20 August 2008



Excuse me while I run to the deck to see the lightning. I love thunderstorms, but I admit to not really enjoying being right in the centre quite like this. I imagine this is a small storm compared with hurricane season in Florida. I doubt that I would enjoy these storms if there was the fear of loosing my home. My heart goes out to Judy, Jenn, Denise and Susan...be safe!

Apparently the power has gone out in parts of our city and it is lashing it down with rain. Of course on a day like this I had started my barbecue for tonights dinner....but....as was inevitable I would eventually run out of gas...so that is out. At least this tank lasted a year!! I could take the tank and get more gas...but it is lashing it down with rain...let's not forget that... and I would get wet or force an attendant to get sopping wet...so it will wait till tomorrow. Therefore my barbecue meal of Sosatie, corn on the cob, spicy sweet potatoes and tomato salad is being baked in the oven..... I hope the power does not go out in this part of the city....... (Update...the power did go off and it is the next day, the barbecue tank is refilled and it's business as usual.....)

My new favourite cookbook is by Anita Stewart called what else but Anita Stewarts Canada. Canadian cuisine is what we make of it where cooking traditions and techniques from around the world have been handed down from generation to generation, and adapted to make use of what we have available locally. Canadians have been chowing down and will continue to chow down on cabbage rolls, jelly rolls, spaetzle, pilaf, rösti and shepherd's pie each and every day. Anita Stewart, the wonder woman of Canadian cuisine, has captured Canadian cuisine for what it is in her latest cookbook...I think her 14th. Eat locally as much as you can!!!

Our philosphies on cooking are somewhat similar. She says, "It's odd how early childhood tastes influence the rest of one's life. I have to admit that I still love the darkened, drier ends of a beef roast that my mom overcooked beyond description; to her, meat that looked even remotely raw was considered downright dangerous. " My own mom came from a generation during the war where food needed to be cooked and overcooked...we have come a long way baby!!!!!!!!!!!! But in saying this my own mom used what was available to her in my home province of Ontario with plenty of pork, lamb and a myriad of fresh fruit and vegetables.

This pork barbecue dish comes from Anita's cookbook with it's roots heavy in South African influence. South Africans arrived in Canada after WW2. Only a little over 1,000 people immigrate here a year from this part of the world. In 1991, the census showed only 24,725 people of South African descent living in Canada but they have left their culinary legacy.

We have a mountain here in Lake Country that is named after a famous battle in the Boer War in South Africa. They think Spion Kop Mountain was named by Leslie Northcote, a veteran of the Boer War after the battle of Spion Kop. It has been known to local residents by that name for close to 100 years. I have seen a photo of the area in South Africa and it does look very similar so that is most likely why he was reminded of that area. The Battle of Spion Kop (Afrikaans: Slag van Spioenkop) was fought about 38 kilometers west-south-west of Ladysmith on the hilltop of Spioenkop along the Tugela River, Natal in South Africa. The battle was between Boer and British forces on the 23 and 24th of January ,1900 as part of the Second Boer War. The British suffered defeat. For details of this famous battle, see here .

I barbecued this delicious meal in honour of Canada's South African influence and a few of the South African bloggers that I know of like Jeanne at Cooksister, Nina at My Easy Cooking and Inge at Vanielje Kitchen.

**Spicy Skewered Pork (Sosaties) with Tomato and Red Onion Salad**

1/4 cup (60 mL) corn oil
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup (175 mL) curry powder
4 cups (1 L) white vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) chili flakes
1 cup (250 mL) apricot jam
3 lb (1.5 kg) lean pork, cubed
1 large green pepper, seeded and cubed
3 red onions, cubed
20 button mushrooms

1 egg
1 teaspoon (5 mL) white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; saute the onions until wilted and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the curry powder; cook, stirring, for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir in the vinegar, sugar, chili flakes and apricot jam. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a food processor, or blender. Puree and let cool.

Salad: Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg and mustard. Slowly whisk in the vinegar and then the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut tomatoes into wedges and add the onions. Pour the dressing over the tomatoes, taste and adjust seasonings. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Soak 10 to 12 wooden skewers for 1 hour. Thread the meat, pepper, onions and mushrooms onto the skewers and layer them in a large roasting pan.our the marinade over them. Cover and marinate for 4 hours. Drain and place skewers on the grill over medium coals; cook until meat is starting to brown and vegetables are tender-crisp. Serve with the tomato salad.

Serves 8

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Thats why I love to read you and other Canadian bloggers. You really showcase the diversity.

  2. Never heard of the term 'sosaties' before. Looks pretty good though. Im really into pork at the moment

  3. Glad you got through the storm unscathed! I love watching thunderstorms, especially fork lightning. The skewers look absolutely delicious.

  4. You eat like a queen becuase you always have the most wonderful stuff here!

  5. This recipe is full of so many great things! I love that there is so much to it. It seems summery.

  6. I have never heard of Sosaties before- thanks for the introduction- they look great :)
    Glad you made it through the storm xo

  7. I think I really need that cookbook!

    Everything from it has looked lovely, and I love the showcase of diversity.

  8. I second coco's comment - what amazing diversity comes through the Canadian food blogs.

    These sound so tasty - good job Val!

  9. We had a pretty big storm earlier in the week here too.

    I don't know anything about South African cuisine. I love that much of Canadian cuisine is pretty much international cuisine. I remember when some tourists stopped me on the street and asked for a recommendation for a Canadian restaurant. I really didn't know what to suggest, so I went with a good Italian restaurant a couple of blocks away. Turns out they were visiting from Italy...Oops.

  10. I have yet to cook pork this summer. I recently bought some and did not know what to do until now. Love the marinade!

  11. Those pork skewers look delicious! I think I might checck out that cookbook. I had no idea Canada's cuisine was so diverse until I started reading your blog!

  12. You are truly an ambassador for Canadian cuisine Val..these sosaties look absolutely delicious...very much reminding me of the native Greek souvlaki.

  13. I much prefer my storms when I'm inside by a fire.

  14. I love pork and those skewers look fantastic! Flavorful!



  15. Oooh, I love the spicing on these sosasties! Interesting, very interesting. I can't wait to try these soon, if only the weather will cooperate and return to summer.

  16. Thanks for the mention, Val and I must say that I am very impressed with our knowledge of SA history. It was amazing to read about it on a Canadian blog. Sosaties are a great favorite when we have a BBQ. I always put some dried peaches or apricots in between the cubes of meat. The general thought around sosaties is also that it has to be lamb. The minute you use beef or pork, it becomes a kebab, so they say!

  17. Glamah & Kittie & Mary: Our Canadian cuisine is always set in another country even what we think of as true Canadian like Pea Soup, Tourtiere and Buttertarts.We are a melting pot oc cultures and have adopted other cusines as our own. The Native people are the original settlers of this land but I don't have pemmican and bannock on the menu.
    Peter G: I still love chicken souvlakia more
    Psychgrad: That is too funny
    Parker: You have the best pork in Ontario!!!
    Beth: If I still lived in Ontario pork would be a big hit. It is not as easily available here in the west.
    Sylvie & Gabi & That Girl: I am still trying to get photos of lightning but would have to be in the ideal location.
    Noble: We do eat very well:D
    Danger: It was excellent on the BBQ
    Jen: I would highly recommend this cookbook!!!
    Thanks Rosa
    JS: If it makes you feel any better it has been raining here all week. I feel sorry for the tourists that came this week to the "sunny Okanagan"
    Nina: See you learn something new everyday.

  18. Valli, I love sosaties on the braai (barbecue), and yours look particularly good. In Cape Town we always mix lamb with dried apricots or peaches.

  19. This is new to me.......and looks great

  20. The recipe looks wonderful Val-Thanks again for the well wishes over the past couple of days!!!

  21. I third what Coco said! I love learning about Canadian culture from you Val, (and Greek too!)

  22. Great post! And I'm fascinated that there is a Spioenkop in Canada :) We all learned about that famous battle at school in history but nobody told us there was a Canadian twin.

    As for sosaties, so glad you've made and loved them :) The presence of the apricot jam is a dead giveaway that it's a South African dish (we are obsessed with the stuff!) but I agree with Nina - some dried fruit on the skewer would make it even more authentic.

    Here's the recipe I posted for them, together with a detailed discussion of their culinary and etymological origins that I found totally fascinating:

  23. I love a good thunderstorm!! And I love the sound of these skewers. I've no doubt they are delicious.


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