Tag Archives: butternut

the universe + marcus wareing

the universe + marcus wareing

Doing what I do best is lying in my sun-kissed bed on a Saturday…with a gorgeous chef…

This past Saturday I was in bed with Marcus Wareing … paging through some of his recipe books. He is an adventurous and genius chef. I decided to cook for Marcus and do my best to impress him with something cheffy and spectacular, you know, something out of this world …almost cosmic.

{This recipe was inspired by an ingredient list I received from Pick n Pay for their freshlyblogged challenge #7 competition}


So I set about recreating a culinary universe. The deep red tomato passata casts a nebula cloud, the rice and Gruyere ball is the moon whilst the bacon soil reflects the milky way of stars. The braised leeks are shooting stars falling from a distant galaxy and the butternut terrine is representing my layered personality all tightly packed into a cube of energy, shaped by the forces swirling around it. The tomato passata, bacon and thyme tie everything together into an alluring stream of cosmic energy and intrigue. Marcus, I made your butternut terrine but made it my own with burnt butter, cooked bacon fat and thyme.

I am always amazed what you can do with the simplest of ingredients. With just rice, butternut, leeks, tomatoes, thyme and bread – I created the universe. Who would have thought it Marcus?

Tips for making bread crumbs without a food processor
Put slices of bread (fresh or stale) on a rack and put it in the sun for an hour or two.
Then great it with a grater or just rub it between your hands – it will crumble easily.
Keep in an airtight container.
Breadcrumbs freeze very well.



bacon soil
  • 250g bacon, finely sliced into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  1. Fry the bacon on high heat until crispy.
  2. Put on a paper towel to drain and set aside.
  3. Keep the cooked bacon fat. We are using it in the butternut terrine.

butternut terrine
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 350 g butternut top, thinly sliced with mandoline slicer
  • 2 Tbsp cooked bacon fat
  • 80g butter
  • 3 big twigs of thyme
  • Salt
  1. Preheat the oven 180 °C.
  2. Place the butter, thyme and bacon fat in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the butter to turn a slightly brown colour and the thyme to infuse. Pass through a sieve.
  3. Layer the butternut in a silicone baking dish approximately 6cm x 15 cm, brushing each layer with melted butter and a sprinkle of salt.
  4. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, pressing down 4 times throughout the baking process, then remove and chill in the fridge. When completely cool, cut into small cubes.

gruyere balls
  • ½ cup Spekko rice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 20g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Bread crumbs – add some seasoning in the crumbs
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. Cook the rice as per packet instruction but stir regularly when cooking. You want mushy/ sticky consistency (you don’t want fluffy rice). If need be add more water. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Roll the parmesan cheese into 12 small grape size balls.
  3. Take the rice and form a ball. Add a Parmesan ball in the middle.
  4. Roll in egg and then in bread crumbs.
  5. Deep fry until golden brown.

tomato passata
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 can PnP chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 big sprig of thyme
  • ¾ tsp salt
  1. Add all ingredients in small pot and simmer 15 - 20 minutes until thick consistency.
  2. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Pass through a sieve and set aside.

braised leeks
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 large leek, peeled and cut in two and then halved length ways
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 tsp wine vinegar
  • 50 ml chicken stock (I used NoMU)
  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme and braise for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the vinegar and stock cook for another 10 minutes.

meatballs with mint + pine nuts + butternut

meatballs with mint + pine nuts + butternut
spaghetti and meatballs delicious, easy

#spaghetti + meatballs

When I first opened my mystery basket on Dinner Divas and saw the mince the only thing that went through my mind was MEATBALLS!! Nothing else … I never saw the chicken … in fact I did not register any of the other mystery ingredients … but at that moment in time and space, in front of all the cameras your brain just freezes. In retrospect you always end up quizzing yourself … I could have done this or I could of done that … in situations like this hysteria creeps in and disrupt your thoughts but I was resolute and determined to make this dish and prepare it well.

The other thing was that I had made a commitment to myself before I entered the competition … to stick with my gut, make a decision, go with it and not entertain any reservations. When you start doubting or second guessing yourself, this is when things tend to go awry and in a competition there is no time for messing about.

When I saw Kristy making the same dish, I have to admit I was apprehensive and the seeds of doubt were teasing my brain. Fortunately I had the clarity of mind to press on – it was too late to back track – I had to stick to what I believe in and what I know I can do well …

Well the judges did not think so – “oh dear another meatball dish – really” + “the meatballs were just disgusting” … this cut deep at that moment in time – but now I am laughing about it all. I love Caro + Aubrey + Andrew – they have crept deep into my heart and they will have a very special place in my life forever and ever …

So here is my  version of meatballs – something between my mom’s meatballs + what i have tasted in New York + something I have tasted in Italy. I added some mint + pine nuts + loads of veggies and used my fantastic tomato sauce which you can look up here

meatballs and tomato sauce and spaghetti

#spaghetti + meatballs


meatballs with mint + pine nuts = fab grecian fare
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 500g Extra lean mince
  • 4 Garlic cloves - grated
  • 1 Potato large - grated
  • 3 Thick butternut rings – grated
  • 1 Carrot - grated
  • 2 Small onions – grated
  • 50g Pine nuts – lightly fried in a non stick pan till golden brown
  • 1 Slice of white bread – soaked in water and excess water squeezed out
  • 1 Egg
  • Handful of finely chopped parsley
  • 1 t Dry mint
  • 1 t Salt
  • ½ t Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Put your oven on grill.
  2. Mix all ingredients together. Fry a small teaspoon and taste for seasoning – I normally use the microwave.
  3. Make small balls and grill till done - +- 10 minutes. After first 5 minutes turn them around and cook for another few minutes.
  4. Put in pasta sauce and simmer for a minute or two. Serve on spaghetti + parmesan shavings + fresh basil.


Tomato Sauce 

Click here for recipe.

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

Vegetable Soup – A couple of weeks back I invited a few foodie friends over to watch the finale of Mastechef SA, as it was winter I thought it would be appropriate to put on a large pot of my vegetable soup for the occasion. It went down a treat; the problem came about when they all asked me to share the recipe. This proved to be quite difficult as I don’t have a recipe for this soup. The way it works in my house is that I make soup on Sundays. I open the fridge, take out all the veggies + herbs that I did not use over the previous week and make a steaming pot of soup with it. So…to be frank, the recipe below is a list of all the items leftover in my fridge from last week…

If you think the recipe seems a bit long, do not be put off, once you get the hang of it and taste of it you will be making this soup for generations to come. The thing about soup is, you have to make it your own … put in the effort and spend that little extra time…I can promise you it is worth every little spoonful. Enjoy making it and remember to serve it with love.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

I do have 10 tips that I have picked up along the way that I would like to share with you when making this soup:

1. Don’t be in a hurry – take your time… and love the process – that is why I normally do it on Sundays – it takes time to grate and chop. Make big bowl of this soup… the soup freezes very well and will never go to waste!
2. Use the veggies + herbs – even lettuce, rocket – whatever you have in your fridge or veggie basket…..the stuff you did not use during the week and want to throw away.
3. Look in your freezer and use all those small packets of frozen veg that you still have not got around to using…
4. The five basic vegetable ingredients that you have to put in to your pot are the following: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery + tomatoes.
5. I always leave the skin on all my vegetables.
6. I grate my vegetables …that is if they are grate-able – it cooks faster and I feel the flavours infuse just that much better.
7. Veggies like broccoli and cauliflower – use the stems – cut them into thin slices – it adds to the beautiful chunkiness of the soup.
8. Parmesan skins – when you buy and use parmesan – don’t throw the skin or rind away – keep them in your freezer and use this in your soup – it adds a wonderful richness.
9. The secret ingredients of my soup : cloves, pesto (any flavour), whole pepper corns, parmesan cheese skins and grated, instant tomato cream soup, oats, good stock to cover the veggies, Worcestershire sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and always a bit of butter.
10. To serve always finish your soup with a drizzle of olive oil , chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort

vegetable soup=slow warm hearty comfort  - broccoli stems


vegetable soup = slow warm hearty comfort
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe makes a pot of soup large enough to feed an army - you can just half or quarter the quantities as your mood takes you…
Serves: 10
  • A
  • 300g Grated large potatoes +- 2 large
  • 300g Grated large carrots +- 2 large
  • 220g Grated medium onions +- 2 medium
  • 250g Grated butternut squash +- 2 generously thick slices
  • 350 g Tomatoes either chopped or rosa tomatoes halved
  • 200g Baby marrows - sliced
  • 150g Cauliflower - cut into chunks
  • 130g Broccoli - cut into chunks
  • 2 Long pieces of celery - chopped
  • 70g Lettuce
  • 80g Cucumber - chopped
  • 300g Frozen peas
  • 50g Sundried tomatoes - chopped
  • 10g Fresh coriander - chopped
  • 25g Garlic - grated
  • 6 Cloves
  • 20 Black peppercorns
  • 20g Fresh parsley - chopped
  • 1t Chillie flakes
  • 410g Tinned chopped tomatoes (1 tin)
  • 2 Stock cubes (Vegetable or chicken)
  • 75-100g Parmesan skins
  • 3L Water (or 3L of good stock – then omit the stock cubes and remember to add more salt)
  • B
  • 100g Dry pasta (I use spaghetti and normally break the spaghetti up into small pieces)
  • 100g Oats
  • 2x 410g Sugar beans (drain the fluid) – you can even replace this with tins of baked beans
  • 60 ml Olive oil
  • 1 Packet cream of tomato soup mixed with 500 ml cold water
  • C
  • 1T Worcestershire sauce
  • 100g Pesto (any basil or rocket pesto)
  • 100g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 50g Butter
  • 1t Salt
  • 1t Black pepper
  1. Put all A ingredients into a large pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat. Please remember to stir frequently. As this is a big pot of ingredients, it can easily burn if you don't keep a watchful eye on it.
  2. Now add all the B ingredients and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
  3. Then add all the C ingredients – stir well – and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. At the end please taste for seasoning – adding salt and pepper as per your individual taste or preference.
  5. To serve: Drizzle some olive oil over the soup, add some chopped parsley and some parmesan shavings.