Cape Verde

Joe & Sophie’s flat, Deptford

23 January 2015

Steve's 'Calamar a modo ze de lino'

Calamar a modo ze de lino – a twist on a Cape Verdean classic

The wonderfully free Cape Verde looks and sounds like a lovely place. An archipelago of volcanic islands, quite far off the coast of Senegal, it was colonised by Portuguese explorers in the 15th Century, and gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. We focussed our search for a restaurant on the South Lambeth area, reasoning that Cabo Verdeans in London might gravitate towards the Portuguese-speaking community there, but we failed to find anything serving food specifically from the island nation. So it was onto the Internet, to find a fairly encouraging range and quality of recipes, and over to Deptford to cook them, with our special dinner guest Bish in attendance.

Cachupa rica - a revelation

Cachupa rica – a revelation

Steve’s starter should have been Polvo a modo ze de lino (an octopus stew), but failing to find any octopus, this became Calamar a modo ze de lino. This was tasty and hot with chilli, and a good appetiser for the heavier main course, Sophie’s Cachupa rica. This is Cape Verde’s national dish, a hearty stew of beans, polenta and chorizo with a big black pudding stuck in the middle. It was delicious, most of us going back for seconds.

Pudim de Queijo - better than you'd think

Pudim de Queijo – better than you’d think

Finally, Joe’s baked pudding was Pudim de Queijo, which was like a cross between baked cheesecake, creme caramel and pannacotta, refreshingly simple to make and also delicious.

So, even our inexpert take on Cabo Verdean food turned out well, which suggests that the real thing must be even better. Definitely somewhere to consider for our next holiday.

Scores

Food: 4/5

Calamar a modo ze de lino

Ingredients

  • 8 baby squid
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 vine tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 green chilli, chopped finely

Instructions

  1. Wash squid, pull off tentacles and slice bodies
  2. Put squid in saucepan with the bay leaf and oil and cook on a medium heat for 5-10 mins
  3. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, shallots and chilli and cook down until stew-like.

Cachupa Rica

Ingredients:
1 cup polenta
1 tin sweetcorn
1/2  tin kidney beans
1/2 tin lima beans
1/2 cup shell beans
half a chorizo sausage, sliced
1 blood sausage (ideally morcella but blood pudding works)
pack of bacon or pancetta, sliced
1/2 a cabbage, chopped
1/2 squash, peeled and sliced
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Instructions:
1) Add two tablespoons of olive oil, onion, garlic and bay leaf to a pan and fry until soft.
2) Heat six cups of water. Bring it to a boil and add the sweetcorn, polenta and beans. Simmer until the corn and beans are almost tender.
3) In a separate large saucepan, cook all the vegetables, except for the cabbage, together with the chorizo, and bacon.
4) Add the cooked vegetables and meats into the large saucepan on top of the sweetcorn and beans. Add in the whole blood sausage. Cook on low heat for approximately one hour.
5) Add the sliced cabbage and cook for a further 10 minutes.
6) Turn off heat and let sit in the covered pot for at least one half hour.
7) Place on a large platter, cover with the coriander, and serve.

Pudim de Queijo

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 250g of smooth cheese, such as mild goat’s cheese or ricotta (or a combination of the two)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 250ml of double cream
  • 8tsp liquid caramel or runny honey

To finish (optional): crème fraiche, fresh fruit

Instructions

  • Preheat fan oven to 160°C. Mix all of the ingredients (either in a food processor or by hand) until they are well combined and form a smooth, custard-like liquid.
  • Grease individual pudding moulds/ramekins – or, for a more traditional shape, a single large bundt tin – with butter. Pour a small amount of cool liquid caramel or runny honey into each mould, so that it just covers the base.
  • Fill the moulds with the Pudim mixture, no deeper than 1cm from the top. Stand the moulds in a baking tray full of water (ideally deep enough to cover the lower half of the moulds), and bake in the oven until golden brown on top – approximately one hour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out. Serve with crème fraiche and fresh fruit if desired.
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