Cindy Valayadam arrives at the market with armfuls of freshly harvested vegetables from her farm nearby, as well as a load of her famous bottled specialities. These include granadilla curd, which is an enticing accompaniment to ice cream or used in a pie for dessert. Then there are her savoury offerings: French pickle, basil-and-peanut chutney, brinjal pickle, and her hot and sweet mazavaroo, for which she is well known in Umhlali. Her store, Cindy’s Fresh Produce, conveniently situated on a busy thoroughfare in the town of Umhlali, is an institution well patronised by the locals.
But it is the spicy aroma of her cheese-and-corn samoosas gently cooking at her stall at The Litchi Orchard Farmers’ Market that draws me on this Saturday morning, just as the sun lights up the eastern sky. Warm and comforting, the vegetarian samoosas are just spicy enough, made with a delicate blend of home-grown chillies and a generous smattering of cheese added to the fresh corn. One samoosa is not enough, and I try a potato samoosa as well, savouring the flavours.
Warm and comforting, the vegetarian samoosas are just spicy enough, made with a delicate blend of home-grown chillies and a generous smattering of cheese added to the fresh corn,
Cindy’s interest in cooking began 30 years ago, using ‘fresh greens and the best spices’. Five years later, this entrepreneur – who can also add flower arranging to her list of achievements – turned her culinary interest into a thriving business. Not only does she offer her legendary vegetables for sale at the market, but an interesting array of bottled goods. Talented Cindy Valayadam caters for functions as well.
Market excerpts are taken from Market Food – South Africa by Dianne Stewart, Jessica Cairns, Lissa Stewart (BookStorm), R150 from leading bookstores nationwide.
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