IN MY KITCHEN: Happy Earth Ladies Taleszia and Candice

When you start a small business you often feel like you don’t know what you are doing.  You take ten times longer to finish something you could have done so much faster if you just had the fancy machinery/ more help/ more money.  You compare yourself to others even though you have no idea what their circumstances might be.

This is one of the many reasons I love chatting to female entrepreneurs.  It makes me feel less stupid and it really helps me to know that I am not the only one working at 4am to finish an order due at 9am the same day.

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Candice (left) and Taleszia (right) cooking with wine again. Picture by Michelle Parkin.

Taleszia Pillay and Candice Perkins went through their own kind of hardships to get their brain child Happy Earth People up and running.   I loved meeting up with them in my kitchen to share my treats and hear their stories of suffering!  When they were still selling at the Oranjezicht Farmers Market the two of them were literally working every day of the week to make their legume pasta themselves, dry it and then manually break it into little pieces before packaging.  This took such a toll on their hands that they both lost their fingerprints for the better part of the year!  They also only made just enough legume pasta to sell at the Oranjezicht Farmers Market on Saturdays and for any adhoc orders during the week.

They could see that there was a demand for their legume pastas, so they had to take the next step to make their business grow.  They found a partner with the right machinery who could take over what they had been doing by hand.  It was a difficult process but the increase in their pasta production was tenfold and they could start focusing on getting Happy Earth People into retailers in South Africa.

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Pasta making in the old days. Picture by Michelle Parkin

According to Taleszia, the idea behind Happy Earth People came to her when she was meditating one night.  She realised that we need to reconnect to the earth and to how we eat.  And she knew exactly how that could be done – with the humble legume.  Legumes are well known as nitrogen fixers as they leave the soil healthier after harvest (Fria: how awesome is this, having your soil be better than before you used it!) and they use less water than many other crops.  They even improve the harvest yields of other crops if they are used in crop rotation, and whatever isn’t harvested can be used as forage.  So you are literally making the earth happy!

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Taleszia and Candice got together one night – with some wine for courage – and tried to make their first red lentil pasta.  It actually worked (even though they were using a wine bottle) and Happy Earth People was born!  They were clear from the start that everything that involves their brand should have a positive effect on the earth and therefore their packaging is completely biodegradable, which means if you were to throw your empty box and plastic bag outside in your garden it will be naturally broken down with no harm to the planet.

My new food radar picked up Happy Earth People pasta early in 2017 when I heard there was a new pasta on the block.  The fact that it was a pasta made from healthy chickpeas and lentils, and nothing else, had me mystified.  A pasta without flour or eggs was unheard of!  But I LOVE trying out the newest and strangest things, so naturally I was foaming at the mouth to try their pasta and meet up with them.

red-lentil-resizeI tried the Happy Earth People Chickpea pasta in this recipe and the red lentil pasta in this recipe and I absolutely loved it!  The texture of the pastas is incredible.  I felt like I was eating… well… pasta!  And just as with any pasta, you can play around and add whichever sauces and flavours you want.  I don’t know how Taleszia and Candice make a pasta by ONLY using chickpeas and lentils, I’m just glad that it exists!  They also use a very specific chickpea type that gives their chickpea pasta its amazing flavour, or should I say non-flavour.  You don’t taste chickpea at all!

If you also want to try their gluten free, healthy and tasty pastas you can buy their pasta at select retailers in South Africa, but you can always order online if you can’t wait for them to be stocked in a store near you.  I know I couldn’t!

Otherwise, follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more progress on keeping our earth happy.

Taleszia and Candice recently launched a new edition to their Happy Earth People range: The Mungday Cleanse.  Based on Ayurveda, it’s a gentle cleanse to help remove toxins from the digestive tract. That’s what I’m trying next!

DID YOU KNOW?

I also use chickpeas in my peppemint mousse cake cups.  I activate and cook them and turn them into a peppermint mousse.  They are then layered in between a date caramel and chocolate avocado mousse and topped with coconut biscuit.  Sounds yum right?  Orders: fria@friassuperfoods.co.za or buy at selected retailers.

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