Tag Archive: garlic cloves

Last night I had a little gathering at my home to collect blankets and raise money to buy more blankets for cold homeless people in Durban.

It was a wonderful success in many ways – we collected 10 blankets, R1100 to buy more blankets, 1 person landed up under the table giggling and 3 of the guests tried to use  mind power to fly the couch home.

I made 4 soups which everyone enjoyed. There was much conversation about soup strategy and how best to attack the options, about which flavours should be eaten in what order, and about how to make sure you had enough space in your tummy to try all four.

Votes were cast and soups rated

in fourth place was spinach & coconut soup

You need:

2 tsp oil

1 chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 green chillies. I used seeds and all and could have used an extra chilli.

2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. All of these are rough amounts. When I make the soup again I will use more of each.

600ml stock, 600ml coconut milk, juice of 1/2 lemon. Again I will use more next time.

500g spinach. This is a lot of spinach! More than one bunch – almost all of two.


You do:

Heat the oil. Add onion, garlic and chillies. Cook gently for a while – like 4 minutes or so until the onions are getting soft. Stir in the spices and then add the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Clean and shred the spinach. Add to the liquid and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. The recipe requires you remove 2/3 of the soup and blend in a food processor and then add to the original soup. What I did was use my wand blender and whizzed the soup up until it was the kind of smooth I like. You will never get all the spinach whizzed up so don’t expect a completely smooth, even coloured and textured soup.

Once the soup is smooth enough for you, add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Heat again if necessary and serve. The recipe called for coconut shavings to serve but I have no idea where you would these from and the soup was fine without them. You could possible use desiccated coconut.

I served the soup with french crusty bread.

This soup may have come 4th out of 4 but it was not a loser. Was very nice – the rest were just better.

Recipes 3, 2 and 1 will follow over the next while. As will pictures of the blankets etc

No photos cos we forgot – and then continued to forget as we drank wine, ate soup and giggled

bean curry

I love beans. I really do. Kidney beans, speckled beans, white beans, chick peas – beans beans glorious beans.

I also much prefer soaked and home boiled beans to tinned beans although sometimes I cave in and buy easy to use tinned beans. Not this time no. This time I did the soaking overnight and the boiling thing and so I have a bag of mixed bins in my freezer for future meals.

In the last half an hour or so of boiling I added chillies and garlic cloves to the boiling beans just to give them some depth of taste. I also added salt only at that late stage to add flavour but to prevent toughening the skins with too early salt.


I decided with all these gloriously freshly homemade beans it was time for a bean curry for dinner – it being meatless Monday n’all.


I started by sautéing onions, garlic, chilli, celery and fennel for a bit. I then added coriander, curry powder and cayenne pepper and let them heat in the dry pan. The smell of these spices heating with the beginnings of the curry had the bf lurking around the kitchen, just inhaling through his nose.


I then added a tin of chopped tomatoes, 4 ladles of mixed beans, a half a tin’s worth of red wine, chopped carrots and topped and tailed green beans. I chucked the last handful of parsley and fresh coriander I had into the pot too. Lid on and gentle simmer.


I decided we needed a mash to soak up what I hoped would be a yummy sauce, so I made a parsnip and potato mash. I let the bean curry simmer, with the lid off for the second half of the time, for as long as it took for the chunky root veggies to boil.

And serve!

The carrots were still crunchy, the fresh beans still whole and the whole lot combined into a really fulfilling and delicious meal. Good for the universe and good for the pocket.

While eating the bf and I were discussing the pros of properly made beans and he said that the superior taste was why our grandparents spent a day making food rather than opening a tin.


Soaking beans may take all day but it does not use up a whole day of your time. You just leave the chaps to soak away and then the next day you boil them. If the next day doesn’t work for you, you can change the water every 12 hours for about 3 days before it gets urgent to cook the beans. And remember – DO NOT salt the water until the very end of the cooking process. If you do, the beans skins with toughen up and be indigestible.


fish with fennel

Last night’s dinner was very 1970s and very nice. And really very easy. Perfect combination really.

I got a butterflied filleted yellowtail from PnP for about R50. It was enough to feed three of us using less than half – so its yellowtail salad for lunch for a while. Yay.


Anyway – I chopped three or four baby fennel bulb into slices along with two of my oil-pot garlic cloves. I rubbed the garlicy oil on the skin of the fish and put the fennel and garlic inside it. I sprinkled fennel seeds on the oiled skin and put the fish into a heated griddle pan. I turned it after about ten minutes-ish – maybe less cos I am impatient. The fish was pretty dam fat and so I decided when it was almost cooked through from both sides to spit it into two halves, and put the half we wanted onto the griddle, skin-side up. Just to let the inside cook without burning the skin. I think a thinner or less dense fish wouldn’t need this.

It did means the fennel slices and garlic got some direct heat – which was actually a very good thing indeed. They were slightly toasted and yummy.


The sauce was beyond easy and amazing. I sliced up some more baby fennel bulbs into really thin slices. These I mixed with 1 tablespoon of dried dill tips, 100ml plain yoghurt and 100ml of sour cream, I teaspoon of lemon juice, and salt and a little pepper. All stirred together this made a really delicious sauce I shall use in future for fish, baked potatoes, potato salad even.


I made sautéed potatoes and peas – cos you gotta have chips and peas with fish really.

We all loved the meal – the fish was succulent and the skin crispy. The sauce was killer – and the yoghurt made it feel not entirely bad for us.


Will make this again for sure!!!!

The bf makes soup on Sundays. I am trying hard to establish this as a set-in-stone tradition because it is just fabulous to not have to cook on a Sunday. And soup seems the perfect Sunday dinner. So I shall be encouraging him – a lot!

For Christmas I suggested a family member of mine buy him a soup recipe book (sneaky sneaky) and the result has been some really yummy Sunday night dinners. Now I am back home, I reinstated the new tradition with enthusiasm last night. And got mushroom soup with sage for my efforts. I like mushroom soup but usually balk at the cost of mushrooms. On Saturday we happened upon a mushroom shop and bought a bag of stalks for almost no money and used them. They are perfect for soup as they hold their shape and taste just as good as the tops.

Bf started by prepping everything, cos that’s how he likes to cook. Then he gently fried a finely chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in some butter. When that looked all translucent, he stirred in a tablespoon of flour and cooked that for about a minute. I helped at this stage (I was actually getting more wine out of the fridge and couldn’t really say no) to pour the stock (1 litre vegetable stock) into the mixture. Once that was all added, 750g of mushrooms went into the pot. The recipe called for wild mushrooms but unless you live on a farm I think these are a little hard to find. We bought a mix of mushrooms and that was fine. We used the aforementioned stalks as well as three other types of mushrooms we found at the veggie market shop.

Anyway – I went back to the couch with my wine and he allowed the mixture to come to the boil. He then turned it down and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Then he added about 5 leaves of sage, chopped up.

We whizzed the soup up with a blender-wand until most but not all of it was creamy. A cup of white wine and seasoning went in at this stage and the whole lot was left to reheat through.

Served with rye bread this was a definite go-back-for-seconds meal. And using the mushrooms stalks meant it was not in the least expensive.

I think the mushrooms cost about R30 and there was enough soup for us to each have two bowlfuls last night and there is enough for one of us for lunch too.

Very nice indeed. Will keep that recipe in mind when next I see mushroom reasonably priced.