Three full-on flavour hits from cult Africola chef Duncan Welgemoed's new cookbook

'Better than pretty much all the recipes for this dish that exist': World-famous Africola peri peri chicken.
'Better than pretty much all the recipes for this dish that exist': World-famous Africola peri peri chicken. Photo: Simon Bajada/Murdoch Books

Whether he's cooking on fire, in ovens or over a cast-iron pot, South African-born and Adelaide-based chef Duncan Welgemoed is known for his bold and complex cooking.

His hatted restaurant, Africola, has inspired a cult following for its intensely flavourful dishes that speak of his homeland and taste. 

"My love for food and cooking stems from my childhood, growing up in Norwood, Northern Johannesburg, during the transition of power from the all-white National Party to Mandela's African National Congress," Welgemoed writes in his new collection of recipes, Africola. 

Duncan Welgemoed's new cookbook.
Duncan Welgemoed's new cookbook. Photo: Simon Bajada/Murdoch Books

Here are three recipes that capture the spirit of the cookbook.

Peri peri chicken better than N@ndhoes

OK, gather round, kids. Time for some real talk now. Peri peri chicken is the most important dish in my life because Mozambican/Portuguese food was central to my upbringing in Johannesburg. This recipe is my father's, the most important man in my life (apart from my two boys) and remains unchanged. It's better than pretty much all the recipes for this dish that exist and it completely destroys that sacrilegious famous, franchised, overcooked and overpriced product, which due to legal reasons I can't mention by name. In honour of my father, my beautiful city of Johannesburg and the chefs that cook this dish day in, day out … I give you THE WORLD-FAMOUS AFRICOLA PERI PERI CHICKEN.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • lemon wedges
  • 4 soft floured bread rolls

Peri peri sauce

  • 15 red bird's eye chillies
  • 10 green bird's eye chillies
  • 5 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh bay leaves
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 100ml (scant ½ cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 100ml (scant ½ cup) lemon juice
Advertisement

Brine

  • 160g (¾ cup) sea salt flakes
  • 55g (¼ cup) brown sugar
  • 55ml (¼ cup) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 10 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 garlic bulbs, halved

Equipment

  • barbecue
  • 60g applewood smoking chips, soaked in water overnight

METHOD

  1. To make the peri peri sauce, preheat the oven to 160C fan-forced (180C conventional). Place all the chillies on a baking tray and roast them for 10 minutes.
  2. Cool and roughly chop the chillies. Place the chillies, garlic, salt, bay leaves, paprika, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice in a saucepan and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool, then blend it to a puree in a blender or food processor. Store in a lidded container at room temperature; it will keep for about a month. Shake well before using.
  4. To make the brine, put all the ingredients and 1 litre (4 cups) water in a large pot and bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Once cool, add the chicken and leave overnight. When you are ready to cook, take the chicken out of the brine and give it a wash in cold water.
  5. Place the chicken in a bowl and add half the peri peri sauce, spreading it over evenly, and marinate in the fridge for 3 hours.
  6. Light your braai (barbecue). When the coals are ashed, throw the chicken on the grill. Place the lid on the braai and cook for 10-15 minutes on each side or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, occasionally taking off the lid to baste with excess marinade. For the last 5 minutes, toss the smoking chips on the embers and shut the lid.
  7. Serve the chicken with extra peri peri sauce, lemon wedges and the soft bread rolls.

Serves: 4

This is an edited extract from Africola by Duncan Welgemoed, published by Murdoch Books RRP $49.99. Food photography: Simon Bajada. Art photography: Emmaline Zanelli. 
Peri peri chicken better than N@ndhoes
The world's greatest roast potatoes for total idiots 
Eton mess
Single use online & print

Foolproof potatoes. Photo: Simon Bajada/Murdoch Books

The world's greatest roast potatoes for total idiots 

As it says on the packet – you can't f--- this one up. If you do, please tag me in all the photos.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5kg good roasting potatoes with little starch, like Diane, or large Kipfler potatoes, peeled, cut in half and washed until the excess starch is rinsed off and the water is clear
  • 200g rendered pork fat or lard
  • 50g paprika
  • 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed in their skins
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 fan-forced (200C conventional). 
  2. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until just soft.
  3. Add the fat to a hot heavy-based saucepan and heat over high, then add the potatoes flat-side down. DON'T BURN YOURSELF OR SET FIRE TO YOUR HOUSE. Get a crispy golden colour on all sides. Once all crispy, transfer the potatoes to a baking tray.
  4. Drizzle with a little of the warmed fat and sprinkle with the paprika, thyme leaves, garlic, sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally until they are super crispy and dried out a little. The centre will be like mash potato and pretty much the best vehicle ever for all kinds of sauces, gravies, meat juices, whatever – all of it.

Serves: 4

Eton mess

This is a spicy addition to the Eton mess catalogue.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g rhubarb
  • ½ pomegranate
  • 100g (scant ½ cup) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons rose water
  • 5 vanilla pods
  • 1 litre (4 cups) thick (double) cream
  • 250ml (1 cup) creme fraiche
  • 100g (scant 1 cup) icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 punnet of raspberries, to garnish (optional)

Meringues

  • 500g egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 500g (2¼ cups) caster sugar
  • 500g (4 cups) icing sugar
  • 75g (generous ½ cup) cornflour
  • 75g dried rose petals, plus more to garnish
  • 50g Sichuan pepper

METHOD

  1. Top and tail your rhubarb and cut into 10cm length pieces. Place in a saucepan with the pomegranate seeds and cover with the caster sugar, 300ml (1¼ cups) water, rose water and 2 vanilla pods. Place over heat and gently simmer until the rhubarb is just soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 100C fan-forced (120C conventional). Line two baking trays with baking parchment.
  3. To make the meringues, whisk the egg whites and pinch of salt in a mixer for 3-4 minutes until firm peaks form. With the motor running, gradually add the caster sugar and whisk for 2-3 minutes until thick and glossy.
  4. Sieve the icing sugar and cornflour over and gently fold in to combine. Sprinkle in the dried rose petals and Sichuan pepper and mix in, then spoon 8cm diameter mounds onto the baking trays.
  5. Bake the meringues for 45-50 minutes, until they lift easily from the trays and are crisp but not coloured. Turn off the heat and leave the meringues to cool completely inside the oven.
  6. Whisk the thick cream, creme fraiche and icing sugar together in a separate large bowl until soft peaks form. Split the remaining vanilla pods in half and scrape the seeds from the pods into the mixture.
  7. Scatter half the rhubarb into the base of a serving bowl or six jars, spread with half the cream mixture, and coarsely crumble half the meringue over the top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and decorate with rose petals.

Makes: 1 big bowl/6 jars

This is an edited extract from Africola by Duncan Welgemoed, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99. Food photography: Simon Bajada. Art photography: Emmaline Zanelli. Buy now