Zucchini at Timberlake Farm Village was the attractive country restaurant where Sedgefield’s 5th Slow Food Workshop was held in September.
Colin Capon our Celebrity Chef started off the Timberlake meeting by telling us about his participation in the “Bidvest World Chefs' Tour against Hunger” that took place in South Africa in August 2011.
260 chefs making up at least 50 teams from 40 countries participated at venues around South Africa providing demonstrations and cooking up a storm, many times holding kids' cooking workshops around the country, all for a good cause. Their efforts raised over R8million!
This will enable them to feed over 500 African children every day for the next 5 years. Well known South African singer and songwriter, PJ Powers supported the campaign with her emotionally moving song “Sing Children Sing”. You can download the song for a cost of R10-00 by dialling 31755 which will donate the full amount to the charity.
The international chefs also had a number of their jackets signed by all the other chefs to commemorate the event and then auctioned them off donating the proceeds to the charity.
Following on from that, Jacky Weaver from Masithandane spoke about the recent crisis that has arisen in our local community. She told us that until recently a government grant from Social Development was given to Masithandane who acted as a conduit by supplying groceries, gas, electricity and stipends to places like BADISA, Child Welfare, the Knysna Methodist Church and Masithandane itself to feed 1800 people 1 meal 3 times a week.
600 of those people were adults and 1200 were children. Half of those children were found in the greater Sedgefield area i.e. Smutsville, Sizamile, Karatara, Fairview, Elandskraal and Farleigh.
Now the department has insisted their grant feed only adults. The reason given is that it is the parents’ responsibility to feed their children. The reality is many parents are alcoholics. Many are on drugs.
Government says there are feeding schemes at the schools – but many schools in the Masithandane cluster,do not. There are some instances where children are kept at home to look after siblings and don’t get to attend school. The result is there are many children suffering from mal-nourishment because they’re not getting even 1 meal a day.
Masithandane is helping as much as it can. It costs about R2-50 to provide a meal like soup and a sandwich, samp and beans, or chicken and vegetables. We can help by contributing non-perishable foods like rice, Oros, tinned fish, packets of soup etc.
It is tragic to think that there are children in our vicinity who wake up in the morning not knowing if they will get any food to eat that day! Hungry children cannot concentrate or learn at school so the cycle of poverty is perpetuated.
Timberlake Owner, Tevon Thom spoke next about his willingness to support the idea of community around food. Just as Facebook has been influential in motivating political change, the “slow food” concept can lead to a vast improvement in the way food is produced.
He said it is worth giving thought to the fact that the longer a food item is able to sit on a shelf indicates how processed it is and how much preservative it has in it. This also means how removed it is from being a natural product our bodies recognise as food. Often things that are cheap and taste good have a high fat content, flavourants and added salt that can lead to higher health costs down the line.
Highly processed or unnatural foods cause a reaction from our bodies’ autoimmune systems making them work overtime to remove the toxins we have ingested. This leads to tiredness and compromised health situations that can eventually lead to serious illness. See more about this topic Why Organic?
Tevon said that Raymond Auerbach from Nelson Mandela University told a gathering at Timberlake how Turkey started home vegetable gardens some years ago and that country now not only feeds itself but is a net exporter of organic food to the European market.
Tevon commented that he would like to encourage people to create home gardens and home gathering communities that meet regularly to exchange their produce. Stephan and Lindsay grow their own organic vegetables for the Zucchini restaurant. They are interested in purchasing vegetables from suppliers that don’t use synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers and can stagger their production over 3 weeks.
Healthy soils grow healthy crops that in turn lead to healthy people. He mentioned that it is for the good of all to support local farmers. You get the freshest produce without transport costs and the middleman’s cut and the small farmer can afford to farm his land in a sustainable way.
Tevon concluded that healthy outdoor activities go hand in hand with healthy food and to that end an interesting hiking trail is being built at Timberlake to induce adults and children to take part in some good outdoor exercise.
Mike is an enthusiastic home brewer of many kinds of beer from ale to stout and those in-between. As he explained, each batch is unique being not scientifically formulated. The taste of the next batch of ale for example will not taste the same as the one before.
He doesn’t do consistency, he said quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds……….” Emerson believed that people do many things without thinking about why they do them so actions become a useless ritual, irrationally followed without good reason which frequently prevent people from attaining self-reliance and independent thought.
Mike said that home brewed ales should not be cooled down to temperatures of 4-5 degrees Celsius as this destroys their flavours. Natural home brewed ales have subtle fruity earthy flavours derived from the hops and yeast. He showed us several ales including a blond one that he wants to call the “Southern Right Ale”.
The Porters – named for the fellows who used to push the barrows down the London streets, have a chocolaty, toasty flavours but it’s all about experimentation. There are around 87 different styles (types) of beer dependent on the different strains of yeast, the hops used and the barley malt which can also be done by the home brewer.
He showed us a Belgian Double saying that the Belgians brew the most interesting beer in the world but Americans are the most innovative. Mike's beer had been in the bottles 5 months and should remain in another 7 but it shouldn’t really be touched for 3 years. The flavours change and develop over time to become creamy, with subtle tones of cherries and bananas.
He cautioned us not to spit out the beer when it is tasted. It’s not wine. The lace (mark) left on the glass when the beer has been drunk is an indication of its quality.
Mike said there is now the “Brewers of Eden Homebrew Club.” They get together the 2nd Tuesday of every 2nd month at 6pm at Timberlake to socialise, share recipes, give advice, learn from each other, etc. The next meeting is in October.
After Mike’s talk guests were able to sample the various home brews he’d brought along as the Timberland Slow Food feast was laid out. Colin got busy making a scrambled Ostrich egg. One egg is equivalent to 2 dozen regular (25gm) chicken eggs. It is possible to cut the shell carefully in half and used the halves as bowls!
Today the meal at the Timberlake workshop consisted of several boboties, Smoorsnoek –(the snoek was smoked), Savoury samp stuffed Gemsquash, separate Ostrich heart and neck casseroles, homemade tomato chutney, banana and tomato and onion side dishes, Pap (mealie-meal) tart, yellow rice and Samp. Rob from Eat Restaurant cooked a tasty Ostrich Tail casserole. Stephan – Zucchini’s chef, Stephan produced a wonderful dish of Frikkadels, mashed potato and roasted vegetables – carrots, zucchini and beetroot.
The equally delicious desserts that followed included a Peppermint Tart, Milk Tart, Baked Pumpkin Fritters and Malva Pudding. What a feast!
Our thanks to Tevon of Timberlake and to Stephan for allowing us to use Zucchini as a venue, to all the speakers and to our inimitable Chef Colin who brings it all together on the day!
Timberlake is a village of specialist Cabins: Sugar & Spice, Cheese, Wine, Health Shop, Faerie Gem, Eden Nursery, Zucchini restaurant for hearty country style meals, Country Deli for traditional South African takeaways, and Oyster Shack for fresh wild coastal oysters.
It also has extensive kids facilities: race track, jungle gym, trampoline, friendly goats, Fantasy Garden walk and much more... the best way to enjoy the Garden Route.
Bidvest’s World Chefs Tour against hunger was held in August 2011. Founded by Dr Billy Gallager - a culinery legend, and spearheaded by Bidvest and many other corporate sponsors, it was a 10 day tour by teams of International Chefs who came to South Africa to raise funds for various charities who feed children in impoverished circumstances.