This month we turn our attention to the magical world of mushrooms. At the top of the garden, next to the nursery, is our mushroom cellar. In this controlled environment our garden team grows flavourful mushrooms for the restaurants on the farm.
You know that slightly rushed, panicked feeling that characterises most of our lives? It is no excuse. Bees have it too, in fact they live to be only six or seven weeks old. What they achieve in so little time is remarkable. Through their masterful pollination skills and their sexy little dances, they are responsible for over one third of all the food we eat.
It’s believed that station commander Jan van Riebeeck planted the first quince trees in Africa from pips that he brought from Holland. Quince trees are often used as rootstock for other fruit trees. In our garden, we’ve grafted old-fashioned medlar trees onto some quince rootstock.
Although claimed by many, the origin of Kombucha remains a mystery. Most sources attribute this “magic tea” to the Chinese, dating back over 5000 years. We have to admit that a jar of fermenting Kombucha looks like a science experiment: however, the end-product is a deliciously refreshing drink with many alleged health benefits.
Preheat the oven to 175°C. In a bowl combine 125 g rolled oats, 25 g pistachio nuts, 25 g walnuts, 25 g pumpkin seeds, 15 g white and black sesame seeds, 5 ml fennel seeds, 2 ml crushed coriander seeds, 2 ml cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.
The seasonal breakfast at Babel has been voted as one of the "best hotel breakfasts in the world" by Condé Nast Traveler. This moreish granola is part of the daily offering on our breakfast table and has become a favourite among our hotel guests.
Harvest season is an exciting time on the farm. Both winemaker and chef eagerly await the ripening of our bounty of grapes, the first of which is the crop of Chardonnay. The harvest is divided up to be used to great effect in the cellar and Babel kitchen respectively.
Spring is so close you can almost touch it, but the crispness in the air still calls for cosy nights in. In wintertime, our guests are kept warm by the blackcurrant and spice notes in Babel, our much-loved red wine blend, and, of course, staying close to the wood fire.