An interview with famous forager from the Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Roushanna Gray.
What can you not live without in your kitchen?
The fireplace, and all my jars of spices and herbs, dried seaweeds and flowers, salts and mushrooms to add “seasons” into my cooking.
Do you have a favourite foraging spot?
West Coast in spring is pretty delicious. When we visit as a family we hardly take any fresh veg but rather collect wild greens and seaweeds. A visit to Kobus van der Merwe’s restaurant Wolfgat in Paternoster is a great way of experiencing the strandveld flavours.
Do you have a fantasy food holiday destination?
Too many! I have a bucket list of places to visit for various different wild foods – capers in Greece, truffles in France, cloud berries in Finland, fireweed flowers in Vancouver Island to mention a few. But first there is SO much to explore and document in South Africa.
Where do you get inspiration from? Do you have a cookbook Bible?
I draw inspiration from personal sensory experiences and being in nature. I do have a slight obsession with new and second hand cookbooks though! There is always a rotating pile next to my bed. At the moment I am reading “Under the Olive” by Eve Palmer , “Cape Cookery” by C.Louis Leipoldt “Living on the Earth” by Alicia Bay Laurel.
What would your ideal foraged supper be?
A mussel pot cooked over the fire an the beach with friends and family.
What food trends of the moment do you absolutely love and why?
I am loving that indigenous edible plants are finally making their way onto a lot more menus and that seaweeds are getting the limelight they deserve.
When it comes to creativity in the kitchen, what advice would you give novices?
Play with your food!
Fresh ingredients are important in your cooking. Do you have a favourite?
It all depends on what season it is – but edible flowers usually feature in most of my meals!
Have you ever discovered a brilliant new way to make something as a result of a flop? What was it?
Always – Just the other day I made a green smoothie out of loads of different edible weeds and greens from the garden which tasted revolting! So I added a bit of sea salt and poached an egg in it – its my new favourite breakfast.
Best farmers market?
My own garden! We try and produce as much of our own food as we can and grow veggies, herbs, some fruits and have chickens, ducks, goats, pigs and a small milking herd of sheep.
A citrus buchu gin and tonic in the veld or a filthy dirty west coast martini by the sea.