Sophie and Joe’s House, Bermondsey

17th February 2012

The big problem with this exercise being based on sovereign nations is that there are so many of them in the Caribbean. I have a feeling that the Antiguan nightmare of corned beef and pigeon peas might be back on our plates before too long.

Fortunately, the Bahamas acquitted itself well. Bahamians have never really come to London in great numbers, unlike other Caribbean peoples, so we soon gave up trying to find a suitable restaurant and cooked for ourselves instead. The menu was as follows:

  • Monkfish Chowder (Steve)
  • Chicken somethingorother with Johnnycakes (Sophie)
  • Guava Duff (Joe)

Recipes below as we add them.

The chowder starter was a triumph. Delicious broth, nicely hot but not crazy (like it would have been if I’d used the scotch bonnet chilis Lagasse specifies) and meaty chunks of monkfish worked really well with it. Best of all were Sophie’s Johnnycakes, which we stole from the main course as they were perfect for soaking up the chowder.

Chicken somethingorother

Chicken somethingorother

Main course review to follow.

The guava duff was an odd affair. Very heavy, cakey dough rolled around a stewed guava middle. Guava has a grainy texture which was not all that pleasant in this context. Also, the duff came with a rich butter sauce that pushed it over the edge into “too much”. Some of us had to have a little lie down afterwards.

Guava duff in all its glory

Guava duff in all its glory

Monkfish Chowder

Monkfish chowder

Monkfish chowder

This was based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe, but modified to use monkfish instead of lobster and with a few other changes:

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min
4 to 6 servings
Bahamian Fish Chowder
Based on a recipe by Emeril Lagasse

1 red and 1 green chilli, seeded and finely minced
5 spring onions
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1-2 monkfish tails, spine removed and cut into large chunks
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 baking potato, peeled and diced
3 cups fish, chicken or vegetable stock (or substitute water)
1/2 tin coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chilli, spring onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a mortar and pestle or in the bowl of a food processor and process to a paste. Stir in the lime juice. Put into a freezer bag withe the monkfish and refrigerate while you prepare the stew.

Heat the oil in a pan and, when hot, mix in the flour. Stir constantly until a roux is formed, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and peppers and cook until vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, tomatoes, potato, stock, coconut milk, brown sugar, thyme, remaining teaspoon salt and pepper and bring to a low boil.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and flavorful and potatoes are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the lobster and its marinade to the pot and cook for 7 minutes.

Serve immediately with Johnnycakes.


Food: 2/5

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