Dirk & Gwynneth

Grotto Bay Broodjies

In Braai on March 15, 2011 at 9:46 am

BBQ sandwiches. That sound just awful. It must be braaibroodtjies. Braai – BBQ; broodtjies – sandwiches.

In South Africa we do not have a barbecue, we have a Braai. There are distinguishable differences. It must be on coals from an open fire and most men are experts in this. Even if a man cannot bake an egg, he must be able to braai. It is sort of coming of age tradition as well. We even have a national day informally dedicated to braai.

One of the accompaniments to a braai is sandwiches grilled to have with whatever meat you want to braai. Usually these sandwiches are made with tomato, onion and cheese. It can be buttered on the outside or inside or some even put jam on it. But there must be braaibroodjies with a braai.

Sunset in Grotto Bay

 

During a recent stage in my life where I have been living alone, at the sea with beautiful weather and spectacular sunsets, I had a braai by  myself on quite a couple of occations. I experimented especially with braaibroodjies and the result is something that must be tried. A couple of my friends now swear by this method and more often than not these braaibroodjies have been the highlight of the braai for everyone that tried it.

Rocky beach in Grotto Bay

 

Shortly after I met Gwynneth we went for a romantic weekend to Grotto Bay. (This is also where I made these for the first time.) There I made the braaibroodjies to impress her and she really had a good laugh at my particular-ness about how it must be made. It is not only men for whom the path to heart is through the stomach, it work for the girls too!  She christened it Grotto Bay Broodjies…

Grotto Bay Broodjies

The arrangement that the ingredients is put onto the bread makes a huge difference and it must be in this format:

  1. A slice of  buttered bread.
  2. Liberal cream cheese (creamed or softened to be able to spread it)
  3. Very thinly sliced onions on the cream cheese (as thin as you can get it)
  4. Ground black pepper on the onions.
  5. Liberal sliced cheese on the onions. (Not grated as the cheese separate the ingredients)
  6. Thick slices of tomato (about 5 mm) on the cheese
  7. Salt on the tomato
  8. A slice of buttered bread to finish off with.

This “braaibroodjie” must now be grilled on the coals until the cheese in the middle has melted and start dripping. Be careful not to burn it as it take a while to get the heat inside to melt the cheese. The coals must not be too hot and be patient with it and turn it often. The bread can be quite crispy on the outside with the very very very gooey stuff inside.

Enjoy!!

Sunset in Grotto Bay

 

Grotto Bay

Waves over the rocks in Grotto Bay

Cheese Soufle

In Baking, Soufle on March 11, 2011 at 4:26 pm

My first venture into the world of soufles was much more of a success than Gwynneth thought that it would be. (I too had my doubts about what would happen) While I was busy with it she told me not to worry, she will make a proper one when I am done!!

The reason why I was scared of a soufle was that I thought that it was too much work and took too long. And I heard all this horror stories about not even burping in the kitchen while the thingy is baking or it will fall flat.  This is all bogus, if you take care about the right stuff while making it, it is actually very easy to do and extremely satisfying seeing it come alive in the oven.

So I decided to do it and treat her for a nice breakfast one Saturday morning. I studied the internet and recipe books and found that everyone have their own ideas about how long it must bake, how stiff the peaks must be for the egg whites, how the dish must be buttered etc etc. So I went back to the original french method of making it.

My first soufle was the best one. Subsequently I made others, but they were not as good as the first one. The lesson that I learnt is that there are a few very important aspects to give special attention to, the better these are, the better the soufle will be:

  • The eggs are the most important and the main ingredient – good quality and at room temperature.
  • The base – correct consistency, not too heavy.
  • The dish for baking is also very important as this will determine how the soufle will rise.
  • Timing and temperatures for the ingredients and oven will also determine the eventual quality, but will not spoil it.

Very simplistically, all that a soufle is, is a white sauce or bechamel sauce with egg whites folded in and then baked in the oven.  So this is how I made it:

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Eggs separated
  • 1.5 desert spoon butter
  • 1.5 desert spoon white (cake) flour
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • couple of pinches of smoked (or not) paprika
  • half a pinch nutmeg
  • salt
  • handful of strong cheddar cheese

Separate the eggs but be carefull that there are not a trace of yolk or any other fatty substance with the whites.

The yolks

To prepare the yolks, use a double boiler to cream it. To do this, use a pot with a little water in it over which a glass dish fit without falling it. With the water in the pot boiling,  add a teaspoon water to the yolks and whip the yolks until it is creamy.  Don’t overdo, it must not cook.  Let it cool to room temperature.

The base

Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the flour when the butter is bubbling. Stir the flour into the butter and keep it on the heat untill it begin to bubble again. Be carefull of overdoing it, if the stove is too hot it will burn easily. Add the warm milk (it must be heated to just before boiling) and stir very vigorously untill the sauce have thickened.  This now is the base of the souffle. Add all the other flavourings, spices, yolks and cheese and stir it until very smooth. Let it cool down to room temperature.  Smooth is the word here!

The whites

Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, as much as you dare and not spoiling them. (Using an electric beater for your first soufle is cheating!)

The dish

A lot has been written all over the place about a soufle dish and you can buy dedicated hardware for this.  When I made it I had no idea what to use as I did not have a soufle dish. Gwynneth advised that I use my black cast-iron pot for it and it turned out to be the perfect soufle dish.

Liberaly rub the inside of the pot with butter and put the pot in a freezer untill you use it.

Making the soufle

This is a very important step because the more of the air in the whites you can retain in the soufle, the more it will rise. Carefully mix a bit of the whites into the base to lighten it before folding in the rest. Now carefully and SLOWLY fold the whites into the base. Do this in two or three stages. A rubber spatula work great for this.

Baking

Pre-heat the oven to 220 Celsius. Pour the soufle into the buttered dish and run your finger along the top of the soufle. This will make it rise more evenly.  Bake for 18 minutes and watch what happen to it! Eat immediately as it WILL fall down in a few minutes. Reheating it in the same warm oven will make it rise again, but have your eaters ready when it get out of the oven to “ooh” and “aah” about it!

Enjoy!!

Dirk

Her muffin revealed!

In Baking, Muffins on March 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm

These muffins are the absolute secret for enduring a 4 hour hike in the blazing sun; the sole reason for going the extra mile just to get there to be able to sit down and enjoy!

Gwynneth can explain what she put into them:

I have a basic recipe and then I experiment with savory and sweet flavors. Some turn out better than other, especially when Dirk starts to interfere and to make suggestions.

The other thing that I do is to make the batter the night before (we normally try to leave around six in the morning for our hike), so it ends up saving a lot of time.

These are the ratios that I uses:

Bowl 1:

1 cup of oats

1 cup of milk, or buttermilk

Bowl 2:

0,5 cup of oil (canola, flax or grapeseed: it can be anything)

0.5 cup of sugar

1 egg

Bowl 3:

2 cups of flour, I prefer 1,5 white and 0.5 crushed rye

1 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of bakingpowder

Time it so that bowl 1 can soak for at least ten minutes

Combine all three bowls

Add some flavoring at this stage, this weekend I added 1 cup of chopped almonds and three ripe bananas. There has been pancetta, spinach and feta, another good one was grated onion, rosemary and butternut, but the best one was blueberries and Turkish Delight!

The oven should be around 180 and the muffins needs around 20 to 30 minutes depending on the four that you used and the extras that you added.

Happy Trails

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