Category Archives: cook

Hemp, hemp, the wonderful plant, the uses and the South African status thereof


image via wikipedia commons

We are rather fond of this plant. The non-psychoactive Cannabis species.  Sustainable.  Food, clothing, ropes, building – the list is long. Some history and uses of industrial hemp here, and more about the nutritional value of the seeds here – vegans take note.

The South African legal situation and business model regarding growing hemp appears to be in need of clarification. See here, here (.pdf) and here is more rather useful information.


image via wikipedia commons

Fortunately the plant has a champion in Tony Budden (Nominative determinism anyone?) of Hemporium SA. The site has an on-line shop and plenty of excellent information.  Inhabitat interviewed him, and here is more. We also enjoyed  this site. Find plenty of video goodness here about  building with hemp.

Building a sun-tracking solar cooker

sun tracking solar cookerNot for the faint-of-heart DIY-er, but perfectly possible for those of us blessed with more experience – TreeHugger has a look at the who and the how of doing this.

To quote: “[Instructable user Keith] created an insulated box (including two panels for mirrors, and removable back doors), mounted it to allow it to tilt and rotate (plopping it on a big Lazy Susan dealt with the rotation part), added a motor so it could move itself, and of course devised a simple but great solar panel system so that the unit could detect and track the sun.”

The page has a fine video of the cooker too, and more detail and instructions can be found on the Instructables site.

Investigating South African olive oil.

Apparently Jan van Riebeeck planted the first two cultivated olive trees at the Cape on his farm Boschheuvel in 1661. Then  In 1907 a farmer from Paarl received a gold medal for the ‘finest olive oil produced in the British Empire’ at the London Show. I discovered this at a lovely website called Olives Go Wild.

There are a number of producers in the Western Cape  – one of whom took top honours in an international competition in 2009. The following quote from an article on the site by Janine Erasmus sums it up:

Olive oil“South African olive oil producer Willow Creek Olive Estate  has taken top honours in the prestigious L’Orciolo d’Oro olive oil competition in Gradara, Italy – the world’s second biggest producer of olive oil. The competition took place at the end of June 2009. Willow Creek’s flagship Directors’ Reserve extra virgin olive oil won the intensely fruity category at this year’s competition, edging out the second- and third-placed Spanish oils that were its closest rivals.”

Fine indeed.