click on the orange RSS feed above to get this newsletter delivered to your email
In this weeks newsletter we look at making compost which is a very simple process. If you throw the stuff in the dustbin it will be wasted and end up in an expensive and undesirable landfill site, where it will do no good at all. The result of composting is a free supply of the best possible soil improvement material for your garden and an alternative to all the expensive artificial fertilisers and peat. BUT, ISN'T IT COMPLICATED? Nah, not really, we explain below in our 'Green ideas for your home'. We also visit the new Neighbourgoods Market. The Johannesburg version of the Biscuit Mill is finally open! In keeping with their commitment to urban regeneration and the goal to revive and reinvent the Public Market as a civic institution, they have chosen a venue in the heart of the city precinct of Braamfontein. Market-goers can expect the same high standards of quality and experience that have become the benchmark of the cape town market. We also highlight the use of Avocados in this weeks Food Tip.
Wickedfood Cooking School News
Our individual cooking class programmes are up on the internet. Click the link for the appropriate month – October
Week 1 – 03 October to 09 October
Monday 03 October at 6pm – Spicy Thai (R380pp for the class). Thai cuisine places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. Thai cuisine is also known for being quite spicy as well as balancing the four fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, and (optional) bitter. Learn how to balance these tastes in our Thai cooking class. Dishes include Minced pork northern style, Spicy chicken soup, Deep-fried fish in a garlic sauce, Sweet and sour vegetables, Stir-fried noodles and Sweet rice pudding
Sunday 09 October at 4pm – Spanish peasant cooking (R380pp for the class). Learn to cook with the robust flavours of the Spanish countryside in this Spanish cooking class. Spanish food reflects this vast country's turbulent history, diverse geography and Mediterranean culture. The class includes fried calamari, chourizo and cheese fritters, garlic soup, butterflied lamb, hot chourizo salad, and fried cream.
Week 2 – 10 to 16 October
Monday 10 October at 6pm – Making pasta sauces (R370pp). Tired of the same old pasta sauces? Come learn some new ones in our pasta cooking class. Delicious, no-fuss, easy sauces for pasta, including raw tomato sauce with ricotta cheese, rocket pesto, vodka tomato cream, ham and mascarpone, and ragù with nuts and mushrooms.
Week 3 – 17 to 23 October
Monday 17 October at 6pm – Easy to prepare Italian dishes (R380pp). Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity, abundance of difference in taste, and is known to be one of the most popular in the world. The main characteristics of Italian cuisine is its extreme simplicity. Dishes and recipes are often the creation of grandmothers rather than of chefs, and this makes many recipes ideally suited for home cooking. This is one of the main reasons behind the ever increasing popularity of this cuisine. Join us in this Italian cooking class for an introduction to Italian cuisine including tomato pizza, bean and pasta soup, cannelloni, grilled fish, bean salad and lemon tart.
Sunday 23 October at 4pm – Outdoor Cooking – beef class (R395pp). A braai is essentially a traditional way of preparing a meal on the open fire. It has evolved to take on many forms since early pioneering days – from a wood fire to the use of charcoal and gas. Today a variety of BBQ shapes and cooking surfaces allows for exciting and innovative methods of meal preparation. It is unquestionably the most enticing, easy and informal way to entertain. Join us in learning the Delicious secrets for cooking beef on kettlebraais and gas barbecues in our Outdoor cooking class. Dishes covered in this class include spicy beef burgers, secret of cooking the ultimate steak, prime rib roast, and Béarnaise sauce.
Green ideas for your Home:
Our Sustainable World: Composting
It's all based on natural processes that ensure most living things that die rot away (or decompose). The world is full of organisms that feed on dead material, breaking it down to products at the foot of the food-chain – they are Nature's Recyclers. Wherever you find dead things you'll find a concentration of them doing their job. In composting we simply utilise their natural abilities to turn waste vegetable matter into a nutrient rich humus which you can add to your garden soil to boost it's growing power, improve it's structure and moisture content.
You don't need any fancy equipment to begin a compost heap. Start in an out-of the-way spot in your garden on bare soil, not on paving or concrete, and simply start to build a heap from all of your waste vegetable material. It's best to start off with a course layer of prunings, bark and twigs to allow air to enter the heap more easily (more of that later). You can knock together a rudimentary three-sided frame out of old pallet wood to hold the heap in place and help it's efficiency or you can make your heap in an old plastic dustbin with the bottom cut off.
Once the heap has reached a reasonable size, those tiny organisms will really get to work. In
fact they work so hard that the temperature in the middle of your heap can reach 70ºC within two or three weeks (although it is more usual to find temperatures of around 50ºC). It will take four to eighteen months (depending on conditions) before your heap is ready to add to your garden soil. You'll know when it's ready when it's dark in colour and has a sweet earthy smell. Of course, the recently added material at the top of the heap won't be ready yet, so simply use the stuff from the bottom of the heap and put the rest back to continue.
WHAT CAN I COMPOST?
- Fruit and vegetable peelings
- prunings and broken-up twigs
- Grass cuttings
- Cut flowers
- Autumnal leaf falls
- Horse, rabbit, pigeons & chicken manures
- Feathers, hair and fur
- Tea leaves/bags and coffee grounds
- Shredded wood/branches
- Crushed egg shells
- Shredded newspaper
WHAT SHOULDN'T I COMPOST?
- Meat, meat products, fish or cheese
- Cooked scraps or scrapings
- Persistent weeds or weeds in seed
- Diseased plants
- Soot or coal ash
- Human faeces or used nappies
- Pet litter or pet waste
- Metal, glass, plastic, artificial textiles
IS THERE ANY SPECIAL MAINTENANCE?
The micro-organisms and bacteria that turn your heap into compost require three things: vegetable matter, moisture and air. Excluding air means that you'll encourage “anaerobic” organisms to get to work and turn your heap into a smelly, slimy mess. So one essential bit of heap maintenance is “turning”. This means turning the heap over with a garden fork once every fortnight to mix and aerate it.
Your compost heap needs to be kept moist, but not wet, so keep it covered to keep out the rain and water it a little if it becomes too dry.
Heat is essential for rapid maturing of the heap. The heat is self-generated by the organisms as they break down the vegetable material, but the heat may be easily lost in cold weather. You can help by covering the heap with old carpets as the days get colder.
Things that will help accelerate the composting process are nettles (especially young ones, but avoid putting the roots in), chicken manure and human urine.
Food tip of the week:
Avocados will not ripen on the tree. They must be picked from the tree to initiate ripening. The leaves supply a substance that prevents ripening. The best way to store avocados is to leave them on the tree; they will store for 7 months or more when left on the tree.
• Storage below 4 degrees C or above 21 degrees C will cause rot.
• Some varieties will spoil below 10 degrees C.
• Ripen at room temperature (15 – 21 degrees C), then store at 7 degrees C.
Depending upon type and variety, avocados vary greatly in shape, size, and colour. Most tend to be pear-shaped, but some are almost spherical. Fruits weighing under 200g are most commonly available. Some have rough or leathery textured skin, while others have smooth skin. The skin colour of most varieties is some shade of green, but certain varieties turn maroon, brown, or purplish-black as they ripen.
Despite this variation in appearance, avocados are of good eating quality when they are properly ripened, becoming slightly soft. This ripening process normally takes from 3 to 5 days at room temperature for the quite firm avocados usually found in food stores. Ripening can be slowed by refrigeration.
Look for: For immediate use, select slightly soft avocados which yield to gentle pressure on the skin. For use in a few days, buy firm fruits that do not yield to the squeeze test. Leave them at room temperature to ripen.
Irregular light-brown markings are sometimes found on the outside skin. These markings generally have no effect on the flesh of the avocado.
Avoid: Avocados with dark sunken spots in irregular patches or cracked or broken surfaces. These are signs of decay.
An extra tip: When preparing avocados, to avoid the browning of avocado flesh when exposed to air, immediately place the peeled fruit in lemon juice until ready for use.
Avocados are about 22% fat, with the average medium size avocado containing 300 calories and 30 grams of fat.
Avocados are loaded with nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and folate. They're also cholesterol and sodium free. Avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas. This fruit is an excellent source of monounsaturated fat.
Interesting places in Joburg:
NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET JOHANNESBURG
The market runs every saturday, come rain or shine form 9:00 – 15:00. There is also a calender of special events throughout the year such as the We Love RealBeer Festival and the forthcoming Barrel & Vine. Participating taredrs include: &Union breweries, Origin artisan coffee roasters and Nigiro tea’s, Fine & Raw chocolates, Richard Bosman & The Charcuterie, Buffalo Ridge mozzarella & Lazanou organic vineyards. If you consider yourself a foodie or self proclaimed Ramsay when it comes to the kitchen or a maker of specialty artisan goods you can now apply for trade by filling in the trader application on their website.
The Wickedfood Team
Wickedfood Cooking School runs classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking school. Cooking lessons are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.
Our cooking courses are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and team building cooking classes, these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients. Great Team building ideas.