“Mnandi” a Taste of Mphophomeni

Mnandi - a taste of Mphophomeni
Mnandi book cover

Mnandi book cover

Mnandi – A taste of Mpophomeni, Recipe Book Launched

Seasonal cooking is never a chore. It is a joy. It is a celebration of colour and flavour, of the time of the year, of the love lavished by the gardener and cook.

In Mpophomeni township in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, joy is a fundamental part of living. Here food is grown from the heart, meals are meant to be shared and stories are told with pride. In this book of fresh garden food, the people with their hands in the soil and their creative customers share their delight in seasonal produce. This is colourful food that celebrates community and the environment.

Savour Sthembile Mbanjwa’s handmade lasagne with just picked spinach, try Tutu Zuma’s sun-cooked rhubarb stew and make Ntombenhle Mtambo’s famous vetkoek or her favourite crunchy fennel and orange salad. Customers at the Mpophomeni Community Garden, Caroline Bruce, Oaklands County Manor, shares her recipe for Sauerkraut while Kate Chanthunya of Rondavel Soap shows us how to make a salad dressing using maas. The imifino (wild greens) section will encourage you to take a whole new look at the abundant greenery in your veggie beds.

Anna Trapido, author of Hunger for Freedom – the Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela: “We are what we grow, cook and eat. Mpophomeni’s gardeners and cooks are an example of what South Africa can and should be. Through the pages of this delightful book readers will come to love and admire a remarkable and resilient community. The recipes so generously offered are not only delicious but also inspiring and insightful – each one allows a reader to taste a piece of the story.”

Mnandi (which translates as ‘tasty’) will inspire you to take part in the magical process of growing and preparing food that is good for you and good for the planet too. Each season features food that is at its best right then – ideas for making the most of abundant beetroot, spinach or pumpkin – some familiar, some unusual. Need a recipe to deter pests or boost your immune system? You will find them too! Ntombenhle Mtambo, inspiration behind the Mpophomeni Community Garden, is adamant that eating more plants is good for you. “Food is your doctor – the vitamins and minerals found in plants help prevent illness and promote healing. These recipes are ideal for people who want to eliminate meat from their diet for health reasons or are trying to balance their budget.”

Bom Bean Stew cooked in a wonderbag.

Bom Bean Stew cooked in a wonderbag.

Bom Bean Stew 
• 1 cup dried big white beans
• 2 onions, chopped
• 2 carrots, chopped
• 2 potatoes, chopped
• 1 butternut, chopped
• 1 teaspoon curry power
• Stock (optional)
• Soak beans overnight in cold water.
• Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Put into Wonderbag to finish cooking for the rest of the day.
• When the beans are ready, fry onions, carrots, butternut and potatoes and add the cooked beans with some water or stock. Simmer for 15 minutes.


hmmmm sweet potatoes

hmmmm sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Mash with wilted greens
• Chop sweet potatoes and boil until soft – about 10 minutes (they cook quicker than ordinary potatoes).
• Mash with oil or butter.
• Serve with imifino relish or steamed spinach.
• Squeeze some lemon juice over the top and add plenty of salt and black pepper.

Mnandi has been compiled by Midlands based Nikki Brighton – writer, activist and ardent supporter of Mpophomeni Conservation Group.
Available at Mpophomeni Community Garden, Dovehouse Organic Farm Shop and Lazy Lizard Bookshop and the Howick Falls Tourist Office in Howick, Living it Green in Hilton, Three Tree Hill Lodge in Bergville, Oaklands Country Manor in Van Reenen, Tatham Art Gallery and Book World at Cascades in Pietermaritzburg, White Cottage Books in Nottingham Road.
Or order here: mnandisales@cowfriend.co.za 033 330 2134

Quotes from the book:
Ntombenhle Mtambo: “Teaching young people to grow food and medicine and become more self- sufficient is the most important thing we can do – but it must be fun.”
Penz Malinga: “With animal agriculture now the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, we all have change our lifestyles, and eating more vegetables is a great start.”
Lindiwe Mkhize: “I worry about the kids – they need fresh nutritious food and plenty of water, not white bread and horrible juice filled with colourants.”
Tutu Zuma: “My food forest and medicinal plant garden keeps me strong and healthy. I have never been hungry – I eat green food throughout winter.”
France Mtshali: “If you want to live a long life work hard, eat fresh, local food and lots of greens.”
Sthembile Mbanjwa: “It feels nice to pick your own food that you have grown with your hands and to save seeds for the next season.”
Mary Mlambo: “Many young people don’t understand how important growing good food is. They want to be pilots and doctors, but you can’t get food from a plane or hospital.”

Publication is sponsored by N3 Toll Concession. All money from sales is going directly to MCG projects – owl boxes, eco-benches, river clean ups, a recycling centre and food gardens for crèches.