Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Winter in the Karoo

Winter has officially arrived – well as far as we here in the Karoo are concerned. 
Definitely soup, comfort food and fires weather. 

And although it is very difficult getting up early in the morning, once up, it is nice to be dressed warmly with a freezing cold nose and pink cheeks for a change.  In a month or two we will be sick and tired of the weather, but for now we are enjoying the change in seasons.  Of course, knowing that the next season is Spring makes it worthwhile having to endure the cold.

I enjoy the late afternoon scenes and sunsets, but once the sun has dipped behind the mountains, the cold descends very quickly. Nights are so clear and crisp in winter and Kate has enjoyed being able to take stunning photos.  She finds the centre pivots especially interesting as seen below.

Well, we can all be pleased that we don’t have to do the job which our current guests are doing.  They are professional divers.........in the Karoo???  Yes, they are working on the refurbishment of Grassridge Dam which is not far from us.  And although they have spent many weeks on and off with us, we hadn’t been to see them on the job until Friday.  We certainly have a new and profound respect for them!  It is quite an operation and a lot of equipment is necessary.  But I am in awe of them diving into freezing water, staying under for up to an hour at a time and doing work that most of us would consider dangerous on dry land.... drilling, breaking up huge rocks etc etc.........and all by feeling their way as the water is muddy brown and visibility nil. The weather has been particularly cold – Friday brought sun, wind, rain and sleet and Saturday was icy cold with wind coming off the distant snowy mountains!  Monday was minus 3 degrees and bakkies battled to get going in the early morning - before sunrise when their day starts! So, imagine going off to work knowing what awaits.  Brave and tough men each and every one of them and so nice as well. 

We really enjoy having them here with us and providing all their meals which are much appreciated.  On Sunday they had a melt-in-the-mouth tender Karoo lamb roast and veggies with Chocolate Cake for pudding / afternoon tea.  And supper was beef and vegetable soup, homemade bread and Macaroni Cheese. I have decided to share my recipe which I always use for the Macaroni Cheese which our family enjoys and any leftovers freeze well for a quick and easy light meal.

Quick and Easy Macaroni Cheese

1 cup    Macaroni (dry)
2 cups  Milk
2           Eggs
1 cup    Cheese - grated
1 Tbs    Butter
1           Tomato - sliced thinly
2 tsp     Maizena
2 tsp     Dry mustard
Salt and pepper
A dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

Boil macaroni in salt water until tender and drain
Put cheese in a bowl and reserve some to sprinkle on top
Add mustard, maizena, salt, pepper and cayenne to cheese
Add eggs one at a time and mix well
Boil milk, butter and macaroni together
Add to the mixture in the bowl
Pour into a buttered dish, sprinkle cheese over the top
Decorate with tomato slices
Bake at 180 deg for 30 +- minutes until browned and set
Serves six

Until next time, stay warm and cosy!