Monday, August 29, 2016


A rare moment of  cheffiness                                                                                                                                                       UHG 
Springtime in Cape Town is when the wild sorrel is at it’s cheerful best, it’s also when the loquats are yellowing.

“Why not make a little something,” said Pooh and we all agreed.

Oxalis pes-capnea (Sour Suck)                     UHG
Oxalis something-or-other                        UHG
At this time of year if you put on your foraging goggles, you’ll notice little yellow flowers everywhere. You’ll find ‘sour sucks’ (‘suurings’ in Afrikaans) along the verges of the roads, in open fields and even between the cracks in the pavement. They behave just like weeds, which is exactly what the much-loved rascals are. If you know Cape Town, you’ll know the flowers I’m talking about; the sour ones that made your eyes water and face crinkle when you chomped one as a kid. These mouth-puckering delights will have you eying your next victim even before you finish chewing the one you’ve got.  

  Another one… purple ones too. Oxalis something-or-other                                                                                          UHG
Pop the stems in water and place in sunlight; they'll open out for a lunchtime display (not a nighttime dish)     Illona

Cape Sorrel, as the flowers are commonly known, are not the only indigenous members of the Oxalis family. If you venture from the city limits you might find some of their colorful cousins, all who pack a similar sour punch; a punch that fits perfectly with Cape Town’s favorite sustainable fish, Snoek.

"Hmm… we need something sweet”, pondered Pooh.

Everyone knows that apricots together with smoked snoek is a thing of great deliciousness. Sadly the apricots are not ‘cotting’ at the moment, but the loquats are indeed ‘quatting’. Loquats, also known as ‘Japanese/Chinese Plumbs’ somehow made the epic journey from the East to the pointy part at the bottom of Africa, yet the delicate fruit itself can’t even survive the trip to our local markets without being damaged, so take care not to bruise them when you harvest your own.

Much underrated Loquats                                                                                                                                                       UHG
When foraging equip yourself with a top South African climber... Illona doing what she does best                           UHG
The dish is now starting to take shape…

Let's use those chickpeas in the fridge that have been patiently waiting for such an occasion as this. We will make a ‘Cape Malay’ style dressing with that spicy loquat chutney, some crème fraiche and wild garlic chives.

“Oh goodie!” exclaimed Pooh, “ I’m going to put it all together just like a poncey chef would…the way I like it best”. We all agreed.

Don't forget to include some fresh loquats (a squeeze of lemon will stop them browning)                                        UHG                                                                                               

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