Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Coronado Concert in the Park - Out of South Africa

Our Out of South Africa theme was a nice change of pace this past Sunday. Many of our culinary themes this summer have been tied to the band name or songs, but I like to challenge myself with new ingredients and dishes from different regions or countries.

South African cuisine, sometimes called rainbow cuisine, celebrates the country's rich cultural heritage, as well as the natural bounty of seafood, meat, game and plants. I was able to find several South African recipes in Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! Although I was tempted by the South African Springbok Kebabs with Monkey Gland Sauce (no monkey parts involved), I chose Sosaties, South African-style shish kebabs made with meat, dried fruit and curry. Native to the Cape Malays of Cape Town and now enjoyed throughout South Africa, the traditional recipe calls for both pork and lamb, but sosaties can be made with either meat alone. I used pork tenderloin, and you can find the recipe from the book here. However, if you enjoy barbecue, I highly recommend buying the book which contains over 300 recipes from around the world, with lots of history, photographs, tips and techniques.

"There is perhaps no other single dish that can be regarded as more genuinely Afrikaans." - South African food writer C. Louis Leipoldt describing his grandmother's sosaties. Cubed pork tenderloin marinates (preferably in the shadow of a mulberry tree) in dark brown sugar, curry powder, coriander, peppercorns, salt, dried apricots, sliced onion, orange zest, red wine, red wine vinegar and olive oil, and then the pork and apricots are threaded onto hand-whittled green bamboo skewers with onion and bacon. The kebabs are then grilled and basted with a mixture of the marinade and apricot jam.

I wasn't able to marinate my pork in the shadow of a mulberry tree, but I did grill my sosaties under the shade of a massive pine!

Pork Sosaties with dried apricot, onion and bacon
nestled between cubes of pork tenderloin

Grilling at the Park under the shade of a massive pine tree

Bryan was one of the inspirations for our South African theme, having lived there for over 20 years. According to wife Kelley, he cooked all day to prepare his three delectable dishes: Peri-Peri Chicken Wings, Droewors, and Sadza with Curried Vegetable Relish.

Bryan enjoying one of his Peri-Peri Chicken Wings

Peri-Peri Chicken (Portuguese origin), grilled in a fiery paste of peri-peri chiles, is the most popular fast food in South Africa.  DroĆ«wors, a popular snack food, is a dried sausage with spices (Dutch/Afrikaans origin) based on the traditional, coriander-seed spiced boerewors sausage. Sadza (Bantu origin) is cooked cornmeal and the staple food in Zimbabwe and other parts of southern and eastern Africa. Bryan used white corn for his sadza and served it with mild Curried Vegetable Relish (Cape Malay origin).

Sadza with mild curried vegetable relish and Peri-Peri Chicken Wings and Drumettes

Carmen mastered Bunny Chow, a South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry. Bunny chows are popular amongst Indians, as well as other ethnic groups in the Durban area. Bunny chows are commonly filled with curries made with lamb or chicken, but the original bunny chow was vegetarian. One of the tops of Carmen's individual bunny chows even looked like a bunny! I believe she adapted this recipe for her vegetarian version. 

Carmen's Vegetarian Bunny Chow

Another dish that symbolizes braai (South African barbecue) is the coarsely ground, richly spiced sausage known as Boerewors (farmer's sausage). The formula varies from family to family and region to region, but the essential elements - ground beef with plenty of fat, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg - remain constant. Holli used a combination of meats that she ground herself, seasoned, stuffed into casings, and grilled at the park. Toothpicks sporting mini flags in the colors of the Republic of South African flag jazzed up her presentation. Jim & Holli also made a big batch of South African Sundowner Cocktails. Whew, those puppies were strong and most likely the cause of my subsequent slip and fall and broken toe while photographing the band! But then again, we also had several bottles of South African wine and shots of Amarula to go with the carrot cake ;-)

I always tease Mary about her culinary skills, but now we all know she can pull it off when she musters up a little enthusiasm and finds her way to the kitchen! She made her own version of Potjiekos (small pot food), a stew prepared outdoors and traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot or potjie. The potjie descended from the Dutch oven and was brought from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th century. Last night, while attending a wine dinner at Wine Vault & Bistro, I noticed that the big pot hanging in the patio is a potjie!

Mary's Potjiekos 

Potjie at Wine Vault & Bistro

Mom found a unique recipe for carrot cake made with Amarula, a South African cream liqueur made with the fruit of the African marula tree.

At the height of the African summer, from mid-January to mid-March, a sweet and enticingly tropical fragrance fills the air of the sub-Saharan plains. It’s not just humans who relish the delicious wafts of sun-ripened fruit but many of the animals of the veld: elephants, rhino, warthog, kudu, baboons, vervet monkeys, zebra and porcupine. For that is when the marula fruits, heavy with goodness and flavour, drop to the ground and nature’s bounty is there for all to share. - Amarula web site.

Unfortunately, scientists have put to rest the myth that elephants and other animals get drunk from the fruit of the marula tree (see one article in National Geographic News), but this video may convince you otherwise!

Regardless, Amarula is a tasty liqueur and interesting addition to the carrot cake batter and frosting. Mom "hired" me to make the cake for her because I have a better supply of bakeware and ingredients these days. I'm hooked on petite cakes after baking from Miette, so I used my 6-inch cake pans and made two petite cakes. I also like Meg Ray's style of frosting just the tops of her beautiful cakes.

Amarula Carrot Cake

Amarula Carrot Cake
Adapted from this recipe and this recipe
Makes two 6-inch cakes


2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups canola oil
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/4 cup Amarula
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup smooth apricot jam

Cream cheese frosting:

1⁄4 cup butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons Amarula

Garnish: 1 cup candied pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 6-inch-diameter cake pans with 3-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper.

Whisk together dry ingredients in medium bowl and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, and oil in large bowl until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add Amarula. Add dry ingredients slowly, in three additions, and mix just until incorporated. Turn off mixer and add grated carrots, crushed pineapple, apricot jam, and pecans. Mix by hand with a rubber spatula just until incorporated. Divide batter equally between prepared pans.

Bake cakes about 1 hour, or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes. Cut around pan sides. Turn out cakes onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool completely.

Frosting:  Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in Amarula.

To finish cakes: Spread frosting thickly over top of each cake. Garnish with chopped pecans.


Sue Palmer "Queen of Boogie Woogie" and her band

Alec wore a touch of South African bling designed by Sonoma

Cute dancing kid of the week

I really enjoyed this concert and food and hope to "travel" to a few more countries before the season ends.

Enjoy your week,

Denise & Trapper



Anonymous said...

What a GREAT concert! Everyone really did their homework and presented outstanding dishes! loved, Loved, LOVED your kabobs and cake!!! - Carmen

Monique Kilmer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kim said...

What a fun day! Nice theme, too. I also love the Miette book. It inspires me to do "pretty" things.

As for Colorado, we're still waiting to see if it's a go, but even if this deal doesn't work out, we'll look at others. I think the bottom line is, we're ready to do "something, somewhere." How do you like Moab, Utah?!

I'm serious about going on an adventure together... I'll shoot you an email when I get a chance, likely this weekend.