Winter is on the way… What does it take to get you going in the morning ?

This morning I watched a Hadeda  Ibis stand on the edge of our swimming pool, hop in and swim around for 5 minutes, ( just like a duck)  fly out, shake himself off on the grass and then carry on his business of digging for worms in the lawn.
(The Hadeda is a large  bird of the ibis family (about 76 cm long), dark brown in colour  with a white “moustache”, glossy greenish purple wings, a large black bill with a red stripe on the upper mandible, and blackish legs. )

Simple as that. Quick dip and then breakfast.

I watched amazed.

 Firstly I can’t even put my hand in the c-c-c-c-c-o-l-d swimming pool water to adjust the pool cleaner ( to clean the Hadedas’ morning ablution which he also does in the pool) and secondly my morning ablutions includes a very HOT running shower, after which a strong cup of coffee is needed to get me going… I have never been a morning person, and the approach of winter, only makes my slow starts worse!

 One thing I am enjoying about the shorter days and cooler months is the opportunity to cook more of my favourite comfort foods.

My slow cooker has been hauled out from the back of the cupboard and is starting to get regular use after a summer of salads and fruit; we are starting to enjoy lovely veggies soups and light stews and casseroles, such as these recipes*** I developed for an article in The Post Newspaper this week. If you are in KZN look out for it, and if not, well then, here you go… a few winter warmers to get you going.. enjoy!


PS. The recipes are now at the end of the post after the images, and will soon be in a handy downloadable/ printable version.

My new favourite soup! Clear chicken & lemon veggie soup with brown rice
My new favourite soup! Clear chicken & lemon veggie soup with brown


Slow cooked beef oxtail in milk stout with orange zest
Slow cooked beef oxtail in milk stout with orange zest


Brulee Rice Pudding with Raspberry Preserve
Brulee Rice Pudding with Raspberry Preserve

 ***The cookery pages on a Thursday in The Post are sponsored by Spekko Rice .
I was not asked to use the product nor did I get paid for this post.
I used the Spekko Rice product as a courtesy to the sponsors.
The recipes would work equally well served with alternative accompaniments.

The soup is delish with either pearl barley ( cooked according to the instructions on the packet) or for a very light soup omit the starch altogether.

The oxtail is so popular in our house we have served it with samp & beans, pearl barley, polenta, and creamy mashed pototo. Let me know what you serve it with!

 Thank you to my lovely friends,Vanessa Lewis for the photography at short notice; and the “queen of curry ” Yudhika Sujanani for asking me to do this article.



Clear Chicken, Lemon & Rice Soup.
I know the addition of lemon sounds a little weird, it isn’t. It really tastes delicious and just gives an extra zesty zing to the soup. Perfect for Autumn!

Serves 4 to 6

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small celery stalk, diced
1 small onion, finely chopped
300g chicken breast , boneless, skinless
1/2 cup baby spinach , roughly chopped
1 cup SPEKKO Brown rice, washed ( see note)
salt and pepper

8 cups , good quality chicken stock ( preferably homemade as it really does make all the difference)
Zest and juice of a lemon

In a large soup or stock pot , heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the carrot, celery and onion pieces. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken breast, the spinach, oregano, rice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and simmer, half covered for about 30 minutes or until the rice is al dente.
Remove the chicken breast from the soup. Let cool enough to handle and shred it into pieces. Return the shredded meat to the pot.
Add the lemon juice and zest, stir and serve.

Oh-so-good! Beef oxtail in milk stout beer with orange zest

 Serves 4-6

 1 Tblspn oil
3 kg Oxtail, trimmed of excess fat
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 leeks, washed and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper
2 TBS cake flour
2 bottles 375mls Milk stout beer
3 cups beef stock
1 TBS tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Grated zest & juice of 1 orange

 Heat the oil & Seal the meat in a deep, oven proof dish, set aside.
In the same pot  add the vegetables and cook over a medium heat until soft. Add tomato paste, garlic, spices, orange zest, salt and pepper and flour.
Add the stout, orange juice, sugar and the stock, and stir well until a sauce forms, add the meat, cover and cook over a low heat  for 4- 6 hours until oxtail is tender.
To serve –  Skim the fat, and thicken the sauce with a little extra flour if necessary, serve with Spekko parboiled rice, mash potato or polenta ( see note)

 Brulee Rice Pudding with Raspberry Preserve
 I made this dessert with both berry and peach preserve, they were equally yummy!!!

Serves 4- 6

 2 cups basmati rice, well rinsed
2 cups fresh full fat milk
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
2 cardamom pods, crushed
2 vanilla pods, split
½ cup good quality raspberry preserve ( apricot or strawberry work well too)
¼ cup light brown sugar

 Combine all ingredients in a  pot and simmer until the liquid is evaporated and the rice is cooked and soft.
Place a heaped tablespoon of jam in the base of each ramekin.
Spoon the rice mixture into the ramekins.
Sprinkle with sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or under the grill of the oven until lightly golden and bubbly.
Serve immediately.






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