Every September 24th, South African’s celebrate Heritage Day. It is my favourite public holiday for three reasons.
- It’s a public holiday…so no work!
- It celebrates the immense diversity of culture that we have in South Africa. A country of 48.6 million, with eleven ‘official’ languages (and countless more unofficial ones!). Home to the Big Seven. A land that encapsulates the hustle and bustle of Joburg, the mountian and winelands of Cape Town. The stark beauty of the Karoo. The desolately beautiful West Coast. The rolling hills of sugar-cane fields in Natal. Historic settler towns, and amazing rural areas. Kruger National Park. With the vast landscapes and innumerable different cultures and traditions, you wouldn’t believe that there is one tradition that everyone in South Africa has in common…
- The Braai (rhymes with ‘fry’). Be you white, black, coloured, Asian, India or any other combination under the sun. Cooking your food over the coals, beer/wine/Umqombothi in hand is about as South African as one can get!
The Braai has been adopted as the National Pastime on Heritage Day. In fact, most people have renamed it ‘National Braai Day‘. And everyone has their must have recipe for the braai. This is mine:
Peanut Butter Mushrooms
These are a bit labour intensive, but you can make them the night before. They sound odd…but trust me, they are delicious!
- 1 punnet (250g) white button mushrooms
- Peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
- Streaky bacon rashers (about 250g)*
- Toothpicks or kebab sticks to hold everything together
- Wash mushrooms and snap out the stalk. You should be left with the mushroom cap; like a tiny bowl.
- Put as much peanut butter into the cap as will fit. Don’t heap it, you want it to be filled, not overflowing.
- Wrap 1 or 2 rashers of bacon around the whole thing; try to ‘seal’ the peanut butter in, but it’s not critical if you can’t manage it. Secure with toothpicks or kebab sticks.
- Place around the edges of the grid just before the main meat goes on. Cook until the bacon is golden and crunchy. They are delicious as a snack while you cook your main meal!
How could you go wrong with something wrapped in bacon?!
Be careful biting into them. That peanut butter is hot hot hot!
*I use streaky bacon because the rashers tend to be nice and long. Any fatty bacon will work. I’d avoid the leaner back bacon because it doesn’t crisp-up as well. You want the bacon to be slightly crunchy.