Hugs and Quiches

Today was a day filled with emails, errands, playing mom’s taxi and getting the ever present to-do-list done! Yes, we all have days where the last thing on our mind is food. Lorene has been accepted to medical school at the University of Stellenbosch and with all the celebrations ( we are so excited for her) and the paperwork involved with her admission, the pantry is empty and the inspiration is lacking.

What to feed the family?’ is a question we as mom’s ask ourselves a few times a day ( if you have a teenager boy that does not stop growing or eating). Sometimes I wish they could survive on hugs and kisses!

Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life.

Albert Einstein

Time is of the essence on a day like today, so this easy, quick and foolproof quiche will still the hunger pains and have the entire family asking for more. Perfect for late breakfast, early lunch or even a simple dinner, this easy quiche will not disappoint. Even the men in your house will love it! Yes, these days real men eat quiche.

You can make any adjustment to your filling: chicken, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped spinach, chives, chorizo, different cheeses, but a classic bacon and mushroom quiche stays our family favorite. Do not be put off by the homemade cheese crust. It is so easy to make and also freezes very well. Make an extra crust, blind bake it and freeze it for another hectic busy day!

With the flaky, cheesy, buttery crust and just-set creamy filling, this quiche is sure to please no matter what the occasion. You will find this simple and decadent quiche downright delicious. What do the French say? Bon Appetite.


Lasagna like Nonna makes it!

I am a pasta lover. Any shape or size of pasta…everyday is a good pasta day. This is a classic recipe of one of the most loved foods in the world. Yes, the ultimate comfort food in my Kalahari kitchen is definitely homemade lasagna. If I do not know what to prepare for dinner or how to feed an army of hungry teenagers, I will most probably be turning to this delicious dish. And with organic venison ground meat always in my freezer, it is the perfect to-go-to recipe.

A big warm comforting hug within layers of homemade pasta, tomato sauce, white sauce and melted cheese ( no ricotta needed). Crispy edges, a gooey, cheesy centre, perfectly cooked fresh lasagna pasta sheets in between a creamy parmesan white sauce and an abundance of cheese. That definitely spells deliciousness!

I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size O.

Sophia Loren

I also want to note that this recipe isn’t difficult at all to make technique-wise. It just requires a solid hour or so of prep time as I believe the secret is in the simmering of the meat sauce until it has a rich thick consistency. So find an evening when you’re not in a rush, turn on some music, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine or some good fizzy water, and let’s make a pan of the most delicious lasagna together.

We love making it a whole family affair…. like the Italians do! Adding the flour and eggs, kneading the pasta dough until smooth and silky and then rolling it out as thin as possible. A pasta machine works great for this! Let the pasta sheets rest and then you are ready to assemble a great lasagna! And if you are in a rush ( or the teenagers are running around ravenously), you can make use of store-bought lasagna sheets. Either way, I’m certain you’re going to love it.


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.

Pinterest

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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A Spicy Perspective

We love our yearly visits to Texas. Yes- everything is bigger and better in this Lone Star State. When visiting Texas, there is no way to avoid the famous Texas barbecue. Then again, why would you want to? Texas barbecue is more than just a regional cuisine. Barbecue is a weekend activity, the passing down of family traditions, a community celebration, and a whole lot of Texan pride.

Here in Namibia, we share these special values and their love for family, barbecue, meat and extra large sandwiches!

This slow cooked leg of venison (or beef brisket) swims in a spicy barbecue sauce and is ultra-tender and finely chopped into small pieces. You never shred it if you are a true Texan-it must be chopped! But, to be honest, here in the Kalahari,we pull the meat apart with a fork… shredded venison! And we believe it is just as good! All a matter of perspective!

“Laughter is brightest where food is best.”

Irish Proverb

Hot,sticky, slightly sweet, fatty in a good way, dripping with sauce, melt-in-your-mouth, too-wet-for-the-bun-so-you-better-eat-fast awesomeness. Luxuriously rich, hearty sandwiches. Perfect for filling your hollow teenage son and feeding a crowd without firing up the grill or the smoker.

These barbecue sandwiches are super easy to make in the oven or in your slow cooker. Yes, the best comfort food at its most drool worthy. They’re also the ultimate stress free company dinner because the meat can be made days in advance then reheated for easy entertaining.

Dress them up or dress them down as you would like (or what your refrigerator allows). You can serve them plain with just a bun and smothered with barbecue sauce or add some cheese or tangy, light coleslaw or any other delectable and indulging toppings your heart desires!

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‘Meating’ Expectations on a Monday night

Another week… another Monday. What to cook for the (always) hungry family? Chimichurri Sauce and Steak is a match made in heaven, arguably one of the BEST sauces for steak in the world! For me- a winning combination. Like tomato and basil. Cheese and wine. Strawberries and cream. They are just “meant to be”.

Yes- even here in the Kalahari with limited fresh produce, this fresh flavorful sauce made with fresh herbs from my garden, is a hit served with our grilled springbuck, gemsbuck or eland fillet. (You can use any beef cut- picana, rib eye or fillet.)

This famous sauce from Argentina is made with parsley, cilantro, garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil. It’s quick to make and will take your next steak dinner to a whole new level!

This super easy Chimichurri Sauce recipe is made in the food processor and comes together in under 5 minutes.

Top your grilled steak with this fresh sauce and serve with homemade fries or flatbreads. I love adding some extra olive oil, red wine vinegar and lemon wedges on the side. I assure you- you will have one happy family at the dinner table and will ‘meat’ and exceed all expectations!

Cooking is one of the great gifts you can give to those you love.

Ina Garten
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Some Italian Inspiration

Our family LOVES everything about Italy. It is our number one vacation destination (if not traveling across the beautiful African continent).

The Italian people, the history, the quaint old walled towns, the strong espresso served on the square, the delectable cuisine using fresh ingredients, the gelato in every flavour and colour, the delectable pasta made by an Italian Nonna, char grilled vegetables soaked in olive oil, full bodied red wine, long family dinners around the dinner table…what is there not to like?

This beautiful fresh salad embodies all that Italy represents: al dente pasta, extra virgin olive oil, fresh tomatoes bursting in your mouth, proudly fat olives, vibrant green basil leaves… all tossed together and served as a special side dish with a relaxed afternoon lunch.

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you’re hungry again.

George Miller, Director

ITALIAN PASTA RICE SALAD

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 Cup uncooked pasta rice (orzo)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp toasted pine nuts + more for serving (optional)

1 small red onion finely chopped

12 kalamata olives pitted and sliced

1 Cup Feta cheese, cut into small cubes

Handful of cherry tomatoes cut into quarters (I like the rainbow mix available in some supermarkets)

The juice of half a lemon

1/2 Cup basil pesto

Black pepper and sea salt to season

1 Fresh Avocado, chopped

A small handful of fresh basil chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cook the pasta rice according to the packet. Once cooked, drain in a colander then rinse under the cold tap.Stir in half a tablespoon of the extra virgin olive oil and leave the pasta to cool fully.Transfer to a large bowl or serving dish.
  2. Add the pesto to a small bowl, pour in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a large lemon, stir well.
  3. Once the pasta has cooled add the chopped onion, cherry tomatoes, feta and the kalamata olives to the pasta.Pour the pesto dressing into the bowl then add the basil and pine nuts and toss carefully.
  4. Season with cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste.
  5. Top with more basil leaves and fresh chopped avocado
  6. Serve at room temperature

Making ahead – This can be made a day ahead, just store it in the fridge in an airtight container. Add avocado before serving with fresh basil leaves.