My all time favourite meal of greens and beans is included in the just published recipe book – East Coast Tables – Inland Edition.
On Friday evening, the book was launched at Blueberry Hill in Nottingham Road, with the who’s who of the local food scene in attendance. I went along with my friend Ntombenhle, whose famous Vetkoek recipe was included. I thought the picture of her just fabulous.
We were treated to delicious bite-sized nibbles celebrating local food – from baby bunny chow filled with aubergine curry; polenta balls with beetroot; tasting spoons of camembert, pear and honey and mushroom quiche. There were all sorts of delectable looking meaty things too like these sesame prawns with sweet chilli relish.
So many Dargle people are included in the book and turned up for the event. It was a friendly affair. Read my account on the Dargle Local Living blog.
This is my recipe – but you’ll have to wait for summer to make it when greens are in abundance.
500g fresh borlotti, cannellini or haricot beans – cooked. You can use dried, it is just more splendid with fresh, home grown beans!; 2-4 red or white onions – chopped; 1 head of celery – chopped – leaves reserved; 1 head garlic – sliced; 500g Swiss Chard – stalks and leaves chopped; 1 bunch each basil, mint, marjoram, flat leaf parsley; 2 kgs of tomatoes (I use fresh if I can find those plum/jam tomatoes, otherwise I use tins); Olive oil, salt, pepper; 300g(?!) spinach – now this is where I add different sorts of leaves. eg borage, young black jack, amaranthus, lettuce, beetroot, etc.; 1 fresh red chilli
Heat oil, fry onion and celery stalks gently until sofetened and brown. Add garlic, chard stalks, chilli and continue to cook until garlic starts to brown, then add half the basil, mint, marjoram and parsley and celery leaves. Gently fry to combine herbs, then add chopped tomatoes. Season and simmer for 30 minutes so the tomatoes reduce with the vegetables. Then add the rest of the leaves and the beans. Cook to combine – not very long so as to retain some of the vibrant green colour. Consistency should be very thick. Add water to thin if you like. Drizzle with olive oil.
Rather than driving home, we slept over at the Crane Foundation with Ann. The three of us howled enthusiastically at the full moon rising across the grasslands. In the morning, I watched it sink below the horizon, across the dam, from my bed – just after 5am. What a treat. Both Ntombenhle and I tried to photograph it without much success.
Then we spent the day walking on the Reserve and picnicking with my favourite teenagers – Vusi, Wendy and Nkulu. Wendy and my birthdays are just one day apart so we celebrated with local camembert and goat’s cheese, Love Bread, multi-coloured tomatoes, hummus, gerkins and cos lettuce beside the dam. We couldn’t find any tiny candles in Nottingham Road so decorated our Woolies chocolate cake with Smarties instead. What a lot of fun I got!