Paardeplaats Nature Retreat

Saucy Chef’s, Lockdown Stricken, Winter Soup Recipes:

July 7th 2020

It doesn’t pay to complain! Or so they say?
We’ve all been through 3 months of lockdown, deprived of wine, beer and whiskey. We’ve experienced one of the coldest winters for the past 25 years, and now, we have to face up to, and live within, the harsh reality of a shattered global economy. Prices are rising uncontrollably, all around us and across the board. Producers unilaterally push their prices up, to recover their losses, while the poor old consumer’s income just carries on shrinking.
What about our losses? Where, oh where will it all end?
I can’t help but question the selfish Capitalist motives in business. Very one sided indeed, with no thought or care for the consumer. Aren’t we all in this together – all battling, just to keep afloat?   I mean, without consumers they don’t have a business, do they?

So, let’s dig deep and try to look on the bright side. I think there’s joy and ultimately satisfaction to be had out of succeeding under such trying circumstances, especially if the odds are stacked against us!
Over the next two weeks, I’ll  give you two inexpensive, yet very satisfying ‘Saucy Chef’ winter,  soup recipes that should lift your spirits and warm the cockles of your hearts, for the remainder of this icy lockdown winter.
Both are almost full meals in their own right, especially with a good crusty baguette and a glass or two of your favourite wine (if Cyril kindly makes allowance for this). Your family should love them:


For me, this warming soup has evolved over the years. I used to buy Lentil Soup, as a favourite, when I camped in the Etosha Game Reserve, surveying the road from Tsumeb to Ondangwa, in 1961. The concept remains, one of the best! 


Red lentils        500g
Brown lentils      500g
Potatoes (medium) peeled & cut into cubes      4
Carrots peeled sliced into thick slices      4
Onions (large) chopped roughly      2
Tomatoes wash and chop      4
Chicken stock      3 liters
Muscovado sugar      2 tsp
Garlic (crushed)      1-2 tsp
Cumin (ground)      1 tsp
Curry powder (medium)      2-3 tsp
Fresh Dill (chopped)      1 cup
Olive oil      4 tblsp
Lemon juice      4 tblsp
Salt & pepper to taste
For Serving:
Full cream yoghurt    25 ml per serving
Olive oil    20 ml per serving
Lemon juice    10-20 ml per serving
Dill sprigs    1 sprig per serving
Lemon slices (pips removed)    1 per serving

Makes 5 Liters:

  1. Wash the lentils under plenty of running water – drain and set aside.
  2. Choose a pot with a lid, that can take up to 5 liters
  3. On a medium to high heat add 1 tblsp olive oil and the onions. Toss and stir-fry until soft.
  4. Add the crushed cumin and curry powder. Toss and fry for about a minute.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and garlic. Toss and braise for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the heated chicken stock and the lentils. Reduce the heat, and bring to a gentle boil.
  7. Add the muscovado sugar and adjust the seasoning to taste
  8. Cook gently for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and the lentils cooked. Add more cooking liquid if necessary. Remember this is a soup.
  9. Remove from the heat and using a hand held ‘wizzy wizzy’, process the soup into a slightly rough consistency, but not too thin.
  10. Add the lemon juice and remaining 3 tblsp olive oil, and the chopped dill. Toss in and taste for seasoning. The soup should be robust and well
  11. flavoured. The chopped dill is vitally important to the final flavour.
  12. For serving: In heated soup bowls, serve about 250 – 300ml soup. Drizzle with a little olive oil and lemon juice (don’t mix in). Add a dollop of good thick yoghurt, and a slice of lemon. Garnish with a sprig of dill. The lemon juice, olive oil, yoghurt and  dill are vitally important, and can be added in lesser or greater proportions. This is what makes the soup! Serve with a good, crusty baguette or garlic croutons. Bon Appétit!
  13. Any remaining soup should keep well in the fridge, for about a week, or could be frozen.
  14. When reheating, bring it to just below boiling point – not higher. It need not cook again.


This was Norman Whitehorn, my father (‘Uncle Whitey’s) favourite soup – I grew up on a basic version of this. The concept of liquidising some of the soup at the end, to thicken it, came from my father.
The Lydenburg Wine Guild won the 2019 Blaauwklippen Blending Competition, out of 86 national entrants, because of Peet, Jakkie and this soup!


Beef shin (bone in) (portion meat into suitable size pieces)  4 slices
Beef short rib (portion into suitable size pieces)  600g
Marrow bones (optional – delicious but rich)  10
Red speckled beans (soaked overnight)  350g
Split peas (washed well)  250g
Pearled barley (washed well)  250g
Vegetables: (Seasonal – can vary)                                      
Onion or leeks or both (chopped or sliced)    500g
Potatoes peeled and cut into cubes    4
Carrots peeled and sliced    4
Celery (washed and sliced)    4 stalks
Tomatoes fresh or can    500g
Tomato paste    2tsp
Baby marrows (washed and sliced 2cm)    350g
Butternut cubes    350g
Green beans (sliced 2cm)    350g
Cauliflower florets    350g
Cabbage (shredded)    2 cups
Red pepper (deseeded and cubed)    2
Garlic    2-3 tsp
Basil pesto (phone Brian for recipe).    1 tblsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Muscovado sugar    1-2 tsp
Cooking oil or coconut oil    2 tblsp
Chopped parsley    1 cup
Smoked Dutch sausage (sliced)    400g
Bouquet garni (rosemary, bay leaves, thyme)    2
Beef stock (preferably home-made)    2lt
Crusty ciabatta or baguette

Makes 4-5 liters

1. Select a heavy 5lt pot with lid for this soup. Use a separate large pot with lid for the speckled beans.
2. Cook the dried beans (do not add salt!), in plenty of boiling water for about an hour or more until they soften.        Change the water after about 10 minutes, to help cut the gas formed in the digestive process!
3. Lightly braise the meat (keep marrow bones till later), leeks and or onions, the red peppers, the carrots, potatoes and celery in the oil, to give the vegetables a good coating of oil. Add the tomato, tomato paste, the garlic, the muscovado sugar and 1 bouquet garni with the beef stock. Bring to a gentle simmer, and then leave to simmer for about one hour.
4. Add the dried beans (which should now be soft) with about 1 liter of the liquid. Add the split peas and barley. Allow to simmer gently for 35 minutes. Adjust the liquid with boiling water when necessary – The soup could easily catch if allowed to cook too dry. Remove and discard the first bouquet garni. Add the baby marrows, butternut cubes, green beans, cauliflower florets, cabbage, the marrow bones and the second bouquet garni. Continue simmering gently for another 30-40 minutes, adjusting the liquid if necessary. When all vegetables and pulses are soft and tender, remove the pot from the stove. Do not cook the marrow bones for longer than 45 minutes, as the marrow will fall out and disappear into the soup.
5. Place about 1-2 liters of the liquid, with a mix of pulses and vegetables into a large bowl and liquefy with a hand processor until thick and smooth. Add this back to the soup and toss well. Adjust the salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
6. For Serving: Make sure the baguette or ciabatta is warmed, and your wine is open. Add the pesto, sliced sausage and chopped parsley to the soup. Toss lightly. Enjoy the marrow bones as a garnish on top of the soup.
Happy Lockdown!
7. One can freeze this soup until needed, however reheat only to just below boiling point, add the garnishes and then serve.