“So where are you from?” “Well I was born in South Africa but my parent’s are from Zimbabwe and I’m also half Turkish half Italian with a bit of Irish mixed in.”  We’ve all heard a fellow South African give an answer like this when asked where they come from, and I think we secretly all giggle inside and go ‘yeah yeah’. Except, in my case it’s actually true, I know this because my mom is 100% obsessed with genealogy and can track our family back to the flipping dark ages! 

It’s incredibly interesting to hear about the history of my family and where we came from, what we did and how we ended up in South Africa. One of the most interesting stories is that in 1905 my Great Great Grandfather bought a piece of land from the La Motte farm in Frenchhoek… now know as Franschhoek which he called ‘Die Ster’ which is the Afrikaans meaning of my mom’s surname: Stella. On the land he planted tobacco seeds which had been sent to him from his family in Turkey which became the first set of Turkish tobacco crops grown in South Africa. My mom has an incredible photo of him with his first crop that I’ll definitely share with you once I’m back in SA! Over Easter she visited the farm and the exact spot where the picture was taken which I think must have been pretty flipping special.

So in celebration of our heritage my mom and I got together, with the support of Woolworths, to give a nod to our Italian roots and our family’s history with La Motte to create a really special Italian inspired meal. It was so much fun cooking with my mom, I wish I could do it more often! I feel like every mother and daughter should be cooking together all the time it’s the best bonding experience. 

Woolworths South Africa (4 of 6)

My stomach being the most sensitive stomach in the history of the world, we decided not to go too carb heavy even though we were creating an Italian meal. We created a Vegan ‘pasta’ dish with baby marrow ‘pasta’ and home made pesto bread, of course the meal was accompanied by a beautiful glass of 2013 La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier. If you love pasta but your body is really sensitive to heavy meals or you’re on diet Baby Marrow Spaghetti is incredible! 

Just a quick note on the wine, I don’t ever drink red wine BUT this wine has changed my mind! I’m not sure what they put in it other than grapes, but I’m at least 50% sure it’s rainbows and unicorns. You’ll find it at Woolworths and if you forget the name it’s the bottle with about a million stickers on it from all the awards it has won. Pesto Bread (1 of 1)

Okay so now for the recipe! If you’re cooking the pasta and the bread together you will need to start with the bread as the pasta only takes about 15 minutes to whip up while the bread takes a little more. 

Pesto Bread Wreath 

Ingredients 

  • 1 Cup of warm water
  • 2 Teaspoons of Yeast
  • 2 1/2 Cups of Flour, plus more for dusting work surface
  • 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 125g Fresh Basil Pesto 

Directions

  • Place warm water in the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle yeast over top
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes
  • Add the flour, oil, and salt and turn the mixer to low
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic – after about 2 minutes, the dough should completely clean the bottom and sides of the bowl. If it does not, add additional flour, one spoonful at a time until it does
  • Form the dough into a ball and place in a large plastic bag and leave it to rise for one hour. The warmer the area the faster it will rise, a spot in the winter sun would be perfect.
  • Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  • Take the dough out of the bag and place on lightly floured surface
  • Roll into a rectangle and spoon pesto over entire surface
  • Roll the long side of the dough to you and pinch the seam closed
  • Transfer to your greased baking pan, you can also use a baking sheet . This is a really important step as you won’t be able to transfer the dough once it has been braided without completely destroying the shape
  • Cut the dough in half down the length of the dough and pinch the top ends together
  • Working quickly, braid the two pieces, trying to keep the pieces twisted so the cut ends remain on top
  • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes
  • Brush with olive oil for extra shine and bake for ~25 minutes, until golden brown
  • Serve hot!

Woolworths South Africa (6 of 6)

Pasta

Ingredients (serves 4)

Directions

  • Thinly slice or grate sweet potato to form thin, chip like slivers, place under grill and monitor carefully until golden brown and crispy
  • Roughly chop eggplant and tomatoes and fry in coconut oil and tomato paste
  • Once eggplant is brown add salt and spaghetti and cook on medium heat for 3 minutes
  • Sprinkle asparagus on top of ingredients and allow to warm through before removing the pan off of the heat. 
  • Serve hot with a sprinkling of sweet potato chips 
Baby Marrow Spaghetti and Homemade Pesto Bread (3 of 5)Allison Stella Mulder (2 of 2)

If you’re wondering (because I would be) where I got the beautiful crockery and table decorations from you can pick them up at Country RoadCountry Road Style (1 of 2)

Thanks to Woolworths for supporting She Said, all products and props in this post are available at Woolies stores! Woolworths South Africa (1 of 6)