For the last couple of years we've been away from home on a camping trip over Christmas and every year tried to make something special for Christmas lunch. This year we were camping in Montagu in the Western Cape and decided to go out for Christmas lunch, but alas, by the time we were looking the few places open that day were fully booked already. "Whatever!" *imagine me saying that with my finger waving in the air* We decided rather to spoil ourselves with a lekker Christmas lunch made over the coals at the campsite. It so much better than sitting in a stuffy restaurant and works out cheaper anyway. Plus I can do what most South Africans do well. Braai!
As a starter we decided on good ol' cherries and dates wrapped in bacon. Usually I only do cherries, but we bought dates at the Montagu Dried Fruit shop the previous day so I wrapped a few of those as well. I prefer to use streaky bacon as they are narrow and wrap around the cherries very nicely. They also have enough fat on them to grill nice and crispy. Seeing that bacon is getting more and more expensive I stretched my bacon use by cutting them in half and was able to make twice as many as I would have using a whole strip per cherry.
Rather than standing there and turning them individually... one by one... and taking a chance of them burning, I throw the wrapped cherries (and dates) into my sandwich grid which makes it a lot easier to braai them.
Personally I could make a whole meal of cherries wrapped in bacon, but good thing that wasn't the plan cause Drama Princess tucked into them with such ferocity that I probably would have been left hungry afterwards.
The main which I was preparing while the wrapped cherries were braai'ing away was fillet steak stuffed with smoked mussels, cheese and garlic. Yes you read right, fillet stuffed with smoked mussels, cheese and garlic. It was Christmas Day after all so why not pull out all the stops? Making it was straight forward. Take the tube of fillet, cut it in pieces and then cut open. The filling was quite easy. I took a tin of smoked mussels and mixed it in a bowl with grated cheese and crushed garlic. Lots of crushed garlic. Stuff the fillet with the filling and stitch is closed with toothpicks.
At the same time as the cherries were on the coals I started with my cheese and mushroom sauce for the steak. The fresh mushrooms were cut into slices and fried in my little black pot over the coals. To this I added a packet of Ina Paarman's cheese sauce and some grated cheese. At this stage the sauce was just waiting for the steak to come off the coals.
There it is, the final product. Served on a plastic camping plate (so no chirps about the design now) with carrot salad and baked potato. Nom Nom Nom!!!
That is about the best I can do on a fire though. Wish I knew more about food so that I could enter season two of the Ultimate Braai Master. I learned so much from watching the first series and every week I was inspired to try something different the following weekend. Perhaps if I keep working on it I would be ready for season 3.