Meet Bheki | A grower of goodness in South Africa

Bheki outside the spinach polytunnel

There are a series of poly tunnels that sit brimming with good stuff on the edge of the community of Amaoti in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Amaoti is characterised in part by poverty and all the different traps that that relates to; unemployment, poor housing, low sanitation and malnutrition (among other things).

But boy is there community here and jees is there good stuff coming out of a space that faces huge challenges. I met some of the folk who are part of a movement implicating change here as part of the Domino Foundation team. They grow goodness in the ground that contributes to a goodness on the ground as huge numbers of orphans are fed daily from food made up of this freshly grown veg. 

Here’s Bheki, one of the team, telling his tale…

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Rosemary & Lemon Body Scrub

Handmade Rosemary & Lemon body scrubMaking rosemary & lemon body scrubExfoliating hands with a handmade rosemary & lemon body scrubA handsome pot of handmade rosemary & lemon body scrub

Four ingredients plus a jam jar and you’ve got yourself a sweet scrub to exfoliate that temple of yours.

Boom.

My brilliant friend from over at Sailing Words and I went for a rosemary and lemon infused body scrub because that’s what we found in her wild South African garden when we got together a little while back. It’s literally that simple; you can pop any good smelling thing from the wilds, your garden or kitchen cupboard in to this scrub-a-dub-rub.

Grab a hunk of sugar that matches the amount you want to make (unbleached and fairtrade for the win). Choose your oil – we went for coconut but you could use olive, almond or any other type you have in your cupboard. Add scents that your nose will love, such as rosemary leaves and the zest and juice of a lemon. Mix all these guys together and that’s you done. If you wanted to make it a more abrasive scrub for some serious exfoliation then use less oil, adding more if you are looking for a more soothing, moisturising type scrub. 

Lemon and rosemary don’t only work well with your dinner dish- they are natural gems with properties that make them a great addition to homemade and homegrown delights like this scrub. Rosemary is said to be a great soother for muscle pain as well as for skin irritations like eczema. And lemons, well lemons are good for skin ailments like eczema and acne too, as well as being an unparalleled go-to for energising your wary self and getting your mornings off to a fresh start.

To use, just scoop some in to your palm when in the bath or shower and rub it into your skin in a circular motion, washing off when you have given yourself a good scrubbing.

In a nutshell what you have here is a pretty cheap, easy, good for you body scrub that makes a cracking present to yourself ( + all other people). And technically it’s edible too…

Meet Mehmet | Foraging, slow food & sharing from a mountainside in Cyprus

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Those are carob pods between Mehmets hands.

Four seeds from the pods found on the carob tree, of which one ancient one stands among Mehmets olive grove, is equal to one carat. Those seeds define an age-old way of measuring and establishing the value of precious stones and metals. That pod contains a sweet elixir too- it ups the blood count and goes gloriously well in a traditional cake (which I can vouch is made excellently by Mehmets mother)…

Mehmet is full of these nature infused gems- a natural byproduct of a childhood spent foraging with his grandfather on a mountainside in Cyprus where I was lucky to spend a few sweet days recently.

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Wild Garlic Pesto | A foraged how-to

Wild GarlicWild garlic carpets the woodland floorA filled foraging basketWild Garlic Pesto IngredientsA jar of wild garlic pesto

Hello spring! How’s about a little recipe to kick us off with you…

The woodland floor is carpeted with this unfailingly recognisable bit of wild at the moment. The newest leaves are up and this garlic infusion to our country walks is set to stay this way for the next few months.

Wild garlic is an easy forage, making it a great way to kick off your foray into foraging if it’s your first go. It’s also pretty lovely because in these colder months when you have to work that bit harder to make the most out of nature’s larder, this one is in abundance and a pretty fail safe fella.

All you need to make a jar’s worth is 3 or 4 cups of wild garlic leaves, a good squeeze of lemon/lime, half a cup of pine nuts, a cup of parmesan and a few glugs of olive oil. Simply (and I mean simply), blend all of these ingredients together with a spot of seasoning and there you have it- an impressive garlic pesto.

The great thing about this recipe is that it really is down to your taste buds; add more citrus for that extra tangy zing or more pine nuts for a nutty undertone. You can also add more olive oil to make it in to more of a pasta sauce if that is your plan.

Anna Jones in her fab book ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ suggests you can mix any herb with any nut and a host of different accents to make a cracking pesto if you want to take your wild garlic up a pesto-y notch…

Before you crack on into the woods, baskets at the ready, a heads up- it is a pretty pokey one this and that strong wild smell is set to fill your house as you get your cook on but I promise it’s a worthy price for a jar of homemade foraged goodness.