The power of silence, when there is silence around you and you let that silence fill you. To get to a point where you can become truly quiet. I found it difficult to get that quietness while in the city. Normally that’s when I get into my car and go and find it somewhere else. Where you can still see the stars, smell the air and literally feel the quiet.
And I found my silence in the Klein Karoo. My heart’s always been yearning to go back to the area, having been born and growing up as a child in the area. Somehow I knew that one day this is where I’ll return to when the time is right and when life allows me. Naturally, if you put it out there, it does happen. So I’m back in the Klein Karoo. The best of being here, even though you still work just as hard, is the fact that switching off is just so much easier. That is thanks to the silence and beauty of the area. By simply standing on your front porch and looking at the hills, you are able to hear the silence and smell the very distinctive smell of the Klein Karoo.
As a city dweller, silence is limited, even in the so called secluded suburbs and tree-lined roads where the established live. Other than the silence, the other thing that you just do not experience or truly see, are the stars. The night is just not dark enough and it’s simply not clear enough to truly be able to appreciate the stars. Here, it’s as simple as looking up, and the night sky is a beautiful collection of shining pin pricks of light, all smiling down on you. On a wind still dark evening, it is so intense that you simply can’t stop yourself from staring and drinking in the view of these brilliant stars shining down.
Here you are humbled again. You’re reminded that you are simply a speck in the universe and that nature and your surroundings are in fact in charge. This observation is not one of dread or an attitude of sit back and let it be. For me, this is simply a reminder that if you have the means and are able to, you can add value to those around you. Whether it’s those close to you, or simply people that cross your path. With the silence and beauty of the area, comes a new found respect and understanding for things happening around you. You look at people differently and you look at your surroundings differently. Part of that is also, being more aware of what is available and true to the area. The simplicity, yet luxury of having to use what is available and what’s in season, rather than stocking up on ingredients that’s travelled half-way round the globe, is a pleasure.
In the process, you also come across very interesting ingredients from those adventurous enough to stock things weird and wonderful.
One of my surprise finds, were emu eggs. The emu is a relation to the ostrich. However, the eggs have a much thinner shell than the ostrich and is therefore easier to open. Apparently, so the supplier of these eggs say, it equals about 12 – 14 chicken eggs.
With the eggs in hand, I went home and whipped up a nice light butternut and emu egg frittata as part of an array of things for a long languid dinner. The slight sweetness of the butternut is a very nice touch with the egg. It’s slightly richer than a chicken egg, but not as rich as an ostrich egg. And just for the fun, I added a touch of chilli. For something a bit different, I also made it in a bread tin, rather than a pan. It’s also perfect with a nice light salad for a light lunch, or as I did in this case.
Butternut and emu egg frittata
250 ml butternut. diced into small cubes
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1.25 ml crushed dried chilli (adjust according to the heat you prefer)
80 ml chives and more to serve (I used the leaves of an onion plant from the garden)
salt and pepper to taste
1 disc feta, roughly broken
Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C.
Start off by steaming the butternut until it’s slightly tender, but not cooked through.
To open the egg, take the heal of a heavy knife and lightly tap the point of the egg, to break the shell. Be careful not to break the membrane. When you lightly tap the shell, dust off the egg shell residue. Take your knife and break the membrane of the egg, to make a hole.
You can now either shake out the egg into a big mixing bowl. The alternative is to place a straw halfway into the egg. Now turn the egg around over the mixing bowl and blow into the egg with the straw. The egg will be blown out into the mixing bowl.
Sauté the onion and garlic until it’s transparent. Set aside.
Add the onion and garlic mix, chilli, chives, salt and pepper to the egg. Whisk until the egg is nicely mixed through.
Add the butternut to the mix.
Pour the egg mixture into a prepared bread tin (sprayed with non-stick spray).
Drop the chunks of feta into the frittata randomly.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the frittata is set.
When it’s done, remove from the oven and let it cool down slightly, before you gently turn it out onto a plate. Cut into slices and serve with some more chives sprinkled over.
Naturally, loving lemons, you can also sprinkle some lemon zest over the slices of frittata. It will be quite refreshing.