When it comes to South African food culture, we stand truly united behind the Braai and as families, and during the summer season we have an even better excuse to get together over the fire. A braai is a happy place for us to gather, a way for us to celebrate hot days spent splashing by the pool, as the food sizzles away under your braai masters’ watchful eye.
Cookbook author, culinary creator and celebrity baker Grace Stevens says that after having the privilege of braaiing all over South Africa, she has learnt that the thing that makes South African braai culture so incredible is that every region has its own delicacy.
Here are two of Grace’s favourite prepare-ahead braai day treats:
Fig & Blue Cheese Skewers
These delicious, sweet and savoury skewers are a fantastic appetiser and an alternative for vegetarians that puts dry vegetable patties to shame. Roasting fruit over the open fire encourages a sticky caramelisation that balances the strength of the blue cheese perfectly, and the walnuts add a nutty crunch.
- 9 fresh figs, halved
- Blue cheese cut into 12, 2cm cubes
- 50g roughly chopped walnuts
- 125g castor sugar
- Thread figs and blue cheese onto skewers, beginning and ending with a fig.
- Set aside to braai.
- Put sugar into a large frying pan and allow to melt over medium heat. When sugar is an amber colour, add nuts and pour out onto a greased baking sheet. Spread out thinly and allow to cool.
- Place skewers over warm coals and cook until figs are warm and cheese is slightly melted. Remove from heat and place onto platter. Sprinkle over candied walnuts and serve immediately.
This delicious creamy strawberry ice-cream is perfect on a hot summer’s day and can be served with fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, crushed up meringue or over your favourite warm pudding. The strawberries can easily be substituted for any of the bounty of fresh produce we have in-season to make a refreshing treat.
- 450g strawberries, washed with tops cut off and quartered
- 250ml milk
- 250ml white sugar
- 5ml of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod
- 500ml cream
- Place your strawberries in a food processer and whizz the up until they are a puree. To get perfectly smooth puree, be sure to scrape down any chunks and give them another whizz.
- Bring to the boil the milk, if you are using a vanilla pod, place it in the milk before you boil to infuse it with that fragrant scent.
- Take the milk off the heat, add your sugar and give a gentle stir until the sugar has dissolved
- Add your cream to the infused milk.
- Turn your processor back on and slowly pour your cream into the mixture. Leaving the processor on at this point aerates the ice cream mixture.
- Place a small glass bowl inside a larger glass bowl filled with ice water to create an ice bath.
- Pour your ice cream into the smaller glass bowl and leave it for 30min it until it cools below room temperature. You know its ready when all the ice blocks are melted.
- Once your mixture has cooled, pour it into a metal container (I like cake tins). You can also add fresh fruit, caramel, chocolate sauce, nuts and any other sweet treats at this point. It’s important to use a metal container as this will help your ice cream set quickly.
- Cover your metal dish in tinfoil and pop it in the freezer overnight.
- Serve with mint, fresh strawberries or any other condiments your heart desires.