My hungry heart – recipe

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August 17, 2012
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August 17, 2012

From underneath the hard red Kalahari Desert soil in the south-eastern part of the country, Kalahari truffles will erupt only in honour of good rain – always a novel, treasured find.

Namibia is a temperamental country and life here is often a fine balancing act between devastating droughts and devastating floods, which makes this unconditional love all the more grounding. Namibia gets under your skin.

The seasons that pass through the diverse landscapes of this land become the rhythm of our lives, an extension of our bodies. The soil becomes our flesh. The rivers become our veins, the grasslands our hair, the air our very lungs, the rain synonymous with a replenished soul. In the unforgiving rocky mountain outcrops and sensuous dunes of the desert we find our own thoughts, fears and freedom. So we become our own earth”  writes Christine Hugo in her introduction to Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt’s  cookbook, My hungry heart – Notes from a Namibian Kitchen.

Truffle tagliatelle

From underneath the hard red Kalahari Desert soil in the south-eastern part of the country, Kalahari truffles will erupt only in honour of good rain – always a novel, treasured find.

Truffles are such a delicacy because we only find them after late rains in the Kalahari, and not necessarily every year. We handle them with love and care for this reason. Carefully wash the truffles and brush with a soft brush to get rid of the fine sand. Peel the truffles just before use to make sure that you do not end up with the Kalahari between your teeth.

Tips to keep your truffles longer

A few rules to start with:

• Cook the truffles as little as possible.

• Choose fresh truffles whenever possible!

Can keep for three to five days

On absorbent paper (kitchen roll, newspaper)

in an airtight box in the refrigerator.

And up to 10 days

Brushed carefully under a trickle of water, dried and placed in a container. Cover them with oil (olive or other). You can use this fragrant oil for your salads and other dishes.

For several months

Once they have been washed and dried, blanch the truffles in boiling water for three minutes, freeze either in a vacuum package or in an airtight container to conserve their aroma.

Defrost and peel before using.


Truffle soup

Kalahari truffle soup

  • 1 litre water
  • 6 big potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 truffles, cleaned, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 250 ml of dry white wine
  • 5 ml dry tarragon (or 15 ml fresh)
  • 125 ml cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Truffle & garlic chips for garnish (thinly sliced and deep fried)
  • Place all the ingredients in a saucepan except for the cream and garnish.
  • Simmer until the potatoes are soft.
  • Liquidise or put through a food processor.
  • Add cream.
  • Garnish and serve with freshly baked poppy-seed bread.

Serves 4

Kalahari truffle Tagliatelli

  • 400 g Kalahari truffles
  • 125 ml coarsely chopped onion/leek
  • 1–2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60 ml butter
  • 60 ml cake flour
  • Pinch dried oregano
  • 375 ml milk
  • 125 ml cream
  • 15 ml whisky
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Clean and peel the truffles. Slice thinly and sauté with onion and garlic in butter over gentle heat for 5–8 minutes or until tender but not at all browned.
  • Stir in the flour, oregano and milk and bring to boil while stirring continuously. Stir in the cream, whisky and seasoning to taste and bring to boil.
  • Simmer for two minutes and pour over the meat or pasta.

Serves 4

Recipes courtesy of My Hungry Heart by Antoinette de Chavonnes Vrugt

Price: N$350.00 in Namibian outlets

This article appeared in the Autumn 2012 edition of Travel News Namibia.


Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

1 Comment

  1. […] we could eat our country, we would. Instead it is us who are consumed by our land.” [My Hungry Heart, p. […]

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