Saffiya’s Soupilicious Experience

  • (Soup (n). Old French soupe’sop, broth. Evidence of existence as far back as 20 000 BC)
  • (Delicious (adj). Latin deliciosus equivalent to Deliciae meaning delight + ous)

Food is an age old tradition of bringing people together from different cultures, background and social standing.  Over a hearty meal and refreshment; it compels us to get to know one another.

I was super excited when I received an invite a few weeks ago to my first ever soup event from Ayesha Kajee.


From her Facebook posts, pictures of previous soup events, the number of guests sometimes reaches 135 people; I was fascinated at the concept of “Soupilicious” (as I have loving named it!). It then struck me awkward, I only know Ayesha Kajee.

With Ayesha being the host, I couldn’t possibly latch onto her apron strings all afternoon.

It then dawned on me that I haven’t caught up with my best friend in a while; to no fault of mine I must add, his crazy schedule makes our catch ups fall into an abyss. I hoped he would say yes as I needed a wingman.

On Saturday, 19th of August 2017, celebrity photographer Xavier Saer and I eagerly attended “Soupilicious” at the home of Ayesha Kajee. The love and laughter emitting from her living room as we climbed a few steps leading to the front door, we were met with the aroma of different soups; guests were already drowning their spoons into their soup bowls. We were greeted like old friends.

Why was I stressing again? There was no awkwardness at all.

Saffiya Ismail; Xavier Saer & Author Zaheera Walker

The afternoon was filled with so much warmth and love, peeks into our bowls.

“What are you having?” “I think I will try that next?” “You have to try this soup, it’s delicious!”

People huddled together at the soup table, in the kitchen, in the garden; kids weaved playfully between “adults”. It did not matter whether you had a seat or not, some found the smallest gap on the couch and squeezed in. The angle at which you sat even did not matter at all; you were met with a friendly smile and chat anyway.

Conversation flowed like the soups; we connected over delicious spoonfuls of tantalising servings, eager to try the next variant. Food has a knack of bringing people together, forging bonds, connecting and starting conversations.

Reminded me of the movie “Chocolat!” the hypnotic effect of chocolate on the towns’ folk, by Vianne. Ayesha a warm, loving and humble host, beautifully brought different people together over wonderful variants of soups, she was Vianne in Mayfair.

From the Arabian Mince Rice Soup (definitely an acquired taste!), Senegalese Soup, Granny’s Golden Soup, Chilli Bean, Khowse, Russian Borscht, Lentil and Rassam (King Soup or Rassoo as we call it) Xavier and my favourite, the fiery Jalapeño, among many other broths. She had an array of add on’s to compliment the soups, sliced coconut, cilantro, yoghurt to mention a few.

How did Ayesha manage to prepare and deliver such hearty soups, so much thought and love went into making these soups. There were also dessert soups! The Kheer … my brain switched back and forth as each spoonful reminded me of my mother’s kheer, which I will never taste again as she is no longer with me, Ayesha’s kheer made me smile because it felt like home.

Her rassam, also transported me back in time, when I was sick as a kid, this was the healing broth of our mother’s and grandmother’s time. I welcomed it, because I have been fighting this vile flu for the past week. This tamarind broth infused with all the natural antibiotics was divine.

I could ramble on about Ayesha’s soups, the tastes, aromas and textures. And Ramble once more I will, this article will not be complete without mentioning the fiery jalapeno soup, it was not a complex soup, but had robust flavours with chopped jalapenos. This soup burst onto your palate with every spoonful. It created the effect of fireworks brilliantly exploding in the night sky, and then quickly fading away, until the next explosion of broth.

Besides Ayesha and Xavier, I did meet a familiar face, Zaheera Walker.

As I write my article, I realise that I cannot recall all the names of the wonderful people I met, hopefully the names I do remember I will be able to connect with. Those who remember my name please stalk Ayesha’s FB page and invite me.

As we were leaving Ayesha asked if we had brought Tupperware containers as instructed in her email so she could fill some love (soup!) for us to take home. Oh how we regret this oversight! That Jalapeno soup will haunt us until we taste it again.

Thank You Ayesha Kajee for welcoming Xavier and I into your home, mesmerising us with your array for soups. Thank you for bringing people together with love and warmth.

We look forward to the next “Soupilicious’ event with much anticipation, we will definitely bring our empty Tupperware containers next time to take some broth with us. I did not know it was possible to feel like a glutton from just having soup; now I know this absolutely possible.

About Saffiya Ismail

Born in Pietermaritzburg, she now resides in Johannesburg and says her most important role in life is being a mother. Saffiya is a freelance writer. A contributing author in “Riding the Samoosa Express” (Anthology launched 21st March 2015). With a second chapter submitted for the next book, Saffiya says her passion is writing.

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