In a time where load shedding is in abundance (I honestly was so confused when it started again, I was sure that it finished in 2010), cooking food requires the art of planning ahead. This has not been my strong suit, I’m more of a cook when I’m hungry and enjoy it then. This was my downfall, and resulted in mind consuming hunger while I counted down the seconds until the power was back on. From this we reached a quick pesto pasta that was made bulkier by spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms and topped off with Happy Earth People Pasta . This isn’t the most inventive but I will tell you that it is a crowd pleasing quick-dinner when the cloud of load shedding is looming overhead.
The month of March has been dedicated to ‘being in Nature’, something that is becoming exceedingly difficult as I age. Being in nature has always reminded me of when I was young. It was the rule in our house that you weren’t allowed inside from 2 until 5:30 unless the sky was falling down (I did grow up in Joburg so this happened quite often). I’m slowly learning that this was the furtherest thing from a punishment but rather a blessing. My older siblings and I LOVED being outside, it was difficult to get us inside – we were children of the Earth. This meant that we had our yearly allotment of vitamin D over one week and were in excess well into our teenage years. In saying this, my nature was very much defined by a park with monkey bars and a slide and not the rough and tough natural wilderness that grows where it pleases.
My view of myself being the Earth Child Supreme was shattered by a tiny lamb. We were visiting my mum’s side of the family in Uganda and we were on my grans farm. Now, my cousins are the O.G earth beings, they understand nature better than anyone else including my siblings and I, the self-entitled Earth Children. It was early afternoon and we were running around, as children do on a farm. You had to keep out of reach from the goat who would bite and the mother sheep who were protecting their little lambs. Where the former instilled fear, the later was overcome by the overwhelming need for my cousins to love the new lambs. I was equally frightened of both and vehemently opposed their want to bottle feed them. Being the youngest unfortunately sets you up as an easy target and it became their mission to get me to hold the lamb. What ensued was the quickest fall from my elevated Earth-loving standard to the common kid who didn’t understand nature. The details are quite fuzzy , suppressed from my trauma no doubt, but it went something like this: cousins pick up a baby lamb and feed it, they slowly turn to me and say it is my turn, I shout no but that doesn’t stop them, they come creeping towards – careful not to scare me too soon, I was obviously scared and turn to run away, I trip going up the stairs and cut myself, my cousins and siblings laugh in the background -end scene. I still have the scar, battle wound from my heroic fight. Nevertheless I refused to go near the lambs for the rest of the holidays and I embraced my newfound identity of the not so earthy Earth child.
I don’t think I’ve fed a lamb since then but then again, would you blame me? Although I don’t have the farm to roam around in, Cape Town has the most beautiful and accessible natural playground.
I’ve made it my mission to spend at least 3 afternoons a week outside ,increasing it has been much easier with load shedding, and appreciating being in nature.
I’d love to hear what your favourite outdoor activities are! But enough of my sob story and onto the food, I give you my GREEN is nature Pesto Pasta, I hope you enjoy! X
Green is nature: Pesto Pasta
Cooking time: 30 minutes
• Exotic tomatoes, cut in half
• Balsamic vinegar
• Mushrooms sliced
• A handful of basil leaves
• A handful of baby spinach
• A handful of cashews , or pine nuts if you prefer
• Olive oil
• 1 box of Happy Earth People Pasta – lentil or chickpea, both are delicious
- Dry roast the cashews on a pan until they a brown, careful that the don’t burn about 5 minutes
- With a pestle and mortar, add the roasted cashews, basil leaves, spinach leaves, salt, lemon, garlic and Olive oil and grind until it is a pesto consistency
- Heat a pan on low-medium heat and layer the tomatoes face down, sprinkle with salt and let simmer for 10 minutes or until softened. When soft, increase the heat and pour balsamic vinegar over the tomatoes and mix.
- Put the balsamic vinegar tomatoes in a bowl
- In the same pan, pour out any excess juices and place back on the heat. Add a splash of olive oil, the mushrooms and salt and cook for about 10 minutes until softened, add a table spoon of the pesto and mix until it is well coated.
- Add to the mushrooms to the tomatoes and mix
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook the Happy Earth People Pasta according to the package.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve a mug of cooking water.
- Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes and mushrooms, pesto and some pasta water to your pan and mix until well combined and warmed.