Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Potjie and Biltong Festival

On Saturday we went to the annual Potjie and Biltong Festival.


After turning off the main road, we went down a long, dusty road.

Past a typical Botswana scene: people hanging out in the shade of a tree.

When we pulled up to the parking lot, I was surprised to see it was overflowing.

I was excited, because there is a real dearth of things to do around here, and organized events like this with a big turnout are uncommon.

We walked down a little garden path.

Past an orange grove.

And finally arrived at the festival! I was really impressed to see the tents and so many people.

The shirts in the picture above and below -- tan and green color-blocked short sleeve button ups -- are a typical South African farm-type shirt worn, as here, by both young and old. We saw a lot of them at the festival.


As Neil saw me taking pics, presumably for this blog, he made the comment, "If you only saw this [festival], you'd think Botswana was only white people." Which is certainly NOT the case. We decided that every white resident of Botswana who is of South African descent must have been at the festival.

So, the potjie and biltong fest!

potjie (pronounced POY-key) is a small cast iron pot in which a beef or chicken stew with potatoes, carrots, and seasonings are cooked. The stew is then served over rice.

Here is the potjie pot the rice was served from.
(And a very South African-looking man: big, tall, with short shorts.)

And the potjie! Delicious!

And the biltong! Biltong is basically jerky, made from all different kinds of meat. Or game.


There were all kinds of crafts, baked goods, food booths, music, children's dance performances, and face painting.

Even a kid's rugby game.


A proper festival!

Most things were written in both English and Afrikaans (a language spoken mostly in South Africa by the Afrikaners, whites of Dutch descent). You don't typically see things written in Afrikaans in Botswana.

Malva pudding, a South African favorite. 

There was even some sort of kids' modeling show ... not quite of the Toddlers and Tiaras caliber. The kids were mostly in T-shirts and shorts, it was very "come as you are." One little girl didn't even have shoes on. I guess they were judged purely on technique, not style.

Nile and I spent a lot of time at the jumping castles.

Yes, with her trademark tutu. Deja vu, these are the same jeans I'm wearing in these pictures, where I was about as far along with Nile (6 1/2 mos.) as I am here with her baby sister. (Here's when they were new -- no, they're not maternity pants -- thank heavens for low-rise!)

Till next year!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dinner Time, Home Tour Sneak Peek, and Drexel

Everyone has to eat. And evenings are pretty quiet in this town.

So, dinner time again! Neil had some guys over the other night. I kept the table setting unfussy. And he cooked! Portuguese chicken on skewers, spaghetti carbonara (from Stephanie's Tried and True recipe book, thanks Julie Frederiksen!), green beans, and homemade brownies with freshly whipped cream and strawberries!! Lucky girl I am :)


After the tour of the exterior of our house last year (before the pool was built!), I never did an interior tour. Here's a start.

Dining room, obvs.

Living room.


Yes, for those of you in the know, I think I lucked out in the Drexel Heritage department. The upholstery is a reasonably tasteful modern-ish yellow.

I prefer it to the tone-on-tone damask we had in our last place.

The coffee, end, and dining room tables/chairs/china cabinet, leave something to be desired, but it could be worse, e.g. I never want to see 18th century Drexel again (again, from our last place).

Just this morning, Nile tried to improve upon them with yellow crayon. The ol' crayon on the wall -- or in this case, furniture -- was bound to happen, and at least it was a complementary color.


And she stayed within the lines, tracing around the perimeter of the table top.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Almond Biscotti

I made almond biscotti over the weekend.


It was a box mix I found at the store, but I am still pretty proud that it came out looking like recognizable biscotti. And tasty, too!

I always wondered how biscotti is cut so cleanly, yet it's so crunchy. Answer: it's baked twice, and sliced in-between.

Monday, July 23, 2012



Yesterday we went to the tea garden at Sanitas, a local plant nursery. It's a very popular weekend spot for meeting for breakfast/brunch/lunch and letting the kids play on the playground.

It's fun now that Nile is big enough to play on the equipment. She still needs supervision and help, but she has a lot of fun.

Yes, Nile has entered the tutu phase. She has three in total, all gifts from family, on constant rotation. An outfit is now not complete without a tutu.

And when not on the playground, Nile is practicing her modeling.


Working the camera from both sides.


I guess this is pretty close to a family portrait -- me; Neil cut off at the far left, and Nile's finger.

An enjoyable morning.  

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Well just to follow up, dinner the other night was a success. Good food with great company.

I was especially proud of the roast leg of pork that we made. It was supposed to be a stuffed pork loin, which I've made once before last Easter, but there was no pork loin available at the store. So instead I bought a couple of pork legs for roasting, modified the original recipe, and got some additional guidance from a good old-fashioned Google search.

I even mastered making "crackling" with the rind. Mmmmm.

The pork was truly delicious -- crispy, flavorful skin and moist, juicy inside. I stuffed it with dried cranberries, apples, prunes, golden raisins, garlic cloves, some brown sugar, and finely chopped rosemary from the garden.

Neil did the honors.

These pictures do it an injustice. 

I made a gravy, too, from pan drippings mixed with apricot juice. Soooo good. A perfect special winter meal. We started with a broccoli/cauliflower/cheese soup that I made entirely in the VitaMix blender! Very easy and tasty!

Anyway, despite the scary-looking BlackBerry pictures, it was beautiful and tasted awesome. Although I don't find or make a lot of time to cook, I find enjoyment and usually success in cooking fun challenges like this. I may have to make a hobby out of cooking new things once in awhile. Beats the restaurant scene and gives me something to do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dinner Plans

I am just about to go to bed after spending the evening shopping for and prepping dinner for tomorrow night. We are having some friends over; I may take some pics to share here.

Today was Presidents' Day here in Botswana, so the first two grocery stores we went to, Woolworths and Food Lovers Market, were both closed for the holiday. We then went to Pick n Pay and luckily it was open and we found everything we needed there.

We are very fortunate in that we can get pretty much everything in the grocery stores here. Actually way more variety than they had in Buenos Aires, believe it or not. I bought asparagus imported from Chile tonight, for example. Prices are not cheap, but comparable to expensive grocery stores in the U.S. But at least things are available if we want them.

((A private side note: I left a HUGE mess in the kitchen tonight of piles of dishes, pots and pans, cutting boards, garlic skins/grated cheese/wayward zucchini bits fallen to the floor, from cooking/prepping. And when I come home at lunch tomorrow, voila! The kitchen will be clean and sparkling again. I really do love having a full-time housekeeper.))

We have been growing things in the yard, too. It's winter here, but it's fairly mild; the low for tonight is 32, but the high for tomorrow is 71. Yes, that's Fahrenheit. I don't do Celsius.

Yesterday I harvested some carrots and onions, and today picked some broccoli and rosemary and was able to use all of it prepping for tomorrow's dinner.
Yes, that's darling little Boludo, our 3-yr.-old toy poodle from Argentina, still with us thank goodness after his adventure of being stolen shortly after we arrived here in Botswana last year. Another story for another day.

So we are having folks over tomorrow night, and I always stress out when we plan a weekday dinner; I have to rush home from work (usually well after closing time) and run around to prepare everything against the deadline of guests' impending arrival.

So tonight we prepped everything we could ahead of time, and I am in a good place now. I think it will all turn out tomorrow.

Some quick updates for my loyal readers:

We are still in Gaborone, Botswana. My tour would have been over in Feb. of next year (2013), but I switched jobs here which in effect extended my tour another two years from now. So we'll be done June/July-ish 2014.

Nile Malena is 2 years 4 mos. old. She talks and chatters all the time and she is so cute. You can ask her how old she is and she'll say "I'm two!" An evolution from the "I two!" learned and repeated many times on her birthday thanks to an e-card (thanks, mom/grandma!). Very smart little girl.

She is asserting her independence now. Last night we went to dinner at a friend's house, and she refused to wear a shirt. Let me remind you, it's winter here, people. Quite chilly. I kept offering her the shirt, but she would scream and/or run away. Suit (or don't) yourself.

Anyway, she is a joy and we love her so much. <-- reminds me that she says "Mommy, I missed you SO MUCH!" and throws her arms around me sometimes. She also will say "I love you, too!" when I tell her I love her.

Her baby SISTER is due Nov. 3! We are getting very excited for her arrival. It's nice to be happy and excited about it this time around; I was so apprehensive about being a mom the first time! Now we just need a good name ...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New Post

Perhaps I should stop neglecting this blog. I'm sure you'd like an update on the past ... well, nearly a year. Or at least what's going on now. Where to start? What do you want to know?