Tag Archives: barbecue

The G20 Series: South Africa

20 Jun

by Stephanie Dickison

Probably the thing I consume the most from South Africa is their wine. Expensive, but delicious!

In terms of the food, what I like most about South African cuisine is that there is a little bit of everything from around the globe.  A little bit from the British Isles (meat pies), the Germans brought their pastries and touches from various areas give South Africa a cuisine that is unlike any other.  And gives you the diner, the pleasure of trying so many different tastes and influences without having to travel very far.

The names of the dishes are as intriguing as the flavours – Green Bean Bredie (Lamb and Green Bean Stew), the fish and rice combo called Cape Kidgeree, the beef pie named Bobotie, served with yellow rice,  Biltong (jerky) Klappertert, or Coconut Pie to us North Americans and Mielie Pap, which is a staple of their diet – a cornmeal mix.

I was surprised to learn that South Africans love to barbecue.  Theirs are called braais.  This is where the spicy sausages called Boerewors are cooked, as well as many other meats.

I don’t know about you, but this post is making me hungry.

Anyone know where I can get a Boerewors on a bun?  Maybe two?

In the meantime, you can read up on the history of South African cuisine.  It’s absolutely fascinating.

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Southern Comfort

27 Aug

By Stephanie Dickison

I had long been in love with Southern food and the culture around it. Everything is so silky and rich with food like no other cuisine.

Southern cuisine encompasses a lot of different types. Cajun, Creole and Soul Food are the big ones. And don’t forget Southern Barbecue. That gets a shout out all its own.

I think southern cooking has the perfect mix of being mostly simple dishes, but made in a comforting and yet sexy fashion.

I mean, what other culture uses both sassafras and sorghum?

The cuisine uses a lot of seafood – catfish, crayfish, crab, shrimp, oysters – and you’re sure to see pecans, boiled peanuts, sweet potatoes, collard greens, okra, fried green tomatoes, black-eyed peas, buttermilk biscuits, rice, butter beans, gumbo and fried chicken on the menu as well.

I think I like it too because the ingredients are so exotic to those of us outside the area. I mean where else are your going to find grits, hominy, muscadine, mint juleps and etoufee? And chicken fried steak just isn’t something going on here in the T-dot.

And the names are just as evocative – Hoppin’ John, Hush Puppies, and chicory and beignets (powdered donuts, sort of) for breakfast.

Swoon.

I think their pies are way more exciting – peach, pecan and sweet potato, to name just a few – and they make a mean cobbler, something that isn’t quite the same up here in these parts. Cornbread and biscuits are just way more fun than our ol’ regular loaves.

I like the mix of sweet and tart that has been combined in many of their dishes and there is a slow-cooking method to many of the dishes that harkens back to the old days of putting something in the oven or on the stovetop first thing in the morning and letting it do its thing throughout the day, though it doesn’t necessarily take that long anymore thanks to better stoves and quick-cooking ingredients.

Which means, you too can make this sultry fare at home.

Bon Appetit, Gourmet and Natalie Dupree’s Comfortable Entertaining have some traditional dishes that you can make in your very own kitchen:

Mains

Southern Fried Catfish

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Oyster Casserole

Sides

Southern Greens

Southern Vegetable Gratin

Southern Cornbread Stuffing with Smoked Ham and Yams

Southern Rice Pilaf Stuffing with Ham, Pecans and Greens

And in terms of some of the ingredients that can’t be found in your area, there are a few online resources that can help:

Southernfood.com

A Southern Season

Piggly Wiggly

And in case you want to see and taste it for yourself:

Southern Food Festivals

Southern Food & Beverage Museum

Monday Review: Chef’s Secrets

18 Aug

Chef’s Secrets: Insider Techniques from Today’s Culinary Masters As Told to Francine Maroukian

By Stephanie Dickison

My friend and Co-Editor Chris Garbutt is going to go crazy for this one.  Since he just got a brand-new barbecue, he’s going to love “How to Build a Three-Zone Fire on a Charcoal Grill” by Steven Raichlen.  And for those rainy days, he’ll probably follow the instructions of Allison Awerbuch and “How to Do Your Own Stove Top Smoking.”

But that’s not to say that there’s not valuable tips and methods for you and I in this little book.

In fact, “How to Ensure a Crisp Roast Duck” by John Villa has me contemplating getting a whole duck to surprise my fella with when he gets home from a business trip and perhaps wow him with my new talents, thanks to Andrew Chase’s advice in “How to Filet an Eel.”

What I garnered most for this lovely book of expertise though, are the simple things that you really want to do well, like “How to Roast a Chicken – Pefectly” by Jimmy Bradley and the odd little things that only chefs come up with like Michael Cressotti’s, “How to Tenderize Octopus with Wine Corks,” and the revolutionary “How to Crisp Tender Greens and “How to Improve the Consistency of a Tomato.”

There are a few recipes throughout and after each chef’s advice, they are asked questions about their favourite food city, kitchen motto and bar snack.  But I bet it’s the advice you remember long after the pages have been closed.

You may think that you know most of what there is to know about cooking, but I assure you that you’ll find something that changes the way you make jus or improves your ganache forever.

And the best thing is that it only takes about an hour or so to read it cover to cover.

You can afford that to become a better cook, can’t you?