Sometimes, simple things are completely wondrous. Like the Wonderbag, for instance. While the fabulously coloured shwe shwe creations so popular right now are new, the concept isn’t. Remember Hay Boxes and hot bags? Cooking in flasks and heb coolers? The idea is exactly the same, but food prepared in a gorgeous, plump green and red bag (or purple or turquoise) seems a lot more special than a polystyrene box lined with old towels. Of course, the real point is saving energy, but a dash of style never did the green cause any harm.
Ideal for soups and stews, rice, beans and curries – food that usually cooks long and slow. Prepare your dish as you would on the stove top, add less liquid than usual as none is lost during cooking, bring to the boil and after a few minutes (you will learn how to judge the right amount of time – longer for chicken, less for a veggie curry), pop the lid on and place into the Wonderbag on top of a dishcloth, put the cushion over the pot, draw up the sides and tie closed.
Now you can go off gardening or dancing or visit a neighbour without having to think about food burning or overcooking. It retains heat for up to 12 hours – fabulous to come home to a warm meal perfectly cooked after a long day in the garden.
“The Wonderbag has become the microwave for me, I don’t need to reheat food anymore. It saves so much energy.” Lindiwe Mkhize
Nyasa Makena’s Wonderbag Stew
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1/2 cabbage
- 4 potatoes
Heat oil in a pan and fry onions and leeks with a teaspoon of curry powder. Add the chopped cabbage, potatoes and a little water and cook for 15 minutes. Put the pot into a Wonderbag to finish cooking. Serve with macaroni.
Wonderbags are available in the PlanetPellet hut the Community Garden.