Braaivleis & Kgalagadi Dreaming

It’s the end of Lent (when, theoretically, one has been thoroughly abstemious and earnestly reflective), and the beginning of Easter (which Covid-19 has just roundly cancelled). Today our South African Lockdown has been extended to the end of April. Five Weeks. We’ve only just managed to gasp our way through two. So … Reflection, yes, we’ve done that in spades. Abstention? No. But we are now trying to make our wine cellars stretch and expand and multiply (just like those loaves and fishes) to accommodate an ephemerously malleable shutdown. Contradiction in terms, I know.

So talking of abstention, I return to the birthday lockdown braai challenge I mentioned on my Pseudo Toronto Girl blog (click here), which took place online, between a group of foodie friends, last Sunday. The ensuing photos of delirious leaping flames and popping-cracking wood made me think of dust and heat and blood-orange suns, then had us yearning for the great dry wilds of Kgalagadi. (The prospects are not good now that SANParks has also just shut down all its facilities.) We can but dream … so, among other things, I give you a series of sunsets from the great “land of thirst”.

In the run-up to the time-finite challenge, H. started practising with a butternut tower, spliced with red onion and drizzled with Portuguese peri-peri sauce. In attendance, winemaker John Laubscher’s The Green Man cuvée by Silverthorn.


The online judge of our friend Clare’s birthday lockdown challenge was David Higgs, South African celebrity chef, who spent time on Thesen Islands before the lockdown sent him home. H.’s submission was deemed a little too complicated in flavours, but never mind, our tastebuds had a wonderful party. Consider that the competition included South Indian-spiced chicken livers, spekboom and rosemary lamb chops, rolled pork belly (the winner), and rare beef presented in video-form complete with artfully poured red wine jus. What did impress David overall, though, was the quality of the wines carefully curated in Knysna’s private cellars!

In these times of lockdown, abstention be damned.

Atlantic salmon with teriyaki, chilli and Indian green pepper, and crispy bacon; ribeye steak with sumac, chilli and black pepper.

Portobello mushrooms with either Boursin garlic-and-herb cream cheese or Parmesan shavings.


Kgalagadi, we’re dreaming!

Read about our experiences of lockdown at Pseudo Toronto Girl here