The Jozi Real Food Revolution Moves Into All Things Autumn…

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Autumn Energy abounds. Change is in the air, light and temperature are changing and if I read the mood right, most people are feeling a little or a lot unsettled and feel a need for quietening down and comfort. Yet life is still busy and a touch obscure? Everyone seems to be saying that.
Right at a time when my psyche wants to hibernate, I need to travel.  Everybody seems to be in the same sort of space, lots of things happening while your body and mind wants to hole down. It’s time to start turning inward for comfort I think.
I hope you’re getting ready for a cosy winter, making plans to get by during load shedding and starting to look forward to Autumn and Winter cooking. I was just doing the breakdown for the next cuts of beef we’re getting in tomorrow from Keith Harvey’s carcasses and I’ve added some new cuts for Winter. Good stewing cuts. We’ll be getting some short rib stew (silly flavourful) – some stew cuts without bone as per your requests, some 1kg and 2kg silverside and topside roasts, soft shin and just all the more Winter warm cuts for slow stewing. Comforting food. If you want some recipe ideas for slow stewing beef, please shout, it’s one of my favourite things to do. That and slow roast lamb.
On that note, Samantha Venter has half lamb boxes available now of Aldersyde Farm – Tarkastad Karoo lamb. If you’d like to order a box to receive early next week – please pop a mail to, he’ll tell you about the box options they have and order it for you.
Look out on our FACEBOOK page on Sunday for my favourite of them all – Leg of Lamb roast recipe that I want you to try if you have ordered the leg as part of your box. I’ll take photographs and share them, it’s a recipe that never fails and if you have been timid of roasting a leg of lamb before, I hope this will encourage you to try it. Winter Sundays with a leg of lamb slow roasting in the oven with a fire on are to be treasured.
After that, the next delivery date of fresh boxes will be 18 May. I will also be putting out fresh single lamb chop packs on the shelves the moment they come in so if you haven’t ordered the Aldersyde Farm half lamb box and only want a packet of lamb chops or lamb stew – you can pick some up in the store. The shelf life is short though, so it’ll only be fresh on the shelves for 3 days and then whatever hasn’t sold will be frozen.
To those of you new to this community of ours, Aldersyde Farm – Tarkastad Karoo – is my endorsed chosen lamb farm for a myriad of reasons, main being that it is a true to character old school Karoo farm nestled deep in the Karoo in the town of Tarkastad which is the second cleanest region in the world according to The National Geographic for air, water and soil cleanliness.
It’s entirely unspoilt by ‘progress’ and the Venter family have been farming Karoo lamb for decades and absolutely nothing about their farming method has changed. It’s beyond free-range – sheep scattered wild amongst Karoo vegetation for miles is the scene. See the link to my article about my trip there and why I knew when I found them that I had found ‘the’ right lamb for us after years of searching for a farm I can believe in.
I’m a bit like a farm romantic – always on the search for the magical ‘one’:) And I do find them.
Much like when I found Keith Harvey. Whenever I leave the farm of the ‘one’, I leave filled up with purpose and destiny,  the farms I find are always almost too good to be true. Yet they are what they are, all the farms we endorse are almost kind of fairytale, they are so special amidst what normal conventional farming has become.
Keith Harvey – a holistic farmer who rears his cattle only on veldt in the most unspoilt region I have seen for cattle, the Venters farming on a wild Karoo farm in an utterly unspoilt region, the CT Organics chickens guys in the Midlands perfecting Joel Salatins method for mobile chicken tractors, Barry Sergeant traipsing up and down real mountains with goats everyday, very literally the only truly pastured goats foraging on fynbos flanked by Anatolian Shepherds, guarding the flock like they did forever before, man and best and land in respectful relationship, Dimitri and his family from The Gourmet Greek doing just incredible artisanal yoghurt, Mandy from Mooberry our local dairy grass-fed farmer and first to do wholly non-GM eggs for us, Charlie Crowther and his magical pastured pork farm Glen Oakes in the Hemel en Aarde Valley – and if I go on listing all my special farms I have committed to walk miles for, we all know this will get long:)
CT Organics Pastured Chicken Issues – why on earth are we so frightened of bone in – skin on chicken breasts? It’s been the least popular cut from the batch of CT Organics pastured chicken and it still flummoxes me. Chicken fillets are so hard to make taste good, cooking chicken breasts on the bone is just so much better from a flavour point of view – but the thighs, drums and even wings moved far quicker and we have a lot of the bone in breasts left. I need to get  new order in from CT Organics shortly and I’ll see if they can rather do fillets next time – but to encourage you to please try and take the bone in chicken breasts we’ve put them on an ‘encouragement special’ :).
They come in 500g packs of 2 bone in breasts at R 65.00 per pack – R130.00 per kg. 
They are now on special at R 110.00 per kg – R55 per 500g pack. This is a great price for pastured chicken and I hope it will encourage you to buy them and try them. I can’t remember my mother actually ever cooking fillets as a child, she would also cook bone in chicken breasts with butter and lemon and olive oil and herbs and they were gorgeous, the bone gives a flavour that is just so absent in fillets. Anyhow, enough said. Try our ‘encouragement special’ if you want to give them a try:)
On that note – I must pass on some great cooking tips I’m picking up from our in-store chats.
Pastured and free range chicken pieces are always going to be more full bodied and more textured than the brined, weak flesh chickens we’re used to eating. 
There is no salt water injected into the CT Organics chicken, the chickens have run and moved about, they eat a diet largely made up of 7 different types of grasses, insects and worms with minimal supplement feed. They do not have anti-biotics or growth promoters in their flesh which further tenderises the meat. So it’s a good idea to pre-marinade them yourself if you like them more tender. It keeps coming up that pre-marinading the chicken pieces in The Gourmet Greek Yoghurt over night tenderises them beautifully. One of our keen male cook customers that often shares his latest experiments in the kitchen told me that he mixes tandoori spice into Gourmet Greek yoghurt and marinades the CT Organics chicken pieces in that for a day and night and then grills them. He says that the yoghurt literally penetrates the chicken and creates this beautiful creamy texture.
That over, I need to quickly chat about the chocolate. Remember how I said that the Le Chocolatier chocolate evokes suspicion as it’s just too good to be true? Well it did. All sorts of rumours have been flying around that it just can’t be sugar free and just can’t be what it says it is. Which I kind of understand having been suspicious myself as  I told you when I first tasted it because it is nothing short of exceptional.
I think I have built up enough of a reputation for doing my homework about suppliers to reassure you that if I didn’t have good enough reason to trust it, it would not be in this store but when a competitor started slating it and spreading rumours that it must be dodgy – I spent extra time digging deeper into the detail only to discover that actually there is more to this story. The story is more incredible than I first even realised and I’m going to go large on telling it over the next couple of months as I dig deeper.
To start with,  the Swiss company that our Paarl Swiss Chocolatier from Le Chocolatier gets the cocoa beans from has a solid reputation for its commitment to organic and fair trade practices. They have  nothing short of 11 organic and fair trade official certifications. A long chat to the exceptionally passionate Daniel, the Swiss chocolatier who has spent years getting this recipe right made me realise just how much more has gone into this than I first even understood.
He is using a very specific wild harvested cocoa bean that is 3 times smaller than most  just to get the right bean to get this right with. He has trialled many others and many roasting methods to accentuate the natural sweetness of the bean after they remove the bitter compounds. He tempers it 6 times to get it to the smooth consistency and the end result is a bar that has diabetics able to eat whole slabs of it without so much a change in their blood sugar levels.
He has UCT doing further tests on it to double confirm that there is no additional sugar other than what is in the bean so that he can further prove it. It is nothing other than cocoa powder from very specific, carefully roasted organic and fair trade cocoa beans and cocoa butter. The moment I have the UCT certificates, I will post them up on our FACEBOOK and Jozi Real Food site for you to see along with the organic certificates. For now, I have no reason other than the fact that it tastes too good to be true, to doubt that this is the very special bar it is.
Other than that, other news is that we’re still waiting for the Mooberry chickens for our 100% non-GM joint project with Mandy to start laying. They’re just not ready yet!  It appears the chicks were younger than what she was told, so it’s taking longer, I’ll jump onto social media the moment we have the first batches in-store.
We’re fully stocked with charcuterie from Jewell & Co using only Glen Oakes pastured pork,although you have wiped us out of the herb smoked loin and nearly finished the coppa he sent – there’s still much salami and the bacon which you just can’t turn back from once you’ve tasted it. The little saucisson sec pocket cured sausages are still in – please remember to slice these very thinly.
They’re a great high fat snack for mid-day – pair well with leaves or fruit or a creamy cheese.
We’ve got broccoli in, mangoes (please ripen in a fruit bowl with other fruit, with bananas it will speed the ripening process up to over night), lemons, kale, cocktail tomatoes (seasons ends soon so enjoy them), fresh lettuce and baby leaves, butternut, pumpkins and courgettes. We’ve got some stingy nettle for juicing and onions and nasturtium coming in from Leafy Greens shortly too.
While I’m thinking about organic mangoes, think about taking used glass jars – layering slices of mango and layers of The Gourmet Greek yoghurt mixed with vanilla and some honey  and sticking them in lunch-boxes?
I’m so not into using plastic for lunch-boxes and what I’ve started doing is using all those recycled glass jars as containers to layer funky things in for school lunches. My daughter thinks its fun, she has painted glass jars to use for her lunch-boxes and inside the lunch-box bag, we have layered little interesting meals and little wooden forks for her to eat them with.
Then I don’t have to worry about all the chemicals from plastic leaching into her food and we get to recycle all our glass jars. If you take some Gourmet Greek yoghurt – mix it with raw honey and some natural vanilla and then layer in amongst fresh organic fruit in the glass jars, it’s a lovely addition to a lunch-box.
You can also layer cocktail tomatoes, and slices of raw veg and cooked food in them – slices of pre-roasted free range chicken – organic roast potatoes or roast veg – any other combinations of real food – it just makes the whole lunch-box issue interesting. Of course with little-littlies – you’d have to be careful with glass if they’re unsupervised – but with Junior Primary children even and older who are sitting down with their lunch-boxes, it’s a great way to pack interesting real food in without worrying about plastic. Little chucks of the Le Chocolatier chocolate amongst the fruit and yoghurt layers would go down a treat I’d bet and there’s nothing to worry about – no sugar, no dairy, just don’t over do it with children as chocolate still contains caffeine so small amounts only.
I think that’s all I wanted to chat about for now, I’m heading off to the Fiero Milano Trade Show in Milan towards the end of next week and will be excited to bring you back news from that but I’ll do one newsletter still next week before I go just to chat through what next week’s issues are and how all will work while I’m away.
Keep nourished and strengthen your connection to yourself in preparation for Autumn and Winter, it’s a time to nourish deeply from within.
Much love, as always, Debbie Logan
Yours in the Jozi Real Food Revolution,
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