Food & Wine

Spice up the season

Spice up the season

Nothing says we’re living in autumn quite like allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. From pumpkin soup and roasted meats to apple pie and a steamy spiced latte, you can easily spice up your culinary creation with a cue from these warm and fragrant spices.


Don’t be mistaken in thinking this is a blend of spices,  Allspice is actually a berry from a tropical evergreen tree. Also known as Jamaican pepper, it resembles a peppercorn and has a sweet and spicy flavour. It goes really well with apples, carrots, lamb, peas, chicken, cabbage, butternut, gems or pumpkin.


A mildly sweet spice, cinnamon is one of the most beneficial spices around.  Most often used in baking, its health benefits include being an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, and immunity-boosting spice. It goes really well as a sprinkle on top of most lattes and can be used with foods such as apples, pears, bananas, pork, beef, pumpkins and sweet potatoes.


Immune-boosting cloves have a sweet, warm flavour and are intensely aromatic. Unopened buds from a clove tree, they are available whole or ground and add a lot of depth to foods like beetroot, onion, pears, butternut, gems or pumpkin, dried beans and root vegetables.


With its slightly sweet, robust flavour followed by a hot little kick, ginger is one of the most common and hard-working spices available to us. It’s the stuff we turn to most in flu season for the common sore throat and it is said to help relieve nausea and pain. Prominent in Indian and Asian cuisines, it is very popular in tea, and delicious when paired with foods like avocados, ham, pork, rice, seafood, carrots, peaches and cabbage.


With a long list of health benefits including pain relief, soothing indigestion, detoxifying the body and reducing insomnia, nutmeg lends an air of autumn to whatever it seasons, especially when paired with carrots, cheese, mushrooms, chocolate, parsnips, spinach, sweet potatoes and chicken.

We just love the idea of inviting friends around on a cooler night for good old catch-up, served with a fabulous glass of wine and a moreish bowl of homemade soup. Here’s a recipe we highly recommend!


Ginger Chili Pumpkin Soup with Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 red onion, peeled and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and cut in half
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 small bunch fresh coriander

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small pumpkin, seeded, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
3 1/2 cups chicken stock (875 ml)
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
garnish with pumpkin seed oil (alternatively, reserve a little coconut milk, and drizzle on top before serving)


Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
100gr pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil

Parsley Oil
50g parsley
100ml oil



Using a mini food processor/chopper, blend the onion, garlic, chili, ginger, lime zest and coriander until finely minced and paste-like. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the paste and cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the carrots, pumpkin, stock and coconut milk. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Using a blender, work in batches to puree the soup until smooth and creamy. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of lime juice, taste and add more lime juice, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.

For the seeds, warm the honey until liquid consistency. Mix in salt and oil. Turn in the pumpkin seeds. Spread over a baking tray with wax paper and bake at 160°C for 15 minutes or until golden brown and “puffy”.

For the parsley oil, in a blender, purée parsley with half of the oil until smooth. Mix in the rest of the oil. Pass through a sieve to collect the flavoured oil.

To serve, ladle the heated soup into bowls and garnish with any extra coriander leaves, a couple of roasted pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of the parsley-infused oil.




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