There is nothing more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of Asparagus soup with a fresh crusty loaf of bread or garlic croutons. I was given this delicious recipe by a German farming family we stayed with in Namibia in 2004.
A 1547 km journey which started with two border crossings before 8 am in the morning, anyone living in Africa will know this can be a real adventure , as you never know what to expect and have to approach this experience with a large dose of patience and sense of humor.
We set off at sunrise across the across the century old Victoria Falls Bridge , our windscreen misty from spray from the waterfall , onward to Katima Mlilo further up the Zambezi River. The Zambian border to Nambia had been closed by group of rabble rouser taxi drivers, who had decided that blocking the main road to Namibia was a good idea…… to get the local governments attention.
We were whisked through all the formalities of immigration, listening to the angry mob outside. A helpful Zambian border official advised us it was not safe , and offered to take us on a back road to Namibia …… What followed was a hair raising drive through thick kalahari sand in our Toyota Mini bus , as we were leaving we heard five gun shots being fired into the air by the border police ……….. and after that silence. Never a boring day in Africa.
After driving through endless kilometers of lush green forests of the Caprivi strip, we reached our destination at sunset on a sheep farm outside the town of Grootefontein . Dinner served by our hosts that night consisted of creamy Asparagus Soup , Roast lamb, fresh vegetables , grated carrot and Spaetzl ( traditional german noodles) Ironically for us , this was the first time we had visited a working farm since 2001 , the kids had been too young to remember our life on Karna Block.
On the return journey from the icy seas of Swakopmundt, through the hazy desert hinterland, we stopped at the remote trading post of Kongola to buy fuel ……. they had run out and we had nowhere to go with two small children………. I sat under the shade of a large camel thorn tree swatting at tsetse flies while Russell tried to make contact with Susuwe Lodge . Fate was to save us, as one of their land cruisers rolled in to collect the weekly supplies and the driver agreed to to take us back to the lodge with him.
The elephants on this stretch of road have PHD’s in charging vehicles , they were poached, shot for meat and blown up by landmines during the Namibia border war with Angola from the 1960’s through to 1990. Our driver was new to this job and obviously very frightened of elephant on this road, Our vehicle was charged three times on the way in to the Lodge and twice on the way out with our can of petrol …… the experience of having these giant pachyderms racing towards you at break neck speed with their trunks up and ears out is an experience you will never forget.
With our bus filled with petrol we made it back to Katima Mlilo in time to watch the sunset over the Zambezi River. An exciting end to our first family holiday outside of Zimbabwe and a great memory of Asparagus Soup.
Asparagus Soup ….. Serves 4 guests
- 1 medium onion chopped fine
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 2 potato chopped 2 cm blocks
- 3 cups of chicken bone broth or chicken or vegetable stock
- 4 cups of Asparagus cut in 3 cm pieces
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Season with salt and white pepper
Heat up stock pot on on medium heat and add olive oil ,once searing hot ,add onions and garlic and asparagus – fry until onions are translucent.
Add chicken stock and potatoes simmer gently for 30 mins until asparagus and potatoes are soft. Blend and pour through a sieve to get rid of the stringy stems , add cream and and stir until soup is steaming hot through. Garnish with finely chopped chives.
Serve with garlic croutons for fresh bread