Store News, A New Recipe and SA Real Food Heroes to Take Note Of..

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Dear Debbie
I’m feeling a very notable rise in energy around food consciousness, not just in Jozi but in the wider SA realm and of course, globally.
It is our task as Jozi Real Food activists to cement the food (r)evolution and our contribution towards it, in our own particular Jozi way.
Our context has a very distinct tone, our place one where we have notable challenges around being connected to nature, to good food, to values while consumerism features in our backdrop culture and then too set against the pace of our lives here as a very busy, achievement oriented – ‘doing’ culture.
We have very real limits when it comes to connection in Johannesburg and so our contribution towards how food evolvement and consciousness happens here, will be different to what is happening in Cape Town or KZN or rural Limpopo and then beyond.
For the record, I like Jozi energy and purpose on this grid of change because whilst we might be a harried lot, I do admire much about our spirit.
We do know how to get things done, at pace.
When you marry that strength of ours to purpose, emotional intelligence and then consciousness, we are pretty formidable as change agents. The grand point though is that the issues we face in our own Jozi Real Food (R)evolution are universal and connect us to a global movement fighting for change to the food system.
Regardless of our differing contexts, we are all fundamentally talking about the same issues.
The up-rising and momentum happening with people taking a stand worldwide against the Biotech Giants and their GM food experiments waged on the planet and its inhabitants, the rise of impactful food consciousness speakers, sustainable farmers who are challenging the factory farm status quo, the quality of their material and dialogue and the rise of the conscious consumer committed to nourishment and sustainability, people like you and businesses rising to create better food alternatives.
Also like Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth and like Michael Pollan who is fast becoming one of the most effective educators and philosophers on food consciousness, sustainable agriculture and cooking culture. He is of course the author of some incredible and vital food consciousness reads, like The Omnivores Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules and Cooked. Then too, the incredible – (his book blew me away and then some) – Dan Barber – a sustainable chef and author of the mind blowing book The Third Plate.
While we have so many new people joining the revolution in Jozi, I’m going to say that I would recommend these books as your base reading list to food consciousness. They will change the way you see everything, giving you a lens you almost wish you didn’t have and then wonder how you lived without, a focused view into what the food landscape behind conventional food really looks like. The freak horror show it actually is. Robyn O’Brien is a must read for parents particularly.
While this global movement rises, we have some incredible people, farmers and businesses in our own country, food revolutionaries and food heroes in their own right and some things going on here that the rest of the world could learn from and be inspired by.
I felt a sense of patriotic pride when I thought about how exciting Michael Pollan and Dan Barber both would find our own farmers and artisans revolutionising the way we think about food here. The rest of my life’s work being about getting attention to these farmers, these artisans and these food heroes while we also provide a connection point to the best of their produce through this store, an ongoing, challenging and sacred unfolding.
It’s the farmers and artisans we represent here and beyond. Just this morning, I was watching a trailer for a documentary on wheat called The Grain Divide , literally counting the sleeps until I can get my hands on it, when I thought of how we had 3 people in this country that could have contributed towards that documentary and been as impactful with content and experience as Michael Pollan and Dan Barber who do feature in it.
The documentary trailer is for a film being released that is a deep exploration of what has happened to wheat, the relationship between industrial wheat and the rise of gluten intolerance and the very necessary revival of heirloom wheat and artisan bakers to get us back to a more apt relationship with this grain that requires a more apt relationship to soil than the industrial model gives it.
While I was watching it, I wished that they had been able to see the work of our very own food heroes in this regard. One of South Africa’s founding organic farmers, James Moffett who is growing organic heirloom wheat and sending it to one of this country’s most pioneering bread artisans reviving the real art of traditional bread making in Stellenbosch, Fritz Schoon who turns it into traditional sourdough that is un-paralled at his legendary bakery Schoon De Companje.
If we could portray the farmers and artisans that we have here in a similar documentary, it would be an outstanding and inspiring tale. It’s a book I have to write, I know that we connect to the best of them through what is represented in this store and it is a blessing to get up and stand for this connection each day.
I will be starting a series of road trips to get back to the farms for annual visits and to get updated news and photographs for a series we will be doing shortly on these farms through the Jozi Real Food Revolution Events series.
The material will then go into getting you into a closer relationship with these farmers, their work and produce as well as giving you my favorite recipes from them. That will form the basis of the book on SA’s sustainable farmers  and food heroes and get them the acknowledgement and connection between you and them that you both deserve.
Speaking of cooking events – tomorrow (Thursday 25th) we will have a new recipe and tasting for you outside the store. We played around with a mock lasagne using the Aldersyde Farm – Tarkastad Karoo lamb mince, organic brinjals and the ‘white sauce’ made using only Gourmet Greek yoghurt and pecorino and organic rosemary. It came out ridiculously beautiful.
You just build it up in layers as you would a traditional lasagne using the lamb mince cooked in organic tomatoes, onion and garlic, layers of griddled brinjals to replace lasagne sheets and then a blend of rosemary, Gourmet Greek yoghurt and pecorino as the white sauce. We had one alteration to make – pre-gridding the brinjals before baking so that it doesn’t lose water into the sauce and we’re done.
The final versions is being made today and it will be outside from tomorrow. We’ll just keep at this in an informal way until we start the cooking events where I will interact with you more directly and demo them. There will be copies of the recipe outside with Joyce who will have tasting bowls of this dish for you. The recipe will go up on the blog tomorrow once it is done and dusted too.
Other news is that the organic produce that came off the Chartwell Veggie Patch soil this week is just beautiful, luscious big bunches of leeks – if you don’t cook leeks – you really should think about it, they are so rewarding to cook and eat and need little to taste like heaven. Just top off the greens (if you’re so inclined, keep these aside to make a veggie stock or to add to lamb bones and off-cuts to make lamb and leek stock), cut into thin medallions on the white part – wash in a collander as soil always likes to sit between the dreamy layers – put a large knob of Mooberry butter in a pan, turn the heat down and let them gently saute in just the butter until they are soft, throw over some coarse sea or rock salt and a crack of pepper and you get the creamy, oniony, greeny lush taste of leeks which is pleasurable enough. If you want to make something more out of that – last Friday –  I fried some of Neil Jewell’s bacon cut into pieces, I added the bacon to the warm leeks and then some of the Le Petite France Camembert cheese and Kazi Farm Micro Greens, I actually also had some organic grapes on hand and I halved those and tossed that through too and the combination worked oustandingly.
That was served as a side salad to Brennaissance Boran braaie’d steak and that meal was all that was needed to end off a long week with nourishment and taste aplomb.
I will post some pictures up on our FACEBOOK page of what the produce looked like coming in yesterday. It made me silly happy – massive bunches of dark green spinach, gorgeous bunches of leeks, tomatoes, pepperdews, their large best brinjals I’ve ever eaten (think about roasting brinjals with the peppedews for kick and some olive oil and herbs, you could also add pecorino and bacon to this roast mix if you’re inclined and then I’d also add some of the fresh organic tomatoes to roast with this lot, thyme or lovage), beetroot, celery, radishes – ooh that just made me realize what I’m doing for lunch today – one of Barry’s goats cheese and thinly sliced radishes and some baby spinach with a blob of olive oil and lemon juice, heaven help me, I’m clearly hungry.
I’ve got an idea brewing in my head for some kind of Summer chilled soup made with these radishes. The idea has kicked, I shall play around with it. I could not bring myself to throw the leek greens into the compost, the aroma of them was filling the whole kitchen and I knew that I would regret it if I didn’t get them into a stock, so I think I’m going to play around with a leek stock base and radishes for a chilled soup recipe with The Gourmet Greek yoghurt. If I sound like I use Gourmet Greek yoghurt in everything when I cook, it is indeed almost true.
It just works everywhere and as a base for some sort of chilled radish soup with leeks – it’s going to work. If it was avo season, I’d use that instead but it isn’t so that’s where I think I’m going to head with this – perhaps adding a peppedew oil for a kick and the Aloe Dale cucumbers. I really need to stop musing out loud like this, one of my greatest weaknesses.
Ok, I’ll revert back to you when I have that recipe done, perhaps in time for next week’s tasting table.
As I’m putting some organic lovage into my teapot (I’m a bit OCD about making herbal tea pots and drinking them throughout the day) I thought I’d quickly describe ‘lovage’ to you while we have it in store. It’s the most exquisite herb and not one we know well but one you want to. In this gorgeous article on this intriguing herb that I find in The Guardian, the taste of it is described just perfectly, “..like parsley and celery combined with a hint of aniseed and curry. And if you think that sounds intriguing, you’d be right.” Duh – I’m going to add this to the chilled radish soup idea.
You use it to replace parsley and celery mostly in dishes, except it adds an extra something and is stronger in flavour. It’s a quirky character herb and the article gives you some really interesting history on it’s medicinal uses as well as recipes, there is one there for a cucumber and lovage, lettuce and pea soup that you could adapt as a Summer soup too.
I’m definitely going to put this into the vegetable soup with the leek greens, its going to be a great veg stock for soups and I think this will work beautifully with the CTOrganics chicken too.
Michael is about to get subjected to it in a tea with ginseng, thyme, lemon, gresh grated ginger, thyme, olive leaf and green tea. He’s recovering from an illness that knocked him flat and now he has me down his throat feeding him teas to build up his immune system that I think are probably a bit frightening for him. The perils of working for a food activist!
Something else I need to say before I go is that if you find yourself in-store and are wanting to walk out with Mooberry dairy and you haven’t brought a cooler box, please ask one of us to get you one from the store-room. We have a lot of the disposable ones that we receive food in that we are happy to re-cycle, so we can just grab one from the back and please put the dairy in there. This milk is not homogenised and does not contain any preservatives so it is very temperamental in this heat. Just 10 minutes in a hot car can shorten the shelf life to nil, so please just ask if you need one and we can grab one for you. We’ll give you some ice-packs too, just please return them at your earliest convenience so that we can use them for others who need them.
Brennaissance Boran Wholly Veldt Reared Beef is all fully in-stock, Jewell and Co charcuterie all in-stock, CTOrganics chicken in stock except for chicken breasts which we had an unusual run on over the week-end but more on their way, Aldersyde Farm – leg of lamb mince and kebabs are in, we’ll have more chops in and roasts in shortly, the whole Free Range Food Company chickens that nobody leaves once they’ve found them, all in.
You are loving the new brie like French style goats cheeses, Four Winds and Momento from Beatrix Mountain Goats – we had them out on a tasting board last Thursday and those were favourites.
We’ll be doing more cheese tastings as they are all so different, you really need to taste them to find one that best suits your palette.
Other bits and pieces of news go up on the FACEBOOK page and on Instagram @DebbieVLogan which I’ve just started using.
Have a look on the page for the picture of the new Hungry Herbivore raw dehydrated tahinin, coconut, chocolate and natural vanilla cookies – they are delicious. We’re expecting Nikki from NeoTrading in to re-stock us any moment.
Other news, something that will be of huge relief to many of you is that the format of these newsletters – that has remained for 7 years out of sheer stubbornness and busyness on my part, will be changing shortly.
I dug my heels in about ever changing it as if I edit the way I let words flow, I just can’t write.
I have an incredible lady who is going to start helping me get information out to you in a more concise way without making me edit how I speak. I will still chat to you like this, but the format will break up so that you can click on topics that interest you instead of getting it in one large lump like this which some of you love and some not so much.
I will still write in the flow of chatter that I do and she’ll be making sure that it gets to you in the most effective way. So the newsletters will break all this content up into bite size chunks that you can choose to read depending on what grabs your fancy.
We will be cohesing all content into one website and blog that has far more impact and efficiency of information and will serve as a one-stop place to get to the others and to find out about Jozi Real Food Revolution Events too which are going to become a pivotal focus this year. So don’t panic if it looks like I’m communicating differently shortly, I’m not, it’s still me in one long stream of chatter, it’ll just be a new looking newsletter format that helps you decide which parts interest you.
Right, that’s me done. Let me know what you think of the lamb, brinjal and Gourmet Greek bake featuring tomorrow?
I’ll be in for most of the day so I’ll see you if you’re in.
Be Well, Be Nourished and see you in store,
Much love,
Debbie

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