Last Thursday I was invited to attend the Knorr Flavourful Goodness Experience at the SA Chef’s Training Academy in Observatory. Food bloggers, nutritionists and members of the media were invited to “rediscover the joy of simple family cooking” along with familiar face Chef Wendy and the Unilever team.
Seated at two long and beautifully decorated dining tables (I loved the creative use of green veggies and herbs in the decor!), we were welcomed by Unilever dietician Keegan Eichstadt, who then introduced the speaker, dietician Megan Pentz-Kluyts. Nutrition is an area which has always been of interest to me, and I enjoyed the talk which centred around basic nutrition principles as well as “making healthy delicious”. She highlighted that as South Africans we generally do not consume nearly enough fresh fruits and vegetables, and that the average daily salt intake is double what it should be – a good reminder to all of us to keep our diets in check!
After the talk we were served a delicious tomato and lentil soup while Keenan spoke about the Knorr product range, looking at how it compares with home recipes and ready-meals, as well how they develop their recipes to balance them as much as possible in terms of flavour, price and nutritional value.Then it was time to put the products to the test in the kitchen! We were put into teams of 3 and each given two recipes to prepare. I teamed up with Megan as well as Mokgadi Itsweng, Food Editor of True Love Magazine. We prepared a sundried tomato, butternut and spinach pasta and a couscous and roasted vegetable salad. The dishes were simple and easy to prepare, but very tasty, and once all the teams were finished the dishes were laid out on the tables so we could sample and enjoy everything. This was followed by dessert of apple tarte tatin. I left later on with a goodie bag full of products to try at home and a binder filled with all the recipes made on the day.
Today I’m sharing one of the recipes that my team made – it was oh so delicious and I have already made it again at home for my family. Thanks to the team at Unilever and Verve Marketing for a great day and allowing me to share this recipe!
SUNDRIED TOMATO, BUTTERNUT & SPINACH PASTA
oil for frying
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tsp (5ml) crushed garlic
75g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
250g button mushrooms, sliced
50g tomato paste
1/2 tin (200g) tomato puree
1 tsp (5ml) Italian herbs
1 Knorr vegetable stock pot
500g butternut, peeled, cubed and steamed
1 tbsp (15ml) white sugar
150ml plain yoghurt
2 tbsp (30ml) fresh parsley, chopped
500g penne pasta, cooked until al denté
100g baby spinach leaves
2 rounds feta cheese, crumbled
Step 1.) Heat a little oil in a deep frying pan and saute the onion and garlic together until lightly brown.
Step 2.) Add the sundried tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
Step 3.) Add the mushrooms and cook for further 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
Step 4.) Stir in the tomato paste, tomato puree, Italian herbs and vegetable stock pot, and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Step 5) Add the butternut, sugar, yoghurt and parsley and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
Step 6.) Mix the pasta and the spinach leaves into the sauce (the heat will wilt the spinach).
Step 7.) Top with crumbled feta and serve immediately.
Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the event but was under no obligation to write this blog post. All images are my own. Recipe reproduced with permission of Verve Marketing.