Heart-warming fare

Last weekend we really experienced the Cape of Storms in its mighty force. Rain lashed at the windows which got frosted over, gusts of icy winds looked like they were about to uproot the trees and by Sunday night I think everybody who hid inside from the freezing temperatures and intemperate weather was suffering from cabin fever.

Thus food to warm the cockles of the heart was the order of the day, and not wishing to go out even to the corner supermarket, I had to improvise with what was in the pantry and in the deep freezer.

I scratched around and found a few basics and made a chicken, butternut and chickpea stew, accompanied by brown rice, studded with veggie strips. It’s also a good dish for the end of the month when there’s more month to money. In this recipe you can feel free to leave out or add a few other veggies or change the chicken for lamb or beef, it will work just as well.

Butternut, chickpea and chicken stew

500g chicken breasts or deboned thighs

150 g cubed butternut

100 g fresh spinach leaves

1 tin of chickpeas

1 small punnet baby tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

Ground coriander

1 onion, chopped into small pieces

½ glass white wine

1 cup of chicken stock

1 tsp brown sugar


Place the baby tomatoes in a bowl of boiled water and, after soaking them for a few minutes, gently pull away the skin, which should come off easily.

Pre-cook the butternut and cut into chunky squares.

Sauté the onion and the garlic. Cube the chicken into 2cm squares and add it to the onion and garlic, browning the chicken pieces. Add in the butternut and the tomatoes and drain and rinse the chickpeas and add it in to the mixture.

Pour in the wine and the stock and add in a teaspoon of ground coriander, season with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried herbs or a tablespoon of fresh herbs.

Allow the stew to simmer over a low heat for about 15 minutes and finally add in the spinach at the very end.

Jewelled rice

1 cup brown rice, boiled and drained.

1 pack stir fry veggie strips

1 cup of peas

Sauté another garlic clove in a wok and add in the stir fry veg and peas. Add in a glug of sweet soy sauce. Gently stir in the vegetable to the rice and cook briefly so that the veggies are still firm.

You can either serve it in bowls, firstly spooning in the rice and then the stew and decorate with coriander leaves or simply plate the rice and chicken. Good with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce.