had been working on her WORKSHOPS, and was getting more and more requests for a retreat, and so it seemed natural for us to do a collaboration.
Gabi and I spent many hours visualising what this would look like…chatting, planning and honing the model for the SOUL FOOD WORKSHOP. We became more and more enthusiastic the more we put into the project. It has SO much potential, and we both see that. Then Gabi spent much time on the IKIGAI PRESENTATION, and the workshop element, and my team and I created the menu, planned the flow of the events, did the shopping and all the necessary preparation. My BEACH HOUSE COLLECTION Team prepared the houses for us……. and all was set to go!
Much energy, careful thought and detailed planning, as well as hours of discussion (often over a glass of wine, of course) went into these projects, as you can image, as they don’t just happen. So with this, they take on a life of their own, and become a reality.
So the dates were in the diary, marketing began and the bookings started to flow in. With each one, we became more and more excited! You know when you are a kid and you aren’t sure if anyone is going to come to your party? That nervousness in the pit of your tummy…excited & scared all at the same time? Well that was us in a nutshell.
Soon the events were fully booked, and prep was in full flow. Katy and I headed out to Yzerfontein a day earlier, with our cars so full that we could hardly see out of them, and it was pouring cats and dogs! I have to say, the old back has taken a bit of strain with all the lifting, carrying and unpacking, but guess that is part of it all.
My team and I got busy in the kitchen, Gabi & Jaimi got stuck into setting up all the elements needed at the venue for the workshop, and the BHC team put the final touches to the rooms. We all met up later on at White Sands for dinner, and to plan further. We were all on a bit of a high, I have to say, and you could feel the energy bouncing off the walls with our excitement.
Then the next day, the guests arrived, and with this, we were officially launched.
Gabi really held the room with her compassion, understanding and her deep wisdom, as she shared her presentation on finding your purpose in life, or your IKIGAI.. She tapped into the core of each person there, and I know that every person felt this. There was deep sharing, and this brave group did not hold back. They were open and showed vulnerability, feeling safe and held, and trusting the process. There were tears, but there was more laughter overall, which is fabulous!
We served a nutritious and energising lunch, to make sure that our guests did not go into a slump. The afternoon included playtime, in the form of Vision Boards, and the group (albeit some of them a tad reluctantly) got stuck in to this project, and some amazing work was created.
The sun came out, and it was a gorgeous day, so Gabi added in some exercises that would take place on the beach, to enjoy the fresh air and the nature. This was followed by a session of yoga and exercises by Dominique, as well as a meditation. The sunsets were spectacular, going from yellow to orange to deep deep scarlets.
Dinner was an interactive cooking experience, which everyone jumped at and got stuck in. People mingled freely, chatting openly to each other, forming deep connections over the chopping boards & steaming pots. I remember looking around at some point, and my heart was singing with happiness to see this.
There was more retreat work the next day, and we finished off around lunchtime.
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