Foraging is an intrinsic part of our heritage, an art that needs to be practised sustainably. For the Veldfood food story in our June issue Sonja, Francois and I went to visit Solms-Delta wine farm’s Dik Delta Fynbos Culinary Gardens to learn more on the subject. Our guide for the day was gardener Ryan O’Grady, supported by Fyndraai Chef, Shaun Schoeman.
As sustainability has moved into the spotlight worldwide, it has reawakened an interest in indigenous foods – and foraging for them. So these days, top restaurants are cultivating their own wild ingredients to create unique menus – from Noma in Denmark’s Copenhagen to Fyndraai at Solms Delta in the Western Cape.
Fyndraai restaurant specialises in food inspired by the Cape’s genuine food traditions. Afrikaner boerekos (18th century Old Cape fare influenced by Dutch, French, German and slave practices), was mixed with ingredients first used by the Khoi nomads who settled in the Franschhoek valley 2 000 years ago. The need to preserve this veldkos was the genesis for the Veldfood Garden.
Isn’t it beautiful!
We twisted Chef Shaun Schoeman’s arm to share two quick recipes with us.
Photographer Francois and I got to taste this succulent little salad, a great accompaniment to pan-fried lamb chops or fish.
• A good handful freshly picked Spekboom sprigs
• 5ml finely chopped wild garlic
• 200ml cherry tomatoes, halved
• A handful citrus buchu, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add 30ml olive oil. Fry the wild garlic and tomatoes for 10 seconds and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the citrus buchu leaves and stir-fry for another 10 seconds. Add the spekboomleaves last and toss until coated with oil. Heat gently for 20-30 seconds more. Sprinkle lemon over and serve.
• 2 handfuls sorrel, rinsed and chopped
• 6 sprigs wild garlic
• 1 small pickle onion, very finely chopped
• 150ml cream
• 50g butter
• 100ml white wine
• 5ml vinegar (white)
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and fry the garlic and onion in 30ml olive oil until it starts to colour. Add the white wine and reduce by half. Stir in the cream and vinegar and reduce by half again. Stir in the herbs and whisk well. Taste for seasoning and add a dash of lemon juice. Lastly whisk in the butter to give the sauce a nice sheen.
Delicious served with freshwater fish like salmon trout or with vegetable dishes instead of hollandaise sauce. The tartness would also perfectly partner a roast chicken.
Interested in trying authentic heritage food from the farm? Try Fyndraai’s special heritage menu – just remember to pre-book; call 021 874 3937 ext 115.
By the way, the Dik Delta preserves, combined with Solms Delta wines with names like Gemoedsrus, Vastrap and Fyndraai make the prettiest gifts!