Athena Lamberis

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

8 of the Tastiest Locally-Made Foods That Will Make Your Day | Cape Town, South Africa

In Friend's Kitchens, Travel on May 24, 2015 at 18:16

The Culinary Linguist-Cape Town best food listKeeping the love alive.

These 8 food creators in Cape Town, South Africa win my heart.  Yes, the list can go on and will.  But this is what comes to mind for now.  Guide yourself down this golden road of food happiness that #willmakeyourday and please share with me your favourites to add!

Cake-Bomb--the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena1. CupCake Richard 

Because everyone should eat cake or cupcakes.

If your tummy, tongue and tastebuds vary to the degree of “I can’t eat wheat, sugar, or carrots” then fear not –  you can eat these cakes.  Yes, I’m talking to you gluten-freedom fighters, etc out there.  Dive in.  They don’t exclude anyone.  They keep it fun and innovative with their recipes so ALL can enjoy.  Out of the kindness of their hearts (and yours), they take it upon themselve to cake bomb every last friday of the month to someone who deserves the love of 12 cupcakes personally delivered to them in Cape Town.  That is the coolest thing a baker could ever gift 🙂  Random Acts of Kindness!

#willmakeyourday 🙂

To get hold of some cake:

info@cupcakerichard.com   tel: 083 737 3417  Cape Town

ferdinando's Pizza- Culinary Linguist Cape Town Food list

Pizza Ferdinandos -the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena 2. Ferdinando’s Pizza (Hindi & the Shanico) & Garlic Aioli

Laughter, Peace, Pizza and Love.  This wood-burning pizzeria is a bubbly and beautiful dream come true.  Creators, Diego and Kimon, weave their joy and flavours into two beautiful places that serve wholesome, delicious and fantastical pizza and platters that leave you smiling inside and out.  Diego’s pizza dough is incomparable to the countless pizza houses around Cape Town – no one comes close to the crispy chewy sourdough crusts and the fun variety of pizza toppings. Check out the beginning of their story here and continue it for yourself at these spots:

  • 84 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town
  • NEW!! 205 Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town
  • Pizza cape Town the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena084 771 0485 to book a table
  • ferdinandospizza@gmail.com  Tuesday to Saturday 6pm – 10pm on Kloof
  • Call for lunch & dinner hours for Observatory

Chocolate -the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena3. Soma Confection Custom Chocolates

The no-limit soldier of chocolate, Heather Thompson, is inspired by fun, quirky and delicious . . . chocolate creations.  This includes edible book pages, brains, and Darth Vader.  Amongst other things, when she’s not found spinning vinyls, dreaming and scheming apocalypse survival tips, she’s making your dreams come true in edible chocolate forms.  Ask about her 420 spa too!

072 632 7288  – Heather

Spinach Bread-the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena4. Espinaca Innovations Spinach Bread 

Popeye power in a bread loaf: Espinaca serves up freshly baked green bread with hints of cayenne and bay leaf to boost your nutrition and well-being.  Pair it up with their freshly pressed apple, pineapple and spinach juice.  Take home their spinach and feta muffins and spread their message to your friends.  The Spinach Bread King, Lufefe, has big plans and his green food movement is rolling out all over Cape Town.  Support!

No 42 Spine Road, Khayelitsha
Cape Town, Western Cape
073 095 0119 -Spinach Bread King, Lufefe

Mariam's Kitchen -the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena

5. Mariam’s Kitchen Salomies 

The flakey pastry, a.k.a Mariam’s rotis, is the type of dish that you crave when you are overseas.  Nothing else compares to the spices and hand-rolled dough that makes up these classic salomies.  Order a bean or steak masala salomie with your favourite fizzy drink to bring a taste of home cooking into your lunchtime.  Every crispy, gooey bite #willmakeyourday.

101 St George’s Mall Arcade, CBD.  7:30am -4pm

Oumeul Pies Cape Town - The Culinary Linguist by Athena

6. Oumeul Bakkery Pies

It all started on a road trip on the N2, Garden Route.  Pass by Riviersonderend and load up on the freshly baked spinach and cheese pies.  Whether it’s lamb, bobotie or chicken pie, the recipe and tradition #willmakeyourday in Cape Town at these locations:

14 Long Street CBD & Willowbridge

Peshwari naan-the culinary linguist -cape town food list by Athena

7.  Eastern Food Bazaar’s Peshwari Naan and Coconut Ice Cream

For the coconut lovers out there.  Dried grated coconut and ghee baked inside freshly prepared flatbread, then top it with coconut ice cream made with natural ingredients!  It’s a DIY gourmet combo in the middle of the bustling city arcade from noon til 11pm!

96 Longmarket St, Cape Town, 8001

Telephone: +27 21 461 2458.

Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday: 11:00am – 10:00pm. Friday & Saturday: 11:00am – 10:30pm

Cape Town bakeries-Lazari-the culinary linguist-Athena8.  Lazari’s Millionaire Squares & All-Day breakfast

Butter, sugar, chocolate alchemy at it’s best.  Chris and the team at Lazari are like the family you always wanted.  They make scrumptious baked goods, pies and daily specials in Vredehoek.  What #willmakeyourday is the daily baked goods by the cash register – buy at least six of the toffee Millionaire squares to take home after you’ve enjoyed a breakfast on a late Saturday morning.  Although this friendly neighbourhood cafe is famous for their white pink chocolate and vanilla cupcakes – I will never say no to the Millionaires!

Corner of Upper Maynard and Vredehoek Ave, Cape Town, 8001

hello @ lazari .co .za

021 461 9865

  • MON-FRI7.30am – 5pm
  • SAT-SUN8.30am – 4pm

Yes, and the list could go on . . .

Let me have it.

culinary linguist food list by Athena

photos are my own or jacked from the Google intraweb 🙂 Thanks!

The history of your Favorite Foods: Pizza, Ice cream . . .

In Stories, Travel on November 3, 2014 at 18:30
 So how do we track back in time to find the origins, the stories of how our favorite foods began?
  Who put fortunes in cookies and tomato sauce on spaghetti?
 Food pairings and cultural dishes have a long history.  From spice trades, to climate regions, culinary history continues to evolve.  Natural food traditions complement what was in season – what was in season also supports exactly what our immune system and our overall physical nutritional health.
 Steamed winter greens such as spinach drizzled with olive oil and a lot of lemon juice is a Greek food staple known as Horta.   If the greens were eaten with cheese or just salt, for example, you wouldn’t get the benefit of  absorbing the high levels of Calcium and Iron in the vegetable.  When lemon juice or other foods high in Vitamin C are added to the greens, this assists the body for absorption – plus spinach is delicious with lemon juice anyway! Win-win.
So that’s just the nutritional side . . . on the history side, this info-graphic produced by Cheapflights.ca tells it how it is.  Anthropology of Food . . . .  I love it!  Appetite for variety – I celebrate all things real food.  Enjoy!
the history behind your favourite foods 53cd2cdd68e9e w640 How and Where the Worlds Most Beloved Foods Started (INFOGRAPHIC)

Sushi photo (slider) via Shutterstock

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

In Events, Stories, Travel on June 4, 2014 at 12:31

 

“Is there rain and gale force winds on your side?”

“No.”

“Okay, then we’ll meet you at the forest gate at 7:15”

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Gary Mushroom Guru

Gary Goldman, the mushroom Guru of Cape Town, South Africa

In Cape Town, winter brings sloshy puddles and leaf layers on the forest floor.  Mushrooms, like stars fallen from the galaxy, pop out of the ground in diverse shapes, forms, colours and size.  This time from the first rains is when foragers, explorers, mushroom hunters spot various of funghi for identification, observation and if lucky, consumption.

The rain was still drizzling outside our home in Vredehoek while we drove with our hound, Enzo, to the Cecilia Forest in Cape Town.  Brushed with a dark blue, the sky opened to the morning sun once we found our meeting place where Gary Goldman, the mushroom guru was waiting.  Dreams of porcini, pine-rings and new forms of fungi were planted in our minds.  What did the forest hold, and what were we going to find?

 

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Gary Mushroom Guru

Cecelia Forest – mushroom foraging with Gary

We carried baskets, pocket knives, and boldness onto the lower slopes of Table Mountain Reserve, with the comfort of having a teacher, Gary, to guide use through our questions of the forage.  The dogs sensed excitement-the fresh smells fueled the pack to go in front of the path.  Chris joined the front, and just over the barb-wire fence, what looked like a brown leaf was twisted out from the earth.  The first find of the day was a porcini treasure, fragrant, firm and joyfully gathered.

 

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa-Chris Mason

Chris found the winter delight! Fresh porcini mushroom.

Slippery logs laid in our path and speckled leaves lined the moving forest streams-more winter delights came in all different shapes and sizes as we weaved pass the gum tree forests and into pine, cork oak and poplar tree sections.  What looked like a brown wood owl flew past us as we continued to collect poplar boletus, porcini, pine-rings and learned to identify a variety of parasite (grows on/from organic-living) and saphrophyte (grows on dead organic material) fungi. After two hours in the forest, my eyes became more aware of mycelia on trees and different fungi characteristics.  I was beginning to confidently identify and learn distinctive features of about various mushrooms-my favorite being the saffron-coloured water that stains your hands when you squeeze a pine rings vs ‘a little brown mushroom.’

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Filling the basket with porcini, poplar boletus and pine rings. Anything with a sponge under the mushroom cap in the Western Cape is edible.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa Mycellium

Mycellium on the tree – a part of the fungi web

Gumtree Forests How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Gumtree forests – many common edible mushrooms do not prefer this type of environment

As we left the forest with happily-filled baskets, I was in awe of the complexity and beauty nature holds in a delicate yet robust web.  With every step into our natural world, I learn more about how our environments flourish and where our food comes from.  Proper identification, with desired aroma and taste adds a world of medicinal and culinary uses of mushrooms to my culinary linguistics. It’s been dated back to B.C. China, of humans foraging for mushrooms for added sustenance during winter months.  I added another day to an ancient practice of mushroom eating history (mychophagy).  Today, with the appetite for variety and with the help of a mushroom guru – I became a fungivore-survived and nourished.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Cork Oak trees – Mushrooms loves to grow under pine, poplar and oak trees.

Cinnabar-How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

A type of Cinnabar – medicinal mushroom.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa-porcini

Porcini mushroom cut length wise

Laughing Jims (hallucinogen) How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Laughing Jims – hallucinogenic

Turkey Tail - How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Turkey Tail mushroom- a bracket fungi-used as a medicinal tea since 15th century. Used as an alternative for chemotherapeutic medicines and radiation therapy. Grows on dead logs (saphrophyte)

saphrophyte

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Often Gary identifies some mushrooms by slicing it in half to see the color inside.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Another medicinal mushroom that grows on living trees.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South AfricaHow to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Gary Mushroom man How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

My dog Lorenzo having too much fun skipping over mushrooms and logs.

How to identify and pick wild edible mushrooms in Cape Town, South Africa

Eager foragers in the Cecelia Forest

How to Harvest Seaweed: Superfood Nutrition from our Ocean

In Events, Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories, Travel on May 16, 2014 at 13:44
Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed Some seaweed varieties on the Cape Peninsula


Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

 

   Edible Sea Vegetable: SeaWeed

confess, my kitchen turns into edible science experiments almost every day. Seaweed is my new ingredient in the kitchen lab. Once you get to know the nutritional facts and the familiar taste of popcorn it has when nori (a type of seaweed) is roasted on the fire, then you’ll definitely give this superfood a chance.  When I first moved to Cape Town, I was mesmerised by the huge kelp forests that were washed onto the shorelines.  On low tides, I observed the variety of seaweeds that clung to the rocks and naturally wondered, “Can we eat that?”  You’ve probably already have if you’ve gone to a sushi joint or visit the snack aisle at an Asian supermarket.  When we see an ingredient in it’s natural state – outside of a food product/market/restaurant, we’re often surprised by how it grows, what it looks like and what it may actually taste like?  This is what I call the spark of our own natural whole food education, also known as the moment when our culinary linguistics expand.  I’m a self proclaimed phyco-nerd. Phycology: Greek φῦκος, phykos, “seaweed”; and -λογία, -logia) is the scientific study of algae and was so happy to find fellow wild food foragers on the Cape Peninsula.

Beyond Basic Nutrition: Seaweed Benefits

Contains vitamin B12 (which is rarely found in plants)

  • Rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese (overall 13 vitamins, 20 amino acids, 60 trace mineral elements)
  • Highest source of plant protein and zero calories
  • It’s fiber is helpful for the digestive system, making you feel full and satiated
  • Contains iodine which aids the function of the thyroid to release iodine in our blood to help prevent disease.  Our bodies don’t make iodine so we have to get it through our food – why not seaweed?
  • Reduces water retention and contains higher levels of calcium than beef and cow’s milk
  • Natural occurring sodium that resembles human amniotic fluid
  • Alkalinizes and purifies blood as it’s chemical composition is similar to the plasma in human blood
  • Optimum nourishment for hormonal, lymphatic, urinary and nervous systems

Marine Flora: Wild and Crazy? 

  I was honestly hesitant to harvest seaweed in South Africa before doing a bit of research.   I needed a bit of local knowledge to boost my confidence and to verify that I wasn’t the only crazy who wondered about eating ocean algae.  If people in other parts of the world have seaweed-based cuisine, why aren’t we eating it here?  Has there ever been a history of it in South Africa?  Stay tuned for more about that in a future post.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest  I took my mom, one of my favorite foragers for whole foods, to Scarborough to learn more about the beautiful seaweed varieties available for us to harvest responsibly.  In the quest of learning to harvest wild food, you also develop a respect and knowledge for conserving the ocean environment.  I’ve found that becoming more aware of what makes a healthy flourishing balanced ecosystem allows me to make more educated decisions about harvesting and foraging wild foods in nature.

 Some Foraging Facts

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed skin mask

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Wrack-the beginnings of seaweed coleslaw

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Scarborough coastline in Western Cape, South Africa

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Rinsing and preparing after the harvest

The Good Hope Nursery in Scarbororgh did such a great job in creatively sharing their experience in sustainably harvesting, tasting and creating with ocean seaweed.  It was great to ask questions while enjoying the cosmetic and nutritional benefits of this sea vegetable.  We were greeted on the shoreline with seaweed scones and spoke about the red, green and brown varieties of seaweed below our feet.  Snippets of seaweed varieties such as kelp, wrack and ulva were gathered to ensure regrowth, conservation and abundance for our ecosystem (about 1/3 of what was growing on the rock near the tideline.) No random bits of floating seaweed was harvested, only healthy clean varieties that were attached to ocean rocks.

Edible Science: Seaweed Recipes

 Since that positive coastal foraging experience, I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned along the way, convincing brave and even unadventurous eaters to enjoy the tasty healthy benefits of sea vegetables.  On a recent trip to Elandsbaai, we harvested, rinsed and tossed nori in a bit of olive oil before placing it on a wood-burning fire.  The result was super flakey, crunchy, tasty green seaweed snack.  Get creative and incorporate seaweed in any of your favorite recipes for extra added health benefits. I’d love to hear more about what you discover.

Seaweed Recipes: Superfood Nutrition from the Ocean

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Good Hope Nursery’s Chocolate Agar Agar and Candied Kelp with Ice Cream. YUM! Sign up for their foraging course.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

That’s me in total seaweed face mask bliss. Rejuvenate, revitalise. Is there nothing seaweed can’t do?

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

A young culinary linguist exploring the texture of kelp. Wait for bath time! Yes, with seaweed:)

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed: Recipes and How To Harvest

Seaweed couscous salad, mussels, kelp and avocado salad, wrack coleslaw . . . the feast continues.

Resources:

CONNECT BACK TO NATURE: Urban Food Foraging

In Friend's Kitchens, Stories, Travel on March 17, 2014 at 14:44

The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-baby chesnut tree-urban food forage The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-yellow plums-urban food forageThe more time we spend using whole food ingredients, the more curious we become of their source and qualities.  We may begin to ask questions such as –

“How do eggplants grow?”

“Can I eat the green tops of carrots?”

“What can grape leaves be used for?”

“Are those mulberries?”

Our curiosity for nature and an urge to explore these questions is a path towards connecting us back into nature.  One of the most natural ways to do this is through food. Now, we don’t all have to rush to live on a rural farm with a small permaculture food garden and chickens running around.  There are many ways to understand and connect back to nature from right where we live.

According to Carolyn Steele, our cities have been shaped through food.  So the way I see it, we can continue to shape our cities in a positive eco-friendly design by the way we choose to eat.  One simple way to connect to your natural urban surroundings is to explore the opportunity to urban food forage.  Urban food foraging is an act by simply exploring the natural surroundings in your neighbourhood i.e. parks, sidewalks, tree-lined street, and learning to observing and identify the plants and trees that grow in order to harvest them responsibly (i.e. leave some for your neighbours).  This is a step in becoming a local food gatherer-forager.

Ishay Govender-Ypma from Food and the Fabulous asked me to give some tips for foraging wild foods in our urban environment for the lifestyle and travel in-flight magazine Juice

This is what I had to say:

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1.  Go on an ‘urban safari’ in your neighborhood. Research the leaves, fruit and herbs you pick at home before you eat anything.

2. Accompany an experienced friend or guide.

3. Think of urban landscapes as a living and growing food farm.  As your confidence grows, you’ll become in tune with the cycles and seasons.

4. Visit local nurseries to familiarise yourself with the plants, in order to aid identification.

5. Borrow or buy a glossary of herbs or indigenous plants.

6. Educated yourself by attending talks and workshops.

7. Contact your municipality to plant common food trees in local parks such as fig, pomegranate, waterberry, and wild olive.

8. Start with easily identifiable herbs like rosemary and lavender. Use them in salves and strain in hot water.

9.  Avoid high traffic areas that are often sprayed with chemicals

10. Always wash plants/fruits before you prepare them.

Read the full article, Local Hunter-Gatherers,  and learn about the chef Shaun Schoeman of Solms-Delta, Mushroom cultivator Gary Goldman, and Cape Town foragers, Charles Standing and Loubie Rusch.

Do you have any more tips to add from your wild food foraging adventures?  Please share!

The Culinary Linguist-urban-food-pomegrantes-cape town

AthenaLamberis-wildplums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for a local urban food – hunter – gatherer challenge! culinary-linguist-connect-back to nature through food

Real Food Foraging in our Urban edible landscapes.

In Events, Stories, Travel on May 23, 2013 at 16:08

The Culinary Linguist |  Urban ForagingReal food foraging is taking Freetarian tactics to a whole other edible landscape.  It’s not about rummaging through the grocery store’s dump site or scrapping bubblegum off the concrete.  Real food foraging is a learned art: It bridges culinary knowledge, environmental awareness and plant/fungus identification to your own edible advantage.  Growing up with a Greek mom means you are always fed, and digest a lot of culinary knowledge.  One of the innovative skills I learned from her was how to identify food on every corner.  Besides knowing where to eat the best gyros pita, I learned at a young age to identify and protect our urban edible landscapes. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

From sidewalk cracks to grassy patches, my Mom taught me that pulling weeds out of the ground could lead to a tasty Vitamin K and A rich dish of boiled lemony greens.  She loved that fact that we never had to buy dandelion greens from Dominick’s-we had them in our city’s backyard.   We lived close to Evanston’s train tracks and Chicago’s Canal.  When developers wanted to build condos there, we got involved and protested.  I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but saving the small forests meant saving the trees I loved to pick mulberries from and preserving a forest floor playground of my youth.

The Culinary Linguist | Save Forests and Urban Forage Save Forests

Living in Cape Town, South Africa reveals a whole new world to me.  In terms of real food urban foraging, it’s bountiful.  We went to Green Renaissance’s curated talk about foraging in our City.  The four speakers shared their local knowledge of each edible landscape they frolick in: Ocean, Urban, Wild, Garden, and Forest.

I’ve posted some tasty recipes in the past about Wild and Real Food Foraging with Mulberries, Grape Vine leaves, Num Nums (Natal Plum), Mushrooms, Mopane Worms, Pomegranates, Prickly Pear and Wild Olive leaves but after the talk on Thursday, I got re-inspired to explore the coastlines and forests of Cape Town’s wild and fertile city setting. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

Making Kos‘ Loubie Rusch shared her in-depth botanical knowledge including her tasty jams, jelly and cordial made from indigenious and wild foods around the city.  We came home with Fennel and Wildeals as a generous gift from Bridget Kitley’s Herb Nursery to add to our growing herbal medicine cabinent: the garden.  I nibbled on some sea lettuce from Julian Mori’s portable seawater aquarium and after the talk, we fried porcini and boletus in butter as a tasty snack from Gary Goldman’s mushroom escapades under the pines and poplar of Cape Town’s forests.  Green Renaissance made 30 second inserts of nettle, chestnut and waterblommetjie harvests and recipes along with tips and ideas of how to forage them ourselves, along with a dried porcini gift bag for our attendance.  I was a happy forager foraging the forage talk!

The Culinary Linguist | Figs and Urban Forage The next day, I walked our dog, Lorenzo, through DeWaal park and saw the Waterberry tree was bursting with ripe fruit.  Instead of them staining the concrete in their own natural graffiti style, I will be picking them next time for some Waterberry cordial on these balmy autumn afternoons.

So far, I am happy with Vredhoek/Gardens foraging landscape:

pomegranates, avocados, lemons, guavas, figs can be found just a short walking distance from our house.

Our own garden provides comfrey which can be used for EVERYTHING!  Chris makes tea, and a great salve. Let the learning continue HERE 

 

Green Renaissance-Be Inspired to Forage in your City

Photo Essay: A Food Tour of Detroit’s Eastern Market

In Events, Travel on April 17, 2013 at 10:57

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Detroit Eastern Market
2934 Russell St., Detroit, Mich. 48207; 313-833-9300 detroiteasternmarket.com

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Detroit Eastern Market
2934 Russell St., Detroit, Mich. 48207; 313-833-9300
http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com

Top Ten South African Foods to Try While Visiting South Africa

In Stories, Travel on April 11, 2013 at 14:53

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What do people eat in South Africa? 

I came to study in South Africa, Education, Sociolinguistics and Ethnographic Research to be exact.  After I got accepted into the program, my google searches involved, surfing South Africa, capoeira South Africa and food South Africa.

Firstly, I didn’t know anything about surfing–I grew up in Chicago. I spent summers visiting my Yiayia in Greece and went to university in Michigan the rest of the year where bodies of water were mostly frozen or used for summer water-skiing.  I was pro at balancing on swimming pool floatation devices.  I could also be found getting tan through Adriatic sea reflection on Grecian pebble shorelines.  It was December in East Lansing.  The type of cold that makes your hair grow back inside it’s follicle and remain ingrown until May.  Gore-Tex isn’t just used on Patagonia slopes, it’s essential to wear while you walk to your 10:15 lecture.

Surfing South Africa to me meant warm sub-tropical weather and a romanticized idea of surfing.  Instead of knowing what kinds of waves a surfer like me would surf, I thought the site with South African surf slang was more interesting.  It was a foreign language.  I had no clue or what jargon they were even referring to, so I changed my search terms.  I thought-warm ocean, waves to learn surfing, a new university on the ocean for six months…get fit.  After printing out recommended surf workouts, I quickly learned my shoulders were made for shoveling snow. My paddling could take me around a pond in Michigan, but I didn’t know ocean waves.

So I thought about capoeira.

I didn’t know much about capoeira except that my brother and friends had been going to classes in Chicago for years.   The year before, I went to Rio de Janeiro. I loved to watch and sing in the rodas in Ilha Grande.

Back at MSU, My African Studies class was so broad the only hint of a food/cultural reference to South Africa was the professor’s cravings for Portuguese bakeries in Kwa-Zulu Natal.  When I looked up capoeira, I found a student class, Capoeira Na Praia, at University of KwaZulu Natal. I was excited to play capoeira there since I wasn’t the surfer girl I thought I was. I was the girl who would most likely wear a brasilian bikini and chew sugarcane on the beach while collecting shells to make necklaces. At least I knew I would be getting in on the feijoada fundraising dinners with the capoeira club, but South African food–what is it? What else besides this Portuguese bakery is going to be in South Africa? What delicious foods are in South Africa?

Years later, I’m still learning the many tastes of South African food.  I ended up marrying the surfer who taught me capoeira, who fed me Johnny’s Roti’s at 4am while I made brincadeiros in his mom’s Cypriot kitchen.

I didn’t know much about the food in South Africa when I arrived but I will share with you what I have learned along the way.  There are so many foods that are worth celebrating.  South African Flavour is unique and layered.  The modest list below is just a few staples for any visitor to know and love.

The Culinary Linguist | Boerwors | Food in #SouthAfrica

Top ten foods to try:

  1. Curried sugar bean Bunny chow

It’s beyond what Panera bread company tried to do.  Edible bread bowls at their best plus you could get a history lesson through every bite.  Many generations of Indian labourers sat down and ate that very homemade meal at lunch break during the days of Ghandi’s presence in South Africa.  This food tradition continues today and is found all over the country. The Culinary Linguist | Durban Curry Bunny Chow in South Africa and Recipe

2. Johnny’s Sunrise Rotis/ Mariam’s Salomies

The Culinary Linguist | Gatsby Sandwich | Food in #SouthAfrica

The Gatsby Sandwich Baby Hold. Onlookers are amused or just hungry while they wait for theirs?

The Culinary Linguist | Salomie |  Food in #South Africa

Salomie Bite

Roti’s in some provinces, salomies with puff pastry style wraps in the Western Cape.  Whether it comes with mutton garam masala stew or corn, chips and cheese–order it and love it and ask your favourite local where to get the best.

3.Boerewors on a braai

It’s farmer’s beef sausage. You can get fancy with it and chow it with a roll, but it’s plain perfect off the BBQ, try it with a squeeze of lemon on top while it’s hot.  Get some with cumin or fennel mixed in, or try an ostrich version for variety.

4. Masala steak Gatsby sandwich

Don’t try to finish is alone, this sandwich, like the Johnny’s Roti is large enough to carry in a stroller.  I personally like the Masala steak but the Calamari and Chip Gatsby is scrumptious if you’re by the sea.

5. Sugarcane juice, litchis (lychee) and spicy pineapple

Freshly squeezed on Durban’s beachfront, sugarcane juice with lemon is the way lemonade should taste.  Litchi’s (Lychee) hanging of the trees in December and spicy pineapple on kebab sticks at the beach bring your sunburn to a tickling heat.

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6. Mealie bread (isinkwa sombila)

Help light the firewood, peel the mealies and get to work grinding them into a pulp to add to the flour.  This traditional pot bread is worth working for.

7. Peri-Peri chicken or prawns

So I never found portuguese bakeries that my professor spoke about, but I did learn about Mozambiquean cuisine and African bird’s eye chilis (Peri-Peri or Piri-Piri) is added to heat every bite of your flavourful meal.The Culinary Linguist | Raw Oysters | Food in #SouthAfrica


8. Oysters

Wild Coast, KZN, Knysna, Namibian–makes me want to have a mermaid’s lunch everyday and boost my zinc levels.

9. Samp and Beans (istambu)

A staple and standard that ClifBars should be made of.  Protein and Carbs at their best.

10. Malva pudding

The toffee sticky pudding on most menus at unpretentious South Africa food dives.  With custard or ice cream, or even the store bought Woolworth’s version makes you go ‘mmmmmmmmmmm.’

There are so many more foods to rave about, but these staples are a must for first time South African food tasters.  More lists to come . . .

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Eating Kale:Yuppie-Guilt or Social Tool for change?

In Recipe, Stories, Travel on April 9, 2013 at 15:02

Ingredients for Kale SaladI recently came across a blog post that said “20-things-everyone-thinks-about-the-food-world-but-nobody-will-say.If you’re a kale-loving, politically correct “foodie” interested in CSAs, molecular gastronomy, and not getting your bubble burst, run away now—shit’s about to get real.

It went on to say some pretty funny, real and ridiculous shit and brought up statements like: Locavorism has become the newest outlet for yuppie guilt, providing a feeling of living ethically and supporting a cause, but too often the onslaught of kale and artisanal pickles blinds us from looking at the deeper problems affecting America’s food system.

Ya, but.  Eating more kale, is the start to actively changing a problem affecting America’s health system, consumption, which then indirectly changes modern food systems around the world if we access our food from community soil sources around us.  Yes, Urbanism is all around and people live on sand deposited land in and outside of global cities.  But let’s be real with the small steps one can take: The more we learn about our food, where it comes from and why, consume home-grown and home-made food, and understand the need for changes in our large modern food systems (globally -it’s not only an North American plague anymore) -the more we return to our natural existence with food, which will grow each of us into more kale-loving citizens that use food as a positive tool for social change.

Food is a canvas that allows us to address issues interconnected in our societies, and let kale be the paintbrush that communicates our awareness and need for change from the dependency on our modern food systems.  What we do to get our food and make our food can make us think about our resources differently, interact with them differently, can shape the world differently, and then replicate actions into positive productive kale-loving urban cities.  Check out Edible Green Route and Carolyn Steel’s Hungry City for some food activist reading.

So on that note, I’m sharing a recipe from my kale-loving cousin Connie, who is most likely to be found eating at Noma or getting kale from her CSA basket in Chicago and making this delicious kale salad:

1 bunch dinosaur kale/Lacinato kale/black kale

1 shallot, finely diced

spoonful of dijon mustard

white wine vinegar

extra virgin olive oil

Juice of one whole lemon (sometimes a bit more)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 anchovy, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Panko or breadcrumbs toasted

Pecorino Romano

Remove stems from the kale and roughly chop into ribbons

Toast panko crumbs until dark brown

Dinosaur or black kale in a colanderHow to make a kale salad with lemon mustard dressingBlend the ingredients for Kale salad dressing In blender, emulsify shallts, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, lemon juice, garlic and anchovy.  You can also just whisk all together if you don’t feel like using the blender.

Let the dressing sit on the kale for awhile (an hour or so) to soften the kale a little bit.  When ready to serve, toss the toasted Panko crumbs and grate the Pecorino Romano (you can also use parmesan instead).

Alternatives:  I added some flax seed oil to the dressing and then grated fresh carrot because I didn’t have cheese.

Kale Salad and Mustard lemon dressing

South Africa’s West Coast Pomegranate and Peppercorn Salad

In Recipe, Travel on March 25, 2013 at 13:05

Peppercorn salad with PomegranatepeppercornsongroundWestCoastculinarylinguistathenalamberisWest Coast South Africa shade in VerlorenvleiPicking pomegranates in South AfricaThe Culinary Linguist's West Coast getaway #bliss

Soul smiles and surf-sore shoulders leave me mindful and replete. A montage of new faces smiling in the heat. Moon memories and salted dreams sail me through the Monday office beat.

 Yes, let’s strike out into the open, where wild places await. Let’s turn off the cell phones, leave our city behind. Let’s forget the time, and live by the heat of the earth. Let’s let this be the last update, sent into space. 

 I’ll be gone for a while, a moment, a week. To a place with a river, long grass and a beach. – Chris Mason, writer, poet, wildlife filmmaker, my husband:)

We set out to the West Coast, Verlorenvlei near Elandsbay (Elaandsbaai).  With family and friends, the rhythm of the day revolves around the wind patterns and the sun’s heat. At nightfall we light candles, build fires and cook up our communal meals of with mains of snoek, crayfish, mutton, or boerewors.

During the early autumn days on Uithoek farm, red fruits become ripe and our little fingers come to collect them.  One of my all-time favorite, is the pomegranate’s regal rubies that continue to bear fruit until mid autumn.  The other is a tree berry that I recognized from knowing it inside a grinder.  The hanging rainbow peppercorn trees are gifts of shade on the Uithoek farm with their big green wispy branches alongside the farm cottages.  The burst of flavor from the tiny rainbow peppercorn is a medley of fragrant clove, frankincense and cardamom resemblance.  I couldn’t resist some country fruit foraging and harvested a few jars to experiment with some new culinary creations and combinations.  I really love the way the pomegranate and rainbow peppercorn are both powerful little kernels of red fantastic flavor accents.

This is my scrumptious salad recipe I’ve been enjoying this week, bursting with tantalizing flavor combinations.

Pomegranate Salad Recipe in South AfricaWest Coast Candlelight feast in South AfricaWestCoastculinarylinguistathenalamberisFeasting by Candlelight on The Culinary Linguist blog



Pomegranate and Peppercorn Salad Recipe:

200 grams of crisp mixed garden lettuce/watercress/beetroot leaves, etc

1/4 cup fresh pomegranate kernels

1/2 tsp fresh rainbow peppercorns

1/8 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup pecans

1 soft ripe plum or small pear

1/8 cup Danish blue cheese

Dressing:

1 TB tahini

2 TB apple cider vinegar

1 tsp hemp powder

In a small bowl add tahini, hemp powder and apple cider vinegar.  Whisk together.  Wash and rinse the lettuce leaves and plum.  Cut the plum in small bite-size pieces.  Crumble the danish blue cheese.  Toast your pecans and pumpkin seeds until golden brown in a frying pan (the pumpkin seeds will start making crackling sound), then remove from the heat.  Cut open the pomegranate and remove the fresh red pomegranate kernels by removing all the white pith that covers and connects the kernels together.  Add all the ingredients together into a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over.  Toss the salad so all the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Enjoy the delicious crunch of pomegranates and rainbow peppercorns in this nutritious salad!

Nourishing traditions on The Culinary Linguist's blog

The Culinary Linguist's road trip up the West Coast South Africa #travelThe Culinary Linguist's DIY hammock The Culinary Linguist's relaxing getaway in South Africa

The Culinary Linguist's West Coast relaxing weekend #farm

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