Country Cuisine Easy food for the holidays
Making quick, tasty and “easy” food on trips is something that Masazane Expeditions excels at. Dave and Jacqui van Graan and Lani Senekal are often on the road for months at a time, with sometimes fussy and demanding clients, so they have identified a few favourites that never let them down. Be it at a bush camp or closer to civilisation, these vingerlek-lekker snacks are a winner. But, as with everything else the Masazane crowd does, there’s always a touch of humour.
Text and Photography: Leilani Basson
High in the mountains of Louis Trichardt you’ll find Camp Africa – Masazane Expeditions’ base camp and headquarters. It is here that the town’s people congregate on Friday and Saturday nights for a lively evening of neighbourly entertainment and good food.
Dave van Graan, the legend that is Masazane Expeditions, is well known for his Trans-Africa tours that stretch over seven months and quite a few countries. He has already completed this exact trip eight times.
It takes courage to tackle such an extensive trip so often. That’s why Dave relies on his pap balls (pap balletjies) when he has to prepare something in a jiffy that is tasty, nutritious, satisfying and filling.
“Stuff the ball with a worsie and you’ll have everyone coming back for seconds,” he says. “The pap is almost like a type of French fry in this form. It can easily take the place of potato chips and is much easier to come by in the desert or in the middle of Africa.”
Dave’s right hand woman — his wife Jacqui — is the force behind the successful tour operation. She has devised a few tricks of her own over the years. The quickies and improvisations she has up her sleeve will satisfy even the meanest hunger.
When things are tough and she’s under pressure, Jacqui resorts to Sticky Dicks — a tried and trusted camp recipe of cut up viennas, either deep fried or grilled, and covered in sugar and honey. It’s a real treat as a pre-braai snack or it can be prepared as part of a snack evening, where finger foods provide a welcome alternative to the monotony of braaiing and stews round a campfire.
“You can go further and dip the Sticky Dicks in a pepper sauce or brandy sauce, but on their own, they are just as nice. The kids love them!”
Lani Senekal is Dave’s “left hand woman”. She is a qualified tour guide and accompanies Dave on most of his trips.
Not just a pretty face, Lani is renowned for her delicious buns.
“My mussel buns are a real treat,” she says. “At home it is easy to just pop them in the oven for a while, but it’s a bit more challenging on tour. I usually put them in a cast iron pot with a few coals on the lid. It takes a bit longer for the bread to soak up the sauce and for the cheese to melt, but the result is more or less the same.”
During your festive season holidays, try out the Camp Africa trio’s mouth-watering recipes. They’re easy, quick and really enjoyable!
What you need
12 round buns
2 tins of mussels
2 to 3 cups of mayonnaise (Lani likes to use a lot of mayo to make the buns more munchy)
1 small tub of feta cheese
500g cheddar cheese (topping)
What you do
Caramelise the onions with a little butter and sugar and let it cool down.
Mix onions and two tins of mussels together and add all the spices. Mix well.
Add the mayonnaise and feta cheese. Make two to three cuts in the top of each bun and fill the mixture in the sections.
Add cheddar cheese on top and place in oven until golden brown.
Makes 12 portions
*As an alternative for people allergic to seafood, the mussels can be replaced with any flavour of cheese spread
What you need:
Any leftover meat from the night before, viennas or other sausage
Cut corn (optional, to be mixed into the pap)
What you do:
Heat the oil. Roll the pap into small balls. Insert the piece of meat into the ball and roll again to cover the meat with pap. Fry the balls in the hot oil until golden brown. Remove from hot oil and drain most of the oil on paper towels. Roll in Aromat.
Jacqui’s Sticky Dicks
What you need:
24 red viennas
What you do:
Cut the viennas in three equal portions. Cut the ends of the portions in a cross of about a centimetre deep. Fry the viennas in hot oil until the ends flair open. Remove from the oil and drain most of the oil on paper towels. Place in a bowl and add garlic and honey to taste
Serve with mustard.