Here's a soup that turns out to be so much more than its name implies.... Pea Soup. One onion and one small potato chopped and gently fried in butter. Add 2 packs of fresh peas, a chicken stock cube and 1 tsp vegetable stock and near litre of water. Boil till the peas are cooked, add some milk and whizz - the colour is worth it alone. Warm through and serve with pepper, cream, chives, chopped mint, croutons...
In essence, that recipe had three components, adding up to something special. That got me thinking of my very simple chicken liver recipe. I adore chicken liver peri-peri, and found fresh organic livers at the market. I often check out ideas for recipes on the web. Martha Stewart has great recipes (real English Mustard for example - but whatever you do, don't trust her measures!), In the end they were all a bit too much trouble, and anyway the livers were already trimmed and in a marinade of olive oil and red chilli. We have a treasured jar of red chilli paste from Gorima's in Natal, but fresh or flakes would work, as long as they're red. Then into some hot oil and butter, and when they are crispish on the outside, and pink and tender inside - a cup of red wine. Turn down and bubble quickly. And that's all you need, served on toast, for chicken liver peri-peri - a la DIVINE.
I made this after finding the recipe in "Indian Delights", which is a huge curry book written by Natal Indian women. It can veer to the impenetrable in the most charming way, with a million recipes, and also uses the Indian names for everything. But consisting really, of just fresh coriander, fresh garlic and fresh chillies, again this is more than its sum. I bought three bunches of fresh coriander and you just put the lot into a liquidizer. Honestly, the way this chutney finally came together into a brilliant emerald pesto was quite thrilling! Mix with mayonnaise for a dip, or spoon into a curry. Too good to be true.
Dhunia Chutney 2 only whole peppercorns 1 bunch dhunia leaves (coriander) 2 green chilies 2 cloves garlic 1/4 tsp jeero (cummin) 1/4 tsp salt Juice of 1 lemon Pound together or liquidize.
Although the book doesn't suggest it, I sealed it in a jar and then sterilized the lot for 10 minutes in the oven in a bowl of barely boiling water, and it has worked - although it did go a bit darker.
I live in the centre of the universe - well for two weeks of the year anyway. Everyone knows where Wimbledon is, but most of the year it is just another leafy London suburb. I started out though, in the far reaches of the empire, on the sultry eastern coast of southern Africa.
Join me at my table and share my passion for food, my woodland garden, and my travels - and the joy of being an African soul in the heart of England.