The Earth Laughs in Flowers (and Hot Cross Buns)

It is the most special week on our Christian calendar. Easter… a commemoration of Christ’s suffering , death and resurrection. How wonderful to be reminded of His love for us and that it wasn’t nails that held him to the cross but His love for you and me. And that He has risen. He lives!

I love the lyrics of the song “Because He Lives” written by Gloria and William J. Gaither.

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow

Because He lives, all fear is gone

Because I know He holds the future

And life is worth the living

Just because He lives.

Easter is about family, faith and love. It is a time of togetherness and reflection. And wherever you find yourself this Easter weekend, chances are good there will be hot cross buns on your Easter menu!

The sanctity of hot cross buns, it seems, is bound up in our childhood memories: the innocent scent of yeasty, raisin-studded buns warming in the oven, redolent of butter, allspice and cinnamon filling the house. Growing up I could always count on my mom to bring home a fresh package of hot cross buns, the second they hit the shelves. Over time I followed her lead and toasted hot cross buns found their way into our Kalahari kitchen a week or two before Easter and vanish immediately after. (My kids are not too fond of raisins in their food but will endure and endulge in a hot cross bun at Easter!)


There isn’t one clear explanation for why hot cross buns make their way to our table around Easter. Some theories rest in Christian symbolism, though there are several stories (and even some tall tales) about their origins. Some talk about hot cross buns (which may have at one time been called Good Friday buns) being baked and eaten solely on Good Friday, while others mentioned them being eaten throughout Lent. But one thing is certain, over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.

I know there are some great hot cross bun recipes out there, but as my two daughters and partners-in-crime-when-baking, are away at college, I will be resorting to store bought hot cross buns. And serve them with a twist. Hot Cross Buns French Toast. ( Recipe on page 2) Who can resist the smell of butter and cinnamon wafting through the kitchen on Easter weekend.

This is a quick and easy recipe and a crowd pleaser. And it is perfect for those left over buns, even long after the weekend. I wish you a blessed Easter. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow! – Aldalene


Muffin Monday says NO to Monday blues!

We are in another week of lockdown on the ranch…. It has been a time of soul searching… digging deep to stay positive and keeping the faith… venturing into unknown territory of what is called the ‘new normal’.

A home still silent of excited hunters returning after a day in the field, the glow of the African sun on their cheeks and the thrill of the hunt in their eyes. We miss our hunting friends, sharing meals and memories around the dinner table in the heart of the Kalahari.

But it has also been a time of creating special home memories as a family. Laughing at our own silly jokes till our stomachs hurt, playing board games till late in the night, cooking and baking together in my Kalahari kitchen. A taste of home, for all of us.

Nothing smells home like the smell of baking.

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As I walked into the kitchen this morning, I was greeted by the smell of bacon and cheese. Lorene and Janneman were baking savory muffins. Minutes later we were sitting on the porch, drinking coffee and devouring these quick and easy to make, so more-ish, savory muffins. They are buttery with golden crusty tops and fluffy moist insides. What can be better on a windy Monday morning than a fresh-out-of-the-oven cheese and bacon muffin with my family. A true taste of home.

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Coffee and New Beginnings (and more coffee)

It is another beautiful crisp morning in the Kalahari… day is breaking. As I am drinking my first cup of freshly brewed coffee, gazing over the savannah landscape, I am reminded of one of my favourite scriptures:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23
These last few weeks and months have been challenging ( to say the least) and all of us have been stretched to our limits. But again and again I have been reminded of His love, His mercy and His faithfulness! Yes, I can smile with the morning sun on my face and look expectantly to the week ahead!

I never woke a morning in Africa when I was not happy

Ernest Hemmingway

But what is a cup of morning coffee without my Ouma’s delicious rusks? Yes, these are biscotti with attitude!

According to the book “Die Geskiedenis van Boerekos 1652 – 1806” by HW Claassens, the Afrikaans word ‘beskuit’ was borrowed from the French, meaning “twice baked”. All our Kalahari Safari guests know that no morning coffee is complete without home baked rusks. Every family has a recipe that comes through the generations and has been perfected over the ages.

This is my version of our family recipe; a recipe that can be changed with the addition of nuts, dried fruit or any dry cereal you may have in the kitchen cupboard. Pour that cup of coffee and get baking!

Today’s goals: Coffee and kindness. Maybe two coffees (and rusks), and then kindness. And together we will keep faith.

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