Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Fireworks with JanBraai


Title: Fireworks
Author: JanBraai
Genre: Recipe Book
Publisher:   Bookstorm and Pan MacMillan
Source: Review copy from Pan MacMillan South Africa

“Gas is Afrikaans for a guest at your braai, not something you braai with.”

When this book arrived in my home, I was not the first one to page through it.  I literally had to wait in line – and then pry it out of my husband’s hands.  What an awesome book!  I loved the little wisecracks and the photos are amazing.  When it came to the review, the foodie in our family jumped right in volunteering to do the honours.  So let’s get right to it.

Over to my brother-in-law, Shaun.

Rule 8:   Animals eat grass, leaves and vegetables all their lives and convert it to meat…..

So it is with this firm conviction I page through the new JanBraai Fireworks book. Now one sometimes gets that glare from one’s much better half (you know, the less carnivorous one) that does not need to be translated, but roughly translated means “there is no chance we are braaing the whole week”. Well, looking across the full colour images of a landscape of succulent tjops on the grid with a back drop of crimson, red and orange coals was going to make this a difficult week. I mean its art, isn’t it?

Now every man is the king of his (or her) braai, but for now, suffice to say that perhaps some kings are more king that others. There are a number of guidelines, recommendations that are worthwhile reading through. However the only time wind speed (p16) was an issue was a hasty braai on the bracket of the Land Rover front bull bars but we resolved that problem by slowing down somewhat :)  - but you get the point.

So lets start by washing our hands.

The abundance of full page colour images is really what makes the book for me. There are a number of creative presentations and the recipes are in some ways more “how to” (the little things that make a difference). Flipping through the pages reflects scrumptious images of steaks, ribs, fish, chicken, bread and ……….. Now I specifically recall rule 8; Animals eat grass, leaves and vegetables all their lives and convert it to meat…..

Vegetables, can this be? I involuntary mutter. Suddenly from nowhere, one’s much better and less than carnivorous half echo’s, “vegetables”. Well apparently so and for some time now! I was quite happy to ignore this fact but two things; firstly, one’s much better half,, is now more amicable to more frequent braaing (trust me, this is good). And secondly, these recipes are easy, tasty and absolutely complement the meat, fish and chicken dishes, much IMAG0711like the bottle of red wine albeit almost empty. There is even a mushroom burger that’s tastes like, well a mushroom burger. But lets agree on this, suddenly our meals have become more than food on the table.

The yummies included; steak (pink in the middle or 55-57°C in the thickest part, as you wish), honey glazed pork spare ribs, boerewors rolls with tomato chilli relish, chicken flatties and some of the vegetable dishes.

There are a number of recipes that I still want to try like the Snoek (I have never had success with this in the past), the braai lasagne potjie as well as the lamb curry sosaties.

I did however happen to burn the aubergines (snigger, snigger) and my bar one melted and fell through the grid but I will recommend that you go with spirit of the book. It reads easily, handles well on the table and the pages are easily cleaned after incidental spillages. However p163 didn’t do to well with the coal that popped from the adjacent fire; perhaps justice for breaking rule 8.

There is something about a shared meal; it is a conversation, anchors families and friends. Even on the days when the atmosphere is right or you are caught up in a “discussion explored”, the community of a shared meal is a safe place protecting you from harm.

Happy Braai Day


Thank you Pan MacMillan South Africa


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