This is tumbleweed blowing across the food tab.

I had big plans regarding this food tab. Sure, it was a poorly-veiled excuse to eat out more under the guise of being a local travel guide informing all the tourist hordes about the best places to grab a bite in non-touristy locales. But I was quite excited about it.

Then I went and had a baby. He did a real number on the sort of things I took for granted before. Like being able to frequent respectable eating establishments, not to mention the unrespectable dives. He’s a right little fart, getting in the way of good food, but he makes up for it by using his forehead to eat butternut and entertaining me to no end, so I’ll allow it. For now.

Most of my eating is now done while standing or in the car. But if I’m lucky, I’ll get to make something semi-decent, and if I’m even luckier, my partner will have had more than 2 hours of sleep the night before & will make me something delicious.

I considered putting up reviews of his food in lieu of restaurant reviews, but he didn’t take kindly to my suggestion, so I’m going to punt the very source of our food to beef up (see what I did there?) this food tab.

Where do I recommend you get the best fresh food in Cape Town? And how?

Why, from organic urban farms delivered to your neighbourhood every Tuesday, of course.

IMG_1795

Harvest of Hope is our fast-vegetable delivery service. Delivering once a week to local collection points all around the Southern Suburbs & the city centre, you get a cool array of organic vegetables (and every second week, eggs), complete with relevant recipes for that week’s haul. One of my good friends (who is quite a foodie and so rather unlike myself, the person who ate tomato soup for lunch every day for 3 years once), told me how excited she got trying out new recipes which would accommodate the vegetables she got each week. A little parsnip here, a little aubergine there, and masterpieces are made. Well, in her house. Or when my partner cooks. I’m VERY good at using tomatoes (soup, anyone?). That’s pretty much it. But I’ve made some OK beetroot chips and am shit-good at peeling carrots for, you know, eating. Oh, carrots. They’re like the cows of the vegetable world. Nobody seems to mind them, nobody’s REALLY really interested in them, and they’re surprisingly hard to gnaw on.

sadCowSo why get these vegetables every week? Because for one, the food is pretty fucking great environmentally. It’s locally-grown and organic, if you care about that. I’m neither here nor there on organic, but I like that it’s grown almost in my back yard. But I like it even better for the social impact. The farmers are fellow Capetonians who have a passion for farming and do so for themselves, with the assistance of the Abalimi NGO, and sell off the produce they do not use themselves. This earns them profit, and some of them have turned their small urban farms into salaries as well as sustenance. I initially thought the farms were out in Phillippi and, apart from Adventure Farm (oh my god, does anybody remember Adventure farm? I pet a giant pig and ran away from a Shetland pony there once. It was rather a half-arsed affair, but kids don’t mind), I didn’t know much about Phillippi except for the  terrible evictions, and my childhood memories of the constant smell of manure. But I recently discovered that the urban farms are located just outside of Phillippi, in neighbouring areas like Nyanga, Browns Farms & Khayelitsha. Abalimi organises weekly tours of the farms & a chance to meet some of the farmers, so those of you want to get really familiar with your food & the people in charge of producing it, will have the opportunity to do so (no Woolworths scandals here).

Source: harvestofhope.co.za
Source: harvestofhope.co.za

What about the food? It’s damn good. From full-flavoured mushrooms to rich, ripe tomatoes, the veg is seasonal & always more flavourful than some of the stuff you get in the stores.  There’s a lot of weird, dusty lettuce which I never eat, but I know people with rabbits & tortoises so I should probably send them their way. Usual inclusions are aubergine, avo, and all manner of green things I’ve had to google (ladyfingers, anyone?), as well as the occasional seasonal fruit. There’s always the dreaded root vegetable (beetroot, I will learn to love you one day), and they recently conducted a survey to find out if we wanted some preserves etc. included. So there’s hope for more sugar in there somewhere, perhaps. Mmmm, sugar.

Tonight we made a simple, but amazing soup from our HoH bag:

The green doesn't come out that wonderfully with this camera or filter, but it was rich! Stupid yoghurt, I overdid it in the pic.
The green doesn’t come out that wonderfully with this camera or filter, but it was rich! Stupid yoghurt, I overdid it in the pic.
  • Whole bunch of Swiss chard
  • 3 Carrots
  • 4 Small onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon of veg stock
  • 400g chopped Chicken-style Quorn (or tofu, or actual chicken if you swing that way)

We braised the onions & garlic in a pan until brown, and then added the rest of the veg with some stock & a bit of water. Spinach is  a little watery, so not too much water. Then we blitzed it with a hand blender until it was a beautifully horrifying shade of dark green, added the ‘chicken’ cubes & boiled a little longer to soak up the flavour. Added salt & pepper to taste. I use the pronoun ‘We’ because this was a team effort while putting the T-rex to sleep. As he roared & flailed his little puny arms about, we would tap in and out of baby bed-time to give each other breaks & to keep an eye on the food.

When serving the soup, I added a bit of plain yoghurt to mine with some grated white cheese. My partner added blue cheese, but the spinach flavour is so strong that it would have overpowered me. But it made for a nice picture, anyway. If you’re into rich food, add cream instead of yoghurt. This was incredibly flavourful and perfect for this rainy day.

And I still have most of my vegetables to get through this week.

For those of you who don’t have a drop-off point, you can get their vegetables at the Oranjezicht city farm, I think.

http://harvestofhope.co.za/recipes/
http://harvestofhope.co.za/recipes/

You also get regular recipes, updates on farm activity, word about the sustainable programme, etc. in your bag or box each week. It’s pretty cool. It takes a little effort (sometimes the drop-off points can be tricky business, as they are only open during business hours, when most of us are, you know, doing business), but it’s worth it.

Now to teach the kid to cook so that I can kick my feet up for a while. Only a few months yet for him to master those fine motor skills. Not long now. Not long.

Visit http://harvestofhope.co.za/

or check out the CNN doc: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/03/29/community.farming.cape.town/index.html

 

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