Terra Madre is one of my favourite celebrations. This year, I invited inspiring women who grow food, cook food, barter food and eat food, particularly local, unpackaged, slow food, to join me at a long table on the veranda.
Terra Madre Day highlights the relationship between food and climate change as part of the Menu for Change campaign. Starting with food, we can and must make a difference. Carlo Petrini, president and founder of Slow Food International, affirms: “There is no better occasion to join our campaign raising awareness to climate change. It’s a duty for all of us: starting with our individual behavior, especially with our food habits, we can make a difference to the devastating process provoked by greenhouse gases. Let’s start with our own daily menu, with our own local situations and celebrate our annual party in the right way.” I think Carlo would have enjoyed our lunch celebrating the summer abundance of the KZN Midlands. Here is a taste.
Half of the guests walked from home, meaning their meals were especially low-carbon. Angela actually crossed the uMngeni River bearing her basket of goodies, which impressed us all!
Angela grew the potatoes for her bake and, as she didn’t have garlic in the garden, flavoured it with Tulbaghia (wild garlic) leaves instead.
Marrows and squash are flourishing right now, so they were sure to feature in many dishes. Mandy made a beautiful tart that included homegrown spinach and courgettes and local feta.
Yugoslavian finger fruit (a type of patty pan) were served with mint and yoghurt.
Bridget roasted some home grown yellow patty pans and beetroot and added local avocado and mint to create a colourful salad.
There was another homegrown beetroot dish decorated with calendula flowers picked form Charlene’s Verge Share Garden.
Charlene had cleverly saved white beans from last year’s harvest and mashed them with garden herbs to serve with the Wild Bread that Antonia brought (we loved the loaf with hemp seeds, Paul Hildyard!).
On a recent trip to Lesotho, Christeen was gifted some beautiful beans which she shared with us in a dish that included imifino and chive flowers.
From Ntombenhle’s Mpophomeni Garden came roasted red and white onions flavoured with fennel flowers.
Flowers were everywhere actually. Eidin brought a bunch of fragrant roses and a flower crown which Low-Carbon Queen Angela got to wear.
While we mostly supped on organic sparkling wine that was made in the Cape, we had plenty of local options too. Brian Karlsen’s lemon infused rum, Angela’s limoncello, mint cordial and a beautiful pink orange cordial too.
We didn’t get around to opening the local Highgate Chardonnay (grown and produced just 12kms away) – but there is still the whole of summer to enjoy it!
As the garden is teeming with trailing pumpkin vines, I cooked lots of leaves with peanuts, chilli and the few cherry tomatoes that are ripening on the vine. The stems I sliced and served raw with a simple dressing – really tasty.
Charlene excelled with an Afro-Greek combination – kopita (pastry made with local stone ground flour, of course) stuffed with amaranthus leaves and other imifino.
My beans are flowering but not producing yet, so I bought some of Gillian Milne’s (Curry’s Post) to make a salad with her heirloom tomatoes and spekboom from the garden. Adding my favourite Fynbos infused Rosendal vinegar.
Inspired by all the sorghum dishes at Sibuyisela Ulwazi recently, I cooked sorghum I bought from a small farmer, added garden celery, apples from Weenen and pecan nuts from Lions River.
We tasted interesting pickles and relishes – Serano chilli sauce, sundried tomatoes, pickled radish pods and colourful watermelon radishes too.
Erica made scrumptious guacamole with entirely homegrown local ingredients,
and she spoiled us all with a delectable dessert. Happy egg whites from Fordoun in Nottingham Road became Italian meringue, the yolks gently cooked with cordial until thick. Then layered with raspberries from Kamberg.
We also enjoyed Eidin’s Edge Farm rhubarb compote with Tatsfield yoghurt (where the cows all have names).
We forgot to eat the roasted garlic – grown by Gilly Robartes in Dargle – but piled some on our plates to take home with the leftovers for supper.
What a satisfying day – inspiration galore, new tastes and friends made. We dreamed up some fabulous ideas for future Slow Food events in the Midlands. You definitely don’t want to miss them, so why not join the KZN imifino convivium? The exorbitant annual fee is R150 (we get reduced rate as Africans – yay!). Just ask and I will send you the application form to complete. To learn more about Good Clean Fair food – have a look at the Slow Food website.
Each Convivium (group) organises gatherings to learn about food products, visit farms, share food and techniques. In SA there are convivia in Joburg, Magaliesberg, Cape Town and us in KZN. As the Midlands group grows, we will organise more inspiring and delicious events here.