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Community Cook - Judy Monkhouse

Growing and understanding local produce.

by Kim Blazey

Judy invited a group of tropical food fanatics to her light, breezy and minimalistic home, where we entered a warm, homely space, with handcrafted relics of her childhood home, Zimbabwe. Judy has spent many years living and teaching in Katherine and Darwin, and has been connected to the wider African Community through the Darwin-based Africa-Australia Friendship Association (AAFA) which has had a strong focus on local cooking. 

When preparing her version of a traditional African meal, Judy encouraged us to sample the food, as she created the perfect balances. She cooked by incorporating textures and flavours, imitating an expressionist artist as they might colour their canvas. Our meal was eaten the Zimba-bwean way, by rolling the sadza into a small ball with one’s fingers and using it to scoop some of the spinach. 
Judy encouraged us to experiment with our cooking and to utilise local seasonal, tropical and organic produce. Now is the time for us to take a leaf from her authentic book of life and to experience the joy of cooking with family and friends. 

Kale, tomatoes and chilies can be grown in Top End gardens during the wet season or bought at from local growers at markets and suppliers such as Rapid Creek Markets, Fred’s Pass Market and Greenies Real Foods (Rapid Creek). 

Zimbabwean Muriwo Ne Dowi (Spinach with peanut butter)  
Ingredients for 8
2-3 bunches spinach or kale 
2 large onions - thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
2 large tomatoes - diced
3+ tbsp smooth or crunchy peanut butter
3+ tbsp oil 
1 fresh chilli or 1 tsp dry flakes (optional)
2 cups cooked black-eyed beans Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Shred washed spinach finely including stalks. Place in a large pot. Add 2 cups water. Cook until softened (10-15 minutes). Remove from pot and drain. Heat the oil in a pot. Sauté onions. Add diced garlic and optional fresh chilli or flakes. Fry gently. Add diced tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add spinach and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add peanut butter then black-eyed beans. Season with salt. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. A little water may be added. Serve warm with sadza, coconut cream and 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar. Enjoy!

Sadza (Maize Meal Porridge)  
5 cups maize meal 
7 cups water
Boil 6 cups water in a heavy cooking pot. Mix 1 cup maize meal with a cup of water in a bowl. Add gradually to boiling water. Stir constantly until thickened like porridge. Simmer for 15+ minutes. Add 1 cup of maize meal at a time, mixing well before adding more maize meal. Final consistency is like thick mashed potatoes. 

If you know a community cook in Darwin who would like to share their recipe, GULP NT can organise a gathering with their small team. $100 plus ingredients can be offered to the participating cook for hosting and sharing. Get in touch today and share your stories and food love. 


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