Friday, August 17, 2012

Roasted Potatoes and African Mountains

Lovely day of hiking at Monk's Cowl
After landing in Johannesburg, camping out in the car rental office for 4 hours, greeting our dear friends Matt and Mackenzie, and loading up our much too small Nissan Micra, we headed south for Lesotho and the Drakensberg Mountains.

Lesotho provided some annoyances ($25 fee for somehow missing the entrance stamp, threat to go to jail, cold room with no light in the bathroom, horrible roads), but was also home to jaw-dropping views and a taste of a relatively unspoiled culture.  We spent our short time there enjoying the beautiful scenery in one of the National Parks with a short hike and blessed coffee on the deck of the luxury lodge (out of our budget of course).

After leaving Lesotho we stopped in the Dutch-influenced Clarens for lunch, and then drove to the Champagne Valley where we would spend the next 3 nights at Tranquility Farm in a cottage.  We spent our days hiking, and our evenings cooking our own meals, sharing wine, and laughing.  To my joy, just outside our cottage were flourishing rosemary and thyme bushes.  While Matt and Steven used the braai (barbeque), I made one of my all time favorites: roasted potatoes with onions.  I ended up making these many times sometimes in an oven, but often wrapped in foil and thrown right into the braai coals.

Roasted Potatoes with Onions, Rosemary and Thyme

  • 6 medium red potatoes, diced to 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into half-moons
  • 3-5 sprigs of rosemary, stalks removed to yield about 2 tablespoons of leaves
  • 3-5 sprigs of thyme, stalks removed to yield about 2 tablespoons of leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2.  Combine potatoes, onion, rosemary, thyme and olive oil in a large roasting pan and stir to coat all ingredients with oil (I think your hands work best for this).
3. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast 45 minutes, checking for softness of the potatoes and caramelization.
5. Remove and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
6. To do in the braai coals: Wrap all ingredients aluminum foil.  Cover with another layer of foil. Nestle into the coals and allow to cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
Lesotho Sunrise
Rondavels and Frost in Lesotho
Hike to the Black Hole
First hike in South Africa: Monk's Cowl
Cathkin Peak
Our Cottage
Morning Goose Parade at the farm
Tugela Gorge
Ladder climb on the Amphitheater/ Tugela Gorge Hike
Squinty eyes with the Amphitheater in the background. (photo: Mackenzie)
The Amphitheater (photo: Mackenzie)

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