Cooking Around The World by Chris has food from every continent on an almost daily basis it seems. Chris writes in an endearingly idiosyncratic style all of his own that I love. To make things even better he has a newish monthly challenge ‘Bloggers around the World’. Each month he picks a different country (or group of, this time round) and one should cook a recipe from that country. This month was the Caribbean. As the title may have hinted I’m somewhat tardy in getting this post up, I should have had it written and published by the 13th! Anyway, having made my recipe I figured I’d share it anyway. Maybe I can sneak it in the comments section of this month’s round up…
I had problems finding a recipe for the Caribbean. The Caribbean covers a lot of countries; mainly islands, all of which have a very different climate to our own and therefore a very different selection of ingredients readily available. Each time I looked for a recipe it seemed it had breadfruit (??), or there would be meat sneaked in. Looking for fish recipes I realised a lot of them used salt fish – not readily available in my corner of the West Country. So – I eventually settled on this veg soup recipe. Ok not as exciting as some of the recipes on this rather good resource site but at least do-able. It said it serves 8. I must say on reading the ingredients list we scoffed at this. However this is how it went – their ingredients in black, my differences in purpley-blue:
Jamaican Veg Soup
1 onion chopped – 3 small red onions
2 sticks celery – 3 plus the inner small sticks to use it up
4 cloves garlic – ours were huge so I used 3
2 tbsp root ginger minced – grated mine on the zester
1 tbsp demerara sugar – had none so used 2/3 white and 1/3 dark brown
2 tsp sea salt – 1 tsp only [sea salt is stronger than normal salt]
0.25 tsp ground turmeric}
0.25 tsp ground allspice } I added some later on as you’ll see to make a heaped 0.5 tsp of each in total
0.25 tsp ground nutmeg }
2 potatoes peeled and diced – we only had small ones so I used 4 then added another 2 when I realised I was short on courgette = 6 in total
my courgette was small and was only 220g
1.5 l veg stock
1 pinch cayenne – 2 pinches
30g fresh spinach chopped – I added extra so about 80g in total
½ red pepper minced to garnish
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion, celery, garlic ginger and sugar. Fry gently for 5 mins until softened.
Add the salt – having added 1 tsp I decided against the second one as it seemed too much, especially as I was using stock cubes for the veg stock which have salt in already. Add the turmeric, allspice and nutmeg then the spuds and courgette. At this point I added only 0.25 tsp of each spice as per the recipe.
Add the stock and bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins until the spuds are soft.
Turn off / remove from the heat and stir in the cayenne and spinach – at this point I added the 30g spinach quoted.
Blend. At this point it’s an entertainingly vibrant green colour and tastes of…not anything that zingy to be honest. It was a nice veg soup, but that was it. So…
Having only blended half of the soup I then added the extra spice to the unblended portion still in the pot and brought it back to a boil then simmered for a couple of mins extra to cook off the spices. Turn off the heat then added the extra spinach. Blended that portion then mixed the 2 batches together.
The Chap liked the contrast provided by the minced red pepper, I was less of a fan finding the bits too cold and watery against the thick warm soup. Oh, and that 'serves 8' thing - well it did make a mahoosive pot full. :-)
Soooo – that’s my Caribbean recipe. Chris’s next country for us to visit is Mexico – now I just need to find a recipe, cook it and post it all on time….