Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Very Fast Pizza? Try the Zoobiscuit Version

Anél's picture of what this looks like. Yummy!
This week's recipe is not from me, I am going in for a knee replacement. Fair wear and tear, says the doctor. Which leaves me unserviceable for any cooking, baking or other activities in the kitchen.

Well, all is not lost. A fellow food blogger has a brilliant idea which works for one or many mouths to feed. Anél Potgieter does not need an introduction in South African cooking circles, having won the Dinner Diva cooking competition recently. This competition was to find the best food blogger-cook in the country.

Which Anéwon with aplomb. As well as the 2013 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Best Local Food Blog Award.

So we are especially honoured to have her recipe for a fast pizza as the boat food recipe for this week. This one is quite delicious. And also a no brainer. Well, almost. You do need to think up your own variations. But the recipe is quite simple.

You do need a rolling pin. Else use a bottle. I am sure you will find one somewhere on the boat. Other than that just the normal kitchen tools that you will find in the boat's galley.

And thanks for stopping by, I shall be back...

Authored by Johan Zietsman, with gratitude to my fellow food blogger AnéPotgieter.

Last updated on 2013-03-26

Compiled for the GBYC newsletter

Friday, 15 March 2013

Eat a Piece of History: Jaffles

History for me and my age group in South Africa at any rate.


All My Bloggy Friends
A very South African variation of a sealed toasted sandwich from the days before snackwich toasters. These are made using a jaffle iron over a camp fire, over the coals or over a gas hob. Take your pick. They used to be very popular at church and school fund raising events. Then fashion changed, the snackwich toaster came to be and that was the end of the jaffle.

 Well, that is until recently, when I found a jaffle iron at my local sports equipment chain in the camping goods department. I believe our local builder's supplies chain also keep them in stock. There is a round one and a square one available. Buy the round one, it always seals the sandwich all around the edges.

The jaffle, like the snackwich toast, has one up over a normal toasted sandwich.

It is sealed. No mess. You can use a saucy ground beef filling and it still doesn't spill when you eat it. And the jaffle has more capacity than a snackwich toast. Which means more meat, almost like your standard meat pie.

Or other filling.

We all tend to forget that there is no law that requires a meat filling only. This is the beauty of the jaffle. Standard shape, standard capacity and sealed all around the edge. And fillings to you heart's content.

Which translates to interesting fillings, like tuna or chicken mayonnaise. Or cheese and mushroom. Or combinations of cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeno, gherkins, mixed diced veggies and what not.

Meaty fillings include ham, salami, ground beef, biltong, sliced leg of lamb or pastrami, bacon, chourizo, smoked salmon.

For a sweet one, use banana and golden syrup or honey. Or try sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey or golden syrup. I have made these and they are all wonderful fast desserts in the camp. Or when you have lots of children around wanting to keep busy.

I still have to try one adding nuts of some sort. Could be decadent. I have had sweet pizzas of this nature at a gourmet pizza parlour in Pretoria by the name of Toni's Fully Furnished Pizza. Exquisite!

The filling list is endless. Use a filling or combination that is not too dry, else you may have to take water to swallow the jaffle.

Another useful aspect of the jaffle is that you can eat it cold. It is good picnic food that can be prepared the previous day. Quite useful for a day sail or an overnight trip where you may feel like focusing on the sailing experience rather than spend time cooking.

Boat food par excellence.

I decided to test my new jaffle iron by following the recipe on the label. Biltong, cheese and tomato. I used brown bread and butter as per normal sandwich. Extremely simple. It took me longer to take the pix than to prepare the food!

Close the jaffle iron around the sandwich, cut off the excess, it will burn. Then heat over a small flame on the small burner. My jaffle iron is made of cast iron, so it takes a while to heat. Once hot, it toasts the bread very nice and evenly. And I get the heat back at the end, when I can turn off the hob and leave the last jaffle to “bake” to perfection.

How cool is that!

And then there is the ultimate dessert, courtesy of one of the participating teams in the Ultimate Braai Master competition: Bread and butter pudding jaffles.

Start with the standard two slices of bread. I used brown bread. Spread some butter. And some apricot jam. Actually a lot. As in copious amounts. Soak some warmed raisins in brandy. Make a runny batter with an egg and some milk. Add a dollop of ground cinnamon. Soak each slice of bread briefly in this, then stack in the jaffle iron. Soak briefly, else you will have a runny mess. Remember to add the boozy raisins in between the slices.

You will be surprised at just how much brandy it takes to make these!

The batter will boil out if you have too much. Don't fret, the stove is easily cleaned afterwards. Fry until the bread is nice and crispy outside. Mix a little icing or castor sugar in fresh cream, beat until stiff and mixed properly, then add a dollop  of this with each serving.

You may have to make two per person...

Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-04-03

Compiled for the GBYC newsletter

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Cricket Bats, Skillets and Other Weapons of Anger

After the whole Oscar Pistorius scandal and the ongoing saga surrounding the happenings, I thought at length about the weaponry available in the kitchen. That is, apart from the obvious supposedly sharp knives that are quite blunt in fact. Well, in my experience, mostly anyway. And apart from the other obvious weapons in the hose, like cricket bats and baseball bats and the more innocuous looking rolled up women's magazines.

And I wondered about the vagaries of using kitchen equipment as weapons. A cricket bat featured in the statements made and the evidence gathered in the Oscar Pistorius case. I wondered how many skillets have been used in anger as a weapon.

Perhaps the kitchen equipment have been used for millennia in anger to prepare angry food! I know of at least one case where policemen in barracks have been fed angry food with overdoses of various spices after they mistreated their hired cook. In such cases the skillet is most definitely a weapon, but used in a more subtle way, perhaps.

Blunt knives and useless kitchen equipment have become such an epidemic that I now take my personal chef's kit along whenever I travel. This kit includes three properly sharpened knives, including a large chef's knife, a solid bird knife and a small paring knife. Include a proper peeler that can also peel squash pumpkins, a small sharpening device, a GI can opener and a small cutting board.  The small cutting board is replaced by a big end grain cutting board when I am not flying or sailing. Add to this a proper silicone spatula from le Creuset and you are almost there.

And not to forget my spice box. It is horrendous how many people have no idea of using spices and just mix ready-made sauces, or even worse, ready mix dry powder sauces (read chemical concoction) in various brews and call it food.

But today I wish to discuss the various uses of a skillet. We have touched briefly on its use as a weapon, in direct and other subtle ways.

A skillet is heavy. With good heat retention characteristics and really useful to cook on. Or is it 'in'? Make no mistake, I regularly use my heavy cast iron utensils.  However, for my travel requirements I need something lighter. Something that I can use on the gas hob over the coals or over dancing flames. For use in grilling meat, making stir fries, pancakes, flapjacks and, last but not least, paella. My favourite Spanish food.

Kitchen weapon of choice for the moment
So I shopped around and found a real Spanish paella pan at Perfect Paella. At a really decent price, with sizes and finishes to satisfy even the most eclectic fashion tastes. And they are quite light. I purchased one in polished steel. These pans are nicely finished with no surface treatment other than a layer of oil. You clean them by boiling some water in it, drying, then oiling lightly with olive oil. The pan will get a layer of olive oil baked into the surface with use. Complete with the flavours that you use in the pan, rather like a wok. I like it this way. Over time the pan seals completely and nothing ever again sticks to it. You clean it by wiping with a wet cloth.

I went the whole hog and cleaned the pan as per instructions, not wanting to take chances. I bought some real Spanish paella rice along with the pan and used the recipe on the back of the pack as a broad guide to what I was about to make.

The pan performed way beyond what I expected from the first use. No burning, no heat spots, no discolouring of the steel. I used a stainless steel egg lifter to stir the food. One of the plus points of using a plain polished steel pan. No problem there. I  made a medium sized fire in the Weber kettle and plonked the paella pan on top of the grill. Be careful when handling the paella pan, the steel handles get hot. The pan needs a medium to hot fire. I think one will need to experiment a little with the size of the fire.

The beauty of using the kettle braai is that one can put the lid on the kettle and let the dish simmer. The fluid in the pan steams and it controls the fire a bit. The steam also heats up way past  the boiling point of water, adding to the heat distribution inside this makeshift oven. All of this work towards very good cooking.

This pan is getting an honourable place in my kitchen. It is a very good tool. In the house, on camping trips and on travelling holidays where you have your own travel medium. Like a car. This won't work when flying.

Al fresco cooking
The recipe for the paella is quite simple: Two diced tomatoes, a clove of garlic, two diced onions, two cups of rice, some sea food, some chicken, salt to taste, seafood stock, paprika or Spanish saffron. Some olive oil. Add water as necessary. Fry the chicken pieces until brown, remove from the pan then fry the sea food, using a dollop of olive oil to lubricate the pan as required.

Remove the sea food when almost done.

Then add the onions, fry until translucent, add the garlic and fry for ten seconds, then add the dry, uncooked rice. Fry this until the pan goes almost dry, then add some of the stock. Keep on stirring and frying, adding first the stock, then water as required until the rice is almost done. Add the paprika or saffron while the mix is still quite wet and runny.

Add back all the meat and fish, garnish with chopped parsley and a cupful of fresh garden peas and simmer until everything has cooked through.

Make sure that most of the water has boiled away or has been absorbed; this is paella, not risotto.

The result: perfect paella

I added a chopped Thai chilli, pips removed. The paella must not be too spicy. I also added some fresh coriander leaves chopped, along with the parsley. A sprig of chopped spring onion was added along with the peas. And I added some fresh turmeric in lieu of saffron.

Smoked paprika apparently works wonders too. I shall purloin some somewhere in the near future. It adds a very special character to the dish.

Allow the dish to rest for fifteen minutes before dishing up, as always. It allows the flavours to develop. Have a glass of red wine while you wait, it is good for you.

Buen apetito!


Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-03-12