Tips to prep your potjie
Potjiekos is a much loved hearty stew cooked over open flames but there are a few things to keep in mind when using a pot. Here are our top tips:
- The classic: The most common cast-iron pot shape is the three-legged potjie, as well as the most stable, as it comes with three legs attached no need for a separate stand. The second type of potjie is a flat bottomed pot that is versatile but requires a stand.
- Treating a new potjie: Before cooking food in a new potjie the cast iron needs to be treated to avoid residue and an iron taste in the food.
- Step 1: Wash and scrub it properly using warm water, dishwashing liquid and steel wool.
- Step 2: Dry the potjie completely and coat the inside with cooking oil (sunflower oil will do the trick).
- Step 3: Heat the pot until the oil begins to smoke and then wipe the pot clean with a paper towel. Repeat step 3 until the paper towel comes out clean after wiping.
- Step 4: Thoroughly wash and scrub it using warm water and dishwashing liquid.
- Ready…set…go!: Test whether the potjie is ready for use by cooking stywepap in it. The pot is ready for general use if the porridge comes out white (not grey) and tastes fine.
More tips: https://www.astralchicken.com/how_to/
Gift ideas for every kind of mom.
Go the extra mile with a gift to show her that you notice and appreciate her.
- Treat ma to her favourite meal: Be it chicken pie, stew or roast pieces, have her sit back and relax while you take the reins in the kitchen.
- Give ma a free day: Take the kids on an outing and give her time to herself.
- Make her a homemade gift card: A handwritten note with a small promise of a simple act of kindness like folding the laundry, washing the dishes or an extra-long hug and a cuddle will mean the world to her.
Stock the fridge with her favourite frozen chicken: Lighten her meal planning load and stock the freezer with a few easy meal starters.
Comfort food from around the world
Home tastes of different things to us all. Share these meals to remind your global guests of home:
- Hungarian chicken paprikash – Chicken legs and thighs, simmered in onions, chicken stock, generously seasoned with paprika and finished off with sour cream.
- American chicken and dumplings – Roasted chicken topped with fluffy buttermilk and chive dumplings make for a soul-warming meal.
- German schnitzel with gravy – Chicken breasts are breaded, deep-fried and smothered in mushroom gravy for this taste of home.
- Eastern European matzo ball soup – A chicken soup filled with delicious dumplings made out of matzah meal (crushed unleavened bread), eggs, chicken fat (or another fat or oil), and broth. The dumplings cook in the soup and soak up all the delicious flavour of the soup as they cook.
- Chinese rice porridge with eggs – This comforting savoury ginger congee is a staple rice dish across many Asian countries. It is traditionally eaten as breakfast in China but tastes just as good curled up on the sofa.
A good stir-fry is a fine balancing act. But, with these top tips, you’ll master the art in no time.
- Use oils with a high smoke point (such as peanut oil) and make sure the oil is smoking hot.
- Don’t waste any time. Flash-fry your garlic, ginger, chilli, and other spices; then fry your chicken and veggies in a dash.
- It’s all in the sauce. Be sure to carefully balance sweet, sour, and the salt and umami from the soy sauce.
Don’t forget the garnish. Spring onions, onion sprinkles, sesame seeds, and chopped peanuts all add delicious crunch.
Creative ways to say ‘I love you’
Remind your partner how much you love them this February. We share a few creative ways to make them smile:
- Fill a jar with 50 reasons why you’re still madly in love with them.
- Create a Spotify or iTunes playlist of love songs and share it with them.
- Stock the fridge with all their favourite eats and treats (don’t forget the chicken!).
- Pack some munchies and whip them away on a mini road trip.
Send out a “meeting request” for every day of the week and spoil them with walks, swims, movies, picnics, and more.
Does waking up at the crack of dawn to pack lunchboxes sound familiar? Try these hacks to ease into the 2022 school routine.
- Do some prep on a Sunday: make a batch of hummus, pack small containers with nuts and biltong, and fry chicken strips to use in sandwiches and wraps.
- Always have eggs in the house. A boiled egg is a pocket-friendly way to keep those hunger pangs at bay.
- Use cookie cutters to cut fresh fruit and veggies into shapes. The prettier they are, the greater the chance your fussy eater will tuck in.
Print out a stash of lunchbox notes and jokes and pop them into your kids’ lunchboxes. You’ll add a bit of fun to their day.
Breeze through the holidays
Take things easy this December with our tried-and-tested tips:
- Don’t try to go it alone. SA’s “bring-and-braai” culture is popular for a reason! Ask friends and family to all contribute to the festive table.
- Eating at the in-laws and bringing mains and dessert? Get yourself a big, plastic storage container and use a cooling rack to transport one dish on top of another.
- Roast chicken is one of the easiest ways to satisfy a hungry horde. If you’re pressed for time, rather roast two smaller birds instead of a single, large one.
- Plan, make a list, and go shopping for several days’ meals. Who wants to spend hours in the shops when you could be lounging in the sun?
- Sometimes the simplest meals are the tastiest ones. Why spend hours prepping dauphinoise potatoes when the family will enjoy buttery, braaied corn on the cob just as much?
Be the host with the most
Entertaining a crowd while cooking a feast can be tricky! We share a few tried-and-tested tips:
- Roast a whole chicken breast-side down for two-thirds of the cooking time. This step allows for all the juices to run down into the breast meat, keeping it moist. Once you’re ready to crisp the skin, carefully turn the chicken around and roast until golden.
- Always rest roasted chicken before serving. Loosely cover the meat with a piece of tin foil or kitchen cloth, and let the chicken sit for about 15-20 minutes before tucking in.
- Serving chicken pieces makes for a leisurely buffet-style feast. As the chicken is already portioned, it’s also easy to ensure there’s more than enough food to go around.
- The most critical thing about braaiing chicken is the temperature of the coals. Chicken is best cooked over moderately hot coals.
Worried about serving undercooked chicken? Par-cook the meat in the microwave or oven and brown the chicken on the braai to get delicious, crispy skin.
You don’t always have to do exactly what the recipe says. It’s all about knowing what you can substitute when.
- The recipe calls for rice vinegar, but you only have wine vinegar in the house. They do differ, yes, but they can be switched out if you’re in a pickle.
- Fresh out of sesame oil? If you’re frying at a high temperature, peanut oil works just as well.
- Forgot to put fresh chillies and garlic on your grocery list? Don’t stress – simply use dried chilli and garlic flakes.
- If you only have a lemon in the house and the recipe calls for a lime, relax. Use the lemon instead.