• Lam'burgers

    Contributed by

    Justin Bonello

    Cook, traveller, father, husband, filmmaker, gardener... and not particularly in that order. Filmmaker, veteran presenter, author and Head of Production at Cooked in Africa Films, Justin Bonello has worked in the film industry since he was 14 years old and is the co-founder of one of South Africa's leading film production companies. To date he and managing partner, Executive Producer, Peter Gird have produced more than 23 television series broadcast in over 100 countries around the world and they have no plans to stop any time soon. Justin has done the very thing that we all dream of - taking the things he cares most deeply about and making his world revolve around them. His passion for the outdoors and South Africa's untamed beauty is rooted in his childhood where he spent weekends on the Breede River and holidays on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. As he grew up, so too did his appetite for good, wholesome, down-to-earth food.
    Published with permission from COOKED IN THE KAROO by Justin Bonello, www.justinbonello.com. Photography Louis Hiemstra and Cooked in Africa films. All rights reserved.

    Some nights the last thing I feel like doing is slaving over a hot fire, making dinner for everyone, while my friends get to play. This is how I felt one night on Kruisvallei after another extremely hot day. Dinner was going to be lamb burgers (from now on known as lam'burgers) on roosterkoek, all made from scratch on the braai. Instead of me doing all the hard graft, the plan was that everyone create their own burgers, and what started as a lazy summer's evening, quickly became a typical Cooked party. As much as I love my motley bunch of friends, I couldn't entirely trust them to make the star of the show - the actual lamb mince patties, so I did that part. And from there everyone made their own burger by adding whatever weird concoction they could come up with to their lamb patties.

    For about 10 people you'll need the following:

    First up, put the mince in a bowl that's big enough to fit both your hands in to so that you can work the meat. Crack in an egg, add the breadcrumbs, all the garlic, herbs and spices. Using your hands, mix it thoroughly. Now leave it centre stage, with jars of whichever spices you have, plates of fresh herbs and a selection of cheeses and other goodies. When it comes to lamb think of those wining flavours of mint, tzatsiki, rosemary ... you get the picture. Then sit back and enjoy the show. I'm not sure if it's because of their dismal spice knowledge, but some of them held up spice jars, sniffed at it (some of them a little too hard, getting red pepper up their noses) shook it (as if it would somehow reveal itself), stared at (for really long) all in an attempt to figure out what they were and what they would use them for. Then they would simply shrug, make vague comments like "hmm, that smells nice so I'll use it." And of course they did. I sat back, sipped my brandy and coke and took mental notes. Some of the burgers were really scary, but the rule was if you made it, you had to eat it.

    This is what my friends did:

    PS: How long you braai it for is up to you, just make sure you do it over moderate coals and for at least 5 minutes a side - but you know the drill. Don't overcook the meat - there's no need to kill it twice. You can make an array of condiments for the burgers. We had tzatsiki (chopped garlic, cucumber, plain yoghurt, mint, parsley, dill and salt all mixed together) and Tania's tamatie gemors.


  • Beentjievleisskottel , Mariëtte Crafford
  • Karoo-lamsboud, Marie Tomlinson
  • Tipsy-tjops, Nita van der Merwe
  • Lam-pilau, Margaret Hurter
  • Ouma Hannie se Karoo-lamspastei, Joey Pienaar
  • Ma se spesery-lamsblad, Deona Tait
  • Lamb Shanks on Mint & Pea Risotto, Justin Bonello
  • Tamatie Gemors, Justin Bonello
  • Roosterkoek, Justin Bonello
  • Karoo Finger Food: Sheep Tails, Justin Bonello
  • Scraps of Lamb Pie, Justin Bonello
  • Lamb Cutlets with a thyme and sweet corn soil, minted pea puree, apple jellies and stewed apple., Seline van der Wat
  • Deboned lamb shoulder, rocket salad, sweet corn puree, potato and baby marrow rosti, pickled cucumber and wintermelon, beetroot foam , Seline van der Wat
  • Smoked Lamb Rump, Carrot chips, Karoo granola, spinach and watercress puree, pickled beetroot and an apple foam, Seline van der Wat
  • Lamb noisettes, rocket salad, apricot and rooibos tea foam, potato and baby marrow rosti, minted pea puree, Seline van der Wat