Monthly Archives: April 2009

Roasted butternut, orange and feta salad

We got to try out that salad and salad dressing I had been dreaming about tonight, it was gorgeous. And a good thing too because the chicken espetada turned out to be off, something we only realised once we had braai’ed it and were doing a quick taste check to see that it was done. The salad on its own was quite satisfying and very healthy.

roasted butternut salad


(Use quantities as required for the number of servings to be made)
Cherry tomatoes
Yellow pepper
1 Orange
Fresh mint leaves
Walnuts (optional)

1 Orange
Olive oil
Dried mixed herbs
Fresh thyme


Preheat the grill on your oven.
Cook the butternut in the microwave for 6min (assuming 800W microwave).
Layout the butternut on a baking tray in a single layer.
Drizzle the butternut with olive oil and season with ground salt and pepper.
Pop the butternut under the grill for about 15min until golden, turning once to evenly grill.
Remove the butternut from the oven once done and allow to cool.
In a large salad dish or small single-serving dish(es) layer the rest of the salad ingredients. The orange should be peeled and the segments separated. Either add the segments as they are or cut into chunks width-ways.
Toast the walnuts (any nuts may be substituted, even pumpkin seeds may be used) in a pan on a high stove setting. Watch them carefully as nuts burn easily due to their high oil content. (Ask me, I’m the woman who created an oven fire when trying to toast cashews, having carefully chopped them by hand not a moment before). Allow the nuts to cool.
Add the butternut once cooled.
Add the nuts once cooled.

orange juice salad dressing

To make the salad dressing combine the juice of an orange with a dash of olive oil (how much is really up to personal preference, but the oil shouldn’t be more than 1/3 of the orange juice), a pinch or two of the mixed herbs, a pinch of salt and about 2 teaspons sugar, to taste. Add the leaves from some fresh thyme straight off the stalk (thyme has such tiny leaves it would be a waste of time to try to chop them up). Give the dressing a good shake to dissolve the salt and sugar and to combine the oil and juice. Taste it and add whatever you feel is missing – I have been known to even add water to a dressing when I thought it was too thick and strong.

Just before serving drizzle the dressing over the salad.

Voila! A healthy meal which satisfies all of the senses…

Butternut soup

The cold fronts are starting to bring in chilly wintry weather, and with the icy winds comes a yearning for warm comforting nourishment. What better than to start off the cold season with a lovely soup?

butternut soup


700g Woolworths butternut soup mix (72% butternut, sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, celery)
1 orange’s rind grated
30g butter
20ml powdered stock (vegetable, chicken or beef)
1l water
125ml cream (may be substituted with milk)

To garnish:

Double thick plain yogurt
Chopped parsley


I made use of the method described on the back of the soup mix packet and adapted it, however this is similar to what has been described to me by my mother previously. This was my first soup and it came out fabulously.

Melt 30g butter in a pot at moderate heat.
Add soup mix and grated orange rind and sweat for 5min on low heat.
Pre-boil the water in a kettle.
Dissolve the stock (I used Woolworths powdered chicken stock) with some of the boiling water.
Add the stock and the rest of the boiling water to the pot.
Boil for 40min with the lid on.
Once the vegetables are soft, puree with a blender until smooth.
Add the cream (milk in my case).
Season to taste (I found that the stock was salty enough and didn’t require any additional seasoning)
Return to the stove to heat through.
Dish up and garnish with a dollop of yogurt and sprinkling of parsley. Keep the yogurt at hand for adding to your bowl as you run out!


Grate the orange whole and keep the juicy insides for another recipe such as a salad, salad dressing, dessert or simply eating just like that.

Orange dreams


Whilst trying to sleep off a bout of ill health this afternoon I dreamt up an interesting salad dressing, with the main ingredient being orange juice instead of lemon or vinegar. There are 2 options here:

  1. Orange juice, olive oil, fresh herbs from the garden, sugar (if necessary), salt and pepper to taste
  2. Orange juice, balsamic vinegar (or perhaps soy sauce), olive oil, fresh herbs, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.

When it comes to salad dressings I tend to grab the first ingredients that pop into my head at the moment I am making them and gradually develop them to taste, so I can’t say that this will even work! I think I’m going to try one of the above on a roasted butternut salad to accompany the chicken espetada we’re planning on braaing. I will be returning with comments and photos…