Jane's Delicious Garden Blog

A Delicious Launch

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the October 17th, 2015

What a great turnout at Love Books for the launch of Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening. I was interviewed by Jenny Crwys-Williams and she was so enthusiastic about the book. Great welcome home!


Delicious Launch at Love Books 

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the October 17th, 2015

What a great turnout at Love Books for the launch of Jane’s Delicious Urban Gardening!  




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What to do with venison mince and fresh cabbage?

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 28th, 2015

My friend Guy is a hunter. And I am  a conscious carnivore – if I am going to eat meat I try and source it from an animal that has lived a natural life. (I used to say ‘a happy life’ but who am I to define an animal’s level of happiness?) Last weekend Guy gave me a bag of blesbok min. Tender, high in protein and low in fat, it is ideal for a bolognaise. But it can be quite rich. To leaven it I added mushrooms and creamy roast eggplant but then came the magic ingredient to add a fresh crunch to rich bolognaise: thinly sliced cabbage from the garden. After  placing the hot spaghetti in a bowl, I scattered the cabbage on top and then added the bolognaise sauce. A sprinkle of grated parmegiano and voila. A fantastic mix.  


Down Pmb memory lanes

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 24th, 2015

I grew up in Pietermaritzburg. My Dad’s pharmacy (Stephenson & Griffiths) was in Longmarket street, providing easy access to the warren of lanes between Longmarket and Church streets. Their names – Timber street, Theatre lane, Buchanan Street – bring back floods of memories.

Entertainment venues came and went. The Laager ice rink ran for a few years and we all became skating fanatics until it closed. I remember family outings to the Putt Putt course near the Bird Sanctuary and the Drive Inn, out past Epworth School. The Royal Show was a highlight. In those days we had the fairground, with its Big Dipper and Swings, that accompanied the show jumping, cattle arena and The Fudge Lady. The annual Azalea Festival, with its parade of floats and drummies through the city centre, and Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race were also never missed. We went to movies at the Grand Cinema (with its red velvet curtains and upstairs balcony) and the 20th Century, both long gone. Weekends were spent riding ponies in Winterskloof, sailing at Midmar or hiking up to World’s View, stopping for a picnic in the pine forest.

In my teen years many a Saturday night was spent at the infamous Lord John disco at The Imp, as the Imperial Hotel was known. The ice rink was converted to the Electric Ballroom, which lasted for about two seconds, however, The Polo Tavern and its great folk music, entertained us for years. Twiggy’s Pie Cart, Bimbos and The Owl’s Nest were late night (or early morning) post party eateries.

But the lanes were a constant, with antique shops and hippies selling funky hand-made leather shoes, Gents’ Outfitters, second-hand book stores and delicious bakeries. Geoff, a flamboyant hair dresser from London, set up his salon here and shocked Pmb by introducing pink and purple hair dyes. Hey Jude, a record lending library, was always full of great music and people, and George’s coffee shop were Saturday morning hang out spots. Today, the lanes are still there, but the magical shops of my youth are gone. For Pmb children of today, the single lane of Liberty Mall is the one they prefer.

So the question today is: Are you feeling LUCKY???
I am thrilled to see that the annual Witness Garden Show is such a great success.

I have FREE TICKETS to give away to 12 lucky people – simply send an email to
info@janesdeliciousgarden.com with the subject line Witness Garden Show

The first 12 people to respond will receive them.

This year my fabulously green fingered friend, Tanya Visser and her team from The Gardener Magazine have taken over its management. Some of the new attractions include:
• A Gourmet Food Hall
• A Go Green Hall of eco-friendly products and services
• A bigger, better Kids Zone
• More, improved garden designs
• A greater selection of plants from more plant growers and nurseries
• Demos on gardening, cooking, flower arranging and more.
• Ready, Steady, Plant with Tanya Visser
• Competitions to win fabulous prizes

Pic for FB

Cauliflower crunch

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 19th, 2015

I picked one of the last cauliflowers today, along with collard greens and coriander.  

I also had some baby eggplants and all these ingredients suggested an Asian dish. (I never quite know what I’m going to make for dinner until I start cooking. These ingredients could just as easily have turned into an Italian soup.)

First:  slice the baby eggplants in half, toss them with olive oil, diced garlic and ginger. Roast at 220C for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, fold the collard green leaves and slice the stems off. Dice stems and chop the leaves separately.  

Heat peanut oil in a wok or pan and stir fry chopped cashew nuts and diced dry chilli for 30 seconds or so. Add the cauliflower florets and collard stems and cook for a few minutes. Add the collard green leaves and a good few squirts of Black Magic (a YUM  mixture of salty, sweet and sour*). Turn the heat down, cover and cook until the collards are tender but the cauliflower still crunchy. 

Mix the eggplants (plus all the crispy garlic and ginger) with the cauliflower mixture, give it a final squirt of Black Magic and serve with egg noodles and fresh coriander. 

 *(If you can’t find Black Magic then mix two tablespoons soy sauce, two teaspoons fish sauce, two teaspoons mirin and juice of one lime.)

Singing the boerewors blues

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the August 18th, 2015

Whenever I go through Pietermaritzburg I buy some Greenfields meat.  From a farm near Mooi River, their  free range, grass fed beef is superb. Usually I go for a whole fillet and spoil my Kzn family.   On my last visit I spied some boerewors. Now, I am not a great fan of boerewors, most often finding it over spiced. For me a little goes a long way. But the Greenfields’ boerie was different. Simply cooked over some hot coals, with a dash of mustard, it was superb. So on my way back through Pmb after a week at the coast, I stocked up on more. Last night I made my version of boerie rolls: 

Grilled boerewors topped with onions (cooked with crème fraîche and thyme) on crispy garlicky ciabatta rolls. Served with a salad of lettuce, rocket, tomatoes and feta. 

Ciabatta rolls (Cut in half and brush with olive oil mixed with finely diced garlic. Place on hot griddle pan cut side down til browned.)

Onions: (Slice and cook in olive oil until just softened and beginning to brown. Add fresh thyme and cook few minutes more. Add a few dollops of crème fraîche and stir through. Thin with milk and season with salt and pepper.)

Using the leftovers (I always cook too much) tonight I made an Italian style peasant salad: chickpeas with sliced boerie, tomatoes, feta, mizuna buds and flowers, lettuce, sorrel and rocket plus cubes of the day old garlic ciabatta. (Slightly stale bread is best for these salads, giving them a crunch and soaking up the dressing). The dressing was simply olive oil,  fresh lime juice, roughly chopped parsley, salt, pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes.  


Chasing away the winter lurgies

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the July 16th, 2015

It is that time of the year when lurgies abound. Everyone is coughing, sniffing and sneezing. To avoid catching a winter bug, try using some of the herbs from your garden or on your pantry shelf.

Making a tincture using herbs is so easy – put the herbs in a bottle and cover with vodka. Leave to steep for four or five days, shaking gently every day and then strain the tincture into a dark bottle.
Tense tummy tincture  (4)

One of my “go to” tinctures in winter is Jane’s Delicious Dragon Breath, so-called because if the tincture doesn’t kill the germs on the way in – the breath will kill them on the way out!
I start taking ¼ – ½ teaspoon twice a day as soon as I feel the slightest signs of a cold. For a sore throat it helps if you hold it in the back of your throat for a while and then slowly let it trickle down. Diluting it slightly with water and gargling also helps prevent a cold developing.
The main ingredients in the tincture are:

Thyme: an effective natural antibiotic, particularly good for any throat and lung problems.
Garlic: as an all round cure all.
Ginger: a great cleanser, helping rid the body of toxins.
Echinacea: strengthens the body’s immune system.
Cayenne pepper: promotes sweating and treats sore throats.
T & T tonsil spray (11)

There are plenty of other herbs that can be added to help fight winter colds and flu : basil, elder berries and flowers, cancer bush, goldenrod flowers, oregano, mustard seeds and tea tree.

(Please note that any information published on this blog is done so solely for educational purposes. It does not constitute any medical advice whatsoever, and nor does it replace medical attention or diagnosis. Consult a qualified healthcare practitioner for the diagnosis and treatment of any disease, ailment or medical condition.)

Easy basil oil

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the June 1st, 2014

Cold weather looks like it is on the way. Before frost hits your herbs,such as basil, harvest the leaves and pack them into bottles and add olive oil. Shake to remove air bubbles and make sure the top of the herbs are covered with oil otherwise they can go mouldy. Store in dark cupboard and enjoy basil leaves and basil flavoured oil in mid winter. (Top it up after using)
Here I have used liquorice flavoured basil. Fantastic in Asian noodle dishes.

Sweet potatoes

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the May 25th, 2014

It is almost time to start harvesting my sweet potatoes – I got them in a bit late this year so I have left them a bit longer. There are three different types in this bed. The normal red with green leaves, another darker red with dark bluish-purple leaves and orange with the yellow pink leaves. *Sweet potato feast coming up*


Plus there are some chillies, parsley, broccoli and some wild strawberries – just to add variety 😉

Broad beans

Posted in Garden Diary by Administrator on the May 24th, 2014


I love broad bean flowers. I grow my broad beans inside my tripods. This gives the floppy stems support and also provides a moist micro climate which is good on the dry highveld. Around the tripods I grow cauliflower and broccoli.


A bit further out are mixed bok choy, lettuces, various herbs and edible flowers.


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