Right now I feel pretty bewildered by how much I need to write. And grateful for this particular problem.
Getting back to basics has been about spending time back out on the road connecting with new farmers, getting their produce into the store and then finding time to sit down and write about them for you.
I have so much to talk about and share with you, it really is tough to just figure out where to focus and what to write about next. Which one first, when I have 4 new great farms I need to talk about, each with their own kind of magic and particular gift?
This week I need to take the time though I think, to bring you more information about a very special new farm that you have already interacted with through his remarkable candy coloured beets, mixed colour carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, succulent lettuces, brinjals and sweet peppers.
This is just the beginning of the delights we can expect from this local, urban permaculture gem. It’s just going to keep on keeping on and as the seasons change and this land produces – an ongoing culinary joy really.
Food at home is very much being defined by what we’re getting from Jacques Damhuis from the local, organic and permaculture project ‘Growing Healthy Farms’ right now.
My ultimate favourites – slicing the candy coloured beets on a mandolin – the plate just looks breathtakingly beautiful covered in yellow candy stripes, pink and purple, it’s a delight to do. Then typically, I’ve been making a dressing for that of apple cider vinegar, olive oil and honey. Don’t ask me why beetroot, honey and apple cider make such great bed fellows but when they collide their flavors, they all rise in some heady delectable collaboration.
Then I add chunks of Barry’s Beatrix Mountain Goats buchette to that and throw over some pan roasted seed combination or simply black sesame seeds and it’s such an eye catching and tasty silly salad made so easily.
The yellow, red and orange carrot mixes make such a complementary accompanying dish, there’s all this color coming off the table. Freaking beautiful.
Those I’ve been halving, brushing over an olive oil and raw honey combo and oven baking – about 30 minutes on 200 – and then serving with a tahini sauce.
There are no adequate words for how well the tahini sauce and roast carrots go together. It has become common place that when I’ve served these salads to people who aren’t necessarily defined as ‘vegetable loving people’, they comment that they are more interested in the salads than the meat.
It’s like that. The salads like this coming from such nutrient dense, fresh locally grown produce – dressed simply – have so much flavor, that at braais especially, they take centre stage as little else can compete with the sheer pleasure of their taste. Even people who don’t typically like tahini fall in love with this sauce. The secret really is that something sacred happens when sesame seed paste and honey meet. I battle to find sesame seeds and honey as a combination not associated with ritual and medicine in many ancient cultures from ancient Egypt to ancient Greece as well as India. So much folklore associated with sesame seeds and honey and it is said that the combination has many health benefits, from the lowering of cholesterol and blood pressure, improving circulation & preventing cancer to treating anxiety, chronic fatigue, depression and boosting the immune system.
Never mind anything else, I can well believe that it can lift depression – just knowing that I am going to be making it at the end of the day puts me in a good mood. 😊
So there’s something going on there. If you want to try it for yourself – just chop up as much garlic as you can tolerate (no such thing as too much garlic in my opinion), mix tahini and a thick yoghurt – the Tori Raine Dexter plain yoghurt works a charm here – in a 1 – 3 ration.
1 part tahini to 3 parts yoghurt. Add the juice of whatever citrus you have on hand that is seasonal and organic. With Aloe Dale giving us wild grapefruit last week – that’s what I’ve been using, add a TB or your raw honey of choice, and salt and pepper to taste. Whip that all up and see what happens when you add that to roast carrot anything.
Unspeakably delicious. It also goes well with broccoli – which we also had last week from Jacque’s farm and tomorrow I’m griddling brinjals (same farm) – just mandolin – rub in olive oil – char-grill on a hot pan – remove – spoon over the tahini sauce – nothing else necessary.
Jacque’s lettuces are also doing my nut. When Sam collects them, it has very literally been picked half an hour before he gets there. We’re talking about from soil to fridge within an hour. That alone, just makes all the world of difference before I get into just how well looked after Jacques soil is.
They are plump and juicy and have so much flavor – my family is finding them enough just on their own with some olive oil, rock salt and balsamic. We’re just loading over half our plates with the lettuce alone as there’s so much flavor to it.
How we came to hear about this intriguing treasure is I think quite poignant. As always, it was from you.
I can’t tell you how many times I had some of you excitedly coming in to tell me to get to this farm and meet the work of Jacques Damhuis. The farm was struggling at the time and there was a sheer panic really from my own customers (why I love and trust you) about any idea that it might not remain if it didn’t have other stores buying from it. At some juncture, many acts of fate and purpose came together that got me to spend some very special time getting to not only see the most absurdly crazy-clever-spiraled food forest really – in Beaulieu, but also to meet the gentle powerful soul behind it, all contained in the vision of Jacques Damhuis. I’d like to focus on him and this project this week in our farm feature article.
Meet Jacques Damhuis from Growing Healthy Farms – a new source of local and organic Jozi produce that, like Chartwell Veggie Patch is leading a very necessary example – proving that it is feasible to provide local and organic produce sustainably to an appreciative market. It is projects like this, run by passionate farmers with vision like them and our support of them that will carve out a viable and alternative food system.
I’ll be travelling again shortly to get back to Parys. I have such exciting news to bring about a partnership with a Dr and farmer both there that has had a large impact on my life and so many others. I could never hope to cover that in one article as what we’re learning from him and the produce we’ll be getting from there requires a series of ongoing articles. There is just so much more to learn and he gives us the opportunity to go even deeper.
We’ve put snippets up on Instagram about the new produce in from Dr Gerrie Lindeque’s very special Parys farm and the Made To Be Well initiative but there is way more to tell. I shall be doing that more justice in next week’s article and bringing you more news on that new partnership shortly. That will be on-going as this is going to be a fascinating journey.
Please do note that for me to be doing what I need to, in the way that it needs to be done, means that I have to be on the road for a fair bit. I leave you with a team that I believe can competently take care of you when I’m not in. I can’t fulfil this passion and this mandate adequately without needing to travel to farms. I remain in daily contact with them when I am away and if they can’t help you with something specific, they will get hold of me.
I am not able to always be available to handle all queries. This is why I employ a team.
If you have any query – please speak to Sam, Cassandra or Lucy. If they cannot help you which is generally unlikely, then they will get hold of me and you are welcome to contact me if you aren’t getting a satisfactory response.
With all that said, read all about Jacques Damhuis this week.
For those of you that have discovered the joy of the new raw double thick Friesian cream – 1 litre tubs in the fridge – if you want to make the easiest ice-cream in the world that will almost make you weep – it’s so good – beat in a quarter cup of your favourite raw honey of choice, a full tsp of vanilla seeds if you have – if not – 2 tsps. of vanilla essence.
Simply add that bowl straight into the freezer. Do nothing else for 3-4 hours – no need to take it out and whip out ice crystals – there aren’t any! The cream is so thick that there is no crystallised ice. In 3-4 hours – you can take it out and serve small (it’s incredibly rich, trust you can’t eat large bowls of this). It has driven my family half crazy.
That is without doubt the best ice-cream I have ever tasted and it took no work really. No fuss. Simplest thing in the world – because the core ingredient is so incredible. You are literally just freezing cream – that’s all real ice-cream ever was. Why did we made things so complicated?
This is the cream I have been hunting for, for 8 years. Thick, yellow – reminiscent of the clotted cream I remember from Ireland – and found in Limpopo on a neighboring farm to Tori Raine. Yes, that’s another story coming soon.
So before you think about eating some nasty dessert out – take that tub and do that – you’ll get a dessert for the family at half the price that is also rocking good for you.
Just double thick cream from grass-fed cows sweetened with raw honey with all its nutrition in it.
Hope you have had a gorgeous week-end,