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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Impress your guests with Jan Braai’s Red Wine Pears potjie recipe

The Democratic Republic of BraaiDie Demokratiese Republiek van BraaiJan Braai’s newest book, The Democratic Republic of Braai, was recently published by Bookstorm.

Jan is well known for his legendary braai desserts, and this mouthwatering recipe for Red Wine Pears is no exception.

Have a read, and impress your guests at your next potjie get-together:

The Democratic Republic of Braai by Jan Braai

Red Wine Pears

Fresh fruit is always welcome around the braai fire. Especially when it’s sweet, flavourful, comes with a red wine sauce and is served as dessert.

Make sure you use firm pears for playing this game as they will hold their shape better after cooking in the red wine. Always use the quality of wine you would also drink. If you were supposed to use something that tastes like vinegar, the name of the recipe would have been “Vinegar pears” but it isn’t.

Once done, you can also serve these pears with soft mascarpone cheese or ice cream instead of the blue cheese and pecan nuts, but then it is not going to look this cool in photos.

What you need
(feeds 6)

6 pears (firm but ripe)
1 packet pecan nuts (100 g, chopped roughly)
1 bottle good red wine
2 tots soft brown sugar
1 thick strip of orange peel
juice of that same orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves (actual cloves, not garlic cloves)
1 star anise
1 block blue cheese (200 g, crumbled)

What to do

1. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler, leaving the stalk still in place. The stalk makes absolutely no difference to how they taste but it does make them look cool.

2. Get your potjie on flames and dry-toast the pecan nuts for about 2 minutes until they start to smell like they want to be part of the meal but before they burn. Immediately remove them from the potjie before they do exactly that, and burn.

3. Place the wine, sugar, orange peel and juice, and all the spices into your now empty potjie, stir to mix, and bring the mixture to the boil.

4. Add the pears, put the lid on the potjie and let it simmer for 40 minutes until the pears are soft. Turn the pears often making sure they colour evenly all over. Once the pears are soft but still firm, remove from the potjie and set aside. It’s fine if they cool down partially or completely.

5. Bring the sauce to the boil again and reduce until it becomes more like a syrup. During this time, taste the sauce and if you want it sweeter, add a bit more brown sugar to it.

6. Serve the pears with crumbled blue cheese and a sprinkling of pecan nuts, and top it off with the wine reduction from the potjie.

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Get your work-life balance in place and win a copy of Legendary Safari Guides by Susie Cazenove

Legendary Safari GuidesWork-life balance is an ongoing challenge. In this ever more pressured age, the tensions arise as we inhabit our technology infused days but yearn to view the starry night sky from the wilds of nature.

The challenges of managing time and space, work and leisure, are explored by Wayne Windell in the February issue of The Catalyst.

Small business entrepreneurs are particularly challenged to accommodate both their own and their staff’s needs in the arena of work-life balance.

If you find that you spend most of your time working, and tend to feel overwhelmed by duties and responsibilities, it is recommended that you reserve time for your family, friends and yourself when you plan your day or week. Dedicating daily time to fun and relaxation will lower the production of additional stress hormones, which give rise to poor mental and physical wellbeing.

The Catalyst is giving away three copies of Legendary Safari Guides by Susie Cazenove, because even if you can’t go on safari this week or next, you can probably claim an hour or two for reading about it.

Armchair travellers will delight in this book, which Travel Africa editor, Craig Rix, describes as “wonderful”.

To stand a chance of winning one of three copies, all you have to do is subscribe to The Catalyst and share their post on your social media.

The deadline for entries is 29 February, 2016.

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Time to start thinking about the 2016 National Braai Tour with Jan Braai

The 2016 National Braai Tour with Jan Braai and friends is around the corner!

The Democratic Republic of BraaiFireworksRed Hot

Jan – the author of incredible cookbooks such as The Democratic Republic of Braai and Fireworks – is the man behind the National Braai Day initiative, which he started in 2005 with the aim of creating a national celebration of the one activity all South Africans have in common, regardless of race, language, gender or wealth: cooking over a fire.

He holds the world record for the longest braai and his TV series Jan Braai for Erfenis has run each year on kykNET since 2011.

2016 will see the third National Braai Tour take place. For more information, including dates and entry rules, read the statement released by Jan’s dynamic team:

Enter the National Braai Tour 2016

After the success and global appeal of the 2014 and 2015 versions of the National Braai Tour, we are very excited and looking forward to 2016. Our simple aim is to take a group of proud and passionate South Africans (mostly) on a weeklong tour through beautiful parts of South Africa. During this week participants will join us to visit significant and interesting heritage sites, we’ll unite around fires, braai a few times per day and wave the South African flag.

There is a huge public demand for entries and participation in the tour and we literally have had 100’s of email and social media requests over the past few months from interested parties. The 2016 tour will feature 40 teams (as opposed to the 60 teams we had in 2015) thus space is limited and we will unfortunately not be able to accommodate all interested parties, both old and new. Please take your time to complete the application form and provide us with as much information as you can in order to increase your chances of a successful team entry.

If you need to know every minute detail of the tour before being able to enter, you’re probably not the right person for this adventure. Below however are the things we can share with you at this stage. If this looks like your cup of beer, complete the application form and good luck!

Saturday 10 September 2016 – Saturday 17 September 2016.

The tour will start in Cape Town on Saturday 10 September 2016.
The rest of route will be in South Africa. There will be reasonable distances of driving per day (our aim is 2 – 3 hours) and picturesque landscapes. The tour will finish somewhere in South Africa from where you can then make your own way back to anywhere else in the country in one day. If you need more specific information before you are willing to make the commitment to enter, you are probably not the right person to take part in the National Braai Tour. We might share the rest of the route with you later, we might keep it secret until the start of the actual tour.

You can only enter as a team of four.

Entry fee is R20 000 per team of four and needs to be paid in full to reserve your entry. Each team member change requested after confirmation of a successful entry will be charged at R2,500 admin fee per change. If for some reason your team cannot take part anymore and pull out after successfully entering, we will replace it with a team on our waiting list and it will be dealt with as 4 team member changes and you will receive a R10,000 refund [20,000 – (4 x 2,500)]. The last day for any such changes will be 1 June 2016.

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Something for everyone: The new Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook

Food Weekly Cookbook 4Don’t miss the new Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook 4:

The Sunday Times brings you a bumper helping of the Food Weekly Cookbook – the fourth edition following on the very successful first three editions.

There’s nothing quite like a homemade meal. The Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook offers a wide selection of easy recipes to choose from – and there’s something for everyone. From everyday suppers to family gatherings and easy entertaining, there’s a feast of ideas here.

And for those with a sweet tooth, cakes and desserts galore …

About the author

Hilary Biller has been writing about food for more than 25 years and has a flair for making food accessible in the tastiest ways possible. Hilary has held the position of editor of the Sunday Times Food Weekly supplement since 2008, and has written nine cookery books to date.

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“We Can Proudly Lay Claim to Changing the World Through Braaing” – Jan Braai

The 2015 National Braai Tour is heading to a close, with the participants on their way to Tietiesbaai where they will set up camp in preparation for the first Springbok match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Democratic Republic of BraaiDie Demokratiese Republiek van BraaiFireworksVuurwarmRed Hot

Armed with their copies of The Democratic Republic of Braai, Jan Braai and the braaiers have been travelling from Bloemfontein, past Augrabies towards Strandfontein and now Tietiesbaai – celebrating our national heritage and waving the South African flag all the way.

Have you ever wondered about the history of the braai, and how it came to be such a big deal? Jan has written a short article in which he explains it in full, offering a backdrop to everyone’s favourite outdoor activity:

* * * * * * *

Jan braaing at the Pinacle Point Caves

How our braais created the modern world

by Jan Scannell

South Africans’ should be proud, because it appears that our ancestors played an important role in the evolution of mankind by being the first people to braai their supper.

This isn’t particularly new information, but it’s fitting to talk about it as we near National Braai Day.

Richard Wrangham, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard, says humanity’s ancestors were able to evolve because of one fundamental reason: they learned to tame fire and heat food. Essentially, what he’s saying is that the braai has put man on the moon, helped create the Rugby World Cup and played an integral role in the development of the iPad in your hands.

Without the braai we would still be eating nuts and grass and probably tweeting each other by strapping incoherent messages to the feet of pigeons. There would be no beer, no Game of Thrones and no Facebook. I suppose we’d also be free of politicians, but sometimes progress comes at a cost.

This is just the kind of history and heritage we should be celebrating on September 24; ancient South Africans’, in the eyes of an esteemed Harvard professor no less, have shaped the modern world – all through the power of the braai. Discoveries of leftover braai have also shown that South Africa is home to the purest form of cooking.

For a while it was thought that the earliest use of fire for cooking was in Kenya. Sites in China have also shown evidence of the controlled use of fire, while a lakeside site in Israel, where scientists found fragments of burned fruit, grain and wood, has also laid claim to the mantle of earliest braai site. Common with all these findings is a lack of bottle tops and plastic bags, proving that the earliest braaiers didn’t litter.

But it’s South Africa where the braai really fans the flames of evolution. We claimed credit in the race to find the earliest human-controlled-fire in the 1980s when Dr Bob Brain, then the Director of the Transvaal Museum, found burned bones in the Cradle of Humankind’s Swartkrans Cave dating between 1 million and 1.5 million years ago. Brain found conclusive proof that early humans had cooked the bones he’d discovered, therefore placing the Swartkrans Cave as South Africa’s first braai spot.

More recently, discoveries at Wonderwerk Cave in the Northern Cape indicate that food was cooked over a flame there around 1 million years ago. The findings were made by Boston University archaeologist Paul Goldberg, who noticed through microscopic study that ash was present in the chunks of compacted dirt he’d dug from the site.

In reporting the story in 2012 wrote, “Berna and his colleagues searched the sediments for bat faeces, because large piles of rotting guano can become hot enough to ignite spontaneously. But there were no traces of such droppings. ‘This left us with the conclusion that the fire had to have been created by hominins,’ said Berna.”

Debate and research and into the matter continues. As you can imagine, it’s a hot topic. But for the time being, we can proudly lay claim to changing the world through braaing, and that’s something to cheer about this September.

* * * * * * *

See what people have been tweeting about the National Braai Tour:

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Celebrate the New Season with Sophia Lindop’s Naartjie Creme Brulee Recipe

Season's Bounty: Cooking with nature's abundanceSophia Lindop recently shared a delicious recipe from her book Season’s Bounty: Cooking with nature’s abundance: a perfect dessert to complement the new season that has just begun.

“Found in South Africa, these citrus fruits are like eating an orange and a mandarin at the same time. It is believed that, as oranges spread from China throughout the world, they adapted to various conditions that resulted in variations in the species,” Lindop writes about her seasonal pick: Naartjies.

She has created an unforgettable Naartjie Crème Brûlée, with a subtle fruity flavour that lingers long after you have taken your last bite.

Try Lindop’s recipe:

Naartjie crème brûlée

Serves 8
1 whole egg
5 egg yolks
100 g castor sugar
125 ml milk
375 ml cream
4 tbsp naartjie juice
Peel of 1 naartjie
About 6 tbsp white sugar for caramelising

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Braai, Banter and Beer – It’s Almost Time for the National Braai Tour with Jan Braai

National Braai Tour Map

FireworksRed HotThe Democratic Republic of BraaiEight days on the road travelling through some of South Africa’s most stunning scenery; every morning, afternoon and night a braai and good banter with tasks centred around the glorious heritage of this beloved country, all wrapped in more braais than you can fit into a potjie and dipped in the mouth-watering sauces that flame-grilled meat leaves behind on a plate.

No, it’s not a dream, it’s Jan Braai’s second annual National Braai Tour and it all lights up on September 12 this year.

Jan developed the National Braai Tour idea as a way to show off parts of South Africa that are both culturally significant, off the beaten track and a joy to visit. “We have so many places to see in South Africa, but everyone can’t always get to them all,” says Braai. “The National Braai Tour attempts to solve that by connecting South Africans with some of our most interesting heritage sites over the course of a week.” The motto for the week is very simple “Unite around a fire, share our heritage and wave our flag”.

Last year participants visited the likes of Golden Gate National Park, the Gariep Dam, Addo Elephant National Park and Bontebok National Park before finishing in Cape Town. Along the way they were encouraged to complete tasks that opened their eyes to the cultural importance of the areas, all while carrying their giant South African flags. “I think we have the most beautiful flag in the world,” says Braai, “and I want to see South Africans having pride in it.” The first National Braai Tour was such a hit that entries for this year’s event were sold out in less than a week.

For the 2015 National Braai Tour, participants will start with a night under the stars in Bloemfontein, before moving on to Kimberley and a guided tour of the Big Hole. “Everyone in South Africa knows about the Big Hole, but how many people have actually been there?” says Braai.

From Kimberley the #braaitour moves to Upington, where participants will visit the Donkey Memorial at the Kalahari-Oranje Museum, a monument to the humble donkey and the role it played in the development of the area. Next it’s on to the Augrabies Falls National Park and a visit to the falls as well as the Oranjekom Lookout Point, where visitors can best view the massive gorge (“Our answer to the Grand Canyon!” says Braai) as well as the wildlife that inhabits that particular area.

After a day of rest in Augrabies, the Tour moves through the Namaqualand area of the Northern Cape to Springbok. Along the way participants – dressed, naturally, in their Springbok rugby jerseys on this day – will have to stop and take a selfie with the Pofadder town sign. “Pofadder is iconic for having such a unique and recognisable name,” says Braai. “On this day we will celebrate the rich heritage and colourful nature of South Africa’s 11 official languages. If you go all the way to Pofadder you have to take a photo of the town name.”

Moving towards the coast, the #braaitour then travels to Strandfontein at a time when the world famous spring flowers should be in bloom. “We hope to see carpets and carpets of the magnificent flowers,” says Braai. “SANParks, custodians of South Africa’s natural heritage, has been very welcoming and they will be opening their arms and the Namaqualand National Park to us.”

The National Braai Tour then comes to a conclusion at Tietiesbaai in the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve near Paternoster. En route to Tietiesbaai a braaied seafood lunch will be hosted by the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) at Muisbosskerm in Lambert’s Bay, where participants will learn more about the fish in South Africa’s oceans and what should and shouldn’t be eaten in order to preserve ocean life for future generations.

Camp will be set up for two nights in Tietiesbaai with the final heritage task being all participants gathering in the camp site to watch South Africa’s opening game against Japan at the Rugby World Cup on giant screens. Beer will be served. Lots of it.

Press release issued by Tenfour

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Jan Braai Makes a Call to Arms at the Launch of His Third Cookbook, The Democratic Republic of Braai

Jan Braai

The Democratic Republic of BraaiDie Demokratiese Republiek van BraaiJan Braai’s mission statement is simple: It is your democratic right to gather with friends and family around braai fires throughout the country and celebrate with a meal cooked over the coals of a real wood fire.

This is the message he advocates with his third Bookstorm title, The Democratic Republic of Braai, published in Afrikaans by NB Publishers as Die Demokratiese Republiek van Braai. At the recent launch, held at the Devils Peak Brewing Company Taproom in Woodstock, Jan explained the heart and soul of his braai campaign and shared some of the core principles of his latest book.

“By the third book you start to get courage, maybe even a bit of Dutch courage, and you start to take creative license, and that is one of the reasons why I think this book is so great, because I really actually just wrote it exactly as I felt I should write it,” the man behind the national braai campaign told his guests.

Jan BraaiJan went on to say: “Jon Stewart – let’s call him the philosopher Jon Stewart, although some people think he is a comedian – recently made his retirement speech, and he spoke at length about cutting the bullshit out of the world and out of life. This, for me, is also very relevant to the books that I try and write, that I hope should appeal to normal people, normal South Africans who like to braai but maybe want to go beyond boerewors rolls, steak and chops every Saturday. I am trying my best, when I do these recipes, to cut the bullshit.”

There is no saffron in Jan’s curry, because he really does not think “a normal person should buy saffron”. The same goes for lemon grass and other fancy ingredients – if you can’t find it in the platteland, it’s not an ingredient in this new Jan Braai cookbook. Except of course for bokkoms from the West Coast, which he recommends instead of anchovies imported from Europe.

In the second book Jan and his father created a surprising recipe: Malva Pudding in a Potjie. With this book they asked themselves, “If we could do that, why can’t we make a carrot cake as well?”. Jan took the recipe one step further, putting the icing on the side and allowing each person to decide how much sweetness they want to add to their dessert, just like you do when you have a cup of tea in the morning. The success of the carrot cake led to the development of a cheesecake recipe, which is just another one of the innovative recipes that can be found in The Democratic Republic of Braai.

Food from the The Democratic Republic of Braai

“In terms of the book I just want to leave you with a final thought, and that is that life is too short to peel potatoes, I feel very strongly about that. Seriously,” Jan told the jolly crowd. The second part of the launch was dedicated to the thing that lies closest to his heart: National Braai Day.

“Our aim is very simple. We are living in the greatest country in the world and we want to create a national day of celebration in South Africa. National Braai Day is now 10 years old. Our call to arms on all South Africans is very simple – we are saying, ‘Unite around a fire. Share our heritage. Wave our flag’. We are not expecting that you do that solely on 24 September, which is National Heritage Day, but what we are saying is that the one heritage that everybody has in common is to braai, to sit around a fire”.

Jan shared that the single thing he most hopes to achieve in life, apart from establishing National Braai Day, is to get South Africans to wave their flag proudly, like the Americans and so many other nationalities do theirs. “We have the most beautiful flag in the world, we should be more proud of it,” he said. Eventually Jan hopes to create a St Patrick’s Day effect on Braai Day, with people around the world celebrating our South African heritage, waving our flag.

The route and programme for the 2015 National Braai Tour (12 to 19 September) were also revealed during the launch of The Democratic Republic of Braai (see below), during which participants will cook only from Jan’s latest book. Guests also got to taste samples of some of the recipes in the book, accompanied by a sneak preview and taste of the new Jan Braai Lager, created with the Devil’s Peak Brewery, and the new Jan Braai wine range, an easy-drinking braai wine created with help from Alvi’s Drift Wine. Both the beer and wine ranges will be launched later this year.

What are you waiting for? Listen to the presiding president of The Democratic Republic of Braai and BRAAI!

National Braai Tour Map


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Facebook gallery:



Helené Prinsloo (@helenayp) tweeted live from the launch:



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Study the Basics of Wine with Cathy Marston and the Wine & Spirit Education Trust in Cape Town

Love Your Wine: Get to grips with what you are drinkingThe Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) is offering a Level 1 Wine Award course in Cape Town for anyone who wants to learn more about the basics of wine.

Cathy Marston, author of Love Your Wine: Get to grips with what you are drinking, is the approved programme provider for the course.

The course will be held at the Townhouse Hotel on Saturday, 5 September, between 9 AM and 5 PM. The cost is R1 600 per person, which includes tuition, exam and courier fees and tastings.

There are also level 2 and level 3 courses available.

Don’t miss out!

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, 5 September 2015
  • Time: 9 AM to 5 PM
  • Venue: Townhouse Hotel
    60 Corporation Street
    Cape Town | Map
  • Booking and information: WSET

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Jan Braai Presents The Democratic Republic of Braai, Because it’s Your Right to Braai the Best

The Democratic Republic of BraaiBookstorm is proud to present Jan Braai’s latest book, The Democratic Republic of Braai:

It is your democratic right to gather with friends and family around braai fires throughout the country and celebrate with a meal cooked over the coals of a real wood fire.

This is the promise of Jan Braai’s Democratic Republic of Braai. Fireworks brought us the basics of braai, Red Hot showed us that braai could be so much more. Now The Democratic Republic of Braai brings you the greatest braai recipes that Jan knows – it’s your right to braai the best.

Find exceptional braai recipes for steak, chicken, lamb and more – there’s no need to eat badly braaied food ever again. In fact – why not rebel completely and braai your way to independence from the kitchen altogether?

About the author

Who is Jan Braai? His real name is Jan Scannell and he lives to braai. He started the National Braai Day initiative in 2005 and his aim is to create a national celebration of the one activity all South Africans have in common, regardless of race, language, gender or wealth, cooking over a fire. He holds the world record for the longest braai. His TV series Jan Braai for Erfenis has run each year on kykNET since 2011.

For more about Jan Braai visit or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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