Rainy Days And Sundays - Butternut Relish

Posted in Photography / Recipes / Vegetables / The Honey Badger Diaries

Rainy Days And Sundays - Butternut Relish

Inclement weather is expected to dry up in October. The rain running rivulets down the window panes as I type is a surprise.

Shouldn’t be, you’d think, but, we’ve had such good weather for eight straight weeks, that I was ready to rip out the old bather to wallow in the shallows with my recuperating brother Mark, who believes the ocean is healing and restorative.

After watching My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, I must confess I have a new understanding of the kelp forests and regret that I didn’t investigate objectively when I was young and fit. My claustrophobia held me back. I was convinced the kelp would entangle me and I’d not be able to surface, struggling wildly to break through the crisscrossed branches swaying above me as I ascended without any oxygen in my lungs. Megan would say “act in haste, repent at leisure.”

During turbulent times we cook and experiment with new recipes.  Simple recipes, requiring ordinary ingredients is what we prefer.  The challenge being, to serve something beautiful and flavoursome using old favourites.

Butch tried out and perfected a reverse seared Tomahawk steak aka Prime Rib, this weekend. He’s always on the lookout for something new on the braai (barbecue).  This will probably be our new Friday night special.  This method is all about timing and temperature and lastly grilling for caramelization and colour.

I threaded Rosemary and Bay leaf skewers through our sausages, to heighten the flavours.  A delicious Butternut Relish accompanied our supper.


(adapted from a Daily Maverick recipe TGIF)
1 butternut (reasonably large)
5ml curry powder
2 onions, sliced
45ml Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
A handful of thyme leaves scraped off
5ml ground Coriander
5ml ground nutmeg
30ml tomato paste
250ml white Balsamic vinegar (I used a delicious berry flavoured white vinegar)
125ml brown sugar
125ml water
60ml apricot jam
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped


Pre-heat oven to 220֠C.  Peel and cut butternut into dice sized blocks—massage olive oil onto the pieces covering them all in a sheen of oil.   Sprinkle curry powder all over.  Place in the oven and roast until cooked through and there’s a little charring.  I lifted my oven rack one notch up. Once cooked, remove from the oven and keep to one side.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add sliced onions.  Stir fry for a few minutes. Reduce the heat and add the chopped garlic. Add spices, salt and pepper.  Cover with a lid and simmer for 8 minutes.  Add the brown sugar, stir through, replace the lid and caramelise for a further10 minutes.  Add the thyme and cook through. 
Add vinegar, water, tomato and apricot jam, return to a simmer and cook without a lid for 5 minutes until some of the vinegar has reduced.
Lastly, add the butternut.  Gently stir or shake the pan until the butternut is covered. Replace the lid and simmer for a further 10  minutes.

Remove from the stove.  Cool. Serve at room temperature with chopped parsley for colour.

This dish lasts a few days in the refrigerator and can be served with any barbecued meat as a relish.



The rain lashing our house has stopped and the sun shines again. Framed in my window, the late afternoon sun highlights a Clivia flower, not a particularly beautiful specimen, but it caught my eye, and I feel compelled to walk out and photograph it.  Sometimes we just need a ray of sunshine to stand out. It might be momentary, but, for a minute or two, something ordinary became extraordinary.  That’s beauty in the eye of the beholder.

Spectacular fields of gold, purple and orange are still to be seen as we travel here and there. This year has been a bumper crop of blooms inspiring us to pick up sticks and head north to the Kgalagadi to see what’s happening there now that SANParks have reopened their gates.

After much to-ing and fro-ing, cancelling reservations for better locations, we managed to secure our desired sites at Mata Mata and  Nossob.  The trick with reservations, I discovered was that it would be best to make a reservation for the selected period, taking up any campsites, just to secure a reservation, then… going back every morning at 03h00 hours (I became an insomniac) and taking up reservations as they came back up on the website.  It took two weeks of dedicated swopping until, at last, I had our bookings as we like it.

All reservations are paid for on the spot.  Cancellations are not credited as efficiently as payments. I await someone from Sanparks to acknowledge my emails.  It has been four weeks now and as yet not a word. Fortunately, my credit shows on my account.  We live in hope.

The Honey Badger is currently being upgraded with a mesh box for firewood and the roof rack repaired.  Very exciting.  We’ve had the broken awning replaced.  I am searching high and low for someone to “wrap” her with our website address and a logo.   The finishing touches are more arduous than the initial build.

We binge-watched Zac Efron's Down to Earth on Netflix in one sitting.  An excellent travelogue with an educational spin. Drinking bottled water will never be the same again.