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Garden Day gourmet

Plan your Garden Day feast with these delectable, garden-inspired recipes that are easy enough for anyone to make. Put your garden or potted plants to work decorating your dishes with edible flowers, herbs, fruit, and veggies for a Garden Day spread to remember on Sunday, 11 October. Tag #GardenDaySA and show us what you’re serving up.

Nthabiseng Ramaboa, or Chef Nti as she’s known among foodies, is passionate about keeping our rainbow nation’s food stories alive. While her travels have taken her around the world, we’re delighted to have her back on home soil where she’s reinventing proudly South African dishes with a modern twist.

Photo credit: Marijke Willems Photography

For Chef Nti, ginger beer is reminiscent of Christmas mornings and celebrations in Soweto. Here she shares what has become a staple at her restaurant, The Taste Kitchen in Gauteng. Put homemade goodness on your Garden Day menu with this refreshing summer drink. Add fresh pineapple to elevate this cocktail from utterly moreish to pure magic.

For even more flavour, serve this with slices of fresh ginger. Add ice or drink it slightly warmer – either way works beautifully. Bottoms up!

Ingredients

  •   625g sugar 
  •   250g, chopped ginger
  •   150g, chopped lemongrass 
  •   4 litres water 
  •   2 lemons
  •   10g yeast
  •   1, cut into squares pineapple 

Method

  • Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large pot.
  • Add the lemongrass, ginger, and sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve.
  • Add the remaining water, lemon juice, zest, and yeast.
  • Rest the mixture for 10 to 12 hours.
  • Strain the ginger beer and refrigerate.
  • Serve with fresh pineapples squares.

Garden-style focaccia bread

Host an intimate Garden Day celebration and break bread with close family and friends. Food photographer and stylist Angelique Booysens (@theGoodRoots) is all about cooking healthy dishes with sustainable ingredients, ideally straight from your garden. Forage herbs and other edible plants from your green space to create this tasty work of art.

Photo credit:@theGoodRoots

Angelique’s homemade focaccia bread is not only hearty and delicious but also exceptionally versatile. Wrap this Italian staple in a tea towel and serve up a picnic snack that looks as good as it tastes, or wow your guests at lunch with this perfect side for a crisp green salad. There is no end to the ways you can enjoy this focaccia.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups & 2 tbsps cake/ bread flour
  • 2 tsps dry active yeast
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 5 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt

Garnish options to make it your own

  •   rosa or sundried tomatoes
  •   peppadews
  •   thyme
  •   chives
  •   rosemary
  •   capers
  •   dill
  •   olives

Method

  • Pour the water in a bowl and sprinkle in the yeast, followed by the sugar. Gently stir and set aside for 10 minutes until the mixture starts to bubble.
  • Add the flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix the dough with your hands or the paddle attachment on your mixer for 5 minutes. The dough should be sticky to the touch.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean surface dusted with flour. Stretch and fold the dough a few times to create air pockets. The dough should now be soft, smooth, and slightly less sticky to the touch.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Set aside for 1 hour or overnight to rise and double in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 220°C. Drizzle olive oil onto a baking tray and scoop the dough into the tray. Stretch the dough until it reaches the sides and more or less fits the tray. 
  • Poke holes in the dough with your fingers and drizzle it with olive oil and coarse sea salt.
  • Use your favourite combination of garnish options to create your own garden scape on the surface. Lightly press any ingredients into the dough to stay put.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Enjoy as an appetizer, side dish, or a pizza base.

The exciting part is embellishing your recipes with fresh ingredients straight from your own garden. Want some advice on how to do this? Download Candide, a garden community app, where you’ll find lots of information, as well as an extensive knowledge base of plants, plant identification, growing tips and recipe ideas. 

On Sunday 11 October, Garden Day will host its first Virtual Garden Day Gathering with a host of events, including more garden-inspired gourmet cooking via Zoom and Facebook Live. The final programme and details will be released on Gardenday.co.za at the start of October. 

You can also visit Gardenday.co.za for a handy toolkit to help you plan the perfect virtual celebration, including downloadable invitations.

Catch news, updates, inspiration and more garden-style recipes right here and at @GardenDaySA on Candide, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. Tag your posts with @GardenDaySA and #GardenDaySA to share your green celebration with friends, family, and fellow plant lovers online.