Under the Olive Trees

I love the olives trees behind my house. It reminds me of Psalm 128:3 “Your children will be like young olive trees around your table.”

This week was Lorene’s last week at school. 12 years of schooling went by in the blink of an eye… no more packing lunch boxes, no more driving around Windhoek with sport gear cluttering the car, no more weekends spent next to a netball court cheering her on, no more impromptu mother daughter lunch dates. It is now the last weeks of preparation before her finals start in November. And then she is off to college, far from home and my Kalahari kitchen table.

I will miss our late nights drinking tea and solving the world’s problems. I will miss our noisy family lunches after school, hearing about all the day’s news and girls’ drama. I will miss our weekend baking marathons and experimenting with new recipes. I will miss her. But she is so ready! Ready to face the world and to spread her wings.

Children desire our presence, not our perfection.

James Dobson

Here’s a classic Mediterranean lamb stew recipe that’ll recall memories of fun, busy, noisy days with a house full of teenagers. Made with lamb shanks, or lamb neck and using green olives, fresh tomatoes and strips of lemon peel, it has a rich but piquant flavour. Think of lamb neck as a mini oxtail: Once braised, the meat just falls of the bone. Not only is this a delicious off-cut, but it’s an inexpensive option, making it a great alternative to beef short ribs or lamb shoulder for a dinner party menu. Finish with sprigs of coriander to add a fresh and aromatic scent and serve with a generous hunk of sourdough bread to mop up any remaining juices. It will bring a smile to your face and ensure happy family memories around your table. Recipe page 2


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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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.