Hosting Hysteria

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Roasted Butternut Bobotie


I have to admit that when I was a kid, traditional Bobotie used to land up in front of me probably once a year – and it was not a meal I looked forward to. I found it very strange to have hot raisins, meat and eggy, savoury custard all on one plate. Sounds gross, right? Yet surprisingly, Bobotie has become for me one of those acquired flavours that you grow to love, like I have done with so many other food stuffs I loathed as a child, but as an adult, can’t get enough of. Olives, onions, black pepper, wine… the list goes on.

This is my ‘happy cow’ vegetarian version of the dish – made with slow roasted butternut, saucy spiced lentils and a mild custard topping. I made this for the first time last week whilst experimenting in the kitchen, and had two unexpected visitors arrive (conveniently) over dinner time – so I was a bit hesitant to dish it up without having tested it first. Nonetheless, it went down a treat and there were happy tummies all round.

A perfect pairing of tipple with this delicately spiced dish, is the beautiful¬†Iona Sauvignon Blanc – hailing from one of the coolest (and coolest) vineyards in South Africa, high up on the Elgin plateau, about an hour’s drive out of Cape town.

It’s worth mentioning that my spellcheck is insisting I correct my spelling of ‘Bobotie’ to ‘Bootie’ ;)

Happy Middle of the Week, everyone!

Spring Prawns


Spring has sprung, and with it comes an abundance of bird song, bee stings and grateful cheer. As winter recedes and the sun keeps us company for longer, we start to enjoy the outside again…clinking glasses and echoed laughter return to the suburb of Sea Point – (along with the usual noise complaints) – but above all, it marks the return of my favourite kind of dining, Al Fresco.

One of my absolute revered dishes to be eaten outside is this prawn recipe – I have to give credit to my friend Chris, who first brought the idea into my kitchen. For him, making prawns at home has been a family custom since he was young. In my family, it was always seen as too much of a fuss to clean the prawns etc; but once I saw Chris make them – I realised what a great dish it was to feed a large group, as the cooking time is virtually nothing and prep can be done well ahead of time.

I admit it’s unbecoming, but The Moody Cook’s patience doesn’t lend itself well to the act of deveining and cleaning the prawns – so I was more than delighted to find in Woolies a well priced pack of 10 Deveined & Butterflied Prawns – perfect. Down went a bottle of Constantia Uitsig Chardonnay Unwooded with it, and all was right with the world.

Potatoes in a Pie? Hell yes!


The great author, Douglas Adams, wrote, “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.” ¬†He’s quite right. You also need wine. Together they have to be the most celebrated delights this world has to offer.

When thinking of potatoes as food, the usual forms spring to mind: chips, baked and roasted potato, gnocchi, potato salad and of course, potato bake. They are such a great vegetable as they are fairly inexpensive, and really go a long way. That’s why they are an ideal veg to use as the center of a meal when you are having people over, or hosting a dinner party.

Go to the full recipe…