Brothers-in-law Rodger Gilson and Johan Billman have perfected the art of making their own shiraz, Rohan Roi (rohanroi.co.za) – in a converted pigeon coop in Pretoria! While both have a passion for food, Johan is also a chef and owner of Van Wouw Catering (083 651 4235)



  • 250g polenta
  • olive oil
  • 2 brinjals, thinly
  • sliced lengthways
  • 700g mature rump steak
  • 10ml milled black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • salt
  • ½ packet fresh chives
  • Micro herbs, to serve

For the marinated peppers:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 200ml olive oil, plus extra for grilling
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 30ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1ml salt

For the spicy tomato sauce:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2ml dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • salt and milled black pepper


1. To make the marinated peppers (this is best done the day before your party): wash and deseed them and cut them into quarters. Rub the skins with olive oil. Place on a baking tray skin side up and grill in a preheated oven until the skin starts to turn black.
2. Place the hot peppers in a plastic bag, seal it and leave them to sweat for 15 minutes; then pull off the skins. Cut the peppers into long thin slices and marinate in a bowl with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic and salt. Keep in the fridge until needed.
3. To make the spicy tomato sauce: fry the onion in olive oil until softened. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook over a low heat for 30 minutes then remove from the heat and use a hand blender to purée the mixture. Keep it at room temperature until serving.
4. Cook the polenta according to the packet instructions; it should be fairly thick. Brush a baking tray with a little olive oil and evenly spread about 1cm polenta on the tray. Allow it to cool and set. Use a cookie cutter to press out canapé-size polenta cakes.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush both sides of the brinjal slices with olive oil and place them in a single layer on a baking tray; bake for 20–25 minutes.
6. Rub the steak with the milled black pepper, olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Grill it over a hot braai or on a griddle pan to medium rare. Remove from the heat, season with salt and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice the steak into 1,5cm thick strips.
7. To assemble the canapés: roll a piece of steak with three strips of marinated pepper and three chive sprigs in a slice of brinjal; the meat, chives and peppers must be longer than the width of the brinjal. Serve at room temperature on top of the polenta cakes with a drizzle of spicy tomato sauce and garnished with micro herbs.

Cook’s note: Make a double batch of the peppers; they are wonderful on sandwiches, salads, stir-fries and pasta. When you’ve finished the peppers, you can use the vinaigrette as a salad dressing.

This recipe makes 10–12 canapés.