Spring-fever is in the air. I might be thousands of miles away from home, but every year on the 1st of September I get a fluttery feel of Spring. Then I go to my nearest Starbucks to discover they have added Pumpkin Spice Latte on the menu and BOOM! Just like that I’m back into a British Autumn.
Even though the weather is turning and it’s getting a bit more chilly, it is growing darker by 7pm and the blankies come out of their hiding place in the back of the cupboard; I still love a great braai.
In South Africa we regularly make some toasted sandwiches on a braai called ‘braaibroodjies’. Traditionally we put cheese, onion slices and tomato on before putting it into a broodjierooster (a wire grid that shuts the bread inside to prevent it from falling into the coals). But, being in the UK, I am yet to find me such a luxury item. During August Bank Holiday (yes, I know it has been a while, but I’m back at work so time seems to fly by!) we had a couple of friends over for a BBQ. Little did they know that they were getting a full-on South African braai with all the trimmings. My hubby really loves braaibroodjies, but with the lack of a broodjierooster I had the genius idea of recreating jaffles using braaibroodjie ingredients!
Now a jaffle is a round toasted sandwich and has been a South African favourite for generations. We have a special cast-iron pan for it and you put it over a gas flame to toast the bread until it is crisp and golden on the outside and hot and molten on the inside. We frequently have jaffles on a Sunday night with left-over roasted meat or beefy bolognaise sauce. No matter which filling you prefer, it is always a winner in our house.
Here’s how to make it:
2 slices of bread per person, buttered
tomato slices, to taste
cheese slices, to taste
onion slices, to taste
Turn the bread so it is butter-side out.
Place the desired amount of filling in a mound in the centre of the unbuttered side.
It is really important that you don’t over-fill the sandwich as it will cause fire.
Place sandwich in your jaffle iron and fold it shut.
Hold the jaffle iron over a gas flame.
Once the overhanging bits of bread has toasted a little, take a table knife and gently scrape off the excess bread. You can save this for cook’s perk!
Continuously check the colour of the jaffle. Once you are happy with the colour, slide it on a plate and serve warm.
This can be quite time-consuming if you have to make loads. Whenever I have to cook this for more than two people, I make the jaffles in advance, but place them on a wire rack in the oven to warm again before serving.
Jaffles are great with almost anything. I fondly remember when I was little that we had jaffles filled with a savoury mince, slap chips (South African version of French fries) on the side and drenched in gravy. It was heaven on a plate.