5spice butternut soup. Photographer: Mujahid Safodien
5spice butternut soup. Photographer: Mujahid Safodien
Recipe: Chicken tagine.
Recipe: Chicken tagine.


75ml water

200ml white sugar

15ml ground cinnamon

5ml cardamom

2ml nutmeg

2ml clove

2ml allspice

500ml whole almonds

Combine the water, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove and allspice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and then add the almonds. Cook until the mixture seems thick.

Working very quickly, pour the sugary almonds on to a baking sheet and, using a fork, separate them immediately.

Allow to cool before storing in a jar.


Serves 4

250ml peeled, finely chopped ginger

500ml water

250ml sugar

2 whole cloves

2 whole cardamom pods

50ml lime juice

sparkling water, ice and lime wedges to serve

Combine the ginger, water, sugar, cloves and cardamom in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes.

Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. Add the lime juice and serve diluted with sparkling water and ice and garnished with lime.


Serves 4 - 6

8 chicken thighs

5ml ground cumin

5ml ground turmeric

5ml ground coriander

2ml ground ginger

salt and pepper to season

30ml olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

3 baby leeks, chopped

10ml crushed garlic

500ml chicken stock

2 cinnamon sticks

100g green olives, drained

3 wedges preserved lemon, flesh removed and skin cut into strips

100g dried apricots

400g can of chickpeas, drained

100g fresh dates, chopped

Combine the chicken with the spices and seasoning and leave to marinate for an hour.

Heat half the oil in a large oven-proof casserole or pot and brown the chicken, remove and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pot and fry onion, carrots, celery, leeks and garlic until soft.

Return the chicken to the pot with the stock, cinnamon, olives and lemon. Cover and cook in the oven at 160°C for one hour.

Add the apricots, chickpeas and dates and cook another 30 minutes.

Serve with harissa rice.


Serves 6

4 cups (1000ml) cooked Basmati rice

30ml harissa paste

250ml frozen peas, blanched

a handful of shelled pistachios

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

In a large pot, mix the rice, harissa paste and frozen peas, heat on a low heat and add the pistachios and coriander just before serving.


Serves 4 - 6

15ml oil

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

5ml cumin seeds

1 onion, finely chopped

5ml red chilli powder

5ml ground cumin

10ml ground coriander

5ml garam masala

3ml salt

15ml crushed garlic

2 potatoes, peeled, diced and par-cooked

2 carrots, chopped

2 parsnips, chopped

100g baby spinach

250ml frozen peas

625ml cooked Basmati rice

5ml turmeric

125ml boiling water

75g roasted cashew nuts

2 medium onions, finely sliced and fried until golden brown

coriander to garnish

Heat oil in a pot and fry cinnamon stick, bay leaf, cumin seeds and onion until golden and fragrant.

Stir in the red chilli powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, salt and then the crushed garlic, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, spinach and frozen peas. The spices should evenly coat the veggies.

Cook on low for 15 minutes and then remove from heat.

Layer cooked Basmati rice over the veggies. Sprinkle turmeric on top of the rice and add the boiling water. Allow to steam on a low heat until the water evaporates and the rice is thoroughly heated, adding more water if necessary.

Sprinkle the nuts and brown onions over and garnish with fresh coriander.


Serves 6

1kg butternut, peeled and cut into cubes

2 large onions, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

15ml Chinese five-spice powder

3ml ground cinnamon

salt and pepper

2 litres of chicken stock

100g pancetta

100ml cream

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC.

Put the butternut and onion chunks in a large roasting pan, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle over the spices, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly.

Roast the vegetables until they are completely tender, turning them with a spatula every 15 minutes. This will take 45 minutes.

When the vegetables are tender, transfer them, along with any juices in the pan, to a large pot.

Add the chicken stock and purée with a hand-held stick blender until smooth. Bring to a simmer.

While the soup is heating, put the pancetta in a small, non-stick pan and fry over medium-high heat until crisp.

Serve the hot soup with a drizzle of cream and a garnish of pancetta.


Serves 8

2 litres of red wine

2 oranges

180ml castor sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

50ml brandy

Pour the red wine into a large pot and put it on the stove on a very low heat – do not let the wine boil.

Cut the oranges into slices and add them together with the sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves.

Stir on and off for at least 30 minutes to give the spices time to infuse the wine.

Taste to check the balancing, adding more sugar if necessary. Add the brandy and serve steaming. - The Star