Life is a Book with Many Chapters

It is Monday morning and our seniors started with their final exams today. Yes, in Namibia our school year runs with the calendar year and our kids finish their year in December to start a new school grade in January. With Covid -19 and the pandemic that also reached us here in the southwest of Africa, there was a time when our seniors were to only write their finals in 2021.

But thankfully, with prayerful faith, meetings with top officials and hours of negotiating, our seniors could walk into the school hall today to write their Cambridge final exams and close this chapter named ‘school’. I stand in awe at how quickly this crazy but delightful season of school runs, lunch boxes and sport days went by for me as the mother of a bright beautiful young girl..

Our lives are all about chapters and seasons. 2020 may be a year for many of us where we wish we could skip some chapters, skip to THE END. As we flip through the pages of our life, and especially this year, we live through an array of emotions, actions, and circumstances. We had our ups and downs. We laughed,we cried,we won,we lost,we faltered and we grew stronger…in ourselves and in our faith.

Yes, every day adds a new page to our overall journey. Every day offers a new beginning. A chance to act, to live attentively. To start over. To try again to make something beautiful of this journey called life.

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”

George Bernard Shaw

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season.” It also tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “[God] has made everything beautiful in its time.” I love these scriptures, as it encourages me that seasons change and that God is working in my life and the lives of my too-quick-growing children. I can keep the faith and live expectantly! For God is the author of my (and their) life.

So in the next few weeks, we as a family are in the chapter or season called FINALS. Long days of studying, encouraging, late nights, cookies and milk, supporting, praying, biting nails, coffee on the porch, tears, giggles, hugs and chocolate. Lots of chocolate! We have already finished a batch of the most delectable Rocky Roads… and this is day one!

Whoever came up with the idea for Rocky Roads was a genius. It requires no baking, contains lots of yummy ingredients and no one expects it to look picture perfect! It is a family favorite, especially during the exams. This is a no bake cookie recipe that doesn’t require the oven, so it’s super quick and easy to make. Child‘s play! Perfect to keep a batch on hand to serve friends as they pop over and spread some holiday cheer.

The problem will be keeping your family away from it long enough to actually serve to guests! I know my pan has already been devoured and they are waiting for a refill! And we are not even close to vacation time or Christmas! Maybe it is because of exam nerves? ( Mum included!).

While Rocky Roads are the perfect easy treat to put out any time and during any season of year, it also makes for an amazing homemade holiday treat! A great homemade gift for all the teachers,coaches, friends and family over this festive season.

I love to add cranberries and flaked almonds or pistachios for a Christmas touch and then box it with a big Christmas bow! Use your imagination and add dried fruits, candied cherries, Turkish delight, Maltezer chocolate balls, white chocolate, hazelnuts, raisins, choc chips or anything you may have on hand in your pantry. This is your story, your own take on Rocky Roads.

So whatever season you find yourself in, or whatever chapter of your life story you are writing, or if you just want to reach THE END of 2020, there should be a special mention of these fudgy, chewy, and crunchy textured Rocky Road cookies. You will find this a scrumptious, indulgent and easy-to-make Rocky Road recipe. Perfect for the holiday season ( and exam chapter) and so super easy and simple to make. It will bring a huge happy smile to your face and give you the spring in your step you need for the next few weeks. Recipe on page 2.


Chocolate is happiness that you can eat.

Since the children are back at school, the days and weeks merge into one big busyness. There are days that I miss our lockdown days on the ranch. No distractions except the call of the jackal. No early morning rush except for coffee and Rusks on the porch watching the sun rise over the Kalahari savannahs. No frantic driving from one appointment to another except for a late afternoon game drive and a relaxing sundowner under the old camelthorn tree.

Even with all the distractions and the hustle and bustle of our new so-called normal, I remind myself of what I have learned during these challenging months. Live attentively. Give attention to what you are giving attention to. Life simply. The little things matter.

Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.

Ann Voskamp

We so easily get caught up in the mundane routine of every day that we forget to celebrate life in its fullest! So on this Monday morning, I am thankful. Thankful for living a beautiful simple life with Janneman and my ( taller and wiser) than me kids, a life-changing faith that keeps me grounded and focused, friendships that nuture my soul and the love of food (and chocolate) that keeps me sane! And on this Monday morning we are baking a delicious, chocolatey, gooey, silky ( did I say delicious?) easy chocolate fondant cake. This is a recipe that I always fall back on, especially on a day like today when I want to celebrate life. And shout out: God is good. Life is good!

I bake this Chocolate Fondant cake in a 8” cake tin and not in individual moulds. It makes for a thick, dense, creamy and deeply chocolatey fondant that bears a signature crust on top. After cooling down, I place it in the refrigerator ( in the cake tin) until an hour before serving. This is to properly set and firm up. I then remove it from the fridge, overturn it on a beautiful dessert plate and top it with fresh berries, chocolate shavings or serve just as a simple slice of cake! Make sure it is served at room temperature. With the soft chocolate cake exterior and a mouth watering melted centre, you will dream of this fondant cake for days after making it. But guess what? It’s so easy and quick, you can make it again!

Serve as dessert with vanilla ice cream, or as a teatime treat with double whipped cream. Yes, I am thankful for the simple things. Something like Chocolate Fondant Cake on a Monday afternoon! Chocolate is for sure happiness you can eat!

Recipe on page 2


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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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!


The Welcoming Smell of Choc Chip Cookies

It is a typical Monday in the Kalahari….cleaning the house after a fun filled- house- full -of -teenagers- music -thumping-weekend, doing loads and loads laundry and staring into empty pantry cupboards!

Lockdown has allowed the time for rekindling friendships,creating new memories and having a daily dirty kitchen!

But, I just love seeing my children develop special friendship bonds, making true connections and seeing them thrive in their ‘tribe’. I love that their friends walk into our home and straight into the kitchen. I love the sound of the coffee maker making the umpteenth cup of coffee, the sounds of laughter filling the house and the welcome smell of (yet another) batch of fresh choc chip cookies!

Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love.

Zig Ziglar

I believe a warm welcome invites connection. So until my kids are grown and gone ( or lockdown allows them to return to college), I will keep the door wide open. I will have something baking in the oven (or have enough choc chips in the pantry!) and embrace the latest music trend- because all will be quiet before I know it!

So on this Monday morning, I am making a cup of coffee and taking a moment ( between laundry and dishes) to cherish the memories of a house filled with kids. A house full of love, laughter and life! And of course, I am having another choc chip cookie!

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Weekend Bliss (with chocolate of course)

Another week has passed.. a new normal starting to emerge amid Covid-19, masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. Weekends are our time to recap, recover and dream about a life as we have known it…. But is is also time to rediscover new recipes! As a family, we try and cut the sugar and carbs during the week. So come Friday, everyone is craving something sweet and this weekend we whipped up delicious, delectable, desirable( did I say delicious?) Millionaire’s Shortbread. Known as Millionaire’s Shortbread, presumably because they are so rich, they consist of a crisp shortbread base with an indulgent salted caramel filling that’s topped with a layer of dark chocolate – pure heaven! What more can a girl (or her family) want?

May your life be filled, as mine has been, with love and laughter; and remember, when things are rough all you need is…. CHOCOLATE

Geraldine Solon, Chocolicious
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