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Skilpadjies Vir 'n Lekke Braai !


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South African weather and history have a profound influence on the braai (barbecue) culture of the country. The British captured the Cape from the Dutch in 1795 because it was the French Revolution and Brits wanted to protect their trade routes to and from India, China and Australia and get hold of some of the gold that the Dutch had already discovered. Shortly after that, around 1835, 14,000 Voortrekker pioneers left the Cape because of British government policies. Most of the policies were influenced by Glenelg’s inappropriate, badly researched, ridiculous views

on the subject. They built wagons, packed up wives and families and tackled the mountains to the North in much the same way as the American pioneers did, also in search of land. Be that as it may, it was the beginning of hard times and adaptation for them. Some of them literally walked over the mountains – many of the women barefooted because there was no way that they could cross the rocky ridges in leather soled shoes and there was no other way to do it. Right at the top of the really steep mountains, the wagons were disassembled and carried over! The tracks of the wagons in the rocks can be seen to this day. Luckily there weren’t too many of those. An ox-wagon could only hold so much. There was space for the Voortrekker and his wife up front, a wakis (a wagon chest) immediately behind him and provision was made for the family to sit and sleep in the back. In the wakis they packed ammunition for the sannas (the rifles), basic provisions, biltong, dried rusks, a massive family Bible and so on. On the outside of the wagon was hook for a cast iron pot called a potjie. The tradition of the braai originated right here. The Voortrekkers had to shoot game, slaughter and braai it over hot coals along the way or make a potjie with what there was. As they came into contact with the local tribesmen they were taught to use maize, an African staple (probably introduced by the Portuguese), that has been part of the braai culture ever since.There are many ways to make a braai fire and fancy modern equipment is usually used today, but a real braai fire is made from wood mounted on rocks on the ground and there are those traditionalists that still stick to this come hell or high water. Hot coals from wood are the best because of the smoky flavour it gives to the meat. The braai is a vital part of South African life, it cuts across all cultures and is loved by everyone. So important is the braai that South Africa has an annual braai day, which is a public holiday and celebrated on Heritage Day on the 24th of September every single year. Women love National Braai Day in South Africa because the men cook the meat – women do not braai and they certainly never complain about it. South African men have an affinity with fire and it seems that the species are prone to gathering around one as often as possible.

Skilpadjies :

Ingredients :

* 500 g lamb’s liver, cleaned very well, minced

* 1 slice of white bread

* 1 raw egg, beaten

* Caul fat

* 1 large onion, finely chopped

* 25ml worchestire sauce

* salt and freshly ground black pepper

* Robertson's mixed herbs to taste (I use 1/4 of a pack)

* mint to taste (I use 2 teaspoons)

* Toothpicks

Method :

* mix all ingredients together

* make round patties

* cover the patty with the caul fat

* Close it with a toothpick.

* Braai over hot coals until the fat is deliciously browned and the meat cooked.

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Thanks so much Cristel for the recipe, I am going to make a plan this coming weekend. Skilpadjies, Australian lamb tjops and some history thrown in for authenticity :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pojtie as we know it...

As a lover of pojtie i think its important to look at the origins of this as well which certainly has impacted on South African cultrue around the world although not nearly as much as the braai.

Pojtie is in English terms know as pottage... The following comes from Wikipedia.

"Pottage is a thick soup or stew made by boiling vegetables, grains, and/or occasionally meat or fish.

It was a staple food of people living in Great Britain from neolithic times on into the Middle Ages The word pottage comes from the same Old French root as potage, which is a similar type of dish of more recent origin.

Pottage commonly consisted of various ingredients easily available to serfs and peasants and could be kept over the fire for a period of days, during which time some of it was eaten and more ingredients added. The result was a dish that was constantly changing. Pottage consistently remained a staple of the poor's diet throughout most of the 9th-15th century Europe."

Typically the pot used many years back was the same as we use today and can be found in various forms/shape. The most common being the round potjie pot. To the Aussies it is known as the camp oven.

Also interesting to note the similarities between the type of cooking done by traditionalists where by food is cooked in the ground which I think is also known as potjie in SA? Strange that the Maoris in NZ would call this a Hangi!

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