The more the merrier
Surprise guests at the door or needing to cater for a larger than usual crowd? Here are our top 3 ways to stay on top of the festivities.
- Don’t fear the unexpected guest at your door – simply bulk a meal quickly by adding grains or potatoes to meats and chickpeas to vegetable dishes.
- An extra layer of mashed potatoes, a side of quinoa or throwing a little orzo into a recipe can make it feed a larger-than-usual crowd.
- Ensure the pantry is stocked with a few snack platter heroes such as biscuits, crackers, chips, chutneys and jams. This way, you can whip up a welcoming nibble for any spontaneous visits.
Top 3 Chicken Braai Secrets
Master the art of braaiing succulent chicken pieces every time.
- Get your meat out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before you braai, allowing the fibres to warm up and relax. This also prevents the slight drop in grill temperature that occurs when cold meat is placed on it, making for faster cooking and juicier meat!
- Build your braai as you usually do, and when the first flames have died down, but the coals are still alive, rake the hot coals to one side. This creates a hot zone and a slightly cooler zone within the braai.
- Start the chicken pieces over the hot zone of the fire. Turn the pieces every three to four minutes, taking care to baste every time you. After about 15 minutes, shift the thighs over to the cooler section of the braai as the skin starts to darken.
Supporting local is lekker
How to support local producers
5 Tips to cut down on cooking time
Cook up a hearty meal in no time before load-shedding strikes
1. Chop vegetables for stews and curries uniformly to ensure they take the same time to cook.
2. Use a pressure cooker to save on cooking time but lose none of the flavours.
3. Start stove-top or in the oven and complete the cooking using a Wonderbag.
4. Double-up your recipe to ensure that there are leftovers for the next day.
5. Use chicken in stews and curries instead of beef, as it cooks faster.
Gift ideas for dads
Great gift ideas for the dads and father figures in your life.
- Treat Dad to his favourite meal – From grilled wings to braaied spatchcock, have him sit back and relax while you man the braai.
- Write him a letter – write him a heartfelt letter and let him know how much you appreciate all he does for you.
- Lend a hand – volunteer time to help him organise the garage, do household chores or do DIY projects.
- Deliver treats – If you’re far away from Dad, send him a home delivery of foodie treats.
- Organise his music – If he’s still rummaging through CDs, subscribe him to a music streaming platform and help him rediscover his old favourites.
Cook chicken perfectly every time, just like Ma.
Cooking chicken perfectly can be pretty difficult, not if you follow these easy steps!
- When pan-frying chicken, cover for the first 5 minutes of cooking and then uncover for the remainder of the cooking time. Covering for a short period of time will help cook the chicken thoroughly.
- Want crispy skin just like Ma makes? Do not cover the chicken once it has finished cooking because covering will cause the coating to lose its crispness.
- For added flavour when poaching chicken, season the liquid with herbs, such as dried rosemary, sage, thyme or dill. Other flavourings, such as ginger, garlic and onion, work just as well.
- To make cutting chicken breasts into thin strips easier, place the chicken in the freezer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour to firm it up, or if the chicken is frozen, cut it into thin strips before it is completely thawed.
- Let roasted chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving to allow juices to be distributed throughout the meat. Standing the chicken with the bottom end up allows more juices to run into the drier breast area.
How to host a dinner party
Entertaining at home can be stressful. Follow these easy steps to make it effortless.
● Prepare as many of the dishes or recipe steps as you can the day before, such as salad dressings, sauces and marinating your chicken.
● Choose a recipe that you are confident in preparing; a one-tray roast of juicy chicken pieces or a whole bird are always easy crowd-pleasers.
● Set up a drink and snack station for guests’ arrival and something small to nibble on, like warm chicken strips with a delicious dip.
● Make sure you have a water jug with ice and lemon when guests arrive. Place the jugs of water on tables for easy access.
● Light candles and put on your favourite playlist, and remember to have fun!
Bought more chillies than you need? Waste not, want not!
We've got 4 clever ways for you to save their heat for later.
- Freeze: Pop leftover chillies into a bag or plastic box and store them in the top drawer of your freezer. You can grate directly into dishes from frozen.
- Pickle: Slice up the chillies and pickle them in leftover gherkin juice. Top up with a splash of water and vinegar to cover.
- Infuse oil: Pop fresh chillies in a frying pan and cover with oil, any vegetable oil will do. Heat over low heat for about 60 minutes to allow chillies to infuse the oil. Set aside to cool completely and pour into a jar. Top up with more oil and use as you wish.
- Dry: Place chillies on a dark tray in direct sunlight. Leave to dry completely, pack into an airtight jar, and store in a dark place. Crumble or chop and use as needed.
More tips: https://www.astralchicken.com/how_to/
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/