Fresh Butternut & Carrot Salad

Lately, a lot of people have asked me to post a recipe for something easy to prepare on a weeknight. Well, you asked for it and here it is. 🙂

While it’s still autumn, let’s stick to the warm colours and loads of pumpkin!

We recently had a braai at our house and I had to make some side dishes. Having butternut in the house mostly all year round, I thought it would be easy to make use of this wonderful, versatile vegetable. Who says butternut can only be eaten cooked?

This salad is really easy to prepare just before the meat on the braai is cooked. The guests will hardly notice you were gone!

Dressing Before - FB

Dressing After - FB

Salad and Dressing - FB

Salad Bowl - FB

Salad Plating - FBPlating Angle - FB

Fresh Butternut & Carrot Salad

Served 4

Adapted from: Food Well Said


  • Salad Dressing:
  • 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Wholegrain Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • A Pinch of Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Salad:
  • ± 1½ Cups Shaved Butternut (± ½ of a very small butternut)
  • ± 1½ Cups Shaved Carrots (± 2 medium carrots)
  • 2 Cups Rocket (I prefer wild rocket, but normal rocket is also fine)
  • A Handful of Dates
  • A Handful of Sunflower Seeds
  • A Handful of Pumpkin Seeds


  1. To make the salad dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small glass jar with a lid. With the lid secured tightly, shake the jar vigorously until it is well combined and an emulsion has formed. Leave it in the refrigerator until later.
  2. To make the salad, peel the butternut and remove the seeds. With a peeler, shave the butternut to form long thin slices. Repeat this process with the carrots. There is no need to peel the carrots first – you can use the outer layer if is has been properly scrubbed with a brush to remove all of the soil. Less wastage!
  3. Combine the butternut, carrots and salad dressing in a mixing bowl. Allow to ‘marinate’ for 30 minutes.
  4. Cut the dates into smaller pieces – whichever size you prefer.
  5. Over medium heat in a non-stick pan (without any oil), toast the seeds for a few minutes. Please stir them every ten or so seconds as they can burn easily. They will start popping when they are busy toasting. Once they are golden brown, remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool completely. The seeds can be eaten raw, but I prefer the flavour of toasted seeds – it really does enhance the flavour and bring out a nutty taste that wasn’t there before.
  6. Carefully place the ‘marinated’ butternut and carrots on a platter or in a salad bowl. Add the rocket. Lastly, scatter the dates and seeds over the rocket. You can also combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and then empty onto a platter or into a salad bowl – it is entirely up to you and which look you are going for.
  7. I have added some goat’s cheese pecorino to this salad and it really works well. It is also recommended that you grate in fresh horseradish with the salad, but I cannot seem to find it anywhere, so I have added horseradish cream to my portion.
  8. Serve immediately.
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BTW – Toasted seeds are great as healthy snacks throughout the day! Read more about the benefits here and here.

Feel free to play around with the ingredients. Grating the butternut and carrots can also work!

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie FB

When I think of autumn, I think of imagine myself reading a book under a tree shedding its warm-coloured leaves, warm aromatic Chai tea, rich butternut soup and cinnamon.

Celebrating Halloween, Americans always make pumpkin EVERYTHING – from carved pumpkins for decorations, pumpkin pie, and they even have something called ‘pumpkin spice latte’ at many coffee shops.

Because I am a major cinnamon fan and because cinnamon reminds me of autumn, I thought to myself why not try something that is not so well-known in South Africa, like pumpkin pie?

As you probably have seen in all our grocery stores, we do not get pumpkin purée in tins. You have to make your own. Please don’t be discouraged (and lazy) – it is so simple to make your own pumpkin purée. The pumpkin I used was butternut, but you can use whichever pumpkin you prefer. In terms of size, it is just easier to work with butternut than boerpampoen and hubbard squash, for instance. You cook (simmer / steam) the pumpkin until soft and then you purée it in a food processor once it has cooled – et voilà, there you have pumpkin purée.

Pumpkin Pie Mix

One of the latest trends in food is to use all the elements of the food that you are cooking with – the less wastage the better.  For this recipe I have also incorporated all the elements of the butternut, including the skin and the seeds which were used as part of the garnish. There is no need to be scared to play around and experiment with the elements you would normally throw in the bin or your compost heap. The seeds were baked in the oven with a little salt and sunflower oil until lightly golden brown (please don’t over-bake or it will become very bitter). The skins were candied in a pot, dried out in the oven, cooled and then crushed into a powder by using a mortar & pestle. For this recipe I cooked the pumpkin with a third of an orange’s skin. With the rest of the orange I made segments and burnt the segments with a blowtorch. Oranges really work well with butternut.

To finish the pie off I made a ginger cream cheese that was also used as part of the garnish.
Candied Butternut SkinButternut Skin Powder Pumpkin Seeds

I am by no means an expert baker and it is not really my strong suit, but it was definitely worth the effort to make my own pie crust. It gives a very soft, crumbly crust that tastes like butter. If I can try it, so can you. 🙂

Please let me know if you would like the recipe of the pie crust?


Pumpkin Pie


  • 2 Cups Pumpkin Purée (± 600g)
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 120ml Brown Sugar
  • 180ml Evaporated Milk
  • 1t Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼t Ground Nutmeg
  • 1t Salt


  1. Whisk together the pumpkin purée, eggs and brown sugar.
  2. Add the evaporated milk to the mixture and whisk until combined.
  3. Lastly, add the salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk until combined.
  4. Pour into a cool prepared 30cm tart shell.
  5. Bake at 190°C for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180°C and bake for an additional 30 – 35 minutes.
  6. Once the pie is cooked, let it cool completely before removing from the pan. Finish off by garnishing the pie with the other pumpkin elements.
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Panko Crusted Deep-Fried Chicken Livers

Deep fried chicken livers Twitter

I grew up in a family where I was exposed to a lot of different kinds of food. Some of my friends had not even heard of some of the food my parents made, let alone tasted it.  Some of this included okra, chicken necks and rhubarb. It was just too unusual. Unfortunately not many moms and dads experiment with food and their children end up very fussy eaters.

My mom and dad was born and raised in the Western Cape and grew up with things like bokkoms and ’pens & pootjies’. Offal was seen as a delicacy in our Afrikaans family and whenever we had a family gathering, an offal ’potjie’ was made.

Needless to say, chicken livers and any kind of offal or organ meat was a ‘no- no’ among many friends. Being a teenager is tough enough as it is, imagine how it is with your friends finding your eating habits weird and somewhat gruesome? It was at that moment that I decided I would stop eating chicken livers and offal. Yes, I know – how foolish of me to give into uneducated teenagers?! It was only after high school and after my teenage years that my brain cells resurfaced and I decided to go back to my African up-bringing and roots and eat offal again.

Today, I cannot imagine my life without chicken livers – I absolutely love it! Thankfully, so does my husband. Wherever we go, we order chicken livers just so we can compare it to what we have tasted at other restaurants. We have had really horrible chicken livers –too dry, too mushy, too saucy, too spicy, too bland, etc. The best way to prepare chicken livers is with love at home. Chicken livers are just like chicken breasts – if it is overcooked, it will become dry. I have made chicken livers with peri-peri sauce on many occasions and it is still one of my favourite weekday meals. Because one cannot have the same variation on cooking a specific meat for the rest of your life, you have to experiment with new cooking techniques and flavours otherwise you will become boring in entertaining and bored with food.

Have you noticed that restaurants always serve chicken livers the same way? This needs to change, ASAP.

We had Panko bread crumbs in the cupboard and I came up with the brilliant new way to serve chicken livers. This is a perfect snack to serve in a pub with ranch dressing or lime mayonnaise, or if you want to, serve it fine -dining style to any of your chicken liver-loving friends.

Chicken livers are inexpensive and it would be ideal if you could substitute your beef or lamb meals with a meal containing chicken livers, especially with the increase in food prices. Chicken livers contain a range of vitamins and minerals.  It is also, however, high is cholesterol.

If you have never eaten chicken livers, try it – you might end up even liking it!

Panko Crusted Deep-Fried Chicken Livers


  • 1 Container of Fresh Chicken Livers
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Peri-Peri Spice
  • Dried Parsley
  • 4 Eggs, whisked
  • 2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Sunflower or Canola Oil for Deep-frying


  1. Clean the chicken livers by removing all of the sinew parts & cut it in smaller pieces.
  2. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, peri-peri spice and dried parsley in a shallow smaller pan or rectangular container.
  3. Set up your breading station. The first container will have the flour, the second shallow container will have the eggs and the last shallow container will have the Panko bread crumbs.
  4. In a heavy-base pot, heat the oil to ± 175°C. If you do not have a thermometer, you can start on the second highest setting on your stove and once you start frying, immediately turn it down to medium heat.
  5. Make sure to have a plate lined with kitchen towel, oven gloves and a metal slotted spoon ready to remove the chicken livers from the hot oil.
  6. Once your oil is heated, pat the chicken livers with kitchen towel making sure to remove any moisture. Dredge each chicken liver in the flour, making sure to shake off any excess flour. You can also do this by mixing the chicken livers with the flour in a sealed plastic bag. Make sure that the flour goes into all of the folds of the livers. Make sure you use only your right hand for this. The right hand will be used when working with the dry ingredients and the left hand will be used when working with the wet ingredients.
  7. The next step is to remove the chicken with your right hand and placing it into the container with the egg. By using your left hand, make sure the egg covers all of the flour.
  8. With your left hand, remove the livers from the container filled with egg and drop it into the container with the Panko bread crumbs. Cover the livers with Panko crumbs with your right hand.
  9. If you feel comfortable dropping the chicken livers into the hot oil, you may do so. You can also use the slotted spoon to slowly drop it into the oil. You can only fry about 6 livers at a time. Please be careful whilst the livers are frying – it will splatter and it might burn you if you stand too close to the pot.
  10. Turn the livers once you see the sides getting golden. Once the livers are equally golden on both sides, you can remove them with the slotted spoon and place them on the plate with kitchen towel.
  11. Should you need to move the pot, please make use of the oven gloves?
  12. I recommend eating the chicken livers as soon as they are cooked to ensure that the crust goes not go soggy.
  13. You can serve the chicken livers with a ranch sauce, or a lime mayonnaise.
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For this meal, I decided to serve the deep-fried chicken livers with beetroot three ways (poached in red wine, pickled and beetroot crisps), port jelly, oven-roasted pearl onions, butter and thyme poached mini button mushrooms and roasted garlic cream cheese.

This took some time, but it was all worth it after tasting it!
Please contact me should you like the full recipe. 🙂