Tag Archives: garlic

Smokey baked ratatouille

13 Feb

These days I cannot get enough of roasted vegetables – whether it’s in a salad, on a pizza, in a curry or just on its own. I think our bodies go through phases, needing different things, and mine is telling me that I need vegetables. It’s probably also to counteract the countless croissants and almond pastries that I consume every morning, so it’s only a good thing!

If you are not familiar with ratatouille, it is a popular French vegetable stew mostly made with tomatoes, aubergines, courgettes, onions, garlic and bell peppers. There are many different ways of making ratatouille, varying from stewing the cubed vegetables to a very soft and marrow-like consistency, to a fresher version that will allow some texture. The purists even say that you need to cook all the vegetables separately before cooking them together, so that every vegetable truly tastes of itself.

The other day we visited my sister for a lazy, chilled-out dinner. They cooked steak on the fire and served it with a beautiful fanned-out baked ratatouille – simple perfection.  I decided to make my own version at home after they gifted me an enormous courgette from their garden. After buying tomatoes and aubergines, I found the giant courgette to be a bit tough on the skin-side for this dish, so I left it out completely (it did however turn out to make an incredible courgette coconut curry soup, though!) – you can definitely add some courgette slices if you want to. Starting with a rich tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish, I layered thinly sliced vegetables on top – I promise it’s a lot easier than it looks. I added a generous amount of smoked paprika to the sauce and over the top of the vegetables, which certainly isn’t traditionally French, but it lends a great smokey flavour and a deep red colour. Fresh thyme and lots of extra virgin olive oil completed the picture. I baked it for an hour and 20 minutes, but you can up the baking time to 2 hours for an even softer result.

You can serve ratatouille as a main dish, or as a side with grilled meat/chicken/fish, or even with pasta or rice. It’s also great at room temperature served as antipasti, or top it with a grilled egg over toast for breakfast. Leftovers can also be used as a pizza topping – absolutely delicious. It is a relatively inexpensive dish that really goes a long way, and it only improves in flavour the next day (and the next).


Ingredients: (serves 6)

For the sauce:

  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped/grated
  • 2 x 400 g cans whole tomatoes, pureed in a blender
  • about 10 ml (2 teaspoons) fresh thyme leaves (woody stalks discarded)
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) sugar
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper

In a medium size pot over medium heat, add the oil and fry the garlic for about a minute, stirring. Add the pureed tomatoes, thyme, sugar, paprika and season generously with salt & pepper. Bring to a simmer, then cook uncovered over low heat for 10-15 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a wide casserole or baking dish (I used a 30 cm Le Creuset casserole) for assembling the ratatouille.

To assemble:

  • 1 very large or 2 medium aubergines, sliced thinly into rounds of about 3 mm thick (I use a knife, but you can also use a mandoline cutter)
  • about 6-8 ripe tomatoes, sliced thinly into rounds of about 3 mm thick
  • about 30 ml (2 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
  • about 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) smoked paprika
  • about 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
  • salt & pepper
  • a handful fresh basil leaves, for serving
  • grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Arrange the sliced aubergines and tomatoes in a circular row (or just in rows) on top of the sauce, making sure the tomatoes peep out behind the larger slices of aubergine – use two slices of tomato to match the width of the aubergines slices if necessary. Continue until the full surface of the dish is covered, then drizzle all over with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and thyme. Season generously with salt & pepper, then bake for 1,5 – 2 hours until very soft and roasted on top. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes before serving (if you have the patience). Top with basil leaves and parmesan cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Balsamic leg of lamb with garlic & figs

21 Dec

Roast leg of lamb with garlic, figs, rosemary, balsamic vinegar and port. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Festive season is upon us and many of us are planning menus for a special celebration with family and friends. Every year, we as an extended family get together on Christmas eve for a showstopping hearty dinner, or on Christmas day for a lighter, mostly room temperature, yet elaborate festive lunch (summer days at the beach are just too hot for anything else). This lamb roast probably qualifies as a heartier dinner, served with all the trimmings and sides of your heart’s desire. Although figs are not in season at the moment, you can still find some imported ones in supermarkets here and there (I wrote this recipe right at the end of fig season when they were still on shelves everywhere). Otherwise, substitute them with beautiful firm halved plums – dark red and purple on the outside, yet golden on the inside.

A large leg of lamb or mutton in the oven smells like Christmas to me, and makes the best leftovers the next day. *Note: Ask your butcher to bend the long end of the leg bone by cutting almost through it but not all the way. This way it will fit snugly into a large roasting tray without hanging over the side.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

1 large leg of lamb* (about 3 kg)
45 ml olive oil
salt & pepper
3 sprigs rosemary, woody stems removed, chopped
2 whole heads of garlic, horizontally sliced in half
3/4 cup (180 ml) balsamic vinegar
1 cup (250 ml) port wine
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
about 8 large ripe black figs, some halved, some whole


  • Preheat the oven to 160 C.
  • Place the leg of lamb inside a large deep roasting tray, fatty side down. Drizzle it all over with oil and season it generously with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary on both sides.
  • Arrange the garlic head halves around it, then pour the vinegar, port and white wine into the bottom. Cover with a lid or foil, then roast for 3 hours. Remove from the oven, then use tongs to turn the leg over with the fatty side to the top. Cover and roast for another 2 hours.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and turn the heat up to 200 C. Return the leg to the oven for 20 minutes to brown, then add the figs around the meat and roast for another 10 minutes – the figs should be just warm and soft, not falling apart.
  • Serve warm in the tray as a festive centerpiece, with a side of roast potatoes or vegetables and salad.

Note: This roast makes a hearty yet thin sauce – remove some of the fat from the top by skimming it off with a spoon at the end of the cooking process. If you prefer a thicker gravy, pour the skimmed sauce into a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and thicken slightly by reducing it by 1/4 or by adding 2-3 teaspoons of corn flour (mix it to a slurry consistency with a few teaspoons of water before adding it). Stir well until thickened.

This recipe is another festive collaboration with Lamb & Mutton South Africa.

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Festive Feasting with Pork 360: Stuffed Porchetta

20 Dec

Moist porchetta stuffed with spinach & ricotta (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

It’s almost Christmas and some of us will have the privilege and joy of preparing a beautiful roast for our family and friends on this special day. A stuffed roast is even more festive in my opinion, and the Italians do it best with a traditional porchetta. Porchetta simply refers to a savoury, moist, fatty, boneless cut of pork that is rolled and roasted – perfect for stuffing beforehand and cutting beautiful rounds when cooked.

I recently developed six new recipes in collaboration with Pork 360 (this one’s number four). It’s a quality assurance and traceability certification – a guarantee to both the consumer and retailing sector that the producer has a consistent production process that complies with minimum standards and ensures high-quality pork. The Pork 360 projects takes place under the guidance of the South African Pork Producers Association (SAPPO). Watch their video for more info.

In a nutshell: it’s pork you can trust!

I’ve chosen a boneless pork belly for this porchetta recipe, but you can also use a boneless shoulder. Look for a belly with a thin layer of fat compared to meat – it will still be super moist but not overwhelmingly fatty. I bought the meat (and other ingredients) from my local Food Lover’s Market. You can find the most beautiful, fresh, whole pork shoulders, necks, bellies and legs – great choices when entertaining a large crowd. They also have great spare ribs, chops and festive gammons.

Serve your porchetta in thick slices with your choice of roast potatoes or mash, some pan-fried spinach and a generous drizzle of the pan sauces. Enjoy the festive season everybody!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • for the stuffing:
    • 15 ml olive oil
    • 200 g baby spinach
    • 250 g ricotta cheese
    • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • a pinch of ground nutmeg
    • salt & pepper
  • about 1,5 kg boneless pork belly
  • 250 g smoked streaky bacon
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • about 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (like thyme & sage)


  1. To make the stuffing: heat the oil in a large pan, then fry the spinach over high heat until just wilted, stirring often. Remove from the heat, drain the excess liquid from the pan, then place in a food processor along with the ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg. Season generously with salt & pepper, then process to a thick pulp. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170 C. Place the pork belly on a clean working surface, skin side up. Use a very sharp knife to remove the tough outer layer of skin (save it for making crackling later, if you want to). Turn the belly over, widest side facing you – you want to roll it up to form a long/narrow log, not a short/fat log.
  3. Arrange the stuffing horizontally in the middle of the belly from side to side, then roll the belly up with the seam on the bottom. Arrange slivers of streaky bacon diagonally over the top, overlapping slightly.
  4. Use pieces of kitchen string to neatly secure the roll at about 3 cm intervals, knotting them at the top and snipping the loose ends.
  5. Drizzle a deep medium-size roasting tray with olive oil, then arrange the onions, garlic and herbs on the bottom. Place the prepared pork roll on top of this in the middle of the tray. Roast for 3 hours at 170 C (if the meat/veg get too dark, cover lightly with foil). Remove from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
  6. Serve hot with pan-fried green vegetables, roast potatoes or mash (or cauliflower puree) and a drizzle of pan juices.

Note: If you love a thicker gravy, remove the meat from the tray after roasting and bring the pan juices to a boil over the stove top, scraping any brown bits. Add some lamb or chicken stock (about 250 ml), a splash of dry white wine and cook, stirring. Mix some of the hot liquid with a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of butter, then return the paste to the pan and stir to make a smooth, slightly thickened gravy. Add salt & pepper to taste, then pour in a jug and serve with the porchetta.

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Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic and thyme

10 Nov

Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic, thyme (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Baked tomatoes with feta, garlic, thyme (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

It’s already November and I’m revisiting a lot of my favourite side dish recipes to go with all the upcoming al fresco celebrations.

A few years ago, Barbara Joubert published this phenomenal recipe via Sarie Kos. It is a baking tray filled with tomatoes, whole feta slabs, onions and basil. I first had it at a friend’s house and it was one of the most popular dishes at her braai. I’ve since made it many times at my house, substituting the basil for thyme and adding lots of garlic. It smells like heaven, it looks brilliant and it tastes fantastic – one of those minimal effort, big result recipes. Serve as a side dish, or serve along with freshly baked bread as a starter.

I also add a little sugar to my tomatoes to create an extra caramelized result. If you’ve never baked feta before, get ready for a really great taste and texture sensation.

Ripe tomatoes are essential for the intense flavour of this dish (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ripe tomatoes are essential for the intense flavour of this dish (photography by Tasha Seccombe)


  • 3 large tomatoes, halved horizontally
  • about 300g cherry/rosa tomatoes on the vine
  • 400 g feta cheese
  • 1 whole head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • salt & pepper
  • 10-15 ml sugar
  • about 60-80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • squeeze of a lemon


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C.
  2. Arrange the large tomatoes cut-side-up on the tray, then add the cherry tomatoes, feta, garlic and thyme. Season well with salt & pepper, sprinkle the tomatoes with sugar, then drizzle all over with olive oil and a little lemon juice.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes until the feta and garlic is golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and serve warm or at room temperature. Drizzle with more olive oil if served with bread.
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Best ever rare roast beef sandwich with mustard & aioli

18 May

Beef sandwichI’ve shared my favourite bread recipe of 2015 a few months ago, and this is a post to show you one of the best ways to enjoy it.

We had this sandwich on the menu at my food studio last year and everybody loved it. We called it “The Bull” – a meaty, feisty sandwich with a strong mustard kick.

If you’re too lazy to bake, just use a good quality store-bought ciabatta or panini instead. And if you’re even more lazy, skip the roasting of the beef and just use a few slices of good quality pastrami (because sometimes we need shortcuts in life).

For the rare roast beef: (serves 6)

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • about 1 kg lean beef roast (silverside works well)
  • salt & black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 C. In an iron skillet on the stove top, heat the oil over high heat. Sear the roast on all sides to get good colour, about 10 minutes in total. Season well with salt & pepper while searing. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Use a very sharp knife to cut the meat into thin slivers, then set aside (cut it as thin as you can).

For the aioli:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • about 250 ml canola oil

Place the yolks, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper in a food processor and mix well. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream through the feeding tube, creating a thick emulsion. When all the oil is incorporated, check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Set aside.

For the sandwiches:

  • 6 paninis or small ciabattas (see the recipe for Scott’s bread)
  • aioli, for spreading
  • fresh lettuce leaves
  • sliced tomato (optional)
  • slices of rare roast beef
  • whole grain mustard, for topping (or a mixture of whole grain and Dijon)
  • salt & pepper

To assemble, start by slicing your paninis open horizontally, then spread generously with aioli. Top with lettuce leaves, tomato (optionally), slices of beef and then a generous drizzle of whole grain mustard. Season with salt & pepper, then place the top half of the panini in place. Enjoy!

Note: If you’re feeling luxurious, replace the silverside roast with a whole beef fillet. Roast it in the same way as above, or according to your taste and the size of the fillet.


Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography, food styling & prop styling: Tasha Seccombe

This post has also been featured on The Pretty Blog.

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Pan con tomate

6 Jan

Pan con tomate: toasted bread with freshly grated tomato and garlic (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Pan con tomate: toasted bread with freshly grated tomato and garlic (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Here at the demo KITCHEN we’ve done quite a few Spanish-themed dinners over the last few weeks. The three course dinners consisted of some of my favourite traditional Spanish dishes: pan con tomate (toasted bread with fresh garlic & fresh tomato), paella with chicken & black mussels, and spiced chocolate churros.

I want to share two of these recipes with you, starting with pan con tomate (next time we’ll get to the churros). This is one of those dishes that is deeply satisfying because of its simplicity, but only if you choose the ingredients well. Buy great quality bread (or bake your own), choose only the ripest reddest firm tomatoes, use a robust extra virgin olive oil, and eat it as fresh as possible.

Although the original way to eat pan con tomate says that you need to rub a tomato half straight onto the toasted bread, I find that it can be a messy affair and not everybody likes to get their hands dirty. Use a course grater to grate the tomato from the cut side, so that you are left with the skins.

This is a fantastic start to a lazy summer lunch or dinner. Add beautiful shavings of ham, stuffed olives and cheese, and you have a perfect simple tapas spread.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 4 x panini sticks, sliced horizontally in half (small baguettes, or just use normal baguettes)
  • cold pressed extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, skins removed
  • 1 -2 large ripe tomatoes, halved and coarsely grated from the inside out (discard the skins)
  • salt flakes & cracked black pepper


  1. Toast the bread cut-side down in a hot griddle pan or over an open fire. Remove from heat and quickly drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Now use a clove of garlic to rub onto the bread, all over the surface.
  3. Top with freshly grated tomato, then season well with salt & pepper. Enjoy immediately.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Assistant: Elsebé Cronjé

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Tasha Seccombe

Venue for shoot: the demo KITCHEN

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Quinoa salad

27 Jan

A summery quinoa salad, inspired by a traditional Middle Eastern “tabbouleh” (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Although quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) has been around for ages in South America, most people in South Africa are still getting used to this seedy superfood. Being very high in protein and free of gluten, most of us can eat it with a clear conscience. Yes, it looks kind of like a mini bean sprout, but have a mouthful and you’ll agree that it tastes like a member of the grain family – filling and really appetising.

I love serving cooked quinoa in a cold salad. It is a fabulous side dish for dinner, and makes the perfect leftover lunch for the next day. Crisp summer flavours of a traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh (bulgur wheat salad with tomatoes, cucumber, mint, parsley & lemon) are the perfect cornerstones for a great summery salad, so I substituted the bulgur wheat for quinoa and it worked like a charm.

I used tricoloured quinoa, but you can use whatever you can find.

Ingredients: (serves 6 as a side dish)

  • 2 cups (500 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2,5 ml) salt
  • 1 cup (250 ml) uncooked quinoa
  • 4 med-large ripe (still firm) tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 1 small English cucumber (of 1/2 large cucumber), seeded & diced
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely sliced spring onions
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) finely chopped mint
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • juice of a small lemon
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Place water and salt in a medium size pot on the stove top and bring to the boil. Add quinoa, then turn heat down to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped tomato, cucumber, spring onions, parsley, mint and garlic.  Add the lemon juice & olive oil, then season with salt and black pepper & mix well.
  3. Now add the cooled quinoa, and mix until well combined. Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Roasted cracked baby potatoes with garlic

7 Jan

Roasted cracked baby potatoes with garlic (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Although I am an advocate for cold summer meals like charcuterie and salads, there’s one dish that will get my vote come rain or shine: roast potatoes. They are often the most popular dish on the menu, beating meaty roasts and beautiful pudding by a long shot.

I prefer to work with baby potatoes, as they are already a great size – no cutting required. I boil them until they are just tender, then crush them gently with the back of a spoon until they crack open, yet still remain in tact. These beautiful potatoes then get a luscious coat of olive oil and a good seasoning of salt & pepper before joining a bunch of whole garlic cloves in the oven. I turn them once through the roasting process to make sure they are golden on both sides, then transfer the precious nuggets to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, then serve with your main meal along with my versatile yoghurt & mustard sauce.

I’ve also serve these at room temperature – they just become better and better. Great as an in-between snack, dunked in the yoghurt sauce. These will become a household favourite – I can promise you that!

Serve these potatoes with a yoghurt mustard sauce (photography by Tasha Seccombe, styling by Nicola Pretorius)

Ingredients: (serves 6-10)

  • 2 kg firm baby potatoes
  • 2 heads of garlic, skinned but whole
  • 1 cup good quality olive oil (or canola oil, or a mixture)
  • salt and black pepper
  • a handful of parsley, chopped


  1. In a large pot, add the potatoes, then cover with cold water. Bring to the boil on the stovetop, then cook until just tender – about 10-13 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 220 C.
  3. Drain off the water, then transfer the potatoes to a large roasting tray. Use the back of a spoon to crack each one gently, still leaving them in tact but creating crevices for the oil & seasoning to be absorbed.
  4. Add the garlic cloves, drizzle the oil all over, then season generously with salt & pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn each potato with tongs and return to the oven for another 10 minutes until they are golden brown on both sides.
  5. Remove from the oven, then transfer to a serving dish using a slotted spoon (discard the excess oil). Scatter with chopped parsley.


This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

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Grilled courgette and aubergine salad with bocconcini, lemon and mint

30 Sep

Grilled courgette & aubergine salad with lemon, garlic, mint and bocconcini

One of my go-to tapas when I entertain friends, is a simple dish of grilled aubergines, marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and fresh mint. I have served it so many times, mostly as a topping on brushetta, and everytime without fail people ask me how I make it. It is just a hit!

I have decided to take this popular dish to new heights by turning it into a larger salad with the addition of grilled courgettes and bocconcini (or fior di latte). This way, you can serve it as a side dish accompanying a main meal, or even just with some sour dough bread as a light lunch. This salad contains quite a bit of fresh garlic, and I love the way it makes me long for the Italian countryside! But if you don’t really like garlic, you can leave it out completely.

You’ll be amazed by how far you can stretch 1 or 2 aubergines with this recipe. You are also welcome to add some fresh rocket leaves or other salad leaves of your choice.

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 1 large aubergine (or 2 medium)
  • 6 courgettes
  • 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • about 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely crushed
  • a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried mint (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Use a mandolin cutter to finely cut the aubergine into very thin slices. The key to this dish is the thinness of the slices – it should be paper thin. Use a knife or a vegetable peeler to finely cut the aubergines into strips (they can be slightly thicker than the aubergines because their texture is easier to work with). Set them aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix the olive oil, lemon juice & rind, garlic and mint.
  3. Heat a griddle pan over high heat until it is very hot – takes about 5-8 minutes. Now grill the slices of aubergine/courgettes one batch at a time (without adding any oil), not overlapping the slices, turning them once, until they have brown griddle marks on each side (it takes 1-2 minutes a side). Remove with tongs, then place them on a plate next to each other, but not overlapping. Add another batch of slices to the pan and grill.
  4. While you are waiting for your next batch to grill, use a tablespoon to spoon some of the marinade over the grilled aubergines/courgettes on the plate, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Top with more grilled aubergines, then spoon over more marinade and season. Repeat until all the slices have been grilled and all the marinade have been spooned over. At this stage, you can cover it and refrigerate until later.
  5. Assemble the salad: use a fork to arrange slices of the vegetableson a large platter – because they are so thin, it looks great to fold them and stack them loosely. Top with slices of bocconcini / fior di latte (fresh mozzarella), and serve with good quality fresh bread like sour dough or ciabatta. A few extra wedges of lemon and a few mint leaves complete the picture. Enjoy!


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Recipe, food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius & Tasha Seccombe.

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Courgette soup with Boursin cheese

27 Jun

Thick, decadent courgette soup with Boursin cheese, perfect for Winter! (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

My friend Francille told me about this soup recipe a few weeks ago while we were discussing Winter menus – she’s a serious recipe collector and her book collection puts mine to shame. One of her friends heard this recipe on the radio somewhere, and it was passed on via hearsay. So there’s no way to tell where it originally came from!

This is an extremely simple recipe, containing only 5 key ingredients: courgettes, garlic, chicken stock, tomato paste and Boursin cheese – a soft and creamy French cowsmilk cheese similar to cream cheese. Boursin cheese can be found at most supermarkets with a well stocked cheese section, but if you cannot find it you can sibstitute it for plain cream cheese and some freshly chopped parsley & chives. The result with the Boursin cheese is just absolutely delicious, so make the effort to get a hold of it!

The result is a rich, thick and decadent soup with deep flavours – perfect as a starter if served in small portions, otherwise also great as a main course served with fresh artisanal bread like a proper sour dough. If you are counting kilojoules, don’t even bother – this one is only for those who love to throw caution to the wind!

This soup is a great reason to love Winter. Enjoy!


  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • roughly 750 g courgettes, sliced
  • 15 ml tomato paste
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150 g Boursin Cheese (garlic and fine herbs flavour) – OR 150 g plain cream cheese plus 30 ml chopped parsley & chives
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley and/or chives for serving (optional)


  1. In a medium size stock pot, heat the oil and fry the garlic over low heat for a minute. Add the sliced courgettes and tomato paste, and fry for another minute, stirring.
  2. Now add the chicken stock and bring to the boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until the courgettes are tender.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat, then use a stick blender to carefully blitz the soup to a very smooth consistency.
  4. Add the Boursin cheese, then blend again until smooth and creamy.
  5. Return to the heat and season to taste. Reheat until the soup just reaches boiling point, then remove from the heat and serve hot.
  6. Garnish with extra herbs if necessary.



This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius and Tasha Seccombe.

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