From the Veld – Recipes and Reflections from Namibia

Danene van der Westhuyzen (Tip Africa Publishing, 2020, 242 pages)
Reviewed by Ken Bailey

From the Veld is more than just another cookbook. It’s part autobiography, part photo montage and part homage to the land, the wildlife and the people of her native Namibia. Reading this book—and it must be read, it’s not intended to be skipped through as are most cookbooks— reveals more than Danene’s favorite recipes; it provides insight to her deepest thoughts about growing up, living and raising a family in “the land God made in anger” as the legend suggests.


Between the varied recipes, the writing is crisp and revealing, while the photos are intimate, inspiring and tempting. And as for the recipes… well let’s just say that I’ve had the pleasure of hunting with Danene and her team at Aru Game Lodges and can speak from firsthand experience that, in a country and an industry renowned for offering the highest quality of food and service, Danene and her staff take it to a whole new level. In fact, I distinctly recall, after having wiped off my chin one last time before leaving Aru, encouraging her to consider publishing a recipe book, as have, undoubtedly, many other clients.


Each recipe is described in the clearest practical manner, making them dead-easy to replicate at home. Where ingredients can be exchanged, she provides practical alternatives. For example, if you want to make scrambled ostrich eggs but don’t have a ready supply of ostrich eggs in your fridge, you can use 24 chicken eggs instead—who knew?


The recipes run the gamut from starters and snacks to salads, entrées, vegetables and desserts, each more appealing than the last. Some, like boerewors, beskuits (rusks) and African root stew, make it easy to bring the traditional flavors of Namibia into your home. Others, particularly the main courses, can be prepared using any venison or domestic meat available wherever you live—it’s the “extra” ingredients and the cooking method that take them to the five-star level.

If you’re like me and enjoy cooking and serving game as an integral part of the broader hunting experience, you likely have several wild game recipe books on your shelf. In fact, you might think you have no room and no reason to add another. Trust me, you do, and it should be From the Veld. Like the recipes offered, this a book to be savoured from start to finish, to be kept on the coffee table as often as in the kitchen.  

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