Garden salad at Babylonstoren

Garden Salad at Babylonstoren

 

” This working farm is a fresh, chic whitewashed retreat with kitchen gardens to dazzle and happy chefs to fill your tummy.” Tatler.

 No words can describe  how overwhelmed I was when I stepped onto a piece of heaven called Babylonstoren, which means “The Tower of Babel”, lying at the foot of the Simonsberg mountains, Western Cape , South Africa. Here in the spectacular gardens, the climate is perfect for the cultivation of grapes, olives and an abundance of fruit, vegetables and herbs.  The Gardens are like a work of art, framed by the breathtaking mountain views.view from Babylonstoren

garden babylonstoren

Babylonstoren is a heritage site, and is one of the best preserved farmyards in the Cape Dutch Tradition.  The main house dates back to 1777, yet the  hotel, restaurant , greenhouse, bakery, charcuterie and larder are modern and classy.  The organic food garden spans eight acres in a formal design, with over 300 varieties of edible plants.  It is divided into fifteen clusters with vegetable areas, indigenous plants, bees, berries, a prickly pear maze, ducks and chickens. Visitors are free to wander the orchards and herb gardens, preserved fynbos, or lie on a chamomile lawn .  Food is picked fresh from  the gardens for the delicious meals served in the two restaurants Babel ( for which you have to book 3 months in advance ) and the Greenhouse.

 

Babel at Babylonstoren

Babel Restaurant

greenhouse babylonstoren

The Greenhouse

Quality fish is supplied by a local trout and salmon farm in the Franschoek Valley, which focuses on sustainable fish farming.  They are smoked with imported oak shavings to produce a variety of delicious smoky flavours.

Gardens of Babylonstoren

The salads are made from a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruit picked fresh each day from the gardens and adorned with edible flowers like calendula, waterblommetjie, elderflower, nasturtium and geranium.  Food reflects the colours of the season, as well as vegetable juices in orange, red or green.

Veges at Babylonstoren

Naturally fermented sourdough bread is available at the shop , and is visually so appealing, you cant resist buying a loaf. It is also served as sandwiches,  in the casual greenhouse restaurant.

Bread at babylonstore

When I was there it was baked around whole pears with gorgonzolo cheese, and others around whole onions and garlic.  Artisinal cheeses are brought in from a family run dairy farm in the area. Their cheese contains no preservatives, colourants or flavourants, and the milk is processed naturally.

shop at babylonstoren

When the gardens were first developed, shards of old Delft crockery were found deep within the soil, a reminder of the farms inhabitants of the 17th and 18th century.  It was then common practice to throw broken crockery onto the rubbish heaps in the garden, and many Cape Dutch farms are still unearthing this remnants today .  Babylonstoren has followed this theme throughout the gardens and restaurants with blue and white mosaics, resembling plates surrounding persimmon trees in the garden, and menus and placemats in blue and white,with delft teacups , crockery and tableclothes on display and for sale.

Delft at Babylonstoren

Delft inspired birdfeeder

Delft inspired birdfeeder

shop at babylonstoren

Because I believe in a world as a unified whole where each thing or creature has its place and function, and strive not to destroy or upset nature’s delicate balance, the thing that caught my eye , and which I loved the most, was the beautiful insect hotel.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit the Cape, this is one place you do not want to miss.

Insect hotel

 

Garden Salad at Babylonstoren
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 2
 
This recipe is adapted from the book Babel by Maranda Engelbrecht
Ingredients
  • Lettuce leaves,watermelon,peach,fig,cucumber,apple,carrot ,granadilla
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ roasted butternut
  • optional add blue cheese
  • Beetroot, shallot and Rasberry dressing :
  • one cooked beetroot
  • ½ shallot
  • 125ml white balsamic vinegar
  • 10ml honey
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup mashed raspberries
Instructions
  1. Roast the butternut with skin on.
  2. Cut Carrot and apple into batons
  3. Thinly slice red onion
  4. Slice cucumber lengthwise
  5. Layer lettuce, and add fruit and vegetables as per the image
  6. Dressing
  7. In a blender combine ½ cooked beetroot, ½ shallot, 125ml white balsamic vinegar and 10ml honey and blend until smooth.
  8. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  9. Remove from blender and add ½ cup mashed raspberries.
  10. Toss through.
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