I have a friend who refers to himself as ‘a jazz cook.’
‘I improvise.’ He explains.
This guy uses combinations like bean sprouts, peanut butter, honey and brandy at random.
His meals are often disastrous.
Once, with frightening results, he made a soup that included beetroot and red cabbage.

His mother raised him with the belief that one should never throw away food.
Often, when he thought everyone else was sleeping, he would be busy with a spade, in the backyard late at night, burying his jazz meals in the dark, periodically glancing over his shoulder to make sure that no one sees him. In order to vizualise optimally you should know that he is sixty-years-old.

This is a true story.
In fact this friend is so ‘interesting’ that I should introduce a column where I share some of his ‘quirks’ with you. I have known him for four decades so there are many stories to tell.
To protect his identity – read to protect me - I shall refer to him as Nyatsi.
Look out for random articles on ‘The Exploits of Nyatsi’ soon.

But, I am drifting.

For most of my life I have been decidedly dogmatic when it comes to soup.
My mother’s soup always involved soup bones and chunky soup vegetables. Always.
So for years I treated any other soup with suspicion.

Until I met Nellie.
Nellie introduced me to a whole new world (sung to the tune. You may add a new horison) of soup.
Her repertoire includes things like haddock chowder and chicken and corn soup.
I have a tendency to never scratch where it does not itch, so I haven’t tried any of these recipes myself, but I have convinced her to allow me to post some of the recipes here.

To start, try this butternut soup from heaven.
I promise you it will put a grin on your face for days on end.

2 Medium-sized butternut, peeled seeded and cubed.
Pinch of nutmeg
45ml butter
750ml chicken stock ( 2 cubes of chicken stock, 3 cups water)
2 onions,chopped
500ml milk
45ml flour
I level teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Half a teaspoon of freshlyground black pepper
Grated zest of an orange
Chopped parsley
Fresh cream

Gently fry onions in butter until softened. Add the butternut and stir to coat with butter, cover and cook gently for 5mins.
Stir in the flour and nutmeg making sure that there are no lumps.
Add the stock, milk, salt and pepper and orange zest and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Turn down the heat and simmer for 15 -20mins.
Pour mixture into blender and blend.

Adjust seasoning and serve piping hot, plated and garnished with a tablespoon of fresh cream in the center and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.