The Lazy Makoti gives us a sneak peek into her new book as she celebrates Garden Day
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Today is National Garden Day!
South Africans across the country are set to celebrate their unique green spaces and gardens in every shape and size.
National Garden Day is a chance for people across the country to down tools and celebrate their gardens. Everyone can take part, regardless of the size of their gardens – rolling lawns, potted window sills, urban rooftops, and patio planters – all are welcome.
To celebrate, Garden Day has enlisted a crew of enthusiastic amateur and professional gardeners to help inspire others. A legendary home chef and home gardener, Mogau Seshoene – also known as The Lazy Makoti – is looking forward to sharing the day with her family.
As always, the symbol for Garden Day is a flower crown and Seshoene is just one of this year’s Garden Day ambassadors who will be wearing this crown. She tells us that she will be pulling out all the stops for a family celebration.
“We will be wearing home-made flower crowns and I will prepare a herb rainbow couscous salad, using fresh ingredients from the garden for everyone to enjoy as we toast this special day,” Seshoene says.
She says it is lovely to grow your own food even if it is herbs, there is a sense of pride from seeing them thrive. Plus, you know exactly what is in them. She buys them as seedlings making them even easier to care for.
Asked about the things she has learned about growing her own produce, she says that it is simple and does not require that much space; a balcony or kitchen windowsill is enough.
Seshoene is also set to launch her new cookbook titled Hosting with The Lazy Makoti: A celebration of food, next week. The cookbook has 11 chapters of delicious food – everything from breakfasts, weekday dinners, weekend grub, plant-based, and sweet treats. It’s available on Loot.co.za for R235.
She says during lockdown people were cooking more than ever, and she would get on Instagram live daily to cook with hundreds of people in their own kitchens.
Seshoene says that reignited a love for teaching and sharing easy but delicious recipes, and it also afforded her a chance to also double down and test countless recipes and start pulling them together to make this book. She is so proud of it.
“The cookbook was very much inspired by my community, at a time where all our voices were taken away and all we had was food, that food had to be good, really good,” she says.
During the lockdown, fine-dining chefs who you would expect to find plating a five-course feast had to diversify and innovate, bringing a new wave of more casual offerings to the contemporary dining scene.
It is no secret that innovation in food and beverage is more important than ever. Businesses, including restaurants, have suffered across the world. Despite that, chefs have marched forward, armed with culinary excitement, to win back customers.
Over the months, we have seen a growing trend towards diversification, what we might call fine-casual; less formal offerings that are more about everyday dining than special celebrations, but with the level of quality, ingredient, and attention to detail you would expect from fine dining.
Seshoene says it is an exciting time where local cuisine is beginning to favour their own unique palates and ingredients. She says young chefs are really rising to the occasion to celebrate sometimes forgotten food and recipes from their heritage.
“I just feel like the lockdown is what we all needed. That connection. Once, we lost everything, all we had was each other and it felt extremely comforting to still ‘be together apart’.
“For me, social media has really transformed and made simple avenues to connect with people. I rely very heavily on learning from social media. It is a mine of information and it pays to just listen. I learnt to garden and I kept the plants alive which is something I am so proud of. Next, I will be tackling bigger produce,” Seshoene says.
When you eat foods that are in season, they are not only more affordable, but they are also fresher and packed with the highest amount of flavour and nutritional value.
The Lazy Makoti suggests you say goodbye to stews and slow cookers, and start blasting away those extra winter kilograms with these spring foods.
Watermelon is always refreshing. It can be enjoyed in a salad with mint, feta, and balsamic vinegar or on its own.
This is the vegetarian favourite. If Southern-fried it can taste chicken-esque (LOL), or roasted whole in the oven it is a perfect showstopper on any table.
Stone Fruit is great in salad and is sweet and savoury. Slice it and add to a cheeseboard.
Berries are also in season which is important as in-season produce is fresher and tastes better, as it has been naturally ripened and harvested at the right time.
Eating them in-season makes for a more well-rounded and balanced diet. Grapes support your body’s natural nutritional needs.
This article was first published in Sunday Insider, Oct 17, 2021