We're having a braai "goodbye"party tonight...Here's the menu...Wildlife continues on...


Male kudu, we saw on Saturday, lounging in the shade.  It was the first time, we'd seen a kudu lying down.
Yesterday morning, we went to the little house to pack all of our stuff to bring it here to do our final packing.  Finally, we have everything we own in one house, although we've lived in three houses in Marloth Park;  677 Hornbill Ave., Khaya Umdani and now African Reunion House
Taking photos of male kudus in tricky when their antlers are so tall.  He looks as if he's ready to say something.
Thanks to Louise and Danie, we've had an opportunity to experience these three homes, enjoying each for its unique qualities.  The Hornbill house, although acceptable to us, wasn't comparable to the upscale aspects and quality of the other two in which we've lived since January 29th.

Collecting our remaining clothing and supplies wasn't intended to complete our packing.  With only one quarter of our stuff here during this period, we definitely need to consolidate everything and pack properly using our portable vacuum to suck the space bags, enabling everything to fit.  On Tuesday we'll begin the process.

Another shot of this handsome Kudu.
In the interim our top priority is hosting today's "goodbye party" inviting those friends in Marloth Park that remain after many had left to return to their other homes in distant areas.  As a result, there will be only seven of us, an easy number to manage for a sit down dinner.

I'd suggested we make a traditional Minnesota/American dinner since we'd had several opportunities to try the delicious South African foods made by our guests for us on different occasions.  But, of course, we'd include the braai which Danie and Tom will oversee.

The Helmeted Guinea Fowls and chicks were having a good time by the braai.
The biggest challenge for us is the lack of availability of many ingredients typically used in American cooking.  As always, we discovered ways to improvise.

Of course, although there will be foods that I will be able to eat, we are not making a meal befitting my restrictive way of eating for my health:  gluten free, grain free, starch free, sugar free, low carb.  Not everyone would enjoy such a meal.  I decided to ignore my food restrictions when it came to our guests, picking and choosing what I can eat from the array of offerings.

This guinea hen decided it was time to stand atop the braai.
Only one of the items, the cornbread recipe, on the menu requires a recipe that I had to "look up" in the 3000 or so recipes I have in Dropbox.  The rest is in my head, making the preparation much easier. Isn't it funny how those old favorites come to mind when entertaining guests?  Isn't it true that not having to follow a recipe, makes the preparation much easier? 

Many of you will agree.  Have I missed cooking for company? Not since I changed the way I eat.  Actually, I have little interest in cooking at all these days, although I was a major "foodie" in my old life. 

This one followed suit and also jumped atop the braai.
But, the friends coming today at 5:00 pm make me feel excited about making them a meal which will turn out well with substituted ingredients for those I was unable to find.  I've never felt anxious or nervous about having company, nor do I now, although its been a since December 2012 when we last had a dinner party for more than two guests. 

It was Christmas and three of Tom's sisters and two spouses stayed with us for four days in a vacation/holiday rental we'd booked in Henderson, Nevada for the holidays. 


Chicks are getting big but, no blue heads yet.
Tom's birthday, on December 23rd, turned into a party for 20 when adding my son Richard who lives in Henderson, sister Julie from Los Angeles, three cousins from LA and Boston and a few old friends who happened to be in Las Vegas.  We'd all gathered to celebrate the holidays, Tom's birthday and our upcoming world journey, leaving the US only a week later.

The menu, a plethora of old standbys, makes the preparation easy, keeping me out of the kitchen once our guests arrive other than to make the potato dish which shouldn't take more than 15 minutes, with diligent prep earlier in the day.


The Francolin, a common bird in Kruger National Park, often seen walking on the road,
walked onto the veranda for a short visit.  Tossing a few pellets her way, she was content
to peck at it.

Making a dessert was too challenging when many of our favorite dessert recipes required ingredients not available at any nearby location.  After this meal, I doubt anyone will have room for a dessert.

Here's the menu.  I'm not posting recipes due to a lack of time today.  However, if you are interested please request it by this link and I email it to you as soon as possible.
Then, Mrs. Warthog and four babies had a good time at the braai after we tossed them a few handfuls of pellets.  Notice them on their knees.

Appetizers (referred to as Starters in Africa)
  • Brie Cheese En Croute with Apricot Chutney & Slivered Almonds
  • Coconut Encrusted Chicken Tenders with Sweet Dipping Sauce
  • Medley of Crackers and Cheese
  • Nuts
Salad
  • Broccoli Salad with Raisins, Nuts and Bacon (referred to as "Streaky Bacon" in South Africa)
  • Par 30 Salad with Fresh Greens, Cauliflower, Nuts, Bacon and Tangy Dressing
Entrée & Sides
  • Grilled Marinated Tenderloin Steaks (Filet Mignon) on the Braai (outdoor wood fire) with Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms 
  • Gianni's Famous Cheesy Hash Brown Potatoes
  • Seasoned Foil Wrapped Sweet Corn on the Braai
  • Made from Scratch Cornbread, an Old Family Favorite
This entire meal will be prepared today, although yesterday, I did cut and wash some of the vegetables (using purified water).  Having written most of today's post late yesterday, I was able to hit the "publish" button at 10:00 am, leaving plenty of time to prepare before our guests arrive at 5:00 pm.
When the pellet pickens' thinned out, Mrs. Warthog gave us "the look."  How could we resist? Look at her ribs!
Actually, planning this meal has been a great diversion for both of us, to take our minds off of our upcoming departure in four days, the construction delays on the road to the Mpumalanga/Nelspruit Airport, the 29 hours of travel time, the multiple times we'll be required to collect our bags in order to go through customs, the expectation that our bags aren't overweight, the hopes that the flights will be on time and the safe arrival in Marrakesh Morocco in a mere six days.  Yep.  A party was in order!

As three of the babies wandered off, she stood firm for more pellets, although she's never aggressive or hostile.  From all the interactions we've had with numerous warthogs over these past three months, both female and male, the only aggression we've witnessed has been when two families are in the same area.  The babies don't seem to mind but the moms are very protective, chasing off males or other families.  The locals find amusement and enjoyment from the warthogs, as we have almost every day.

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