Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Braai Oak


So I've never written a post of this kind before and I doubt it will be a regular subject. Recipes and cooking aren't exactly my forte or passion. Don't get me wrong, I do cook for my son and I, and we are still alive, awesome, and I'll pull off the Don Juan moves by cooking a romantic meal for that special lady, although I will intuitively and smartly use my charm and wine, to somewhat distract said special lady from the meal in order to place the emphasis on the ambiance... (Ssshhh, if the women's network finds out about this, I may experience future challenges).
Lets face it though, wine and food pair, and I've been known to enjoy standing around hot coals and braai, aka barbecue. 

So why is braaing cool?:
  • Man make fire, arrr - boost to manliness and ego; 
  • You have wine in hand - need I say more?; 
  • Braaing is a healthy form of cooking as the fat from the meat drips away through the grill; 
  • You're outdoors, who hoo - increase vitamin D intake and finally 
  • It's sociable and you get to talk and be silly with your mates. Ps. Invite some mates.

So here's my attempt at a braai and wine pairing, a vegetarian braai I will add, which is extremely unusual for me as I am a carnivore of note.


What you will need:
Large mushrooms
Asparagus
Mielies
Peppers (Red, green and yellow)
Cheese
Butter
Olive oil
Vinegar
Garlic
Coarse salt
Wine, lots of it (Chenin blanc will go down well)

Preparation (Let me reiterate that I am not a chef! So use your own initiative for better preparation and presentation skills)
  • Have a sip of wine
  • Turn the mushrooms upside down and drizzle with olive oil, stuff with garlic, butter and cheese. (Mushrooms add meatiness to a vegetarian braai).  
  • Drizzle the asparagus and mielies with olive oil and coarse salt.
  • Have a sip of wine


Braai:
  • If you have a braai such as a Weber or a gas braai with a lid, you can cook the mushrooms in such, if not, bake the mushrooms in an oven for about 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and mushrooms are warmed through.
  • Put the mielies and asparagus on the grill and turn occasionally until grilled. 
  • Put the peppers on the grill and ensure there is a a slight flame to enable the outer skins to burn and blacken slowly all over. Once this is done, allow the peppers to cool down slightly and then place the peppers into a plastic shopping bag. Then tie a knot in the bag and rub the peppers all over with the plastic bag until the outer burnt skin has been completely removed revealing the flesh of the peppers. Rinse slightly with water if there are still pieces of burnt skin on the peppers. Dice the peppers up and together with the seeds, add vinegar, salt and olive oil to create the best damn pepper salad ever!
  • Have some more wine.


If you eat fish, add tuna stuffed tomatoes:
  • Mix tuna with mayonnaise, chopped onion, salt and pepper. It was suggested to me, thank you to you know who ;) to add lemon zest, dill and a touch of fennel to the tuna which sounds delicious.
  • Cut the tops of the tomatoes off, hollow it out by removing the flesh with a spoon and then fill the cavity with the above tuna mixture.
  • Get your glass of wine and yes, you know what to do...

So what did I pair this all with?
The trick to pairing wine with food is that both should compliment each other and neither should dominate the other.
I paired the food with Chenin blanc as there was no red meat and therefore a dry white would work well with the vegetables and tuna. The 2011 Simonsig Chenin Blanc was fruity and complimented the food well with its full body which stood up to the "meaty" mushrooms. Chenin blanc is a versatile varietal and can range from fresh and fruity to rich and ripe. See more detailed information regarding Chenin blanc in a previous post I wrote: http://www.thewineoak.com/2011/09/to-screw-or-to-cork-chenin-blanc.html 

Happy Braaing!

Ps. Have another sip of wine...


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