Love of Food

Over 25 years ago, Dr. Gary Chapman penned the New York Times bestseller “The 5 Love Languages.” It was a revolutionary concept that’s still relevant today, and in case you haven’t read the book ( I can really really recommend it!) here are the cliff notes: humans express love and want to feel loved in return in five different ways — words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time, and physical touch.

Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.

A Ian D. Wolfelt

Here’s the modern-day twist: some experts believe there’s a sixth omnipotent love language — food. “Food incorporates all the other five languages and all five senses. It’s a very powerful way of creating a connection and expressing love,” relationship and human behavior expert Patrick Wanis, Ph.D. says. I cannot agree more!!

I love this! Yes! Quality time along with food is my love language! What can be better than sitting around a beautifully set table with your loved ones, a delicious homemade meal and sharing life together!!!

The love language of food has a way of bringing down walls, because you’re less guarded and more trusting when sharing a meal.

So on this Saturday, I am setting a table under the Camelthorn tree and lighting the candles for an intimate dinner under the starry Milkyway. Dinner with my loved ones. My love language in action.



As Easy as Pie

I am a city girl. I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa in a non-hunting family. I have never tasted venison until I married Janneman, moved to the family ranch and it became part of our daily diet. I had to call my mother-in-law to ask her how to cook the unfamiliar meat in my freezer. Yes, I was clueless! But what a delightful introduction. Over the past 20 years, I have come to love cooking with venison and it has become the king of meats in my Kalahari kitchen.

Knowing where your meat comes from is so necessary these days. Venison is the healthiest of all meats. Venison is low in fat and an extremely good source of protein. It has twice as much iron as beef and lamb, is easily digested and is full of essential omega 3 fatty acids. Venison is often maligned for being extremely lean, and therefore dry. I believe that, with proper preparation and cooking methods, venison can be lifted to glorious heights.

Simplicity doesn’t change who you are, it brings you back to who you are.

Oscar Wilde

A delicious way to make the most of your venison meat in season, is to make a homemade pie. So easy to prepare ( easy as pie!), it freezes perfectly, this venison and mushroom pie will fast become a family favourite. Ideal for using up all the leftover venison cuts in your freezer, these individual deep pot pies are creamy, comforting and full of flavour.

This is really a beautiful venison pie and the kind of dish that makes me dream of good home cooking. The venison will cook to be delicious, tender and sumptuous. When topped with flaky puff pastry, what can be better on a spring ( or fall) afternoon. After all these years of cooking, a meal like this still gets my pulse racing, yes, even as a former city girl. Recipe on next page.


The Best Time for New Beginnings (and cake) is now.

Good morning from a beautiful flourishing Kalahari. Everything is in bloom and spring is jumping and skipping through the savannah landscape. Thorn bushes are softened by blossoms, and the night echoes to the calls of amorous barking geckos (the quintessential sound of the Kalahari). Meerkat pups venture outside their dens for the first time, gemsbuck calves and springbuck lambs frolic in the dry grass. There is a palpable sense of anticipation as we await the summer rains.

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Isaiah 35:1

Yes, it is a challenging year and we are all ready for change and new beginnings. Everywhere I go, I cut off a flowering branch full of blossoms, as a reminder that spring is a period of renewed beauty. Spring breathes upon us the spirit of hope and promise. There is the realization of new beginnings, new energies, and new life.

So today I am celebrating all the beauty around me. We may have missed out on family gatherings, birthday celebrations and memorable events but still we baked! It seems like we were all #quarantinebaking through the coronavirus pandemic. On Instagram, Facebook and Youtube everyone is sharing their new baking skills and recipes. A scroll through my social media feeds is akin to a trip to a local bakery!

But, no matter the reason why everyone is baking ( for who needs to justify making an amazing cake), I am sharing my mother’s ultimate, best, amazing, easy carrot cake recipe with you. This is most probably the cake recipe that I have had the most recipes requests for. There isn’t another recipe that I’ve ever tried that even comes close to this carrot cake recipe for flavor, moistness, and texture. It is topped with an easy homemade cream cheese frosting. Yes, this is hands down the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. Period.

So if you are looking for an easy, delicious foolproof cake to turn your day into a joyous celebration, grab your apron. All I need today is an excuse to sit on the porch with a cup of coffee, a big slice of moist carrot cake and a heart of thankfulness because of a new season.

Recipe on next page to ensure easy sharing and printing. Happy baking!


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.


My Weekend Plans Involve You ( and dessert)

What a super relaxing weekend… the first summer rains fell and the girls and I were cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Sunday lunch with friends allowed for some must needed socializing. No Sunday lunch is complete in Southern Africa without Malva Pudding for dessert. Rain or sunshine, winter or summer, this dessert is a favorite in our Kalahari kitchen. Loved by family and friends, this old South African classic will soon become a regular dessert on your weekend menu.

Malva pudding, also called malvapoeding or marshmallow pudding, is a traditional South African dessert. It is a sweet pudding recipe with a yellow sponge drenched in a decadent sauce. Generally, it also contains apricot jam, which is a classic ingredient in South African cuisine.

With over 180 000 results in Google – this pudding is a South African legend – and can be found in nearly ALL South African cookbooks and on dessert menus countrywide. Every family has their special version of this recipe and no one’s Malva Pudding is as good as what your grandmother used to make!

Desserts are the fairytales of the kitchen; a happily-ever-after to supper.

Terri Guillemets

This Malva Pudding recipe is an age old version of the ever so popular ones that you can find anywhere online. Sweet, sticky and super easy to make, this dessert is easily made from your store cupboard basics. Yes, this is my grandmother’s recipe with a twist. A happily-ever-after for three generations.

I love to add another South African favorite by adding half a cup of Amarula Cream to the cream sauce that is poured over the dessert after baking. Amarula is a cream liqueur made from the nutritious marula fruit only found in the Sub-Saharan African countries of South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Zimbabwe. If you cannot find Amarula ( it is available on Amazon!) just add the same equivalent of cream to your sauce. I only pour half of the sauce over the baked dessert and then serve the rest of the sauce on the side.

This dessert is mouthwatering served with homemade custard or vanilla bean ice cream. Enjoy this South African classic!

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It is a beautiful time of the year for a new beginning ( and homemade granola)

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa.The change of seasons is something I love and that is very visible in this part of the world. Warm summer beach days and barbecues under the starry night…. fall bringing a transformation of colors and oak trees throwing off their summer leaves… cold rainy winter evenings snuggling around a log fire cooking curries and comfort food …and then spring arrives…the new oak leaves showcased against the crisp blue sky, welcoming beautiful lazy alfresco days. Seasons change and so do we.

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Henry David Thoreau

Now living in the Kalahari, the change of seasons is not so vivid to the eye. Summers are hot, winters cold and short ( not this year though!) and fall and spring are reminders that change is a constant. September is the arrival of spring ( or rather summer) in Namibia. Days are warm and suddenly you are looking for healthy recipes and summer dishes. A bowl of granola with fresh berries and a spoonful of full cream Bulgarian yoghurt, just spells the correct start to summer.

But if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent hours in the granola aisle at the grocery store, trying to find just the right kind. Mom of three teenagers with very different tastes- this one does not like raisins, this one loves nuts with shredded coconut, this one loves it baked with big clusters that you can nibble on as a snack- this can be an impossible task. Yes, you know that it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect granola at the store.

So here is my homemade granola recipe. Super easy to make and also very customizable, a yummy template for whatever dried fruits, spices ( cinnamon) and nuts you might ( or might not) be craving. Enjoy as an after school snack or simply add it to a bowl of milk or yogurt in the morning with a handful of fresh berries. It is the perfect combination of flavors and texture for all ages! Jump to the next page for your easy homemade granola.

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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.


Say Cheese… Cheesecake!

I love a baked cheesecake! It is my number one cake and dessert and something I love baking. The decadent mixture of cream cheese and sour cream…the excitement and thrill of removing a smoothly baked, no cracks- cheesecake from the oven…. pure bliss. Simple. Elegant. Decadence.

The intense enjoyment and appreciation of cheesecake dates back far, very far… as far back 230 A.D. according to John J. Sergreto in his book Cheesecake Madness. Rumour has it that the Romans were first introduced to cheesecake on their quest to concur Greece, which seems to be the first enjoyer of cheesecake.

Sources say that cheesecake, in ancient Greece, was believed to be a good source of energy and even served to athletes during the Olympic games. We have no Olympic Games this year due to the pandemic, but that does not mean we can not indulge in a slice of creamy, silky, smooth baked cheesecake!

Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.

Hedy Lamarr

My mom has been baking this recipe for years and we still call it a family favorite here in my Kalahari kitchen. You need look no further for a creamy and ultra smooth classic cheesecake recipe! A buttery cookie crust, with a thick layer of creamy cheesecake and a whipped sour cream topping, if you like.

Once you have a stellar base recipe, you can alter it with different ingredients and flavors. Get creative or keep it simple. Either way, it’s going to impress. Say hello to your new favorite cheesecake recipe!


Red Sunsets and Dancing Tumbleweeds

It is a windy August afternoon. The thirsty Kalahari experiences temperatures as low as 3° Celsius in the morning, warming up to about 30° C during the day. As we approach spring, some plants and trees have started flowering, including the sweet thorn. It is another kind of beautiful. Golden grass dancing in the wind, tumbleweeds blowing across the Kalahari savannah. Flaming red sunsets as the dust covers the horizon.

In Africa you feel grounded in an indescribable way… It forces you to be in the moment…There is a constant sense of awe and surprise.

Karen Banks

Nothing can be more true. The Kalahari has grounded this city girl. The little things count, there is an appreciation of life in its simplest form. God is good! I continually live in awe and surprise of what this thirst land deliver. Moments, memories, memoirs, impressions, imprints in the red Kalahari sand.

As I reminiscence about my footprints in the Kalahari, I am reminded of my first venison recipe. Venison Schnitzels! I knew nothing about preparing or cooking venison but with this recipe, you cannot fail. It is perfect for a busy weeknight. The meat ( I use a venison backstrap) is usually thinned by pounding with a rolling pin ( how difficult can that be?) and then breaded before frying. I assure you this will be a crowd pleaser and a great way to use some of that venison in the freezer. Enjoy! Recipe on next page for your own delicious schnitzels.


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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