As someone so eloquently put it "Stellenbosch has decided to receive its annual rainfall in one evening." Spring is most definitely *not* in the air at the moment, despite the colourful blooms adorning the leaf-filled trees and the intoxicating smell of jasmine in the air.
But isn't that the beauty of the transitional seasons? You are presented with almost daily changing weather, which in turns presents you with an almost daily changing smorgasbord of activies and food to indulge in. Fancy an outdoor picnic? Just wait for the next sunny day. You'd rather curl up in front of the fireplace with a sweet and decadent drink? Well, suitable weather is bound to be just around the corner for that as well. It's the best of both worlds, isn't it?
When the temperatures took another dive and I was faced with the bounty of potatoes in my vegetable rack it seemed only natural to try my hand at a chowder. As I quipped to TheHusband, this soup is any cat's dream - consisting of smoky, salty fish drowning in a mixture of milk, cream and starchy goodness. Incidentally, both of them wholeheartedly approved of both the aroma and the taste of the individual ingredients.
As for the finished dish, well let me just say that TheHusband was slurping it up like it was nobody's business. Considering he is a bit weary of seafood in genearl, it should give you some indication of just how more-ish this chowder is. And what could be more deliciously South African than snoek and sweet potatoes? Belly-warming goodness, without a doubt.
Smoked Snoek & Sweet Potato Chowder
Inspired by Crush! (this is a stunning recipe by the way - go check it out)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped very finely
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
2 small potatoes, peeled and grated
1 cup water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
125g cottage cheese
1 tbsp coarse, grainy mustard
250g smoked snoek, bones removed and flaked
salt to taste and a generous amount of black pepper
1. Heat oil in a fairly large pot (large enough to hold a fair amount of liquid later on) over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauteeing until see through. Add turmeric and fry another 30 seconds or so to release the fragrance.
2. Now add potato and sweet potato as well as water and milk. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and allow to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
3. Stir cream, cottage cheese and mustard through, then add snoek and gently stir to combine.
4. Season with salt and black pepper and allow to cook on a low heat for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with big chunks of bread. This soup behaves like a stew in that the flavour improves if left overnight.
Replace cottage cheese with any combination of cheeses of your choice - I've added bits of feta before, as well as some creamy camembert and even blue cheese. Taste as you go and make it your own!