Midweek Soup Ideas | To Feed Your Body and Soul 🥣

This right here is the definition of love. There is no other food on this planet that perfectly sums up the feeling of snuggling under a cozy blanket. Holding hands with your favourite person (even if it yourself). Warm, fuzzy socks and soft glowing Winter sunsets. A steaming bowl of soup is the perfect source of happiness and nutrition this Winter! Soups are amazing health buddies too, providing ample amounts of water and nutrients to your body. Plus, it’s low-cal!

We teamed up with Farzana Kumandan from Sprinkles and Spice to bring you a special collection of her classic Winter recipes to spice up your chilly days. You can find all kinds of delicious inspo right here – @sprinklesandspicect

butternut soup topped with a dash of cream, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh coriander
Credit: Farzana Kumandan for Sprinkles and Spice

Pumpkin / Butternut Soup

Ingredients

Half a pumpkin or 1 large Butternut (rough chop, save some seeds)  

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

 ½ green pepper, diced

Handful of celery and parsley

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

2 tbsp of butter

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp barbeque or Cajun chicken spice

Dash of nutmeg

1/4 cup of fresh cream (or dessert cream or ideal milk)

Method

Braise all your veg in butter, sugar, cinnamon, barbeque or Cajun chicken spice and nutmeg mixture.

Braise until all the veg is golden brown and caramelized – Don’t miss this tip it adds extra flavour

Close the lid and turn down the heat, allowing the veg to sweat for 1 minute

Top with boiling water and simmer until all the veg is soft

Once soft, liquidize until smooth using a stand blender or hand blender

Return to the pot and add either a ¼ cup of fresh cream or dessert cream or ideal milk.

Simmer until it boils

Garnish with freshly toasted pumpkin or butternut seeds and a sprinkle of fresh coriander. Serve! 🥣

delicious, thick yellow lentil soup with a light sprinkle of spice on top and finished off with fresh coriander
Credit: Farzana Kumandan for Sprinkles and Spice

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

¼ cup Olive oil

1 large Onion, diced 

3 cloves of garlic, grated

1 cup red lentils, rinsed

1 Butternut, peeled and cut into chunks

2 carrots, gated 

1 large red pepper, chopped

1 handful parsley

1 handful celery

Dash of fresh lemon juice

2 litres water or veg stock

Salt to taste

*dry roast these spices in a hot pan and grind it fine in a mortar and pestle

2 teaspoon whole jeera (cumin seeds)

½ teaspoon crushed red chillies

1 teaspoon smoked paprika 

Method

Braise the onion in olive oil until it’s translucent

Add in the garlic and braise until the tips of the garlic start turning slightly golden brown

Add in the spices, lentils and veg and Braise for 3 minutes

Add in the water and reduce the heat to low

Simmer on a low heat for 35 minutes

Add a dash of lemon juice and salt to taste and blend with a stick blender or in a liquidizer until smooth

Serve with a slice of lemon and crusty bread or flat bread

Let us know how these recipes turned out. Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below! And make sure to follow Farzana Kumandan on Instagram and Facebook. Stay hydrated!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Simple Student: Creamy Chicken Pasta

Hello my chickpeas! I’ve decide to start this new series where I help you find fun in the kitchen and graduate to Lvl.1 cooks!

I’ve called it Simple Student because these recipes are simple, economic for student life and even if you’re a simpleton – these recipes will surely have you cooking yummy foods for yourself in no time!

👆To start this series off is my go-to recipe for classic comfort that can be made ahead of time, in large batches for the week or in large batches to help you cope for the rest of the week.

We’ve all had some type of chicken alfredo pasta. And I dare not call this recipe that in fear of being lynched by some shook Italians and because of that it’s fondly called Creamy Chicken Pasta. ‘Cos that’s all this recipe literally needs: cream, chicken and pasta. Boom! You’re a chef!🍳

✌Now, I know that looks like a lot. But I have been making this recipe for two years now, so I know what it needs to suit my tastes and what it needs to suit my mommy’s needs.

👌Don’t start out fancy with this. The basic flavours of this dish speak for itself. Once you become comfortable with adding enough salt and pepper – feel free to get creative. I prefer adding some paprika for slight colour and smoke, and dried chilli flakes for spicy-ness!

👉Once browned, remove chicken cubes from the pan. The bottom of the pan will have some brown sticky bits, don’t worry, you haven’t burnt anything. That’s what chefs call fond. It’s browned bits that stick to the pan, typically after browning meat. It adds wonderful flavour without you having done a lot!

👇I added some spinach to mine. Feel free to add whatever you have in the fridge or cupboard. Or whatever you’re craving – except chocolate. I doubt that’ll be a lekker (nice) flavour combo.

All I can say about the spaghetti is: heavily salted water and follow the cooking instructions! Please, please, please!

This recipe is one of my favourites to make for myself when I’m feeling a bit miserable or for my family on a Winter’s day.

CREAMY CHICKEN PASTA

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 3

INGREDIENTS

2-3 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Spaghetti

1/2 medium onion

1 clove of garlic or 2 teaspoons of dried garlic

2 cups of cream

1 cup of milk

Salt & Pepper

2 tablespoons of canola/olive oil

Optional Additions

2 teaspoons oregano

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1 cup mozzarella cheese

Use tofu instead of chicken

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cut chicken breasts into inch-sized cubes

2. Marinate your chicken in the dry spices: salt, pepper and any additional spices. Not the garlic!

3. Make sure that each cube is nicely spiced, and leave in the fridge (warm day) or at room temperature (cold day).

4. Chop your onion into a rough dice, it doesnt have to be super small, bite sized. Put onto a board or o a plate for now.

5. Peel, slice and dice your garlic and other additional veg. Put these all on a board or plate for now.

6. Pour oil into a skillet (pan) and turn on the heat. Medium heat to bring the oil up to temperature.

7. Test to see if the oil is hot by placing the end of a wooden sopon in the oil. If it begins to bubble around the bit in the oil, you’re all good to go!

8. Carefully place your chicken cubes in. Don’t throw them in! Ask for help if this freaks you out, or place them in the pan using a tongs.

9. Let your chicken brown for 2-3 minutes each side. We’re not aiming to fully cook the chicken here yet, if we do, adding it to the pasta and hot creamy sauce will cause it to overcook. We want it to be brown on the outside, pink and raw in the middle. Trust me, it will cook in time!

If you’d like to use stiff veg like broccoli or carrots, now would be a great time to add them. If you use bell peppers, leafy veg or asparagus, add them in later.

10. Onced browned and delicious, remove from the pan.

11. Lower the heat and add in your onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft and almost transluscent. Stir every now and then, season with salt and pepper.

12. Pour water into a pot and turn it up onto high heat to bring to a boil. Remeber add lots of salt! More than you think you need 😉

13. Once your water comes to a boil, add in your pasta and set a timer on your phone so you don’t overcook it. Simple psaghetti typically takes 8-10 minutes depending on your brand – so read the packet instructions.

14. Once your pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and drain some of the pasta water. Keep a bit in the pot with the pasta to prevent them from sticking.

15. Add your cream to your onions and garlic mixture. Keep the heat of your stove medium-low. Add your milk too and wait for it to come up to a boil. You’ll start to see a few bubbles in the sauce, don’t be tempted to stir!

16. Season your cream sauce with salt and pepper and any additonal spices.

17. After 2 minutes, stir it gently to prevent if from burning. Add in your chicken, pasta. And a few tablespoons of your pasta water. AND MIX, TOSS AND COAT 😉

Add your vegetables in here if you didn’t in the beginning.

18. It will still look runny and watery, don’t panic, give the chicken a chance to cook in the sauce and the pasta, to suck up those flavours. Put a lid on to help excess moisture evaporate quicker.

19. Once it has thickened, turn off the heat and serve yourself a huge helping!

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite pasta dish is? And don't forget to follow GirlOnTheBus for more fabulous student life stuff!

XXX

Winter in a farm cottage

I don’t know about you, but Winter is my favourite time of the year! You can wear so many cute hijabi-appropriate outfits, snuggle with hot chocolate as rain drips down the windows and most importantly – it’s my birthday! Given you live in the Southern hemisphere, Winter is experienced during the middle of the of the year. Usually June is the month where it’s really cold and wet.

Here in the Western Province we don’t get much snow, except on the peaks of the mountaneous range that enclose the area. So for a truly magical winter expereince, my family and I decided to go away for the Winter holidays and head towards the mountains. Onward!

We’ve never really spent our holidays up in the clouds before, regardless of the season we always vacation near the beach. We’re those crazy people you see putting their feet in the icy Atlantic Ocean and picnicing on the sand even though the wind is howling. We kind of really enjoy Winter.

I looked to LekkerSlaap.co.za for some holiday inspiration. At first, the dorpie (small town) of Ceres caught my eye. Beautiful mountain backdrops, lush nature. Quiet surroundings and cold cold weather. It was the perfect accompaniment to our Winter adventures. But! Just as we were attracted to it, so was everyone else and every accomodation read ‘fully booked’. However, my good friends at LekkerSlaap offered a few suggestions, one of them being…Wolseley.

Now I’d never heard of this place and if there’s one thing I love more than cold vacation spots, it’s definitely cold remote vacation spots!

Sold!

Early Friday morning we packed up the car, got comfortable and headed out with the sun still rising through the back window. Now, can I just go off on a tangent here, I’m not sure why the rest of my family don’t do this, but I just about take my whole room with me. And I don’t mean to brag…but that’s what I’m gonna do anyway – I’m a good packer. I’ll never outshine Marie Kondo, she’s on a level of her own and maybe one day I’l be like her, but for now I’m happy being a level 10-ish suitcase packer. Plus, the one thing about travelling bright and early is getting to steal those ‘five extra minutes’ in the car. It’s not your mattress back home, but the car sear can be magical. Armed with my pillows and blanket, the backseat goes from grouchy early morning drive to first class improvised luxury.

We stopped along the way at the Langebaan Mosque. Which is so beautiful! On the outskirts of the Leentjiesklip area, the mosque finds itself literally in the middle of small township houses. With no high rise walls, where kids play ball in the streets and dogs roam the area. The type of neighbourhood I was not raised in, but the type we all wish to live in. As a suburban girl, being in these townships make my mind run with stereotypical ideas – gangsterism, stray bullets, theft. The list goes on, but by actually going into these areas due to my work, I’ve learned that those who are ruining the reputation of these towns are not the majority. Mothers stand strongly against this, teens just want to go to school and not every girl on the street is resorting to prostitution. The media can paint a bad picture, one that I’ll admit, I fell prey to.

And that is why I love going to these uncommon places. Because you’re away from home and your familiarities, you are forced to interact with the people who know the place like the back of their hands. It removes the class barriers we have put in place, restricting our country from fully growing.

Now, enough socio-economical ranting and more holiday reviewing!

We stopped at the Langebaan Masjied to attend the Jumuah programme. Jumuah is observed on Fridays and typically, mosques run programmes from the late morning til the early afternoon. Similar to a Sunday service. A sermon is given by the sheikh or a guest will offer one. One is done in English and another is done in Arabic. We then pray Jumuah salaah and then bas galas all is done!

It was interesting spending Jumuah at a different mosque, the feeling is just…different.

We travelled on down this really long road and for a second a sliver of doubt crept into our minds and we though we were lost. So we ultimately started driving in circles, with my dad silently going where he thought we should, my mom shouting directions from behind a map and me chiming in from the back. Because, it’s not a party til there’s an instigator. And in our family unit that instigator is usually me. (And now that I say that I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry…)

And after some classic family feuding we found the farmstead!

Driving up to the guest house was truly a scenic route. Let me paint you a picture…

‘The crunch of clay dirt beneath the tyres accompanies the songs of birds in the trees. Rustling of newly-yellowed leaves drown out the distant chatter of farm workers. I tilt my head out the window to be greeted by waves of fresh valley scents. The crisp cold air fills my nose and bekonds me to the wonderful weekend we are about to have. The snow capped mountains stare back at our car, their blue majesty a small gift of Allah’s grace.’

Me and my mama

‘We pull up at the cottage which was a bit of a challenge as there were no designated parking areas or any signs showing where the guest houses were. But after pulling up at what we thought was the guest house, but turned out to be the farmer’s house and rudely interrupting their tea time, we were shown the house and met with the homeowners – Pieter Crous and his lovely wife (whose name I have forgotten. Sorry love!)’

The house we booked had three bedrooms. One main bedroom which my parents naturally occupied with its en suite bathroom. Which, I will admit was relatively tiny, but my parents didn’t complain so it couldn’t have been all that bad. And the other two rooms had two single beds in each of them, the room that my mama and I shared had the main bathroom in it. So everytime my sisters needed the bathrom during the night they had to walk through our room to get to it – if you have a really light sleeper in your family – do not put them in this room!

The main entrance opens to a cozy living room with plush sofas and chairs adorned with pillows and patterns my granny adored. Then taking a short right you enter the dining room which was so beautiful. A hefty wooden table ran the length of the room and with matching wooden chairs for our family of six. It made me feel like a Z-list royal. Were these the types of dining rooms the settlers of way back when had? It was not only grand but very homely. But no house is a home without a little soul, next door is the kitchen! It was what any person would think a typical plaaskombuis would look like. Teacups hanging from the cabinet. Large windows overlooking the fields, tiny ovens and ornate shelves lined with pink flower-pattered china. And lots of dogs.

Now, most of my family members are not dog people. We don’t hate dogs, we just prefer the lazy and catty personality of our feline friend. The farm owners naturally had dogs, besides as pets, I do believe dogs can serve a multitude of purposes on a farm – protect animals and people, herd livestock even catch rats. So I don’t hold it against the owners for having dogs, I just wish their dogs weren’t constantly at our windows trying to get breakfast from our table. LOL!

The following day we left the house and went out for a bit of exploring. And came across this quaint coffee in the middle of goddamn nowhere who made the yummiest scones and hot chocolate! It was just what we needed for our bruncheon. And after a bit more driving, we came to the outskirts of Ceres. And more importantly – a Ceres shopping mall. So naturally my family and I spent the day (and my mom’s credit card) at the mall. And naturally to most coloured and slamse families we ended up leaving the place with more stuff than to begin with. Heck, we got so fed up with trying to fit everything in that we eventually got to the point where just shoved and tossed everything in. Except the food items, oh no! Those get special treatment – they either get put on top of laps or take up leg room.

Overall, the Welgelee Cottage was an outstanding choice. It was peaceful, the beds we so comfy and warm and there was never a problem with electricity or running hot water. The only sad thing was that it was too cold and wet for a lekker braai. But hey, what do you expect when you go to experience Winter on a mountain!? The journey to the place was a scenic one with the mountain passes creating a sense of mystical wonder and the open landscapes making you feel like you’re on a Narnian journey.

Overall rating: 3/5 buses, because I’m not a professional.

It was truly a wonderful weekend and hopefully, it won’t be the last. Thank you to the very wonderful and helpful people at LekkerSlaap and the Crous family from Welgelee Cottage. Bless yah🌸