“Maybe you think you don’t want to work on vacation. But when you’re staying at Babylonstoren, tucked in the Cape Winelands outside Cape Town, you’d be wrong. To start, you can play farmhand on the hotel’s 1,400 breathtaking acres: Gather produce – peaches, mulberries, stuff you’ve never even heard of (loquats!) – bake bread early in the morning, press olive oil from the 8,800 olive trees, harvest honey with the resident beekeeper. Then head back to your room, stylish whitewashed quarters inspired by centuries-old farm cottages, and cook your bounty in the room’s glass-cubed kitchen. Open a bottle of wine from the property, and wonder why making dinner doesn’t feel this magical at home.” (Excerpts and Recipes from “Eat, Drink, and Garden Your Heart Out at Babylonstoren,” in the May 2015 issue of Bon Appetit magazine. // Recipes by Maranda Engelbrecht).
“The color-coded salad is one of Babylonstoren’s signature dishes and always features a mix of fruits and vegetables on the same plate. Maranda Engelbrecht, Babylonstoren’s head chef, says produce that looks good together tastes great together, too, and she’s developed specific vinaigrettes to complement the red, yellow, and green options.”
Makes 1 Cup Vinaigrette
1. 6 baby red beets, trimmed, scrubbed
2. 2 whole star anise pods
3. 2 cups verjus
4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Vinaigrette and Assembly
1. 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2. 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil
3. 1 garlic clove, finely grated
4. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
5. 1/4 cup basil leaves
6. 1/4 cup olive oil
7. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
8. Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
9. Mixed red and purple raw fruits and vegetables (such as tomatoes, plums, berries, radishes, beets, rainbow carrots, and watermelon), halved, sliced, and/or cut into wedges
Ingredient Info: Verjus is a tart juice made from unripe grapes. You can find it at specialty foods stores and online.
1. Bring beets, star anise, verjus, salt, and 1 cup water to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook beets, adding water as needed to keep them covered, until tender, 30-40 minutes. Let cool.
2. Remove beets from brine with a slotted spoon and rub with paper towels to remove skins. Set beets aside. Reserve brine separately.
Do Ahead of Time: Beets can be pickled 3 days ahead of time. Return beets to brine; cover and chill.
Vinaigrette and Assembly
1. Toast pumpkin seeds in a dry small skillet over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and puffed, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
2. Process anchovies, garlic, Parmesan, basil, oil, lemon juice, and 2 pickled beets in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and pepper. With motor running, thin vinaigrette with reserved brine to a pourable consistency. Add pumpkin seeds and pulse until coarsely ground.
3. To serve, spoon some vinaigrette into a shallow bowl and arrange fruits and vegetables of choice on top. Season with salt and pepper.
Do Ahead of Time: Vinaigrette can be made 2 days ahead of time. Cover and chill.