Butternut velouté..and fragrance in the home

Butternut soup is probably my most favorite soup. Keeping it simple brings out the natural sweetness of the butternut and warm comfort of its creaminess.  Don’t hide its wonderful autumn flavors behind all sorts of funny additions…sometimes something has to be left alone to speak in its own voice. Like the velvety butternut.


  • Any other pumpkin of about 1 kg can be used in the same way.
  • Add a knob of butter when sauteing the shallot…it adds more flavor.
  • Use home made vegetable stock if possible, or else an organic vegetable stock. Water can be used instead.
  • See here for a bouquet garni.
  • Add about 2 tsps orange zest for a more pronounced orange flavor.
  • If the soup is too thick, add cream for a richer version and milk for a lighter version to your taste.


..and fragrance in the home..

Isn’t it nice to step into a home and smell the most subtlest of fragrances…not an overwhelming smell, but just enough to have you wonder what it is, where it comes from.

There are many ways to bring fragrance into your home. But always remember the first golden rule: always keep it soft, gentle and subtle. Nothing is as sickening as a sweet and overpowering smell. It is much like an old woman seeking youth in powder and perfume.  Or like a guy who fell into a bottle of Old Spice. The second rule is to never have a perfumed candle at the dinner table or around food.

..candles: héliotrope, wild rose and green tea..

To prevent a room from being invaded with scent, a perfumed candle should burn only for a short while. The small tealight tops are a favorite of mine to burn on winter evenings when it gets dark in the afternoons. They are very gentle in flavor and I leave them to burn the whole evening…romance and ambiance for all, even on week nights…everybody loves it!

Winter chases us inside earlier and for longer…we  cook inside more, we make fires in the fireplaces and receive more visitors inside than in any other season. It is important to have fresh fragrance in the house as well…flowers, diffusers, lamp bulbs with rings and dotted wih essential oils, some envelopes in drawers or in hidden corners, some light house sprays, pillow sprays, sachets hanging on door knobs, incense burning after an open fire in the fireplace. Again…keep it light and stay away from the sweet and strong flavors, like vanilla and fruits.  I sometimes use cedar incense to get rid of the smoky smell of our open fireplace. I never use potpourii, because it only gathers dust.

..diffusers with tea lights and incense..

When using a diffuser and a tealight, take care to drop only a little 0il and burn the candle only a short while. The fragrance quickly disperses throughout the room.

In the bedroom, room sprays and pillow sprays are gentle enough..spritz on the bed rather than the pillow and a light spritz in the air with a room spray leaves a gentle frangrance.

..home and pillow sprays..

My favourite fragrances are rose, heliotrope, amber, citrus, all tea leaves and cotton flower. Some of these tiny bottle below go back many, many years and I can’t get rid of them. They still carry the smell of essential oils…and sweet memories.

..bulb rings with essential oils..

A drop of essential oil on a bulb ring, made from terracotta or balsawood on a bulb and the heat of the bulb disperses the fragrance through the room. The balsa wood works great on the new economy bulbs which don’t get as hot.

..scented envelopes and handmade envelopes..

Although the scented envelopes are meant for drawers, I place them in bowls in corners in the house. They aren’t strong and overpowering and only give off a flavor when you pass them. And of course, nothing is easier than making your own envelopes: Use white envelopes and paint them in your favourite olours, drip the paint, flow it on the envelope, write, scribble, hand paint…whichever you feel like doing. Fill your handpainted envelope with clean catsand or wooden shavings, add a drop of soft essentail oil, glue your envelope and place in a corner where it can be admired as well as give off its gentle fragrance in the room.

May your winter days…and for otheres, summer days…be filled with the softt fragrances of cotton flower, and your evenings be cozy around the flicker of a cedar scented candle.

…à la prochaine!..


28 responses

  1. A beautiful velouté and lots of awesome fragrances!



    12/11/2010 at 17:01

  2. Nous sommes jumelles..I ove those lighbulb rings..:) Sachets ..scented candles..ambiance ambiance ambiance..I relish veloutes as you know:)

    Tes chandelles sont belles..Ton esquisse aussi..
    I have never thought of making my own envelopes..You can bet I will now:) You have lovely ideas..Your envelopes are absolutely exquisite..Exquisitely beautiful:) I don’t care how many times I compliment you.I mean it:)

    There is a company in the US now in Canada..

    Bath and Body works..they sell Wallflowers..unlike any other plug-ins..I discovered them when I met Fifi.. Our powder room always has one..

    I find you need lovely quality scents to feel good.:)
    Thank you..


    12/11/2010 at 19:18

  3. Dear Ronelle

    I just came from the market where I bought a lovely butternut…I know what I will do with it…Butternut soup!! I love the final touches on your soup!

    I couldn’t agree more with you that the fragrances in your home shouldn’t be overwhelming…like giving you headaches…


    12/11/2010 at 21:09

  4. We just tried a different butternut soup by our newest family member who is a chef (mmmmm!), and now I want to try THIS one, sounds luscious, Ronelle!

    12/11/2010 at 21:38

  5. I love the addition of the juice of Oranges to your soup I must try that. and what a lovely idea for your pretty perfumed envelopes – I have 2 beautiful grandaughters & we could paint them together – make it a bonding day with your soup for our lunch!!
    xx Dianne

    12/11/2010 at 22:17

  6. This sounds like a delicious recipe Ronelle, but the fragrances and you recommendations are also delicious. Great advice about not using scented candles with food. No one ever advises this in the stores and I am sure many people use the perfumed candles around food, Ick!


    12/11/2010 at 23:27

  7. The soup is duly noted, the tea lights are lit and all is winter-light perfect but I must say if I sprayed my bed with a fragrance my husband may rebel!

    13/11/2010 at 04:48

  8. Butternut is one of my favorites too! This is so pretty, Ronelle. I’m going to the market on a minute, so I’ll look for a butternut squash. Oh, and I just jumped over here from F.B.-buzzed;-)!

    13/11/2010 at 15:02

  9. Bonjour, Ronelle! I am so happy to have found your blog via La Table de Nana. She mentioned the lovely sketches that you include with each post. What a lovely, added touch you bring to a recipe ;) I know I would love your Butternut soup as it’s my very favorite squash.

    During the Christmas season I do enjoy spritzing a tiny bit of pine scent in the house.

    13/11/2010 at 16:37

  10. This convinces me to buy a butternut squash and try this soup. I have one I like a lot so I’ll add this to the collection.

    Thanks for your post on home fragrance. I agree with you about avoiding strong fragrance and vanilla! I so dislike vanilla. Didn’t know about the tealight toppers and will look for them. I have 2 candles which I love but are no longer available. I save them on my desk to simply sniff now and then so they’ll last.

    13/11/2010 at 16:41

  11. My dear Ronelle,

    You lend artistry to EVERYTHING you touch (as evidenced by the fern atop the butternut soup). Oh la la!

    The envelopes, oh yes, wonderful.

    All joys to you my friend,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    13/11/2010 at 22:27

  12. Butternut squash soup is one I my favorites. I have made several varieties this past month as I can’t resist buying some everytime I go to the farmer’s market.

    Love your candle choices!


    14/11/2010 at 19:03

  13. Butternut squash soup is one I my favorites. I have made several varieties this past month as I can’t resist buying some every time I go to the farmer’s market.

    Love your candle choices!


    14/11/2010 at 19:03

  14. Butternut squash soup is one of my favorites. I have made several varieties this past month as I can’t resist buying some every time I go to the farmer’s market.

    Love your candle choices!


    14/11/2010 at 19:04

  15. So sorry, Ronelle! Not sure why my comments posted before I did my spell check! ;0

    14/11/2010 at 19:06

  16. Ahhh, sisisi….This soup looks to me not only Wonderful…; but it promises to be soo delicious!!!!!

    …after looking at all these magnificient perfumes for the home….., I love the very delicate fragrances also; you did a gorgeous presentation!!

    I tell you my favourite: from L’ERBOLARIO
    “scent of the sea”…..it’s heavenly…..one feels the sea breeze!!!!

    ciao ciao elvira

    14/11/2010 at 19:26

  17. I love that velouté and agree this is the best way to showcase the sweetness of the squash.
    Love these scented candles and I picked up a few good tips from you tonight.

    15/11/2010 at 06:04

  18. A good point Ronelle about allowing things to speak for themselves. A very stylish recipe, beautifully presented. Thanks :- )

    15/11/2010 at 13:01

  19. I’m not surprised that your home smells as lovely as the pictures of it.

    Great looking soup, I agree on keep it simple and let the flavor shine through. Your decoration is awesome as well!

    16/11/2010 at 15:58

  20. thank you for visiting and taking precious time to leave a kind comment!

    18/11/2010 at 11:06

  21. I made a pumpkin soup last week, which was basically the same idea. But orange juice was something I hadn’t thought of, so thanks for that idea.

    And of course, since your blog is about food and life, I always look forward to reading about what is going on with you. Yes, I adore luscious scents – a lavender spray for the linens makes bedtime cozier. Hadn’t thought of putting the oils on the light bulbs – another great idea!

    18/11/2010 at 22:18

  22. Oh Ronelle. This all looks so beautiful…from that presentation of the pumpkin soup to those exquiste scented envelopes. What a great idea for Christmas pressies!
    Have a great weekend!

    19/11/2010 at 08:23

  23. Hi Ronelle, you scents and photos are lovely and evoke a special atmosphere….the soup and beautifully written recipe takes the first prize though! bisous

    20/11/2010 at 17:49

  24. Ronelle, you are a treasurehouse of lovely ideas, I will be making some of those envelopes to counteract certain ancient dog aromas!

    21/11/2010 at 14:02

  25. Que ton assiette est belle ! J’aime aussi tout ce qui sent bon …

    22/11/2010 at 23:02

  26. Oh, I’m with you – I LOVE butternut soup!! Mine is usually lightly curried but I love the flavours in yours. As for fragrances… can I just say that I am wildly jealous that you can get heliotrope candles!! One of my favourite scents ever – I used to have one outside my bedroom inn Port Elizabeth… My all-time faourite scented candle is Geodesis Under Orange Trees (or similar!) – too divine. inspiring post, as always! I want to come and visit your gorgrously scented home one day :)

    25/11/2010 at 18:17

  27. Your soup looks wonderful. Thanks for the frangrance tips. x.

    01/01/2011 at 11:54

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