When I was 21, I decided to broaden my horizons and move to the United Kingdom to visit my family, gain some new experiences and to travel a bit. I was there for eight years and returned home to Cape Town not so long ago. Although I had a wonderful time abroad, filled with laughter, great memories and fabulous photos, I missed South Africa. It is by far the most beautiful country and when I was living here I took its beauty for granted.
As the plane was landing in Cape Town after an hour stopover in Jo-burg, there were only about ten of us on board, all Capetonians. When we rounded past Table Mountain to land, I think everyone of us on board was in tears … It is an overwhelming feeling to see this iconic mountain that when living here you see day to day and probably don’t take much notice of. The two oceans surrounding the Cape are also outstanding, filled with amazing marine life. I missed whale season, all the surrounding mountains, the beautiful beaches, the friendly people, the chilled out atmosphere and the way of life.
There is so much I love about our country but the 3 things I missed the most, were the simple things … The beer, the biltong and of course a good old South African braai!
When I arrived, I had my priorities in place … contact friends and family and organize a braai. There is not a more social occasion than having people you love standing around a roaring fire with you, enjoying a few drinks in the afternoon sun.
During the course of the braai the beverages will be flowing, so make sure there is plenty. I went to the shops before the braai to get the booze. Boy did I miss Amstel, Castle and Black Label, three of the best South African brewed beers. I couldn’t help but buy some biltong and droewors (dried beef and dried sausage – it doesn’t sound appealing when I put it that way, but try it!!) while there, which I managed to consume before I even got back home.
Now a braai is different to a barbeque, (I did try to educate the friends I made in England) gas and coals are just not the way a braai is done! You need loads of wood in order to make a monstrous fire that takes ages to burn down, this is the social aspect and the fun part! Once the wood has burnt down and you have some great coals going … the braaing begins.
There must be boerewors – thick or thin beef sausage that is spiced to perfection. Slap it on the grid and let it sizzle away until cooked. The smell is exquisite and will have you drooling! Nothing tastes better than boerewors done on the braai, especially when you put it on a roll with some tomato and onion smoor (homemade spicy tomato and onion relish). Mission accomplished, 1st day back and I had managed to have the three things I missed the most while abroad.