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Discovering The Tree House at Boschendal (and much more)

2 Jan

A few weeks ago I was invited to visit Boschendal with my family for a two night stay. It was specifically a family affair, because the team at Boschendal recently launched a brand new offering for kids – The Tree House, a place where children can safely play, learn, forage, cook and have a fabulous time under the watchful eyes of Boschendal’s trained staff while parents are having dinner at The Werf Restaurant or chilling at their cottages. Sometimes pictures tell better stories than words, so I’m going to keep my words few and show you what we found.

Boschendal never fails to make me fall in love with it all over again – every time I visit the estate. It simply is a breathtaking property, with its lush gardens, fruit orchards, original Cape Dutch architecture, majestic oak trees, mountain views and tranquil atmosphere. But what seems to linger most in your mind when you’ve spent some time there is the coherent respect and commitment that the Boschendal team exudes towards their environment, their animals, their guests and each other. It’s a philosophy that might seem like a dream to many, but is indeed a reality here. I take my hat off, because it takes buckets of dedication and hard work to make this happen.

Part 1: The Tree House

I’m going to start my story here, because this is the main reason that we visited Boschendal (although we only discovered it on day 2). The Tree House is a beautiful new space at Boschendal where guests of The Werf Restaurant and the farm accommodation can take their kids (ages 4-14) to spend some quality time, supervised and free of charge, doing what kids really love doing. Kids can be “booked in” for a few hours – they even get their own locker to stash their valuables, a sun hat when necessary and all-day free popcorn. There’s a kitchen where kids learn to cook some basic foods (like quiche-in-a-mug made with free range eggs that they fetched themselves from the chicken coop, or roosterkoek on the fire), forage fresh vegetables from the vast vegetable garden, retreat to the library & movie room, or do arts and crafts in the garden under the trees. There’s also a bike “pump track” and lots of little actual tree houses where kids can ride and climb to their delight (bike hire costs not included). My 8-year old daughter loved this place to much that she wanted us to physically move to Boschendal so that she could be at The Tree House every day – a stellar testament to the success of this service.

Entrance to the reception area of The Tree House
The back door of The Tree House kitchen that leads to the garden area.
Cooking the kids’ handmade quiches in “blikbekers” over a fire.
“Foraged” rainbow carrots from the garden.
Fresh eggs from the chicken coop.
Making roosterkoek from fresh dough.
A hearty lunch of roosterkoek, quiche, homemade lemonade and fresh veggies is served.

Part 2: The Orchard Cottages

We checked in at one of The Orchard cottages (number 4) that are situated about 2km from the main werf at Boschendal against a magnificent mountain backdrop amongst fruit orchards. The self-catering cottages are incredibly well equipped and beautifully furnished – perfect for a family stay in the most scenic natural surroundings. There’s even a communal circular pool and fire pit. Rates include the services of a daily housekeeper. Our cottage had 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with kitchenette and outside braai/entertainment area.

Booking enquiries:

accommodation@boschendal.co.za / Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4271

The Orchard Cottage number 4, just before sundown.
The shaded communal circular pool at The Orchard Cottages.
Plush bed with luxurious linen.
Kitchenette with Le Creuset cookware.
Afternoon sunlight through the kitchen window.
Outside braai & entertainment area.

Part 3: Pizza at The Deli

What was once the original wagon house, has been restored into a contemporary deli & bakery. This family-friendly eatery serves breakfast and lunch daily (as well as afternoon tea) and dinner from Saturday – Tuesday. On Tuesday evenings, there are a few cool specials that attract many runners and bikers for a post-workout dinner before heading home. Pizzas are made in their wood fired oven and are really delicious.

Opening times:

Breakfast Daily 08:00 – 11:00
Lunch Daily 08:00 – 16:00
Dinner Saturday – Tuesday 18:00 – 20:30

Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4213

The Deli at Boschendal.
A wood fired oven.
Getting cosy with a glass of Boschendal red wine while we wait for our pizzas.
Kids margerita pizza – it was a total hit with my daughter.
We also tried the gluten free pizza base with beef brisket and garden carrots – unusual but very good!
My favourite pizza combo: bacon, avo, feta. And that scorched crust was just heavenly.

Part 4: Dinner at The Werf Restaurant

We were booked for a four course food and wine pairing dinner at The Werf restaurant, starting off with a glass of wine as part of the Wine Wednesday vibe where a specific Boschendal wine is featured every week and the “first pour is on them”. Boschendal’s menu changes daily and is designed around four themes by their award-winning chef Christiaan Campbell: Garden, Ocean, Pasture and Sweet (3 plates at R450 / R685 with wine pairing, 4 plates at R550 / R845 with wine pairing, 5 plates at R650 / 1005 with wine pairing) with 2-3 options per theme. Plates are generous from start to finish – there are no “starters” or “mains” – you can choose your collection of plates as you wish and there are no prescriptions.

Opening hours:

Lunch Wed-Sat:12:00 – 15:00. Guests to be seated by 14:30

Lunch Sunday: 12:00 – 16:00

Dinner Wed-Sat: 18:00 – 21:00. Guests to be seated by 20:30

Bar Mon-Sat: 12:00 – 21:00

Reservations are essential.

Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4209

Email: werf@boschendal.co.za

Click here for more info and sample menu

The stunning werf area at Boschendal.
Wine Wednesday at Boschendal featuring Boschendal’s Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, paired with a unique canapé.
Welcoming gifts from the kitchen: carrot hummus, fresh garden produce and flour tortillas.
Garden: Flavours of roasted parsnips & ginger glazed turnips.
Garden: Grilled garden leeks, “vichysoisse”, dill, cured egg yolks. This was an exceptional dish – one of my favourites of the day.
One of our wine pairings. The pairing option is highly recommended and elevates the dining experience by far.
Some extra sides served with the Ocean dishes – the grilled courgettes with house-made ricotta was delightful.
Another surprise extra: layers of potato baked in cream with melted cheese and fresh herbs.
Ocean: Farmed kabeljou, smoked potato purée, taramasalata. This was probably my favourite dish of the day. The smoked potato went exceptionally well with the fish and the wine pairing.
Pasture: Charred pork neck, pickled cabbage and lomo, sultana. The meat comes from the Duroc pigs on Boschendal – less tender than what you might be used to but so much flavour. The jus was just incredible.
Sweet: Arlette biscuits, baked vanilla custard, roasted apricot sorbet. (By this time, it was already quite dark and difficult to take non-grainy photos.)

Part 5: Breakfast at The Deli

We ended our stay with breakfast at the deli, followed by a farm tour. I didn’t take my camera on the tour as I wanted to be as present in the moment as I possibly could. It was an experience not to be forgotten! We picked fresh herbs, visited the baby pigs, took home some fresh eggs from the coop and saw many incredible farm sights.

The story of Boschendal is neverending, and the inspiration that it brings is very real. Be sure to visit Boschendal in 2019 to see, sip and savour your way through everything they have to offer. This is by far one of the best all-round destinations in the Cape Winelands – family friendly, sustainable, premium, breathtaking, with so much to see, taste and do.

Brioche waffle with vanilla ice cream (it also comes with a berry compote which my daughter preferred to omit) – STUNNING.
Pain au chocolate – my favourite breakfast of all time.
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, coconut flakes, yoghurt – Schalk’s breakfast vibe.
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Balsamic leg of lamb with garlic & figs

21 Dec

Roast leg of lamb with garlic, figs, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and port. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Festive season is upon us and many of us are planning menus for a special celebration with family and friends. Every year, we as an extended family get together on Christmas eve for a showstopping hearty dinner, or on Christmas day for a lighter, mostly room temperature, yet elaborate festive lunch (summer days at the beach are just too hot for anything else). This lamb roast probably qualifies as a heartier dinner, served with all the trimmings and sides of your heart’s desire. Although figs are not in season at the moment, you can still find some imported ones in supermarkets here and there (I wrote this recipe right at the end of fig season when they were still on shelves everywhere). Otherwise, substitute them with beautiful firm halved plums – dark red and purple on the outside, yet golden on the inside.

A large leg of lamb or mutton in the oven smells like Christmas to me, and makes the best leftovers the next day. *Note: Ask your butcher to bend the long end of the leg bone by cutting almost through it but not all the way. This way it will fit snugly into a large roasting tray without hanging over the side.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1 large leg of lamb* (about 3 kg)
45 ml olive oil
salt & pepper
3 sprigs rosemary, woody stems removed, chopped
2 whole heads of garlic, horizontally sliced in half
3/4 cup (180 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 cup (250 ml) port wine
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
about 8 large ripe black figs, some halved, some whole

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Place the leg of lamb inside a large deep roasting tray, fatty side down. Drizzle it all over with oil and season it generously with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary on both sides.
  • Arrange the garlic head halves around it, then pour the vinegar, port and white wine into the bottom. Cover with a lid or foil, then roast for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, then use tongs to turn the leg over with the fatty side to the top. Cover and roast for another 2 hours.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat up to 200 C. Return the leg to the oven for 20 minutes to brown, then add the figs around the meat and roast for another 10 minutes – the figs should be just warm and soft, not falling apart.
  • Serve warm in the tray as a festive centerpiece, with a side of roast potatoes or vegetables and salad.

Note: This roast makes a hearty yet thin sauce – remove some of the fat from the top by skimming it off with a spoon at the end of the cooking process. If you prefer a thicker gravy, pour the skimmed sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and thicken slightly by reducing it by 1/4 or by adding 2-3 teaspoons of corn flour (mix it to a slurry consistency with a few teaspoons of water before adding it). Stir well until thickened.

This recipe is another festive collaboration with Lamb & Mutton South Africa.

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Pinotage Day at Lanzerac

20 Dec

Lanzerac is the world’s first producer of bottled Pinotage. Here is their Premium Pinotage 2016.

Earlier this year on the 13th of October, I was invited to celebrate Pinotage Day at the iconic Lanzerac Wine Estate – one of my favourite destinations in my home town of Stellenbosch. We were welcomed with a glass of Lanzerac MCC Brut, enjoyed a fantastic tutored Pinotage tasting with food pairings in the cellar with winemaker Wynand Lategan and viticulturist Danie Malherbe, and then continued the celebrations in their deli courtyard with fresh oysters and grilled Pinotage meat platters.

Lanzerac offers a wide range of Pinotages including the Premium Pinotage Rosé, the Premium Pinotage, the KV PROF and the Estate’s flagship wine, the 2016 Pionier Pinotage. It was a pleasure to experience all of these wines within such a premium tasting environment – winemaker Wynand and his team just does Pinotage exceptionally well.

Lanzerac is a world class destination in every sense of the word. We stayed the night – our second chance to experience their newly refurbished hotel and facilities (click here to read and see more about my previous stay). They’re also the world’s first producer of bottled pinotage, so it’s safe to say that this is probably the home of Pinotage at its finest.

Check out our visit in pictures below. Be sure to visit Lanzerac this festive season – whether for a wine tasting (with or without chocolate pairing), a lazy brunch at the deli, a day of relaxing treats at the spa, dinner at the Manor Kitchen, drinks at the Taphuis, or a luxurious stay with all of the above. It’s one of our favourite go-to destinations as locals in Stellenbosch and one that I can wholeheartedly recommend to visitors from all over the world.

A refreshing welcome drink of ice cold Lanzerac MCC at the Lanzerac Pinotage Day festivities.
Viticulturist Danie Malherbe gave us a quick introduction of Lanzerac beautiful vineyards.
Our exclusive paired tutured tasting with winemaker Wynand Lategan and viticulturist Danie Malherbe – amongst the massive steel tanks in Lanzerac’s cellar.
Lanzerac’s Pionier Pinotage 2015 – an exceptional wine.
The Pinotage Day celebrations in the deli courtyard.
Freshly shucked oysters to go with a glass of Lanzerac Pinotage or MCC.
I certainly cannot resist a platter of fresh oysters!
More Lanzerac MCC after tasting through the incredible Pinotage series.
The Pinotage Platter.
After the festivities, we checked into our luxurious room complete with private pool. To see more photographs about Lanzerac’s newly refurbished rooms and hospitality spaces, click here.

Contact Lanzerac:

Tel:+27 (0)21 887 1132 / info@lanzerac.co.za

No. 1 Lanzerac Road
Stellenbosch
7600
South Africa


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Asian-style braised lamb shanks with orange, ginger, star anise and soy

17 Dec

Braised lamb shanks in an Asian-style braising broth of soy, ginger, orange and star anise. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

I’m one of those people that love my meat “saucy”. Slow braising is thus a great choice – really tender meat that’s been cooked in some liquid for a few hours, resulting in a really meaty sauce all around the meat. When the meat is fall-apart tender, you can just push it gently into the brothy liquid, absorbing all of the flavour-intense goodness.

The flavour combination of the aromatics and braising liquid is a firm favourite that I’ve been using for pork. I’ve tried it for the first time with lamb shanks, and what a successs! The familiar flavour of South African lamb with all the goodness of an Asian-style meat broth.

These shanks are perfect for entertaining during the festive season. Low effort, huge flavour, really rewarding.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

45 ml olive oil
4 large or 6 medium lamb shanks (roughly 2 kg)
salt & pepper
15 ml cake flour
500 ml lamb (or chicken) stock
1/2 cup soy sauce
peeled rind and juice of an orange
about 3 cm ginger root, finely grated
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (muscovado or demerara)
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 cardamom pods

Method:

In a large wide heavy based pot that can also go into the oven (with lid), heat the oil over high heat and brown the shanks on all sides. Season them with salt & pepper and sprinkle with flour, while they are browning.
Pre-heat the oven to 160 C.
In a mixing bowl or jug, mix the stock, soy, orange juice and rind, grated ginger, brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir well, then pour the mixture into the pot. Stir to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom, then bring to a simmer.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for about 2,5-5 hours, or until the shanks are tender enough to gently fall from the bone when prodded with a fork.
Serve hot with cauliflower puree or mashed potato or asian noodles, and steamed greens like broccolini.

This recipe is another festive collaboration with Lamb & Mutton South Africa.

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Grilled lamb skewers with lemon, honey & mustard

8 Dec

Grilled lamb sosaties with Dijon & wholegrain mustard, honey, fresh lemon juice & rind, and garlic. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

As we are enterting festive season, most of us would just want to light a fire and spend some time outdoors with the promising smell of something amazing on the hot coals. These lamb sosaties are easy to braai and really deliver on the flavour factor – sweet and tangy honey mustard with fresh lemons and garlic.

The marinade will also work well on lamb/mutton chops, or even on chicken. Enjoy the start of your holiday (if you’re lucky enough to have some time off), put your feet up and exhale!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1,2-1,5 kg boneless leg of lamb
juice and finely grated rind of 2 small lemons
1 garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey
2 tablespoons (30 ml) wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Method:

Cut the lamb into bitesize cubes of about 2,5 x 2,5 cm and set aside.
Make the marinade: In a deep glass bowl of about 1,5 liter capacity, add the juice and rind of the lemons, the garlic, olive oil, honey, mustards and season with salt & pepper. Mix well, then add the meat cubes and stir to coat.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid, and marinate for 1-3 hours in the refrigerator.
Remove the meat from the fridge and skewer the blocks on sosatie sticks to make 6 or more skewers. Braai over hot coals until charred on the outside and slightly pink on the inside. Serve hot with more lemon wedges, and a side salad or braai broodjie.

Another festive collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Spicy lamb tortillas with beetroot hummus and crispy paprika chickpeas

4 Dec

Spicy lamb tortillas with creamy yoghurt, earthy hummus, fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon juice. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Lamb mince is usually ground from boneless leg of lamb and is therefor more expensive than most other mince options, but oh so tasty. The best you can do is to stretch it by using it as a topping for tortillas alongside a few other basic additions like hummus, fresh herbs and creamy yogurt, to turn into a fabulously light and festive lunch.

You can save a lot of time by buying ready-made beetroot hummus from some supermarkets, or make your own by pureeing a cup of ready-made regular hummus with a few cooked baby beets. Alternatively use any other hummus of your choice.

For the spicy mince: (serves 6, on tortillas)

30 ml (2 tablespoons) olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
500 g lamb mince (ask your butcher)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) dry harissa spice mix (use more if you like it really spicy)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) ground smoked paprika
30 ml ( 2 tablespoons) tomato paste
30 ml (2 tablespoons) water
salt & pepper

For the crispy chickpeas:

1 x 410 g can chickpeas, drained
45 ml (3 tablespoons) olive oil
salt & pepper
10 ml (2 teaspoons) ground smoked paprika

To assemble:

6 large flour tortillas, warmed in a hot dry pan
1 cup (25 ml) beetroot hummus
1 cup (250 ml) double cream plain yogurt (or sour cream)
a small bunch fresh mint (and/or coriander leaves)
a small red onion, finely sliced

Method:

Make the mince: Heat the oil in a medium pot and fry the onion until soft and translucent. Add the mince and fry over high heat, stirring often and breaking up any lumps. Continue to fry until the meat is brown and starts to catch on the bottom. Add the harissa & paprika and stir for another minute, then add the tomato paste, water and season with salt & pepper. Stir well and continue to fry for another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Make the chickpeas: Heat the oven to 220 C. In a medium mixing bowl, add the drained chickpeas, olive oil, paprika and season generously with salt & pepper. Toss to coat all over, then transfer to a shallow baking tray in a single layer. Roast for 15 minute, then stir with a spatula. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes or until dark and toasty. Remove and set aside.

To assemble: Arrange a spread in bowls and on plates in the middle of your table so that guests can help to assemble their own tortillas – hot tortillas, hummus, yogurt, herbs, red onion and the warm mince and chickpeas. Every tortilla should have a little of everything, with a healthy scoop of spicy mince. Enjoy at once.

This recipe was created in collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Mediterranean-style lamb boeries

28 Nov

Lamb sausage boeries with roasted aubergine, feta and a herb yoghurt dressing. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

Everyone’s a fan of a classic boerie roll and it’s such an easy way of entertaining. Wow your crowd this December with a Mediterranean take on a classic South African favourite: lamb sausages on a soft hotdog roll, with roasted aubergines, salty feta and a fresh, herby yoghurt dressing. Just delightful!

For the aubergines:

2 medium size aubergines
1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
5 ml dried origanum

For the herb yoghurt dressing:

375 ml (1,5 cups) double cream yoghurt
2 small bunches fresh herbs (about 40 g), like mint, coriander and/or parsley (save a few for topping)
about 10 ml (2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper

To assemble:

about 500-600g lamb boerewors (6 x 20 cm)
6 soft hotdog rolls, sliced lengthways
butter, for rolls
fresh

Method:

Roast the aubergines: Preheat oven to 230 C. Use a sharp knife to dice the aubergines into 1 x 1 cm blocks. Place them in a mixing bowl and add the oil. Season with salt, pepper & origanum. Stir to coat all over, then top into a shallow baking tray and spread it out in a single layer. Roast for 10-15 minute until golden brown, then remove from the oven and cover with foil to steam further on standing (or transfer to a container covered with a lid).

Make the dressing: Place the yoghurt, herbs, lemon juice and some salt & pepper in a food processor. Mix until you have a relatively smooth green dressing. Transfer to a squeeze bottle (if you have one) or a jar, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble: Grill the boerewors over hot coals or in a hot pan. Spread the rolls with butter, then top with the grilled aubergine, wors, feta, a drizzle of the yoghurt sauce and some fresh herbs. Enjoy at once.

This recipe was created in collaboration with SA Lamb & Mutton.

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Stay at Eendracht Hotel and see Stellenbosch by bike with the Adventure Shop

5 Oct

The iconic Eendracht Hotel in Dorpstreet, Stellenbosch, has recently undergone a room refurbishment. This plush accommodation facility is known to be one of the most central and best value for money options in town. We were invited for a 2-night stay including breakfast and a bike tour with Adventure Shop Stellenbosch, courtesy of Cape Country Routes Collection. Have a look at my informal video of our stay and our biking adventure:

Eendracht Hotel & Apartments is an elegant 3-star establishment boasting 12 en-suite bedrooms and 3 semi self-catering units. Cape Town International Airport is within 35 minutes reach and the V&A Waterfront is under 55 minutes’ drive. The room interiors are contemporary and texture rich, yet the building’s architecture and entry halls clearly convey the deep historical roots of the setting. Being walking distance from many fantastic restaurants, supermarkets, theatres, shops and scenery, it is a great base camp for exploring the City of Oaks.

We were also invited to spend a few hours with Raino Bolz of the Adventure Shop Stellenbosch, where I took my first scenic tour on an E-bike. What a pleasure! We paddled about 16km without me once breaking a sweat – up and down hills, across the university campus, next to the beautiful Eerste River, and into the Jonkershoek Valley with a visit to Stark Condé and Lanzerac Wine Estates for tastings. What a splendid way to discover Stellenbosch – I’ve stayed here for almost 41 years and I was freshly bowled over by the beauty and scenery of my stunning home town. Highly recommended for people of all skill levels.

Take a look at our stay in pictures below, and find more information about Cape Country Routes and their many accommodation and activity options on www.capecountryroutes.com. Thank you Eendracht Hotel and Adventure Shop for an unforgettable weekend.

The historical facade and entrance to Eendracht Hotel, Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.

 

Street view from across Eendracht Hotel.

 

It’s green season in Stellenbosch! These rooms lead onto a walkway that looks out onto the swimming pool and courtyard.

 

Plush beds and crisp linen in the newly refurbished rooms.

 

Mountain views from our bathroom, room 10, on the first floor.

 

A crackling fire place to welcome guests on a cooler day.

 

Polished tables in the afternoon will turn into cosy breakfast tables the next morning.

 

Colourful plants next to the pool area.

 

Take a seat next to the pool.

Newly refurbished chairs become colourful reading nooks.

 

The most beautiful flowers in the foyer’s windowsill.

 

Wine tasting at Stark Condé’s cellar as part of our bike tour with Adventure Shop. The usual wine tasting area over the pond is being enlarged currently.

 

Postcard Café at Stark Condé, a stop on our bike tour with Adventure Shop.

 

A delightful chocolate & wine pairing at Lanzerac Estate as part of our bike tour with Adventure Shop.

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Pulled pork sliders with BBQ sauce & slaw

21 Aug

Slider buns should be small enough to be eaten with one hand. Photography & styling by Tasha Seccombe. Food preparation & plating by Ilse van der Merwe.

Although I don’t eat meat every day, few things give me more pleasure than cooking a large pork roast. Pork is so versatile, flavoursome and easy to handle.

I’ve read up a lot on American-style pulled meat roasts and most of the recipes involve specialised smoking equipment. Although I’ve had the pleasure of teaming up with the guys of Santa Anna’s for a smoking extravaganza a few years ago, this recipe is meant for the home cook who doesn’t have the luxury of outdoor meat smoking equipment (yet). You can achieve great results in your home oven over low temperatures – all you need is time and patience.

I baked soft mini rolls for this shoot (get my recipe), but you can easily buy smaller cocktail buns in most supermarkets these days. The softer the roll, the better it absorbs the BBQ juices – almost like a “sloppy joe”.

This is a great way of serving an informal grab-and-eat lunch or dinner to a meat-loving crowd. Maybe there’s a game of sport involved in the background. Maybe some beers. But there will totally be cheers involved for the pulled pork.

Note: The meat takes 8 hours to cook, so keep that in mind when you start this recipe. The roasting flavour of the meat from your oven is an important part of the charm when inviting guests over – trust me. However, it can be made ahead and reheated with great success.

For the pork: (serves 6)

  • 2,5 kg pork shoulder, bone out, skin scored
  • 30 ml salt flakes (or 15 ml fine salt)
  • 10 ml freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 ml smoked paprika
  • 15 ml fennel seeds (or 10 ml ground fennel)
  • 250 ml apple cider (or apple juice or white wine)
  • 250 ml BBQ sauce (see below, or use a good quality smoky store bought BBQ sauce)

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 120 C. Mix the salt, pepper, paprika and fennel together in a small bowl. Place the pork skin side up on a clean working surface. Rub all over with the spice mixture, getting the spices into the scored cracks. Place in an deep, oiled roasting tray and cover with foil. Roast for 8 hours on 120 C, or until the meat is soft enough to easily pull apart with two forks.

When the meat is soft, remove the excess fat, then pull the meat apart using two forks. Drizzle with BBQ sauce and mix through. Return to the oven at 230 C without the foil for about 10 minutes, just getting some dark stickiness on the edges. Serve on soft rolls with slaw and pickles.

For the BBQ sauce: (makes about 1,5 litres)

  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 45 ml fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 x 400 g canned pineapple chunks, pureed
  • 1 x 410 g can tomato puree (not tomato paste)
  • 125 ml soft brown sugar
  • 60 ml Worcester sauce
  • 60 ml soy sauce
  • 30 ml white vinegar
  • 10 ml black treacle syrup*
  • 30 ml smoked paprika
  • 15 ml ground Chinese 5-spice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Using a large heavy based pot, heat oil, then fry onion over medium heat until soft. Add garlic & ginger and fry, stirring often, until it starts to catch and the edges turn golden brown.Add fruit puree, tomato puree, sugar, Worcester sauce, soy, vinegar, treacle, paprika & spice. Season with salt & pepper. Stir well, then bring to a simmer and cook over very low heat for 30 minutes. Stir every now and then to prevent burning. Transfer to a glass jar and cool to room temp, then store in the fridge. Use on roasts, chops, steaks, chicken and burgers, or as a dipping sauce.

*Black treacle syrup is a dark, bitter, thick and sticky syrup and has no real substitute (molasses comes close, though). If you cannot find it or don’t want to buy it especially for this recipe, just leave it out.

For the slaw:

  • 1 small head of purple cabbage (a little goes a long way)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • juice of a small lemon
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:
Shave the cabbage using a mandolin cutter or food processor blade on thinnest setting. Place in a large mixing bowl. In another mixing bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, lemon juice and sugar. Add a pinch of salt & pepper and mix well. Pour over cabbage and mix well (it will always look like the mixture is too dry in the beginning, but it does spread eventually).

To serve:

  • slider buns, sliced open horizontally (buttered and toasted optional)
  • pulled pork (see above)
  • BBQ sauce (see above)
  • slaw (see above)
  • fresh coriander (optional)
  • pickled gherkins/cucumber, sliced

Serve warm pulled pork on soft buns topped with slaw, gherkins, fresh coriander (optional) and more BBQ sauce.

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How to make soft hamburger buns

14 Aug

Soft and perfectly golden hamburger buns, fresh from the oven.

A few weeks ago I started a new collaboration with Kenwood South Africa. In my role as brand ambassador over the next few months, I have received their Chef XL Titanium – you’ll see it featuring in some of my upcoming recipes and videos. I’ve been using this machine for some time now and it is such an incredible tool! From macaroons to butter icing, ciabatta to Italian meringue – what a joy to use it. In my next post, I’ll do a full review of this premium mixer, so stay tuned.

More and more people are welcoming the craft of making the perfect hamburger at home. Most of us have the 100% beef patties down (or know where to buy a really good one from a local butcher), many of us can make a killer mayo (or aioli – even better), and then it’s up to you to add what you love: pickles, tomato, lettuce, relish, caramelized onions, cheddar etc. One of the most key parts of the burger, however, is the bun. If you’re stacking all that incredible stuff on a bun that’s going to fall apart when you bite it, or worse – a bun that’s too tough to bite through, your burger will be ruined. What you are looking for, is a soft brioche bun that’s about the same diameter as your cooked pattie (patties shrink in the pan), not too high so that you can still bite through your assembled burger, with or without sesame seeds on top (I prefer sesame), sliced horizontally, buttered and pan toasted to a golden perfection. It should be light enough to easily bite through without much resistance, but sturdy enough to hold together when all the juicy bits drizzle down towards the bottom half. So next time you’re going the full monty with making burgers at home, start with making these incredibly soft hamburger buns – it’ll change your burger game forever.

Note: You’re going to need an electric mixer for this recipe. I used my Kenwood Chef XL Titanium – it’s an absolute pleasure to use. The light around the attachment port shines right into the bowl, and although it’s quite a big bowl you can always see what’s going on inside. The machine is very strong and makes light work of the dough. The solid stainless steel attachments are very easy to change and along with the stainless steel bowl they are easy to clean. Keep an eye out for a full review of this machine within the next week, and watch my video of how to make soft hamburger buns below.

Ingredients:

 

  • 200 g butter, cubed
  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) honey
  • 1 kg stone ground white bread flour (divided in two halves)
  • 30 g (45 ml) instant yeast
  • 20 ml (4 teaspoons) sugar
  • 10 ml salt (2 teaspoons) fine salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg, whisked, for brushing (optional)
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) sesame seeds, for topping (optional)

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the butter, milk and honey and stir until the butter has melted (do not boil). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with K-beater, add 500 g flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Mix gently.
  3. Add the warm milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix on low speed. Add the eggs and continue to mix until incorporated (about 30 seconds), then add the second half of the flour and continue to mix for about 1 minute.
  4. Change from K-beater to dough hook (scrape any excess dough mixture using a spatula), then mix with the dough hook on medium-low speed for about 5-10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
  5. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into portions (I prefer to weigh it individually – you’re looking for balls of about 110-120 g each). Shape each piece of dough into a ball by tucking the seams in underneath, then flatten it slightly and place it on a lined baking tray, leaving enough space inbetween for rising.
  6. Cover lightly with plastic and leave to rise in a warm area for about 25 minutes or until doubled in size. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 200 C.
  7. When the buns are risen, use a pastry brush to paint it with whisked egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or just leave plain, if you prefer). Bake for 12 minutes (in the middle of the oven) or until golden brown and cooked. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Store in an airtight container or covered plastic bag, and use within 3 days. Best for hamburgers when sliced, buttered and toasted in a hot pan. ​

Note: Baked cooled buns can be successfully frozen for up to 3 months.

*Regular cake flour won’t yield the same results as stone ground white bread flour and will result in a more sticky dough that is harder to handle. Rather use stone ground white bread flour, if you want to achieve the best results possible.

This post was created in proud collaboration with Kenwood South Africa.

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