We use a lot of octopus at Africola, the older and larger the better. It’s perfect simply grilled and is especially awesome during these warmer months. Get strapped in and let’s throw some Kraken on the BBQ!
BBQ Octopus Recipe
– 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
– One cleaned octopus, head and tentacles separated
– 3 shallots, thinly sliced
– 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
– 2 cups dry sherry
– 150g salt
– 1L of water
– 100g of rosella flowers
– Mix all together and put to one side
– 3 dried long chillies, stemmed and seeded
– 1 small dried chipotle chilli, stemmed and seeded
– 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 3 tablespoons honey
– 1 garlic clove
– 1/4 cup (plus 2 tablespoons) grapeseed or canola oil
– Picked herbs (basil, parsley, coriander, etc) for finishing
 Soak the octopus in brine overnight, take out and rinse.
 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a large enamelled cast-iron pot, heat the olive oil. Add half of the octopus and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until lightly browned all over, for three to five minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining octopus.
 Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, for about two minutes. Add the paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for about 20 seconds. Carefully add the sherry and bring to a boil. Return the octopus to the casserole, cover and braise in the oven until very tender, about an hour and 30 minutes. Let the octopus cool completely in the liquid.
 In a medium saucepan, toast the chillies over moderate heat, turning, until fragrant and pliable, for two to three minutes. Add the vinegar, honey and garlic and bring just to a simmer.
 Remove from the heat and let stand until the chillies are softened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. With the machine on, gradually add the grapeseed oil until incorporated. Season the chilli sauce with salt.
 Remove the octopus from the liquid. Using a paper towel, wipe the purple skin off the tentacles, leaving the suckers intact. Cut the head in half. Discard the braising liquid.
 Light the BBQ. Grill the octopus over high heat, turning, until lightly charred all over, about four minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and immediately brush with some of the chilli sauce. Serve with the lemon dressed herbs, spoon the sauce liberally on the plates.
MUSIC PAIRING: AHMED MALEK
In the hope of enticing weather that doesn’t include black outs, freak golf-ball hail, and tropical downpours, we’ve gone for a little lowkey Middle Eastern vibe. Specifically, we’ve gone to Maghreb in the 1920s to meet little-heralded film-score composer, Ahmed Malek.
Turn on your Spotify and check out Malek’s Musique Originale De Films. I’m not sure where you’d find a physical copy, to be completely honest. This album is a car chase through the Moroccan coast line if it was shot by a sweaty and slightly uncomfortable Wes Anderson, who then waits with Shaft in the elevator of a swanky hotel in Casablanca.
It’s a marimba mecca, a lost oasis for the underappreciated organ solo. It’s suave summertime for your rain-soaked ear-pockets.
BOOZE PAIRING: THE DANGEROUS SUMMER
This recipe is the kind of thing you want a cocktail for, preferably by a pool while a picturesque attendant delicately slices your octopus and feeds it to you in the shade. You’re mysterious, you’re rich, what’s in your briefcase could cost the government millions. It’s going to be…a Dangerous Summer.
This cocktail is a twist on the classic Hemingway by Africola’s magnificent barkeep, Myfanwy Rolfe.
The Dangerous Summer Recipe
– Cocktail shaker (you can stir down the drink over ice and strain it instead if you’re feeling particularly Bond about it)
– 45mL tequila blanco
– 30mL pink grapefruit syrup (if you don’t have time for this kind of fluffing about as an international person of mystery, Bickford’s Pink Grapefruit Cordial works a treat)
– 25mL fresh squeezed lime juice
– 15mL Luxardo
– 10mL Agave Nectar
– Garnish with lime wings or a wheel
 Chill coupe with ice while you prep your garnish.
 Pour all the ingredients into one of the tins and top with ice.
 Shake for 20 seconds and pop your tins. Taste test. Tweak as required.
 Empty your coupe of ice.
 Double-strain liquid into your coup.
 Garnish with wings or whee.
 Enjoy The Dangerous Summer immensely and feel very fancy.